November 15th, 2011 – Great Expectations!

So, this week Mommy had her baby shower for Little Man’s soon to be arriving little sister and while we aren’t terribly sure what Jack thinks about all of this baby business, he has been dropping hints here and there. For example, Jack seems to understand that Mommy has a baby in her tummy. While he knows the sign for “baby”, which is making a rocking motion with one’s arms, whenever someone mentions a baby, he points to his tummy. I’m thinking this is due in large part to me pointing to my ever growing tummy when I talk about the baby.

One of the big suggestions all of the experts give is that expectant parents should encourage the older sibling to feel the baby move inside of Mommy’s tummy. Perhaps these experts are used to children with a higher threshold for patience because unless Lil Miss is moving at the exact moment that Jack is touching my tummy, he has no desire to leave his hand there when there are more pressing matters at hand, like taking a sip of juice. However, Little Man has felt the baby move and even responded to her little kicks and bumps. These moments usually occur when Jack is sitting in Mommy’s lap and we’re cuddling or reading a book. The occasional jab with hit Jack square in the back or the side and he’ll turn to look at my tummy. After a few of these jabs, Jack has even been known to push back, albeit gently.

Occasionally, as a family at the end of the day before bath and bed, we’ll hang out in Lil Miss’ room. It’s fully decked out with all of the appropriate furnishings and accessories. While in this room, we talk about Jack becoming a big brother and talk to him about where the baby will go when she is out of Mommy’s tummy. We also use this time to introduce a toy baby for Jack to handle. This is another big suggestion, giving the soon to be sibling a baby doll to practice with. This suggestion offers a positive experience, but also gives Mommy and Daddy a little bit of terrifying insight into the myriad of possibilities of things that Jack could do to his little sister. While Jack has the ability to super sweet and gentle with the little baby that he helped Mommy swaddle, he would also, on occasion, run off to the other room with her or attempt to snatch her out of Mommy’s hands. Fortunately, Little Man helps to offset too many worries with other moments where he gently places her in bed and tucks her in or cradles her softly and gives her kisses.

Mommy and Daddy are certain that Jack will be an amazing big brother. He has a huge heart and has been sharing with others long before that was something he was even supposed to know how to do developmentally. He’s always offering to help and at the ready to kiss boo-boos and give loves. Mommy and Daddy are also fully aware that Little Man doesn’t take to change very well, but we’re hopeful that since he seems to be emerging from his terrible twos without too many battle scars, this change won’t be one wrought with too many difficulties. The most important thing for Mommy and Daddy and that Little Man know that we love him more than words and no matter who else becomes a member of our loving family, that fact will never, ever change.


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November 8th, 2011 – The Last Day of Fall

Mommy and Daddy love Fall. In all honesty, we love any weather that isn’t extreme, although extreme snow is far prettier to look at than extreme heat. Unfortunately, this year, the Summer heat lasted all the way into October leaving what seemed to be a mere week of Fall to be enjoyed. Fortunately for Jack and Mommy, we were able to spend what would turn out to be the last day of Fall outside exploring together. . .

Just like his Daddy, Little Man adores the wilderness. That was one of the main reasons we chose our current home. The backyard is full of large mature trees and bushes that offer lots of nooks and crannies for little boys to explore. Some of Daddy’s fondest memories from childhood involving taking solo adventures into the woods behind his house and I imagine that in the eyes of a two year old, that’s exactly what parts of our back yard feels like.

Jack was so enthusiastic as we wondered around the branches and leaves. He would periodically grab a branch and begin to shake it to see if the leaves would come tumbling off. He picked up various leaves of varying colors and gingerly handed them to me for my inspection and explanation. Fortunately for Mommy, my limited knowledge of plant life at least allows me to explain some concepts, like leaves changing colors, to a toddler. Mommy has many strengths and a wide range of interesting facts and trivia that I can share, but when it comes to the natural world, Daddy will certainly bee the go to guy.

