Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What's Happenin'

We recently had a pediatrician appointment for both kids. It was Madelyn's 1 year checkup and Patrick's 2 1/2 year checkup. They both did really well at the doctor. We were actually pretty surprised. Madelyn played with the doctor the whole time and even reached for her to be held. She was completely fine with all the poking and prodding and was just happy to have a new room to explore. We know her 18 and 24 month checkups probably won't go quite as smoothly so we're enjoying this one while we can. Patrick did awesome. He was so excited to tell the doctor all about the stethoscope he has at home and look at all the other "doctor tools" that were in the room. When the doctor pulled out the tongue depressor and asked him to open his mouth, Patrick asked "Why are you trying to look at my uvula?" To which the doctor responded "Well, I guess I don't need to ask how he's doing on his verbal skills!"

After the appointment, we realized we hadn't done an update on what the kids have been up to recently. So, here it is...

Current Stats: Age - 2.5 years old; Height - 35.25 inches (28%); Weight - 32lbs (64%)
What he's been up to: The most noticeable difference in Patrick lately is his speech. He's always been chatty but lately he's started saying more adult things. As Grandpa says, "he doesn't just speak in sentences any more. He speaks in paragraphs." The other day he was doing a puzzle with Angie and she asked him "Is that a pair of socks right there?" and Patrick said "Great question, Mom! I think it is. You're probably right. Thanks for asking!" 

His imaginative play has gotten more involved as well. He makes up elaborate stories about anything and everything. He builds forts out of pillows and blankets and will pretend all kinds of different scenarios. Sometimes it's his house that he needs to eat dinner in. Sometimes he's a dog and it's his dog house. Sometimes it's a hideout to get away from pumas or dinosaurs or coyotes. The possibilites are endless and it's a joy to watch his little mind work.

Here's a video of him telling a story about a toy frog he picked up. Really, I think he did this because it was bath time and he was stalling. I'm able to spot that kind of thing because, well, I was a stalling pro when I was a kid. But whatever, he doesn't need to know I'm on to his game just yet. Especially when it's so fun to watch. I know this video is a few minutes but I just couldn't find a good place to cut it. There was actually several more minutes of video but I ended up just choosing a spot to end it. I think my favorite line is, while trying on sunglasses, "I have to wear them because my eyes aren't good seers. My eyeballs aren't very good." Enjoy the story of Froggy Frog... (WARNING: If you are offended at all by the words "ribbit" or "jump" you should not watch this video. They are both said a million times in the first minute alone.)

Current Stats: Age - 13 months; Height - 29 inches (48%); Weight - 21lbs (46%)
What she's been up to: Everything. Madelyn is non stop. She's always moving, exploring, making noise, babbling, running, giggling and more. She's become even more independent and finds friends wherever we go. It doesn't matter where we are, if we put her down for a second, she'll wander off to find the nearest person and just casually follow them to observe them. Most of the time she'll go over and touch them so they look at her, then she'll just stare and smile. She's recently gotten more playful with Patrick as well. Now that she's able to hold her own a little more since she's very stably walking, she likes to run after him or be chased by him all the time. Really, she just loves chasing in general right now. Most nights after dinner are either a family dance party with music and being silly or a big game of chase where we run after the kids and tickle them. She also just seems more silly lately. She gets what it is to make people laugh and it's really cute to see what she comes up with to try to make it happen.

At school, Madelyn just moved out of the "baby room" and into the First Steps class. Today was her first official day there and she did awesome. They were going to take a week or two to transition her by having her spend some time in the baby room she's used to and then some time in her new class but she wanted nothing to do with that. Once she was with the bigger kids, she wanted to stay. Being in this class also means she doesn't sleep in a crib anymore at school. They all have little nap mats they sleep on on the floor. Picturing Madelyn sleep on a little mat on the floor is just about the cutest thing I can think of right now. I may have to take my lunch one day to drive up to the school and see her sleeping :)

Maddy is also a big fan of animals and books. She LOVES to read books all the time. Any time we sit on the floor she finds the closest book, comes over and sits on our lap, shoving the book in our face so we know she wants us to read it to her.

Here's a video of Madelyn playing with one of her favorite toys. If she's ever in a bad mood, just turn this thing on and she'll cheer up immediately...

