Thursday, January 22, 2015

Owen January Flotsam

Owen has somehow learned that every nail should have a hammer, and every hammer should have a nail.  There’s a nail sticking out of the wall above his changing table (from a picture that used to hang there until he grew big enough to always kick it off the wall while his diaper was being changed), and when he notices it he will ask for a hammer, I guess so that he can hammer the nail further into the wall.  Last night he was hiding behind the curtains in the living room and discovered a needle leftover from our Christmas tree, and he exclaimed, “A nail!” and promptly got out his toolkit to find his hammer, so that he could hammer the “nail” into the TV table.  Needless to say, this didn’t work.

He is bothered by shadows on his wall at night now.  There is one above a bookshelf and he will ask me, somewhat sheepishly, “Will the shadow get me?”  I say no, it is just decoration, and he seems appeased, except that ten minutes later when Sean is in the room he will ask him the same thing.

I asked Owen when I got in the car last night if he had fun at nursery school that morning and he replied, “Ummmm, no.”  And then wouldn’t elaborate.

He did get all excited a few days ago when I asked him about school, and said that Mary had dropped her juice SPLAT! on the ground.  (And each time he said it he would make the motion with his hand of something falling down hard.)  He likes a good dropping story, apparently.  He also said Mary cried and the teachers cleaned the juice up with paper towels.  It really is the most detailed account of school we’ve received from him.  Susan checked with the teacher on a whim when she was dropping him off yesterday and it was true!  Mary did indeed spill her juice.  I can only hope that Owen won’t tell the story to Mary herself.

We got Owen a Thomas the Train potty the other day to try to get him interested in the idea of doing his business on a toilet instead of in his diaper.  So far he is completely uninterested in it, other than to point excitedly at the Thomas pictures on the lid.  I need to come up with a way to make the concept appealing to him; how do oldest or only children get interested in the toilet?  I do not know.  He will ask us to change his diaper now, so he definitely knows when he is going.

I am working up to stopping Owen’s nursing, which he still does before bed and first thing in the morning.  He will be two and a half in February though, and it is time, even if he doesn’t think so.  My plan is to stop the evening nursing at the end of January, and then stop the morning nursing at the end of February.  I anticipate much drama, but am hoping I’m wrong.  When I think of not nursing him, I am fine with that; but when I think of him crying for it and me saying no, I waver a bit.  I had been waiting for him to self-wean, but I really don’t think that will ever happen.

We have a merry-go-round in our nearby mall, and Owen likes to ride on it.  I will stand next to his horse, and then each time we pass by Sean he will call out “Hi Daddy!  See you soon!”  He gets really excited while waiting for the ride to start, and his teeth will begin to chatter in anticipation.

Owen still eats hardly anything but pretzels and fruit.  Sigh.  But most nights if I ask him what he wants for dinner, he’ll answer with an enthusiastic, “Spaghetti!”  So often I will cook him some angel hair pasta and put on some butter and cheese, but he mostly only plays with it.  Tonight he asked for "Spaghetti!" and I had some leftovers so I took it out of the refrigerator in a clear tupperware, and when he saw it in there he started counting, "1-2-3...5 ghetties!"  And after requesting a fork, he actually ate several mouthfuls of angel hair with parmesan.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Plum Goes Dental

We are getting ready for Plum’s turn to go under the knife and get his horrendous teeth and gums cleaned up.  We did this for Posy two years ago, and have been putting off doing it for Plum for financial reasons.  But the vet shamed me the other day by calling Plum’s alleged pain “extreme,” and whereas I do still have issues with pet dentistry, I chose Plum to be my pet, he didn’t choose me, and I don’t want any pet in our household to be suffering.  (For the record, we haven’t noticed any suffering—he eats as vigorously and happily as he always has, and indeed has gained an (unneeded) pound in the past year).

