Thursday, March 27, 2008

"A Is For a Crocodile".

Lately, David has been into the alphabet and numbers. He asks me to write them on our driveway with a chock almost every day. He looks through the books and spells words randomly. He spells the words just about everywhere : on the microwave, the hospital wall, packaging, you name it. David's been tracing the letters and numbers in the books for weeks now. I love it as much as he does because it allows me a few minutes alone with Julia, clean or cook.
The other day, as I was playing with Julia while David was quietly working at his table, I heard "Mama, look A!". I walked to his table and saw this.

I couldn't believe my eyes. I know, I know, there might be 3 year olds who write novels at this age, but I am very proud of David's accomplishment even if he still thinks that "A" is for a crocodile (alligators, crocodiles, don't they look similar?). Since that day, he's written a letter "A" and other letters multiple times.
It's been an amazing few days as far as David is concerned. I know I am going to jinx it by blogging about this. I was hoping that a miracle happens once he turns 3 and it has. He's been asking questions, talking non-stop and behaving really well.
The other night as two of us were sitting on the couch and chatting, I asked David what was the best part of the day for him. In broken English he told me that he liked riding his tricycle to the park with me and Julia, but he didn't like that a slide was wet. My favorite part of the day was spending a calm and quiet time home with my two kids.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chair 1, Julia 0

A split second is all it takes for a child to fall and hit the back their head on a solid object. David did it when he was 1½, and now it was Julia's turn. The only difference is while David hit a flat wall (and was okay within a minute of his fall,) Julia's head landed on the corner of a chair, puncturing her head and producing a deep gash. There wasn't too much blood as far as head injuries can go, but it looked deep enough to have it looked at.

I drove Julia to the emergency room at Holy Name Hospital. After getting checked in and having the nurse check Julia out, we got to see the on-call doctor. He felt that although the wound wasn't long, it was a bit deep. He recommended giving her a staple (rather than stitches) to keep the wound closed and to minimize the risk of infection.

After giving her a topical anesthetic (and keeping it in place with a bandage),

...a single staple was put into her head.

Note: Second staple was used to show relative size.

Anyway, the doctor said that the anesthetic would reduce the pain to a small pinch, but her crying told another story.

  • The time between her fall and entering the emergency room was about ten minutes.
  • It took fifteen minutes combined to see the nurse, get the local anesthetic, put in the staple, review the treatment paperwork and pay the co-pay.
  • The other 3½ hours were simply waiting to be treated. (When we walked in, there were only two kids in the emergency room in front of us.)
Well, we're at least lucky that it wasn't truly serious this time, and Julia seemed to be in good spirits the rest of the day -- regardless of her ordeal. Still, it's really scary how a split second can be the difference between our kids happily playing and us needing to take them to the hospital.

Easter Weekend.

The improving weather arrived just in time for the three-day weekend. We managed to go to a few parks, meet up with cousins, and even head to the Bronx Zoo. And despite a minor scare with Julia -- a slight fever one night, it was gone by the next morning.
Lately, David has been refusing to go to the park. This is the same kid who, at 17 months old, would be standing next to the door at 7 am, holding his sweatshirt and waiting by the gate, ready to go out. Before he was even two, he would be excited to walk to a bordering town, and even walked across the George Washington Bridge. Those days are behind us as he simply doesn't want to walk anymore. This was a bit frustrating -- will he lose all interest in being outdoors again?
During this past weekend, I told David that we were going to our local park to play. His response was, "No! New park." Well, since there aren't too many "new" parks, I decided to take him to a different park that we hadn't been to since last summer. Once we arrived, I was relieved when the kids were let out of the car, they both ran towards the "new" playground. They were so excited that they barely cared (or noticed) that it was a bit windy.

They played ball.

And David looked for stars, although it was a bit too bright outside.

They rode a merry-go-round; a ride that isn't too common in playgrounds nowadays.

They even tried out every slide they could find.

They enjoyed an old-fashioned see-saw.

And David practiced balancing on ... whatever these things are called.

It looks like our outdoor-loving David is back. Now, if only he could stop pulling Julia out of the stroller, so he could ride instead, we'd all be much happier.
Also on the agenda this weekend was egg dying. Even though David did this at his day care, it would be fun for him and Julia to do it together.

Voila! Here are the results.

In our household, the best craft projects are the edible ones!

On Saturday, we met up with my brother's family in Central park for an egg hunt. After the Leonia egg hunt the weekend before, the kids had figured out that each egg held a secret treasure!

But that didn't seem to motivate David as much as we thought it would. He took his time, casually grabbing a couple dozen eggs before checking out his stash.

Marko is showing all the eggs he managed to gather. Someone is going to have a nice sugar rush from all that candy.

On Sunday, we ventured to the Bronx zoo. We didn't try to see every single animal as we usually do, so we just took our time. We'd ask David which animal he wanted to see and then we pretty much visited those animals.

Of course, riding the bug carousel is a must when visiting this zoo. This is where the membership really pays off, as each kid takes at least four rounds on the carousel.

