13th: Joseph has two 2-year molars breaking through. 

-He moves his index finger (right hand) back and forth and hisses at the back of his tongue to sign that he wants to brush his teeth, which he has to do every morning when Mommy brushes hers.  We brush his teeth with paste every night, but maybe he knows better.  In any case, he now gets it twice a day, once with and once without paste.

-We took a walk wearing no diaper and split pants we got from China (curtsey of Stephan’s coworker).  Well, I wore normal pants, but I also didn’t pee in on the sidewalk.  It was embarrassing.  He didn’t give me any sign, just started peeing after we’d come up out of the underground passage that goes under Seetalstrasse.  At least he didn’t pee in the tunnel!  Split pants work, though . . .

That was Joseph’s first time crossing under and over the street.  I let him go where he pleased, with proper traffic instructions, of course.  He had a grand time!

-Joseph knows the names of all the farm characters on the cloth memory set that Gotte Diana gave him.  He can say something similar for all of them, but when asked, he can find whatever you ask for.  We did get a video!  Up in the usual places (though most of you have seen this already).

-Joseph makes a beautiful sign for food now – it’s exactly right!

-I like to take Joseph for walks where he’s free to roam (off the main street).  Once we took a 1 ½ hour long walk and he walked the whole way!  (I’m too pregnant to carry him far.)  He needed some coaxing and encouragement to make it home, but he did it!

 

16th: Joseph says “bushi” (which means baby in Basel German) when pointing to my belly.  He says “I’m a whale” which is a line from one of his books.  He points at one of the German library books and says “bagger” which sounds a bit like “kaka” but it’s clear what he wants (it’s a construction book).  She says “shoes” and “socks” which sound like “shish” and a short “ah” respectively.  The first thing he does when he comes out of the bedroom is go directly for his shoes saying “shish” and asks me to put them on.  He wares them all day and would go to bed with them if he could.

 

17th: Joseph adds “tongue” and “baby” to his vocabulary.  Baby is particular clear.

-Joseph is a fish!  He’s been jumping off the side (from sitting) and into the water for a while without trouble now and I’ve started guiding him to the steps (underwater) and letting him crawl out.  He does well and asks for it frequently.  Soon I’ll try letting go a little before his hands reach the steps so he has to swim a bit to get there.  He can run all around the baby pool and does well when he falls.  He can do the slide by himself (belly down, feet first) and stop himself before his head goes under water.  Today he walked up the slide holding on to the edge and fell and ended up on his back.  His face was still out of the water, so I let him struggle a bit.  Unfortunately at one point in the struggle his face went in and he got a big breath of water.  Usually he recovers quite quickly, but this time I almost started to panic, but before it even looked like he was back to normal breathing he was back at walking up the slide again!  He has no fear!  That’s good – and bad.  I’m happy he loves the water and doesn’t freak out when he gets some water, but shouldn’t he learn his lesson?  I learned once again that often his cries are not over the accident, they’re over his purposes being frustrated  - so he wants to try again!

 

18th: Joseph signs “please” now (both hands brush against his tummy sideways), which is lovely before he’s started saying “na na” for “yes please” and it sounds awfully close to “nei nei” which means no.  If I’m not sure what he wants and say “If you want it please say ‘yes please Mama’” and he says “na na” I then tell him that sounds like “no” and to please say “yes please” at which point he’ll either do the real sign for “please” or his old sign (hands clapping, or index to palm).  This is a great improvement to thinking he’s said no and then getting cries of frustration when we don’t give him what he’s thought he’s said “yes” to!!

-Today after I Swish+Swiped the bathroom Joseph tore off a bit of toilet paper and rubbed the toilet seat and lid before tossing it in the toilet – just like Mommy does!

-New trick found!  If he doesn’t want to eat (why doesn’t he want to eat?) if we give him a fork to eat with suddenly all his food becomes edible.  He loves every kind of food, the trouble is, it varies on the day, so I have no idea what he’ll eat at any given time.  He favorite food one day is detestable the next, the food he spurns today he’ll gulp down tomorrow.  What’s up with that?!

-We still do our Bible readings mostly consistently after lunch, which is when the BCP has us read part of Psalm 113 to start.  We’ll tell him we’re about to praise the Lord now and he’ll come to sit in our laps and will put his hands in the air saying “praise the Lord!” (I can’t transliterate yet).  Every time in Psalm 113 we say the word “praise” I raise his arms enthusiastically.  Sometimes he does it on his own.  In any case – he loves it!

-His favorite bedtime book is “Goodnight Moon” and when we talk about the “quiet old lady who was whispering ‘hush’” he always turns around and puts his face close to mine (since I always whisper the ‘hush’ close to his face).  Tonight Daddy was reading the story to us and when the time came Joseph sat up and put his face nice to his and a burp came out!  We’re no good at controlling our laughter, but Stephan’s much better than I am!  I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve – I think I’ll have to adopt Barbara’s “Just because I’m laughing doesn’t mean I think it’s funny” line.

 

19th: Joseph likes to carry his potty to the toilet to dump it out.  This makes me nervous, but he’ll have to learn sometime!

-It’s been mentioned on the videos, but Joseph loves “In the Night Kitchen” in German (we only have it in German).  He has three favorite phrases from it that he says over and over throughout the day.  Picture teenagers quoting moving lines to each other – he loves quoting with us!  He goes “aaaaaahhh” for “Ruhe da unten” and “ti ki tiii” for “kikerikii” (rooster crow) and “mi, mi, mi, mi, mimmhhh” for “Milch, Milch, Milch für den Kuchenteig.”

