Monday, July 31, 2006

Happy Birthday Gianna!!

Gianna had her 8th birthday party on Saturday. She and Theo played together on the swings and in the lake (my brother in law has a lake house!) Pictures coming soon!

Babysitter Blues

Well, interviewed four babysitters yesterday, and one more tonight. This will be the person who is with Theo when he gets out of -gulp- school until one of us gets home from work.

3 out of the 4 yesterday were quite good. One of them appeared to be on drugs.

And one showed up 20 minutes late. I had said in my job posting, LATENESS IS NOT AN OPTION. Normally I'm not a bully, but in this case, lateness means no one is there when Theo gets off the school bus and he's sent to a police precinct.

I'm very enthusiastic about tonight's person, because she lives in my building and is someone I already know.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It's Official

Gulp! I officially have a son enrolled in preschool. That's just insane. Backpacks, field trips, lockers, packed lunch, school bus...this wasn't supposed to happen for a while! It's entirely overwhelming!

Joe and I couldn't be happier. I know I did a 180 on this school thing. At first I couldn't come to terms with Theo being in a special needs school. But then again, I had images of him being in a room with severely autistic children and him picking up their mannerisms.

But this place wasn't like that. The kids are like Theo, who are just delayed. It's a very "normal" preschool, and the kids just happen to get speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

I am thrilled that Theo's classroom teacher will be Grace, the woman whose class I had observed last month. She was kind enough to give us a tour yesterday, since it was Joe's first time there.

Grace's classroom is adorable. It has a kitchen area, a reading area, a computer area, lockers, and all kinds of other stuff you'd see in a typical classroom.

There's a computer room with tiny computers and mouses. It's the cutest thing I've ever seen. They'll go in there a few times a week.

The playground is great, so is the indoor gym. They take neighborhood walks, they are blocks from the pier, so they take the kids for a city view. The kids often say they're going to's hysterical.

All the teachers I saw were great with the kids, even the ones who didn't know anyone was watching. The kids were genuinely happy.

Joe and I left feeling great. I told him that the last time I was there, I saw the 5 year olds in graduation practice. I caught Joey wiping tears from his face...

School starts after labor day...yowza!

Grandma's First Piano Lesson

Mom responded to my post and I thought the story was too cute to be stuck in the comments section, so...

Grandma Carol said...

Let's try to concentrate on what Theo can do, and not dwell on what he can't. (Yet) Children all develop on their own schedule. Just this afternoon, before Lorena came over, I had Theo on my lap and gave him his first piano lesson! As I sang Twinkle Twinkle, I played the notes on the piano. I showed him where the notes were of the first part of the song, and had him follow directions for each note. For example- Twinkle c,c( 2)Twinkle gg,(2)little a,a (2) star g (1), but I placed his finger on the note and told him how many times to play it as I sang the words, not the letters. At first he played every note 2 times, then he played "star" once as it fit the song. He did it perfectly two times! We both clapped hooray! He even tried to find the notes to the rest of the song. Some were correct,and some were all over the piano, but he was having such a good time. He's been singing the Theo song too. Going up and down the scale. T-H-E-O Theo I love you! He's such a mush. In the playground, a little child got hurt and he looked genuinely worried.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In His Own Time

The other day at the park we encountered an old playgroup friend of Theo's, who is exactly his age. He was prepared to tell the cops his name and address if he ever got lost. Yikes, I better buy Theo a dog tag!

I feel guilty when I get wistful seeing other conversational children. It's amazing how I transition between sadly hearing a child his age sing a whole song, and the happiness and excitement of Theo finally starting to sing. Which, incidentally, occured this week. See Grandma Carol's comments below. He sings one word at a time, repeating after me (or her, she gets the credit for getting him started on it). He has a lovely singing voice, and much better pitch than his dad.

While it's difficult not to compare him to other children, we are still pretty good about celebrating his victories as they occur on his own unique, personal timeline.

It's going to get much easier, I think, when I see the other children he goes to his special preschool with. Even if that makes me horrible, it will be nice to see Theo in a group of kids his age where he is not the least advanced. And so in essence, I am wishing bad things on other children. So sue me, I'm human!

My Travel Companion

Theo is such a sweet little travel companion. I rarely have to worry about taking him somewhere. He sits sweetly and enthusiastically on bus and train rides. He looks out the window or we read books. And like mommy and daddy, he loves to walk. His stamina is impressive.

For this reason we yearn to get to Europe. I can't wait until we take our first family trip and walk the streets of Italy. Hopefully within the next few years. I imagine if we went today he'd learn to whine "gelatooooooo" in no time at all.

Hand Caught in the Cookie Jar...Er, Brownie Pan

"Elyse!" Joe called me in from the kitchen last night, giggling. "You gotta see this! It's actually a hand caught in the cookie jar moment!"

I walk in, and sure enough, there's Theo standing at the fridge with the door open, hand in the brownie pan, looking back at us with a devilish smile.

