Monday, April 14, 2014

Lachlan's Favorite People

Lachlan is incredibly lucky to have lots of family members and friends who adore him. I'm always pleased to observe that each loving adult has their own preferred way of spending time with him now that his little personality is emerging.
Holly and Lachlan

My mom loves to cook with Lachlan. They pull over a kitchen chair that he can stand on to bring him up to counter height so he can help. She asks him to add salt, pepper and spices and always lets him mix ingredients together. Lachlan is terribly serious when he cooks; it seems to require all of his concentration. When my mom babysits Lachlan in the evening, she loves to cuddle him while he watches Sesame Street and snacks on graham crackers.

Mickey's parents love to take Lachlan for walks outdoors and help him develop physically and mentally. Dadu taught him some exercises that look totally adorable and funny when Lachlan practices them. One involves him shaking his bum in the air while in a downward dog yoga pose while the other is mostly arm swinging and heavy breathing. Dadu and Dadi also taught Lachlan his address, something I would have never tried at his early age.

One of Lachlan's other favorite people is my cousin Holly. She's recently come to stay and help me while Mickey was overseas for work. She has a background in television and film and unsurprisingly, takes great videos of Lachlan. Then she'll show him the videos and he'll ask to watch them over and over again. He loves watching videos of himself!

During Holly's visit, Lachlan noticed that she drank Pellegrino and now likes to point that out at different times: "Holly likes Pellegrino." We took her to preschool one afternoon and Lachlan happily dragged her around the play yard while I went to the parent meeting inside. Another parent asked who Holly was and said, "my son would never go with one of my cousins. He doesn't know them well enough and would cry." This made me so incredibly grateful that Lachlan knows and loves his family.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Easter Egg Hunt

Last Easter, Lachlan was just ten months old and not yet walking. Because his Nani adores him, though, she bought him his very own Easter pail filled with goodies, including four plastic eggs. This year, Lachlan can not only walk, he can run and loves any game that involves hiding so we thought he might enjoy attending an Easter egg hunt with my mom's group.

I'm a bit wary of community Easter egg hunts that involve pushy parents and the little ones getting trampled, but the one offered by Sunnyvale Moms, was manageable, dare I say, even fun. Lachlan took a lot of interest in dyeing eggs and wanted to dip other kids' eggs in dye after they were already colored. Egg dyeing requires a bit more patience than most toddlers have. Still, we'll try it at home soon.

When the hunt began, the organizing moms encouraged the big kids to run to the back of the park to allow the little ones a chance to collect eggs at their own toddling pace. Lachlan understood the concept of finding eggs, but he didn't understand my sense of urgency to find the next one before they were all gone. We were surprised to learn that all eight of the plastic eggs Lachlan collected were filled with non-edible items such as toys and stickers. I filled our eggs with stickers because I know it's easy for kids to overdo it on sugar and I wanted to include kids with dietary allergies, too. Perhaps I was also a bit lazy. Anyway, it seems that the other moms all had the same idea.

Since yesterday, Lachlan's wanted to play with nothing but his new plastic eggs. He likes opening and closing them, hiding them and shoving tiny toys inside them. By the time we do his preschool egg hunt next week and an egg hunt at home on Easter, I hope he won't be bored of the idea.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Celebrating a half birthday at Chuck E Cheese

Our little boy is 18 months old today! It's hard to believe that he'll be closer to two years old than one year old from now on.

Mom, why am I on this Jeep?
Lachlan's latest trick is putting two words together. He began with 'mo chee' (more cheese) and 'mo gaba' (more garbage cans). Today it was 'bye horsey' and 'bye truck' when we left Chuck E Cheese. I think he's also beginning to learn commands. He's listened to me tell him what to do for 18 months and now he's practicing giving out orders, too. I thought I heard him say 'Mom here' yesterday.

