As Liam outgrows his clothes, he is in this sensitive learning period and learns new tricks, and his personality shines more and more, we love him even more.
I love how he wraps his arms tight around my neck after waking up.
Love how he curls into me and cuddles, but only when he is absolutely exhausted.
The way he has no fear and no frustration. He will go, go, go, fighting with determination until he has accomplished what he needs to. Whether this means climbing 70 stairs in a row, or maneuvering his way around the table with the occasional fall (but no pause to cry), or standing without support for the first time.
Love his excited face, SO excited.
The way he has learned something new everyday.
Throwing a ball. He throws the ball, then claps for himself. But it's not a traditional clap with two hands. He clasps his hands together and shakes them together, like he saying bravo to himself. Then does it again and again and again.
When we read our favorite books, Time For Bed or Goodnight Gorilla, and delight in finding the animals. We find the fish in the Time for Bed book and Liam grabs my finger to point at the big fish and the little fish and then giggles to himself. So aware. So proud.
For the first time this week, he picked up his cup, sipped it, and set it down without spilling a single drop. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
I love how his feet are almost always crossed.
How he sleeps in some new, weird position every night.
How he has the littlest, tinest snore.
Love how, just like his Momma, he jumps a mile when you sneak up on him.
Love how he laughs HYSTERICALLY and loses all coordination when we play chase. Love how he wants to play chase all day long. Love how he tackles me. He has such a talent for it.
I love how he talks to his stuffed monkey for a long time when he first wakes up. He sings special monkey songs.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, one of the last beautiful ones of the summer. So, instead of mulling about trying to figure out what to do (Olbrich Gardens, Terrace, Walk, Park, blah, blah, blah...), we decided to do something spontaneous. Well, as spontaneous as you can be with a ten month old. We packed up (enough sunscreen, food, bibs, diapers, wipes, and toys to last a couple days) and took off to the Wisconsin Dells.
Now, we had never been to the Dells, but it is FAMOUS in Wisconsin. It is home to America's largest waterpark, mini golf, zoos, and other kinds of great fun. Families all over the Midwest plan trips for a week to see everything that they have to offer here. We were expecting, well, the DisneyWorld of Wisconsin.
What we got was so much better.
It was like a vintage tourist cheesefest. Everything was exaggerated, with outrageous colors and signs. Best of all, it was all perfectly out of date.
The beautiful river with the boat rides, tacky gift shops complete with rows and rows of knick knacks and collections of every vacationer's need (I do NEED to express my love for America in a flip flop),
and yes, roller coasters
was the strangest juxtaposition that I've seen on a single main street. Awesome.
We did what any average family with a ten month old would do. We played miniature golf at Pirate's Cove.
Liam was a big help.
Where I beat John by one stroke. Awesome.
Then we went to the torture museum. Why, you may ask? Because it's the Dells, and why the hell not? This is a museum where they have some actual weapons and tools, but mostly it's dollar store frames with a microsoft word printed off of wikipedia and recently (poorly) made guillotines. Again, awesome.
Then we went to Crabby's, a seafood buffet, where I kid you not, they had animatronic pirates, CONSTANT pirate adventure music where you felt like you were going to be swept away by Johnny Depp himself, and (this is the best) all of the employees had to dress in pirate attire. Really, go to the website. You can enjoy it all minus the prime rib and fried food glory.
Overall, it wasn't what we expected, but it was so much fun. The perfect summer day as a family. We will go back in years to come, happy to reexperience the excitement, the colors, and touristy pleasures that is downtown Wisconsin Dells.
These are points to consider when presenting activities to infants. I found these points online and thought I should share. It is so easy to forget (especially when you are watching three under a year a half!) that infants are people. People that you can speak to as ...well, people. It is so important to guide the child, be present in their learning, but not intrusive, provide the right environment, and then let them take off. Your actions will give them wings to self-development, self-learning, and confidence.
-Keeping the infants sensitive periods in mind, prepare materials and keep them nearby, available for a time when the infant is ready.
-To help accustom infants to the idea of work space. Present activities on a work mat placed on the floor. As much as possible, especially when several materials are involved, use a tray, basket, or other container to carry the materials to the work mat. Remove the materials from the container, move the container aside, and work with the materials on the work mat.
-Choose materials that you know will interest the child and appeal to the childs senses
-Present materials that are unfamiliar to the child as often as you present familiar materials
-Present an activity when the infant is alert, comfortable, and rested. Do not use an activity to distract an infant who is tired or hungry
-Make sure you have the infants attention before you start to present the activity. For example, wait until the infant focuses on your face or smiles at you.
-While presenting, move very slowly and make sure that the infant can see what you are doing
-Place the activity where the infant can reach it easily, even if he/she cannot sit unaided.
-Until the infants vision develops, hold objects at the infants eye level.
-If the infant tries to grab an object you are presenting, allow the infant to do so for as long as he/she wants. When the infant returns the object, continue with the activity or present it at another time.
-If the infant becomes frustrated or irritable, calmly finish the activity and take the infant with you to return the materials.
-Once the infant starts focusing on the activity, remain nearly where the infant can see you. Young infants especially may need your presence as an emotional anchor to develop confidence in this new situation.
-Stay attentive to the infants safety. Remember that infants explore with their mouths as well as their hands.
-As long as the infant is not in danger, allow the infant to explore freely. The Montessori approach gives the infant freedom to choose, explore and learn. The caregiver does not correct how the infant holds an object, does not intervene or interrupt unless absolutely necessary, and does not let other children interfere. The goal is to let the infant explore for as long as his/her focus lasts.
-Stay aware of the normal infant growth and development. Many Montessori centers post a growth and development chart where staff can refer to it quickly and easily.
We really started waving this week, and learned what a happy, welcoming child Liam is.
Hello, pots and pans.
(Thank you, Calphalon. You make terrific drums.)
Hello, cute baby on the door.
Yes, Liam met his shadow this week. He quickly found that this new friend could move. Then he learned that he can open and close the door. And WHAT? Holy AWESOME, BATMAN!
It is so fun to watch Liam's personality emerge. He is showing preferences to toys, people, and (sometimes) routine. Teethers and "baby toys' are of no interest anymore - he prefers tupperware, balls, and blocks. We have retired our dear friend Sophie for our next little one. (Holding back the tears!) Liam really loves to pull the rings off of his rainbow stacker so we can put them back on and start again. We also know now that Mommy is for comfort and Daddy is for laughs. (Which is why only Mommy can help at three in the morning when Liam decides to wake up and cry for visits and a two minute feeding!)
He is just growing so fast. It is so cliche to say, but time is flying. Sometimes I go into his room after a long nap and I just watch him for a moment. He looks bigger. He looks like a toddler.
This weekend is was finally hot enough to swim (it has been a pleasant 70 degree summer, but not hot enough to swim - sure wish I could have been pregnant in this weather). We went to our pool and it was a gorgeous day.
(It is really this beautiful. I swear these are straight out of the camera.)
The pool is a long drive away, but it is so worth it.
We even practiced dunking, a trick that we learned at his swimming lessons. Liam does a great job and is getting so used to the water that he tries to blow bubbles! CUTE!