Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Ethan first: He put away the silverware.

Before putting away the last utensil, he was placing more pieces than not into the right place (although I didn’t show him how to differentiate fork sizes). Ethan’s quick learning is coming in helpful. Not counting the five minutes of training and quality control, he probably saved me a good two minutes of sorting.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Another Ethan first: He enjoyed a latte.

(No, he didn’t get to drink the whole glass.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Another two Ethan firsts: He threw snow in the river, and he exceeded Daddy’s attention span.

Between backyard toboggan runs, I pulled Ethan down to the river, where we sat on the bank and threw snow into the water. The top layer of snow was crusty from several days of below-freezing weather, yet the lower layers still packed into snow balls. Ethan watched the snow chunks and snow balls snow turn from pure white to dull gray the moment they plunged beneath the surface.

The river was about half iced over and left only a couple-foot gap between the ice sheet and the bank where we sat. Straw-colored prairie grass protruding into the narrow channel of flowing water did its best to snag the floating snow as it tried to pass by. Ethan saw many of the pieces get stuck, but the little chucks snuck through, and the huge pieces plowed through the log jams.

In the past, an activity like this would hold Ethan attention for a few seconds or maybe minutes. But out here, comfortably bundled and with few other distractions (the ducks had left), Ethan seemed like he could have stayed for hours. Daddy, though, was good for about half an hour, as we tried a few different spots along the river bank, before I was ready to go back to sledding. Ethan loves sledding, so it was an easy sell.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Ethan first: He wiped his nose.

Ethan has a cold, complete with a nose that runs almost has much as he does. He’s learned to cope with it well. Today, between playing with various toys, he walked over to the end table with the tissue box, pulled out a tissue, and wiped his nose.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Ethan first: He balanced a fork on his wrist.

I sometimes wonder about the timing of his inspiration. Did he have to get the idea while eating French toast? I suppose he was using the syrup to his advantage.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Another Ethan first: He asked for his blanket.

One of our favorite events of the evening is slipping into Ethan’s bedroom after he’s fast asleep to check on him and put his blankets on. Ethan has always been too wormy at bedtime to be blanketed—until tonight that is. Just before lying down, he motioned for his blankets. I told him that he’d have to lie still for them to stay on, and he did.

Blankets already on or no, we still slipped into his room later on.

Another Ethan first: He helped build a snowman.

Our first big snow of the season packed very nicely, a perfect opportunity to build a snowman. Ethan caught on quickly to rolling a snowball, although it wasn’t long before the balls were too big for him to roll. After all, he’s not much taller than the big ball at the base of the snowman (which was all that remained for the picture after the big storm).

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Another Ethan first: He shook off his yogurt drips.

As Ethan was enjoying his yogurt, he noticed some dripping from the spoon. He shook the spoon until the drip came free and landed cleanly back in the container. This surprised us, since Ethan gleefully makes a mess with other foods.

Another Ethan first: He climbed onto our bed.

Ethan loves flopping around on our bed, but since it sits up fairly high, he’s needed our help to get on it. He did learn a while ago to lower himself to the point where he could safely plop down to the floor. Today, using the wood rail as a step stool and with a good grip on the bed spread, and pulled himself up to where he could play around.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Creative Ways to Eat Veggies

Ethan always had a reputation of  loving his veggies.  But now that he is older and wiser, he is realizing that those green beans, peas, and carrots just can’t compete with all the other yummy foods available (he loves avocado, but that doesn’t count as a veggie, technically). Mommy has had to get creative in order to get her little boy to eat a healthy diet. Here are some techniques that have met Ethan’s approval:

  1. Place the 1 cm long green bean piece upright on the table and make a sucking sound (like the dentist tool). Ethan will then put his head down, suck the green bean right up, and giggle.
  2. Cut the green bean up in 1 cm pieces and stick one on a prong of the fork.  Make the fork “walk” towards Ethan and say “mmmm… one green bean fork”.   Ethan will then grab the fork, make it walk, and then gleefully put it in his mouth and eat off the green bean.  After many successful attempts, then try “two green bean fork”.
  3. Swoosh a green bean piece in some wild berry balsamic vinegar.  Delicious!
  4. Put a pea on a spoon and add rolled oats with it.  Ethan loves rolled oats!  Add some yogurt in the mix for extra flavor.
  5. Put a raison or better yet, a tiny piece of banana on the prong of the fork along with the green bean. Yummy!
  6. Green beans on a fork with a piece of cheese, of course. ;-)

Written by Beth

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Ethan first: He volunteered to put away Daddy’s shoes.