The vet thought that some of his other behavioral issues though—spraying and bullying Posy—might stop when his mouth is no longer hurting, and that would be nice if we didn’t have to drug him daily.  We shall see!  Surgery is scheduled for next week and hopefully all we be well.  Except for a tendency to be over-alpha, he is really a nice, affectionate, busybody beastie.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Owen and Thomas

My father took this picture of Owen watching his beloved Thomas the Train at Martha’s house, and it is a scene that is repeated often in our own.  He seems to have gotten tired of Peppa Pig and is now Thomas all the time, with the occasional side order of Curious George.

I did start a new “limited TV” rule recently though, as what with the cold weather and all, he had started watching way too much of it.  I was clued in to this over-indulgence when several times Owen half woke up in the middle of the night and cried out, “More George!” and then rolled over and went back to sleep.  If you are sleep-talking demands for television shows, than hello!  We have a problem.

He also seems to have developed a crush on one of the female trains, "Emily," and will get all shy when she is on the screen.  He can tell you which train does which job, and also knows who is grumpy and who is nice and who is mean, etc.  There's an Owen on the show -- a quarry elevator, and he likes that.  There's also an Elizabeth on a few episodes -- a very old lorry!  Fitting....

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Still Looking

After sporting a long beard for over a year, Sean decided to begin the new year with a shave.  I hadn’t known he had planned to do this, and walked in from outside where Owen and I had been playing, and was very surprised.  Owen was even more so.  He stroked his own chin and stared at Sean from a distance and finally asked, “Where is Daddy’s beard?” (Although his version of “beard” is always more like “beet”….).  He was finally brave enough to approach this beardless father and inspect the smooth chin.

But now, when we ask Owen, “Where is Daddy’s beard?” he will respond, “Don’t worry, Daddy!  I find it!” and then sets off on a hunt that includes peeking under tables and behind chairs, etc.

No sign of it yet.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Holiday Cookies

Being of Norwegian descent on my father's side of the family, we indulge in platters of Christmas cookies during the holidays.  There are the Norwegian goodies -- sunkage, krumkage, etc. -- and then there are the fifteen or so other kinds that have been added to the mix.  In fact, our Christmas morning gift opening used to be interrupted halfway by a breakfast of cookies...until Meredith's husband joined the family and thought this was such an odd and unseemly tradition that we were shamed into adding real food to the breakfast, like an egg casserole and bread.  Bah humbug!

I used to enjoy bringing along a few kinds of cookies to the celebration, and would always make one or two old favorites and then try out new recipes.  Owen's arrival put a temporary hold on my holiday baking, however.  Until last January, he didn't sleep much, so I had no free evening hours to don my baking apparel.  This year, however, things were different!  Owen sleeps (knock on wood)!  So I tentatively stuck my toe back into the waters (perhaps not the right image to use while writing about baking), and made two new kinds of holiday cookies.

Martha's husband Gordy is a big fan of the chocolate and peanut butter flavor combination, as am I.  I wasn't really in the mood to make my usual peanut butter balls with chocolate hats, but was a bit worried I wouldn't be allowed into Gordy's house without a pb&c offering.  I thus ended up trying a recipe I saw on the Cup of Jo blog for peanut butter fudge with chocolate and sea salt.

Above is the fudge pre chocolate.  It turned out well, except there was one instruction that was unclear, where it said to bring to a boil for two minutes without stirring, and I wasn't sure if the two minutes included the bringing to a boil, or if the two minutes should have started once the boiling began.  But all was well after I used Sean's upper arm strength to do a lot of the stirring.  Then I added chocolate and sea salt and voila:

Delicious!  They were a hit at Martha's too.