The look of utter joy and wonderment on Little Man’s face is the source of endless of happiness for Mommy. The way he lights up when he sees something that catches his eye is how Mommy feels when I see something beautiful, like a Christmas tree, or better yet, when I see him light up. Those moments are becoming even more invigorating for both of us as we’re able to put words and signs to things that interest him. Jack has recently picked up quite a number of signs for things that he enjoys talking about, like squirrels, dogs, and birds.

On this particular afternoon, as we were walking around, Jack exploring, me, doing my best to keep up and film what little portions I could, the air had only the hint of a nip. I remember thinking to myself that this was the perfect afternoon for just this type of activity and the only thing that would have made the afternoon complete was if Daddy could have joined us. However, Mommy must admit that while it’s awesome having Daddy around for as many moments as he can be, I feel insanely blessed to experience most of them. Time goes by so fast. Just as Fall passed us by in what seemed like the perfect afternoon outside, in the blink of an eye it seems as though Jack has turned from a baby into a little boy, longing for complete independence.

Seasons change and children grow up. I’m almost certain there are a millions songs that have been written about those very facts. When you’re a new parent, you can’t fathom how differently you will perceive life and the passage of time with a little one in your arms. You struggle to get enough sleep and despite how many times people say, “Enjoy every moment. It goes by so quickly,” you can’t help, but think that they’re being overly sentimental. Then, one day, you turn around and the one you used to carry with such great ease in the crook of your arm is climbing in and out of your refrigerator and dashing in and out of bushes as he attempts to track a squirrel.

As a mommy, my heart aches for the scent of milky peaches that I would inhale when I held my darling Jack as he napped in my arms, but those quiet moments of babyhood are replaced by perfect afternoons amongst the leaves. Before I know it, I’ll be aching for the little boy who would bring me fallen leaves and dandelions with a look of love and pride on his face because he adores giving gifts to his Mommy. If it were possible to top the passage of time, the changing of leaves, I’m a sure the first mother to cradle her child in her arms would have, but I’m comforted by the thought that the path that lay ahead is full of equally beautiful moments to cherish and eventually ache for. After all, I never could have imagined the exquisite splendor that would be found in a dewy Fall afternoon playing outside with my Jack and now that it has passed, I can’t imagine never having that moment. And again I say, I am so incredibly blessed.

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November 1st, 2011 – A Geektastic Halloween

Mommy and Daddy don’t shy away from the label of geek. In fact, Mommy and Daddy are quite proud of our geeky and dorky tendencies. These tendencies seem to have been passed on to our Little Man and of course, they color our holiday experiences.

Mommy and Daddy are very big on family traditions. Perhaps this love of tradition is reinforced by Jack’s desire for routine, but for the most part, we have always felt it important to build a strong foundation of activities and experiences that can be both anticipated and looked back on with fond memories. Some of these traditions were passed down to us from Mommy and Daddy’s parents and others are uniquely ours.

Mommy loves Halloween, but not the gross side of it – only the cute kid stuff and that’s the kind of stuff we want Jack to remember. It’s fun to get a little scare here and there, but when it comes down to it, we want all of the holidays to be fun and whimsical. So, those are the types of traditions we try to introduce. For example, Mommy and Daddy both remember watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown before Halloween. So, of course, part of our Halloween tradition is watching this cinematic holiday gem with Jack, which we did before we carved our pumpkin. Not only is this an easily repeated holiday tradition, but it helps us to introduce the idea of Halloween to our little guy in a kid friendly way. By the time Halloween was over, I think we watched this about ten times. Jack, appropriately enough, is a fan of pumpkins.

Carving a pumpkin, while not a unique Halloween tradition, it certainly is one of our favorites. This year, since he’s so much older and aware of the holiday, Jack designed the pumpkin entirely on his own and even cleaned it out! He was fascinated by all of the little tools that Daddy used and couldn’t wait to exclaim where he thought the pumpkin’s nose and eyes should go. Between the sliminess of the pumpkin insides squirming between his fingers and the joy that comes with holding the wedges of Jack-o-lanterns face, then tasting them, Jack had a full on Halloween sensory experience and we all loved every second of it.

