Tuesday, May 24, 2011

His Favorite Things

I always thought children formed an attachment to a "lovey" such as a blanket or teddy bear when they are babies. All my friends' kids did. I wanted Oliver to have one, for all those warm fuzzy reasons, like helping with separation anxiety and making him a better sleeper. I had all sorts of things that I hoped Oliver would choose as his lovey. For a while I thought it would be the cloth diapers we used as burp cloths, but by the time he was done burping, he didn't care about them anymore (hey, don't knock it...endless supply!). And matter how many times I put my favorite choice, the sock monkey, near him, he ignored it. When he became old enough to care, he hated having anything in his bed with him at all, and would toss out any stuffed animal I put in there. I had pretty much given up the idea that he'd choose any lovey, but apparently I just gave up too soon. Around here, 3 seems to be the age of choice.

As you can see, he no longer hates having anything in his bed. I took this photo after naps one day recently. And by naps, I mean the time where you pull out every book from your bookcase and bring them in the bed with you, and then alternate reading books with jumping from chair to ottoman to bed to chair, and so on. Anyway, it shows a lot of his favorite things. The blue blanket is over the rail on the right. He did form sort of an attachment to his blue blanket earlier, though never enough that he throws a fit if it isn't with him, and he doesn't carry it around the house. But he fingers the hem to go to sleep, which I think is so sweet, and something I used to do as well. And lately, he won't let me cover him up with it, but wants to cover the menagerie of stuffed animals and Buzz-buzz (his pillow pet), as shown here.

As for stuffed animals, now that he's over the fear, he chooses several each nap and night to take to bed. His mainstays are a little Elmo, Ernie, and especially the Grinch, which is almost always there. He even had a freak out the other night when he and Daddy couldn't find the Grinch at bedtime. In the picture, you see that the Grinch is close by, that day accompanied by "The Foot Guy," from Seuss's The Foot Book (I don't know if he has a real name, but that's what Oliver calls him). On the left edge of the photo is a pile of books, with How the Grinch Stole Christmas right on top. His love for the stuffed Grinch has grown as much lately as his love for the book has. He carries the book around everywhere, upstairs, downstairs, car, potty, and since he now has it completely memorized, recites it for us all the time.

But the most interesting item he has attached to lately is the one I find most hilarious, charming, and a little freaky: a kleenex, known to Oliver alternately as a tissue or a "snot." Without fail, if he gets upset about anything, he whines in this very dramatic and sad way, "I need a tissue!" or "I need a snot!" Even if he's standing closer to the kleenex box, one of us still has to get it for him, and he'll grab it dramatically and dry his eyes (not his actual snot most of the time), and immediately calm down. Then he'll carry it around with him. Sometimes for hours. So we are constantly finding these little worn out balls of tissue around the house.

 On the computer desk.

 On the couch, and floor (it was a bad morning).

Always nearby.

I swear, it's like living with my grandmother, and I mean that seriously. Both sides of my family are known for their nasal issues, but the women on my mom's side are especially known for their kleenex carrying habits. My maternal grandmother always kept one in her sleeve, ready to catch any drip. My mom will carry the same one around the house all day long. I have no idea how she can blow her nose in the same one over and over again. It is a true talent. And yes, I have been known to annoy several family members, roommates, and a husband over the kleenexes that tend to grow in my wake. I swear I'm much better about it now that I'm older though. Really, I am. So apparently, this is an inherited trait, and one Oliver is proudly carrying on. So to his future wife: I apologize. It's in his genes.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photo Friday

 I'll bet you didn't know a Tonka truck can double as a reading chair!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bronx Zoo

That's right, another zoo. I promise, one of these days, I will blog about something else besides a visit to a zoo.  We have a list of things we want to see before we move back to Iowa (in 1 month, 1 week, and 4 days, but who's counting?), since we may never be in the Northeast again. Marty had worked extra hours so we could get an extra long weekend, and we were going to spend it in NYC for one last trip. Alas, work didn't care, and he ended up having to go in for meetings anyway. But he ended up getting out on Friday, the only decent weather day in the forecast, so we decided to just go and spend the day at the Bronx Zoo. It's only about an hour away by car, so an easy day trip, or so we thought.

