Catching up

Excuse my posting lapse. I was away for a few days on my first post-Silas business trip, and when i got home last night, i wanted nothing more than to enjoy every second i could with my boys. My trip went well, JT did a great job of holding down the fort, and i managed to make it home with almost all of the milk i pumped. All in all it was successful, but i'm looking forward to staying put for a bit.

While i was away, Henry started asking for things "right now!" JT taught him to at least add please on to the end of the request so you get the juxtaposition of immediacy with politeness-- "mommy milk right now, please." Henry's continuing to work on counting, but now he's trying to get the finger actions down as well. 1 is no problem and once he realized 5 was the same as "high five" he had that one down, 2 and 3 generate lots of requests for help though. Henry stayed up a little late last night (about 8:30), so that i could see him when i got home. I don't know if that's the explanation or what, but he slept until after 8 this morning. Sometimes if he's sleeping in late, you'll open his door and he'll pop his head right up. In those instances it's pretty clear he's been drowsing or just enjoying some alone time rather than sleeping. This morning though, i came downstairs to get everyone ready to go and JT told me Henry was still asleep. We opened his door and there he was, splayed out across his bed in deep sleep. Needless to say, we got a bit of a late start, but it was nice to enjoy the extra time with Silas.

After i picked Henry and Silas up from Brenda's this afternoon we ran over to the green grocer. I just needed a few things and Silas is getting so heavy that i decided just to pop him in the sling rather than lug his infant seat around. That way Henry could be contained in the cart. What i didn't anticipate was that Silas has entered the "must reach out and grab everything i see" phase. Signing the credit card slip involved contortions i last saw in the circus.

Aligned with the grabby phase is the complementary "mouth phase." You can see the intensity in their face, their overwhelming need to explore something new by putting it in their mouth. Like Henry, Silas is easily entertained with junk mail and random paper. It easily gets away from baby hands, so Silas has to work really hard to keep it under control and near his mouth.



Something i forgot to mention yesterday-- Henry seems to be learning his letters! I know he's not the only 2 year-old on the planet to do this, but i'm astounded and for a long time just chalked it up to dumb luck. But, he's clearly known the letter 'B' for several months and can now recognize most of the letters in his name. In fact now when we read books he wants to find "H for Henry" on every page. Unfortunately he doesn't recognize lower case letters so he gets frustrated some.

But seriously, isn't this amazing?

Here's Henry concentrating on a puzzle while the other kids go nuts with the musical instruments behind him at his gym class.


Bedtime dallying

Henry has always been a good sleeper-- well okay, definitely not ALWAYS, but since around 6-8 months he's been a reliably good little sleeper. He pretty much never puts up a fight about taking naps or going to bed, but we've noticed in the last week or so that he seems to be fighting bedtime. At first i thought it was because he was having so much fun with his Oma and Opa that he didn't want to miss out by going to bed.

Several nights while they were here he would tell me he didn't want to go to sleep and he wanted to play with Oma and Opa and then agree and seem fine when i said it was time for rest and after he woke up the next day he'd be able to play with them and have lots of fun. A few seconds or minutes later he would completely melt down about something seemingly unrelated, i.e. no snacks in bed! It's almost like he's overtired, but he's going to bed at the same time and waking up later now that the sun is rising later, so i just don't know. The behavior has continued after Oma and Opa left so i think he might be finally entering fully the "another glass of water" phase.

An upshot is that i've been able to put my music classes with Silas to good use. Henry seems to approve/deal with my voice and now i have at least a few more songs in my repertoire.


5 Months, 3 Weeks/ 2 Years, 5 Months

What a wonderful visit we had with Henry and Silas' Oma and Opa! We enjoyed some crisp fall weather, visits to the park, playing in the back-yard and jumping on Henry's new trampoline. Unfortunately Silas' music class was cancelled this Saturday, but Oma did get to accompany us to Henry's gym class.

JT was out of town on business, so i brought Silas with us even though the class coincided with his normal bedtime. I figured he would probably at least cat nap in his car seat and then maybe fuss some but go to bed after we got home.

Silas surprised me by being completely awake and alert throughout the entire hour long class. After it was clear he wasn't going to sleep anytime soon, Sheree put him so he could watch the class too. You'd think his car seat had a motor on it with all the rocking he was doing. He was blowing non-stop bubbles as well and in general loving the class. So, we might have to look into a gym class for Silas sooner rather than later.

Henry had another great class and Sheree got to witness how well he does at listening and how brave he is with most things even if you can tell he's not completely psyched for them-- witness the rings.

Henry also expanded his horizons this weekend by riding his first Pony and getting up close and personal with all manner of animals in the petting zoo. There was a kind of mini county fair that we took the boys to and Henry had a blast-- not so much on the inflatable bouncer, but everything else was a hit.


5 Months, 2 Weeks/ 2 Years, 4 Months

September has meant back to school for Henry and Silas, in the form of their very-own enrichment classes. Silas had a great first music class and enjoyed looking at Corey and the teacher very much. Of course the class is supposed to be all about mom/dad-baby interaction, but they didn't specify which mom so i guess Silas is technically in the clear. We got a cd that goes along with the class and i have to confess i've been playing it frequently in the car, so that i've got a jump on any musical pop-quizzes we might have.

