Sunday, September 25, 2011

apple picking

We had a terrific fall weekend - I played frisbee yesterday morning. Seb and I took a bike ride together, and Steve and Seb watched a beautiful sunset tonight over the Hudson.  Today we drove up to Wilkens Farm and did some apple picking in the morning, and in the afternoon went to a book fair at Washington Irving's homestead, here in Irvington. Despite predictions of rain, it turned out to be a sunny and pleasant day. Sebastian loved riding the tractor to the orchard, picking apples from the trees, and then eating as many as we'd let him try. Liesl got into the act as well, happily munching her way through an apple. And then we all enjoyed freshly made cider donuts.

The book fair is an annual festival at Sunnyside. Dozens of children's authors attend, with stacks of their books at the ready for you to buy and them to sign. It's a cool way of demonstrating to Sebastian that books are written by real people that you can even meet. He isn't yet thrilled by the idea of having his name written in the book by the author, but I think it's pretty cool. We bought 5 or 6 new books for our boy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

talking and walking

Liesl has been trying to say her first word: "uh-oh". She's got the first part down, and she's got the concept (throw something on the floor, smile at Dada/Mama/Seb and say uh-oh, wait for them to pick it up, repeat), but the second half of the word is hard. So she just says "Uh!". It's pretty cute. She also tried to say blueberry the other day for Steve, which really surprised us. (Although, given how much she loves blueberries, maybe it shouldn't have.)

She's doing a pretty good job of communicating without words, however. She has a very definite protest cry that we hear when we try to take favorite objects away from her. She has a real giggle, that she'll make when you tickle her or turn her upside down, but she also has this funny cackle that seems to mean "look at me, wasn't that cool!?".

I often offer her Cheerios during meals as a way to keep her occupied and happy. She likes to feed herself, but usually can't feed herself enough food for a meal. So one of our games is that I put a Cheerio in my hand and place it in front of her, and her game is to pry open my hand and grab the Cheerio. When she opens her mouth for the Cheerio I shove a bite of real food in. (Hey, it works.) But the other day, my hand was on the table in front of her and when she pried it open there weren't any Cheerios inside. She opened up my hand a few times and turned it over and over, looking for the Cheerios, and then she lifted my hand up to her mouth and bit me. Mama finally got the message, and got some Cheerios.

She's definitely a full-on toddler now - just yesterday she walked all the way through the kitchen, the dining area, around through the living room, down the hallway, and back to the kitchen. We call it the loop. I can't believe she's walking already. She sways a bit, like a drunken sailor, but is totally undaunted by her frequent falls onto her bum. She's also starting to take an interest in playing games with us, and unsurprisingly two of her favorite games are to try and roll a ball back and forth and to push little cars around after Seb. If she's not a tomboy, it'll be a miracle. I have to get my fix of cute dresses now, since she'll probably start refusing to wear them next year.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Walkway over the Hudson

On Sunday we drove up to Poughkeepsie to take a walk over the Hudson River on the new pedestrian bridge (opened 2009). It's one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world and was formerly a railroad bridge. It's beautiful. Gorgeous scenery all around, great views of freight trains and ferry boats and passenger trains for one small boy, and a really nice wide trail over the river. I've never walked across the Hudson before.
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Monday, September 5, 2011


Poor Sebastian's newest tricks and achievements have been forgotten in the excitement of Liesl's more rapid changes. But he's growing and changing too, especially in the realms of language and imagination. He has finally grasped the concept of patterns, and can see and repeat simple ones (red blue red blue red ??). When he lines up his cars now, he sometimes arranges them according to size or color or type, which is new and fun to see.

He also has grasped rhyming and has begun to take great pleasure in picking out rhyming words in his stories and every day life. (pooper and scooper! those rhyme!!)  Many of his books have rhyming couplets and he is basically discovering them anew.

We taught him to play rock paper scissors and he loves it. He loves the idea of a game that can be played anywhere and often asks us to play now when we are walking on the trail. Of course, he always does scissors. Always. So it's not much of a game. He was fascinated to watch me and Steve play, however.

Somehow the idea of chores has sunk deeply into his imagination, and he now will say that he's going to do something "as a chore" "to help out". This often involves something real, like putting away everyone's dishes after the meal (instead of just his own) or helping me fold and put away the laundry, or helping me vacuum. His help, as expected, is not always terribly helpful, but I do appreciate the thought. He usually wants a reward for his good behavior, though, which is sort of contrary to the selfless nature with which he presents the original offer. Fortunately, being our child, his rewards are mostly food-centered: bread, cereal, ice cream, watermelon, pastries.

And finally, he still loves stories. He loves to be read to - the same books, over and over, until he gets tired and moves on to a different tranche of books, which we then read over and over. We're on a Poppleton kick right now. They're short chapter books about a pig named Poppleton. And after a hiatus, we're reading Frog and Toad again. He has also discovered that people can make up stories and tell them to him - Steve is tremendously good at this - and so over dinner or in the car he'll ask for a story. It's always the same genre: "mama, tell me a race car story".  I am not very good at impromptu storytelling, but I try, and he is an easy critic.

He starts in the Pre-K room at Happy Harbor tomorrow. I can scarcely believe it. Our big boy.