Friday, March 26, 2010

Pointing isn't rude when you are only 1 year old!

At least, I hope it isn't rude, because Nick points at everything all the time. I always try to guess at what he's pointing at and name it for him. He points at people, too. Today, in the Costco, Nick kept pointing to the sample ladies and screaming, "No!" I do believe that's his way of asking for something. Sigh. He doesn't understand the true meaning of the word no. He just knows that people say it a lot to him.

It was pretty funny, though. He got to try cinnamon rolls, tilapia, pita crackers with hummus, crackers with garlic cheese, a chocolate fudge tart, a berry tart, and two kinds of muffins. Nick is getting spoiled with the snacks there; by the time I got to the aisles that didn't have sample ladies, he was pointing at where the samples "should" have been and screaming. Then he got mad and started emptying my purse onto the floor. Good thing I noticed before he got to my wallet. I do believe I lost a few coupons, though.

In the picture above, Nick was pointing a the birds. He loves them, and he follows the birdies with his finger. He will not, however, say bird for me. He's standing in front of the raised bed garden (square foot garden, actually) that I bought three years ago. It's looking pretty beat up, but you can actually see the beginnings of strawberries and catnip sprouting. The strawberries are for us and the catnip is for our cats.

The green that can be seen under all of the dead vegetation means that spring is here! You wouldn't know it from the 30 degree temperatures today, but soon I will be able to break out the sandals and put away the sweaters. I can't wait. Best of all, my spring break begins today. My only hope is that a few days will be warm enough to sit on my screened in porch. Below you can see the view I have. It is lovely and relaxing, and I'm desperately hoping for a 60 degree day.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sprouting Seeds and Bad Lighting

Nope, it's not just Nick sprouting at our house this week. Although he is looking taller to me these days, and his face is starting to look less babyish and more kid-like every week. No, the reason for the sprouting is because I re-read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" a couple of weeks ago.  You see, I ordered a bunch of seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange, and they arrived on Saturday. I ordered the stuff that Greg and Nick and I like to eat, including: red pepper, sage, broccoli, yellow and red tomatoes, basil, thyme, rosemary, spinach, green beans, cucumber, and several kinds of squash. I got really ambitious on Sunday. . .

When I read the packages, many of the types of seeds said "start indoors 6-8 weeks before the expected date of last frost." Now, I am no gardening expert, (frankly, I'm just now learning how NOT to kill plants) but I know that I'm in zone 5 and that means May 25th is the earliest date to plant most crops. So I figured that I'd better get cracking. I looked up (on e-how, actually) how to build a seed-starting shelf, printed out the directions, and headed to the Home Depot. Now, I should tell you that putting things together is not my greatest skill. The last shelf I put together fell apart minutes after construction. But lately I've become more determined. I told myself, "Melissa, you have a master's degree. You can build a simple shelf that's listed as "moderately easy" in the directions!" And I did.

I'm rather proud of myself for managing to build this on my own. The shelf was simple enough, but I actually had to hook up the wires to add a plug for the lights. My neighbors must wonder about the lights 16 hours a day in the open window. I swear I'm only growing heirloom vegetables and herbs. Note the pointing baby in the photo; lately he keeps pointing out every window and yelling something that sounds like "outside." It was far too cold for me to take him to play outside today, though. But my seeds were sure warm.

Fluorescent lighting makes everybody's skin look weird, I guess, even a toddler. Nick was eating a tortilla chip when I took this picture. Check out my hyacinths--they've grown at least an inch since I bought them on Sunday. Those weren't from seed (obviously), but I love hyacinths and I figured I'd see how they did with the lights.

I believe I may have planted too much thyme in each slot. I think I might have to move some of it. But it sure sprouted well! I'm not terrific at math, so I am not sure if I planted too many seeds or not enough for a medium sized garden. I'm looking forward to spending more time outside digging.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I hope spring comes back soon. . .

because Nick really wants to go back to the park. These pictures are from warmer days, and, sadly, I couldn't take any "having fun at the park" pictures this weekend.  :(  Instead of playing at the park, like we did last week, we spent the weekend indoors. Poor Nick was sad. It even snowed on Saturday, and the temperatures were freezing! What a way to start spring.