-EC is hit or miss.  He doesn’t say when he needs to pee or poo we just have a good clue when he needs to poo and some clue if he needs to pee and we’re paying attention.  He does sometimes say he needs to go (and we can tell) but often it’s as he’s going or just after.  Anyway, I hope to be more consistent with the new baby and see things don’t go better.  Still, we’re glad for what we’ve done.  Wouldn’t it be lovely if he got the idea down before the baby came . . . ?

-Today after swimming he tripped when walking to the stone stairs and bust his lip on the lower step, poor thing.  After some blood and tears all was better again.

-I can’t keep up!  He fills in the last word “hot” in his Monet book “This garden has a shady spot for reading books when the day is . . .”  He says “apple” in the right place for “The Hungry Caterpillar” and he’s making other connections.  I think that’s why he’s started asking for the same book over and over again . . .

-The alphabet song doesn’t have anything to do with letters to him.  He loves the alphabet sign book PJS gave him and once each Stephan and I tried to sing the song while doing the signs.  He got a very serious look on his face – to him, that song means he has to stop what he’s doing soon and do what we want him to!

Posted by harp on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Edit
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28th: I realize that Joseph signs “train” and “siren.”  Both come from the “Baby’s First Noise” book that Grossmutti gave him (and where “airplane” was learned).  I wonder how many other signs he does that I haven’t recognized yet.  I wonder with words as well.  My observation skills are lacking and I don’t know how to train them!

7th: Joseph consistently says “may” with a short vowel (rhymes with “re”) for “mommy milk.”  That’s a good word to have!  He’s walking more and more and while he still crawls, he will mostly choose to stand up and walk somewhere rather than crawl.  He knows most of his face parts and likes to point to them on himself or me when I name them.  He says “eye” fairly well.  When I show him bits he always tries to say the last one I’ve shown.  It’s so cute!  Try “California” or “ring-tailed lemur” with a 15mos old tongue! 

10th: Joseph goes from sitting to standing with a shoe in each hand (one knee to standing without support).  Joseph still LOVES books.  The main reason why he fusses in the day is because he wants me to start reading or doesn’t want to stop reading.  I now have a spot on the couch where I sit and when I sit there he can bring me books to read.  He scrambles off my lap the moment a story is finished and rushes to find another one.  Then he brings it to me with the quick in-out breathing of one very excited little boy!

He says “wow” when he’s peed on the pot – in imitation of my enthusiasm, of course.  He walks to the bathroom, lifts the lid, flushes (he can reach on his own now) and lower the lid softly.  He still doesn’t tell us often when he needs to go – or we haven’t figure it out yet.  Today (12th) he said “banana” for pot, but because he used the same word as banana and the bananas hang on the same bit of furniture the pot is (don’t ask) I didn’t realize he wanted the pot until – well, you know.

On the 8th we finally found shoes that will fit his feet.  It’s getting cold and wet here and even I won’t let him out barefoot.  They’re pink, but he loves them anyway.  Two days later as we’re getting ready to go out and I don’t know where his shoes are I ask him to go find them for me.  To my surprise (why does it still surprise me how smart kids are?!) he remembered that in the morning he’d been playing with them and had brought them into the office.  He looked at me and thought a bit, then marched right into the office and picked up a shoe and brought it to me!

He knows “belly-button” in German.  I was reading the body-parts book to him and when we got to the belly-button he lifted up his shirt and stuck his finger in his belly button!  Daddy’s around enough for him to know a good bit of German!  Stephan reports he knows “eye” in German as well, but he knows plenty more than that!

12th: Last night Joseph slept from 8:30pm to 6am without needing anything: no songs, no breast, no nothing.  Wow!  I woke up plenty, but how nice to just worry about myself!

Today we had another swimming date with birthday-buddy A.  Joseph became positively hyper, kicking and moving his arms in the big pool and then exploring all over the kiddy pool.  He’s getting good about keeping his head above water when he falls from standing and then getting back up again.  It’s hard to watch him and know the right amount of intervention.  Often he can fall and even have his face get submerged without any trouble.  But sometimes he doesn’t hold his breath in time.  He’s still alive so far . . .

I can’t keep up with all the new things he can and does do.  He’s really taking off!  It’s such a pleasure to be his mommy.  We’re still learning about “no” and obeying, but he has made so much progress!  When we go for walks and he walks down the wrong path I can call him back again and he obeys – not without some hesitation, but I’m pleased that he often makes the decision to obey.  It must be such a struggle between doing what he wants and choosing to listen to Mama.  If he needs a little time to make that decision, I’m happy for him to have it when it’s not critical, and he can tell by my voice when it’s really dangerous.  I think I’m okay with the idea that learning to obey immediately  comes gradually and can be better enforced with an older understanding.  It’s funny, though.  Whether he behaves well in public or poorly I’m frustrated that it’s not a true representation!  We had coffee at our pastor’s house the other day and Joseph obeyed us right away when we asked him to shut the drawer he’d discovered.  He shut it and went to something else and the pastor and his wife were very impressed.  Stephan and I were quick to point out that that doesn’t always happen that way . . .

Posted by harp on Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Edit
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15th: I had to pick another corn from the garden because the stalk had blown over.  This time is was nearly ripe and Joseph and I quite enjoyed it!  (Unfortunately, Stephan was out of town so he didn’t get a taste).

Joseph can now push two duplos together (with a bit of luck).

