Sunday, May 20, 2012

Just Dreadful

About a week ago, I started this little one.  Sort of a "let's see how this goes" thing.  And a way of showing that dreads can co-exist peacefully with the rest of my clean, brushed hair (because so many people think dreads are dirty!)

A wonderful friend of mine did all my sectioning last night while our boys played, and we braided them up to be twisted and ripped at my leisure.  Here's a shot of all the braids, plus the one-week-old dread.

I got a few done last night before bed, and then wrapped my half dread/half braid head with a scarf to keep down the pillow friction.  This morning, the first thing Eamon said was "HAT!" and stole my scarf.

Nearly halfway done.  Twist and rip is MUCH easier and looks better than backcombing, but my fingers are getting a little sore.  And my arms are getting a little tired.


All finished!  I'm really happy with how they look, but I'm already not looking forward to the fuzzies.  It's a stage, though, and I guess I'll deal with it!

UPDATED: Just after the first wash (they are about 3 days old)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

So many words...

The rate at which Eamon is growing and learning makes my head spin.  He is a problem-solver, a mischief-maker, an entertainer, whiz kid, snuggle bug, and all around great guy.  The other day I sat down to make a list of Eamon's funny words, inspired by my sister's blog about words.  As my list grew, I was shocked by how much Eamon can say, when only a few weeks ago his vocabulary was around five to ten words.  I made my list in Eamon's journal - a book where I've been writing letters to him since we first discovered he was on his way. I've decided to share it here, since his little words are so charming and sweet.

First we'll talk about words he says the "mostly regular" way.  Most people can understand these, including strangers.  (I think it's a neat evolutionary trick that toddlers are well understood by their primary caregivers, even when the words are complete nonsense to others).  Most of these he still uses with a sign, but not all.

down             cracker          mama
eat                 marker           dada
off                 baby               back
apple             slide               bottle
ball                cat
dog                bug

Next come the adorable Eamon-ese words that he uses with a sign

uppA = up                                   bapper = diaper
mo = more                                  outdoo = go outside
nun = nurse                                  reen = rain
boohkA = book                           hep = help
payha = play                                mehk = music
alda = all done                             brabee = rabbit
flafa = flower                               tenk = thank you

And other Eamon-ese that doesn't have a sign

wa-how = wow
uman = Eamon (He sticks his finger in his chest and says, Uman!  It's pretty much the best thing ever)
prepa = pretzel (with an Eamon-made sign)
oh-doo = open the door
weeng = swing
momay = money 
tar = guitar
vwat (or something like it) = lap

And just for fun, here's a fairly comprehensive list of his signs.  He knows so many that it's hard to keep track, especially since he learns a new sign every few days, and often makes up his own signs.

up, down, nurse, all done, bath, egg, cheese, cracker, "o"s (cereal), more, again, book, play, eat, water, phone, sleep, help, shoes, diaper, dog, cat, horse, milk, moose, seal, popcorn, ice cream, pap-pap, out, hear, owl, bird, flower, toothbrush, apple, ice, sticker, ball, balloon, camera, sheep, rabbit, where, snow, please, thank you, rain, cozy, music, pretty, fish, baby, I love you                   

That's more than 50 signs, and I'm certain I've forgotten a few.  Some of his signs are particularly funny - he uses the "grandma" and "grandpa" signs, but says "pap-pap" for both.  His "I love you" sign is just a finger right in front of his mouth.  He is saying a word with most of his signs now, and I hope to do a new video soon.

And in other Eamon-related news, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of a dime.  In a diaper.  I'm sure you can figure out what that means.  Told you he was mischief.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gearing up

This week Eamon got a new little life jacket.  It's called a "puddle jumper," and it comes highly recommended for the swimming pool.  He did really well in the pool last year - even going so far as to swim underwater!  I want him to have some autonomy this year, so he can really explore his abilities, so we asked around for recommendations.  I wasn't so pleased that our style options were ladybug or frog, but Eamon is quite tickled with the frog.  It has been chilly or raining for the past week, so we haven't gotten into the pool yet, but I'm excited to see how this little thing works.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Toddler Magic

On a daily basis, Eamon reminds me how truly AWEsome children are.  All slang aside, young children are totally awe inspiring.  Their senses are so awake and fresh.  Which, in turn, reminds me how deadened my senses are.