My spring break starts after this week, and I can't wait. I hope this last blast of winter weather runs itself out this week, because I'm hoping to get a lot of work done outside. I'm also planning on taking Nick to the park everyday, because otherwise he is a bear. Today he was crabbier than I've seen him in a long time, and I think that's because he didn't get to run around outside.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday night is date night. . .

for Nick and me, that is. Every Friday, after I pick him up from his babysitter, we have a little date. Most of the time, I stop in at Starbucks for a special mommy treat (usually a latte) that makes me mellow and happy. Then we go to the Costco. It is our weekly date, and one of the highlights of Nick's week. Can you tell why?

Yup, they have samples there. Nick is munching on a cinnamon roll sample, which he loved. Nick likes everything about shopping at Costco: the samples, the stuff to play with in the cart, the people he can watch, other babies, riding on the bumpy ground in the parking lot. Costco is one of the highlights of our week. Hey, at least I have a cute date to accompany me.  :)

After we got home today, I gave up on bringing in the groceries. Nick wanted to play outside. He loves to play with sticks, and he carried this one around for a good forty-five minutes.

Nick playing with his faithful stick.

Nick was pointing to a bird in this picture. He won't say bird though, and he won't say tree anymore. I suppose he hasn't yet connected the beautifully decorated Christmas Trees with the bare, brancy ones he sees in our yard. Lately he's been pointing a lot, and I always give him a word for what he's pointing at. (At least, when I can tell what he's pointing at.) He was fascinated with birds today--in the Costco parking lot there were seagulls, and he pointed at them and follwed them with his finger across the sky. I suppose we should call them landfill gulls, seeing as there is no sea near us, and they mostly live on garbage. Nick likes them, however, and I thought he was going to explode with joy when one landed near our cart.

Since he likes birds so much, Greg and I will have to fill the bird feeders soon, so that he can sit with the cats and watch them fly and eat and sing. We used to call that "kitty tv," but Nick will probably enjoy watching just as much as the cats. I bet we won't be able to fill the bird feeders this weekend, though. After a week of lovely temperatures, there is supposed to be highs in the 30s tomorrow and possible snow. And on the first day of spring, too. Urgh. I'm ready for spring to get here and stay here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Signs of Spring?

I would say that walking to the park with a 1 year old is an exercise in futility. Nick never wants to walk in the direction we want him to go--he will suddenly turn around and start running the other way. Once we got him there, though, he was in toddler heaven. Greg and I sat on the see-saw, and Nick didn't want to let us stop. I think he could have bounced forever. (I, on the other hand, discovered that you can indeed get nauseous from a see-saw.) 

As spring gets closer and warmer weather appears, we've been taking Nick to the park every chance we get. He needs lots of exercise and fresh air, or he turns into a monster. He'll stand by the window, pointing and looking hopefully at us as we sit on our butts on the couch. Nick is right, though. Fresh air is good for all of us.

Yup, we have officially become "those" parents. The ones who would put a child on a leash. Nick is just so fast. Plus, he changes direction quickly and we don't want to lose sight of him. When we try to walk holding his hand, Nick is still so very short (2nd percentile for his age) that we have to hunch way over, so that's not effective either. Thus the baby harness. So far so good. I believe it's a good compromise between carrying Nick or having him in the stroller continuously and letting him run for the hills (literally).

