Monday, April 19, 2010

first family bike ride!

(That's our first bike ride together, as a family, since we are clearly not the First Family.)

We have a Skuut bike for Sebastian, bought by an overly enthusiastic bike-riding mama (that's me) over a year ago. It's been too big for Sebastian until very recently. I brought it to the park a couple of weeks ago, and he didn't want anything to do with it. He has gingerly walked around the apartment with it. And then on Thursday, when we came home from work/daycare, he saw the bike and asked to ride it outside on the sidewalk. I was thrilled, and walked up and down the block with him while he slowly walked the bike. He was quite tentative, but clearly enthusiastic about riding a bike on his own.

And then yesterday morning, I asked if he wanted to go out for a bike ride, and he said yes, and then specified that he wanted to be on his own bike (instead of with me, on mine). He was very clear that I should ride my bike, and he should ride his own bike, and daddy should ride his bike, so the "whole family" would ride together. So indeed, off we went, up to the Aqueduct trail, the whole family riding bikes together. (It's really hard to go that slowly on a big bike!) I thought he might tire quickly of the whole thing, but he walked/rode his bike for probably a full mile along the trail, from Irvington to Mercy College. I then took him up with me for a little while, for the long downhill to the train, but then once we reached flat sidewalk again, he requested his own bike, and he biked another 1/2 mile.

At the beginning he was quite tentative, walking slowly and wary of rocks and sticks. But he slowly picked up confidence and speed, and even started doing a bit of coasting, where he lifted both feet off the ground. He got scared on steeper downhills, when he felt himself losing control, but slight declines were amazingly fun. He moved his little legs faster and faster and really motored along. All in all, an amazing success, and really fun, even if it took us 2 hours to bike 2 miles. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

new phrases

I remain, as before, fascinated and charmed by Sebastian's language skills. Some of his recent gems:

I think I can, I think I can: Grandma Raab bought him the classic Watty Piper book "The Little Engine that Could", in which the little blue engine makes it up the hill by chanting I think I can over and over. Sebastian now will repeat this phrase for himself, when running up a long hill, and for me, when I'm biking the two of us around.

Good job, mommy: this just makes me feel like a good parent, that he should know how to give praise and give it so freely.

Why? Why not?: Oh, yes. We have entered the why phase of things, bringing home to me how little I understand about how many things in the world work. I usually try my best for 3 or 4 whys, and then give up.

If you do that, I will be sad: the future conditional. I was impressed.

I had a nice time, and I'm so happy to see you!: Two things he says that are so very sweet. Sometimes I get the I'm so happy to see you! when I pick him up from daycare, and it just lights up my afternoon.

Are you happy?: I don't know where this came from. I don't think Steve or I make a habit of asking each other if the other is happy. But Sebastian really likes to ask, and if you aren't happy, he wants to know why. And if you're not happy because you're tired, he wants to know why. And occasionally, very very occasionally, if you're not happy because of his bad behavior, he will take steps to fix that behavior. :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

library books

During the epic snows and rains and storms of February and March, we visited a lot of libraries. It's cheaper than visiting toy stores or book stores, and often provided a much-needed out of the house destination on bad-weather days. We are blessed with some beautiful libraries in Westchester - all of the Rivertowns have terrific libraries, located on the waterfronts. The Hastings library has enormous windows overlooking the train tracks. And the Greenburgh library is newly constructed and gorgeous - a modernist glass building smack in the middle of an unlovely spot next to highway 287.

Sebastian loves visiting the library. When we pass by the Greenburgh library, he'll shout and point out the window "Big library!!". It's fun to ask him to pick which one to visit. And it's really fun to pick out new books to take home - we usually end up with anywhere from 7-12 new books each time. He loves getting new books and usually becomes fanatically attached to 4 or 5 of them. He wants them read every day at bedtime, the same few books. Every day, for a few weeks. And then he suddenly gets tired of them and never wants to read them again. It's fascinating to us, this extreme attachment to a few books, followed so quickly by extreme aversion.

Many of the books we bring home have transportation themes: Trainstop; Little Blue Truck leads the Way; The Bus for Us; Curious George and the Dump Truck. I'm constantly amazed at just how many books there are about trucks, buses, trains, and planes. But we do manage to sneak in a few that are about other topics - usually animals. He surprised me an enthusiasm for Robert McCloskey's classic Blueberries for Sal. One of his current obsessions is called Piglet & Mama. And for awhile, we were reading Knuffle Bunny at least twice a day (but Knuffle Bunny II was totally and completely rejected, with fear and loathing).

