Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Melody Rolled Over!

She turned from her back fully over to her belly today.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Visit to School

Theo's school had a Meet The Teacher day today. I had met Ms. C a couple of times, but briefly. Melody and I visited during Theo's lunch time, so it was just Ms. C and three other parents in the room. His class currently has just 6 kids! It was supposed to be 12. Leave it to the Board of Ed. to shortchange 6 kids who can really use a small class, but hey, their loss is Theo's gain. With a teacher and a para (assistant teacher), not to mention his therapists, he gets more attention than I'd ever have dreamed!

Ms. C is a lovely young woman with years of experience with special needs children. But she is teaching a regular Kindergarten curriculum and doesn't treat the kids any differently (meaning, she expects the same hard work), which I love. She's extremely patient and claims she doesn't get mad easily.

Theo is already ahead of the game, knowing his letters and numbers. Every day they do math, reading and writing, and he has all those things for homework every night. He has art and gym 3 times a week, and while unfortunately he doesn't have music class as I thought he would, they do plenty of singing in his class. He also has computer time and of course, a chance to play with blocks and play-doh and other fun things. They also have a station where they can listen to stories on headphones.

It was a thrill to meet the other parents and really get to talk and exchange email addresses. For some reason, that never happened in pre-school. This time around I plan to get involved with them. We all appreciated talking to a mom who'd been through all the tests and emotions that no one else can possibly relate to.

For example, I asked Ms. C for advice on how to get Theo to hold his pencil correctly, and the other moms all chimed in begging to know too! I was ecstatic to see I wasn't alone! (She had a great tip, they use their pointer and thumb to "pinch" and draw dots to serve as guides for where to put the fingers.)

These kids are going to have to take the same standardized tests as all the other kids when in upper grades, so the more he can absorb now in his little sponge stage, the better. I like Ms. C's system for learning to read and write. He's picked up writing very well so far.

My favorite thing that they do is have a few minutes every day where the kids are supposed to talk to each other. This is really important for these kids where social skills are an issue. Theo is getting to be a chatterbox at home, but he is still shy and quiet at school, especially with other kids. Partners are integrated into most of the activities throughout the day. Partners even read books together. Person A reads a page, then Person B, and so on. We're supposed to practice this at home, too.

The kids have jobs that rotate. Theo is door monitor this week. Which explains why he's been shutting our bedroom door every chance he gets and driving us nuts. The kids get fake dollars every time they follow a rule or do an extra good job on something. If they get 10 dollars they get a gold coin and a sticker. They lose dollars for breaking rules. It's a motivator that really works, she says.

They have a bunch of classic books that they are reading. Aunt Pia, Caps For Sale is one of them!! They are also writing a book of their own, together, as a class. The story is on giant paper! The kids are the characters and the drawings are of them, and at the end, when it's finished, they'll color it and "publish" it. The kids will take turns reading it to the class.

At the end of the conference, the kids returned from lunch with Ms. Rosa, the para. Theo teared up when I left. He didn't break down...he was just silently sad. My sweet, sensitive baby. He's doing just great. I'm so proud.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby Flower


Click to see more photos from my gathering with my mom group. These are Melody's friends!

Happiest Kindergartener On The Planet

This video of Theo on the first day of Kindergarten is the epitome of home-videoing. Daddy may be a whiz with a regular cam, but a video camera...not so much.
Look at how cute Theo is looking for the bus. You can tell he's not really paying attention to Joe because he's dying for the bus to get there.

No more character bookbags. It's all about being Mr. Cool.
A five-year-old can't fake that happiness.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Happy 3 Months Birthday, Melody!

At 3 months Melody weighs 13 lbs, 4 oz. She has almost doubled her birth weight. She has found her feet. She can roll to both sides from her back. Once there, she gets stuck and then frustrated. She's already pretty sturdy both in sitting and standing. Assisted, obviously.

She cracks up for no reason, and understands the cause and effect of making someone else smile when she smiles, and therefore smiles harder. She practices this especially when meeting new people.

Now that I'm back to work and working from home with her, she is starting to take 2 naps a day at 10:30 and 1:30. Her nighttime sleep is still far from routine. We've had 9 hour stretches, but this is rare. She usually needs a feeding at least once or twice a night.

Her hair is growing, and the color is always changing. Her eyes are still cobalt. Her cheeks are getting good and fat and rosy. Her thighs are chunky. Her feet are tiiiiiiny. I don't know if Theo's feet were this small even when he was born. He had those adorably long rabbit feet. (He still does. He's wearing a 13.5, the last kiddie size. His next shoes will be a big kid's size 1.)

We're now rotating the 3-6 month clothing into her wardrobe and figuring out what to do with all the stuff she's outgrown already. I like dressing her as a doll and as a tomboy, just as I do with myself.

I'm so in love! She looks at me like I'm GOD. But it is she who is my salvation.

Monday, September 01, 2008

What's Melody's Hair Doing?


Curling and getting lighter, it seems!