On the way out, we stopped to see some sea lions, and David was really fascinated by them ... or perhaps the fact that they produced a very loud noise ("Mommy! That animal can out-screech me? ").

In all, it was a very busy weekend that didn't leave us much time to relax. Even with Seth home on the weekends, these are usually the most tiring days of the week for me. The scary part is that as the weather improves, we will attempt to cram more into each weekend. (Seth must look forward to "relaxing" at work!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Big Boy Bed.

Just before David turned three, we decided it was time to start shopping for a toddler bed for him. We asked him whether he'd like to sleep in a bigger bed and he would reply "No!". After browsing multiple websites and visiting a few stores, I came across a bed that Seth liked a lot. We showed it to David and the familiar grin showed up on his face and that was it. That was the bed. Honestly, if it was up to me, any box that could hold a twin mattress would be good for my son. Seth believes that this would be the sort of bed he would have liked as a kid. Basically, it came to Seth choosing a bed for David and I will for Julia. Of course, since David now has a solid wood loft bed to sleep in, I don't think it will be fair to choose a metal box to house Julia's next bed.
The bed was delivered last week while David was at school, so the first to test it was Julia (if only David knew). She loves it so much that now I am thinking we might get the same one for her in a couple of years.

After I picked up David from school, I told him that there wass a surprise waiting for him at home and without missing a beat, he replied "big boy bed!" (Sometimes he's pretty sharp!) Anyway, I thought it would be fun to capture his expression when he saw it for the first time and I wasn't disappointed!

He started climbing it up and down right away.

Of course, two minutes into the exploration of his new bed, who shows up -- Julia. I forgot to close the gate downstairs and she had followed us! As soon as Julia started up the ladder, David was there to pull her down. David growled at Julia, "go to your baby bed", and started pushing her to his old crib which still sits in his room. There were a lot of tears and I had to remove both of them from his room...

...but not before he opened all of the drawers in the new dresser to plan out where he'll organize his wardrobe.

I was concerned that he would end up "playing" in the new bed and refuse to fall asleep, but there hasn't been any trouble. He's been taking his daily naps and sleeping through the night in the new bed.
There is one small issue, however. After getting the bed set up, we noticed that there was a warning label on each headboard, advising the consumer that the bed wasn't intended for kids under 6 years old. Since there aren't any small parts to swallow, we're going to assume the concern is over the height of the bed. Well, after watching him navigate different playgrounds for a while, he's usually very careful and won't navigate anything that he's not been ready for. Taking that into consideration (and crossing our fingers) we're sure he'll be fine.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What's it like to live with a three year old.

When the screaming, yelling, pushing and hitting (that is, David hitting Julia) come to a halt for a couple of minutes there are some adorable and happy moments shared in this household. David has been able to communicate his desires to us so well that we can actually have conversations with him now. For example, last week he woke from his nap screaming, barely able to talk and holding onto his ear. Once he calmed down, he said "my ear hurt." I rushed to him to the doctor, and it turned out to be an ear infection.
Since David turned 3, he pretends he's a baby. He wants me to wrap him up in a blanket and read books to him or have Seth wrap him in a towel after his shower. Since he's had a running nose, he keeps saying "wipe me nose", but once in a while he'll drop a line "wipe baby nose." Usually I'd be worried, but since five of the eight kids on my favorite show, "Jon and Kate plus eight," went through exactly the same stage, I'm going to assume that it's perfectly normal.

He still has a love/hate relationship with his sister where he'll gets visibly concerned when she's not in the car with him (which is almost never). When I go shopping with them, he might run ahead to get himself a ball, but he'll remember to get Julia one as well. He has this bizarre older brother protective relationship with her -- while he feels that he can hit and push her, no one else can even lay a finger on her. He loved taking a photo with the Easter Bunny this weekend, but of course, Julia had to be in the picture with him.

We finally had a small family get together for David's birthday this weekend. He was so excited ordering his cake and making friends with the owner of my favorite ice cream place (yes, I am guilty of using my children... and more on this subject is coming in another blog), but eating it wasn't in his plans. Sometimes I wonder if he was switched at birth since he doesn't share my love of sweets.

For the party, we ordered David's favorite food -- pizza. Unfortunately, this is pretty much all he'll eat in bulk. He still enjoys his cereal in the morning, but I suspect this is because he usually doesn't eat any dinner nor lunch and is starving by breakfast time. I still try to make a separate meals for the kids, as crazy as it may sound, but it's all for naught as neither child will eat much for dinner.

At least the little cousins get along because Daria is very sociable and playful. Julia would be happy to be left alone, but there wasn't enough room to get away from everyone. During the get together, there were people in every part of the house; even her room was being utilized for a diaper change. Poor kid - that thumb of hers wouldn't come out of her mouth today.

Music is something that David still enjoys tremendously, so that helped determine the theme of his birthday party. When he listens to the radio, he'll identify the musical instrument that currently playing in any given song. Blowing three candles took some work though and he got help from all the cousins.

