Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Sport of Theo-Spoiling

As I sit at my desk typing this, Theo is squeezed on to my chair next to me, as he often is when I'm working on the computer.
He's such a little sweetie.

Theo has had an eventful last couple of days. On Friday night we had a burrito night at our place. Attendees included Aunt Lisa, Marcail, Katie, and Billy. Given that crowd, suffice it to say Theo was spoooiiiiiiiled. I love how much my friends adore my boy. A couple of them (cough, cough, Katie) come just to see him and then remember I live there too.

Yesterday we met up with Aunt Pia in Central Park and gave her a mini tour. He greeted her with a hug and a kiss. We took him on the carousel -- "black horse, I want black horse" and his face when we started moving was priceless. A huge smile that grew as he went faster and higher. Aunt Pia bought him both ices and ice cream. We walked a good couple of miles and Theo more than kept up his energy the whole time. Amazing what strength a kid can muster up at a park!

Inside the park we visited a little playground, but it was a quick stay because Aunt Pia needed to get back to the construction going on in Brooklyn. I tried to get Theo to leave after only a few trips down the slide, but he wasn't having it. And so I told him, "Pia needs to go to Nonny and Aunt Donny's house." He immediately left the slide and came with us obediently. I had the feeling that he thought I meant WE were going to see them. Later, when we said goodbye at the train, Theo asked for Aunt Donny, and so my theory proved true. On the way home I said we were going to see Bruce and Maow, and he started to whimper. "No BruceMaow. NonnyDonnnny!"

Aunt Pia is a faithful reader of this blog, as is Marcail, and so I'm thrilled they both got to witness the Theo progress I've been writing about. Right now it's Sunday morning and he hasn't stopped talking for an hour and a half. Mommy, I want tape! Mommy, I want cereal! Mommy, look, train! Etc..etc...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lunch Date

I took Theo to Wendys for lunch and ordered a frosty ( which is not quite ice cream, and not quite a milkshake, it's somewhere in between) and two orders of chicken nuggets. For years I have done the gross act of dipping my nuggets in the frosty, and it was time to introduce it to Theo.

Theo is 3 and he's a boy. What's not to love about dipping chicken into ice cream? Or dipping anything into ice cream for that matter.

Theo watched me dip my nugget into the frosty and eat it. He immediately followed suit. I was beaming with pride. Until I noticed that on his next bite, he went back to dipping with barbecue sauce. Gasp! The fiend! The traitor! He rejected my methods! He joined the long list of people who find my combination of chicken and ice cream to be inappropriate. Harumph.

Family Movie Night

Before you read this, make sure you read the post below about Maow and her toy.

Last night, we went to the local movie theatre to see Shrek 3. It was family movie night - Joe, Theo, Clay, and me.
When we arrived at the theatre, Theo remembered that this is where we got that Spongebob toy. I bought him another one from the machine, and told him he could play with it now and give it to Maow when we got home.

During the movie he dropped the toy a few times, and every time he said, "Maow BunBob!" One of us had to dig for it in the dark since he wouldn't watch the movie quietly without the toy in his hand. Later, when we got home, Theo sweetly handed the toy to Maow. She immediately went to town on it.

A note re: Shrek. Most of you know my obsession with Antonio Banderas. He does the voice of Puss 'N Boots, the cat in Shrek. Theo made his mommy proud last night; the cat was his favorite character. As a matter of fact, whenever the cat WASN'T on screen, Theo scrunched up his face and said, "Where cat?"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Whose Toy is it Anyway?

A few months ago, at the local movie theatre, I bought Theo a little toy for 25 cents at one of those toy-dispensing machines. It was a small, squishy, yellow Spongebob ball. Theo played with it for about five seconds and then lost interest. Like so many other things, it ended up on the floor in our apartment.

Pretty soon, Maow discovered the Spongebob toy. She chased it, she swiped it, she carried it around in her mouth -- it was her instant lovey. Weeks ago, I watched in horror as Joe tried to throw it away; not Maow's beloved toy! He would never dare now. She has thoroughly staked her claim on it.