Eamon frequently sees and hears things long before I do.  He often tells me, with signs or words, about a dog or cat far in the distance, or a baby he spots across the room.  I used to doubt him, but I've learned that if he says it's there, it usually is.  I just need to look or listen harder.  It's amazing to me that he can pick a familiar sound out of a noisy mix.  Last night, as we spent our first night of 2012 in our tent, the night was alive with nature's music.  Suddenly, Eamon started saying "hoo, hoo,"  and sure enough, when I strained my ears, I could hear an owl.  He has now started to tell us whether he hears something or sees it, and it's incredibly adorable to see him sign, "hear dog," and then say, "phoof, woof."  

Today as we were playing outside, I noticed Eamon staring straight up in the sky.  When I looked up, he had spotted a few birds.  He finally looked at me, signed, "hear bird," and then pointed and said, "twee."  I'm not sure if he heard them or saw them first, but in any case, I never would have noticed them.  Watching him delight in his world is one of the greatest gifts I can imagine.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Guest Entry from Bundle of Joy

Read the original and more of my sister's writing here.

Little Helper

Let me preface this by saying that I am not the perfect parent. But every so often I am pleasantly surprised to learn that my effort has paid off and I am doing something correctly.
I am a big proponent of having children be responsible for a growing list of chores as they get older. When I was a child I was always helping fold laundry, attempting to clean my room (typically not well) and I traded off with my sister on responsibility for sweeping the floor and doing the dishes after dinner each night. All of this was before the days of high school when we were forever gone from the house involved in various activities.
I've heard many parents say that they struggle to get things done around the house after working all day because they have to entertain their children. On the other side of things (and I've been guilty of this myself, especially during baseball season) you put your child, whom you have not seen all day, in front of the television so that you can put in a load of laundry, go to the bathroom and get dinner started. The few times I've fallen back on this strategy is has just hurt my heart so I try to avoid it at all costs.
The solution? Create a little helper. Children are helpers by nature. They are imitators and strive to please their parents. If you praise your child rather than scold them when they "help" and unfold rather than fold the laundry you will begin to build something in them. You will make them more prone to help. You will encourage them to try and not be afraid of failure. Over the last year I've spent quite a lot of time cleaning up Whit's messes when he has been "helping." There was the flour incident when our pizza making became 6 cups of flour all over the kitchen floor (some of which is still hanging around).
There were a few months this winter when folding laundry became throw Daddy's folded shirts all over the living room and dirty laundry rather than clean was winding up in the dryer.
Currently sweeping involves running a broom as fast as possible through Mama's dirt pile so that she has to start all over and washing dishes typically puts more water on the floor than in the sink (hey, at least I don't have to mop!)
We are still working on the concept that weeding the garden involves digging up the weeds, not climbing on the flowers.
Sometimes Whit's helping is easier to accept. It's adorable to watch as Whit follows Daddy around the yard with his toy mower every weekend or pretends to help vacuum (complete with whirring noises). He has quickly figured out how to water the "peppa" plants (even if he misses as many times as he hits the plants).
Throughout all of this I continue to tell Whit what a good helper he is to reinforce this behavior. Consequently, I am not surprised when I am unloading the dishwasher and he grabs a handful of silverware and tosses it haphazardly into the silverware drawer. I simply say "Thank you Whit, you are such a good helper!" And he beams at me and toddles right on about his business. It is my hope that we can continue this trend of helping. I love that Whit puts his books back on the shelf when he is finished reading them and that he brings me Daddy's empty glasses and dirty plates from the living room. Yes, it requires a little more effort now, but when Whit is 10 and I put "unload the dishwasher" on his chore list he should do it quickly, correctly, and with little or no complaint. Why? Because helping is FUN! And helping gets you praise and kisses!