We're all just getting over the flu this week, so no pictures. If any pictures had been taken, they would have been destroyed post haste, because we were not a pretty bunch.
Rob succumbed first, than I. We were hoping Zack would be spared, but he woke up with a fever on Wednesday. We were sure he was sick when (a) he slept until 9:30 am; (b) about an hour later, after coming downstairs for breakfast, he said he "wanted to go to sleep in Mommy Daddy's bed pweeeeeeeez" (and then slept for 4 hours); and (c) did not want ice cream. I am happy to report that he had ice cream and pretzels for dinner tonight, so he's on the mend. As are the rest of us.
His ability to express himself had increased exponentially lately. Unfortunately, it's taking the forms of direct orders to us, something we really need to figure out how to curb. For example:
"Don't moisturize me, Daddy"
"Mommy clean up toys NOW."
The ever-favorite "I don't liiiiike it" accompanied by "I don't waaant to."
When he gets particularly obstinate, time-outs do seem to work. Last weekend he started bossing me around, then hit me when I picked him up. So I plopped him on the stairs for a few minutes. Oh the tears! Oh the lip! But it made an impression. The next day in the car, his bear, then his cheese were alternately hitting him, and he was telling them "No hitting, it's not very nice. Time out." I could barely contain myself in the front seat, but was also glad to know that perhaps he was paying attention to me.
I shouldn't paint this picture of a naughty little boy because he really isn't. He tends towards very polite, voluntarily using 'please' and 'thank you.' He can occupy himself with his blocks or trucks for quite some time, and is starting to get much more complex in his play, having his toys talk to each other, and pretending that objects are something they aren't. He himself often pretends he is a cat or a dog and we're supposed to pet him and pick him up like a pet. He loves the kitchen that he got for Christmas, spending a lot of time cooking pasta, serving food to us, and pretending to make a mess by "spilling" the cups on the floor. He also likes to work on puzzles.
The most fascinating part of his development right now is his counting. He can count from 1 to 10, finally without leaving anyone out, and he will count everything. But it's his concept of numbers--or really, lack thereof--that is interesting. On one level he understands counting, but doesn't understand that it should represent a fixed quantity. So he'll count his fingers once and come up with 5, and then be perfectly fine with counting them again and coming up with 7--equally proud both times of how well he counted.
He's starting to recognize some letters. For example, he looked at a bowl of macaroni and cheese and said "C's!" And he seems to recognize "Z, for Zachary." In general, he recognizes letters as different from other symbols, and calls the whole lot QRS.
He's remembering emotional events more clearly, bringing them up later and talking about them. For example, the week after we got back from the Christmas holiday, he had a couple rough mornings when being dropped off at school, crying, and telling us not to go. In the evenings, he would talk about how Zachary cried, how he didn't like Daddy leaving, how Mommy came to get him. And he tied it into his memory of a little boy who was crying at the babysitting at the YMCA one Saturday morning. It was that little boy's first time with the babysitters, and he was missing his Mommy and Daddy. And oh, wow, does he remember his younger cousin Ella taking his trains and cars at Christmas time! Every time he sees her picture he recounts how she took his trains, that it wasn't very nice, and that he hit her on the head.
He's been developing some concept of monsters. There is a lot of "Monsters are coming" and "Shadows are coming," particularly around bed time. He seems fascinated by the idea, and creates games around it, but it's also something that scares him a bit. Before bed, we go through a ritual where I ask him what he can say to the shadows, and he says (very emphatically) "Shadows, don't come here and don't scare Zachary and Mommy and Daddy!" This seems to satisfy him and make everything OK.