Of course carving a pumpkin and watching a movie are just a few of our traditions. We have several others. A newer tradition appears to be a Halloween party at Nana and Grandad’s house. The past few years they have hosted one awesome party that is equally fun for adults and kiddos. While Mommy and Daddy didn’t dress in costume this year, Nana and Grandad certainly played the part as Morticia and Gomez Adams. Jack, who had been extremely excited about his Fire Chief outfit the night before, was reluctant to show it off at the party. Fortunately, Mommy is always thinking one step ahead and made sure Jack was wearing his Fire Chief t-shirt even if he wasn’t willing to wear his whole outfit. The highlights of the afternoon were Nana’s yummy sugar cookies, swinging at a ghost piñata, and swinging on the swing set.

This year, Halloween is super neat because there are so many more things that Jack understands and enjoys that he didn’t last year. The piñata at the party was just one such example. Jack, being Jack, certainly understands the concept of hitting one object with another. That is just one of those inherently ingrained toddler things. Not only did he enjoy hitting the piñata himself, with a little help from Grandad, but he loved watching the other kids take a whack at it. Other than Jack’s laughter and smile, the best part for Mommy was watching how great Jack was at sharing. While the older kids were scrounging for every toy and piece of candy that they could, all the while exclaiming, “That’s mine!”, Jack was picking up pieces of candy and giving them away because he wanted to help and to share. That’s just the sort of awesome little dude he is – a big sweetheart who wants to make sure everyone is happy. Mommy and Daddy were especially impressed considering he knew that candy was on the line and we all know how much Little Man loves his sweets.

A tradition that Oma passed down to Mommy is one of Jack’s favorite traditions – doughnuts for breakfast on Halloween! Mommy had Daddy pick up some doughnuts especially for the occasion and Daddy was certain to get Jack’s favorite, CHOCOLATE!

This, of course, was only the beginning of the sweets fest, but such is the life of a child on Halloween.

After dinner, the true Halloween festivities began. Little Man dressed in his Fire Chief garb and we headed out with Daddy to go visit Great Grandpa as our first Trick-or-Treating stop. When we arrived, Auntie Shayla and cousins Demeree and Jailynn were there with the same idea. When Jack saw Jailynn, he rushed up to her to give her a big hug. It was so sweet. Then, we all trotted up to the door together to surprise Great Grandpa. He was certainly happy to see his gaggle of not so ghoulish great grandkids. As usual quite appropriately enough, Fireman Jack was in a mad dash, as if to put out a fire, so the resulting photo is one of the child in motion.

Pretty soon, it was time for the three of us to be heading out for trick-or-treating. Since it was only 48 degrees out and Little Man is still trying to get over a cold, Mommy thought it would be best if we could keep our festivities in doors this year. So, as a result, when I heard that the Discovery Center was sponsoring an indoor, scientifically themed Halloween event and knowing that Little Man loves the Discovery Center, I knew that’s where we would be spending our evening.

Yes, yes, as Mommy mentioned before, we are a family of complete geeks and proud of it. Rather than spending the night out with other ghouls and goblins attempting to snag as much free candy as possible, we went to an interactive science center, that as it turns out, had very little candy and only about two pieces that were appropriate for a toddler to eat. But, Jack didn’t even seem to notice the lack of sweets as the moment he walked through the door, he was off with a huge smile on his face. At one point, he stopped running around, looked at me, and began to sign for bubbles. He wanted to know where his favorite bubble wall was. Jack just wanted to explore and Mommy and Daddy were more than happy to oblige.

From throwing marshmallows with Daddy to helping spotty dogs at the vet clinic, Jack had a great time. Jack even displayed some of his best sharing and turn taking behavior even amidst the craziness of awesome activities. Mommy was so proud when Jack was more than happy to share and take turns with a little girl and another little guy who were eager to try out an air blowing/ball activity center. The geektastic evening was a smashing success and while Little Man’s haul of candy was nothing short of sad, he didn’t seem to mind one bit. By the time we were all done, Jack had explored every inch of the science center. He was ready to munch on his smarties, which Mommy handed out one at a time, while we cruised around town looking at various Halloween displays before taking Jack home for a bath and bed.