Recently, Theo saw Maow happily playing with her soft little ball, and he said, "No, Maow! My BuhBob!" He bent down and grabbed it, leaving my poor kitty crestfallen. We laughed and told Theo that this had been Maow's ball for quite some time now, and that he hadn''t wanted it. (You'd be surprised at just how often we take the cats' side over his.)

And so Spongebob remains under the table, not so bright and yellow anymore, but loved and cherished in this household.

Friday, May 18, 2007

My Day At School

I love going to visit Theo at school. Every time I go they are doing something so marvelously fun I wish I could be 3 again.
This morning, I took Theo to his school bus and then met him at school a little while later. It was my first "have to go back home for toy" experience. While waiting for the bus, Theo said, "bus is home." He was referring to the little toy bus he takes with him every morning, and he suddenly got very sad when he realized he didn't have it. Not wanting to miss the real bus, I tried to distract him and get him to sing the alphabet song. It was the most depressing rendition I've ever heard. He sang it, but with a sour face and a sad voice. So of course, we went back upstairs and he found his bus. He was the happiest kid in the universe after that.

I got to school and met for about a half hour with Christa, a social worker with whom I keep in contact on a regular basis. We discussed Theo's progress, and both had good things to report. Little to no hitting, more speech, etc.

After, Christa took me down to Grace's classroom, where they were singing their daily songs. I know these songs pretty well because Theo comes home and sings them to me. I walked in, and he looked up with a big smile and said, "Hi Mommy!" I sat on the other side of the room from him, and every few minutes he looked over at me and gave me a "what are you doing here?" glance.

I was happy to see Theo participating in the songs much more than the last time I was there. He was also participating in their discussion of caterpillars. May is bug month (every month has a theme). They have caterpillars in the classroom, and they're going to watch them spin cocoons and turn into butterflies over the next weeks. I used to collect caterpillars as a kid and do the same thing in my room! The kids loved looking at them with a magnifying glass.

Overall, Theo was much more verbal throughout the day than I expected. Certainly more than last time, which was a couple of weeks ago. He still was pretty behind the other kids. They were more comprehensive and interested in the discussions and songs. Theo kind of just followed along. After they sang a song about ants, they did a project where they make ants by dipping their thumb in black paint, making three circles on green paper, and then drawing in legs with a marker. Theo actually did a pretty good job once he got the hang of it, I was proud of him. But he didn't get that he was making ants. I'm pretty sure he would have if it had been a one on one lesson; for him, it's just a lot of information to take in with so many people around at once.

After the art project, it was time for free play. There are stations set up around the room - blocks, kitchen, table toys, etc.. Each station has room for three kids. Theo wanted to play blocks, but it was already full with three kids. He then did something unusal for him - he started to cry. He cried and kept saying, "I want blocks, I want play blocks," with tears streaming down his face. Grace and the TAs were shocked. They'd never seen this before. Normally if something is full he just goes to something else. We figured it was because I was there. I was actually glad it happened, I was glad they got to see that side of him. After all, tantrums are "normal" kid behavior. Although, at home he doesn't cry when he doesn't get what he wants. He gets mad and whines or yells, but today at school he grew really upset. I guess he was overwhelmed. Luckily, at that point Lee, the physical therapist, came in to take him upstairs for their session. He was still crying, and said "mommy, come" and pulled me out with him. Again, this was surprising to Grace, Lee, and the TAs. You see, he never asserts himself at school. He doesn't tell them what he wants. And with me there, suddenly he was making demands all over the place. Later, during lunch, he asked me for a drink. He never asks them for a drink. He waits for them to initiate. So I'm really glad they got to see him be a bit more like he is at home, so they know I'm not crazy. I was touched to see Grace watching him, I could tell from the look on her face that she was genuinely happy with what she was seeing.

I always enjoy watching Theo's physical therapy sessions with Lee. He is really doing well with her. He's mastered his trike, he knows how to do alll the different he did the monkey swing, where he goes up a ramp, catches a swing, and then swings to knock down a block of his choosing. He also set up a balance trail made out of velcro blocks, where he'd walk across and pick up a turtle or a frog. He did great, not just in the physical part, but in his understanding of the activities. I was very proud of him today.

