Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Is Coming!

Christmas is coming, and the excitement is ramping up! A few times Zane has said, "Christmas is coming!" with excitement, but I think he's really just parroting someone at daycare since he doesn't really know what's coming.

We borrowed a neighbor's wagon a few weeks ago and walked to the produce stand to buy some garlands and wreaths. I put those up outside with some lights. About a week later Zane helped me put lights up in the living room and we hung our stockings. Zane was excited to find a little box filled with extra lights, so I let him replace a burned out twinkle bulb. I have white lights, but Zane found a blue one for the replacement. Now we can look at the lights and know exactly which one Zane put in! We also experimented with the flashing lights mode, but I told Zane that Daddy and I wouldn't like it. Zane said he did, and he also told me that JoJo liked them flashing. Zane and JoJo got out-voted.

We've been reading Christmas books, so Zane has an idea about of Christmas trees, Santa, and stockings. When we put the stockings up I explained that Santa would put presents and snacks in them. Zane got concerned and declared that he did not want snacks in his stocking. Before we hung them up he had tried to wear his stocking and JoJo's, so I think the idea of putting food in his socks was off-putting. He has now come to the agreement that chocolate is allowed in his stocking.

This past Tuesday we again borrowed the neighbor's wagon and trucked to the produce store to get our tree. We picked out a nice little 4 foot tree and got it wrapped up skinny for the ride home. The tree man gave Zane a candy cane to eat. I had brought a pillow and a blanket, and Zane was quite comfy all tucked into the wagon with the little tree. I tried to get a Christmas-card-worthy picture, but it just didn't happen. Wednesday morning we had a very fun time putting ornaments on the tree. JoJo got very excited by the tree and ran circles around it and jumped for joy. I'm not sure if she just loves the tree or perhaps there is lingering Bijou smell on the skirt. JoJo has been having afternoon naps under the tree. There's lots of space there as there is no way we can put any presents out before Christmas this year.

Zane has doing a great job of being a big boy. There have been absolutely no requests for the crib, and I really need to get rid of the thing somehow (drop-sided cribs are banned, so I may have to toss it). I'm looking forward to moving my computer out of Zane's room and into the "master" bedroom so that I can have nap-time access again. Zane loves that the room is now mostly his, and he asks to go downstairs a lot. We had just one week of Zane sleeping until 7 or 7:30, and now he's back to his regular 6:30. Must have been a growth spurt, probably in his brain. There has been a marked increase in whining as well as questions. "What is that?" "Where is it?" "Why did you say Whew?" I love the questions, but I could do without the whining. I try not to let him get by with it, but I can't always take the time. He also has accepted that he is ready to part with his highchair. The highchair is convenient, but Zane only wants to sit in a booster chair these days and so the highchair just takes up space. I have a very deserving taker for it, so it is going to a good home.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Cooking Show

My Mom has been here for almost 3 weeks and left early this morning to return to Maine. We sure miss her already! Zane was very lucky to have a lot of time with her during the visit. They did several baking and cooking projects, and Zane started to enjoy looking through the cookbook. One day when he and I were looking through a Natural History magazine article about bugs people eat, Zane said he wanted to try some. I said I didn't know how to cook them. Zane said I needed the cookbook and came back with the Joy of Cooking! There were no bug recipes in there, though, unless you count lobsters and the like.

I enjoyed the luxury of having someone else make food and clean up! It was also nice to have someone else share our meals, as Michael is usually on a different schedule. I am very uninspired when it comes to food, so I am particularly anxious about this aspect of parenting. Zane generally ate better for Grandma than for me, and I think this is partly due to better food and partly due to knowing he can yank my chain a bit.

We worked a lot on booster seat and table skills (i.e., sitting still and actually eating) and saw a lot of improvement. Most amazingly, one night we had out chop sticks and Zane wanted to try them. I showed him how, and within one minute he had twice successfully maneuvered eggs into his mouth! His grip was all wrong, but he did it with one hand! Later on Grandma showed him how to use a fork to help with cutting, and he caught right on to that, too. Earlier in the same week he suddenly began to use scissors with one hand when before he had been using two. Some major new coordination synapses are firing now! I know some other developmental stuff happened, too, that I can't remember ...

Back to baking. For Thanksgiving we went to my father-in-law's house, and Michael's sister and niece did most of the cooking. Super delicious! We were in charge of pies as usual, and this year Zane helped Grandma make an apple pie. On another day they made pretzels and he really got into the kneading and did a great job of painting them all with eggs. The final project was oatmeal cookies, and I think those were my favorites.

Now that Christmas is coming, I hope to do some cooking projects with Zane. At the very least, sugar cookies with colored sugar sprinkles. Maybe also some gingerbread people, and maybe some sort of bundt cake for Christmas Day. We also need to do pancakes one of these days just because those are so easy. Maybe those for Christmas, too!

Christmas should be really fun for us this year. Tomorrow Zane and I are borrowing a neighbor's wagon and going to the local produce stand to buy some wreaths and garland. We'll go back in another week or so to buy a little tree. I think I need to go through all of the decorations sometime during naptime so that I only show Zane the ones he can put on the tree. No use showing him the pretty, sparkly glass ones and then saying "no."

We've had a number of fun adventures lately. Zane and my Mom and I took a bus to Seattle Center, hopped on the monorail to Westlake, looked around there for a while, rode the carousel, monorail back, then looked at the mini-train exhibit in the Centerhouse, and then back home for lunch. I had hoped to also throw in a carriage ride, but the horses turned out to not be around until the afternoon. All of this cost us about $10 for all of us! Zane and Grandma went on their own on the bus to the aquarium and Pike Place Market one day, all for just a few dollars including lunch. Today Michael and Zane and I went to the Greenwood firehouse's grand opening. The line to sit in the truck was too long, but we still got to see it up close, and we got cookies and a hat!

Zane had a checkup at the end of November, and while he is still on the small size, he continues to be healthy, so we don't have to go back until he is 3. His head is in the 90th percentile, though! Past visits have been very stressful, so this time I prepared with reading about doctors and getting Zane a doctor kit. Zane claimed he was no longer scared, but on the actual day, sigh, it seemed to have no effect. Oh well.

I can think of nothing more! Enjoy a video of pretzel making. When I get photos from Mom's camera, I may post some more.