Monday, April 30, 2007

Eli, the Toolman, Eliason

Since our house has been in a state of disarray due to boxes and packing supplies for the last few weeks, Eli has found many new 'toys'. With our supervision, some of these 'toys' are allowed (screwdriver, drill with a safe drill bit, the occasional paint roller). Tonight Eli went to town with the screwdriver and drill; he played mechanic with 'Mater for a good 15 minutes or so. I caught a little on video (below) to show everyone. Eli was also a big help after dinner, pushing boxes from one side of the room to the other and helping Daddy carry the heavy ones. Don't you love it when your children still want to help you do things around the house?

Also, Eli ate an entire pear for his snack today. I mean entire. All that was left was the stem - no lie. Nothing was hidden in his tray, his bib, or his booster seat.

Today had some very tough moments again though. Eli cried when we dropped him off in the church nursery yesterday, as did he when I brought him to MMO this morning. He recovered quickly, but he's been much more clingy in the last few days, particularly to me. We also had a diaper battle this afternoon. I've become so tired of him kicking and screaming during these that I will leave him in his crib after his nap until he stops shaking his head, "no" to my question of "Are you ready to come out and change your diaper?" This has only worked once or twice, unfortunately. Most of the time he'll say yes, or at least not say no, but once I get him to the changing pad, he's already whining and squirming. So of course I bring him right back to his crib (in an effort to show him I'm not going to tolerate anything but compliance). This becomes quite tedious though, due to my growing size and the fact that while he's in his crib, I try to make myself somewhat available so when he is ready, I can act on it quickly, so as to reward him for telling me he is ready to behave correctly. A tiring process to say the least. Today Eli stayed in his crib for (no joke) 60 full minutes before we changed his diaper. It wasn't great either, but I finally had to tell him that we had things to do, so he would just have to deal with it. (Luckily, with all of the boxes still to pack, I'm able to keep busy while Eli is in his crib, but after a full hour, I needed to move downstairs so I could make dinner.) Thank you again to everyone who has offered suggestions. I'm reading them all and I still welcome more tricks if you have them!!

Sunday, April 29, 2007


That's what the weekend was. Instead of packing countless boxes and wrapping the contents of endless kitchen cabinets, the three (er, four) of us should have been unpacking our bags in a hotel room so we could enjoy the NOLA Jazz Fest. Instead of standing in lines at Target and other stores as we ran many errands related to the new house, we should have been standing in lines to get red beans and rice or crayfish beignets. Instead of picking weeds in the sun yesterday, I should have been sitting in my lawn chair enjoying yet another great performance (in the sun). And instead of dancing to Lehr's iPod on Friday, Eli should have been dancing on a dance floor set up in a tent where Preservation Hall Band performed (live).

This in no way means I am not happy to prepare for our move next week, but I really REALLY missed going to Fest this year. This is the first time Lehr and I have missed it since we started going in 2000...

So until next year, here are some pictures from last year, to remind everyone how awesome New Orleans is, especially this time of year.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Happy Friday!

Thank you to everyone commenting to cheer me up after my Debbie-Downer post on Wednesday. I'm really not sure why I even bother to post on those days because I know how bad I feel in the moment, but I really do realize that it is a phase and 'this too shall pass'. Speaking of which, yesterday was another bad one, but today has been great so far. Only two tantrums so far and it's 3:30 :)

Eli had his gym class this morning, after which we went to his soon-to-be-preschool to fill out some paperwork, securing his position for the fall. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this new phase in Eli's life. The church has classrooms full of artwork and creativity, and the teachers and staff that I've met so far are unbelievably sincere and easy-going. Their 'curriculum' for 2-year-olds seems to be 100% lined up with what I want out of this experience (for Eli): focus on social skills, following simple directions, HAVING FUN... We entered the building today and before we were even down the hall the director heard us and came out of her office to meet us halfway. She kept gushing over Eli (in a very sincere way) and saying how excited she was that we were going to be joining their program this fall. And Eli was so interested in the wall murals and classrooms he saw! This warmed my heart..

