Friday, February 22, 2013

Being little is a lot of work

Our little guys are so busy growing up.  It amazes me how quickly they pick up on things.  You can almost hear the slurping sound their little brains are making as they suck up any information that's tossed about--intentional or otherwise.
Pretending to be "upside-down bats"

A child learning to speak is like a pan of popcorn.  At first you hear a pop and you say, "Oh boy!  A pop!"  Then there's another, then two, then five, soon you can't keep count and they're escaping from under the lid and going all over the place.  As soon as you make a list of Words They Know it's out of date, because they've been learning more words while you were making your list.
Need a little place to get away from it all.  This'll do.
Here are some of Peter's most-used words:
Bear (Bay-uh) and of course "my bear" (mah bay-uh)
Milk (Gek), also "more milk" (mah gek)
No (Nah)--accompanied by a cute little toss of curls
Thank you (Dah-dooooo)--and always with this face:

Walk (Ahk), he loves going for walks.  If he knows that a walk is underfoot, he'll run and get his sandals and sit down on the rug to wait for someone to help him put them on.
Bye--he loves to say 'bye.'  A sneaky way to get him to give something up is to have him say goodbye to it.  Works almost every time.  Lately he's also gotten shy.  When strangers smile and talk to him he'll bury his face in my neck.  But as soon as it's time to go, he'll smile at them and say "Bye!"
He has also been learning his numbers and has been delighted to discover that they are literally everywhere.  In books, at the grocery store, on traffic light poles.  It's amazing.  He's always excited to point out the numbers he sees, "Un!"  "Doo!"  "Fwee!" and his favourite, "Ate!"

It's always so funny to hear our own words and phrases thrown back at us through the filter of Eliot's little boy brain.  Like when chicken satay became "fricken satay."  We also must say "what in the heck" a lot, because Eliot has adopted it but it always comes out "what is the heck?"

The novelty of school has worn off.  Last Monday morning Eliot informed me that he was not going to school.  "I don't like school.  School is not good for me."  At first Spencer and I tried to explain all the advantages of going to school, but Eliot remained unconvinced.  Spencer left for work and then I loaded the boys up for the walk to school.  All the way, "I'm not going to school.  Peter is going to school."  I stopped trying to fight it.  Whenever he'd say that he didn't like school I just said, "I know" and we kept walking.  Once we got there it didn't take long for him to become interested in a painting project they had out that morning.  As I left I could see one of the teachers helping him into a smock.  Reading between the lines it seems to be a case of wanting to stay home with Mommy and Peter but then having a nice time in spite of oneself once one is actually there.

It may have something to do with the fact that Spencer left on a work trip the evening before Eliot's first day of school and we all went to drop Daddy off at the airport.  The trip had caught hold of Eliot's imagination and he was absolutely convinced--up until the very last moment when we carried him, crying, from the airport--that he was going along.  He'd even packed his backpack, with his toothbrush and an assortment of stuffed animals, and brought it in to the airport to toss onto the scale with Daddy's suitcase.  Since then Eliot won't stop talking about going on a trip.  I can imagine how it must appear to him.  Daddy says he's going to go on a plane, he packs his bag and, voilĂ , he goes on a plane.  As far as Eliot can see, that was the only preparation needed.  He said it, and it was so.  I explained to Eliot that you need a ticket to go on the plane. No problem.  We've got paper.  We've got markers.  If it's a ticket they want, it's a ticket they'll get.
Ready to go!

The world is a great big place, Little Men, but you'll grow into it.  Sooner than you think.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Train therapy

Eliot and Peter are very thankful for the train pieces that Uncle Hugo has given them from his old collection.  Peter loves the trains so much, in fact, that often he'll take one of them to bed with him.  Many an hour has been spent building, rearranging, matching trains, and learning to share.

It's fun to listen in on the little discussions that take place while they play.  The conversations are pretty one-sided and generally go something like this: "Look Peter!  The blue train!  Do you want the blue train?  Goo'job!"

Busy, busy, busy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy (Belated) Australia Day!

Australia Day was on January 26 but I couldn't let it go without a blog post.  It was a hot day (of course) and we took the boys to the beach where we had a nice swim in the ocean.  The water wasn't too rough--just nice, gentle swells--so even Peter got in on the action.  When the water is calm like that, Eliot is pretty good about swimming, with his life vest on, without my help--though I always keep him close at hand.  He thinks it's hilarious when the water makes him "get really tall" and then drops him down again.  Peter was less impressed.  He tolerated it when I took him in for a swim, but only once.  I suppose I can't blame him.  While I was holding him, a rogue wave came up and knocked us down.  We recovered quickly but he made it perfectly clear that he was ready to get out.   He loves water, but he's in a phase where the ocean is just a bit much.  He greatly preferred playing on the sand.

That evening, Eliot and I (Spencer stayed home with Peter who was too tired to stay up late) drove up to our church's parking lot where you have a pretty good view of the city and the river, where fireworks were planned.  While we waited for the fireworks, I got out some sparklers and Eliot had a great time.  So great, in fact, that the fireworks that followed were rather anticlimactic (as an aside, 'anticlimactic' is one of Eliot's favourite new words.  He pronounces it 'an-tic-a-mantic'.)  Even so, it was great way to wrap up a very happy Australia Day.  
(just a note for anxious grandparents: in that first picture, the sparkler isn't nearly as close to Eliot's face as it appears :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Milestones: Eliot Starts School!

Today was Eliot's first day of Kindergarten, or Kindy, as the Aussies call it.

The night before, we took a picture of Eliot with all of his school supplies.  He had been uncertain about starting school, until we went shopping for supplies.  Then, all he could talk about was going to school and using his markers and glue sticks.  He would pack up his backpack and walk around the apartment, telling me that he was ready to go.

Eliot's school is called Lake Monger Primary School, so called because it is just across the street from scenic Lake Monger.

It's just a few blocks from where we live, so we had a nice walk this morning.

Eliot settled right in.  He walked in and went straight to the puzzles that were laid out on a table.  I said goodbye and wished him well, but I don't think he even noticed when Peter, Yellow Bear, and I left.

Peter took very good care of Yellow Bear on the walk home.  He and I had some errands to run in the morning and then went home to play and clean house respectively.  The apartment sure was quiet.  I missed Eliot's little running commentary on life.

Walking home after being reunited with Yellow Bear.

They like to really ease children into school here.  Today he attended from 8:40 to 11:30, then he'll have off on Tuesday and go back on Wednesday from 8:40 to 11:00.  Next week it will be Monday, Tuesday 8:40 to 11:30, Wednesday 8:40 to 11:00.  Then, on week 3 he'll start the usual schedule of Monday, Tuesday 8:40 to 3:00 and Wednesday 8:40 to 11:00.

As we walked home he told me about his day in bits and pieces.  He apparently made an octopus, and remembered something about one fish eating another fish.  It will be fun hearing about all the little things that capture his imagination.  Our family has officially entered into The School Years.  I think they're off to a good start.