He's been pretending to be various animals lately--a cat, a dog, a snake, a rabbit. What's really sweet is that wants us to pet him when he's a dog or cat or rabbit (not the snake). He lies on the floor and we rub his back. I started picking up the cat or dog or rabbit to pet him on my lap. Now he's started lying in my lap and saying "I'm a rabbit." It's as if he's too much of a big boy to snuggle with us, but it's ok if he pretends to be a snuggly animal. I think it's super sweet and am loving it.
He's becoming a bit more melodramatic when things don't go his way. It happened a few times this week when I took him to school. I'd say No to something he had his mind set on, and he'd look at me. And the bottom lip would stick out--oh, can he work that lip! And the face would start to crumble. And then the crocodile tears would start to flow. And flow. And flow some more. I'd explain to him why x,y, or z wasn't possible amongst the wailing. I'd ask him if he were listening to me---sniff, sniff...yeah........sniff. Then the dramatic wiping of the eyes with the hem of his shirt. I can't quite describe it but even that has the ability to tug on heart strings. A few more sniffs and then we're usually ok, though he is entirely capable of keeeping the distraught face going for some time for maximum effect.
His picture day outfit, while he's making waffles for himself.
Zack was scheduled to have school pictures taken last week. We realized that perhaps we should have his hair cut so that he didn't look like a ragamuffin. Given his past reluctance to have his hair cut, we figured we should start talking it up. His first reaction when we said he might get his hair cut?
And that was his primary concern for the next couple days. He marched into the shop, sa on the seat all by himself, sat completely still while she cut away, and all in all acted like he got his hair cut every day while Rob and I wondered what alien had possessed our son. He didn't even want a second piece of candy--just a lollipop.
And then we were told he wouldn't smile for his pictures.
We went for a walk this past Sunday. I'm not sure why we bother with the stroller anymore. After about 10 minutes of that, Zack announces "out!" and he runs the rest of the way. Literally. He's already training for cross-country, as best I can tell. Of course we stopped at the playground. My boys had fun.
Zack rediscovered his pull toy dog. He was treating it like a real dog, pulling it around, saying "Come on." He had it lie under his chair while he was eating dinner. I asked him what the dog's name was. Without missing a beat he answered "Placido." I recalled that a few days before we'd been watching a Sesame Street episode with a character named Placido who then met and sang with Placido Domingo. I guess he recalled the same thing.
We were lucky enough to be visited by our dear friend Kristen one night last week. Zack asked numerous times to go for a walk, and I had told him numerous times that we couldn't because we had to be there when Kristen arrived. After asking for the umpteenth time, I responded by saying "What did I say?"
"No, that's what you say. What did I say about going for a walk?"
Trouble does not even begin to describe what we're in for.
Yes, I'm behind in posting. This fall is turning out to be pretty busy--both with work and with fun. I'm sure there's a lot of interest in Halloween, so I'll start there.
Zack has been having a blast walking around the neighborhood looking at the Halloween decorations. He's particularly fond of pumpkins but also likes bats and skulls. It's amazing how quickly he picked up on all the new things like jack-o-lanterns and witches.
Zack picked out his own costume and dubbed it Bruce, after the Bruce in Finding Nemo. He even started saying "Fish are friends. Not food." But clammed up as soon as I brought out the video camera.
Sunday was a blast. Uncle Geoff came over for the first time in awhile, which gave Zack a new audience which started getting him really wired. the M n M's may have made a small contribution as well. Then we asked him if he wanted to get his costume on to go trick or treating. He headed right for his jacket and was ready to go (I love how he takes it upon him self to get the ball rolling.) He went to a few houses. He got the royal treatment (along with a few more pieces of candy) at Ed and Cecelia's house. He'd say "Trick or treat" to anyone he saw on the sidewalk but totally clammed up when he was at someone's door. After he got back, he answered the door with me, still in costume, and gave everyone a good "Roarrrrrrrr". There's something wacky going on with our camera, so the pics aren't as good or as plentiful as I'd hoped, but I think you get the idea. Just picture a little shark running around in our front yard and you'll get the idea.