Whether it was slovenly of me to leave my shoes in the dinette, even though I would be going back outside a couple hours later, is a matter of opinion. Either way, Ethan clearly knew where the shoes really belonged. While I was cleaning the kitchen after dinner, I turned around to see Ethan, entirely on his own initiative, carrying my shoes and putting them in the closet.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Little Buoy’s First Hair Cut

That cute little curl at the knap of the neck.  How long do I let it get before it is time to cut?  Daddy kept saying that it was getting too long. “But once it’s cut, it’s cut, and then he officially becomes a little boy.  Hmmmm…. maybe it’s not too long… yet.   Maybe just another week.  Okay, let’s wait until he’s 18 months.  Well, now that he’s 18 months, it really isn’t that bad.  It has hardly grown since two weeks before when we were considering.  It’s really not time.  His hair is thin, and that extra curl adds a little more volume at the bottom.   And, if we cut it, it might not be long enough of a piece to save.  We need a nice piece for the baby book. ”  When he turned 18 months, I looked long and hard at his curl and decided I just wasn’t ready yet.  But, a week later, as I was looking at him from the back, that curl was definitely starting to uncurl because it was getting longer and heavier.  It was time.  I put him in the high chair, gave him some kitchen utensils that I normally don’t let him play, and cut that little curl.  No tears from Mommy!  Whew.   Okay, that wasn’t so bad, and I have the little curl that I plan to keep forever.  But, now his hair is not quite even.  Okay, cut a little more.  Oh-oh, is that too short?  Just straighten it out.  Okay, there.  Good.  Ethan’s first hair cut.

As the day went on, I felt bad that I had maybe cut his hair too short, but I figured it would grow back  fast.  The most disappointing thing was that after all that trauma for Mommy, it took Daddy about two days to notice.

Written by Beth

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Another Ethan first: He slid himself down a waterslide.

Ethan and his cousins on my side of the family visited an indoor waterpark today. I sent Ethan down the big and little kiddie waterslides. He had a mixed reaction to them: he enjoyed the thrill but was less than keen about being submerged at the end. After the second one I got the impression he was done, so he played elsewhere.

About a half hour later, he was walked over to the stairs that led to the slide. I played the role of human handrail while he climbed up, walked to the slide, stepped in, and sat down. He couldn’t get the scooch working, so I had to push him ahead a few inches. Then the gravity and the water flow took over and away he went! He still looked disconcerted from the plunge when my brother lifted him out, but it just goes to show there is no separating Ethan from his slides.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Charades every day

I wonder if all toddlers feel like they are sitting non-stop in a dentist chair for about two years of their life: they can hear and understand, but never get to say anything. With Ethan, what has been so fun is watching him find ways to communicate. Sometimes, just pointing is enough, like when we saw a couple deer prance across the river today at dusk.

Or it can be more complex, like when we went back inside and Ethan asked to go into his high chair, even though we’d already eaten. He motioned towards a candle on the dining room table, and I acknowledged that it was indeed a candle. Not satisfied, Ethan motioned that he wanted out of his high chair, then led me over to where the matches are stored and pointed up. Finally, I understood, knowing how much he likes seeing the candle lit and blowing out the match. I told Ethan we were done with the candle for tonight but would light it again tomorrow for dinner.

What comes next is a priceless window into the heart. Ethan makes these subtle movements, mostly little shakes of the head, as he processes the information to understand it, then tries to come to grips with the reality of not getting what he wants. Sometimes it’s too much for a little boy, and cries and even tears ensue, but tonight, contentment won out: he covered his face, which told me he wanted to run around the house playing hide and chase. That request I honored, and away we went.

Afterwards it was time for sleepy sleepy now. Once in the crib, Ethan motioned that he wanted to be held by the window to get a better look outside. Ethan isn’t used to how dark it’s getting at bedtime. After I held him and then put him back in the crib, Ethan was troubled by what he heard. I had wound up his bear-on-a-hammock music box, and he had turned on his musical toy fish tank hanging on the crib. He was used to sometimes hearing sound from these two sources at once, but as he motioned towards the door, I realized he didn’t like how the classical music from the iPod dock downstairs was loud enough to be competing with the sounds in his room. At this point I felt blessed at how good of an understanding he has for language. I told him I’d take care of the music and he should just lie down with his bun and go to sleep. Right away, Ethan lied down, sucka came, and I waved good night on my way to turn down the music.

Mommy is blessed by Ethan’s communication, too. Soon she will get to come home from orchestra rehearsal to a well rested, sleeping little boy.

Another Ethan first: He de- and re-alphabetized the fridge.

Ethan has a Leapfrog toy that says the names and sounds of letters that are placed into the unit. Ethan enjoys hearing those and the alphabet song, too. He also likes taking the letters off the fridge and distributing them randomly or in selected locations in the kitchen. As part of trying to teach Ethan to pick up his toys, I’ve been encouraging him to put the letters back. It’s been slow going, achieving just a few letters one at a time before surrendering to lure of Ethan’s distraction of the moment.

Today, however, Ethan was in a mood for a mission. He wanted to remove letters he couldn’t reach. They were there intentionally, but I decided to risk the potential for a disaster area and got him a bench to act as a step stool. Soon the letters were everywhere. A bit later, after a couple false starts, I told Ethan he was going to put all the letters back on the fridge, and away he went! In a few minutes, 23 letters from near and far were back where they belong, a good job worthy of accolades and yummy puffs. (B and J were already on the fridge holding the list of non-toxic and ocean-friendly fish; A seems to be on sabbatical at the moment.)

