Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas, Family

Nonny and Aunt Donny, I'm so excited that your daughters are around to show you this blog. I've prepared a link to Theo videos, watch and enjoy.

Be sure to watch the Brooklyn Polka and Santa Theo - these will be of particular interest to your gang.

Theo Videos

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Theo and Santa


I hope you like this picture...cuz it cost me 6 bucks to get the cd so I could have the digital file. But I didn't want my blog to be without it.

Theo really enjoyed going to see Santa today. He calls him "tata caus" and says, "ho ho ho." Quite cute. He joined the other kids in sneaking to the front of the line to watch Santa. Once on his lap, Joe got Theo to give Santa a kiss. It was worth waiting on a long line for, and even worth paying a zillion dollars!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Theo and Christmas

Last year at this time I yearned for Theo to know about Christmas, and get excited about it. This year there are some minor improvements. He's hardly making a wish list, but he can identify Santa Claus and a snowman, and is pretty into having the lights turned on on our tree. He enoys unwrapping presents, so I'm sure he'll have a blast, there.

He also is getting better and better at singing Jingle Bells. (Gingo Bas, Gingo bas, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, ho!) The articulation is really off but he sings on tune and has the sweetest little singing voice, which makes up for it.

I'll report on his response to Christmas next week. My guess is he will enjoy watching the excitement. He's like that at school, too. He's an observer, much like mom and dad. Can't wait to people-watch in Paris next Feb!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Lotion Commotion

Actually, there was no commotion, I just liked the title.

Anyway, the other day I was putting lotion on Theo (his teachers tell me to do that because he responds well to sensory stimulation). He was naming the places for me to put the lotion - face, arms, legs, knee, foot, ankle ... ankle?! That one took me off guard; I didn't know he knew it! I continue to discover that Theo knows so much more than I even realize because of what he learns in school.

When he wanted me to put the lotion on his peepee (a verbal request!) I had to draw the line. Joe might have called Social Services.

First quarter report

I talked to Theo's teacher, Grace yesterday. I had gotten a first quarter report from his school - yes, his first report card! You get a 1 for no progress and a 5 for goal met, and he got all 3s and 4s on a variety of areas. 3 means little progress made and 4 means progress made.

Grace said the same stuff as usual, Theo is very happy at school and can do everything when asked or prompted. They are still working on his independence. And he's peed in the urinal once or twice. I'm just glad that he's gone at all at school, now at least I know he's not too scared.

I still have to call his individual therapists, I have a few questions about their report. He got 3s in a couple of things where I would have expected higher, especially in one of the physical categories that included stairs and climbing...I mean, he's a pro at that stuff. He certainly practices climbing enough at home!

At school he still talks mostly through context and routine. Like at breakfast time he knows to say "I want milk."

But at home he really seems to be starting to put words together on his own, and certainly not by routine. The other day he wanted me to clean his nose "mommy, clean nose" and told me he wanted me to wet the napkin "water!" It seems like the progress is beginning to accelerate now, and hopefully we've got some momentum going now.

A year ago we put an apple ornament on the Christmas tree to represent his favorite word at the time, one of the few he said. Finding that ornament this year and putting it on the tree, Joe and I reflected on how far he's come over the past year. He says a whole lot more than apple, that's for sure!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Bus Biz

It has been my turn to take Theo down to wait for the bus in the morning this week. Boy, is he ever excited when he sees the bus pull up! The smile he flashes to the matron and the driver as he steps on is so huge, even they seem to melt. When's the last time you saw a bus driver who actually likes kids?

Theo just can't wait to take this ride and get to school. And to think, the bus was the reason I almost didn't send him to this school!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Lovey of the Week

I've mentioned here a few times that Theo doesn't, nor did he ever, have a lovey. But he does have a teddy bear and a stuffed Grinch in a Santa costume (that he also refers to as teddy bear) that he's taken to lately. Lately he's been sleeping with one or both, or watching TV with his arm around them. I'll enjoy it however long it lasts!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mommy's Little Helper

Taking Theo with me on laundry errands used to be the biggest chore. First, I had to do it with Theo in the baby carrier. Then, when he outgrew that, I had to carry the laundry bag to the elevator and push Theo in the stroller. Then, when he outgrew the stroller, I had to do laundry while he ran around the basement slamming doors.

