Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nate Sure Likes His Train

It was like Christmas* all over again at our house last weekend in an effort to get Nate and Seth some new challenging and fun toys since they've gone pro and then some with all of the learning type toys they already had. They are especially good at sorting shapes, so I found a more complex shape sorter with at least a few shapes they were not already familiar with, a puzzle board with latches and a groovy train with shapes that can be stacked in endless and inventive ways.

The complex shape sorter? Already mastered.

The puzzle board with latches? They solved 4/6 on the first day. It's a toy meant for 3 years and up (although product reviews indicated it was fun for toddlers as young as 14-18 months). In hindsight however this was probably a huge mistake since it's basically teaching them how to get into stuff. You know, as though they need lessons for that. *sigh*

But the train. The TRAIN! It's a hit with Nate in a huge way.

– 'Dis my train everyone! 

– Hey Seth, wanna play with my train? 

– I will share it with you as long as you know 'dis my train. 

– Oh boy! I love 'dis train!

Seth is a little more take-it-or-leave-it with the train so he wandered off in search of something that would pique his interest. 

Only to find himself reunited with his first love once again. 

Nate might have his train, but Seth's bucket never gets old. 

•   •   •   •   •

Mommy note: The last time I posted about the boys sitting unassisted was shortly after our 9 month visit with the pediatrician where I mentioned that sitting unassisted is a major 9 month developmental milestone and it was an update to say that Seth decided sitting was a cool thing to do after all. This was about 2 weeks after our appointment and he's been sitting like a champ ever since.

Nate was still strongly in the "sitting is for suckers" camp at the time, and has remained steadfast on this point. He was pulling himself up to a standing position and liberally cruising, but no sitting. Playtime was strictly tummy time style and that didn't change until shortly after the boys celebrated their first birthday. Then Nate decided maybe kneeling would be alright.

I'm sure if you aren't Nate's mommy (or you haven't heard me mention my concern over this) you probably haven't even noticed anything was up – and while I'm not laying-awake-at-night-worried about it (yet) I made a point of following up with the pediatrician at our 12 month visit. Nate not only has some pretty malleable joints, but he was restricted enough in utero that he was born with fairly significant plagiocephaly as well as torticollis and I was concerned that his inability to sit up was physiological in nature. Even with support, he will often list to one side in his highchair for example (or squirm and cry until he finds a comfy slouchy pose).

Our pediatrician checked him over, particularly for a spine curvature (scoliosis) and didn't see anything that would indicate an obvious physical impediment. Nate was happy to show off his new kneeling pose and so she was able to note the "W" formation that his legs make when he kneels. It's not an uncommon thing for kids to do, but she did encourage me to get him to sit on his bum as much as possible.

As though I hadn't already been doing that.

We've continued to work on it without much success. Exactly once I was able to distract Nate sufficiently that he sat for about 45 seconds before he'd had enough. The rest of the time he simply flips over onto his tummy and crawls off.

All this to say, I was pretty surprised yesterday when Nate sat in his bath for the first time without support. Although afterwards I realized it was probably because we were having a fun time splashing and he was distracted enough he was tolerating it. Or he just didn't notice.

Because, of course, in lieu of a physical problem the next most obvious answer is that Nate doesn't sit on his bum because Nate doesn't want to sit on his bum. And knowing Nate, I could kind of buy that actually – but the truth is we just don't have an answer right now. He's a very physically capable little guy in all other regards.

And today he surprised me yet again.

I've seen this pose before, but not often and only recently. It's the half-kneel with one leg out at the side: 

But then he brought that leg around into what looks like a pretty comfy sitting pose and he sat and played that way for quite some time: 

I realize the rest of that pose looks a little painful (very painful?) and I'm not really sure how he managed it (it looked worse in person), but he was comfy and happy. And me? I'm feeling encouraged for the first time in a long time that this might just sort itself out after all.

Go Nate! 

- L. 

*The title of this post was lifted from a song off a fun new album I ordered for the guys which happened to arrive just this week – along with their new GAP pajamas (Pirates! Monsters! Yay!) and a few other things as well. It really was like Christmas all over again. If you're looking for some adult-friendly songs for kids that won't make your ears bleed I highly recommend our new hip jams from Leslie Bixler, collaborating with Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and featuring Dick Van Dyke (doing some funk-rap no less). Their album, Rhythm Train, is the awesome.