16th: Joseph deliberately practiced standing up from sitting on the ground without pulling up on anything.  It was fascinating to see him thoughtfully experiment and then celebrate his accomplishments!  And now, just a few days later, he’s fine squatting to get a toy and then stand back up with it without help, or to get back up into walking after having fallen.

17th: Joseph loves to look through his books and read to himself when he can’t convince anyone else to read to him.  Today he was looking through “Neighborhood Animals” that DA gave us with one animal per page spread and he very clearly read (or knew from the picture) dog, cat, duck, bird, and then less clearly some others.  They sounded like “da, ta, duh, bir” more or less.  It shouldn’t astound me, but it does!

19th: Today I showed him how to throw something away in the kitchen trash.  A few hours later he found a speck of something on the ground, picked it up, walked over to the trash, which is under the sink, opened the door, threw the trash out and shut the door.  I was so proud of him, and the speck of whatever was too small to worry about that fact that he didn’t manage to get it all the way in the trash can . . .

He started asking for the names of things by pointing to them then after I name them he tries to say the word.  That usually lasts a few times and then it sounds like he starts saying nonsense.  I wonder if he’s trying to say “Mom, this is how I say it. Say it after me!” or something else entirely.  There are a number of times where I realize he was clearly saying something to me, but only after the fact.

He gives sweet kisses (that aren’t bites!) on request, though he doesn’t always give it to the person you name, it’s very sweet nonetheless!

Posted by harp on Monday, September 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Edit
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Sept 3: We went to a bike fair and got a new bike for me.  Mine had lots of problems and it couldn’t carry the kid trailer, so I’ve not been biking much at all.  It’s so much better shopping with someone!

Sept 5: Joseph knows the Lord’s prayer (English) and also the sentence that Stephan usually puts at the end of his meal-time prayers (Swiss German).  He loves to jump in with “amen” just after the last word and before we say amen.  He is so proud of himself!

Sept 6: I had the ultra sounds for Baby #2.  Joseph didn’t like the doctor messing with my belly, but the doc was still able to determine that everything looks normal.

Sept 9: Joseph has rediscovered bits and asks for them a lot.  His favorite is still family, but he also likes to laugh at Mommy when she stumbles over an addition problem.

Sept 10:  I went to the Frauen Frühstück (lady’s breakfast) in Emmen (serving the greater Lucerne area).  I understood much of the talk, but I’m afraid if there was something profound I missed it.  That’s the trouble with where my language is.  I can follow along just find until something subtle is said, and then it’s lost on me.  Plus I’m still adjusting to the new dialects I hear here.  I was actually comfortable all alone in that new environment, but I still find it more awkward than restorative.  I’ve also been rethinking how I want to invest socially.  What’s the purpose of knowing people?  How many people can we realistically know?  What does “know” mean?  Are there as many answers to those questions as there are people?  This is a bullet update, so you’re spared any more on the topic.

In the afternoon we went to Swiss Steel’s Family Day and enjoyed food, pony rides (too scary), carrousel rides (a bit hit), and watching the big steel sorter crane operate.  Later in the afternoon we had a visit from Schola friend Nate, which is great.  He had a gig nearby and looked us up.  It was a pleasure!

Sept 11: We commemorated by celebrating life, love, and family.  Joseph spend the day with his grandparents and Aunt C and we picked up the filing cabinet we’d bought off ebay and then went to a wellness center (Sole Uno) for two hours.  I’d always wanted to try it, but it was super lovely to just enjoy some relaxing time with my husband.  That was babymoon #1 (we didn’t have one with Joseph).  Talk about a win-win situation!  Joseph loves being with his grandparents and they love him.  We are blessed.

Sept 14: Joseph has known for a while what “gentle” means and will softly stroke whatever it is with an open hand when you admonish him to be gentle.  He adores books and I’m trying to encourage that love without encouraging the whining that comes whenever we stop reading.  He reads the stories to himself as well and has certain intonations and expressions while reading certain books because he knows their stories.  I find it just too adorable.  DSTB might appreciate that he says “mama, mama, mama” when reading the Owl Babie’s book and he alternates soft babbling with loud babbling when reading the Big Hungry Bear (it follows “boom, boom, boom, the bear with tromp through the forest . . .” which I always read suddenly louder).  Those are two of his favorites.  Thanks for sharing with us what was special to your children!

Joseph signs “rain” and says “banana” though it sounds more like “min aye.”

Two girl friends from Basel (S+V) came for dinner while Stephan was out on a business trip so we had some girl time!

Sept 15: Joseph can notice that something rolls under the couch, then crouch down to look for it and flatten himself out so he can reach for it.  I would never have realized that those skills took such time to develop!

This morning Joseph got two more shots, poor guy, these hurt this time.

And the big news for me: Joseph is sleeping through the night now!  Since vacation he’s been getting better and now he often sleeps from 8ish to 5:30 without waking, and if he does wake he doesn’t need to nurse, he can be lulled back to sleep with singing.  This is so wonderful for me, though hard for Stephan because nursing didn’t wake him up but singing does, especially since he usually sings along.  Sleep is amazing.  I can be in bed for 7 hours and feel refreshed because the only baby waking me up is the new one resting on my bladder!

And I just discovered that Joseph can line up and close a buckle – the kind that you push in and pinch out like what’s often on backpack waste straps and the like.

Posted by harp on Thursday, September 15, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Edit
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Dates are not always accurate, as in some of the things Joseph started doing well before I finally wrote them down, but they’re not more than a month or so off.