Sometimes he gets me on Theo-cuteness-overload!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Piano Lesson

Every now and then I sit Theo on my lap and take his finger and show him the basic keys. Now that he has learned his letters so well I worry about confusing him. But it's irresistable to hear him...

Our last lesson he started on C and sang up the scale:

C D E F G...HIJKL....

"No, Theo!" I laughed. I hope I don't throw him out of whack with this!

Introducing the next Family Von Orecchio

Theo is a natural musician. I really think that learning an instrument will be fundamental to his growth and development. He loves to play his plastic harmonica and trumpet. He loves to blow into the recorder Nonny gave him. And he loves his Baby Einstein Orchestra DVD. He can name all the instruments. And not just your basic piano and guitar, but timpani and trombone and harp and bass. My favorite is tambourine. Tamoeeeeeeee.

This is a segue, of course, into Theo and the piano. It's my dream for him to learn it. So far, he loves playing it so much that I don't have to feel guilty about imposing my dream on him. In fact,he's the reason my own piano learning went sour, I couldn't practice without him coming over and climbing on my lap so he could play too. (Did you hear that? I just blamed my failure at learning piano on my 2 year old! )

And so I fantasize that one day, I will sing and he will accompany me on our Steinway. We've already started. He plays notes and I match them with "la la la." It took him no time at all to grasp that we were making music together. I could tell by the way he looked up and smiled, the first time I sang the notes he played. What has impressed us and others who watch him is the way he plays. Even when he was smaller he made music instead of banging on the keys as most kids would.

Grandma Carol, you haven't taught piano in years. Looking for a job?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh David! and Oops!


Here are Theo's favorite books. Oh David!, and Oops! To preserve my sanity I'll leave out the !'s from here on in. And yes, I know book titles should be italicized. :)

He carries around Oh David like a lovey. Often he will hand me or Joe Oops while he reads Oh David. He likes to lie side by side with us reading, each with our own book (but both a book of his choice). I don't know where he got this from, but it makes his mommy and daddy pleased as punch. Our budding little reader.

These are the only books I've known him to ask for when they are not in sight.

He has these books memorized. It's quite amusing to hear him read Oh David to me. The words are all muddled, but the one line he says perfectly clear is "P.U." (a picture of David in a stinky diaper).

After each reading he looks up at me with sparkling eyes and says "again," pronounced like a little English boy: A - gayn. Hilarious!

Now, the special thing about these David books is that David is exactly like Theo. Observe the cover of Oh David. Did I not post a similar picture weeks back? Cheerios all over my floor? Inside, David unrolls all the toilet paper, and in another David book (it's a series) he even pulls an orange cat's tail! It's like David is Theo's fictional counterpart. Then again, I get the feeling most parents who read the book say that. The books are popular for a reason. I suppose more kids are Davids than not.

Here's the best part. "Oops" is not pronounced as such. Instead, he says "Oot." He'll bring me the book in the morning, "Oot! Oooooot!"

Suprisingly he says "Oh David" pretty well. Go figure.

Beautiful Boy


This picture is so Theo. Sweet, but mischievous and moody. And devastatingly handsome.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

My Three Kids


The bad news is that Theo hasn't eased up too much on the kittens. The good news is that they've grown a bunch and have actually come to enjoy his shenanigans.

He does carry them a bit better, usually with two hands instead of one, and not by their leg or tail - as often.

Maow and Bruce seem to enjoy Theo's roughhousing. Especially Bruce. He lies there on his back and allows Theo to squeeze his stomach. Cats don't expose their bellies when they're in fear. I suppose Theo doesn't do it hard enough to really hurt them now that their bigger.

Sometimes I see Theo being rough with the cats, and I yell at him to get away. He refuses, of course, so I go over, only to find them lying there purring.

The three of them running around chasing each other, roughhousing and loving it, remind me of Jodi's three boys. I guess I have three kids of my own!

Mi Hijo Habla Espanol

Last night we were in the bath, and as Theo poured water on my head he gleefully said, "agua!" I did a double take. I wanted to make sure I wasn't hearing things, so I pointed to the water and asked "what's that?" Sure enough: "agua!"

I bet there are a bunch more Spanish words from daycare that he knows, that I I'm not aware he knows. I hope to discover more! I do know he developed a fierce affection for rice and beans. I'll be happy when he's in school with English-speaking kids, but until then, I love his cultural education! And it certainly won't end in the next school. As long as he's here in NYC he'll be on cultural overload.

The rest of the country's kids have Dora the Explorer. Theo has his city.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

My Little Voice

Theo's really doing well. His words are gaining more clarity. He's learned to say pizza instead of at-ta. He still says nanoo for canoe, but as the skunk from Bambi would say, I don't mind! He can call it nanoo if he wants to! It's pretty damn cute.

Some more fun words-
Kangaroo: Aroooo
Tambourine - Oreeeeeen
Ice Cream - Acree
Broccoli - Ochley

Sometimes as funny as the words he screws up are the words he says perfectly. Like "Elmo." Go figure.

I don't care how he says the words, I'm just so happy to hear his sweet little voice! My favorite word to hear, of course, is "mommy."