At the end of the day
The Friday before Halloween was a breakfast and Halloween party at Zack's school. All the parents went into the auditorium to wait for the kids to parade in and sing a bunch of songs. This was really just too adorable for words. This was pretty much Z's expression throughout--kind of "So this is what those crazy adults have cooked up now."
Aside from Halloween, he's been busy growing, exploring, and trying to outsmart us. Oh, and did I mention that I've found him in the fridge on a number of occasions, getting himself a yogurt? Ummm, yeah. It's amazes me what he can do, like make himself a waffle. He gets it out of the freezer, opens the bag, takes one out, puts it in the toaster oven and pushes down the button. All I have to do is cut it up and put on the syrup.
Play-doh is his new favorite thing. He plays with that for the longest time. He'll ask us to make things for him, too ("Make an airplane/sea horse/mouse/pumpkin/ghost/turtle/giraffe, Mommy!") And then he proceeds to cut them up. Sigh.
His vocabulary continues to grow at what seems to be a rapid rate. Which means he can use it to his advantage, too ("No, Mommy do it, not Zack"). He can tell us about things that happened awhile ago. And he loves to play jokes and games. His big thing now is to "boo" people--in other words, scare them. You just have to ignore the fact that you can hear him coming a mile away.
He still loves his school and talks about all the other kids by name. It takes us forever to get him out of there in the evening. They do a lot of art projects and music, get a lot of outdoor time (he was riding a scooter the other day when I picked him up), and he gets Spanish and yoga classes, too.
His meltdowns are a bit more intense these days, but they're no more frequent and are usually fairly short-lived. Oh the crocodile tears that he sheds! But once he starts to calm down, he take the bottom of his shirt or goes and gets a tissue to dry them. I can't quite describe it, but it's so endearing how he does it.
Zack went on his first field trip last week, to a farm. Rob went along as a chaperone, so we have lots of pictures.
He had his first bus ride (there were car seats in it, don't worry).
They picked pumpkins. They explored (the little guy in the striped shirt is Zack's best buddy).
They met some chickens.
They looked at rabbits.
They checked out cassowaries.
They got to ride a pony.
They met some goats, who were apparently a little too assertive for Zack. This is him telling them "Go away, goats!"
They also took a hayride (apparently that was Zack's only meltdown--he was more interested in checking out the tractor than getting in the wagon), and had lunch there. Rob called me when they got back to school around 1:00pm, generally expressing that he wasn't sure how the teachers did it every day, that they were something akin to saints. Apparently 40-some odd pre-schoolers at a farm is a sight to behold. Zack seemed to have a great time and keeps talking about the trip.
I was away for a few days last week, and it was amazing to see how much Zack grew up in that short amount of time. He learned new phrases, could speak more clearly. He's added "yes" to his vocabulary, though it's still well outnumbered by "no." His favorite question these days is "Whatchoo doin' Mommy?", or "Whatchoo doin' Daddy?" Asked at least every other minute.
He's getting even more self-sufficient and wants to do EVERYTHING by himself. "No, Mommy. I do it." This afternoon I came downstairs and found that he'd pulled a stool over to the fridge, opened the fridge doors, and was kneeling on the ledge of the fridge getting a yogurt.
This self-sufficiency translates to him wanting to help with everything, too. He volunteers to help us whenever we say we're about to do something. He put away the clean silverware from the dishwasher one day. He helps bring things in from the car. He wants to help when we cook, mixing eggs or putting in some spice or another. Rob was cooking one night and asked me to go get some basil for him. Before I even answered, Zack was out the back door to the pots of basil, picking some leaves. He was so proud to give those leaves to his daddy.
He continues to be a happy, funny, active little boy. We went hiking with our friends Mark and Judy last weekend and he did nearly the whole hike--some of which was pretty vertical and rocky. He only wanted to get on Daddy's "yolders" a couple times. As a side note, we also discovered where the stink bugs are setting up their head quarters to plan their world domination--Sugar Loaf Mountain. It was thick with them, you could smell them and taste them. Bleck! This morning we went for a walk. He started out in the stroller, but he ran and walked most of it. He seems to have all the makings of a cross country runner.