Aug 16: Joseph points to things he wants and then asks for them politely by signing his “please/I want/yes/etc.” sign of clapping his hands.  Is that his first sentence?  This was also the first day back from vacation and we went right back into EC and had no misses (just one in his diaper after his nap).  The following days weren’t so good, but he hasn’t forgotten everything.

Aug 23:  Joseph is in an annoying phase that shows his understanding of the forbidden.  When he does something he’s not supposed to he says “nei, nei, nei” (German “nein” for no).  On the one hand, it gives me a clue if I’m in another room that he’s doing something naughty, but on he other, he still does the thing he’s not supposed to!  Yet phases come and go quickly, now (Sept. 4) he is much better at obeying my vocal commands, though he still needs constant reminders.  Funny how just a few months ago it seemed impossible to teach him to obey.  Something worked, maybe!

Joseph has added a number of signs and words to his vocabulary.  His sign for cheese (he’s a Swiss boy!) is to rub his palms together in the direction of his fingers back and forth, which is not far from the real sign, which is more of a twisting motion.  He makes a tired sigh and places his hands on the sides of his head to say “nap, bedtime, sleep, etc.”  It’s so cute.  He signs a sort of “finished/play” sign when he is done eating and wants to get out of his highchair.  This is nice because he doesn’t do as much standing up in his chair as before and we can tell him to sit down and tell us if he wants to get out of his chair.  He sort of signs read, but it’s not so clear.  Sometimes it’s like his clapping (which is sometimes a finger pointing to his palm rather than clapping) and the sign for cheese one after the other, which looks a bit like “read book” but it’s not consistent.  What is consistent is that he always wants us to read him books when he’s on the potty.

Spoken words are still behind, but he now says amen after we pray.  It sounds like “may may” most of the time.  It’s SO cute!

Aug 26: Joseph climbed in and out of his stroller.  He’s now quite good at it and is getting rather bold with his adventures.  He loves being out of the apartment and climbing around on the stairs or in the gravel out front.  Often I can read a book while he does this but he can never get enough of it, asking to go outside almost as soon as we come in from being outside for a long while.

He’s walking more and more, but he’s still quite cautious about it.  He waves “hi” and “bye.”

Aug 29: He’s gotten more snuggly with age, which I must say I appreciate.  He’ll rest his head on my shoulder and give us hugs.  It was hard caring for him so much and getting so little physically affection, so I am very much enjoying this stage where he’s happy to just sit in my lap for a few minutes.

Aug 31:  At the end of our family Bible reading today Joseph said “amen” with us and it was so cute that Stephan wanted to hear it again so he said “And all God’s people said . . .” (we used to do this in middle school, the answer was supposed to be “hush” and it was to get our attention – it worked) and without skipping a beat Joseph said “minyum minyum!”  I don’t know if I’ve written it, but it has long been his word for food.

In the other news, I brought back a dairy making kit from the states and I’ve been having fun experimenting with different products.  I’ve made butter and butter milk, yogurt, lemon cheese, sour cream, and mascarpone with moderate success and so far only the cream cheese and the kefir has been a flop.  It’s somehow very fun and satisfying to make staples like butter and yogurt yourself.

Posted by harp on Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Edit
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Saturday, July 23rd

Stephan wanted to start packing the week before we left.  It seemed to early for me.  I wasn’t ready.  I had some projects I wanted to finish first and was still compiling lists of what to bring, but we used all Saturday to pack and it was a brilliant idea.  It took longer to pack than expected, as usual, but then we had a week to finish up.  In the end, the night before we left the house was spotless and the neatest it’s been since moving (even the fridge was wiped down!), we were all packed and ready and it was early enough to enjoy a little time together before going to bed.  It was such a wonderful feeling!

Flights with a one-year-old were not easy, but Joseph was as good as anyone could have hoped for.  It took forever for him to fall asleep on the long-haul flight and I ended up sleeping at the foot of my seat because he was sleeping in my seat.  Needless to say, it wasn’t a resful trip, but we arrived savely and on time in Orlando Saturday night and enjoyed an Outback meal with Grandma and Dad-o before unloading our stuff and crashing to bed.

Sunday, July 24th

We had a full day planned with church, croissants, shopping at Penzey’s, grocery shopping (yippy!) and friends over for dinner.  It was a lovely first day!

Monday and Tuesday, July 25th+26th

I buckled down to work tearing through all the stuff in my room in hopes of eliminating a lot of the junk that Mom and Dad have been holding onto for me.  We also managed to fit a few hours of errands in each day as well, plus I got a haircut (US rates!).  Stephan and Grandma entertained Joseph freeing me to work, and though it was tiring, we were all impressed with what I was able to get done.  I went through all of my stuff and marked 1/3 to ½ of it for disposal/donation.  Later Mom reminded me that they hadn’t gotten down the stuff in the attic . . .  We’ll have to go again, but this was a major hurdle accomplished.

Wednesday – Friday , July 27th-29th

Still a bit worn out from travel, we got in the car with Mom and Dad for the three day drive to the Maggie P. where we’d have our main vacation.  Joseph did incredibly well in the car considering how much he used to hate car seats and how unused to car travel that he is.  It was work for me and Grandma, but we made good time each day.  The first night we were in a hotel, the second we spent with NMKB, making sure to play double sol and eat great food (the eat good food part lasted all trip – yum!).  On Joseph’s 13-month birthday he decided to walk with a purpose!  Before then he’d only done a few steps and didn’t seem so interested, but this time he purposefully walked from person to person – still only a few steps or more, but it was purposeful!

