Thursday, December 31, 2009

Five 'til Midnight: Playtime

Playtime has become big in James' universe. He has liked to play with things for a while. Now he wants to play more with others. First his sister, then his classmates ... then special people:

James loves to play on our piano. He picked out how to play the scales all by himself and stops at 8 notes. No one taught him that. He loves to sing. The highlight of his summer activities was participating in a Music Together class with Star Tom.

James will latch on to special toys from time to time. His father found Mailbox from Blue's Clues and James took it everywhere for several weeks. In fact, he insisted on using it to hold his treats when he went trick-or-treating for the first time ever this year.

Five 'til Midnight: Favourite Things

The airport, airplanes, and helicopters are all still favourite things and destinations for James. We are lucky to live near a small regional airport that allows us to easily watch aircraft take off & land. Sometimes we watch from the car. Other times we check out the action from just outside the airport itself. Other times ... we head to the museum that is located right down the street:

James loves bike riding. He has outgrown 2 trikes at home, so finding out that the second preschool has not only larger trikes but a large riding ring around the playground has filled us all with glee. James at times cannot contain his joy -- he must howl!

Water. Rocks. Add James. Prepare for a long afternoon of rocks being thrown in the river, with intervals of James wading in the river to find more rocks. Lather, rinse, repeat. Hey -- he's looking like a southpaw, suddenly!

Five 'til Midnight: Exploring

As James becomes more engaged and openly curious, he is starting to explore the world around him. He is confident, and not shy as his sister was. At the Discovery Museum in Sausalito, James loved the large hands-on exhibit room that allowed children to make all kinds of music and sounds with found objects. His noise and chaos level tolerances were much better than before. And of course, he still loves things that spin (like the round washers on long, threaded screws):

James and his class go on several walking field trips each year. Usually they go to Mac Donald's for a snack and use of the play room. Recently, the teacher has added two more destinations -- the bowling alley that is family-friendly and right next to the school and the town's public library. This year, the childrens' librarian held a special reading session of The Very Hungry Caterpillar for their class. It was a hit!

Of course, nothing can compare with getting reacquainted with the backyard, once summer arrives again:

Five 'til Midnight: Milestones!

James is tall. At four years old he is taller than many kids in his sister's first grade class! He has probably grown a good 2 inches or more this year. Pants legs shrink. He has gone through 2 shoe sizes at least, and almost all his long sleeve shirts end at well above the wrist. This has led to a huge change -- from car seat to a booster seat! He is very proud of this:

We have waged psychological battles in Potty training. We have made huge strides in Going #1. Going #2 (in the toilet) ... not so much. Something to look forward to in 2010, I guess:

James began his second Fall at his preschool. James has gone from mostly nonverbal to talking and singing well in class. He has asked other children to play with him and asks about the people missing from the daily classroom. He knows the drill and loves his teacher and class ... in the new classroom with a bathroom in it!!!

Five 'til Midnight: Food in Review

I've been making photo albums and calendars and again was struck by all the changes and milestones that James has made. Here are some pictures that capture some of those moments.

Food. James and his sister are both picky eaters. We have not added a lot of new items to his menu, but he is changing how he eats them ... a bit!

James at breakfast -- he likes to share his Daddy's cereal. This morning, he is also "sharing" the money in Daddy's pocket!

Lunch. When at home lunch (and possibly dinner) look like this. We have lowered his special chair 2 (or is it 3?) levels this year, to accommodate his growth.

Popsickles. James loves them! He will shamelessly beg his Nana and Apu for them when he visits at their house. If James is sick, popsickles are often the only thing he'll want to try to eat.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Heard from under the breakfast table this morning:
"Hep! I fall da floor, Mommy!"

Yes, James -- that's what happens when you let yourself go boneless. It's his favourite trick in two situations. Numero Uno to be silly; never underestimate the attraction of Being Silly.

Numero Two-o, when he doesn't want to do something. This guy takes passive resistance to a new level. It backfired on him the time his Nana told him it was time to get out of the River and start heading for home. *snort* I can find it funny because the water only came to his ankles and he howled with fury that he got *wet*! Laughing .. um, okay, at you on that one, buddy!

This morning it was silliness. Pure, enchanting silliness. We played peek-a-boo for a few minutes after that. Yay, tablecloths!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I Am a Boy Who Loves ...

Family. Friends. Playing. Life. Apple bars & milk in the mornings. Being silly.

And lest we forget, It's a Small World ride at Disneyland!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Good News/Bad News

Bad news: Our second round in one month of James refusing to pass a bowel movement for several days.

Good news: The pediatric laxative suppository worked. He fought it to the bitter end though, before coughing up the payload, 15 minutes after the conservative time estimate.

I am hoping this is a two steps back before we have one giant step forward in BM potty training. It's a phase; it's a phase; it's a phase ... I hope!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

James and Jimmy

We got some sad news today. James' godfather and great-uncle passed away suddenly this morning.

This is the way I'll remember him -- laughing at a wonderful picnic at the beach two summers ago.

We gave our James extra hugs today. Happy we have him. Because we could not hug the man he was named for. Makes me think of the DMB song "Celebrate we will, for life is short but sweet for certain."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thankful for Community

Last night, at the 11th hour, I remembered that Santa would be making an appearance at his classroom's campus. It had sounded good when I first read about it, and I had fully intended to go with the kids.

James and sister with SantaThen the weather took a nosedive into cold, bone-chilling fog that went right down to (and up from) the ground. Brrrrr! I went into amnesia mode. Until after dinner, one hour before the event's end.

I put it to the kids: go outside and brave the cold to go visit Santa or stay home where it was warm? Silly Mommy, Santa it was!

The night was dark and frigid. Overhead, the beautiful full moon could clearly be seen through the stark tree branches. The stars looked like icy diamonds. If we had to have a clearing in the weather, that was a nice time to have it.

Once at the campus, I thought we were too late. The school was not lit up and only a couple of cars were in the lot. Luckily we followed 2 people, who arrived shortly after us, to the gym. There inside was a little bit of Winter Wonderland, lovingly brought to life by the hard-working staff of James' preschool.

There was Santa, on a nice big rocker, in front of a classical snowy backdrop and several live Christmas trees. Several life-sized Nutcrackers stood at attention in several areas and over in another corner, Charlie Brown and Lucy smiled by another tree. At one long table, kids were decorating white photo frames. At another, they made green & red pasta necklaces.

James and his teacher, stringing a pasta necklace for him to wearOne of the teachers was taking photos of the kids with Santa -- that was the fundraiser for James' school. I felt pretty sheepish that I had not realized this, and was glad I'd paid for 2 photos.

Click-click-flash-say cheese! Over and over. The kids hammed it up, both shy and delighted to be so near to Santa without a crowd of waiting children behind them. James' big sister told him a Secret. James let out a huge "HI!"

We were there for almost an hour, and all the teachers, aides, and administrators made us feel welcome and special. This is such a caring community of hard-working people who love our little special ones. I am very thankful. Thankful we came, thankful they're there ... thankful they care so much.