Now, it's different. Theo is my little helper. He is terribly cute. I tell him we're doing laundry and he gets very excited, running to the elevator exclaiming, "awry, awry!" He helps me put the clothes into the machine. Then he grabs a chair and pulls it over to the machine. He climbs up and inserts the coins into the slot. Later, he helps me take the clothes from the washer to the dryer. He's only little and can't carry too much at a time, so I'll give him a shirt or a sock to carry. He doesn't care what it is, he's just so thrilled to take anything. Finally, he pulls the chair over, puts the coins in the dryer slot, and presses the button to get it started. He loves every minute of it.

How come kids get so excited about the chores we hate the most? I haven't even had another baby yet (obviously) but I'm already looking forward to when baby number two is out of the difficult-to-do-laundry-with stage and into the happy helper stage.

Of course, my favorite way to do laundry is still when Theo's daddy does it instead.

What a Silly Human Bean

Yesterday morning I asked Theo if he wanted pancakes. He ran to the kitchen and opened the freezer (on the rare occasion that I have leftover pancakes, I freeze them). He pulled down an unopened bag of edamame (soybeans). These were already shelled, and since I like the shelled ones and found those in another store, that bag probably would have stayed closed for a while.

But Theo insisted that I open the bag. "Bowl, bowl," he demanded. I got a bowl. "Poon!" I got a spoon. There Theo sat, with his spoon and bowl filled with frozen green soybeans. I sat down next to him, wanting a front row seat for this one.

He put one in his mouth and scrunched up his face. I watched him, bemused, ready to declare victory. Until he ate another, and another, and another. Pretty soon he asked for more.

I gave him more, and made pancakes anyway. He still had 2 and a half pancakes in addition to his bowl and a half of edamame. So at least I know he's still normal. I love that about him. He's a chicken nuggets and fries kid, sure, but he's also a baked ziti and broccoli kid.

Note: Cousin Jo took me to a Japanese restaurant when she visited NYC. She ordered edamame for me to try, and I tried it to be courteous. I ended up loving it. Thanks, cuz! Now I have another healthy snack I can pack for the bug's lunch!

Another Note: When Theo was little(r) he snacked on frozen peas, which is much grosser. I tasted the frozen soybeans and I could see the appeal. The peas....bleeeeeeech.

Making a Scene

When Theo was born, we enacted the Nativity scene at our dear friend's ministry's annual Christmas party. He was only a few months old and made the perfect baby Jesus. As I held him in my arms, everyone sang "Silent Night." He was lulled to sleep right there on stage. I will always treasure that moment his eyes slowly closed. It brought tears to people watching.

Joe and I were Joseph and Mary for a couple of years after that, using a doll (a black baby girl!). I go on stage as Mary, and the angel tells me I will give birth. I exit the stage and return with the baby and Joseph.

So, this party was Saturday night. Theo was with us and everybody gushed at how big baby Jesus had gotten.

When it came time for us to do our Nativity, the finale of the evening, we waited in the wings. Theo was playing with a little girl in another room. I went on stage and began to recite my lines.
Suddenly, Theo climbed on stage - wearing his shoes on his hands! The Virgin Mary couldn't help but laugh, and after Joseph removed Theo from the stage, Mary had to take a minute to compose herself before continuing.

After the angel told me about my immaculate conception, I exited the stage. Joe was holding Theo in the wings. He said, "Let's carry him out. He's coming either way." I giggled and agreed. I removed the blue blanket from the doll and wrapped it around Theo. And so, off we went, back on stage - Joseph, Mary, and Giant Baby Jesus.

Well, as I'm sure you can imagine - the crowd erupted in laughter! But Theo was a good boy. He stayed with us, smiling, soaking up the attention. When we all sang "Silent Night," the memories definitely returned to many of the people in the room.

Friday, December 08, 2006

What, is he pregnant?

Last night, I made rice Spanish-style with a sauce that made the rice look brown, and so it looked a bit like Chinese fried rice. Theo took a look at his bowl of rice, went to the fridge, and returned with a packet of soy sauce and a packet of hot sauce -- you know, the kind you get with Chinese takeout.

I was on the phone with my mom and narrating as this occurred. She suggested I put a little bit off to the side of the bowl. And so I did, with each packet. But he immediately took his spoon and mixed both sauces into the rice.

You can bet your patootie that he ate it! I stared in disbelief, chuckling and shaking my head.

After the meal, Theo put his hands together, bowed, and said "gracias, mamacita."

