Wow, what a great weekend! Not only was it 75 degrees and sunny, but our friends Deb and Shawn came to visit, along with their two girls, Kayla and Haley. They arrived Friday night after Zack was already in bed. Saturday morning, Zack and I went downstairs to say good morning. As he rounded a corner, he ran into Kayla. He stopped dead in his tracks, stared at her, and said "Wooooooowwwwwww....." Then he immediately tried to take her hand to get her to go play with him. The entire weekend he had to keep tabs on them and was pretty much just smitten. Sunday morning he woke up before they did (before anyone, actually). Rob took him downstairs so he could get breakfast started. Rob found Zack standing over where Kayla was sleeping saying "Wake up, wake up!" Oh, the screams of protest when Rob dragged him out of there! I had to take Zack outside for a walk so that they could keep sleeping!
Saturday we took the Metro to the zoo. Along with just about every other family in the DC metropolitan area. The one good thing about that many families and that many strollers is that no one cared when you momentarily got distracted and got in someone's way, or your kids suddenly veered off course. We had a great time. And Zack got to see the elephants.
As you can see, he was totally smitten with Kayla. He didn't want to hold anyone's hand but hers.
Sunday morning, after Zack tried to wake up the girls, they were all pushing each others' buttons, so we took them to the nearest playground to run off some steam. They had a great time running around and climbing. Zack also had his first playground accident--he got hit by someone swinging on the swings. Luckily, that someone was Haley, so there wasn't a whole lot of mass behind the impact, but it still knocked him over. He'd been running straight towards the swings all morning, so I was trying to teach him to freeze. But he thought it was a game and ran right into the line of fire. He got over it pretty quickly and is fine now (well, he has a shiner), but my goodness, did my heart skip a few beats!
After everyone left Sunday afternoon, Rob, Zack and I went for a walk and stopped at a different playground. Clearly, Zack was suffering from amnesia, or his brain is still unable to make cause and effect connections because he headed straight for the swings with no regard for his own safety. Sigh. I have a feeling that my heart is going to skip a few more beats over the course of the next few years.
*********************************************************************************** Zack is becoming much better at communicating. He describes things that have happened. He's also linking events that occurred at different points in time. For example, last week Rob was traveling. I told Zack that Daddy got in an airplane to go to California. The next day, on the way home, we passed a bus that had a Southwest Airline ad on the side, complete with a picture of an airplane. Zack noted the airplane, then said "Daddy airplane." It took me a minute to get what he was saying, but clearly he remembered what I'd told him!
He's also figuring out ways to get what he wants (aside from giving us that charming smile!). Exhibit A: We gave the kids ice cream before Deb and Shawn left on Sunday, then we served ourselves some. Zack had finished his by the time Rob got his, but Zack felt that he should have some more. So with words and hand gestures he pretty clearly indicated that Rob should put some of his ice cream in Zack's bowl. Exhibit B: Last night he wanted another juice box, which I wasn't inclined to give him. Sensing that his verbal requests weren't effective enough, he took my hand and led me to the refrigerator.
Now that it stays light later, it's so nice to be able to go outside after we get home during the week. We take walks, or go play in the backyard, or call on our neighbor, Cecelia. He loves to look for flowers and put sticks in his bucket. The fresh air also seems to help him go to sleep more easily.
Zack is also exploring interior decorating. He knows very well where his crayons belong (on the table), but often will test how steadfast that rule is, with a gleam in his eye and a grin on his lips. Last night he was really wound up, and not only decided to test where the crayons were supposed to be, but also on what the crayons were supposed to be used. In so doing, he graced one of the walls with a small mural. Somehow, I have a feeling that it won't be the last mural we ever get from him.
And another first--he blew out the knee of his pants (see, he's putting his finger in the hole).
He talks more to himself now. Some of what he says is obvious--telling himself not to do things, reading books. But he also sings to himself sometimes. My favorite thing that he sings to himself when he's going about his business is "digga digga do, digga do digga do, digga digga do......" We have to get it on video, it's just too cute!
Zack received a basketball hoop for his birthday. He hasn't really had any experience with this sort of thing, but is making up for lost time. Unfortunately, I missed it's debut which was apparently met with a crazy amount of excitement--laughing, shrieking, jumping up and down. Rob said he's never seen him like that. Now he likes to stick balloons in the net, where they get stuck, then thrown a ball in after them to knock them loose. I'll post a video shortly that gives you an idea of his excitement, just watered down a bit.
