Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Special Exp./Wordless Wednesday: Boo!

Playing peek-a-boo with James

Sometimes you just have to go with the moment and savour the little things in life. Like your son, trying to engage you with a game of peek-a-boo from behind the sofa when you are lying on it, wanting to take a nap.

The boy's got game, and he is lucky he's cute. Well okay -- I am lucky too!

For more great images or to join in the fun, Visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs
and ... Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Too Tired to Nap

James had a good day at school today, but seemed a bit tired when I got him home. Thank goodness the recent heat wave broke so I didn't have to worry about heat exhaustion with him.

He could not settle down to do much this afternoon, although he tried hard to do so. The swings, trains, Curious George adventures, and trampoline were all good for about 5 minutes or less. After that, he'd wander, lay down on the sofa, or cry if I tried to get him to take a nap in his room.

Once, after an unusual meltdown, I decided he was really tired and put him down in bed, under the covers. After a few minutes of Highly Suspect noises from his room, I opened the door to find him in the process of trashing it.

*sigh* and yes, he put it allllll back, with me to keep him on the job until he'd finished.

By the time I got him down for reals, it was after dinner, he was crying with frustration ... and he was out like a light in less than five minutes.

Dude, I am so glad you have your afternoon daycare at the school tomorrow, because I think that might have made your day better. Sweet dreams, big guy!

James tries to settle down to play

Saturday, September 26, 2009

SOOC Saturday: Fire House

Last weekend, James attended a special birthday party at a firehouse. James and all the kids just loved it. They got to explore the fire trucks, hear about all the buttons and gadgets on the engines, and talk with the firefighters! I was a little worried that all the noise might be too much for James, but he has come a long way with being sensitive to noises and being overwhelmed by new places.

The picture below pretty much sums up what he thought about the party:
James is smiling

James also got a turn at using the firehose to knock over a traffic cone. At first I thought he'd say "No!" -- but James did not hesitate and was one of the quickest to knock over a cone. I wish I had a picture of that to share, but hey, it's in my head. I think it helped that he got to watch everyone else having so much fun first:
James waits his turn at the hose

After all that excitement, it was time for birthday cake, or cupcakes. Then the kids ran around in the big meeting room and played Pin the Dalmation on the Firetruck, which I thought rather clever. The firefighters joined us. Free cupcakes and fun games? What's not to love?

James mingled and took it all in:
James walking by a firefighter

James did not participate in the party game, but he did do his share of spinning:
James spins in an office chair

It looked like so much fun that several kids took a turn after he was done. I was proud of both kids, because last year they would not have joined in the fun as much as they did here. The fire house would have made them shy and the party goers were an easy 18 months older than James' older sister.

The Slurping Life leaps to new heights! Visit Melody and check out SOOC Saturday/Sunday entries past & present!

SOOC Saturday


Friday, September 25, 2009

Show and Tell

James had a great morning at the new preschool today. Fridays are show and tell days and today he brought his first thing to "show and tell." The letter for the week was "A" and James adores airplanes. Therefore, bringing a toy plane seemed like a great way for him to make a start.

We practiced a bit what he could say and how he could talk about an airplane. James must have a zillion thoughts and observations about those suckers, but it's so hard for him to verbalize what's going on inside his head.

So when his SHAPE assistant later told me that James stood up and shared his airplane with no problems or anxiety, I did a Kuzco* victory dance, on the inside. I am so proud of him and delighted that he is doing so well with this new school and program!

picture of a real jet airplane

* Kuzco: Woo-yeah! Look at me and my bad self! I snatched you right out of the air! "Ooh, I'm a crumbly canyon wall, and I'm taking you with me." Well, not today, pal! Uh-huh! Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh!

Meet the video

Saturday, September 19, 2009

SOOC Saturday: Pushing Buttons

James, pushing buttons in the van
"What? You don't want me to push any buttons?"

James has been loving his new school-day routine of going to a mainstream daycare at a preschool 2 afternoons a week and their preschool session Friday mornings. He is talking more and having short, two-sentence discussions with us! He likes to play pretend games, and offers up spontaneous statements such as "I like red!"

The bad news for me is that he has given up his afternoon naps (except the day he has the mainstream preschool session with his SHAPE assistant) and he has put on the Sassy Pants Attitude. I am glad to see James progressing, even as I mourn the loss of a 3-hour break from the whirlwind that is James in the afternoons.

The attitude is really on the sweet side, as evidenced by the two-sentence conversations. Exhibit A, conversation regarding a game on his computer yesterday.

Me: "Hey, James -- you're four years old. Why don't you press button number four?"

James: "No! I want to press the one!"
(and he does, with a roguish grin, looking right at me)

"Well, what about this button?"
James finds another button he'd like to push

The Slurping Life is getting into Fall! Visit Melody and check out SOOC Saturday/Sunday entries past & present!

SOOC Saturday


Friday, September 18, 2009

Solar on a Rainy Day

Last weekend we had a rare, non-seasonal rain system blow in. We have been baking in an Indian Summer, so the cool and wet weather perversely made us excited to get out.

We ended up taking a drive to the Solar Living Center in Hopland. It's been a family favourite for years.

James really loved exploring places of interest. He loved following the spiral path to the middle of the koi pond, making the wind chimes sound in the gift store, and eating an iced fruit bar out on a bench. He was bummed his legs were not quite big enough for the energy-producing bikes and loved chasing his sister through a tunnel.

