Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Birthday Grandma, Bruce, and Maow!


First of all mom, here's a belated birthday present. I wanted to post this on your birthday (Tuesday), but my Internet was down. Now that it's back, here's a present from Theo:

Here is footage and some pics from Saturday's birthday party, which mom was gracious enough to share with Bruce and Maow, my kittens turned cats. They are now 1. Maow turning 1 is a little miracle, so we had to celebrate Orecchio/Nicodemi style. Mom even brought the cats a gift - something they could really appreciate - cans of cat food, of course! And Grandma Popcorn, Joe's mom, called to sing happy birthday on my machine to my mom and the cats.

We do love a good before and after on this here blog. Here's mom with her newly-dead-but-still-at-peace-with-God lobster:

And here's Mr. Lobster, after feeling the birthday girl's wrath:

And no party is complete without cake:

Elliot adds his own music to the end of this one:

I leave you with a sweet family photo, so you can say "awwwwwwwwwwwwww."

Big and Little

If you ask Theo if he's little or big, he always responds, "big!" And he's right. He's growing up. His new thing is taking out the garbage. It doesn't matter if it's half full (or half empty for you pessimists out there) he takes it out of the can and puts it in the hall, then gets a new garbage bag to put in the can, and is sure to neatly tuck it around the edges.

But he's still a baby. As I write he's in the living room happily watching Sesame St. with his grape juice. I had to sneak away and capture the moment. Sure, he likes Spongebob but he still loves his Elmo. And even though he's enormous, about 7'8", he still has his little baby face that keeps him from looking 5 years old...thank goodness!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Easter 2007

I've been noticably absent from the blog again, but I hope I can make up for it with some super cute videos. These are all from Easter. Theo colored and decorated eggs at Nonny's, and then hunted them at Aunt Donny's. This was the first year he really got the concept of the Easter Egg Hunt, so that was exciting. At first we just hid them on open spaces, like on top of the table, but when we noticed he was really lifting things and all-out hunting, we made the hunt a bit trickier. Here are a couple of interesting places to find eggs:

In the car, mom and dad practiced their scatting with Theo. Maybe I'm talking as his mommy, but I think he did a damn good job.

To see lots of pictures from Easter, including some really cute ones of Cousin Jo and Aunt Don, visit my picture site:

For a username, enter my gmail email address, and for password, it's: seemypics

Friday, April 06, 2007

Family Time


Yesterday Grandma joined Theo and me at the mall. We popped by to say hello to the Easter Bunny.

Later that night, mom and dad came over for dinner. After we ate, we were all - my parents, Joe, Clay, and I - sitting around the table and I gave Theo some paper and brand new markers. I told him to draw grandma. No one expected him to actually make a face with hair around it! We told him to add eyes, a nose, and a mouth, and this was the result. His very first real drawing. We were all gasping with shock and bursting with pride. Yuck, sorry for that cliche.

Grandma taught Theo scales on the piano, and we were amazed at how well he played and sang. He has great pitch, honestly. He's so cute singing Do Re Mi!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Movie Date

Last night Joe was working late, so Theo and I went on a date to see Meet the Robinsons. I figured if he acted up, it was a kids' movie, so it'd be OK. Well, Theo was great, which is more than I can say for the obnoxious adults who sat behind us.

I snuck in fries and nuggets and a drink, which kept Theo happy a while. Then he climbed on to my lap and we cuddled watching the rest of the movie. Which, by the way, was a great movie. I didn't know what to expect.

Before the movie, there was an old Mickey Mouse short, and Theo likes Mickey Mouse, so that made him happy. Also, there was a preview for a movie, Ratatouille, that takes place in France. When they showed the Eiffel Tower, Theo yelled out, "Paris!" People must have been impressed at my smart little guy. Although I think he thinks the Eiffel Tower IS Paris!

When we got home, we decided to draw the things we saw. We drew Louis, the boy from the movie, and a dinosaur. Then Theo wanted to draw Mickey Mouse and Paris (his drawing of Paris was quite amusing). But I was glad to see that he seemed to be picking up that we were drawing things we'd just seen.

Beautiful April Day in Astoria Park


Theo has off from school this week, as do my parents, so we thought we'd grab sandwiches and go to a park. Dad came up with the idea of Astoria Park. I hadn't been there since I was little.

Theo made instant friends with kids who got a kick out of sliding with him. They repeatedly waited for each other to go down, cracking up all the way (ho ho ho).

When a boy asked Theo to go on the swing, it went right over his head. He ignored it and continued to run to the slide. That made me a little sad, but dad was right - focus on the positive. The good news is, Theo isn't as cemented in routine at the playground anymore. He tries new routes, and alternates. It's huge progress.

After a while mom said, "Hold my bag, I'm going on the slide." Well, that was all the excuse I needed to go to. Reason being that this slide looked especially slippery. Theo was going very fast each time. Usually I watch kids have to pull themselves down. When you come across a good slide, it's damn irresistible.

Mom and dad had to squeeze through two little girls who were keeping watch at the top of the slide. Who needs American Idol? This was entertainment.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Plane Ride to Paris


This was essentially Theo's first flight. When we went to Geneseo for Adam's wedding, he was only 10 months old.
Theo loves watching this video! He exclaims, "airplane!"

