Wednesday, August 25, 2010

empty-nest blues

Sebastian is spending the next two days and nights with Grandma and Grandpa Raab. He was extremely excited about the visit. Grandma is extremely excited about the visit. And Steve and I are just sad. Our boy has never been away from us for a night before.

I've just arrived home from work, alone, and there's no one here. I miss our boy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

reading My Car

Sebastian reading My Car from B. Avery on Vimeo.

New pajamas, new bed, new (train-themed) sheets... our big boy.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Redshirting kindergarten

This article in the New York Times discusses the increasingly common practice of holding back kindergartners (especially boys) for an extra year of preschool in order to give them an emotional, physical, and intellectual leg up. Given that the cutoff date in New York is December 31st, boys with fall birthdays, like our Sebastian, are commonly held out of school until the following September. It's an issue that we will need to confront in a very short time - will we send him to kindergarten when he's 4, and risk that he will be the youngest and smallest in his class (younger than some of his classmates by more than a year, in some cases)? Or will we hold him back, paying for another year of daycare and risking that he becomes bored? How will we know what to do without being able to test-drive the options? What will our friends (with their November and December children) do? If we make the wrong decision, will we know, and will we be able to ameliorate it?

Both Carl and I were always the youngest in our grades, because we skipped a grade when we moved from the US to Canada. I don't think being youngest really affected my experiences in a negative way, but Carl may feel differently.

potty training

And, just like that, it appears that our boy has figured it out. He's been using the bathroom all week, fairly consistently, with no accidents at daycare and only one or two at home. He's even remembered and told me he needed to pee when we've been outside the house on playdates. I find the speed with which he's managed it pretty amazing, although I guess it mimics his learning curve for other things (walking, saying his name) - he waits and waits until he feels confident, and then he's good.

He's still wearing diapers for naps and bedtime, of course, but that's the next step. For now, in the daytime at least, we're apparently over them!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


We've been away for the last two weeks, but are now happily home. Sebastian started asking on Wednesday if we were going home soon, and was very excited all day Friday that we were on our way here. He ran in the door and promptly started playing with all of his favorite toys (trucks, trains, cars, legos), and repeated over and over "I'm so happy to be home!".

But I'm getting ahead of myself - vacation was terrific and fun and exciting, although it had its rough moments, mostly around sleep issues. Steve spent the first week stuck in a bad cycle, waking up between 3 and 4 every day and unable to fall back asleep. And Sebastian had some troubles napping in the car, which we had counted on during long drives. But overall it was great to spend time together as a family and to take Sebastian to see new and exciting things.

We started in Saratoga Springs, where we saw the famous horse races, went to a morning warm-up of the horses, rode the carousel in Congress Park, and visited an auto museum. We also just spent a lot of time hanging out in the park and enjoying the cooler weather. Just before leaving, on a rainy morning, we visited the small children's museum.

We then drove up to Montreal, where we strolled the old town and saw ships in the old port, visited the Botanical Garden, saw an absolutely amazing train museum, hiked up Mont Royal to overlook the city, and ate a lot of croissants. A lot.

After Montreal, we came down through the Champlain Islands (which were gorgeous) to Burlington, Vermont. We got to see cousins Jeff, Anna, Silas, and Adelaide there - we had dinners together, the boys played beautifully with each other, and we visited the Shelburne Farm. And we ate some really terrific local food - Burlington has quite the food scene. On our way out of town, we stopped at Owl's Head Farm to do some blueberry picking - we picked two quarts (not counting what Seb ate during the picking process). Thanks to Jeff and Anna for putting up with our last-minute arrival and our lack of clear plans!!

And then we headed to Woodstock, Vermont. It was a really pretty town, very walkable, and our inn had a lovely outdoor pool. We walked around and peered into Quechee Gorge, hiked up to the top of Mt. Tom in the Marsh Billings National Park, rented bikes and rode along a quiet road, visited a dairy farm (with newborn calves!), and explored the local river. Sebastian absolutely loved clambering on the rocks, and demanded to wade into the river. He had earlier refused to come into the pool with me and Steve, so we were astonished. We also played a little hide and seek in an old cemetery. :)

For our final night, we hit Norwich, Vt, where there is a truly terrific science museum. We loved showing Sebastian all of the different exhibits and watching him play with the various water chutes, air tunnels, marble chutes, etc. We didn't get to see everything there, and definitely want to return. (Seb said he wanted to go back with Silas next time...)

We came back through the mountains, taking one last morning hike up Stratton (we had hoped for a gondola ride, but it wasn't running) before coming down through western Vermont, cutting over to New York, and then coming down the Taconic. We stopped in the Rhinebeck area to visit one of our favorite farm markets (Montgomery Farms, with the best jam ever), to wander the Montgomery Place grounds, and to get dinner in Rhinebeck, before coming home.

Many pictures are up on picasa.

Sunday, August 1, 2010