Friday, July 29- Monday, August 8th

We spent a lovely week and a bit at the Maggie P. enjoying beautiful weather for the most part and plenty of great company.  Joseph adores his cousins, especially the closer in age they are to him.  One day they took a day trip and he was depressed all morning, sitting in the sand but not moving – he was so sad his playmates had suddenly disappeared!  He didn’t seem to have stranger anxiety at all and took only a little time to warm up to people.  Joseph went for a first sail with Uncle Jon and Stephan.  We played games and ate good food and had such a wonderful time I didn’t make notes in my planner.  Pictures are up in the usual place.  It was so wonderful to be back at home with family.  The move to Emmen has been harder on me than I had expected, and I’ve really been feeling like a foreigner and a stranger, misunderstood and insignificant.  How wonderful it was to be around people who know me and love me, focusing on my strengths and being gracious with my weaknesses.  I miss you all so much!

Monday-Friday, August 8th-12th

The long trip back to Orlando.  Mom and Dad flew home and generously left us their car so we could make a longer trip back down the coast visiting with more friends and relatives.  We had another nice time with NMKB and got to visit with the T’s.  We spent the 9th in DC visiting with a number of friends from various stages of life for both of us.  We spent the night with friend’s I’d known since birth!  It’s funny how many of them ended up in DC!  Most of the folks we’d seen the last visit, but this time I met up with a friend from middle school, KT.  Our children are of similar age and it was great to see her again!

The next day we had a long drive to Summerville, where Stephan’s relatives are.  We made it in time to enjoy Great Grandma W’s pool before dinner.  Joseph loved it!  It was the perfect temperature for him and he had a blast practicing everything he learned at the Maggie P., mainly swimming underwater between Mom and Dad which he asked to do over and over again.  He also started jumping off the pool edge from a seated position while holding onto my thumbs and getting submerged before I pulled him up.  It was very exciting for me that he reached this step.  Though we’ve been going to the pool regularly I haven’t seen much progress, so I was thrilled that he did so much at the Maggie P.!

We spent the whole next day in Summerville and visited Great-Grandpa W’s grave with Great-Grandma.  We had dinner at Sticky Fingers with the whole crew and very much enjoyed our time there.

Friday we drove to Orlando and were very grateful that we had no major car trouble the whole trip.  We got back in the afternoon so there was time for more cleaning-up, packing, swimming in the pool, and a good dinner before trying to get some rest before more long hours of traveling.  We left the house at 5:30am the next morning and didn’t get back to Emmen until the following day in the afternoon.  We were very grateful to have Grossvater and Grossmutti waiting with their car for us at the Zurich airport.  By some miracle we fit all five of us plus five bags and carry-ons into their 5-seater car.  I very much enjoyed coming home to a clean house, though it was soon a mess again of stuff, but imagine what it would have been like if it was already a mess from before!

Thanks to everyone for making it a great trip!  We love and miss you all!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Edit
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July 20th Joseph stopped his play, looked out the window, blew a raspberry (tongue fluttering between lips) and waved his hand across his face just like I do when I sign “airplane” only he used an open hand.  It was clear what he meant!  He’s since used it a number of times and to show off.

I also had my first midwife appointment for the new baby.  We hear his heartbeat.  So amazing.

July 21st I saw Joseph do all the triggers for the pop-up toy.  He may have done them before but I didn’t see (turn, push, rock, and slide).  I got five hours of sleep uninterrupted that night.  Sleep is amazing.

July 22nd Joseph walked up 1 ½ flights of stairs sideways holding on to the railing support bars.

Posted by harp on Friday, July 22, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Edit
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Sorry it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged.  Needless to say, it’s been busy.

June 15th: Our little boy has turned into quite a climber.  He climbed onto our blue couches all by himself.  He is an able climber, and I might say a good deal less cautious than he is when standing, especially if you’re holding him.  It’s as though he knows you’ll keep him safe so he can push of whatever footholds his little feet find.  He also just loves to watch me brush my teeth.  He thinks it’s so funny.  Thankfully he doesn’t mind it when we brush his either.

June 23rd : Climbing with a vengeance all over the beds and every bit of furniture he can reach.

June 26th: Joseph started to stack blocks on top of each other and often successfully, though with the flattest side of the blocks.  He’s started to help me put away his toys when asked.  He’s gotten better and better, though he still gets distracted sometimes and wants to play more rather than just put things away.

June 27th I gave Joseph his first hair cut.  It was so long over his ears and at the back of his head.  I was cautious, so I didn’t do too much, but it still looks funny over his ears.  I had him watch Pimsleur DVD’s but he still got annoyed with me messing with his head for so long.  Hopefully I’ll get better each time!  Today he was willing to stand alone for me if I was right there to catch him.  How exciting!  I thought maybe he’d walk on his birthday, haha . . .

June 28th Joseph turned one year old.  We had a special family day where I took him to the pool and let him do whatever he wanted and stay as long as he wanted and in the evening we all went to the park.  In the afternoon we went to a friend’s birthday party who was born on the same day he was!  When he first arrived he planted him a tackle kiss!  The 1-year-olds had fun together and also with the older children.  He loved having all that attention and was in a great mood.  I should make a mental note that when he’s given enough attention he’s calm and happy . . .

June 29th I wanted to make up for not getting much work done the day before because I was focusing on Joseph and it was a bad day for him!  From so much attention to so little, poor guy.