As for the two of them together, they're great. Obviously, they have their moments. Madelyn's new mobility and confidence means she gets into Patrick's things more often and tests his patience. Most of the time he handles it well, by giving her other toys to play with as a distraction or just asking us for help. But, he's only 2 so he definitely also has his moments of just shoving her down. All in all though, Patrick loves that Maddy is able and willing to play more. He makes up games for them to play and tries to teach her everything he knows. Madelyn loves everything he does and constantly looks to him for entertainment and direction. They've had lots of sweet moments together lately. I wish I could capture every one of them. Here are a couple I was able to catch on my phone...

Picnic Dinner Together on the Front Porch
Sharing Story Time

Monday, March 7, 2011

Cousin Swap

Each time we leave a family event Toby and I share stories of our interactions with Carson, what she's learned, how she's changed and grown since the last time we saw her. It always seems like we never have enough one on one time with Carson since playing with her comes between tending to the needs of our own two and trying to share her with the rest of the family. I don't ever want to be the Aunt-in-name-only who interacts with her solely at big family events but that she doesn't really know and is not comfortable with me holding her or playing with her. Toby felt the same way and came up with the idea of a cousin swap (brilliant!) a couple weeks ago and Brandon, Katie and I shared in his enthusiasm. (For the other side of the Cousin Swap story, check out the Bean's Blog)

We were so excited to dedicate a day to Carson and couldn't wait to get her all to ourselves. After meeting the Beans for a quick breakfast, we gave our little munchkins hugs and kisses and headed out for the Chattahoocheee Nature Center. After 30 seconds of silence both Toby and I looked at each other in awe (in our car there is always someone a) talking, b) singing c) crying d) all of the above) and then checked to see if Carson had fallen asleep. She was just calmly looking out the window as peaceful as could be. We were actually able to have a full conversation on the way to the nature center. Right about the time we were going to text the Beans to let them know how sweet and quiet Carson was being we received a text telling us how chatty Patrick was as he narrated their entire drive and described in detail every car they drove past (Surprise! He never. Stops. Talking.).

Carson ended up taking a little nap on the way and when we got to the Nature Center we let her rest for a bit then woke her up as gently as we could - knowing that it must be kind of a weird thing to wake up without Mommy and Daddy, in a strange place, with a pair of  overenthusiastic relatives smiling and gawking at her. First we went to the pavilion where there was a crowd of kids gathered around a guy who had all kinds of drums and instruments using them to tell stories. Carson was the quiet observer the whole time. She sat on Toby's lap for awhile and then mine, her expression serious, her eyes moving from the children dancing to the guy telling the story and back again. She was SO cuddly, we loved just holding her and having her little arms around us.

After the show we wandered around looking at the animals and taking our time to talk about each one, enjoying time with our precious niece. One of my favorite moments from the day was when we were sitting on a small dock by the water. Carson was sitting on my lap soaking up the sun (she had sunscreen on Mom and Dad :) ). She was looking around quietly content with where she was and then she spotted the fish gathered in the water below and her eyes widened with surprise and her mouth opened as she jumped up to take a closer look. She would look at the fish and then look up to make sure  we were seeing what she was seeing. It was so cute!

Inside the Nature Center the fish were her favorite attraction as well. She went right up to the glass and kissed them. We had fun watching her play and discover the different animals and made probably the most pathetic bird feeder I've ever seen.

I know I am a little biased but she is seriously the sweetest little thing ever! I love the way her eyes can say so much about what she is thinking and feeling even though she may not have been her chattiest self during our little excursion. I love the way she ate her banana that day. She would never reach for it or ask for another bite but as soon as I would hold it out to her she would take a bite, keeping her hands by her side. I love the way her petite little body feels even lighter then she looks when I hold her. After holding my kids, who are seemingly filled with lead, carrying Carson was like holding a doll.  I love how she didn't  cry or fuss at anything the entire day...I didn't even know it was possible for a child to be that quiet and well behaved! And I just love...well, her. There is no one like her. If there were one thing I would want to tell her teenage self it would be that she is perfect. Never to doubt herself or the love we have for her. She is like one of our own and we had a blast pretending she was our one and only that day. We hope for many more Cousin Swaps! (...with many more cousins to swap ;) )

Here's a short video I took with my phone of her watching the show followed by some more pictures from the day...

Coloring a picture for Mommy and Daddy
Vogue Pose 1 - "Blue Steel"
Vogue Pose 2 - "The Stunna"