Sunday, February 10, 2008

Elias the budding scupltor

Not too long ago, Elias made his artistic mama very proud by presenting her with his first, spontaneous and representational clay (okay, not really, just playdough) sculpture of Mount Saint Helens erupting. See how proudly he stands by his work! Well, actually, he can hardly keep his eyes off of the cone cup he procured from the Dr. office after visiting for a diagnosed double ear infection!. As many of you who follow this blog may know, Elias has a explosive fascination with Mt. St. Helens, volcanos erupting, lava, the earth's crust, etc. Two dimensional drawings of this event started early in the fall. Now, this progression into the 3rd dimension really marks something developmentally fantastic, don't you think?? Let's do have a close up, shall we? Impressive, I know. Let me tell you about this art piece, according to Elias, the gray portion is Mt. St. Helens before it erupted with the point intact. What you are seeing with the yellow and white is actual lava spewing out from the top of the mountain. The blue portion underneath the mountain is a lake and the green and turquiose points protruding from either side are trees in the forest around the mountain.

It really was a lovely accomplishment and Elias felt so proud. What an amazing pleasure to be derived from creating something with your very own hands!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Decorating the tree

Elias has become quite the independent little man since starting school. It has astounded me in many ways over the past few months what he is both capable of and what he is doing. It's has been wonderful, I really feel like we are converging. For the longest time I can recall feeling like I didn't know him at all, what he was about, what really motivates and drives him? I don't know if he has made more sense of that for himself and it is apparent or if he has really allowed me to get to know him better. However it came about will remain a mystery. The outcome, however, warms my heart each and everyday.

Although one thing does remain a mystery...what is happening in school? It's my desire to not let go of him that keeps this need to know all of the happenings for each of his waking moments alive, I'm sure. But when he comes home and tells me, grinning very innocently from ear to ear and reporting that he "lost the opportunity" to do some activity, I cannot let it go. I need to dig at it until I can get to the bottom of it. He reported, "I was playing a game with Ira and I said "oinky oinky," then Mary Jo made me sit and do nothing." How horrible this sounded! I dig deeper but the story goes on the make even less sense and become more confused. UGH! I find myself frustrated at IRA, who is this character, anyway? Why does Elias always return home with stories of Ira being a stinker? Then, I imagine poor Elias sitting all day at a table, staring out into space doing nothing and blankly wondering, "Why?" My rage turns to the teachers. Aren't they teaching any basic problem solving skills? We do that at home ALL OF THE TIME with Dahlia and Elias...time outs are the absolute last resort, when all else has failed and the violence simply must stop. Then, as if from out of nowhere, frustration turns towards Brad. Why can't he write a letter to the teacher and tell her we are paying a boat load and the very least she could do is give us daily reports of Elias's every interaction? Why do I ALWAYS have to look like the irrational, overly protective freak-o mom? Poor Brad, that was really from out of nowhere and completely unwarranted. I'm sorry, my sweet. I guess the answer to the last question is that I AM. I may always be. I'll accept ( or at least try) that sometimes I may be reactive and other times, I might just blog it out, like what a complete bitch that parent was that would not relent in remarking in front of Elias that Elias was wearing pajamas to school. Bitch! (Forgive me for swearing in your blog, my love)

On a more glorious note, Brad and the kids picked out the best christmas tree ever last night while I was working. This christmas is so magical for Elias already, I can feel it. The day I brought up the decorations, he immediately found a bag of little painted wodden ornaments and stashed most of them away in his stocking only after spending much time creating an "ornament train" along the floor.

While Elias was at school today, I sorted through all of the ornaments and put aside those that were unbreakable. I decided that with Dahlia being the "messing with everything" enthusiast that she is, maybe this year, we'll keep out only the unbreakable ones. While I put Dahlia down for a nap, I invited him to hang some of the ornaments. To my amazement, he hung them all and then did a little rearranging of the "fragile ones" I had placed higher up. The tree is an all of 5 feet tall noble fir which Brad says Elias picked out. It has a stubby, wide load at the bottom and a tall, pokey top. It's wonderful and perfect. And, Elias did a beautiful job decorating the tree. I so enjoy decoratng the tree, too. I hope he always will.