June 30th We went to the new doctor in Emmen and praise God I am quite comfortable with her.  Finding pediatricians in the Luzern area is difficult because there aren’t enough.  Joseph got a clean bill of health weighing in at 10.6Kg, 75cm.  He’s only gained 1.35Kg since he was 6 months (that’s about 3 pounds).  He still has chunky legs and arms, but looks rather trim, especially in his birthday suit compared to what he used to be like.  Joseph was able to put small beads into a small-necked bottle, which I hadn’t tried him on before.  He transferred on bead from his left hand to his right and put all the beads in with his right hand.  He always throws balls with his right hand, too.  He did well taking the MMR shot.  In general he didn’t do what the doctor wanted him to right away, he was always interested in his own play.  Instead of pushing the car back and forth (which he’s done from a few months of age with his musical car) he was more interested in putting the little person in and out of the car.  It took a while before he banged two objects together when she asked, even though he’s done that for a while, too.  He can do a lot, but he does what he wants!

July 1st we had a family birthday party for Joseph.  I set the timer and had names in a hat so that each person got 10 minutes of focused time with Joseph.  It worked well and Joseph loved it!  He enjoyed opening his presents and making a mess of his corn bread cake.  I hadn’t thought that it’s worth doing much for a 1st birthday, but it was good for us all to mark the event and enjoy him.  I’m glad we did and I’m glad we have some family nearby to celebrate with us!

July 3rd Joseph took three steps alone toward me!  Later that day he did 6, but that hasn’t been repeated.  Mommy and Daddy are more interested in him walking than he is!

July 6th Joseph uses the word “hot” frequently and for a few things: hot things, forbidden things, things that have been hot in the past (left over potatoes from the fridge).  He’s good at letting his food cool before touching and eating it.  And speaking of eating, he loves it, especially veggies and fruit . . .

July 14th I first noticed that he can catch a ball that I’ve thrown to him such that it bounces at the floor near him and back up in the air where he catches it.  I find that quite impressive!  He can do it often, though not all the time.  There’s a video of it now, but you’ll have to wait because Daddy just posted a bunch.

In the family news we’ve had US guests, a wedding where we both had important roles, another wedding where we could just enjoy it.  Joseph found himself on a grassy gentle slope but was too cautious to crawl down it – he scooted backward the whole way as he would going down stairs!  The garden has turned into a jungle.  I harvested a ton of weeds this weekend.  There wasn’t a trace of lettuce, carrots, zucchini, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, or onion.  I had thought all the sprouts looked alike so I was afraid to weed until I could tell, hence the forest.  It turns out they all looked alike because they were all weeds . . .  The corn grew well from seed and is doing fine.  We had a hail storm before I put up stakes for my transplanted tomatoes, but I tried to save them, we’ll see!

Posted by harp on Monday, July 18, 2011 at 11:01 am | Edit
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Our main meal is lunch, so most of my kitchen time occurs in the morning.  At first I didn’t pay much attention to the airplane sounds as we get them all the time, but I happened to look out and see nine propeller planes flying in formation.  Joseph was taking a nap so I took the liberty of going up the apartment stairs for a pretty fine view of the military kids doing their tricks.  I have to say I enjoy the prop planes more than the jets.  They’re slow enough that you can follow their movements and they aren’t so horribly loud!  I loved watching they dance in the air doing spirals and forming hoops for other planes to pass through.  I’ve never been to an air show, but I think I’d enjoy it with the proper set of ear plugs.  Those jets can be a little terrifying and even more so for a 1-year-old.  I’m grateful for the “noisy” book we have that has a picture of airplanes along with the sound of a prop plane.  Joseph loves the book and when I read it to him I sign “airplane” and add a sound effect.  Whenever the jet noise scares him I sign “airplane” and make the noise and he lights up or calms down.  It must help to know the reason for the noise and that it’s okay.  This morning the jets did their tricks over our heads and it was scary because you don’t get much warning, and if they swoop over our house we get no warning at all.  Once I thought it was safe to go outside with Joseph because I saw them in formation further out, but one wasn’t with them and he swooped down on us from above and we got the shock and didn’t see a thing!  Still, I find it slightly cool that I was just relaxing on my couch gazing out the window when a formation of six jets suddenly blew past announcing their time of rehearsal.  Needless to say, Joseph took a later nap today!

Speaking of the boy, he stood for a number of seconds today, smiling before gently lowering himself down.  He has the control . . .

He also built the star tower up in the right order (four starts on a column).  Stephan thinks it was mostly accident.

He is in love with our visitor’s baby girl, and luckily the baby tolerates his love well enough.  He’s remarkably gentle; the only real problem is that he always wants to put his fingers in her mouth.

When he uses the potty now we walk together to the toilet and he lifts the seat up for me so I can dump it then we flush it together. Can’t remember if I blogged that or not . . .

He has started communicating with us quite well and it makes life much easier in some ways and harder in others.  His “more” sign (clapping hands) can mean please, water, yes, I want something, up, Mommy milk, potty, or I’m happy just to name a few.  That creates a challenge when we don’t know why he’s clapping and he doesn’t seem to answer our questions, but normally, we ask “Do you want water?” and if that’s what he wants he’ll clap again and the world is at peace.  The one really great thing about this is that his whining is dropped dramatically.  We’ve tried to train him that if he whines he doesn’t get what he wants, but if he calms down and asks nicely (defined as clapping with the crying mostly under control) then he gets what he wants as long as it’s something he’s allowed to have.  It’s hard telling him no even when he asks so nicely.  He’s even good at doing that in his sleep.  I’ve taking him off the breast at night and he’s started crying, then stopped and clapped his hands.  How can I resist that?

