Archive for February, 2008

When we were all sick…

February 23, 2008

February has been a crazy month. We spent almost two weeks passing a really bad cold (Jesse says it was the flu) between us, and after three days inside we were all going a bit crazy. To pass the time we made some videos. Here’s Charlie reading, playing puzzles, and then trying to climb the furniture.



February 23, 2008

Here’s Charlie after we voted in the recent presidential primary, and our new stroller, which I love.


Our Texas vacation

February 23, 2008


I finally finished this set of pictures from our summer vacation in Texas. Charlie and Jesse strolled the streets of Dallas while I attended a writers conference for work, and then we hit the road.

We stopped in Galveston, TX, which was kind of depressing. Oil rigs lined the horizon and the Gulf waters were not nearly as clear and inviting as those in the Florida panhandle. But, we stayed at the historic Hotel Galvez, which was fabulous and made up for the island’s grayness. It had the best pool, ever, warm, huge and surrounded with grottoes and lush tropical vegetation. There was a swim-up bar, small waterfalls and two floors of lounge chairs where one could lay out or curl up with a book. Charlie and I spent most of our time in Galveston swimming in luxury. Ah.

Then we drove to Austin, where we stayed at the Austin Motel and drooled over the other boutique hotels along that strip. We tried to see the famous Congress Avenue bats, but didn’t have much luck. The best part of Austin was biking around Town Lake to Barton Springs. I love swimming in freshwater springs, and Barton was great—until we got rained out.

We had a good time, and looking back at the pictures makes me want to go on vacation again. And it also reminds me just how much Charlie has changed in only six months. Click on the photo above for the whole set.


February 7, 2008

Charlie and I have been sick like dogs, yesterday and today. Me more so than him. He at least wanted to eat something. He wanted oatmeal for breakfast, two days straight. We put yummy things in it, like yogurt, maple syrup, peanut butter and raisins (not all at the same time) so that must be the appeal. Because he also wanted it for lunch, two days straight. And then, just now, when we woke up from our naps, I thought I might make us some cheese sandwiches and tomato soup since I was beginning to feel human again.

“Are you hungry for snack?” I asked.

“Yeah! O-meal?”

I just laughed at him. He did end up enjoying the cheese sandwiches, after I convinced him to give them a try.


February 5, 2008

All you Super-Tuesday primary folks, get out and vote! Charlie and I will be pulling the lever for Obama!

Sharing the ducks

February 2, 2008

On Thursday, Charlie and I went to music class, where he played drums, triangles, jingle bells, and shakers. Then he danced to “Wheels on the Bus” and some Chinese new year music. He especially liked the teacher’s stuffed snake who gave all the kids kisses. He talked about the “SSSSSS” all the way home. (And even today, Saturday, he talked about “Gina’s SSSSS” during lunch.)
Then later on Thursday afternoon, we saw bunnies, dogs, cats and snakes at the pet store and ducks and geese in Prospect Park.

Charlie was in heaven.

He wanted to share his joy with everyone. When we met a cute baby on the playground (probably about a year old, waddling adorably in a rainbow-colored snowsuit with a pointy hat), Charlie ran up to him.

“Baby! Baby!”

Then he ran to me. “Baby,” he said, pointing at the little boy. “Duck!” he said, pointing at the lake. (I heard: “Oh, how can there be so many wondrous creatures in the world as babies AND ducks!”)

I smiled. “Why don’t you tell the baby about the ducks?”

He ran right over to the baby and stood very close to him, looking deep into the kid’s eyes. “Baby!” he said, very seriously, “Duck!” He pointed to the lake, as if to say ‘Man, there are ducks, right over there, can you frickin’ believe it?’

English lit 101

February 2, 2008

Lately, after our long days, I’ve been talking to Charlie about what happened to us during our adventures. “Remember when we went to music class and played the drums?” Or, “What did you do at FedKids today? Renee said you helped to make a cardboard bus. Did you paint it yellow?”

Sometimes I know the answers, sometimes I don’t. But he’s been having fun remembering, putting a narrative structure to the course of his day, and thinking about the climax. (“Yes, that was my favorite thing, too!”)

But last night, as we were reading bedtime stories, he moved beyond basic storytelling.

We read Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein and then we read Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. Both books involve jungle animals because stories about jungle animals tend to hold CW’s attention better than other kinds of stories. As I was reading Dear Zoo aloud and he was looking at pictures in Little Gorilla, he pointed from the elephant in one to the elephant in the other.

“Ele-un,” he said. Here, he pointed, and here. “Ele-un.”

“Yes, Charlie,” I said, as we examined both lions, both snakes and both giraffes. “We’ve finally moved into comparative literature!”


February 2, 2008

Charlie loves his friends.

Today, at snack time, I picked him up in my arms and gave him a big hug.

“Priya!” he said, pointing over my shoulder.

I turned to see that Priya, who is almost one and is still in the infant class, was standing in her crib waving to Charlie.

He waved back and she grinned.

They only get to see each other when one is being held above the low wall that separates the two classrooms, or when Priya visits the big kids’ room. But they are obviously very happy to see each other when they do.

Potty time!

February 2, 2008

We bought a little potty for Charlie a month or so ago, and we’ve been reading books about poop, pee, and going to the potty. Other than that, our so-called potty training has been very, very relaxed.

First, Charlie wanted to sit on the potty, but only with his clothes on. Then he wanted to put things in the potty, like toys and boats.

Only in the last week or so has he started connecting poop with the potty. “Potty?” he’ll ask after a big fart. I strip him down. He sits on the potty for a minute, playing with a toy or reading a book, then he says, “All done.” We diaper up and a few minutes later there is poop in the diaper. At least he has the general idea.

Or at least we thought so.

Until the other day when Jesse was joking around about something in the kitchen and said, “It’s party time!”

Charlie laughed. “It’s potty time!”

Separation Anxiety

February 2, 2008

In the last few weeks, ever since his last bout of sickness when he threw up everywhere, CW has had some monster separation anxiety. I’d thought we were well past that stage, but his teacher assured me that she sees it in some kids as they hit the almost-two zone. They want to do everything themselves, but then fear the independence they crave.

I think CW has been having issues with the fact that he’s growing up. He now has an expanded vocabulary, an enhanced ability to combine words (which includes sentences like, “It’s a dog!,” It’s a duck!,” and “Mama, more milk.”), and he can hold hands on walks around the neighborhood instead of taking a stroller. In general, he can do much more for himself. But then he began crying when I dropped him off at daycare, when I left at snack time, when we were at home and I moved to another room, or when I didn’t hold him when he wanted to be held. He cried at night, waking up and walking out of the bedroom to find me. He wanted Mama to stay. He wanted Mama to play. He wanted Mama to put him back to sleep. He wanted Mama attached to his hip at all times. It was driving me bonkers.

The last two days, though, have been calmer. We took things a little slower at morning drop off, letting him adjust to the new environment. And night after last I tried the Supernanny routine. I sat in the room with him, on the cedar chest, until he drifted off. I didn’t let him get out of bed, but I didn’t lay down with him either. (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laid down in the last weeks and drifted off, missing those really nice, quiet couple of evening hours with a bit of TV and adult conversation. That also was driving me bonkers.)

CW didn’t cry, but he lifted his head every two minutes, assuring himself I was still there. It took him an hour and a half to fall asleep, but he did it. All by himself. Then last night, while I sat beside him, he fell asleep in only a half hour. Maybe with patience and practice we can make self-soothing a habit. I want him to know sleep is safe and enjoyable and something he can do for himself, and I want him to know that I am still there for him, for bad dreams and emergencies.