I came on a good day - a boy in his class had a birthday party. Paul turned 5. When I asked Theo whose birthday it was, he said "Paul." And he knew how old he was. He was so excited, along with the other kids, to have cake ( a little too excited -- he tried to blow out Paul's candle.)

Another thing that struck me was Theo's interest in the two children who were not in school today. Every day, Grace goes over who is in school and who isn't. The kids are so cute, they're all very concerned if someone is sick. And Theo, throughout the day, told me, "Kaseem not here" or "Tayang not here" with that serious, scrunched up face he makes. I love the awareness he has of his classmates.

I discussed mostly the good things I observed today. There were certainly some negative things, but overall I'm pleased with the progress he is making in school. I can see why he loves it there so much, they have a total blast. They end the day putting on music and dancing, and then each kid gets a special goodbye song sung to him by the class while he spins around a pole and runs out to get his jacket from his cubby.

All I know is, the last time I left his school I was very depressed. I didn't blog about it, I couldn't bring myself to. But my spirits were lifted after today. When I went a few weeks ago it was just after spring break. I guess he had to get back into his groove.

Ooh, ooh! For the first time I saw Theo use a urinal. My big man!

I'll end by mentioning something cute. Grace had the class sing a song about the days of the week, and told them that first they would sing it in a whisper and then they would sing it loud. Well, as they sang it in a whisper, Theo wore a silly smile, full of anticipation. Then, when they started singing loud, he CRACKED UP. He thought it was the most hysterical thing!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dirty, Yucky Feet

Theo and I were playing just now, and he pointed to the bottom of my feet and said, "Mommmmy, diiiirty! Yucky!" And of course, I laughed, so now he won't let me forget it. He continues to inform me of my uncleanliness.

A.M. Cuddles

For the past few weeks Theo has been waking up at around 6 A.M. and coming into our bed. He gets between us and wraps his arms and legs around me as if he can't possibly be close enough. He looks at me with wide eyes and an enormous smile, and peacefully falls back asleep.

It's come to be my daily dose of Theo love. It's positively overwhelming. I know I've done something right if this tiny person loves me and needs me so. And it's a daily reminder of my responsibility. He's so small and is dependent on us entirely. One day he won't be, so I need to do right by him as much as I can, while I still can.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Grandma Ice Cream's piano lesson

This is a video my mom took with her new camera. Of course, she had to spend a lot of time filming my mess of an apartment. But listen to Theo sing up to 18 in a squeaky voice. It's hysterical!

More Cute Stuff

Lately, when Theo gets out of the bath, he puts his three favorite bath toys on the edge of the tub before exiting. His fish, his boat, and his frog. Somehow he manages to carefully get out without knocking them over. I think that because he is getting out of the bath, he thinks they need to get out, too.

Theo helped me with laundry today. How can he be SO excited about putting the damn quarters in the damn machine? You know how you put the quarters in the slots and then push the whole thing in after? Well, out of habit I pushed the thing in after he put in the quarters. He cried for at least 15 minutes. He had wanted to do it himself. In fact, he had his heart set on it. But he was happy after he got to put the clothes in the dryer and put those quarters in. Now, if only he knew how to fold and put clothes away.

On the elevator, Theo always knows whether to press 5 or 1. This is something I screw up all the time, especially in the morning. I'll be on my floor, press 5, and wonder why we're not moving. But he gets it right every time. He even knows that when we're bringing a laundry bag down, he should press C.

And last, but not least, Theo's current snack fancy is mayonnaise on wheat bread. They even each other out, right? Right?

Happy Mothers' Day

Or is it Happy Mother's Day? Are we saluting individual mothers or mothers as a whole?

Yesterday, I had the honor of spending the day with the reason I got to celebrate this day and his daddy. We went to Blockheads, a Mexican restaurant, and then to Central Park. At Blockheads, we decided that Theo would rather have rice and beans than nugget-type stuff from the kids' menu. Sure enough, he devoured the food on his plate. We were so proud of our healthy little guy!

There's a giant slide at Central Park, and we watched him go down. OK, I went down too, but only once.

We got to spend some good grandma time on Friday and Saturday. And Theo made me a laminated handprint at school, and signed his name, which was the most precious part.