 

Posted by harp on Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Edit
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The garden continues to grow dandelions at an impressive rate.  It’s been a cold, rainy June, so I’m not sure how great that is for my other plants.  We shall see, we shall see.

June 4th Joseph started putting shapes into the shape sorters.  Since that day he hasn’t been as successful, but it still keeps him occupied.  With him starting to put things INTO other things, that means soon we’ll be able to teach him to help clean up with us!

We went to a play group the same day and had a great time even though rain kept us indoors.  Joseph loves being around other kids and their strength and roughness doesn’t seem to bother him.  Since we were out for a short time I had him in cloth diapers, but had no intention of doing EC, but about halfway through he come to me fussing and he didn’t want food or to nurse so I thought maybe he needed to pee.  He was still dry after several hours from when we left home so I decided to give peeing in a public toilet a try.  He’d never been interested before, but this time he went like a pro!  He stayed dry until we got home that day, too.  Nothing like that has happened again and we’ve had plenty of down EC days, but the successes are more fun to report.

June 5th we had a reunion meeting for PEKiP folks.  Unfortunately, the two older babies couldn’t make it, but it was great fun to see the other babies and mothers and to share experiences again.  Everyone was surprised Joseph wasn’t walking yet.  I’m not sure if the babies remembered each other, but they did enjoy each other.

June 7th Joseph took his first steps!  He grabbed my skirt to get up off of the potty but once he was standing the skirt was not supporting him anymore, but he didn’t know that and took a step or two toward me.  I praised him but he didn’t know what I was so excited about!  That same evening Stephan was holding his hands as Joseph walked and Stephan let go and Joseph stood for a second then took a step before Stephan held his hands again.  So far, no repeat performances or interest.  He is interested in walking if we hold his hands, though.  Now after he goes to the potty we walk together to the bathroom where he lifts the toilet lid (he’s only supposed to do that when we have something to dump – maybe a complicated rule for a 1-year-old) and helps flush.  He finds that great fun.

He now has eight teeth: four on top and four on the bottom.

June 8th both Joseph and I woke up a bit sick.  That evening I lost all my food but Joseph got away with only the snuffles.  He’s been sleeping a lot and we both are on the mend.

June 11th I finally sent in our taxes.  It always seems to take longer than expected – I started months ago!  They’re sent under the wire (over seas folks have until June 15th), but they’re done!  Now we can enjoy our first guests at our place in Emmen.  They should arrive any minute now, so I’m signing out and it will probably be another two weeks before I touch base again.  Thanks for your faithful reading anyway!

Posted by harp on Saturday, June 11, 2011 at 1:50 pm | Edit
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Most of it, anyway.  Stephan entertained Joseph last Saturday while I did the final preparations for the garden and did some planting between threats of rain.  I did more planting Monday and what’s left needs to wait anyway.  Already there are sprouts everywhere!  Of weeds, that is . . .  I’ve learned my lesson to always get every bit of a dandelion plant OUT because what they say is true: every little bit of chopped up root will start growing a new dandelion shoot.  I spent a lot of time digging them up before planting, and got at least a barrel full of roots!  I’m thankful I didn’t have time to finish prepping the soil right a way so it gave time for me to see the fruits of the dandelion’s labors and take care of some of the problem before planting.  It’s interesting that the problem is only in one half of the garden, and that’s where I first started turning over the earth.  I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just turned it all over and left it, but as time went on I decided to pull out the weeds since turning the earth exposed them anyway, so I did that to the other half of the garden and it’s almost weed free!  I told you I didn’t know what I was doing . . .

So, we’ll see what happens to my seeds!  I’m excited and am still having fun, but I can’t help being very aware that I really don’t know what I’m doing.  What’s in the garden you ask?  I have three strips about a meter wide and 4 ½  meters long.  The back strip is a collection of flowers (scattered from one packet).  The front two are veggies: zucchini, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes (yet to be transplanted), lettuce, carrots, spring onion, beans (not planted yet), and corn.  I really hope the corn works out.  I love fresh corn and you can only buy it here already torn open!

In the developmental news, yesterday in the pool Joseph found a ball interesting enough that he practiced climbing out of the pool by himself a number of times.  I can now say he’s expert at it, knowing he has to turn around and lower himself down feet first.  I can also safely say that he knows how to reliably use the same technique to get down off of the bed and of furniture.  He’s still not interested in standing or walking, though.  I also caught him putting the stars of the star pyramid back on the column today.  He seems quite pleased with himself, as am I!

Posted by harp on Thursday, May 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Edit
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May 10th Joseph was standing at the coffee table when he took both hands off to clap for me.  He stood a few seconds before he realized what he was doing.  He still doesn’t like to stand alone and only does it if he’s tricked or surprised into it.

May 15th while at the pool with Daddy Joseph crawled to where there’s a slide in the kiddy pool area and at the top he turned out and slid down backwards on hands and knees.

May 16th he crawled up and down a whole flight of stairs all by himself.

Joseph now consistently holds our hands when we pray together before meals.

May 18th I think Joseph signed potty while in his high chair.  He went when I put him on, so maybe it was real.  He can now get off the pot without tipping it over all by himself (though sometimes he doesn’t work).

May 20th Joseph was standing holding on to a ruler I was also holding on to.  I let go and he stood for quite a few seconds while I praised him.  It seemed to be the first time he knew he was standing alone.  He still isn’t very interested in it though.  I’m not sure why I’m so excited about him walking, but ever new skill is just so exciting!

Today I let go of his hand and he took one step forward before falling.  It doesn’t count so much because it’s my encouragement and not his interest, but I just can’t help myself . . .

