Monday, April 28, 2014

A Vivid Imagination

One of my greatest joys as a parent is tracking Lachlan's development. Language is most obvious because it allows him to communicate better with each passing day. He likes to ask questions lately such as "where Lachie's going?" and "what's that one?" He can also now use the phrases "right here" and "right now." I love how he's picked up from me phrases such as "nice and safe" and "nice and cosy." It's funny and adorable to hear those come out of his mouth.

Beloved bulldozer from Grandpa Tom
I'm also fascinated by his growing imagination which seems less based on mimicking me and more about expressing his own thoughts and exploring simple narratives. When we're in the car, Lachlan will ask "which Mommy pick?" and I'm guessing that he wants me to choose a car/truck on the road that I like. I choose one (usually based on color) and then he'll pick one, too. Sometimes he pretends that we are both taxi drivers and I'll ask him about the color of his taxi (usually orange), where he's going (usually preschool) and who's in his taxi (usually Mommy and Papi). One time he told me that he was driving a big orange pumper truck (unclear what that is) with red hoses. He said he was driving it to a station to get a new tank.

Lachlan loves pretend that he is a worker. Putting on his construction helmet helps set the stage for him to use his bulldozer (both real toys) to go to the construction site and feed the ducks corn. Today he was playing with a cart and a popper and pretending that he was a gardner who had to mow the lawn and use the edger. He made motor noises and kept running to the dishwasher to retrieve his "backpack" (he's noticed that gardners wear leaf blowers strapped to their backs). He loves enacting similar scenarios at the park where he'll run in circles and keep repeating that he has "lots of work to do."

He seemed to never tire of a game he roped Uncle Doug into playing with him last Friday afternoon. He was at the playground and would pretend to wash his hands at a small basin. The soap was at the other end of the play structure so he and Doug would have to run back and forth to get more soap. Orange soap, then red soap and then blue soap, etc. This game went on and on.

I wonder if the parts of the brain that control imagination are close to those that involve fine motor skills. Lachlan enjoys small motor tasks these days as his skills improve. He likes to spend ages with his seat belt (snap snap), putting "people" into his toy school bus and putting ladders back into their small slots on his fire engine.

I love to watch my boy grow and change.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Last Easter Post, I Swear

Jess sent me her pictures of the dyeing eggstravaganza.

Yay for Lachie's Elmo apron!

Johanna was a pro at painting her eggs with a golden sheen.

Both sweeties looking at the camera!

Monday, April 21, 2014

More Easter Fun

"Mom, this isn't an Easter egg..."
My Aunt Jill got married this weekend at a picturesque Texas hill country location near the ranch she's building. Mickey generously gave me the okay to join my family there for the event, but I just wasn't quite ready to leave Lachlan for even a weekend. When I saw pictures of how much fun they were having I regretted not being there, but in hindsight, I'm so glad that I was around for Lachlan's second Easter.

The Easter Bunny hid both plastic eggs (filled with Reese's Pieces eggs, jelly beans, and sidewalk chalk) and eggs that we dyed last Wednesday with our friends Jess and Johanna. I'd love to post a picture of that delightful mess, but I was too busy containing the chaos to snap a picture. We all had fun, but I learned some valuable lessons about toddler art projects: 1) buy white eggs (Hello! Can't believe I made this mistake. I was so focused on buying organic, cage free eggs that I forgot about how dyeing something is a lot more effective when you begin with a white canvas), 2) give the kids something to do while the eggs are soaking up color in their cups. Toddlers are not long on patience, 3) kids will want to eat the eggs. Be okay with this or provide even more enticing snacks.
Arastradero Lake

The Easter Bunny also left a small, gold foil-wrapped Lindt chocolate bunny for Mickey. I'm grateful that Lachie was not yet aware enough to demand chocolate. Discovering jelly beans was enough of a sugary revelation for our little man. When some people get drunk, they get loud; their personal volume level gets bumped up. We've learned that the same goes for Lachlan when he's had too much sugar. We knew he'd reached his limit when he was shouting, "jellybeans!" and running around in circles.

Nani couldn't let the occasion go by without sending Lachie another gift and this one's an absolute winner. I mentioned to her that Lachlan really likes the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans. It's darling when he says, "Mommy, read Madeline again," because I enjoy the stories, too. (Lachlan doesn't object to my bad French accent). Anyway, Nani sent a Madeline magnet set complete with four scenes from the books. Lachlan loves watching me act out the stories with the magnets though he gets wary when any story involves the Lord Cuckoo Face magnet.

We saw a real bunny on Easter!
After we hunted for eggs and had our pancake and bacon breakfast, we walked to the farmer's market and later took a short hike at the Arastradero Preserve.

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.