Yes, holidays are an awesome part of life. It’s always exciting to indulge in out of the ordinary fun, especially when that fun is rooted in great family traditions. Mommy and Daddy have always prided ourselves in doing things that are uniquely appropriate for our family and our Halloween celebrations were certainly fit the description. As long as Jack had a blast, Mommy and Daddy are happy to explore new ways of celebrating holidays that emphasize alternate perspectives, activities, and fun. We are, after all, proud to be geeky dorks.



 

Quick Jack Facts

  • Jack has discovered the meaning of “yucky”. This is the first term that Little Man has grabbed onto and run with. Whenever he sees something that he things is dirty, gross, or just out of place, he exclaims, “Yuck” and shakes his hand at it in an attempt to make it go away. This can be incredibly cute, helpful, or vaguely insulting depending on the context.

     

  • Little Man has become a master of escape. He not only has managed to figure out how to unlock and open all of our house doors, but he has even mastered the baby proofing locks around the kitchen. At one point, Jack even opened the front door and began to walk outside to greet Daddy. So, to protect Little Man from his own adventurous nature and to give Mommy and Daddy some peace of mind, Daddy installed latches at the tops of the doors that Jack can’t reach.

     

     

 

 

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October 25th, 2011 – A Furry Entourage

In recent weeks Jack has become obsessed with our extensive furry family. He often refuses to go anywhere in the house without his little entourage. From time to time he’ll even beckon one of the pups into his playroom where he’ll shut the door behind him and the only sounds that can be heard are of that of crashing toys and laughter. Once the energy of one dog is spent, Jack will swap out the spent dog for a fully energized one and the games will begin yet again. The dogs don’t seem to mind because they’re happy to eat up any of the many crumbs that seem to follow Jack wherever he goes.

While all the dogs seem to be equally adored and throttled, when asked which dog is his favorite, he runs over to Pippi, hugs her, and kisses her on the nose. Of course his favorite would be Daddy’s least.

The other day, before Jack’s nap, the puppies were all laying in the sun in the dining room. Mommy told Jack that in a few minutes we would be going downstairs for a nap. Of course his response was to shake his head “no”, but then he laid down on the ground with the dogs in the sun and pretended to go to sleep. I asked him if he was going to take his nap there and he replied with nodding his head “yes” and laughing. He is certainly a goofy little kid, but so much fun.

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October 18th, 2011 – Hello Biscuit and Happy Birthday Oma!

This week we celebrated the birth of a matriarch, the visit of an older matriarch, and the arrival of a new friend. In other words, it was Oma’s birthday, Great Grandma came to visit from Kansas, and Jack has a new pony, albeit stuffed and supported by springs. None the less, the events have been exciting and worth celebrating.

Over the weekend, we headed out to Oma’s house to wish her a very happy birthday and to visit with Great Grandma who was in town for a few days visiting. While we were there, Little Man showed off his stair climbing skills, the child is completely fearless, as well as his desire to be completely independent. When it was time to eat, he wanted to sit by himself up at the counter with minimal help. Asserting his independence is certainly a growing trend with Little Man. However, he’s never too independent for a hug and a kiss from the ones he loves. I have a feeling that won’t ever change because he’s just that kind of a kid.

 


While we were out visiting Oma, we picked up a toy that used to belong to Cousin Carson. While he has outgrown this particular toy, it is the perfect size for Jack. A large stuffed pony suspended in a frame by springs is just the sort of fun sensory toy that we’ve been looking for and it appears to be a hit. Jack has even gone so far as to name his new friend. While Mommy and Daddy were in Jack’s playroom with him we were asking him what the pony’s name should be. Daddy listed off a few options and Jack just shook his head “no”. Then Daddy said “Biscuit” and Little Man smiled wide and shook his head vigerously “yes”. And that is how this little pony became to be known as Biscuit.

 

 
 

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October 11th, 2011 – Fearless and Fun

This has been a wild and fun week! To kick the week off, we met with Jack’s transition team to begin the process of getting him ready for his early developmental preschool. Once Jack turns three, he’ll be graduating from his in home speech therapy sessions to attending a special preschool class that is designed to give Jack the support he needs to be on the same track as the rest of the kids for when he starts kindergarten. Don’t even get Mommy started on how odd it is to already be thinking about Jack starting school since it still seems like he was born only yesterday.

