Monday, July 16, 2012

Milestone: Taking Self to Potty for First Time When Needing to Go (13 months)


Damien was playing today when I noticed him pause for a moment, which usually happens when he needs to go. But then, without any prompting, he just walked over to his potty, sat down, and had a bowel movement. He has gone on the potty lots of times his whole life, but this is the first time he recognized he needed to go, and took himself, without any help.

He turned 13 months and 2 weeks old today.

So proud of him!

"And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee..."
Deuteronomy 26:11
Damien is 13 months, 2 weeks old

7.15.12 Week in Review - Sickness and Getting By (ages 13 months and 7 years)


Damien playing with a friend for a little while on a morning that I thought he was better, only for his fever to come back later that day

This week I learned an important lesson: mainly, that when your 13 month old is sick, they can revert to acting like a 13 week old, but with all that extra toddler power.

The poor, feverish mess wanted to be held nonstop, nursed nonstop, cuddled nonstop, and oh-my-goodness if I even dared walk out of the room to go get something I was in for a serious meltdown.

And that is how my week went, folks. Holding and cuddling and nursing a feverish little one all day, and all night, and did these germs not get the notice that it is July? And that kids are supposed to be swimming and running around outside in July, not watching Baby Einstein on YouTube (our guilty pleasure) and downing orange flavored motrin?

Apparently not.

And it doesn't help that the entire week before, Hunter had this same fever, then literally the day he was all the way better, little Damien woke up with it. It definitely would have been easier if they would have just both been sick at the same time - at least we could've just gotten it over with and moved on.

So you know what? All of the plans I had for last week are probably going to get carried over, hopefully. Since next week is - gasp - homecoming week.

Did I mention that my husband has been deployed for the last eight months? No? Oh yes, that's right, I don't talk about deployments on this blog until they're over. Just a personal safety and privacy preference.

But he has been. And it's been rough. And I've got a lot of things to write about it.

But back to next week...


Dad is coming home. So the first few days of the week might be a little hectic as we get all the little details ready for his homecoming, and then the rest of the week might just be spend in oohing and ahhing bliss. Over the weekend, we are going camping, in the mountains, by a lake. So these kids had better be feeling fantastic by then, that's all I'm saying!

In spite of Damien's sickness, Hunter had a fantastic week at VBS. He is really at a fun age for that type of thing, and just had a great time with all of the activities and telling me about the stories and Bible verses he learned.

He did not really do much other school work. And Damien? He did have a lot of reading time. That boy is always up for a good book. And he also went on the potty a lot which was helpful.

But pretty much everything else, school wise, fell by the wayside. I am trying not to beat myself up about it too much. It just happens sometimes.

It's Sunday night and Damien still isn't at his best, but I am hoping that he gets back to himself by tomorrow.

My goal for this week - enjoy Dad being back. Get some reading in, and a bit of math. And since, prayerfully, we won't have sick kids anymore, get back to the pool.

"Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?"
Ecclesiastes 3:22
Hunter is 7 years, 3 months old ("2nd" grade)
Damien is 13 months, 1 week old (grade "K1")

Friday, July 13, 2012

Damien (13 months) Noticing Alphabet Letters While Out and About

Exit sign 7-13-12_new

Damien is 13 months old and he loves the "sounds" of things. Animal sounds. Object sounds. Letter sounds. Yes, this little guy loves to learn his alphabet sounds.

The other day he was sitting next to me while I was on my computer, and started bouncing and excitedly saying "H! H! H!" (the sound it makes, not the letter name). Then, he put his itty bitty finger on the "H" key on my keyboard and repeatedly pressed it while saying "H! H! H!" like a panting dog in the heat of a southern summer.

He has done that several times. Then today, for about the third time, he went nuts when we passed a bright, shining "EXIT" sign in a store. "Eh! Eh! Eh!" Yes, he knows the sound of "E" very well.

And you know what? I haven't been very consistent in teaching him these letter sounds. We play with foam letters sometimes or look at alphabet books or cards, but not every day, and it's not happened a great many times in his life. As in, I don't sit down with him and force him to memorize cards for three hours a day to get him to learn stuff. I just show him a little something for two and a half seconds during playtime, and he gets it. He loves it. And that's how all little ones are - if we only give them a chance and the right environment.

"The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory."
Psalm 29:9

Damien is currently 13 months, 2 weeks old

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Night Thoughts, Plan for the Week

Reading math Damien_new 
Damien (13 mo) helping me sort reading and math cards for the week before bed

It has been an interesting week, and I am more than ready for a fresh, productive start.
Hunter (7) was sick on and off the entire week - spiking a fever, then it going down, now a high fever, then playing around doing fine, a low fever, a vomit episode, feeling better, a little bit of a fever again. Phew. My kids usually bounce back after a day or two - this was a weird experience for us.
Thankfully he didn't suffer too much and it all was mild, but because of this, as well as a house guest being around this whole week, not much of anything school wise got done.