I had "Cole's Train" in my head all day watching Nate loving his new train. Go check it out!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New: Cute, Cozy Hats. Not New: Shenanigans.

I'm a sucker for a fundraiser that offers hats in exchange for donations because if there's one thing we're short on over here (other than sandwiches) it's hats.

So... new hats! Yay! Otherwise it's shenanigans as usual. 

The bookshelf (any bookshelf actually) is always an immediate lure, hats or no hats. My boys love a good book. Or more accurately, "booh!" if you want to be precise. 

But they soon got sidetracked by the Haba walker wagon. Not the best shot since Nate's eyes are being blocked by the handle, but I wanted to show this one anyway.

Is it just me, or can you kind of picture this same scene under the hood of a first car someday? 

– What make 'dis thing go everyone? It move all the way across the room somehow and I needs to figure 'dis out! 

– Psst. Hi everyone. Is me Seth! I is using my whisper voice so "shhhh"! You not need to say "hi". I know you is there. Now pipe down everyone before Nate hear you! You know how that guy is sometimes stealing my stuff? Well, I come up with fancy bait and switch plan. Here goes! 

– Look Nate, a mouse! Is mine, but you can has it.

*scurry* *scurry* *scurry* 

– Oh darns. It not work. He find me anyway. I think I needs to work on my scurry everone.

And speaking of working on stuff... 

The Playstation remote that Nate unearthed wasn't very helpful as it turned out (at least not for the TV*). 

... but he had no trouble finding the "on" button on the TV the old-fashioned way. For the record, the TV is not something they technically know about. I think the last time it was on was around the time I could tell they were aware of it and it's been officially "off" every since. For what it's worth, he wasn't actually interested in watching TV – he just liked pressing the button. Over and over and over again.

Seth, on the other hand, was busy muscling onto the complete works of Shakespeare in the background. Talk about a "booh!".

And now for the shenanigans... 

If you can't actually hear the gears turning over in this pic, it's probably time to turn up your hearing aid. Plans are about to be afoot. 

Hey guys, what's going on over there? 


Well, it's nice to see you sharing I suppose. 

And if you're having a hard time seeing the mischief-making in these faces, it's time to book an appointment with the optometrist pronto. Once you're done fiddling with your hearing aid that is.

It was pretty much downhill shenanigans all the way at this point and definitely time to put the camera down. So I did.

- L.

*Why yes, that is an inch of dust on the TV. If you could all pretend you didn't notice it, that would be much appreciated.

Friday, March 25, 2011

If You Have Sandwiches, Now Would Be A Good Time To Send Them

A mommy confession: a few nights before I took pics of the guys in their workout gear, I had put Seth in just a pair of the pants and let him run around the nursery shirtless*. He looked like such a little dude cruising around that evening and after going on and on about it later to my mom I told her I'd take some pics.

Which I did – but we'll get to that in a minute.

The thing is, we all already know Seth is a skinny guy – and for that matter so is Nate. I've been meaning for some time now to post my boys' height/weight stats from their 1 year check-up and this at least seems like a relevant post, so here are the particulars:

Nate: 20.5 lbs. (9.30 kg.) | 30 in. (76 cm.)

Seth: 18.75 lbs. (8.5 kg.) | 30 in. (76 cm.)

This is the biggest disparity in weight they've ever had, but they are once again exactly the same height so Seth was clearly spending his time growing vertically even more than usual. Nate is somewhere over the 25th percentile, but that was about as specific as the pediatrician got, and by the time she was entering Seth's stats into the computer we'd already been there going on two hours and I think we were all pretty weary at that point so I forgot to ask. I have a feeling he may have dipped below the 10th percentile at this point though.

Call it a hunch.

For the record, this is what I see when I look at Seth sans shirt: 

See what I mean? Such a little dude! I think he looks ready to do a few rounds in the ring in this pic.

So I kept clicking. 

This is Skinny standing next to Slim. Hmm... looking a little bony in the shoulders there, but I think the camera/lighting is creating some extra shadows or something. Isn't the camera supposed to add weight?

Here's Nate letting it all hang out – and even at that you can see his ribs pretty clearly – but I bet you didn't even notice because you were too busy getting your eyes poked out from the bones on that poor starving child in the background. At the time, I didn't happen to have a sandwich handy, so I kept on with the clicking.

