Thursday, April 29, 2010

Third child

By the time Emmett was 5 months old, I had read "The Cat in the Hat" to him so many times I memorized it. "Where Does Maisy Live" was his first lift-the-flap book, and I remember him as he first reached towards the flaps, then gradually developed the ability to grab them and pull them open.

When Luke came along, I was busier, of course. By the time I pulled out "Where Does Maisy Live" for Luke, I think he was able to open the flaps pretty well as long as I held them open a little. He was probably 7-8 months old.

Now in the evenings when I'm reading to Emmett and Luke, Henry is sometimes in the room playing, and sometimes with David. Until recently, I hadn't been reading books just for him. I started reading "Where Does Maisy Live" just for Henry (he opens the flaps without any trouble). He loves it - the combination of flaps and animal sounds gets them every time.

Today after reading "Where Does Maisy Live" to him a couple of times, I gave the book to David so he'd read it while I read to Luke (Curious George, what else?). Henry eagerly followed David into another room. During the middle of my story Henry returned with his book, so while turning pages on Curious George, I read a page of Henry's book. This wasn't too satisfying for him, and David called to him from the other room. When he heard David, Henry immediately grabbed his book and toddled right across the hall and got to hear the story again.

Puffle rescue

Hard to believe I haven't blogged about this, but I checked a bit and couldn't find it so here it is.

Luke and Emmett play games on a website called ClubPenguin. It's a world where you are a penguin, you have an igloo, and you can adopt pets called Puffles - they look like little puff balls and come in many colors.

One of the games on the site is called Puffle Rescue. It's a frogger-like game, but with the penguin hopping on moving chunks of ice to rescue a stranded puffle. Everything starts pretty simple and slow, but it quickly speeds up and gets tough. Both Emmett and Luke play the game, but Luke is our resident expert.

When the game was first released, all I really knew was that Luke had started throwing huge fits about something that was going on with the computer. At first I told him that if he didn't enjoy the game, he just shouldn't play it. Then I realized that he was showing incredible persistence in trying to master this game, but he was just too young to deal with the frustrations of failing.

Unfortunately the game doesn't end until all of your penguins have fallen in the water, so every game eventually ends in failure. We worked around this in a few ways. I'd comfort him while he was upset, reminding him of how far he'd gotten and letting him know that he could try again. We started tracking the highest level he'd reached on the whiteboard and celebrating when he passed another. The fits gradually got shorter, and have now disappeared entirely. It may be because he's not trying to beat his record right now, but maybe (crossing fingers!) he's learned just a little bit about dealing with frustration. It feels kind of strange to be proud of my son for spending lots of time on a silly computer game, but I am.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Henry!

It was a busy day, but a great one. Henry was in a good mood all day, laughing, playing, and running around. I made cupcakes in the morning that wouldn't come out of my mini-cupcake trays, so I turned them into cake balls. We got some helium balloons that all of the boys had fun playing with. Henry punched them around the room, and this evening Emmett and Luke let them go up to the ceiling and then jumped from our bed to Henry's, grabbing the barely-reachable strings on the way.

I think Henry realized something was up today - for one thing, he got to eat chocolate covered cake balls! We tried to let him blow out his candle, but he just wanted to grab it. At bedtime he was really amped up - he wandered around the room, blew raspberries on my belly, unplugged the nightlight, bounced on the bed. It's been a great year, and things are only getting better.

Here's Henry playing with his balloons:
video

Friday, April 23, 2010

Snips and snails...

Today Luke grabbed a handful of mud and was chasing Amelia, the four year old next door. She wisely ran inside, but after just a few seconds came out again for another lap around the front yard, squealing the whole way.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Full time walker

In the past week, Henry has gone from a kid who makes many attempts at walking but mostly crawls for locomotion to a kid who mostly walks. Most of the transition happened while Oma and Opa were visiting - perfect timing!

What, me worry?