Up on the Balloon

Whoops! Never wrote about the balloon ride, did I? Central Park did balloon rides this summer. We had to get there at 7am, but it was worth it. I went with my little man while Joe and Melody waited on line for "Hair" tickets at the Delacorte.

I'd never seen Theo more excited about anything. He watched the balloon go up and down for two hours, and the anticipation mounted. He was so excited that he was a good boy while standing on line for the whole two hours, a tall order for a 5-year-old!

Up on the balloon.

Sometimes I love being a tourist in my own city.

The Beginning and the End

Happy Labor Day. Tomorrow is Theo's first day of kindergarten and my first day back to work.
I have to say, though, I had a kickass maternity leave. The other night at bedtime, when Theo makes up silly songs, he sang one about all the stuff he did this summer. He sang about going on a balloon, running the bases, walking the bridge, seeing the waterfall, and the boat ride. He's so sweet. He really takes it all in.

It's 5:57 AM and I've been blogging for over an hour. I finally had the chance and I took it! Besides, I couldn't get back to sleep after Melody's 3:30 feeding. But yawn, I'm going to try to snooze now. Good night (or good morning!).

Update, 6:03 AM. Never mind, someone is stirring. Who needs sleep, anyway? There are blue eyes to be looked at!

Ze Annual Coney Island Excursion

This was the best Coney Island trip yet! Along with the fun came a dash of melancholy--Theo was too big to ride his first ride! Here he is, July 4th , 2005 . (I started the blog in 2006).Theo's first ride--the fire trucks. This is one instance of pictures speaking louder. Joe and I both cried unexpectedly when we saw the look on his face. Little Theo (almost 3) just couldn't believe that something could be this great.

Before this year, I don't think I ever noticed that there were actually height maximums on some of the rides. And so he couldn't go on the flying swings either, which bummed him out. He did, however, have a couple of firsts. He went on the Tilt-A-Whirl with daddy and the Scrambler with me, both pretty wild rides for him. He was terrified and had the time of his life. The smile never left his face as he clung on for dear life. Theo's the only one I know who can be so scared and so happy simultaneously.

The same thing happened later, when I took him in the ocean. When we hit water where he could no longer stand, his arms gripped tightly around me. I held on to him with both arms, and if I lifted one to point to something, he said " No mommy, two hands, two hands!" But scared as he was, he didn't want to stop. He wanted to "swim" under the bridge and jump off the rocks into the water. I didn't plan on swimming and was fully clothed (the monkey had a suit on). But hey, it was my only ocean experience the whole summer, and I dried off in a jiffy--'twas a hot day. The water felt wonderful!! Theo got good and dirty afterward playing in the mud. Thank goodness for those boardwalk showers!

I had a moment yesterday. I was nursing Melody on the beach and watching Joe chase Theo around the playground, both of them laughing. I'd never been happier...like I said--I had a moment. :)

I'm so sad we didn't have a camera on this trip. We have pics from every year except this one. Check out the entry from 2 years ago...my comments about the frog ride are the same this year. I still wonder when he'll go on the Cyclone. I think it said you have to be 55 inches, and he's about 45" now (Which, btw, is the 95th percentile according to last week's doctor visit!).

As usual, Melody was a perfect baby the whole day, talking to us and laughing at us. She was amazingly alert and slept very little. She took it all in--she was wide eyed during the Cyclones game and on the long commute home.

In last year's Coney Island entry, I lamented that it was Astroland's final year. This turned out false, happily. The tradition will live on, and pretty soon Theo will be laughing at Melody for having to go on the baby rides. I'll be sad when he can't do the kiddie rides anymore. Not because it'll mean he's growing up. Kiddie rides are just a helluva lot cheaper.

Caught in the Act


I caught Theo on the floor wrapped up in his Spongebob blanket watching--you guessed it--Spongebob.

In the video he's singing "Best Day Ever," a song that plays during the credits. He can sing it bette r than this, but I just love watching him sing to himself when no one is around for him to "perform" for. He was just a sweet little boy singing along with Spongebob.

Goodbye Shea Stadium

Last Sunday, Melody saw her first and last Mets game at Shea, which will be only a memory next year as Citi Field takes its place as the new home of the brave. Theo got to run the bases after the game. By the time he ran across home plate, his smile was enormous! Joe thinks it's hilarious that he tried to run out on the field, as you can see from this video.

Tatis is the name of one of our players, and we thought it'd be funny to write his name there for obvious reasons.

We went to a Cyclones game last night at Coney Island for "Baby's First Ball Game" Night. I had sent this photo in before the game, and they flashed it on their big screen in between innings! Again, Theo got to run the bases, and this time--so did we! Melody was photographed "running" --maybe they'll put the photo on their website.

Melody and Her Friends

We bought a mobile to match Melody's crib, and it was a cool rain forest theme and did cool things, but she really wasn't very interested. We remembered how important Theo's mobile was to him, and so we went ahead and bought a similar one to his from Tiny Love. They make super stimulating stuff. Here's Melody talking to her friends, just as Theo always did.