I've been very blessed in that I've not had to put Eli in someone else's care each day. So any time I've put Eli in any type of 'daycare' situation, I've hesitated. I took quite a while figuring out if I should or should not use Mothers Morning Out, and then once I decided to go for it, I searched out and called numerous churches before I finally found the one we're using now. (I got the same feeling there that I'm feeling now: the workers genuinely care and they are not just there to baby-sit.) When I tried to work gym and yoga visits in during the week, I took Eli to the gym daycare, but never went back because it just didn't feel right. And in the last month as I've been researching pre-schools, I've had conflicting emotions the whole time. Am I just doing this so I can have some alone time with the baby? Will this really benefit Eli? Will he be OK in this new setting? (Honestly, the guilt mothers put themselves through is quite pathetic, isn't it?) After finding this school and meeting the people working there I can truthfully say I have no doubts about how much this will compliment Eli's current situation.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Something Has Got To Give

It's been a rough few days with Eli. Not sure if it's due to lack of sleep (his and mine: my insomnia and his tendency to nap only 60 minutes most days) or his teeth (one of the eye teeth popped out yesterday), but I'd like it to get easier now.

Yesterday he was defiant and fussy for three straight hours before Lehr got home. Even though Eli was crying when he walked through the door, he settled down a lot for Daddy, of course. Then today we are without a car, so entertainment is difficult at best. We did have a good morning consisting of tearing the garage apart, walking around the outside of the house hundreds of times, and playing at the park. Unfortunately that was followed up by the worst couch/blanket time in history. Seriously. Even the very first one was better than today. Eli refused to stay on the blanket and/or play. It was as if we'd never done this before.... Add that to the epic fight we have every time I need to change a very-obviously dirty diaper, and I'm at my breaking point.

On a positive note, while Eli was at Mothers Morning Out (also known as my saving grace) yesterday, I checked out another 'preschool' for the fall. I have enrolled Eli in a 2-day/week program (3 hours each day) that offers at least everything I was looking for. (I think he is getting bored of just playing at MMO.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Are You My Mother?

Eli loves this book. He always has, I'm sure because of the repetitive text. This week I brought the book into the car as a 'toy' to distract him. He tries to hand me the book while I'm driving, but I tell him, "You read it to Mommy." Then I randomly call out parts of the story I have memorized thanks to reading it to Eli at least five times each day for the last however many months. Yesterday my reading was met with Eli's response of a huge grin and 'no no' (in a nice voice), every time I asked "Are you my mother?" He totally knows that each time the bird asks someone "Are you my mother?", they answer "No".

On a less positive note, Eli's diaper battles have intensified again. No longer is it an option to let him out of his crib to roam until he decides to lie down for a diaper change. He'll roam and cry forever rather than lie peacefully for me. Any suggestions are welcome, though I'm sure it's just a phase and time is the only remedy.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Midwife Appointment

Another uneventful one....not that I'm complaining! The baby's heartbeat was strong and at 130 when the midwife first listened today. Then she poked my stomach a little to 'wake' the baby and the heart rate jumped up a bit (as it should). She reminded me to make sure I'm getting enough movement out of the baby each hour (I assured her I was!!!). Eli came along with me and behaved very well considering it was just the two of us. He alternated hiding in the changing closet and getting in the midwife's face while she was in the room (not at all shy today).

Saturday, April 21, 2007

It's a Chopper, Baby..

Eli's got a pretty cool daddy. Even though he sometimes whines and complains and asks for (rather, demands) "MOMMY", he enjoys his time with Lehr. As he should considering the cool stuff he does with him. After dinner last night Lehr took Eli to Target and they played on the skateboards for a good bit. Apparently that made Eli extremely happy. To top off the evening-o-fun, Lehr bought Eli a tricycle. When Eli went to bed, Lehr put it together so he could ride it first thing this morning. Even though he doesn't totally 'get it' yet, he seems to enjoy it a lot!

Friday, April 20, 2007


This is part of the reason I'm not getting any sleep (some of this will be hard to see on youtube, I'm sure):

Video, Video and More Video

I haven't posted any clips of Eli in a while, so I'm trying to catch up while he naps. Here is the first installment: a montage of E dancing up a storm in the last month or so....