OK, no he didn't.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cooking Concepts, Etc.

Theo is no less whiny than he was about getting the food he wants when he wants it, but at least he is beginning to understand the concept of cooking.

He loves to have hard-boiled eggs as a snack when we get home on week nights. Up until recently he'd take the egg out of the carton and eggggspect it to be hard-boiled. He'd cry and throw a fit the whole time the eggs were cooking, no matter what I did to try to explain, let him help cook, or show him.

But now, he likes to help me put the eggs in the pot of water (before I turn on the flame, of course), and then he says, "eggs are cooking." Probably because he's heard me say it a million times and so I've mashed it into his head. He retires to the living room and goes about his business, occassionally remembering that the "eggs are cooking." He even comes back to the kitchen to check sometimes. He climbs on his stool and peers into the pot from a safe distance. He knows not to touch a hot pot. When I say, "don't touch, it's hot" he says "hot" and flaps his hand like I do.

After fifteen minutes we fill the pot with cold water to cool the eggs immediately. He reaches his hand into the pot and takes them over to the plate he has prepared on the table. This is the part where he's like his father. If there are two eggs in the pot he'll take two, and if there are five he'll take five. In other words, he'll eat everything that's in front of him. This is the tricky part. If I make only two, then he wants to cook more after he eats them. But if I make five he'll eat them all (bad, because there's a good chance he already had eggs with Anais, since he likes to eat them at her house, too). So I try to make three or four. Eggs aren't the worst thing to have too many of, expecially at his age. But I also want him to have room for dinner. Which he does...that kid can eat. Last night he had two bowls of rice and lentils with the sitter right before coming home, then at home he had leftover pasta, three eggs, and the saffon rice I made for myself.

Speaking of pasta... He takes the box and likes to put the pasta into the pot (the other day it was one excruciating rotini at a time). He then happily tells me that "pasta is cooking" and waits patiently. Again, he used to just think it was ready instantly.

Then there's the stuff that requires no cooking - mini raisin boxes, applesauce cups, cereal...when Theo decides he wants it, there's really no stopping him. Which is why I save junk food for special occasions, or we'd be in big trouble. He is, however, sending me to the poor house.

But Elyse, you say, can't you just say no? You're the mother! The answer is, Joe and I pick our battles due to Theo's tantrums when he doesn't get his way, tantrums that can very well last all night. We also have systems for hiding things. Theo keeps discovering my hiding spots and I keep having to find new ones. Who ever heard of a 3 year-old you have to hide raisins from? But I have to, because I need them to put into his lunch bag for school.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Image of Deception

People don't believe me when I say Theo can be a little monster. He is the picture of perfect behavior when he's with other people.

This weekend I took Theo to a kid-friendly Italian restaurant with my mother-in -law, John, and Gianna, before going to see my beautiful cutie-pie niece in the Nutcracker. Joe was working, unfortunately.

Anyway, Theo was ever the good boy - used the restaurant's toilet, washed his hands, and ate his meal plus Gianna's giant meatball (Gianna wrote "Theo likes meatballs" when we played hangman). John and Gianna left, and Joe's mom went to the ladies room for five minutes. During that five minutes, I tried to put on Theo's jacket. He crawled under the table, removed his shoes, screamed and shrieked and cried as though I was sticking a hatchet into his skull. I, by force, had just gotten his shoes back on and his sobs to subside when mama came back to our table. It was as though nothing had happened.

I think I should invite Theo's teachers, grandparents, and babysitters to come live with us so he never throws a tantrum again.

Monday Morning Moment

This morning, I ignored my alarm, as I tend to do on Monday mornings. And most other mornings. Finally, I forced myself out of bed and fed the crazy cats that were crawling on my head and swiping at my feet. When I returned to the bedroom and started digging for the outfit du jour, I suddenly heard a whine, "Mommy, lie down. Mommy, lie down. " Over and over.

Now, ain't that the best kind of whining? Especially when he uses proper grammar.

Following orders, I got into bed and cuddled with him for a few minutes. He looked at me and smiled;he didn't want me to go. He put his little arm around me and I soaked in those precious few moments. He was temporarily my little angel, and I was reminded of why I keep him around. ;)

She's Ba-ack

It's been seven days since my last confession - er - blog entry. I wish I could blame it on a lovely vacation, but alas, I have no excuse (unless you count Theo's plethora of temper tantrums over the past week, and shortage of cuteness and hence blog material).