Henry started his gym class Monday night and it was an amazing success. I really didn't know what to expect. Even though he's come a long way in the past 6 months, he's still not the most physically confident kid. He had an absolute blast. From the moment we walked in he wanted to start exploring all the cool things he could see in the play area. He had so much fun figuring out what everything was, crawling through tunnels, jumping on the trampoline, climbing the stairs and lowering himself into the ball pit, etc. There were a few things that just a month or two ago would have sent him into paroxysms of fear and meltdown that he took in stride-- albeit with a frightened look on his face. I felt like i caught a glimpse of Henry in the school-years to come. He was good at following directions and observing the other kids and teachers, and also excited to interact with them and follow-along. It's a particularly good thing he enjoyed it, because this particular class lasts 20 weeks!

This weekend Tabitha and the girls and the Smerrys came over and Troy and JT and Tabitha cooked up quite a feast. Tabitha and the girls stayed over, and we put on Curious George to help the kids wind down together after a rambunctious game of hide-n-seek. Even Kerala got in on the act although unfortunately Silas was already fast asleep, it was past his self-imposed 6:30 bedtime.

JT's parents, Oma and Opa are visiting for the next several days, so we're looking forward to Henry re-developing those relationships.


Music Appreciation

Somewhere around 7th grade, music started to take on a central role in my life. Around that time i started to enter the "angsty" years, and my favorite bands seemed to really know me, and be able to express what i was feeling but didn't really understand. Thus, i would listen to the same tape every day after school while i did my homework, literally for weeks. I knew the words to every song, and i could anticipate which song was coming next in the pauses between tracks. I didn't have much of an outlet for this interest because i lived on Guam, where the bands i favored did not venture.

When i started 10th grade, we moved back to the States and i discovered a whole world of young-people that revolved around music. Positive Force was a loosely organized group that primarily put on punk rock benefit shows. These seemed to happen around once a month and were held in the basement of DC churches. From this point through college, going to see bands at cheap $5 shows-- most of which were all-ages, became one of the primary ways i socialized. In addition to filling my social life, music was something that i lavished time and money on. It takes a certain amount of effort to stay current, ferret out what you actually like, and make it yours-- keep in mind this was at a time when the computer lab still had mainframe terminals and not personal computers, thus no itunes, playlists, or internet to speak of.

While negotiating the path to adulthood, music provided a visceral boost to those thrilling moments of feeling in-control and free. Driving home in the quiet dusk with a car full of friends after a full day on the river listening to James Taylor's "You've got a friend" or positively exploding with promise when "These are Days" by the 10,000 manics came on the radio as i drove home from high school graduation.

Somewhere after college music dropped a bit in my priority list. Somehow, at least for me, the freedom and independence that music provided wasn't as crucial the more i came into them by my own right. Which isn't to say that i don't care about music anymore, it's just that my tastes tend to be shaped more by what's in front of me, than by what i seek out and make my own. That's why a decent chunk of the music i've bought in the last several years i've heard about on NPR, and why my current favorite song (Cyril the Karaoke Squirrel) is from one of Henry's cds.

I'm assuming this new music class i'm taking with Silas will usher in another music phase, as i'm told i have to sing along, and sometimes solo, as well as make up rhythms and beats.. Clearly music will now be less about my independence and more about providing joy for my offspring. How fitting.


2 Years, 4 Months/ 5 Months, 1 Week

I've made a few tweaks to the blog lately-- i'm including my latest signature on the right hand sidebar. I'm also including an automatic age counter at the bottom of the page so i don't have to manually track Henry and Silas' age. I like to title one post per week with their ages, so that when i read back over the posts i can be reminded when the boys did things for the first time or went through various phases.

Silas and i have our first music class on Saturday, and Henry has gym for the first time on Monday. We're looking forward to upcoming visits from both sets of grandparents and trying to make sure we keep taking advantage of the good weather-- albeit hot.

Here are a few more pictures from the zoo this past weekend (thanks Corey) Henry and Rollie are rocking the hippest toddler color for this season-- orange!


Official end of Summer-- boo, hoo

I think we did a pretty good job sending summer out. Saturday we bought a new tv and JT re-taught Henry how to do the "touchdown" sign after spending most of the day relaxing in front of college football. Yesterday we went back out to Tabitha's pool and Henry had another great time. He seemed even more comfortable in the water this weekend than last weekend. Tabitha and i talked about trying to get the kids to the pool during the winter months-- even just for some free swim. It will be an additional option for outings during the long winter months.

Today we met 3 other families at the zoo and Henry definitely enjoyed seeing all the "aminals." He saw giraffes, and elephants, lots of monkeys and even an otter. I think his favorite might have been the polar bears. Both days we were home by early afternoon, which was nice to have time to accomplish all the weekend chores that need doing.

Silas has had a fairly eventful weekend as well even though all the outings weren't exactly targeted at him. He has been rolling over sporadically for the past several weeks but this weekend he pretty much non-stop started rolling. Unfortunately he has been exercising his legs when it's time for sleep, so naptimes have been pretty rough.