We went to Chuck E Cheese this morning not necessarily to celebrate this half birthday, but because a couple of mom's group folks were going. Fortunately at 10am on a Thursday, the Chuck E Cheese in Cupertino was mostly deserted. Lachlan took a mild interest in the toddler zone, but quickly wandered out. We spent our tokens on a photo booth that prints your picture onto a make believe ID card, a Whack A Mole type game and a couple of moving rides that Lachlan wasn't sure he wanted to be on.

It was amusing when Lachie's little buddy Albert tried to put the award ticket back in the machine. The tickets that are so precious to bigger kids mean nothing to 18 month olds. We donated ours to a kid who looked about four who delightedly accepted them.

I hadn't visited a Chuck E Cheese since I was a kid and the one in Cupertino is only slightly different than the one in my memory. I remember Chuck E Cheese being a very dark place, lit primarily by the flashing lights of the games, but Cupertino's has a lot of natural sunlight. I remember exchanging quarters for tokens and that each game cost about one. It's funny how that's still the same today. I guess arcade prices have remained flat. Unlike the CEC of memory, this one didn't have a ball pit or a huge cast of animatronic characters who sing every 15 minutes. And perhaps for the sake of Lachlan's immunity and sense of security, that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Book Advent

One of the best parts about having a toddler around at the holidays is starting new family holiday traditions. We decided that in lieu of a traditional advent calendar involving little windows or small gifts or chocolates, we would give Lachlan a Christmas/winter book for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. We enjoy reading as a family and picture books provide a gentle introduction to the idea of Christmas.
Day 4 of the Christmas book advent - Dinosaur Vs Santa

My mom took charge of the idea and added up the number of old holiday books we already had from Lachlan's last Christmas and years ago. Then she bought some new books and then I bought some new books from Scholastic... and then her friends bought some books. Anyway, we now have more than 25 Christmas books and we're making a game of giving them to Lachlan each morning.

Auntie Paulette generously decorated each gift bag with a numbered stocking and vehicle stickers (non-Christmas-y, I know, but Lachlan's into trucks). We encourage him to find the bag by following a purple ribbon that we string from the top of the stairs to the bag's location.

It's day four of our book advent and I'd love to say that Lachlan is thrilled with the new tradition, but, as with most things, it's taking him a while to get accustomed to the idea. He doesn't yet totally get the concept of following the ribbon, but we prod him along. He enjoys the Christmas books, especially one about a baby called Fa La La, but he doesn't request them on repeat the way he does with other favorites. Still, he doesn't often take to books immediately; instead, he warms to them over time and goes through phases where he's especially interested in one book.

His favorite parts of Fa La La are when the baby smashes a gingerbread house that his Dad has very painstakingly constructed and when the baby finds a choo choo under his Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Perhaps Lachlan is hinting that he would also like a choo choo under his tree.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

First Ever Field Trip

Lachlan and I went with his preschool this morning to Hidden Villa Farm in Los Altos. We'd been there twice before as a family, but never on a tour without our stroller!
All bundled up at the farm

Teacher Diane advised us to dress warmly because mornings are chilly on the farm. Rain was in the forecast, too, but we stayed dry. I was worried that Lachlan wouldn't tolerate his hat, but he didn't mind when he noticed that all of his classmates were also wearing warm hats. He was particularly interested in Matthew's hand-knitted Thomas the Tank Engine hat.

Our teacher also mentioned that we should leave everything in the car and foolishly I left my stroller in the trunk. Lachlan is difficult to corral these days and doesn't really follow me when we're walking somewhere. I and the other parents got a workout carrying our 18 month olds around the farm.

He was nervous around Cleo the cow and didn't want me to get too close. By the time we saw the goats, though, he had warmed up and enthusiastically petted two kids called Pancake and Waffles. He kept saying, "nice, nice!" because I had assured him that the goats were nice. Lachlan's confidence with the animals led him to chase chickens into their coop all the while saying, "nice, nice." I tried to explain that the chickens were nice, too, but they would run away before he could catch them.