And then things got... interesting?

I never imagined what Seth might look like if he went out of his way to look as skinny as possible – and you don't have to, because here's what it looks like: 

That's Seth on tippy-toes, sucking in his tummy, trying to figure out if he can reach what his little eyes have spied on top of the cabinet**.

And just when I was about to race out to the kitchen to make an entire tray of sandwiches, he did this and I nearly dropped the camera: 

Oy. So much for my shadows and light theory.

So uhmmm... yeah. Send sandwiches. As many as you can spare. We'll be waiting.


- L.

* Half-nakey (AKA "fakey-nakey") is our compromise to what was formerly known as Nakey Time. I was forced to revisit our nakey policy at The Oddest Prime after an incident that was as epic as it was gross. If you're not sure what I'm getting at, the phrase, "he was molding it like potter's clay" (which were words that actually came out of my mouth after the incident) should be enough to steer you in the right direction.

** What Seth spied were some Goldfish crackers. Just to be clear, that is my starving child you've just witnessed attempting to reach for food as though his life depends on it. If only a serving of mommy-guilt was high in calories, I would have shared it with him. Instead we had crackers. Lots of crackers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Working Out With Nate And Seth

Early last fall my mom (AKA Gamma Rita) found a pair of cute track suits on sale at The Children's Place and the deal was just too good to pass up – I believe she bought all 4 pieces for under $12. It really was a steal since TCP had the same track suits back in stock for winter at full price retailing close to $40 for the exact same items. The only caveat was that the smallest size the bargain outfits were available in were size 18 months, but that didn't seem ridiculous since Nate and Seth were already well into 12 month sizes last fall.

Then again, infant/children's clothing sizes have never really made sense. There was a day not long after the suits arrived that wasn't cool enough for jackets, but cool enough for a sweater so I tried the sweatshirts on my babies and let them float about in them while we ran a few errands. Since they were clearly too big I folded them up once we got home and stuck them in the "clothes for later" pile.

This week I went on a bit of a spree cleaning out the boys' closet. Said closet had gotten rather unruly and I knew there were definitely things in there that no longer fit – mostly pants as it turned out since Nate and Seth are bent on growing vertically as much as possible.

Of course, while culling the wares I came across the track suits. They had gotten so buried I had completely forgotten about them. I had a moment of panic thinking, "what if they don't fit?" but then I unfolded them and (again) acknowledged that children's clothing sizes make no sense because I had a pretty good feeling they would fit just fine.

And they did.

So without further ado, enjoy your master class on working out Nate and Seth style. Hope you have your water bottle handy! 

– I is here ready to start 'dis workout. What is you doing Nate?
– I is warming up with some stretches. Is important to stretch before workout. 

– OK everyone! I is all warmed up now. Let's get down to stacking things! If you isn't a blur doing this exercise then you is not getting maximum benefit.
– I is on it Nate! 'Dis blurry enough for you?
– Oh, you got it Seth! That is good amount of blur. 

– I is going to keep on with the stacking, but if you finding you is exerting yourself too hard then is good idea to tone down your workout with a little light reading. Otherwise, try to keep up everyone! You know you is doing it right if tongue is hanging out side of mouth.
– I still manage to be blur with light reading, but you doesn't need to work even 'dis hard if workout too hard for you. Sitting still and reading is also option. Remember to breathe and stay hydrated everyone! 

– OK. I move onto cool down part of workout now, but 'dis not time to slack off. Make no mistake everyone – we is still working hard, but dropping the intensities down just a bit. Is time to taper off the stacking and be working on the nesting now. These blocks is multi-purpose workout tool.

Is still a challenge though. And if you doesn't get it right the first time, keep going everyone! 

– 'Dis exercise get easier the more you do it. 

– Even if your brother photobomb you the moment you achieve the success. *sigh*
– Hi everyone! Is me, Seth! I is trying to get your attention! 

– 'Dis my cool-down routine after light reading part of workout. Step one: find mommy. Step two: look adorable so she put down camera. Step three: commence cuddling.

'Dis my favorite part of workout. It not even feel like exercise! 

– I hope you enjoy our fitness class everyone.
– Me too! And don't forget – take time to keep cooling down with some light activities.
– Like sorting through your workout equipment.
– And looking for missing pieces.
– Oh, there is always missing pieces!
– I know it Nate. Maybe we need to stop hiding stuff so good.
– 'Dis foods for thought, Seth.
– Speaking of foods... 