And now, as we head into a weekend of blue skies and record-breaking high temps, I look back on that rainy afternoon with fondness:

The main play area for kids:
Solar Living Center's play area for kids

The Spiral Walkway:
spiral walkway in the koi pond

Trying the power-generating bike:
James tries to get on one of the bikes

Ice cream treat!
fruit juice bars taste great, even on a rainy day

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Little Sweetness & Light, and a Wet Cat

I had trouble bringing in the outdoor cat inside last rainy night. First she shot in through the patio door to the family room. Then she saw James and wanted to do a reverse. It was mutual. James is as wary of the cat as she is of him.

I finally got her in the garage, with food, water, and the litter box. All night long she was trying to get back out. I finally secured the cat door with a cookie sheet, basket of laundry, and a chair.

If I don't have her in the garage the first few nights, she meows all night long, and James gets up. Then I get up. And all cranky heck breaks loose.

It reminds me of my Grandma, mock-threatening my brother and I when we were fighting with each other. She'd announce, in a progressively louder voice: "Ah, ah, ahhh! Sweetness and light .. SWEETNESS AND LIGHT!!!!" (with the "OR ELSE" implied).

Yeah, some Monday mornings, I need just a little more of that Sweetness and Light!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

SOOC Saturday: Handy Man

With apologies to James Taylor:
I'm not the kind to use a pencil or rule
I'm handy with animals, I'm no fool
I play puppet zoo, I know I clearly can

James has always loved the Baby Einstein products. We started with the VHS tapes (I know, so last century). I love them because the music is soothing and no one is talking. Also, 20 minutes is enough time to let me get something done.

James was fascinated by the turning shapes. Then the animals, then the words and noises. His favourites right now are the Baby Mozart, Baby Bach, Baby Gallileo, and Baby Van Goat. Last year, during a rainy week, I loaned some of the VHS tapes to his preschool teacher, for an indoor recess break. She reported that all the kids got excited and started shouting out words, such and the shapes and colours they saw on the screen.

His sister loved Baby Einstein videos too, so we broke down and bought some of the Baby Einstein puppets. So worth the money. It's been some of the funniest, nuttiest return on a dollar ever.

The Slurping Life is running with it! Visit Melody and check out SOOC Saturday/Sunday entries past & present!

SOOC Saturday


Friday, September 11, 2009

Play Time

James has been really starting to play creatively. Right now he likes to pretend he's a rocket ship, and count backwards from 5 to the "Blast off!" He swoops around the house, calling "Beep-Beeeeep!" and "vroom!" Airplanes continue to delight him, and he will stop what he's doing if he hears aircraft overhead and say "Oh. Eees airpane!" or "Hey, Mommy. Is heh'cop'er!"

The one that cracks me up, though, is when he pretends to be a dinosaur. He can produce this *sound* from deep in his chest to make dinosaur roars, all with the most delighted grin on his face.

If his sister isn't helping his whoop it up, then Caillou is. Just when I thought we had finished with that cute little Canuck, he delights again.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Special Exp./Wordless Weds: Bouncing Back on 09/09/09

What did we do before we had our indoor trampoline?

James' cold has actually gotten a little worse and it's thrown his schedule and mine off kilter. He's missed some school and some program, and this week I am picking him up a bit early from both so he can hopefully at least get used to what days he's doing what things. Luckily, James has been willing to go forth and try. Except when he is really not feeling well. Then he is truly at home, in bed, and sleeping.

Homework has started to ramp up for both James' sister and myself, and I am just starting to feel like I am getting the hang of things. Help! I can't imagine what I'd do if I didn't already have several years of post college (before kids) experience under my belt to keep me a little calmer and a tad more confident in my abilities.

For more great images or to join in the fun, Visit Special Exposure Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Special Needs.
5 Minutes for Special Needs
and ... Wordless Wednesday

Friday, September 04, 2009

Fall Change

Fall is in the air and the kids have been back in school for a few weeks now. When did going back to school get so crazy, BTW? So many forms to fill out, things to buy, and schedules to scramble, organize, and rearrange.

It probably does not help that James is attending two different preschools this year, in addition to his regular paperwork and program intricacies.

Between the school bus, whose schedule has varied wildly, and adjusting to the new afternoon program 3 days a week, and dealing with sudden fierce blasts of 100*+ heat, I've been on my toes to cover all the bases and keep the troops running. I am also back at school and doing some contract work, so life is very interesting indeed.

So when I arrived with James at his new preschool this morning and found a new SHAPE assistant there to greet us, totally out-of-the-blue, I was kerflumoxed. Deeply.

Luckily, James was not. I am hoping he stays happy and able to roll with the punches. Heaven knows I find them frustrating!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Croup and Cars

Wow, there's something I never thought I'd be talking about in one sentence! James came home last night not feeling well -- crying, hot, and a runny nose. Two hours after bedtime, he woke up crying hard with a barking cough & fever. We've had some really brassy hot days and more humidity than usual and I am guessing his system got so stressed that the germs walked right on in and set up Party Central.

We got an early appointment with his pediatrician this morning and the diagnosis was: croup in the throat. Luckily, no bonus gifts of fever (so far today), ear infection, or pneumonia (all three happened with the croup last Fall).

Well, preschool and mommy time are shot to heck -- why not take the family van in for some overdue maintenance? So we did. And my goodness, dealership waiting rooms have gone fancy. We had mini brownies, fresh, coffee, and limited internet access! We were at the car dealership for about as long as we were at the medical offices.

Because the internet computers were locked down in parental security mode, so I could not update James' blog while there. That would have been Incredibly Geeky Cool. And probably would have triggered an Internet Intervention, so I guess it's all good.

I did, however take a photo:
James with the croup, waiting at the car dealership for our van