Despite Mommy and Daddy being slightly uncomfortable with how quickly time is passing, we are very excited about this new program. Instead of being part of a classroom that has typical educators or even babysitters, like we had imagined when heard “preschool”, this class will be staffed with early education specialists along with speech, occupational, and developmental therapists to ensure each child is engaged in ways that will be most beneficial. Not to mention, Jack will have a great deal of exposure to other kids his age with whom he can socialize. If Jack’s activity level in the classroom where the meeting was held is any indication of his success and enjoyment in the program, Mommy and Daddy are especially thrilled.

The therapists in attendance were extremely impressed with how well behaved Jack was, how social, communicative, and intelligent. In fact, their impressions of Jack were in line with what Dr. Big Wig had said, Jack is just a rare case of a normal little boy who isn’t talking yet. They even added that given their experience with children on the spectrum and what they had observed of Jack, there’s no indication that he is close to being on the spectrum. While this is the same information Dr. Big Wig had given us, it’s always nice as a parent to have additional reassurances from professionals who work with children day in and day out and don’t just observe them in office visits. To conclude our visit, Jack was rewarded with a ride in a wagon from the classroom out to the main lobby. He was ecstatic and we were happy to see him so happy. It was a great way to begin our week with Jack.

All of the fun that was had this week however, began on Friday with a playdate at Kiera’s house. Kiera and JaNae had invited us over for lunch and some playtime. So, after dropping Daddy off at work, Mommy and Jack drove began our special day together. Jack was a little upset after we dropped Daddy off though because Yogi went to work him and that made him rather upset. But, the cries quickly quelled when Mommy took Jack to “get the car breakfast”, also known as getting gas, and then we headed off to get some breakfast for ourselves at McDonalds. This isn’t a common occurrence for us, but Mommy thought some “p cakes” would be a nice way to start the morning before heading off for our playdate. Sure enough, they were a hit with Jack who ate all three! He is definitely a growing boy.

When we arrived at Kiera’s house, Jack was all about jumping right in and playing. From playing with Little People to shopping for groceries, even working with tools and cars, Jack and Kiera had a great time pretending together. At one point Kiera exclaimed, “Jack wants to be a prince! He should have a cape!” This was entirely too cute, but unfortunately for Kiera, there was no way Jack was going to give up his fire truck jacket to tie a blanket around his neck. But it was a blast to hang out and play even if Jack didn’t fit the mold for Prince Charming in this particular Friday.

Friday evening, Mommy and Daddy ordered pizza for dinner and the weather was so nice we played outside. Jack began completely enthralled with the next door neighbor and his “Benji dog”. Jack would throw a stick over the fence and the little terrier would chase after it and run around in circles like he had won a prize. Jack thought this show was all for him, so of course he smiled and laughed with great glee. He especially liked it when the neighbor would hold onto a larger stick and the dog would latch on, being lifted high up into the air. However, before long, it was time to wind down and head downstairs. We went through our usual nighttime routine and Mommy must say that it was a fabulous Friday spent with my favorite little guy.

If Friday was low key fun, Saturday was amped up, going all over the place, but having a blast fun. We had a lot of errands to run on Saturday in addition to a birthday part to attend. So, we were up and at ‘em pretty early. It certainly helped that Jack has been in the habit of rousing at 5:45 AM to 6:00 AM each morning. So, we were out of the house by 9:00 with no issues. Our first stop was out to see Aunt Ali. She’s in the process of moving and had a bunch of toys she wanted to give Jack. So, we left Little Man with Oma and Papa while we searched through the piles to find some truly stellar gems. There were a few things, like a little ride on fire truck that Jack can enjoy now, and few other items that we’re going to hang on to, to disperse either to Lil Miss to give Jack when he needs an infusion of new toys. Once we were done with all of that we had to head out to get his cousin Jailynn her birthday present. Finally, we made a pit stop at Toys R Us so Jack could pick out a toddler bed.