Tiny Bubbles

Eli loves to blow bubbles in the bath...all you have to do is ask him:

Thursday, April 19, 2007


For real this time (not like last year). Eli had another great game tonight. He was more antsy; he wanted to walk around at our feet instead of sitting in his seat or on our laps like last night, but he was still pretty well-behaved. Lehr taught him "cheers" last weekend, so we was all about that tonight. Much like last year, we cleaned out a plastic beer bottle and let him play with that. It occupied him 95% of the time. (Think of the potential games! Cheers, musical cup holders, bang it on the seat.....) His favorite thing to do was "cheers" everyone else with a beer bottle. This included the college guys in front of us. One was so amused by this that he insisted on not one, but two pictures of he and Eli clinking beer bottles. I expect Eli's beer picture to end up on a how-not-to-parent billboard somewhere in the near future..... For now, here is a shot of Eli cheersing "D" and a flashback from last year (same beer-toy last time too).

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Take Me Out To The Ballgame...

This is Eli's favorite song right now. He'll 'tell' you he wants you to sing it by swaying his head back and forth on alternating shoulders. It's quite cute and funny, but at the same time, annoying after the tenth time in a row. I started singing it to him when I would read "Wrigley Field from A to Z". ("T" is for Take Me Out To The Ballgame.) Now it's an obsession.

We took Eli to a Cubs (vs. Braves) game tonight. He must have known it would be a long game because he napped for a full three hours this afternoon in preparation. He sat on either my lap or "D"s lap most of the time and watched the game and/or festivities around him. When the Braves got a homerun in the second, the fireworks went off and from then on out, every few minutes he would point to left field and say "OOOOOOHH!", and then sign 'hot'. He cracks me up some times! Eli stayed awake until the very end, though at one point he was totally glazed over on David's lap. Lehr took him to the new Turner Kids area during the 5th & 6th innings - it sounds like they had a blast over there. All in all, Eli displayed model behavior, much to the appreciation of the fans around us. Let's hope he does the same tomorrow night!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Sunny Days

Eli's teeth still have not officially cut, but yesterday and today were a bit better as far as his pain. Either that or he's toughed up a bunch. Today had a few temper tantrums, but nothing major. In recent weeks I've made a real effort to see all of the good stuff that is happening with Eli (so as to distract me from the tantrums and whatnot). I found several things to add to the 'good' list this last week.

For starters, Eli rarely gives Lehr and I a hard time about holding hands in the street anymore. (I thought I blogged about this before, but I can't find it now. For quite some time Eli refused to hold our hands in the street. Our rule was either you hold our hand or we carry you. There was a lot of carrying for a month or so.) Today when we went to the park Eli actually reached up and grabbed my hand...I didn't even have to ask!

And tonight when Lehr and I were cleaning the dishes we opened the back door and let Eli play on the deck and in the kitchen. He never once made a move towards the alley (a no-no, obviously). It is amazing to me how consistency has paid off with him. The hand-holding I thought would never come. It felt like we struggled with that forever (real time: 4-6 weeks).

Another 'good list' item: diaper changes. Eli is going through another change-refusal phase, but he's learning that, as usual, Mommy will win in the end. When I go into his nursery after his nap, I always close the door behind me. Eli now knows that the door will not open again until his diaper is changed. Due to my increased fatigue I am not in the mood to fight with him over these changes, so for a week or so I've just sat in his room until he's ready to cooperate. (It's a lot easier than wrestling with a squirmy, strong 20-month old when a dirty diaper is involved.) Today he went around his room for about 30-minutes picking up various books and toys, asking me 'please' or 'help' for each of them. Every time I told him "Sure, but we have to change your diaper first." He totally understood me as he would slightly shake his head "no" and go find something else. Eventually he gave in and there was no fight. HOORAY!!!

One last thing: picking up toys. I thought Eli would be one of those tornado kids who came into a room and destroyed it only to leave dust and debris in his path. While he is one of those kids, he's finally starting to pick things up (when we ask) without a fight at all. Amazing to me given when we started out he wouldn't pick anything up, even if we handed him the toy and put him directly in front of the toy box.

