Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walking in the woods

I had the eight-year-old this evening. We went out for a walk in the neighborhood. There is a small gully with a stream running through it separating the neighborhood I live in from the adjacent neighborhood. There is a wooden bridge across it. We almost always cross that bridge.

Today, since it was just the two of us, I decided to take the eight-year-old down the path into the gully. We walked along the stream. We crossed over it and back several times. I was amazed at how sure-footed the eight-year-old was. He's like a little mountain goat. I think he'd love going on hikes in the woods. I'll have to be watching for any trips he could go along on with the eleven-year-old's Boy Scout troop.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Random weekend observations

The one-year-old sees barbecue sauce as a universal condiment. Last night at dinner not only did he dip his chicken strips and french fries in barbecue sauce, he also put sauce on his apple and watermelon slices.

The eight-year-old seems to have narrowed his dietary horizons again. This weekend he has refused things he used to eat. Most of his calories have been from chicken strips/nuggets and toast.

There is a very fat cat in the neighborhood. We've seen him several times while out on walks. The one-year-old loves cats (and dogs, and basketball hoops). This particular cat will stretch out on the sidewalk and roll over, showing his tummy. The one-year-old sits down on the sidewalk and pets the cat. It's very cute.

I bought a new book that the one-year-old loves. Blue Hat, Green Hat, by Sandra Boynton. It features an elephant, a dog, a moose, and a turkey. Each 2-page spread shows them with various articles of clothing, and the turkey always has his on wrong (upside down, socks on hands, shoes on head, etc.). I must have read it twenty times this weekend.

This afternoon I got the eight-year-old to play with the mega-blocks with me for a while. We built a tower and then took it apart. I showed him how we could stack blocks on the big truck, and he built another tower. He seemed really engaged and happy. I remembered a couple of other things we used to play with together. I'm going to buy a Connect-4 game before his next weekend here.

I need to get some sort of swingset/playset for the back yard. When the eight-year-old doesn't have something outside to climb on, he starts climbing the furniture. This weekend I have found him on top of the fridge, jumping up and down on the toilet (he broke the wax seal that way a few weeks ago), and trying to climb the glass doors of the shower stall. I should have done it while my parents were here so I would have had more hands for putting it together.

The one-year-old and the eight-year-old seem to have some sibling rivalry going. I've seen the one-year-old hit the older one several times, and the eight-year-old keeps touching/grabbing the one-year-old's head and face in ways that he doesn't like. I guess it's not that surprising. In behavioral/communicative terms, their on about the same developmental level. Physically though, it is a huge mismatch.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Scout returns home...

Saturday the eleven-year-old returned home from a week at Boy Scout camp. I went to pick him up and had both my parents, the eight-year-old, and the one-year-old with me. As soon as the one-year-old saw him get out of the car, he ran over and demanded to be picked up. The eleven-year-old held him for almost fifteen minutes, until the second truck showed up that had his backpack. The eight-year-old wouldn't get out of the car at the parking lot, but when we got back to my house climbed all over his older brother. It was obvious that both the younger ones were very happy to see their brother again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Head-banging toddler

On Friday my parents and I took the one-year-old and the eight-year-old to Seattle Center for the afternoon. We spent quite a while hanging out by the International Fountain. The eight-year-old was fascinated by the streams of water (the fountain has lots of spigots and nozzles and they are synchronized to the music that is played). The one-year-old loved the music. He is a very enthusiastic dancer. He seemed especially fond of Nirvana's Entertain Us. He would bob his entire body up and down. It's quite a sight to watch your toddler do head-banging dance moves to Kurt Cobain.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


The one-year-old (now twenty-one months) loves books. He regularly brings books to me and wants me to sit and read them over and over. Last Sunday, I was getting tired of reading the same books over and over, so I took the one-year-old and the eight-year-old (the oldest was off at Boy Scout camp) to Half Price books. I was hoping to find some Sandra Boynton board books. Her books are fun to read, and almost all the Boynton books we had are at my ex-wife's house.

We didn't find any Boynton. I did find a board-book of Polar-Bear, Polar Bear, which we had and the one-year-old always loved. I showed it to him, and he plopped down on the floor and started paging through it. I kept looking and also found a copy of Good Night Moon. We went over to the music section so I could look at CDs. The eight-year-old stood next to me while I looked. The one-year-old sat down on the floor and started "reading" his new books. I saw multiple people grinning at him as he sat there. I wish I'd thought to take a picture.

Boy Scout camp

The eleven-year-old is off at Boy Scout camp this week. He was excited about going, and didn't seem at all reluctant or concerned about going off for a week without me. For the past 4 summers he's gone to Cub Scout camp, but I was always along. The only thing he showed any anxiety about was tying his boots. The hiking boots are the first shoes he's ever had that had to be laced up. He's always worn velcro or slip-on shoes. He hasn't mastered tying them in a bow-knot. He ends up with a granny knot or a square not that he has trouble untying.

I was talking with some of the other parents of the first-year scouts after the convoy left on Sunday morning. One of them said their son had been crying the previous night about going off by himself. One of the parents with an older scout said we'd be impressed at the change in our sons when they got back after their first year at camp--they would be noticeably more mature and responsible. One of the other first-year dads said he be thrilled with just a less-immature and irresponsible son. I said I'd be happy if my son could tie his own boots properly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Fishing Trip

This weekend the eleven-year-old and I went on a fishing trip with his grandpa (my ex-wife's stepfather) and grandpa's sons and other grandsons. The eleven-year-old was able to spend the weekend horsing around and joking with his older cousins (three boys aged 15,14, and 13). He didn't seem strained or awkward, and I didn't get the sense that the older boys were just putting up with him and would have preferred not to have him around.

It was really nice to see. Five years ago, I wouldn't have expected him to reach that point. I remember taking him on a Cub Scout camping trip when he was six. He was basically glued to my side. During free times the other boys were running around, but he sat next to me in the dining hall tracing pictures from some favorite books that he had brought along.

He's come a very long way in the last six years. It's wonderful to behold.


I had all three boys at my house the weekend of the 24th. At one point, I was working on getting the eight-year-old to build a tower of megablocks (think very large legos). If I handed the blocks to him one at a time, he would stack them up. The one-year-old was watching and wanted to participate. It sill surprises me when he does that. I heard that kids were supposed to do that, but I never saw it with the older two. I gave him some blocks to hand to his older brother.

We finished building, and I went off to do something in the kitchen. A few minutes later, I noticed the one-year-old toddling from the eight-year-old's room into my room with a megablock in each hand. I followed him. I found the eight-year-old sitting in the rocking chair in my room with a tower of blocks in his lap. The one-year-old handed him the new two new blocks, which he added to the tower. I stood and watched while the one-year-old carried in all the blocks and his older brother stacked them.

I think this is the first time I've seen the eight-year-old engaged in any sort of cooperative play with toys with another child. He wrestles with the eleven-year-old, and he will sometimes play with toys when directed to them by an adult. At one point during his ABA therapy we devoted many weeks of therapy to trying to teach him how to play with a toy car, blocks, and a doll. At school this year they were working having him play at the same table as another child--not interacting, just tolerating the other kid's presence. I can't remember seeing him play with toys with another child.

Until now.