As Jack gets bigger and Mommy’s tummy gets bigger, it’s becoming less and less easy to get him down for naps or for the night on my own. So, it has become clear that before Lil Miss arrives, we’re going to need to have Jack transitioned to a toddler bed. This is going to be rather difficult considering, like his Mommy, jack doesn’t take to change very well. With all of this in mind, we know this will be quite the process and one we should start now. Our thinking is that rather than utilize the transition option on Jack’s bed, like we attempted previously, it would be wiser to have a separate bed that we have in his room that he can get used to having around and perhaps his familiarity with the bed will make him more willing to sleep in it. This is what we’re hoping anyhow. The first step was picking out a bed.

Little Man picked out a red Cars 2 Lightening McQueen bed. He initially picked out the $350 car bed with rotating wheels, but we had to explain to him, that once the smaller bed works out, then we can talk about trading in one car for another, but you can’t start out with a Ferrari right out of driving school. How much of that he understood, we don’t know, but those are the breaks. The toddler bed experience would come Sunday. . .

After rising from his nap, we had planned on jumping right in the car to meet Aunt Shayla, Uncle Shaun, and cousin Jailynn at an indoor bounce house place for Jailynn’s party. Little Man was in a bit of a mood, so we weren’t sure how successful the bounce house experience would be, but we were open minded. Boy oh boy, once he got past the initial in trepidation, Jack was all about leaving us behind and climbing ladders and sliding down slides like a pro. There was no stopping that little boy. From bouncing around to sliding down slides head first, Jack had no fear. There were even a couple of times where he tumbled or was knocked down, but when asked by us or another little kid if he was ok, he would nod his head smile from ear to ear. Fortunately, we were able to film most of the day, but non blurry photos were a little more difficult to capture because Jack was just moving so fast. It completely warmed Mommy’s heart to see my little adventurer having so much fun. Aunt Shayla and Daddy even got in on the fun.

Following all of the face first fun, we headed over to Aunt Shayla’s house for dinner and ice cream cake. Jack was so worn out from all of his bouncing house experiences that he was content to sit and play with a pile of Legos until it was time to eat. And eat he did! The boy goes through phases of what he will and will not eat. As of lately he’s been in a peanut butter and honey phase, but upon casting his gaze on some freshly grilled hotdogs, that phase quickly ended. While we were there, Little Man ate THREE hotdogs! He was a hungry little dude. Then, he followed that up with a nice piece of ice cream cake, which of course he couldn’t turn down. He even went so far as to try to lick the plate. Jack certainly knows what he likes. Needless to say, after our fun filled day, he was ready to pass out when we got home and pass out he did.

While Sunday we mainly hung out at home and relaxed, the past few days have been crazy busy. Monday was mainly spent running around after Jack while we played with his new toys, but today was super crazy. Not only did Little Man spend the morning with Grandad and Nana like most Tuesdays while Mommy set out for class, but because Mommy and Daddy were taking a tour of the hospital where his little sister will be born, Jack was spending the evening with them as well.

Mommy and Daddy are always surprised when Little Man takes separation from us in such stride. Perhaps it’s because our heart strings are tugged a little whenever we have to leave him, but regardless, he’s happy to just hang out with his favorite people. Whether that’s Nana, Grandad, or Oma, as long as he’s having a good time, he’s practically shoving us out the door. Yes, our fearless and fun little guy is happy to abandon us for YouTube videos of kitties doing silly things and I guess that’s just part of growing up. Heaven knows we must be doing something right if Jack is so ready to take on the world. Thankfully, he’s still happy to see us when we come back and more than willing to seek out hugs and kisses.

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October 4th, 2011 – If You’re Happy and You Know It. . .

This week we welcomed the beginning of Fall, not with the 101 degree temperatures which marked the official start of Fall, but rather with the decorating of our home for Halloween and cooler weather. Mommy loves Fall and I love Fall decorations. So, it’s only natural to love sharing something so awesome with someone so dear as our little Jack. In fact, one of the best things about being a parent is being able to share the best things in life with those you love most. So, it should be no surprise that in addition to sharing the fun of Fall decorations with Little Man this week, there were a great many discoveries shared.