For once, I'm really not trying to brag about Eli or his accomplishments. I get a lot of comments and emails regarding tantrums and other toddler issues from parents who are currently in the trenches. I offer this post as encouragement that 'this too shall pass'. Whatever your rules are, stick with them and be consistent. It might take a week (or a month, in Eli's case), but your hard work will pay off. I can't even tell you how many times I thought he'd NEVER get over his tantrum or defiance or whatever the issue-de-jour was, but with each of them he has (for the majority of the time anyway).

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tae Bo Baby

Eli had some crazy kicks. And jabs. And stretches. This baby might have his/her brother beat, however. I remember the pain those kicks and stretches gave me, but I don't remember them being this intense until the very end when Eli had run out of room to move. Here I am with 2+ months to go and some of the movements I'm feeling cause me to wince and/or cry out!

28-week belly picture:

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Son, You Don't Have To Fight To Be A Man

Warning up front: this blog will get long and rambling. Mainly because I'm typing without too much forethought.

Raising kids, specifically boys, requires you to deal with the issue of fighting or bullying at some point or another. Maybe because someone picked on your kid or because your child did the picking. Regardless of the driver for the conversation, there will be a conversation sometime while they are under your roof. Whether it's a "Suck it up and walk away." talk, a "Stand up for yourself." talk, or a more in-depth combo of the two is where the confusion starts for me. My hope, like most parents, is to have a very open flow of conversation with my children. I want them to not only feel comfortable talking with me about issues that come up in their away-from-home lives, but also to want my opinion on how to handle those issues. Wow...see how quickly I digress?!?!

In the past few weeks I've been able to observe Eli in several different situations involving other children without much parental supervision. A few times at the park I've seen him be blocked off from access to certain areas of playground equipment by children a little older than him. I stayed out of it completely because there was no threat of harm. Mainly I was curious to see how Eli would handle himself. Most of the time he was visibly frustrated, but he has yet to resort to hitting, screaming at, or biting the kids. (Sigh of relief) I've also seen him climb on equipment at gym class or at the park only to have another child also assert him or herself on the apparatus as a challenge. With the exception of a short-lived temper tantrum involving feet stamping and "NOOOO", Eli chooses the non-confrontational route of holding his ground until it becomes apparent he'd have to get physical to maintain sole custody of whatever object is in question. This has pleased me as I very much do not want Eli to allow people to walk all over him, but just as much I do not want him to pick a fist fight at the first sign of a conflict.

The latest scenario I've witnessed involved a child appearing to be about a year older than Eli purposely pushing and 'throwing' Eli just for the sake of doing it. This child did not appear to be mean-spirited, but in the few occasions I've seen, Eli didn't do anything to instigate this very physical pummeling. My boy stood back up each time he was pushed to the ground, but he never retaliated. He also never came to me for comfort until I showed my face (mainly to stop what was happening, as it appeared to be escalating quickly).

Although it pained me to see Eli pushed and tackled, it didn't hit me too hard until later. My mind would not stop playing the image of Eli's confused and hurt face as the other child pushed him repeatedly. This led my thoughts to the topic at hand: fighting vs. standing up for yourself. Eli seems to have that balance at the moment, but what about when the encounters become more intense? What about when he has to fight back? How do we help him figure out the difference between fighting and self-defense? I'm pretty pacifist in nature, but I am very aware that there are times when just walking away isn't an option. In those times I want my kids to have the skills and discretion to be able to ward off their attacker(s). Lehr, the ever-wise husband and father that he is, reminded me why I decided to parent with him when I asked for his feedback. (For once, I am not being sarcastic; I sincerely mean the previous sentence.) He said it was very important for us to teach Eli to never throw the first punch and to not use excessive force. With that simple conversation he set my mind at ease. Not because he had the one-and-only answer to my problem, but because I realized that we are once again on the same page about this, and it's not my problem, but ours. Weight temporarily lifted....

If anyone has any words of wisdom on the subject at hand, how to help your kids be peaceful without becoming "mama's boys", do tell....

Friday, April 13, 2007

Kiss My....Knee?