The second recipe I tried was the winner of the Pillsbury baking contest this year, and I tried them because the recipe was so strange I was intrigued.  You cut a Pillsbury pie dough into tiny little squares and baked them for six minutes so that you had a cookie sheet of tiny crackers.  Then you added the "crackers" to melted white chocolate and peanut butter, and then also added cocktail peanuts (I added cocktail cashews) and toffee pieces, and then dropped rounded tablespoonfuls onto wax paper and let them solidify.  I don't have pictures, but they weren't a very photogenic cookie anyway.  I liked them. I'm not a big white chocolate fan, but it was a different taste all together, and a good variation to have on a cookie plate.  Huzzah!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pippa Middleton Pug

One of the highpoints of traveling to Massachusetts for Christmas this year was that we would get to see my sister's new 11-week old pug, Pippa Middleton.

Hello, Pippa!

Pippa Middleton is an absurdly small and absurdly cute little lady.  She's about the size of four sticks of butter, and is even currently a couple of pounds smaller than Posy!  As you can imagine, however, Pippa does not know -- or care -- that she is a pipsqueak.  She has a great personality and was completely unfazed that her new home and new family was overrun with ten additional people.

As puppies do, Pippa would go go go at full speed and then collapse into a heavy slumber.

She loved chasing her Uncle Sean around the kitchen island and attacking his feet.  And she loved sleeping on her Great Aunt Elsie:

Owen liked Pippa, although he quickly learned to avert his face when she came over to him.  Pippa is teething and those puppy teeth are needle-sharp!  Pippa would start tugging on Owen's trousers, and Owen, as he is wont to do, would start apologizing for the both of them:  "Sorry, Pippa!  Sorry, Owen!"

And then there was Dorothy!  Pippa thought she was great fun and did her best to try to engage Dorothy in some sort of playful activity, usually one that involved body slams or puppy teeth sunken into bulldogge hindquarters:

Dorothy was very good with Pippa on the whole.  Since she still has sore knees, we were trying to keep the playing to a minimum, or at least trying to manipulate it so that Pippa was the one who was moving around Dorothy, while Dorothy stayed relatively immobile.  Luckily, Pippa was happy to oblige:

And Dorothy was happy to teach Pippa some important things, such as how to chew on wrapping paper and discarded boxes:

And when things got too rowdy, Dorothy would remove herself to a bed, however small the beds in this household tended to be:

I am very glad to have a pug back in the family again!  And I look forward to the next time we meet Miss Middleton, when she will be perhaps bigger than a wind-up toy.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Massachusetts Christmas

We spent Christmas in Massachusetts this year at my sister, Martha's, house, and had a merry time.  I feel the need to state for the record that we had ZERO traffic on the way up on Tuesday and ZERO traffic on the way home on Saturday.  ZERO.  We didn't even have to slow down to get on the Mass Pike from 84, which is practically unheard of.  Owen was pretty good in the car, too -- not quite as phenomenal as he was driving down to North Carolina last year, but good on the whole.  He's not as excited by my car toys as he was when he was younger, so I'll have to keep looking for things to hold a 2 year-old's interest.  Apparently magnet boards and sticker books are not worth spending more than a collective minute on.

Here is Dorothy in the car riding shotgun next to her beloved pack leader:

And here is Owen in the car out of his carseat at a rest stop:

There was one incident at a rest stop on the way up, in which while I was in the restroom, Owen started calling out, "Help! Help! Help Owen!" causing a passerby to wonder if Owen was being abducted by Sean....

But we all enjoyed staying at Martha's very much, and Owen had a great time with his cousin Josie, especially, who at nine years old was very kind to Owen.  On the second day, he even took her hand and walked down the basement with her to play, giving me a cheerful, "Goodbye, Mommy!"

Owen loved playing with Josie's dollhouse, especially once he discovered it contained a tiny telephone:

Here is Owen with his Andersen cousins on Christmas Eve:

And here he is later on Christmas Eve enjoying his new toy sushi set from the Hunters:

And then in troll jammies opening a new book on Christmas day.  Thank you, Santa!:

And here he is eating strawberries for the first time (not because they haven't been offered to him.  They have.  But for some reason he decided to eat four big juicy berries while sitting on Martha's counter):

The trip was a success!