Sunday, December 31, 2006
This morning I woke up in Joseph's alcove with Jim gently shaking me saying "It snowed last night, do you want to see?" We opened the window shade and it was beautiful! All of the neighbor's yards, the sidewalks, and road were pristinely covered with snow. A few squirrels scurried about looking for acorns buried in the snow. I ran to get the camera and then got dressed and went out to take pictures. It was so soft and beautiful. I think this was my best Nebraska experience yet. I saw tracks in the snow that I think were left there by a squirrel. It was so quiet and white and the neighborhood felt so purified. Even the alleyway was beautiful. I could have stayed out for a long time, but the batteries from my camera stopped working because of the cold. I really missed my Canon AE-1. I still have it, of course, but with taking care of a toddler I just haven't had any time to use it. Anyway, I couldn't upload photos from the AE-1 anyway. It was such a great thing to happen on the last day of the year. Well, there isn't much more I can say about it- some things you just can't put into words.
So, Joseph now has his own little alcove within our room. We decided that a trundle bed would be the best option because of how low it would be to the floor. I bought him a bedspread with pictures of construction equipment on it because he loves it so much. I had mixed feelings at first because I wanted him to have a 'younger' sort of decor for his room. I was thinking cute little trains, plains and cars or something like that, but when we got to target I saw this and showed it to him and he loved it- especially the tractor pillow with real wheels. I took it home and showed it to Jim, who approved. I couldn't help but feel a little sad though- like he is just growing up too fast. But in reality he can name all of the types of construction vehicles on the bedspread. We checked out a book from the library a few weeks ago called ' The Construction Alphabet Book' that has some piece of construction equipment for every letter. Last week I was reading it to him and he named at least half of them on his own. He is just crazy about that stuff. Every day when we go for a walk with Spot, he says 'Bulldozer' because he wants to go see the construction equipment at a nearby school they are working on. I just call them all 'bulldozers', because that is pretty much the extent of my knowledge. So in the end, I don't feel bad. I guess he is just ready for that level of sophistication. I made myself feel better by deciding that I will draw some construction vehicles and put those on the walls, and I will put some planes on the ceiling, I think it will look really cool when it is finished, and Joseph already loves it. Oh and I put some bears by his bed.
As an aside, today when I was putting him down for his nap he took a bear and then said "I take more bear," and then tried to grab the rest of them. This is his most complicated sentence so far. When I told Jim he said "Wow, that even has a direct object in it!"
Second Christmas ended up being as much as a celebration as Christmas. We opened stocking presents during our morning coffee time and I gave Joseph a tea set and a set of small puzzles. He was just as blown away with these things as the ones he got on Christmas. He chose colors for me (purple), Jim(pink) and himself (orange.) When I ask him who the other one is for he picks someone else (like Beppe or Spot.)
Later that day I took Joseph to target to get a bedspread set because Jim and I decided it is time for him to have a bed. I picked out a set that had a matching tractor pillow (more on that later) and also got him a football because he always wants to play with Spot's ball which looks like a football. He went absolutely CRAZY for the football and tractor pillow. When we got home I took him to get changed and he cried for his tractor, and then for his football. He was only happy when he got them both. There really is some truth to the idea of this stuff being hard-wired. I didn't think so before, but having a boy has really changed my outlook.
We all had a great Christmas. We only gave Joseph three presents total on Christmas morning, and saved the stocking for the next day and this worked out great. He was just so excited he really couldn't have handled more without things going badly. After presents we went for a walk in the neighborhood, The weather was warm (~60 degrees F) and sunny. Joseph fell asleep on the walk and when he woke up he immediately said train. I took him down stairs and to the potty. He cried for his puzzle and train and when finished brought them into the kitchen. He then remembered Elmo (which he got from Grandma) and went to the living room where Elmo was. He touched it and then started walking back to the kitchen while looking over his shoulder at Elmo. I said to him that we could put Elmo in the Kitchen too and he really liked that idea. The rest of the day I made 'taai taai' and used my new cookie cutters from Sinter Klaas. They worked really well.
I put the stockings up on the 23rd and following tradition I put a small present in Joseph's stocking. It was a small matchbox car. It was the first time that he said that a present was anyone else's than Daddy (Jojo, present.) He liked the car so much that he played with it all day, and refused to let anyone see it. He calls it the black car, because that is what we call it, not because he knows his colors. He actually was calling all colors black for a couple of days after this.
Joseph loves to play with the megablocks; he really takes after Jim (who loves legos.) To express how fond Jim is of legos I only have to say that he still has his legos from when he is a child. He has carted them around through all of our moves- this from a man who only keeps things that are useful now. I guess he feels they are useful. Well anyway, Joseph loves his over sized lego-like megablocks and calls them Me-blocks. When Jim comes home from work Joseph runs to the closet where we keep them and shouts Me-block! The photo shows Joseph's very first block tower that he built all by himself.
Other that preparing for Christmas and taking care of Joseph, I spent a lot of time cleaning. I have to say that I never really enjoyed it much before, but I am experiencing new found joy in having a clean house, and even in the process of getting it. A couple of months ago I checked out a book from the library called 'How Clean is Your House' written by a couple of fastidiously clean English ladies. I got lots of cleaning tips and also was inspired by them to take on a rigorous cleaning schedule. I started to clean the bathrooms everyday and I tried to sweep every morning, and change the bedsheets and dust everything once a week, along with keeping the kitchen cleaned up, and doing the laundry in a timely manner (bring down dirty laundry in the morning and bring folded laundry upstairs every evening.) Before reading this book I would sweep every few days and clean the bathrooms once a week, and I always felt like I was being pursued by the laundry. Even though I am working harder, it actually feels easier- I guess because it is now just my regular routine.
Joseph is finally able to spend some time in the playpen without too much protest and even seems to enjoy it at times. When he is overstimulated and getting into trouble I put him in it with a few things and he is better able to focus on his toys than if he is out, and it is great for me to get some cleaning done then. In the photo Joseph is trying to give Spot a cookie. I gave him a couple of cookies to give to Spot so I could get both of them in the photo. They had been bothering each other so I put Joseph in the playpen. He was playing quietly for a while and then I heard him giggling. I went to see what was happening and found Spot sitting next to the playpen and Joseph sticking his hands through the bars trying to touch him.
This month I spent a lot of time getting ready for the holidays. I made lots of cookies and in the beginning of the month I made an advent calender. Joseph really enjoyed opening the window every morning and he definitely had his favorites; he particularly liked the bunny, and with the present he would always say 'present for Daddy.' He had that association because I took him to the store the day before I made the calender and said we were going to get a present for daddy. For a long time he seemed to think all presents were for Daddy.
Well, it has been a busy month here on the great plains, at least it has at our house. We celebrated Sinter Klaas on the fifth and sixth with Joseph. However, Jim and I exchanged presents the following weekend because we just couldn't get to it. I got Joseph a truck with tools on it with which he can take the tires on and off, and screw in the engine etc. At first when we said 'engine' he made a siren sound. We didn't make the connection of what he meant and I thought maybe he was confusing the words 'siren' and 'engine,' but later I figured out he was thinking of 'fire-engine' which of course makes that sound. It is so cute- now I ask him what does the engine says and he says 'whoo, whoo, whoo."