– ... all 'dis working out make me hungry, Nate.
– Oh, me too. Good thing gym equipment also double as tasty snack. *nom* *nom* *nom* 

•   •   •   •   •

Mommy note to Gamma Rita: I don't think you need to worry about Nate and Seth outgrowing their track suits any time soon. It's been 8 months since you sent these and there is still ample floating room – especially if they keep up with these strenuous workouts. Maybe send a sandwich next time.

- L.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Blueberries Revisited

You might recall from a previous post that blueberries made it all the way to the #1 spot when it comes to stinkeroo foods (even over the 3 P's – peaches, peas and peanut butter).

Don't ask what possessed me to revisit blueberries today. It's possible I'm delirious with sickness right now, but it's more likely I just needed some entertainment since we haven't been out of the house in almost two weeks and blueberries seemed like just the ticket.

After all was said and done, it's pretty clear that blueberries have moved down the charts some since last time, but I think I can still safely say they're still not a crowd pleaser. I can also safely say that the results were not what I expected.

Nate's take on blueberries (Part II): 

Checking out the goods.

Sampling the wares. 

Taking a better look. Love the lip stain! 

Hope you're not squeamish, because... too late! This is what Nate did with every single berry – he'd put it in his mouth, make a vague chewing motion and spit out whatever was left over. Mmmm... 

– Oh no, is they all gone mommy? 

Sorry little guy, they're all gone. Blueberries went bye-bye. Mostly all over your pants. And the floor.

And now, Seth's take on blueberries (Part II):

*I apologize in advance for the big chunk of avocado stuck to his face in every shot. I meant to just take one picture of that because it was sort of cute but then I got distracted by his maneuvers with the blueberries and forgot to pick it off. 

First, the analysis. 

Followed by the tentative pick up. 

And the deliberate put down. 

Six times.

(Not shown: Seth taking the time to lick each and every berry before banishing them from his plate. I really need to learn to hit record. It was pretty priceless.)

Things I learned about blueberries today:

1.) Black was definitely a good color choice for shirts, but I forgot to consider the pants. As a result, tips on getting rid of blueberry stains from light grey fleece will be much appreciated in comments.

2.) This is not an indoor food. The next time blueberries will be on the menu: Summertime. It's when they're in season and it's warm enough no one needs to be wearing more than a diaper, even outside (preferably near a hose). Six blueberries apiece made more mess than I ever could have imagined.

- L.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day Everyone!

... from the OP's resident leprechauns!

Just for the record, I don't know why Seth looks like he's sporting a green beard in this photo. It's probably a leprechaun thing since only the camera was able to pick it up – either that or his green shirt is reflecting off his very drooly chin. Except that's some pretty uniform drool if that's the case. Hmmm... now I'm back to thinking leprechaun. 

– 'Dis not what it look like everyone! 

Also for the record we have (diluted) juice in the afternoon now, especially while everyone is still sick, and I have to tell you Nate and his bottle are pretty inseparable. I hate playing into negative Irish sterotypes, but when he's clinging onto furniture for balance and stumbling around with a bottle in his mouth it makes me laugh and I have been known to call him "my little drunkard". 

Seth decided this corner of the nursery looked entirely too fun, so he decided to get in on the action too. And yes, he is sporting a new injury. From all the late-night brawling of course. Or perhaps a run-in with the edge of the bookshelf. Either way, it's totally from doing tough guy stuff!

If these two don't look like they're conspiring to get up to no-good then I don't know who does. It's surprising I don't get more shots like these because I see this look a lot

Finally we moved onto other things that were less about conspiring and more about entertainment. I know it looks like Seth is waving at you, but he's actually in the middle of his latest trick. 

I have a game I sometimes play with my boys called "stuff on your head" where, you know, I put stuff on their heads and see how long it takes them to notice and/or remove said stuff. It's quality entertainment, I assure you.

Long story short, Seth got a little inspired after I put stuff on Nate's head and decided he'd put stuff on his own head instead. In retrospect, I really wish I'd hit record instead of taking photos, but you get the idea. 

– I's putting stuff on my own head. Is it on yet, everyone? 

– How 'bout now?

- L.