Fourth of July

This next week, Hunter is going to VBS each morning. I am hoping he will have a good time while giving me a chance to get back into a routine. Waking up early (er, earlier). Getting dressed and eating breakfast very soon after. Having a set three hour time limit to accomplish tasks, prep for some afternoon school, spend some time with Damien by himself.

Wish me luck. This week Damien is going to be working on his alphabet letter sounds (he knows the sounds of A-L, now we're going to introduce M-S) some animal, color, and family name reading words and encyclopedic knowledge cards, and some more quantity introduction for math (only on 10-20 right now). Hunter is going to be working on his Time 4 Learning math and language arts, maybe some art and piano lessons, and lots and lots of reading.

Both of the boys will hopefully be doing daily swim lessons, and walking (Damien) and running (Hunter) sessions. Oh, and Damien's potty training. He is sitting on the potty by himself now (as in, he can walk over to it, turn around, back up, and sit down with good aim), still a lot of messes though, but he is making progress. I'm not in an extreme hurry though.

Thanks for reading. How has your week (and summer) been going with your kids?

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20
Hunter is 7 years, 3 months old
Damien is 13 months [1 year + 1 month], 0 weeks old

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Power of Words on Your Child's Future

Power of words
The other night we were on Netflix watching the documentary film, Being Elmo. I really didn't know what to expect out of the film. I honestly never put much thought into the talent and skill involved in really high quality puppeteering, but the story was fascinating, to say the least.
Kevin Clash, the voice, arm, and personality behind Elmo, tells his story as a young boy enamored by the puppets he watched on TV. His insatiable interest in puppeteering, volunteer work doing puppet shows throughout jr. high and high school, and his reaching out to the puppeteering greats, led for him to be recognized by the likes of Jim Henson, work on many big television shows and movies, and currently has him in the position of the Senior Puppet Coordinator at Sesame Street.
One thing that really struck a chord with me was when he told of a time when he was young, around 10 years old. One day, he found a trench coat that belonged to his father - on the inside of the coat was a black, furry material. "Wow, that would make a great monkey" he remembered thinking.
Entranced, he cut it up and made a puppet monkey, which he proudly put on his parents' dresser. Only after the fact, as he saw it sitting there, did he start to get "really concerned about what (my dad) would do to me."
And do you know what his dad's response was? He called his son into the room, and said calmly,
"What's his name?"
"Monee" said Kevin
"Next time, just ask" said his dad
I breathed a sign of relief as the suspenseful music stopped and the tension subsided.
And then, started thinking about his father's response.
When we are watching a film like this, we already know the future. We know that this young boy will grow up to be one of the most talented puppeteers the world has ever seen. We can listen to the stories of the little day to day events in his young life and see how they were just pieces in a much bigger puzzle that would shape his future, and we can clearly see how each piece did.
We are able to look and think,
"Wow. How would this boy's future have been different if his dad would have reacted in anger? If he would have yelled and told him what a stupid thing that was to do and would have gone on about how expensive that coat was, and how they can't afford to buy another one, and badgered him about being selfish and not caring about anyone besides himself? If he would have said, 'I don't want you making those silly puppets anymore if you're going to do things like this'?"
In retrospect, we can see how just one little event like that - one moment of his father lashing out and getting fed up - could have completely altered his son's future. And, looking at what this boy went on to do with his life, we can see how that one event could have very well affected the future of millions of others, too.
Sometimes, as parents, we respond that way. We get caught up in the daily stresses of life and end up putting more importance on things than we do on our kids' delicate souls.
But it's wrong. And it's not about whether or not what young Clash did was right - it wasn't right, and he knew it. But we can never let a mistake from our child trigger an even bigger mistake from us - speaking in anger. Temporarily valuing the things more than the person, no matter how much that thing costs or how hard it will be to replace. Children are eternal, and things just aren't.
So today, parents, I want to encourage you as I was encouraged.
To remember that no amount of early learning, or accelerated teaching, or whatever we do to help our child academically, is going to make up for the impact that your attitude and words will have on your child's future.
We all want our kids to reach their potential. But sometimes we are looking in all the wrong places.
"Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs."
Pearl Strachan

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.
Matthew 12:36-38 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America

Land of the free
"And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born."
Acts 22:28
Damien is 13 months, 0 weeks old