For the past few nights, I've been going to sleep with Elias and then Dahlia. I usually camp out with Dahlia and Brad with Elias. We've been doing things this way for so long, I had forgotten how much I miss being with Elias at night (even though he did torture me). We have had several lovely evenings of reading Peter Pan. Then, as we are falling asleep, he asked, "Can I touch your ear all the way until morning?" "What do you think?" I reply. "I think I can," he says and then when touching my ear gets too rough, he holds my hands, and then, much more quickly than I remember ever happening when he was just a wee bit younger, his hand relaxes in my hand and I can hear his breathing become very deep and rhythmic, and he is asleep. Oh, how I love this little man. More than words can say!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

First day of school and other happenings

As the title suggests, today was Elias's first day of preschool, starting at Two Rivers Montessori in the Sunflower Cottage. His teachers/guides are Anna and Mary. Yesterday, we went to the classroom for a visit and Elias jumped right in. He took Anna around the classroom and showed her what interested him. When they took his first work to a little table, Anna brought a stool over to him to sit next to him. As they moved on to something else and another table, he proclaimed, "Wait, I have to bring you stool over!" How sweet is he, really, how darn sweet? This morning, we talked about the steps of our routine again as we drove to school(get out of the car, walk through the gate, walk down the stairs, up the path and stop at the mat in front of the cottage. I'll get down on my knees and give him a super big hug and kiss and wish him a good day at school and say I'll see him at 12PM). We were so early, I had to drive around the lock about six times. We walked into school and ran into Eddison and Mercedes along the way. Eddison was running up the path and Elias followed suit. Then, he stopped by the path in front of his cottage. He waited for me and then we walked up to the door. He said, "Mom, you acn go with me," and then I remembered that we weren't on the mat. We jumped over to the mat and hugged and kissed and Elias went up the stairs to school. I stood up and he turned around. I thought he might just run after me, but instead, he just said, "Bye!" and in he went. His teacher called this evening and said he had a wonderful day, that he was very interested in the materials at school and that he talked with other children and was in general in a very cheerful mood! I'm so glad for him. I knew he was going to love it.

Today, after taking Elias to school, I felt quite a void. I wondered all day where has the little whirlwind that seems to propel me here and there each day? Dahlia was the same way, asking where Elias had gone and picking up remnants of his toys around the house, holding them up to me simply saying, "Elias?" I counted down the time until we could pick him up, and was so touched, when we did arrive, to see him returning from the playground, walking through the gate standing in line with the other children, and then when it was time for me to pick him up from the classroom, seeing him sitting right in front of the teacher, gazing up at her as she read and held up a picture book.

I miss him, but I am so happy for him, too. He is much different than I thought he would be...I really expected him to be resistant to going, and I never pegged him as being so outgoing because he is often wanting to be very close to me and cuddly, hiding in our wings. This gentle nudge out of that nest seems to really afforded him an opportunity to soar as his own person.

In past news, Elias turned 3! We had a great party at the Children's Museum where friends make sock snakes and played pin the tongue on the snake well into the lunch hour. It was really good fun!

We also went on a great camping trip at the beach with all of our friends from playgroup! Elias caught his very first fish, which I hear was quite a delight! He also roasted marshmallows and have plenty of fun running after his friends and playing on the beach.

Monday, July 16, 2007


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Summer, summer, summer...

My goodness, the time has really been flying. Well, for the month of June, we were all pretty sick at one point or the other. Elias had an awful bout of Tonsilitus...followed by an allergic reaction to penicillin. He was so sick! I think he maintained a fever over 102 degrees for a solid week. There were several days where it was hard to get him to just drink something. AND, we sat on the couch pretty much all day and watched Pooh's Heffalump movie about 10,000 times, which would make anyone feel a little cuckooooo.