Ed. note: I've been waiting to publish this post until I download pictures. I keep forgetting to download pictures. Instead of keeping you waiting until my memory returns, I'll post this now and post pictures later.
Throughout Zack's two and a half years on this planet (funny, somehow it seems like he's always been here), there have always been periods where we can almost hear things clicking in his brain, when he suddenly just gets something. That has happened recently with his independence. While he's not quite ready to set up a household of his own, he is suddenly capable of getting a juice box out of the fridge, taking it to the table, shaking it, taking the straw out of the wrapper, putting the straw in the box (without making a mess), drinking it, and then throwing it in the trash. Completely without the involvement of either Rob or I.
Ummmm...hello? Who is this third person in our house?
Honestly, I don't miss the baby stage like I hear some parents do. I'm really enjoying his toddlerhood much more than his infancy. But it's quite a surprise--a pleasant one--to suddenly have this much more independent individual in our house. I don't know how many times a day I hear "No, Mommy. I do it." And usually he can. He's helped me make sesame noodles by putting in the sesame seeds and mixing the sauce. When we get home for the evening, he rushes ahead and opens the gate for me. He carries his food over to the table for dinner. He's given up his booster seat and sits on a regular chair. He's starting to try things out like washing himself in the shower and putting on shirts. He has two best buddies at school to whom he is apparently stuck like glue.
Important for Rob's and my ability to negotiate is his increasing understanding of If-Then statements. As in "If you want me to read a book to you, then you need to climb in bed and not empty the contents of your dresser."
He does get frustrated more quickly, particularly with us and particularly at the end of the day, but he pretty easily snaps out of it. He continues to be a very happy, cheerful little boy with a huge sense of humor.
We've been getting a lot of artwork from his school. They do some pretty neat projects including a lot of paintings (11 kids wielding paintbrushes! bless those teachers!), and he's clearly very proud of what he's done. We hung the first project up on the fridge. When he came home with more a few weeks later, he showed me exactly where on the fridge he'd like to hang it and corrected me when I started hanging it upside down.
I haven't taken very good care of the flower beds in the front of our house, mostly because I haven't been able to have Zack out there with me. He takes advantage of it not being fenced in to suddenly sprint down the sidewalk and generally not stay anywhere close to me. However, I was tired of looking at the weeds along the front walk, so the other Sunday, when Rob took Zack with him to Home Depot, I headed out front. When they got home, Zack wanted to come out with me. And surprise, surprise, he did great! He got his watering can, filled it with water, and watered all the plants (all on his own--I didn't suggest it). He helped Rob put together a compost bin. He helped me haul bags of mulch to the front yard and got his first wheelbarrow rides. He picked up empty plastic bags in the wheelbarrow. He helped Rob loosen soil for reseeding. He was really helpful and we ended up having a lovely afternoon!
The other Saturday night we went to our favorite pizza place. This place seems to have some sort of magical effect on Zack because he always behaves really well there. All we have to say is that we're going to get pizza near the choo-choos and he's half way out to the car, talking about it all the way. It helps that they cater to kids (without being a kid restaurant), and they're near the railroad tracks and across the street from the fire station. We sat outside and had the good fortune of seeing several trains, two ambulances and a fire truck leaving the station, and one ambulance coming back to the station. He ate lots of pizza and was quite happy to get some ice cream for dessert. What was super sweet was he talked about it before he went to sleep, and the next day he told Cecilia all about it, too.
He wanted waffles one morning, so I put some in the toaster oven and told him that when he heard a "Ding!" the waffles would be done. Clearly this process was not moving fast enough for him because he pulled his stool over to the counter, got up, and popped the lever on the toaster oven which resulted in a "Ding!" He looked at me, grinning like the Cheshire Cat, and said "I did it! Waffles done!"