Another day of horrible teething pain and some blood in the mouth. Brutal stuff, this teething is! Despite Eli's discomfort I took him to the Dogwood Festival today, in an effort to distract him if nothing else. It worked. The car rides to and from were horrendous, but while he was there he seemed to be in a pretty good mood. And actually there were a few smiles in the car, but they were very short-lived. One was over Eli's newest trick: kissing his knee. He was in the back, furrowing his brow and pointing to his knee saying, "boo boo!" (I guess because he had a few scabs there a month back?) I asked him if he had a boo-boo on his knee, and then I told him when I got out of the car I would kiss it for him. At the next light I looked in the backseat to find Eli licking his knee. He had pulled his leg up, dancer-stretch-like, to kiss his knee (and his kisses are open-mouth and very sloppy). Eli and I had a good laugh for a minute until the light turned green and he resumed screaming in agony.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

King of Pain

I'll say it again: this teething business is not for the weak. Eli is in a crazy amount of pain. We were driving home after a playdate today and I turned around at one point to console Eli with a song (he was audibly upset) only to find blood dripping from his chin. The poor kid's mouth was bleeding. We were less than five miles from home and I was pretty sure that the blood was not pouring out at an uncontrollable rate, so I waiting until we got home to stop and assess the situation. (Plus, once the blood started, Eli seemed to be in less pain because he stopped crying. Go figure.) Once home I could not find the source of the blood, but I've since seen a small mark on one of the mountains protruding from his gums. I think one of his new teeth cut through, but the gums then swelled up to cover it again. Anyway, I cleaned him up and gave him some Tylenol before putting him down for a nap. I figured that was enough trauma to send him into a state of sleeping bliss for a few hours, but 45 minutes later, he was up again. Mad at the world. He screamed when I tried to give him a snack and some water, so I did something I've never done before. I gave him his first fruit popsicle. Eli loved it. He sucked on it as much as possible to get all the juice out, which was fine with me because it cut down considerably on the mess. Eli was very content until he ate the last bite. Immediately the switch was turned and he was back to screaming and crying. Poor kid!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pearls of Wisdom

One of my new favorite things is watching Eli replicate a behavior Lehr or I have taught him. This covers anything from signing, to sitting down when he wants a glass of water or when he needs his shoes taken off or put on, to knocking on doors. The latest is Eli's ability to keep his bowl steady when he eats with a spoon or fork. A few weeks ago Lehr started showing Eli how to hold the edge of his bowl with the opposite hand while he digs into his food with his spoon/fork hand (it differs each day). I love to see Eli grab the edge of his bowl before he dives into his oatmeal each morning...proof that he is paying attention some of the time when we try to teach him things!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Stop The Insanity!!!!

These eye teeth are giving Eli at least as hard a time as the last two or three teeth.... He's had some very sweet and endearing moments in the last month, but most of the time he is Dr. Jeckyll/Mr. Hyde and there is no telling what will cause him to switch at any moment. This picture sums up Eli's feelings on teething.

God's Work is Good

One of the clubfoot-parent message boards I belong to had this article posted today: Walking With Faith. It's a great summary about Ponseti's work with John Mitchell, and how the two have worked together to transform children's lives.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Our little Easter Bunny was a little grumpy at church, but had a great rest of the day. After lunch he was playing in the living room and bumped his head on the wood floors (a very regular occurrence for Eli). He didn't cry, but he displayed an upset face and proceeded to mumble some incoherent words about it as he pointed to his head. Obviously he didn't get the reaction he'd hoped from Daddy, so he came into the kitchen where I was. Eli pointed to his head and 'told' me again. Then he proceeded to re-enact the moment for me: he put his hands on the ground and touched his head to the floor and then stood up and pointed again, nodded and repeated what he'd said before.