Another sign of spring, for me, unfortunately, is allergies. As things are starting to defrost and the mold count multiplies, my allergies have become intolerable. My usual singulair pill isn't enough to make a dent in the horrible post-nasal drip that curses me at least once a year. Right now I get to choose between being drugged on Sudafed and being so stuffed up I can't breathe through my nose. The worst part is that I'm losing my voice. That might not be a big deal for some people, but I use my voice to control as many as 30 children at a time. My job is very dependent on my voice, and it is very hard to try to squeak and croak my way through a day of teaching. Can you imagine teaching remedial math to 19 fourth graders in an after school program when all you can manage is a croak? I do love spring, but I'm wishing that a fix for these allergies could be found. I want to breathe properly again!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

15 Month Doctor Visit

Today was Nick's doctor 15-month doctor visit. Nick was playing with a little boy in the waiting room before our visit who was 9 or 10 months old but was taller than Nick and easily outweighed him by 8 pounds. However, Nick was running circles around the tall little fellow, who just stood there in awe at Nick's amazing skills. (He pushed all the children's chairs across the room, including the table.)

He loved the opportunity to wander around in only his diaper. Good thing I didn't try to sit him in my lap--we had to wait over a half hour. In that amount of time, Nick moved the furniture, tried to open all the drawers, pulled on the exam table paper and shredded it, listened to a story, dumped his clothes all over, and was amusing himself by spinning in circles when the doctor finally walked in. Hey, at least he can entertain himself.

The closer to naked he is, the more cheerful his mood. He especially loved pushing around the doctor's stool. Nicholas only cried for a minute when they gave him three shots. But he yelled when I tried to get him dressed. I guess clothes are worse than getting pricked, at least for him. Here are the stats:

Weight: 22 lbs., 3 ounces (22nd percentile)
Length: 29 inches (2nd percentile)
Head circumference: 45 1/2 cm. (8th percentile)

So he's short. We already knew that. He's doing better than many toddlers because he's been completely off the bottle for months now, and he can already drink out of a straw. Also, he eats anything--literally anything, and so we merely feed him healthy food and he eats it. (I know, that sounds simple, but for many kids, every bite is an argument.) The doctor was pleased at how well he sleeps--Nick goes to bed like clockwork at 8 pm. and wakes up around 7. He also usually takes two good naps during the day. I am fully aware of how much luck it takes to get a kid who both eats and sleeps well.  :)

Nick is also right on target with his gross and fine motor skills. He's a little ahead in the way he can turn the pages of books and point to the characters when asked. Nick does not, however, talk much. Besides the word "tree" at Christmas time, all other words have been temporary and prompted. Oh well, I guess all kids are ahead in some ways and behind in others. I was encouraged tonight by the way I asked him, "Do you want a story?," and he would bring me one book after another, until I had read him eleven books in a row. Usually he tires out around eight. At one point I asked him to get a particular book, and low and behold he brought it to me. Coincidence? Perhaps, but it made me feel better about him not talking.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nick's First Bowling Experience

Friday night we took Nick bowling for the first time. It was an entertaining and yet exhausting time Some of Greg's co-workers were meeting up in Batavia, and they all brought their kids, so we brought Nick. He loved the brightly colored balls and the people and the noise. We had to keep chasing him away from the lanes. He kept trying to pick up the balls, even though they weighed almost as much as him. I even let him help me push one of the balls down the lane. It went straight into the gutter, but he sure enjoyed the experience.


Greg and I had a hard time keeping track of Nick. He was continually running off, usually toward the lanes. He wanted to run down the lane at the pins, and once he actually slipped out of my grasp and went past the line. Bowling alleys put slippery stuff on the lane, so he fell right on his butt. I had to crawl down the gutter to catch him. He thought it was a game, running away from me. I would pick him up and carry him back to the table. Then, he'd wiggle to be let down and run towards the pins again. Lately he wants to walk everywhere, too. When we would pick him up he'd go limp and then wiggle to try to get down. I decided then and there to buy him a leash ASAP.

At one point they turned the alley into Cosmic Bowling, which is where they turn off the regular lights and you bowl using blacklights. They play loud music in the background, too. These little green lights were bouncing everywhere, and Nick loved chasing them. Most of my pictures didn't turn out because of the poor lighting, but Nick was definitely stimulated by the environment. He got to meet some other little kids, play with big heavy balls, and run and let us chase him. Nick won on this round, but I vow to win next time with my secret weapon: the baby leash.