He continues to love being at school. In fact, it's taken some doing to get him to leave this week! He has two best buddies that he hugs before he leaves. They do a lot of arts, and did water coloring this week. One of the aides in his room said that he was one of the few kids that got it, that most kids load the paper up with too much water or don't quite understand how to get the paint to the paper. They're starting yoga next week--I can't wait to see what he thinks of that! I may even have to stop by one day to watch.
The other night Rob was making dinner while I was in the dining room with Zack. Rob asked me if I wanted to go outside to get him some fresh basil. Before I could even answer, Zack was heading out the door. I followed him to see where he was going. He was going to pick some fresh basil, of course! He headed straight for the correct pot and picked some leaves, which he took inside and handed to Rob.
One day this past weekend he woke up a bit cranky from his nap. Rob was trying to soothe him, but he just wasn't having it. I got out two new cans of Play-doh and started playing with it on the table. Nearly immediately there was a "What's Mommy doing?" He just had to come over and see what I was up to, and then try it himself. We then spent probably the next hour playing with Play-doh--it was so much fun! Well, except for the part where he wanted me to make a sea horse. Thankfully his standards aren't too high!
Just this morning, after I told Zack I was going to get on an airplane to go on a trip, Zack very adamantly told me "No Mommy airplane!!!!!" And so with the increasing verbal ability comes increasing feelings of guilt. Oh joy.
Over Labor Day weekend, we went to Gambril State Park for a picnic and to enjoy the gorgeous weather. I decided that we need to sign up Zack for the hiking club that maintains the trails, as he was rather concerned with moving sticks from the center of the trail and spent quite a bit of time moving rocks from the center of the trail and placing them at the side. He's also a little obsessed with "eee-corns" (acorns) and picked up large quantities, some of which made it into his pockets (mental note: remember to start checking the pockets of Z's pants). He finally tired of that and wanted to get up on Rob's "yolders". Of course, this request corresponded with the steepest part of the trail, so Rob got quite a leg workout.
Here he's checking out a spider web in a hole in the bench.
We'd made Zack a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. He took one look at it, pointed to what had oozed out from between the slices of bread, and said "Bird poop." He didn't eat a single bite.
We had a great time picnicking and hiking (despite the bird poop). Afterward we went into nearby Frederick to walk around the historic downtown and get some ice cream. The highlight of Zack's whole day was finding a bag of pasta shaped like crabs and starfish. He held onto that bag all the way home and then ate a big bowlful once we got home and cooked it. A close second was when a mastiff and great dane walked by. The owners (yes, both dogs lived together--and had a great dane puppy waiting for them at home. Hope they have a big house!) were only too happy to stop and let Zack pet them. Zack loved it and was not happy when the dogs had to go home to get their dinner. In fact, when we told them that, he pretended to scoop up some food to feed them!
We were all sitting at lunch the other day, when Rob let out a rather large belch. Without missing a beat, Zack looked at him and said "Excuuuse me, Daddy."
Zack is all about doing what Daddy does right now. If Rob zigs, Zack zigs. If Rob dances, Zack studies him closely and dances just like him. I wish I had a video of them dancing in the bathroom the other night--it was too funny for words.
Zack is also a smidge obsessed with trucks. And cars. And motorcycles. He'll play with his for the longest time, just lining them up, wheeling them around, putting smaller ones in bigger ones. I also swear the vehicles are stealing off into dark corners and multiplying, but I digress. He loves it when we drive by construction sites and he points out white trucks and trash trucks and red cars as we drive. School buses have reappeared, so that's been an exciting event for him.
Zack has a buddy at school now. They're apparently inseparable.
Note the socks on his hands. Yes, those are the wet, dirty socks that we just took off after he splashed around in the creek. But he DID IT! and put them on all by himself.
We started this blog as we began renovations and an addition on our home, and we kept joking that we were giving Abi, our wonderful weimaraner, a new home. Many things have changed since then, and Abi is no longer with us, but in memory of her, we keep the name of the blog the same.