Sometime in the past month, we have entered into a phase of toddler/preschooler-hood. It came quite unexpectedly, and brought with it the end of the afternoon nap. It's been an adjustment. There's a fair share of unsolicited screaming and yelling, running away and tantrums. It has been interesting, trying both our faith in humanity.

On the more wonderful angle, Elias is even more fun to talk with. He has started to do more imaginative/creative/ pretend play. And, his memory continues to be out of his world, and he has totally maxed out on cuteness.

We went camping at Silver Falls last week. Camping is so much fun, but it is also very hard for little people. It tired Elias out after one night. The second day, we went on a moderate hike and Elias peetered out on the return and was pretty much spent for the rest of the day. He was a live wire. Camping, to me, presented a million dangers for little ones. It was stressful for me as the only there. I think we might try it again in a few weeks, though. Turns out, Elias's favorite part of camping are the marshmallows and chocolate for smores! :-)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Toddler OCD

Elias has an obsession for order. Well, it's not quite and obsession, but it's big. Things, he sees things and decides they must be somewhere specific and mostly out of context. Train tracks need to be on the green chair, especially the "little" track. something is generally lined up on the corners of the tables, like tonight, a snake tower of wedgits, which seems really normal. The other day, he had a complete breakdown because he was trying to line up some magnet letters with a photo that just wasn't working out right. The dinger with the red handle for the little triangle is frequently found hidden behind the mail on the mail table. I pull back the curtains to discover train tracks and matchbox cars on the window sill.

I really could go on and on. I'll find little gummy bear vitamins sitting at the conrer edge of things all around the house...the sink, the tank of the toilet, corner of the kitchen counter. Every morning, he requests one red bear and one orange bear, of which each morning he eats the orange bear and places the red bear around somewhere special. I convinced him to eat the red bear by telling him that the bears keep him healthy and strong. That's incentive!

Anyway, toddler behavior is so odd, it's enough to worry any parent a little.

When I returned from Ohio, I brought back with me my little rocking chair from when I was a squirt. My mom says it was my brothers, but as I remember it, from pictures, it was mine. Elias seems right at home in it. He had just ransacked my luggage and scored some special travel headphones, which he insisted on wearing while sitting next to his book and rocking in what he will likely always remember as his rocking chair. Ain't he sweet?

This week has culminated in a great sense of relieve regarding Elias's immediate educational future. We now have heard back from two schools that he has been accepted, both schools that I strongly approved. What to do, what to least he will have somewhere to go now. I will miss him so, but I think it will be good for him, a great opportunity for learning, socializing and growth.

We've been all sleeping together lately, which has it's advantages and disadvantages for sure. Last night, Elias wriggled to where his entire body was across all of the pillows at the top of the bed. And then, later when Dahlia stirred, he stirred too and found his fingers to my back and started Rub-fest, 2007. You would think that getting a backrub would be relaxing and enjoyable. Not from a 2.8 year old, I can assure you. It's paniful and annoying at best. At 7:00, when Brad's alarm went off, he started in again. He's got really sharp little nails and he tends to catch them repeatedly over bumpy moles...not fun. When Brad got back from his shower, I sent Mr. Touchy-feely over to Dad, who get's to sleep in his own full-size bed alone across the room, I might add. Something is wrong with this picture. I think we need a bigger bed to share the love.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Green popstickles and blue Elias eggs

Boy, tis the season for lots of special holiday activities. After Christmas sugar cookies and Valentine's heart taping were such a smash hit, I decided that all we could celebrate with zealous all holidays. On Friday, we made green "popstickles" with lemonade and green food coloring. PROBLEM 1: Never let a two year old manage the food coloring right out of the gate. He squeezed the bottle with such great force, green sprayed all over the counter and none in the cup. PROBLEM 2: Never let a two year old pour green lemonade into a "popstickle" container without some sort of precautionary tray beneath the project to catch any spills. And, also, never let a two year old pour green lemonade on the counter in front of all the kitchen drawers. Sticky yucky mess everywhere! Mission was accomplished but at a cost to mom.