Mommy knows how important it is to let children explore, especially Jack. Little Man is certainly like his Daddy and upon hearing some of the stories from Daddy’s childhood, Mommy has made it a priority to ensure that every creative and exploratory ambition Jack has are supported as much as possible. The last thing I ever want is for Jack to feel discouraged or weird for pursuing his interests. However, this sometimes comes at the cost of indulging in less than thrilling activities for Mommy, but hey, that’s a small price to pay.

For example, rather than discouraging Jack from playing in the sink and getting upset every twenty minutes when he pushes a kitchen chair over to the sink over and over again testing both of our limits, I turn what could be an annoying situation into an opportunity to allow Jack a period of playful discovery. So, for a few minutes in the afternoon, while Mommy is working in the kitchen, Jack is allowed to play in the sink. Some days we have a sink full of bubbles and other days there are dishes for Jack to “clean”. Occasionally he just experiments with different containers and how they fill with water. The other day we were playing with the idea of colors. I filled the sink with water and bubbles, then I mixed in drops of various food coloring colors. We swirled them around and mixed them up to see what we got. It was a lot of fun and while Jack can’t quite express what he’s learning in our moments of playful discovery, I know there are a lot of fun connections being made in that big brain of his.

Playing with water and bubbles is just one of the sensory activities we do together. Another favorite is playing with Play Doh. Since discovering the awesome material at Nana’s house, Jack loves to get his hands on the stuff. . . He really loves to get his nose on the stuff too.

Of course, not all of our “discovery” activities necessarily involve learning tools beyond a box and a camera. Just like his Daddy and Grandad, Little Man loves to take pictures when given the opportunity. He also loves to boss people and animals around. So, it was inevitable the awesome pictures would arise from the combination of Jack + Dogs + Box + Camera.

Jack was quite confused when only Yogi was willing to be put in the box. Then he was slightly indignant when Yogi decided he had had enough of box time. The real hilarity was when he attempted to push Ripley into the box. There are some things you can force a dog to do and there are some things you can explain to a toddler. This situation was one in which neither was possible to the satisfaction of either parties.

The great thing about a toddler with a curious mind is that he’s far more open to new concepts and ideas. So, over the past few months as my tummy has been growing and Mommy and Daddy have been talking about a new baby arriving and Jack becoming a big brother, it has been our hope that we’ve been planting the seeds of curiosity without overwhelming our Little Man. The evidence that these seeds are starting to take root showed itself this week when Jack was playing with a little flashlight. He lifted up my shirt and began to shine the light on my tummy. I asked Jack if he was looking for the baby in my tummy and he just smiled and nodded his head yes. It was so cute and one of those moments that you couldn’t even begin to imagine until it happens. Jack still hasn’t felt his little sister bounce around yet, but I’m sure that will happen soon enough and Mommy can only imagine what expression he will have on his face then.

Of course, Jack isn’t the only one who has been making discoveries. Just like with the flashlight, Mommy and Daddy are constantly surprised by our little guy. This was certainly the case when Jack had his most recent speech evaluation this week. With Little Man’s transition to preschool meeting next week, it was important that we have an up to date evaluation of where Jack is. It was during the course of this evaluation and the fairly complex questions his therapist was asking him that Mommy and Daddy became aware of just how much Jack has improved since we began this journey back in March. From sitting quietly when he was asked to following multiple step instructions and answering awkwardly phrased requests, Jack surprised us all.

Outside of Jack’s evaluation, Mommy and Jack have started singing more songs together, which has also been the source of great discoveries. Jack has already been a fan of “The Wheels on the Bus”, but this week we introduced “If You’re Happy and You Know It” to the mix. Surprisingly, Jack is willing to not only mimic all of the requests of the song, but he also knows all the parts for smiling and pointing out his smile. From patting his head, stomping his feet, blowing kisses, giving hugs, to even saying “Mama” or “Dada” on request, Jack is a happy little boy ready to show the world just how happy and talented he is. Mommy and Daddy love these little moments and unearthing this heartwarming discoveries. Each day, as Jack grows, our understanding of him grows a little more and that is the greatest gift of all. Well, that and his wonderful hugs and kisses.

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