And we have a magnet of the Eiffel Tower on our fridge (of course), and he constantly runs to it and says, "Look, mommy, Paris!"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Moose Me, Mommy

That's how Theo says "excuse me." When I'm sitting at the computer and he wants to get by, he says "moose me, mommy."

Little Tricks to Keep the Harmony

I have a parenting trick that has worked wonders over the last months. It's called, "this one or this one?"

It started when he was insisting on wearing the same striped shirt all the time, no matter how dirty. So after weeks of torture getting him dressed in the morning, one day I held up two shirts and said, "do you want to wear this one or this one?"
"Ummm," he replied. "This one!" And he picked one and wore it. This turned out to be no fluke. It worked again and again. Joe nearly wept with joy, since it is he who dresses Theo in the morning most of the time.

It works with potty training. He normally wants to wear pullups, not underwear. But if I hold up two underwears, he has to pick one of those, and he is satisfied.

And it extends beyond clothing. It works with food and drinks. It works with which bedtime story we're going to read. It works with which toy he'll get at bathtime. It works with which teddy bear he'll sleep with. You simply give him a choice and he always does the "ummmmmmm" which just kills me, it's so adorable, and then he chooses.

Although I have to admit, my trick backfired on me the other day. I was sitting here at the computer, working, and he came in with two shirts. He performed our whole routine entirely on his own.

He held up the shirts and said. "This one or this one? This one. OK!" (I often say OK after he chooses.)
Then he put on one shirt and put the other back in his drawer. Fine, right? Except he continued to do this for the next half hour. He kept bringing two shirts, having the conversation without me, and changing shirts. At the end shirts were all over the floor.

Look Who's Helping

After 3.5 years, Theo is finally of some use to me. :)

We've always said he's an observer. So often we discover that he's watched us do something and we had no idea. For example, when I take a full garbage bag out of the garbage, I have other garbage bags below it already to make it easier to switch bags. The other day, I took the garbage bag out and brought it into the hall. When I came back, there was Theo with the new garbage bag trying to open it and lay it into the garbage! He needed help, but it was so cute that he knew to do it and was trying so hard.

He doesn't like getting help, and if he can do it on his own, he will. But when he realized he's having trouble, he'll succumb and ask for help then. This morning, I tried to help him open the still-sealed chocolate syrup. "I wando it!" he shouted. But seconds later..."hey mommy, help peese." He cracks me up.

We did laundry earlier and it's actually a great help the way he puts in the clothes. He has more energy than I do and he's j ust so happy to do it. Like I said, he's beginning to be useful. He'll be mopping and doing dishes in no time. Mwahahahahaha.

Look Who's Talking

As I sit here typing, Theo is fast asleep behind me, exhausted from a hard day of helping me with laundry, going shopping and of course, playing at the playground. I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the sentences he's been producing lately.

Up until recently, Theo would just name the thing he wanted. Mommy, milk! Mommy, bread! Cheese! He knew the phrases I want and Give me, but only used them when prompted. He also knew how to ask for more of something by simply saying the word "more."

Now suddenly, almost out of the blue, he seems to be putting all of these elements together. "Mommy, I want more cereal." Actually, he says, "hey mommy." It's really cute, he's been going through a phrase of prefacing things with hey. "Hey, mommy, hey daddy, hey Bruce..etc.

The other day, on Sunday morning, we were all lying in bed. Joe wanted to get Theo's attention to tell him something so he said, "Theo." Theo very unexpectedly replied, "Yes, daddy." I think our jaws both dropped! We looked at each other and then hugged the hell out of Theo. He has such a cute little voice to boot!

Yesterday, we were in PC Richard exchanging our vaccuum. Obviously, Theo got bored quickly. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard him say, "Hey mommy, I want to go, peese." He scrunched up his face and whined the words again. To validate what I'd heard, the sales guy said, does he want to go to the bathroom or leave? I laughed and said he wants to leave. I was so thrilled that someone else besides the biased mommy understood the very clear sentence! Theo said it again today in another store. He's very polite with his demands. I want to go, please. Hysterical.

In addition to the sentence structure, his vocabulary is expanding...I almost want to say rapidly. He's understanding and saying more than he ever has. It's getting to the point where we're having mini conversations. That may be exaggerating, but definitely little exchanges.

Some things he says:
"I don't want it"
"No thank you"
"Turn around"
"Move over"
"Get up"

And much, much more. I'm feeling pretty encouraged. I will be visiting school once he's back from spring break, and I'm hoping he talks there the way he does with me. I know school and the people who work with him get tons of credit, of course.

My next goal for him is to really understand stories I read to him. He still doesn't understand an actual story that's being told to him, he just points out some pictures in his books. It's great that he's picked up language he needs to function - as you can see from above, most of what he knows are commands, ways of expressing his needs. Now, I'd like for him to discover how much more there is to speaking, like hearing a story and understanding what's going on in it. Like I said, though, I'm encouraged, since this seems to be the natural progression of learning language.