After his nap we took Eli out to the park and searched for eggs. I hid a dozen plastic eggs filled with Kix (Eli's absolute favorite these days) in the grass and landscaping. He was very intrigued by the colorful eggs randomly placed in the wild, but he didn't quite get the concept at first. He would put an egg in his basket, but then he'd take it out before he put another one in, leaving no more than one in his possession at a time. After three or four eggs he stopped that practice, but then he would say "moooh" as soon as he put an egg in the basket. (As in, "More eggs, NOW!") Finally he exhausted the egg supply so we sat on the bench and opened them all up. Eli was quite excited to find "kiiiih" inside and repeated his "moooh" each time he finished a mouthful.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Random Friday Thoughts

Good News/Bad News. The bad news is Eli will have to miss Jazz Fest this year (something we haven't done since we started going several years back). The good news is, he'll be moving to a new house that week. It's as official as it can be before we close: our house sold and we bought another one! We spent the better part of the morning at the new house with the inspector. Eli's behavior was similar to post-bath time: red-bull wired. He could not stop running from one room to the next, up and down the stairs, so on and so on. Unfortunately I might have to invest in more gates once we move in, to block off certain areas of the house, just so I can keep an eye on him. I didn't realize until now how 'easy' it is to keep tabs on Eli during the day at our current house! We have one gate at the top of the stairs and that's it! Oh well....if he gets on my nerves now I can just send him out to the yard for the day, right? (Kidding!!)

Before we left for his gym class this morning I turned on the TV to catch up on a few minutes of tivo. Keep in mind I seriously NEVER do this when Eli is home/awake. (Not trying to sound high and mighty - it's just not something I do unless it's one of the rare occasions every few weeks when I pull out a sign language DVD for him.) I had a music special on Kenny Rogers that I've not been able to watch for weeks now. (Yes, I admit it: I LOVE Kenny Rogers. He's always been a fave of mine.) Eli was playing with his toys in the living room, but once Kenny started singing, that kid couldn't keep his eyes off. When the song ended and they went back to talking, he resumed pushing trucks around, but each time a new song started, he stopped, stared, and sometimes started dancing. Take that, Grandpa Jim!

Yesterday Eli and I went to the Botanical Gardens with Tyler and Shannon. The boys did great but Eli's newest obsession (also seen in the house this morning) is doors. If he can reach the knob (which he can't in this house, but he can in the new one) he HAS to open and shut a million times. There are a few random doors in the Children's Gardens at ABG, and Eli was sure to find them. In fact, to get him to move on I had to physically remove him and carry him to the next exhibit...that's how focused he was.

Finally, I checked in on Eli during his nap the other day and captured a shot of him practicing yoga (child's pose) in his sleep. When he looks this peaceful it's harder to remember the tantrums. On a slightly related note, I put Eli to bed tonight and while I read him a story in the rocking chair, I gave him the blanket I made (rather than the 'magic one') and not only did he not protest, but he stuck his thumb in his mouth (something usually reserved for the one-and-only-blanket) while we read stories. He still says, "Mommy" when he touches that blanket too....melts my heart.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Smarter Than Your Average Bear? (Doubtful)

I mentioned the other day how quickly Eli picks up new signs now. I'm not really pushing the signs, but sometimes a new one pops up (while I'm working on him actually saying the word) and he soaks it up like a sponge. Yesterday in the car this happened with "bird". Eli loves birds, and was pointing to one out the car window as he said, 'buhhhrr!'. I told him that was right and repeated the word 'bird' as I signed it. He thought this was hilarious and mimicked my hand motions. This morning we watched about ten minutes of a Baby Einstein video we have, but haven't watched in forever (due to Eli's lack of interest in far). This one has a lot of household objects and their signs. Eli sat in my lap and looked up at my face each time they introduced a word. He would try to say the word, which usually sounded like 'bahh', as he watched me to help him with the sign. Sometimes he would move his hands first, but at least half of the time he would look at me to help him make the sign correctly. He did really well with "chair" and "table" all on his own, but don't ask him to repeat far it was only during the video.