On Saturday, we put on our green. Elias was green from head to toe and very delighted to wish everyone Happy St. Patrick's day! We had green milk for breakfast and the "popstickles" for dinner!

Today, we dyed easter eggs! After having the boxhalf eaten by a special little guy, we decided it was time. Boy, did he get into it! I did a demonstration, and before I was through, Elias had several eggs in each of the three bowls of dye. He swished and stirred the eggs around with the little metal stick that comes with the dye. And of course, had his fingers in each one too! (Those little wire things are impossible to use). He used the little magic crayon to scribble out some lines and I put all of our names on our own individual names, which he really enjoyed. Dahlia sat across from us in the highchair and ate the crayon I gave her to use to draw on her egg. Fun was had by all! Elias scooped out most of the eggs, but decided that three eggs needed a super long dose of the blue dye. He's three eggs turned out the very coolest!

Of course, we had to sample one egg that had cracked. Elias had quite the technique of literally smashing the egg with amazing force unti lthe yolk was completely squished! I thought for sure he was going to have nothing to eat but a handful of shell mashed into egg white. He was able to peel the shell quite well, and then nibbles away at the white. Fun was had by all!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Opossum and other spooky tales

Last week, whilst getting ready for a walk in the cart, Elias wandered about the garage as usual and then asked, "Momma, what's this thing sleeping here?" I asked him what thing and walked closer to where he was standing. He was right next to a nasty, HUGE disgusting ole' opossum. I freaked and practically left him there in the garage. I scooped him up and he was terrified by me. By the time we made it into the house, I had composed myself and was able to apologize for scaring him and explain what I had saw. Yuck Yuck Yuck. And, we had one hell of a time getting that sucker out. Pretty much we didn't get it out as much as it left on its own accord at dark. That was great topic of discussion for many days following.

This has been a challenging month in the life of Elias. We continue to chip away at the potty training. His is a question of will, I think. Often, when he's "making feces" in his pants, he'll look at me first and I'll asked the inevitable question, to which he will yell back "NO!" Oh well, can't blame a girl for trying. We are trying to be strong. Well, at least stronger than him, otherwise for sure, we'll all flop. He's doing well and is overall quite cooperative, especially when he feels that we are consistent and enthusiastic, too. Tough work.

We were going to start preschool this month, but that didn't pan out, which is just as well. I was really feeling like it was too soon for him to be away from me for so long. So, we adjusted a little with the babysitter so that Elias and I can have some alone time while Cheryle is here. I have really been enjoying it. I am learning a lot from him. Learning how to just accept him for who he is and letting go of my own agendas. It has been a challenge, but one from where growth all around has occurred.

Elias is such an amazing and funny little creature, too. He's been impersonating Dahlia's cry and her babbles quite a bit. I think he is really feeling the shift in her needs and how it is affecting the attention he receives. 2 1/2 is really so hard because they are always testing limits and sometimes I find him so aggravating, but getting upset only makes things worse. I have to stretch my patience and reframe the situation, remain calm and try to make a learning lesson out of everything. It is hard.

Elias is 2 1/2. What's going on with him? He wants to get into everything, he wants to do stuff he shouldn't. He's curious about what happens when he does stuff, like toothbrushes down the drain (one out, two more down). He likes to splash water and spit water from one cup to another. He likes to splash around in his pee on the floor. He likes to pat his sister on the head and squeeze her until she cries (sorry Dahlia).

We've been doing bath time lately, he and I. I'll fill the tub up and close the curtain (which is clear) and he'll splash and chat and tell me what he's doing. He'll ask me to hold things or ask me to put things into the tub. He'll ask me how things work or tell me about something he's thinking about. He'll tell me he's going to do something I've asked him not to and he'll tease me. There is often screaming because I won't let him do something dangerous (like jump up and down in the tub) or because I haven't done something right (like not put on his towel correctly following his bath). Here's one funny thing he did recently in the bath: he pulled his penis out of the tub, peed in measuring cup, and handed it to me to pour into the toilet. Silly. All in all, it's such a nice time together, and I love that little stink bomb. He's such an amazing little mind.