As we are now zoo-going experts, I would say this one ranks right up there, but still not as great as the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo or the Lincoln Zoo in Chicago. Up next on our list is the St. Louis Zoo, which we've heard is wonderful. The thing about the Bronx Zoo is that some parts were great, and others were blech, and not much in between. Our favorite parts were the gorillas, the monorail through "Wild Asia", and the African Plains, all of which seemed newer. The older part, with the monkey house, was not very exciting, and more depressing. While the building exteriors were beautiful, I like seeing animals in nature, even fake zoo nature, not in cages. Oliver loved the Bug Carousel, the gorillas, and the monorail, but was not a fan of the Children's Zoo, surprisingly. He rushed us out of there before seeing most of it.

The pics...

 Oliver outside the monkey house, dancing like a monkey, a la The Wiggles.

 Leading the way.

 Marty got some beautiful shots of the flamingos.

 Riding the Bug Carousel. I think he was on a fruit fly. Ick.

 Watching the gorillas. Oliver was a little scared, because it's just a big sheet of glass between you and them, and they were just a few feet away, especially this big guy. But when I asked what his favorite part of the zoo was, he said the gorillas.

 Oliver climbing a rock.

 Again and again.

 Rock climbing was definitely a theme of this trip. He refused to get off of this one to go see the lions, his favorite animals from our last zoo trip, where he got his face painted like one.

We finally got Oliver to come look at the big lion, the only other thing he was really scared of, especially when he started roaring very loudly at his lady friends!

Rhino mother and son, as seen from the monorail.

Overall, it was a nice day, and we spent a long time at the zoo. Too long, apparently, because when we left, the highways we take home were parking lots. Our one hour trip took three. Thankfully, Oliver was on his best behavior, and didn't complain until we were about 10 minutes from our house when he suddenly exclaimed, "Daddy, stop driving!!"

We still plan to make one last trip to NYC, but we'll be taking the train!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Oliver loves "school," which is what we call the Mother's Day Out program that he attends two mornings a week. I got to see him in action because this week was Parent's Visit Day(s). On Monday I forgot my camera, oops, but a friend got a video that I hope to post soon. But luckily, I got a do-over and remembered it today. Get ready to die from the cuteness! There's something about seeing eight 2-3 year olds all lined up that kills me every time!

 Oliver sitting properly in his chair. When we walked in, all the kids were lined up in their chairs, facing the teacher, completely quiet until all the parents entered. I can't get over how they can get these kids to be so well behaved!

 Singing a song. I forget the words, but it's something about keeping your hands in your lap while you're paying attention.

 Miss Janet reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? with felt animals as props. Before each animal she asked the kids to name each animal and their color. Oliver answered every single time, and was often the first and sometimes the only child who answered. Know it all! Not that the others didn't know it, but I think many of the kids got stage fright because of all the parents. Not Oliver!

 Then the kids all turned their chairs around to face the parents for a performance of some songs.

 He pretty much refused to look at me the whole time, but I think some other parent has lots of pictures of Oliver staring right at them. That's ok, because I have Argyle Sweater Boy looking into my camera in most of my pictures!

 There were lots of hand motions going along with the singing.

 This one was about a firetruck.

 Oliver liked doing the water hose part.

 Then the kids all moved their chairs over to the table for a special snack time.

 But first they sang a sweet little blessing:
 "Oh the Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord 
For giving me the things I need, 
The sun and the rain and the apple tree. 
The Lord is good to me."

 Their special treat was a mini slow melt popsicle, which was too cute.

 But still a bit drippy.

 Oliver with his main teacher, Miss Janet. The assistants were Miss Margaret on Mondays and Miss Elle on Wednesdays. He loves Miss Janet, and she loves him.

Oliver with Miss Debbie, the director of the program. Flashing that cheesy grin, as usual.
Everyone there has been wonderful, and we couldn't be happier that we found this program for Oliver. He only has 2 more weeks left, and then he's all done with school. That is going to be a very sad day, for both of us!