Sunday, January 30, 2011

Special Times

Lots of outside sunny (cold!) time with visitors, followed by Elliot's first ever zone-out in front of the screen while the adults enjoyed happy hour and some conversation.  There is a first time for everything, it was short lived, and it was wonderful!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


It was only half way through the morning and we had already read fourteen books.   And each one of them were read numerous times.  Elliot's attention span for sitting and listening to stories has skyrocketed recently.  And, best of all, he's even loving full-story paper page books now, not just shortened board books.  And we've started a new ritual of having him choose three books to read before bed time and it's provided so many new learning opportunities.  A few nights in a row he brought four books to the couch and we had to negotiate which he would put back to get it down to three.  Hard to do for such a little guy, but he did it amazingly.  Then, tonight, I told him it was time to pick three books to read before nursing and he went to his shelf, selected one and brought it to me saying, "onnnne."  Went back and chose another and brought it to me saying, "twooooo."  And then went back to pick a third and brought it to me saying (by now we were holding our breath in disbelief), "threeeeee."  No way!  He just counted out his books, one two three??!  Amazing.  Every day.  Tantrums and monster moments and all.  He is simply amazing.  I can't wait to read 14 more books tomorrow morning.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Toddler Art

Phew... finally found the camera cord!  It was questionable for a few days there as to whether or not Elliot might have thrown it away.  Alas, it was just buried in one of those piles that grow and grow in the corners of our home and eat up all of our little things that we seem to not be able to live without--or at least blog without.  So now that I'm back, here' s a little look into what we've been doing.

I'm so excited because Elliot's really into art exploration right now.  The other day I said to him, "let's do some painting."  And he went straight to the kitchen, got out one of his new smocks, and brought it to me.  I didn't even know he knew what those were for yet!  And today I asked him, "what would you like to do before lunch?"  And he said he wanted to paint!  Oh happy happy Mumma!

Over time, we've moved from drawing with markers and crayons to painting with acrylic paint onto pine cones (thanks for the beautiful idea, A!).  Then we moved onto painting right on the table top and making prints of it by rubbing a piece of paper onto the painted surface, then pulling it back to reveal the print it makes.
Then we were exploring with wet chalk.  Great big chunky chalk is a wonderful medium when it's dipped in water and drawn or painted with on paper.  This project really works best on thick water color paper (which can be spendy--so I like to take my 50% off one item coupon to the big-box craft store and buy my good art paper that way.  This makes big rolls of easel paper more affordable, too).  But back to the wet chalk--it turns into more of a water color medium, but you can draw with it too.  And if the chalk is really saturated and gets banged over and over on the paper (as toddler artists are likely to do) it comes off in great gooey heaps and adds texture to the painting.  It's great, too, because I can set one picture aside to dry for a day or two then give it back (taping it down so that it doesn't slide around) and Elliot's wet fingers and new colors of chalk completely transform the picture into a whole new piece of art (again, it really takes thick water color paper can stand up to this).And now the easel has migrated inside and Elliot is exploring with his first easel painting.  I found an inexpensive set of regular Crayola washable paint and I took our smallest little tupperware containers and cut a hole in the top of each to help hold the paintbrushes upright and detract some from the sticking-of-hands into the paint cups.  Not that it's not okay to get good and painty when exploring at the easel, but it also helps guide this new process of this new form of art.
So, yes.  I am loving Elliot's interest in art.  It does bring with it more messes and more times to have to say "no" and, sometimes, more tantrums.  But my excitement to bring these experiences to him, and his interest and delight in doing them, make it all so very worth it.  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Two Good Things

1.  I'm feeling much, much better.  Thankfully.  Because I was sick!  And it was no fun.

2.  The weather today was like the wonderful and familiar Pacific Northwest... quietly foggy and drizzly, with some warm and wet but dry spots in the day (that makes sense if you understand that kind of weather, trust me).  A wonderful relief after all of the bitter cold that has kept us cooped up indoors this winter.  Andrea said it felt like a hug, and I agree.  A hug that had Elliot and I smiling all the way to the park.  It felt so good to be healthy and out of the house.  Out in the elements that felt so familiar.  And Elliot loved it.  From the minute his bum left the stroller he was running and climbing and splashing in puddles and going up up up the hills and then down down down the hills.  Amazingly, sometime between when the weather turned frozen and we stopped going to playgrounds and today, Elliot developed the ability to climb up a climber with ease and grace.  Just ran right up to it and climbed up the steps until he was at the top, like he'd done it a million times before.  Although he hadn't.  Before he was uncoordinated and not strong enough to pull his body up and it never worked quite right or safely for him.  But today it looked completely natural.  Speaking of, my favorite parts of the morning were when he was splashing in the water and climbing the hill.  I love feeling free to let him just be in the natural world.  The snow and cold have really kept the out-of-doors feeling off limits to me (and, by default, him).  But I love being out in nature with Elliot.  And, clearly, he loves it, too.  So, here's hoping for a few more of those familiar "hug" kind of days where we can go out and run and splash and leave our big coats and our hats at home and just be outside.  

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pillow Pile

Pillow piles help
To pass the time.
When Mummas are
Too sick to play.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Open Wide

Elliot had his first dentist appointment and it was great!  He went to a wonderful pediatric dentist with a waiting room that was awesome enough to want to go back and just play on cold or rainy days.  And the staff are all trained to first tell, then show, then do.  Elliot didn't get as far as an actually cleaning, but he did let them practice with the "tickle brush" on his teeth and the dentist took a quick look at his teeth and declared them healthy and strong (a huge relief for this Mumma who feels a lot of responsibility for maintaining the health of his teeth during this stage of his development).  We left with a special toy, a new toothbrush, and an appointment for six months out.  Oh, and did I mention a relieved Mumma.  Yeah, we left with that, too.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Sweet Treat

One of the sweetest things we did with Elliot's Nan when she visited was to head out one afternoon for the sole purpose of finding a pink cookie (and an afternoon cup of coffee never hurts).  So off to Big City Coffee we went, because if a cookie is what you're after then Big City Coffee is the place to go.  And although they didn't have any pink cookies per se, this gorgeous sugar cookie with pink sprinkles worked just fine.  And with Nan painstakingly picking off all of the pink sprinkles for Elliot to eat, we were all in pink-cookie-heaven.   

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top Chef

 Elliot got his dream kitchen for Christmas from his Nan this year.  Elliot has always been interested and involved in whatever we're doing in the kitchen.  We're hoping this small addition to our larger, real kitchen will give him even more cooking time in his day (and also give us something to redirect him to when we're in the middle of cooking dinner!).  Who knows... we may just have the winner of Top Chef 2021 on our hands.