We also got him an age-appropriate remote controlled fire truck. This he isn't sure what to do with. It really scared him the first time Rob ran it around on the floor and we had to put it on the counter. Then he wanted to look at just the truck, but would have us put it back up after awhile. Now he's OK with us making the truck zoom around for a little while, but he won't really go close to it unless it's stopped. He won't take the controls, either. After a little while he's had enough and will take the truck and take the controls from our hands and tell us to put it up on the counter or bureau. His reaction is interesting because there isn't much he's wary or afraid of. It's been sitting on the bureau for weeks now, with no interest at all.
He also got a set of Duplo blocks, which are a big hit. He loves to pour them out of their container on top of him. Then he sets about putting all the square pieces together. He's really gotten the hang of snapping them together. There was a major breakthrough last week--he put them all back in the box, without being asked!
He discovered that pens aren't just for paper anymore.
The next Andy Goldsworthy in training? He was working on this installation one day after work. The pile of stones is still there now that the snow has all melted.
Last week I was away for a few days at a conference in Philadelphia. While I was away, Zack "got" the phone. The first morning I was away, he picked it up, showed it to Rob, and said "Mama!" So they called me. Which was a good thing. I'd thought I'd set the alarm in the hotel room, but apparently hadn't, so they woke me up (seems I was tired--I'd been asleep almost 10 hours!). I can't even describe how sweet it was to wake up to "Hello, Mama! I love you!" He definitely seemed to understand that he was talking to me because he was telling me what he was playing with.
Friday night Zack and Rob drove up to Philly so that we could spend the weekend with our friends Mark and Judy. Oh, and most importantly, their dog, Gus. Gus was the highlight of the trip, I think. Zack was so gentle with him, and would get nose-to-nose to give him kisses. He still talks about Gus.
We were getting ready to go outside one day while we were there, and I couldn't find his hat. I kept muttering, wondering where it was. As I was looking, Zack took matters into his own hands.
We also turned around at one point and found the construction hat on Gus.
Saturday afternoon we had tickets to see the Picasso show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The tickets were for 3 pm, so the plan was we'd go and Zack would fall asleep in his stroller while we went through the show. Except that when we got in line we were told that we weren't allowed to bring the stroller in the exhibit. Oh dear. Zack really was a trooper while we were in the exhibit (particularly given that he'd had no nap, that the rooms resembled sardine tins, and that he couldn't get down and walk because no one was watching where they were going), but he didn't have a lot of patience for that many abstract paintings in that over-stimulating of an environment. I was also getting tired of getting snotty looks when he'd let out a shriek of frustration (come on people, it's not like he was interrupting a performance or something). So we did an express walk through the exhibit and let Mark and Judy go at a more leisurely pace. Once he was out of there and could walk, he was much happier and enjoyed walking up the big main stairs. Then we walked into the armor hall--he was in heaven. So we tried another hall, with renaissance-era rooms--he loved it. Then we tried the Asian hall, where there was a monastery courtyard with a fountain in it--that warranted repeated visits. All in all, it was a great afternoon, and we learned that he's really good in museums as long as he can walk and the galleries are relatively empty.
He's still growing like a weed. I couldn't believe how much he'd changed just while I was in Philly! He's putting words together to describe things now. He's jumping, with both feet off the ground. He understands the concept behind the number 2--he tells us when there's two of something. He's started stacking and ordering things, like blocks, coasters, plastic containers. When he's using his crayons, he tries to color a specific thing, like a dog's nose in his coloring book. He loves to be read to, and one of my favorite times of the day is when we snuggle in our bed at bedtime to read books. He snuggles in next to me and drinks his milk while I put my arm around him and read to him. It's one of the few times during the day that he sits still.
It's been gorgeous this week, so when we got home yesterday afternoon, we immediately went outside. He helped me plant some seeds in a pot--he took the seeds from my hand and sprinkled them in the pot, then he helped me pat down the soil. Then he helped me clean out some debris from one of the flower beds, both by using his garden tools and by putting sticks in the lawn bag I had out. Then he had to go help Cecelia in her yard for awhile--and by "help" I mean picking all of her crocuses and giving them to me.
We're looking forward to some more good weather through Saturday, which will be great since our friends Deb, Shawn, Kayla and Haley are going to be paying a visit. I'm hoping we can take a trip to the zoo. I can't wait to see what Zack thinks of real, live elephants!
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.