Posted by harp on Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 10:05 am | Edit
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I’ve been making more of a point to read recently, and “The Plug-In Drug” happened to be the book of choice.  I found it an encouragement to keep on limiting my computer time and focus on getting “real” things done.  I know computer work is real work too, but it tends to suck and suck and suck and give diminishing returns on investment and I hate that feeling.  Of course the book is mostly talking about TV, but author Maire Winn says the same goes for all electronic media.  She has many insightful things to say, but is not bashing people with TV’s or people who like the time they spend with electronic media.  In her conclusion she writes

“Television’s attraction is so powerful precisely because it gratifies the passive side of human nature that everyone is endowed with in differing degrees.  Thus an important step toward a more satisfying family life is to become aware of this passive pull, to assess its power, and to consciously struggle against it.  For most parents this requires a true dedication to the family over all personal pursuits, and a firm resolve to make their children’s childhood a rich and distinctive experience, one that will serve as a resource for the rest of their lives.” (Page 298)

Covey would call the passive pull our draw to “quadrant IV” activities: those that are not important and not urgent, but we often find ourselves there because we’re exhausted and need a break.

I see in much of her urging more support for my desire to homeschool.  That is how I envision making our “children’s childhood a rich and distinctive experience.”  This is probably the furthest thing from Winn’s mind, but that’s the power of books and ideas.  You never know where people will take them.

One such implicit endorsement for homeschooling occurs when she describes the importance of free-time in a child’s life.

 (More)

Posted by harp on Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 10:40 am | Edit
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Last Thursday Joseph turned ten months.  I can’t decide if that’s long or short and I certainly can’t remember when he suddenly took off learning everything.  I made some notes on these days:

April 30th Joseph opened a metal pencil case by himself.  He climbed up two flights of stairs up to the top of our building, and quickly.  He added a fourth word to his spoken vocabulary, at least I was fairly sure of it.  (Mama, Papa and “nein” being the first three).

May 1st Joseph worked his way backwards down three stairs.  He also played peek-a-boo with himself in a floor-length mirror.  He stood up close to the edge and rocked to the side to “hide” and rocked back to show himself in the mirror.  So cute!

May 3rd Joseph carefully stepped into one of his toy boxes (only about five inches tall) and squatted down.  I thought it was cute until I thought maybe he could be peeing.  I checked and sure enough, the damage was done.  It seems he’s pretending to be a cat.  Maybe I should clean out the potty and leave it in his reach and see if he’ll crawl over and squat on it himself when he needs to go.

We also started communicating with sings.  I’ve been spotty introducing signs, but today he figured out that clapping his hands means “more.”  It’s fun playing with him because I can use the “more” idea in a variety of situations, but then again he has a desire for more that tries my patience!  He loves anticipation games like “this little piggy” and the like and will ask for more and more and more.

And it’s official.  There is no doubt that Joseph added “dots” as his fourth spoken word.  He asks me to show him the dots by saying “da” with the air stopped at the end (so it’s not “dah”).  If I show him the dots he will say “da” and if I ask him while he’s playing “Joseph, would you like to see your dots?” he’ll stop what he’s doing and say “da!”  After I help him do his summersaults he’ll look up at me and say “da” since often we look at dots after doing summersaults.  Somehow this really amazes me, but it’s clear as day!  Lest everything sound perfect, it seems to us that he hardly looks at the dots.  He loves them, but he often looks at me or at stuff around us.  I imagine when he looks at me he’s still taking it in, but otherwise it seems hard to believe.  Well, at least it’s easy, doesn’t take much time, it’s clearly enjoyable and it taught him a word!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Edit
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The day after I blogged about how great ECing with Joseph is I missed nearly every one of his pees for two days.  Things have been improving ever since, however and now we’re back to a pretty good average.

Joseph loves clapping his hands, especially with people.

He is increasingly aware and coordinated.  He crawls around obstacles to get to his desired destination.  I first observed this April 20th when he saw me open the balcony doors and he crawled as fast as he could around his toys to get outside.  If I close the doors before he gets there he throws a fit.  I’m learning how to balance real needs with fits.  It’s not always easy to tell when he’s hurt and when he’s just made he can’t have something.

And speaking of crawling, he goes FAST!  We need to get a video of it someday.  He’s still not interested in standing or walking without support.

He pushes buttons.  When Daddy helps Joseph brush his teeth Joseph gets to turn the bathroom light on and off (it’s a button).

Joseph likes being on the balcony and crawling outside of the house.  When he’s on a surface he doesn’t like he’ll lift his right knee up so that only the foot touches and then gingerly crawl using his right foot and his left knee/foot.  It’s terribly cute.

I’ve been enjoying working on our garden.  I have no clue about gardens and all the instruction books confuse me more and fail to give the basic instructions I think I need.  Despite not knowing what to do and taking too long researching and getting nowhere, I’ve finally just started trying things and whether it’s right or not I’m having fun with it.  I’ve worked the ground to our 170 sq. ft. garden entirely by hand (and with hand tools).  It’s starting to look tamed and I’m proud of how I can grab 15 minutes or so of time when Joseph can entertain himself to work on it.  I’m also trying to grow parsley, chives, marjoram, and cherry tomatoes from seeds indoors.  We don’t get that much sun, so we’ll see how it goes.  The chives and marjoram are sprouting already after just a few days!  It’s so much fun to grow stuff!  It’s almost doesn’t matter if I get a good harvest.

Posted by harp on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Edit
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