Happy Birthday Max!!

I can't believe Max is 4 today. When we gave Max his bday present for his 3rd birthday a year ago, he played with it a good ten minutes and suddenly said, "thank you for this!" We'll never forget how cute and heartfelt and sincere that was.

Joe and I were just discussing how Theo is about to turn 3 and will be the age Max was last yJuly 12th, who was talking up a storm and had a full understanding that it was his birthday, his party, and that he was going to get lots of presents. Theo will enjoy opening his presents, but he will have no anticipation prior. I said it a year ago, and I'll say i t again: hopefully next year...

More Results

The results of Theo's EEG test came back normal.

Yesterday Theo had two more doctor's appointments. First we returned to the ENT (ear nose throat specialist) who said that Theo had only a scant amount of fluid in one ear, and none in the other. So all is well with his ears for now. Continue to give him nasal spray and come back in three months.

Then, a trip to the allergist. Several people had recommended we go, just to rule out allergies as a possible speech delay culprit. Well, the allergies are ruled out.

I'm starting to accept that he's got a delay and that's that. Time to stop making excuses that maybe he can't hear or maybe this or maybe that. Just get him the help he needs, send him to his special little pre school, and catch him up for kindergarten. That's the plan.

I guess the ear infections were just a coincidence. An annoying coincidence that fucked me up with confusion for too long.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Orange Sunglasses


Theo will not part with these Versace shades. Last night he slept with them, along with his trumpet and favorite book.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Legs Down!

When we roll a ball across the room to each other, we sit with our legs out in a "V." If I dare to sit cross legged or even sit with my knees bent, Theo whines. I taught him to say, "legs down!" I just love kids and their silly rules for happiness.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Mama, the Papa, the Son.....TRADITION


To follow our fourth of July tradition, we visited Coney Island on the most crowded day of the year. We were happily joined by Aunt Pia, Uncle Gary and cousin Jake.

It's a sad, sad, day when your freak is gone. Eek the Geek, a sideshow star whom we befriended over the years, is no longer working there. I am certain that he, who is tattooed from head (and face) to toe, has gone on to achieve greater success. Last year he was finishing up school and in an HBSC ad, so I wasn't too surprised to see him gone. After all to be crushed in a bed of nails for years must get tiresome. But it was on that bed of nails that Joe declared his love on one of our first dates, and it was on that bed of nails that I stood pregnant, and again with a baby Theo. Eek the Geek - thank you for the memories.

Here is Eek the Geek's replacement. As you can see, we came prepared for Theo's photo op with Eek and decided not to let our artwork go to waste, and posed with the new freak.

Theo reached the 40 inch mark, making him officially tall enough to ride every kiddie ride there (last year he could ride all but a few). He happily went from one ride to another, trying to go climb through fences, skip lines, or do whatever else it took to get on a ride immediately. He went on his first kiddie roller coaster - I joined him, and it was surprisingly quite a legitimate roller coaster experience!

His favorite - and no surprise here - was the frog ride. A ride in which the children are lifted into the air and bounced around. Theo enjoyed the lift, but didn't see the bouncy part coming. And so when the little frog started a-hoppin' Theo was taken off guard in the most delightful way, and broke into piercing smiles!

I wonder how old he will be on his first Cyclone ride. And yikes - I wonder how much it will cost! It was 6 dollars this year, up from 5 the last year, which was up from 4, etc...

Boat! Boat!

Over the weekend we stayed in our friend Dan's East Hampton house.
Knowing that he would be taking us out on his boat, Dan got Theo a little life preserver.

The weather was smokin' hot, and called for me to hit Dan's luxurious pool. I put on Theo's little Spiderman bathing suit and his life preserver and took him in with me. He initially cried from the shock of the cold water, but it only took seconds for him to realize he was in little kid heaven.

While in the water, Theo pointed to the other side of the pool and eagerly shouted, "Boat!"

Joe and I laughed when we spotted what Theo was pointing to - one of those round tube rafts that you'd see at a water park. I went and got the "boat" and hoisted myself and Theo into it. But he was in no mood to cuddle or relax. He squirmed and struggled until finally I let him back in the water. We spent the next I-don't-know-how-many-minutes with me in the "boat" holding on to him as he floated, kicked, and splashed with glee.

Joe insisted on taking him out once he was turning blue and shivering. After a few minutes of drying off, my fearless child was successfully back in the water. Although it was scary that he would enter the water without help, something he wouldn't dare do a year ago, I was proud of his ability to work the stairs and hold on to the sides of the pool. He only did what he knew he could handle; he's very good that way. Of course, we still got him back out right away, but it was nice to know that he's cautious even when being a daredevil.

That night we rode Dan's motorboat. Theo was in "boat,boat!" ecstasy for a while, but it wasn't long before he was fast asleep in our arms. He was gone by 8:30, missing the fireworks we had the fortune to view from the boat.

He slept until 8:30 the following morning.

Weekly Haiku

Happy Birthday, son
You are two for one more month
Which is terrible