Both Steve and I have very fond memories of visiting the library as children and getting to take new books home, and it's fun to pass on the enthusiasm to Seb.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


We celebrated Easter in Greenlawn, at Grandma and Grandpa Raab's house. Dinner was a collaborative affair, and excellent - ham, biscuits, sweet potato and spinach curry, broccoli and cauliflower, and polenta with asparagus and peppers.

Sebastian was very excited to go and visit them and even more excited about egg hunting. We filled plastic eggs with some of his favorite things - pretzels, chips, cherries, bits of pumpkin muffin. I filled a few with cookies and jelly beans, and he rejected both of those more traditional treats after one bite. Steve hid all the eggs in the front yard and Sebastian loved taking his basket around to find them all. In fact, he loved it so much that he immediately wanted Daddy to hide them all again. And after he found those, he worked with auntie Mary to hide all the eggs again, and mommy and daddy had to find them. And then after cousin Rio arrived, we had to hide even more eggs, and let Seb and Rio hunt for them together. There was a lot of egg hunting. :)

Seb and Rio also rode their bikes around together - Rio on a big girl bike with training wheels, and Sebastian on a low-riding tricycle that lives at Grandma's house.

Monday, April 5, 2010

spring BBQ at the Karyos!

We had a lovely playdate and BBQ with the Karyos on Saturday night. At Sebastian's request, I took pictures of nearly everything that happened. He wanted to be able to look and see pics of Sonya and himself playing together, eating together, and holding hands. (These were specific requests.)

Many more pictures on Picasa:

Say cheese!

Sebastian and Sonya had a tea party, that became a birthday party. They took turns singing happy birthday to each other - see parts I and II below.

Happy birthday, part I from B. Avery on Vimeo.

Happy birthday, part II from B. Avery on Vimeo.

Friday, April 2, 2010

sleep issues

My father has accused me of being too rosy-eyed about my son. And maybe this blog should more accurately record the things that drive us crazy as well as all the cute stuff. I'm not sure I'm ready to fully disclose all of the times I lose my temper, yell, am tempted to throw things, and generally wish for an hour of child-free time. Or the times that Sebastian is a total terror, throwing his toys around, kicking them, hitting us, and screaming as loud as he can.

However... sleep has been and continues to be a big issue for us. Sebastian has always been a very bad sleeper. He doesn't like to sleep alone. He doesn't like to go to sleep. He won't sleep unless things are dark and quiet (none of this falling asleep in the stroller while walking around the city, or on my shoulder on the train home, etc.). He has always seemed to sleep a little less than he needs to - waking up after only 9 hours at night, and a nap of 90 minutes - when 9.5 hours and a 2 hr nap really seem to be what his body needs. He wakes up in the night and calls for us, and can't make it back on his own, nearly every night. He wakes up too early - before the recent time shift, he never made it past 5:15. And he was up for good at 5:15, no matter how much leaving or cuddling we did.

We tried letting him cry it out - cry himself to sleep the first time, and cry himself to sleep when he woke up at 2 am, and cry himself to sleep at 5. It never worked. He just never made it to sleep. He could cry for hours and not make it, for multiple nights.

We have been sort of limping along, taking turns getting up, napping on the weekends, feeling tired most of the time, for most of Sebastian's sweet life. Then we found him climbing out of his crib, and moved him out of it onto a floor mattress. Of course, once he had freedom of movement, he didn't want to stay in there at all - not on the bed, and not even in the room. So we started locking him in, but that led to epic screaming fits, and tears (on his part, and on mine). And then even more frequent night wake-ups because he was having anxiety dreams. And insomnia, where he wouldn't go back to sleep for 2-3 hours. Total disaster. Now Steve goes in and cuddles with him until he falls asleep, but that sometimes takes an hour. But at least he's only waking up once a night and making it back to sleep relatively quickly once we go to him, and he's sleeping until 6 these days.

We just keep hoping that someday some switch will flip, and he'll be okay on his own. But it seems pretty unlikely at this point, and we don't know what else to do. *sigh* At least he eats well, and is sweet-tempered, and is in all other respects such a lovely child.