Emmett came out from his bed at 9:30pm tonight to talk about square roots and what happens when you toss sodium metal into water (fun!). After he returned, I went to make sure he was turning off his light and noticed that Luke's bed was empty. I had thought he was asleep in his bed, so I asked Emmett what was up.

"Where's Luke?"
"Not in." (?!?)
"Where did he go?"
"I don't know, I was reading Number Devil when he left."
(and you didn't think I should know that your brother disappeared an hour ago and hasn't returned?)

Luke had crept downstairs and fallen asleep on a mattress in the room where David was playing video games. He never said a word.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I posted a video

But since it wasn't in a new post, anyone who's using a feed-reader may not have been updated on that point. If you want to see the video, scroll down.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Recital - now with video!

It's hard to believe my kids are old enough to be having recitals, but here we are. Emmett had his first piano recital yesterday, in front of a packed room of about 120 people! He didn't show any signs of nerves, and I tried hard not to talk about it - do you have to learn to get nervous performing for a crowd? He's been taking piano for about 6 months, and I think he did pretty well. video

Monday, April 12, 2010

Walking

Henry is rapidly transitioning to walking. Just over the past few days, he's clearly spending more and more time on his feet, and walking for longer distances - up to 8 feet or so. He doesn't fall often, but he does like to let his knees drop out and sit down on his bottom whenever he feels unstable.

Bit by bit

At Saturday's ice skating lesson, Luke didn't use a walker! He fell down a lot, got up a lot, and marched around on the ice with his class. He's much more comfortable with the whole surroundings - he talks to his teacher, and last week he even talked to the substitute who taught his class!

Emmett's coming along too. He's been moving around without a walker for the entire session, so his progress has been more incremental. He's more comfortable and falling much less, and he's starting to glide some. This week he started learning to move backwards, just a little bit.

Next week is the last lesson of this set, but they both want to sign up for more.

Distractibility

Emmett has trouble staying focused while he's playing piano. Between songs he looks around, messes with his music books (that he doesn't need to touch, because so far he's not reading music, he's memorizing songs), makes odd noises with his mouth, runs his hands up and down the keys. Today I was listening to him practice and started looking at a book that was on the floor behind him. During the middle of a song he stopped playing and turned around to try to read over my shoulder. (For the record, this isn't the first time he's stopped during a song to stare off at something that caught his eye.)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Persistence

On Easter, we had an egg drop. Just 6 or so feet, but it's still surprisingly difficult to protect the egg. David and Luke had eggs that survived, Emmett and I broke ours. Emmett kept at it with two more designs but both failed.

This morning, he started making egg-protection-devices again. After losing an egg in the first and then dropping one egg on the floor during construction (difficult for all of us), he finally executed a design that kept his egg safe. He was thrilled. I'm glad he kept at it, and glad I put up with the mess long enough for him to succeed. He's already talking about how he saved 1 of 5 eggs, and next year he's going to try to save all 5.

And for lunch? Emmett ate his egg.

Sneaky!

Luke is excellent at hiding. Whenever we're heading off to my room, either to change a diaper or put on pjs, he runs in ahead of me and hides under the blanket. Over time he's learned to lie flat on the bed, and he can be surprisingly hard to find under our puffy feather blanket. I usually flop down on it and squish him. The giggles give him away.

Our neighbor reported a remarkable hiding feat that happened at her house - the kids were playing hide and seek, and Luke hid under a pile of blankets in the living room for 10 minutes or so while the kids had no idea where he was! I'm amazed that he stayed hidden for so long. He really "gets" hiding.

Speaking of hiding, Luke's been hiding while we're shopping and that causes some problems! I taught him how the game Marco Polo works, and now while we're shopping if I call out "Marco" he'll reply with "Polo" so I can find him. Sometimes he's further away than I'd like, but at least I know where he is.

Games that *are* fun!

If Henry sees so much as an inch of my belly, he'll lean in and blow a raspberry! He's getting quite good at it. It happens most often as we wake up in the morning - Luke will come over to snuggle and then they take turns blowing raspberries on my belly. Emmett occasionally joins in as well.