I still find it hard to believe that I'm part of the ring of moms that gets a holiday once a year!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Quick Piece of Cuteness For Ya

Last night Theo got out of his bath and said, "bye bye bubbles!"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More On My Talker

Everyone said that once he starts talking, he won't shut up. I hoped and prayed for that to be true. Well, we may not be discussing philosophy yet, but he doesn't shut up and we do have mini conversatons. From the second he wakes up and tells me he wants to eat or drink, to the moment he goes to bed and demands to read "David Goes to School" for the sixtieth time, he yaps away. Or at least at home, he does. In school, not so much, but for now it's enough to know he's capable.

I've come to really cherish some of his little sayings. For example, he calls gummy bears teddy bears. Or if he wants to do something himself, he says, "I want Theo's turn!" This has become a frequent phrase because he won't let me help him do anything. He has to pour his own milk, open the elevator door, push the button, zip his jacket, etc... Sometimes he'll also say "I wan'do it!"

He's getting really good with possessives. He'll grab my cell phone and go, "this is mommy's phone." Then take Joe's and say, "this is daddy's phone." Then he'll take my phone and shove it in my pocket and say "put in pocket, mommy."

He's still a little fuzzy with pronouns, often referring to himself as Theo. "This is Theo's hat." But it's pretty adorable. And he occasionally does say "my" or "me." When he wants help, he says "help you, peese." I guess it's because I say, "do you want me to help you?" I remember when Max was little he used to say "pick you up" when he wanted to be picked up. It's fascinating to watch someone learn language, as someone who has such a love for the English language. It's a constant evolution. Now when he sees his brother he says "Clay" instead of "pay" and when we see Mr. Softee he demands "ice cweam" instead of i-peen.

Aw, Theo just came over and kissed my shoulder! I'll end on that happy note.

Happy Anniversary Blog

Actually, it was in April...we missed it. Oh well. Anyway, this blog has been going for over a year now. Wahoo!

This afternoon we went to the park, and there's a little tunnel there that Theo's been crawling through since he was a baby. It's been interesting to watch the evolution of how he handles it if a kid is already in there. I've seen him do nothing and wait for the kid to leave, I've seen him shove past the kid, I've seen him hit the kid, I've seen him whine...

Well, guess what he did today? He said, "Scoose me, peese." And the kid moved.

Weekend in Ringwood

This weekend we went to Ringwood to stay with Grandma Popcorn, Jodi, and the boys. My nephews have gotten so big! We hadn't seen them since before we went to France. Max, though, is still little. Theo is finally taller than he is. But Theo still looks up to him as a little idol. We went to the mall with Grandma Popcorn and Max, and Theo was Max's little shadow. He followed him around and copied everything he did. When Max through a coin in the fountain, Theo threw a coin in the fountain. Max may be small in size but he's become such a big boy in every other way!

We went to Old Navy and Grandma spoiled Theo with a bunch of summer clothes. Max and Theo got matching baseball hats and sandals, too. They wear the same size in everything!

On Saturday morning we watched Ethan's little league baseball game, where they don't keep score and when you're out you still get to run the bases. It was adorable. Ethan's a star player; he hit 2 grand slams this season. Later that day, we saw Alexander's team play. Since the kids are older, it's more of a real game. He can really hit.

This is the first time we visited the family since Theo has really been talking. He didn't stop talking all weekend. I want this, I want that. And he held his own, playing with his cousins. If they took a toy he'd yell "Stop, Ethaaaan!" and things like that.

Jodi has a new puppy, Bo. He's a 2 month old chocolate labrador. He is the cutest thing. We all fell in love, especially Clay. There's nothing like a puppy. And he gets along with Brandy, the other dog, and the 7 cats. Theo seemed to like Bo at first, but by the end of the weekend he was pretty scared of him, since Bo is teething and kept trying to bite Theo's crotch.

The new house in Ringwood is fantastic. I took a walk in the woods and sat by the creek, on a rock, watching the water flow for the longest time. It made me miss my own Alleypond park. Anyway, Theo loved running through the woods, he had a goofy smile on his face. He also is enthralled by both the Mario pinball game in the basement and the pool table. Whenever we played pool he picked a ball and asked for it throughout the game. "I want number four. Number foooooour!" I just love how much he's talking. It's really exciting.