Presents this year were a huge hit. There were books, games, clothes and more clothes. Knowing how much David has been into his wardrobe lately, I wrapped a few new shirts for him. (How many other 3 year old boys do you know who changes his clothes several times a day because he likes getting dressed?) He tried them all on today!
Surprisingly, David has shown an almost obsessive interest in one of his books -- Wipe Clean : Learn to write your Letters. Without even being told what to do, he had opened the marker and was writing/tracing the letters of the alphabet. I would not have thought that David was ready for it, but obviously he is because he spent almost an hour tracing all the letters.

I am sure by the time I publish this post, David will be into something new, speaking clearer, yelling louder and mistreating his sister more than ever. Am I looking forward to him turning four? You bet -- assuming I survive his terrible threes.

Monday, March 10, 2008

My 3 year old is going on 9.

An hour or so ago David turned 3 years old . He loves the idea of birthdays as recently his uncle and daddy turned so many years old and he kept talking about it for days. He loves it as long as it is not his own. So, obviously, he's been taking it pretty hard. I tried to prepare him for the last few months that inevitable is coming -- he is going to be 3 years old to which he would reply "No, nine!". David set out to prove his point today.
He woke up later than usual while Julia and I were already downstairs playing. I heard him walk around in his room, but knew that eventually he'd join us, so I didn't rush to get him. A few minutes later, he came downstairs fully dressed in the clothes he picked by himself and for the first time they actually matched (blue sweatpants, blue turtleneck and blue socks).
As I was following the kids upstairs to take their naps, David rushed into his room and slammed the door behind himself. I was left outside guessing that going to bed wasn't in his plans. I listened for awhile to the noise coming out of his monitor when eventually it ceased to produce any sound. Two hours later, the door of his room opened and I heard "Olivia!". Sorry, buddy, but you had a chance to talk to her when she called to wish you a happy birthday and you blew it. When I walked into his room, the cold breeze caught my attention right away. Both windows in his room were wide open. I don't know how he was able to sleep in this cold room, but even more shocking how he figured out the two steps necessary to open the windows.
I know it is natural that as the kids grow, they are supposed to get more independent, but it is happening too fast in my mind. I am definitely not ready to be a mother of a nine year old, not yet. Feeling my anxiety later in the day, when asked by a friend in the park how old he was, David lifted his 3 fingers and said "three". That's right, today you are three years old.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Table for Eight? Hai!

It's been a rough two weeks at the Meyer household, which would account for the lack of blog posts recently. In addition to our normal hectic lives, we're had to deal with some minor flooding as well as scrambling to get all our tax information together. In addition to that, David brought home a nasty little virus (in addition to a cold) and was good enough to share with the rest of the family. Thankfully, with the exception of coughing, runny noses and a couple of flatter tummies, we appear to be out of the woods. (Unfortunately, we had to postpone David's birthday party.)

We did manage to take the kids out to eat this month, despite the events from our last experience and our mutual agreement to wait a while before trying again. The last time we took the kids out, not including our bimonthly visits to Donna's Pizzeria was last November to Dinousaur Barbeque. Regardless of the fact that this child-friendly restaurant had yummy food, the kids didn't want to sit in their chairs and caused quite a fuss. So instead, we found a babysitter and have been enjoying "fine dining" which we hadn't done since late 2004

Time has a way of softening ones memory, and you go down the same path which has led you towards the inevitable. It took us almost 3 months to get over (or forget) our fear of eating out with our kids in public. We decided that despite our reservations, the kids should be exposed to eating out in public -- otherwise, they may never know the joy of eating in a restaurant.

A friend mentioned how well her daughter behaved at a Japanese Hibachi restaurant because there are other kids there and they're all entertained by the chef. Despite our opinion that hibachi-style restaurants are rarely very good, the idea intrigued us. Could a knife-juggling chef keep our children calm through a meal?

On our way to the Kiku, a local Japanese-style hibachi restaurant, Nataliya was nervously sweating, running the possible scenarios through her head. It's bad enough having the kids sit at a table in a regular restaurant, but this restaurant would offer new challenges. Utensils that David would equate to drumsticks, uncovered dishes containing sauces that could easily be knocked over, and a large grill a mere 18 inches from him that generally doesn't react well to human skin. Were we crazy for even entertaining this idea?

To our shock, David started off with a bowl of soup. We couldn't believe our eyes as he fed himself the miso soup. He then proceeded to eat some noodles and rice. The night was starting out in the right direction. Naturally, I whipped out the camera to capture these unbelievable moments.

Imagine David and Julia's surprise, after being told for months NOT to play with their food, for them to watch someone else not only doing this offense, but being applauded for it. David was so busy eating his food that he only intermittently stopped to watch the chef cooking.

Julia was the picky eater this time. I guess she hasn't developed a taste for asian cuisine yet. She played safe and chose to eat only plain white rice, but enjoyed the show just the same.

The kids were very well behaved throughout the dinner. By the end, they got a little bit restless, but considering they sat still for an hour, it was a huge improvement from our last dining experience.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday, Seth!

"Oh, no. How old is Daddy?"