Since I'm in the mode of bragging on Eli, I'll continue with blanket time this morning. I've been trying to do this more and more when I'm home alone with Eli to prepare him for when the baby needs to eat and I'm not 'available' to him. Today I cheated in a way because I brought out a box of toys that had been in a closet for the past month. These books and toys became new to him, so I was able to get a full 25-minutes (whine free) out of Eli. That isn't the brag though.... For about ten minutes of that time Eli went through one of the books he used to love. Each page has a picture of an object and the name written below. Eli 'read' through the book alternating signs with words as he flipped the pages. I had to stop knitting to watch him out of the corner of my eye as I saw him sign "airplane" and then flip the page and say "NANA" (banana), and then flip and sign "train" while he said 'tee tee' (his version of 'choo choo'), and then flip and say 'keee' (kitty). Even though this is a brag, notice I did not go so far as to outright say how smart my child is. That is mainly due to the fact that after he finished 'reading', Eli played the xylophone for a few minutes and then proceeded to stick the mallets in his eyes, ears, and then his mouth, repeatedly gagging himself. What a scholar...(as apparent in the photo)

Eli's Tomatoes

Week 4:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Stopping To Smell The Roses

Eli still has not mastered smelling things (such as flowers or candles), nor has he figured out totally how to blow out candles or bubbles. Instead he prefers to mix the two together in a scrunched-face, pursed-lipped, in-and-out breathing using both mouth and nose. While playing in the backyard today I was finally able to capture this on camera while Eli attempted to smell the flowers that had fallen on the ground. I hope he's not faced with having to smell too many things in a short period of time because I'm confident he'd pass out from the excursion he puts forth. He seriously could be the poster child for lamaze breathing.

All in all, Eli had a great day today. He picked up a few more signs (chair and bird) and he behaved really well except for 20-minutes almost immediately following our backyard adventure. He will now say "moooh" while signing "more", and he uses his signs in ways I didn't know he'd figured out yet. For example, we taught him "water" in association with drinking water from a cup. But when he sees a puddle or a body of water (in a picture or in real life), he signs "water" to me. He even did it today when it started to rain.

Hair By Fruit

Eli's lunch included a fruit cereal bar yesterday, which he ended up mashing in his hair. He's never done this before, so I had hoped I missed out on the food-in-the-hair phase. Apparently not. I did my best to wash it out of his hair before his nap, but as you can see, when he woke up the leftover fruit residue acted as a gel and gave him crazy bedhead.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Don't Make Me Count To Three....

Eli is not letting up on the temper tantrums, but he is starting to realize that it's my way or the highway, so that's something. Twice today he 'tried' me and threw a tantrum when I gave him instruction, but once he realized I was not budging he gave in (though begrudgingly).

First thing this morning I changed his diaper and then let him play in his room (door closed with me in there too) while I pulled his clothes out. When he pushed 'Mater to the door and asked "please" (as in he wanted out of his room) I told him, "Yes, but first we have to put your clothes on." He stamped his feet and said "noooooo" with his furrowed brow and pursed lips in response. I sat back and waited. He then pushed 'Mater to me and signed "please" so I pulled his shirt over his head while he babbled on about something.

The second time was right before his nap. We were in his room playing and he eventually went to his crib and signed "please" (as in he wanted to be in his crib with his blanket because he was exhausted). I told him, "Sure, but we have to change your diaper first." Same reaction as this morning, but even more animated and loud. After about a minute of me remaining by the changing pad he pouted his way over and sat down so I could change him. Not quite obedience "all the way, right away and with a happy heart", but one out of three ain't bad!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Donation Corner: Shepherd Center

A few years back I was able to visit the Shepherd Spinal Center when my employer participated in a fundraiser for them. Before that time I'd never heard of Shepherd, which is surprising considering it is one of the leading facilities for research and rehabilitation in the United States. I know a nurse who worked there for a while and she said the patients she saw at Shepherd came from all over the country because it is so highly esteemed. They provide medical care to people with spinal cord injuries and disease stemming from birth defects to catastrophic accidents (sports related, car crashes, etc.). Shepherd Center is a private, not-for-profit hospital that has been helping patients through life-changing experiences for over three decades. (In fact, since 2000, Shepherd Center has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's best rehabilitation hospitals.)

I chose this hospital to highlight this month because it is a service any of us could need at any time. Many of these patients never thought they'd end up in rehab for a spinal injury, but accidents happen. Shepherd is not only in need of monetary donations, but also volunteers. If you feel led to contribute to this wonderful center, please read more about Shepherd Center and how you can help.