(I didn’t anticipate the effort required to take the picture. The Heisenberg Curiosity Principle has set in: the act of observing a subject with a camera changes the state of the subject being observed—because the subject finds the camera so fascinating.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The crib is the toy chest; return of the flying buns

Tonight Ethan got it in his head to throw every toy he could find into his crib. He’s at the height where his extended arm reaches just above the top of the lowered side rail. The result was the highest velocity throws that I’ve seen from him. The position of the rail forced him to fully extend his arm and release at the apex of his motion. We’ll dig out all the toys that shot against the wall and dropped below the crib later.

Once he was in the crib, he began unloading. Everything went flying, even the buns, which had stopped going overboard a couple months ago (they started flying almost a year ago). There was one exception, however: Ethan made the motion to throw his favorite stuffed companion, Big Blanky Bun, but never let go.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another Ethan first: He greeted himself.

Ethan saw himself in the mirror and said “hi” to himself.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Ethan first: He blew out a match.

Ethan knows the difference between hot and warm. After the match is out, he says “Ahhh” as he enjoys the warmth of the dining table candles.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Another Ethan first: He walked up the stairs hands free.

Ethan has walking up and down stairs while holding spindles or a hand for some time, but this wide stairway was the perfect one to walk up right down the middle. Ethan didn’t have the same confidence for going down, however; he crawled instead. Then at the bottom he walked back up one step and turned around to practice walking down “one step at a time”—a fine approach from our perspective.

Another Ethan first: He ate with a fork.

Apparently, oranges and green beans taste better to Ethan if he eats them like we do: take fork, stab orange (and only the orange), and insert into mouth.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another Ethan first: He played the belly drum.

Ethan found it so amusing to make percussion sounds on his own belly that after a while by himself, he took my hand it put it towards his belly, asking me to join the band. Typical for boys Ethan’s age, he has a little extra padding on his belly, which I found good for making a nice variety of sounds.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Another Ethan first: He made a super silly face.

Ethan has been growing increasingly playful and expressive, which he took to next level when he made a super silly face like this. He knows how to put it to good use, too: If he’s sitting on my lap while I’m talking to someone and he wants my attention, he knows he can turn around, put his mug smack in front of mine, and give me the face. He certainly gets my attention, and while someday it might seem like a rude interruption, for now it’s just cuteness and comedy.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fearless Fountain

Ever since Ethan was little and has been taking baths in the regular bath, we purchased a protector that goes over the spout so that if he stands up, he won't bump his head. It is not only a proctor, but it also causes the water to flow out like a fountain.

Ethan has always been timid around this fountain. In addition the noise of the water coming out was loud, the normal loudness from turning on the water. He would once in awhile touch the flowing water with his outstretched hand, only to find that it diverts the water and causes it to spray in various directions. Thus, he tended to avoid fountain whenever it was turned on.

Today during bath time, Ethan was happily playing with his bath basketball toy. After making a basket, the ball would float down and go underneath the fountain. He wanted the ball so bad that he decided to brave the fountain. He very cautiously inched his way forward, went to the side of it, and reached down to get the ball. As his body got splashed by the fountain, he realized it wasn't so bad. The next time the ball went down under the fountain, he decided to go straight through the fountain, head first. He closed his eyes, water went on his head, but he kept going. He realized that as soon as he passed the water barrier, he could open his eyes and the water was no longer splashing him on the head, but on the back.

He must have liked the feeling of the water splashing on his back, because he then decided to stand up and put his entire back against the fountain. He got a full body back wash. He stood there for about 30 seconds, smiling. He did this repeatedly. I was so proud of him for overcoming his fear of the fountain and happy at his new discovery of enjoyment.

posted by Beth

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ethan used his hand to guide my hand to aid his other hand

On a wall shelf in Ethan’s room is a lovely, old music box that Beth had from when she was little. It is a porcelain sculpture of a bear lying on a hammock. Each night at bedtime I take it by Ethan in the crib and wind it up. It plays “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” (Ethan doesn’t know the difference). After seeing me wind it a few nights, Ethan decided he wanted to wind it, too. The spring had been too tight for him to wind it on his own, so I have to help. Tonight, however, I decided not to help and instead see how he’d do completely on his own.

Ethan had other ideas: after a brief attempt at winding with his right hand, he reached with his left hand to take my hand and place it over his right hand. Even though he doesn’t know may words, he knows in his own gentle and wonderfully cute way how to ask for help.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ethan's Oh-Ohhhs

Ethan has come to the appreciation of order, and he has made it a habit all by himself to point out to something that might be not quite what he is expecting. We think it probably started with whenever food would fall on the floor from his high chair, and we must have said "Oh-ohhh" just out of habit. Ethan quickly caught on. Today we noticed Ethan doing this when Grandma and I were walking to our car from the mall, strolling Ethan. As we were walking, Ethan noticed some litter on the road about 20 feet away. He pointed to it and said, "Oh-ohhh!" About a week later, Daddy had on a painting shirt (we have been staining our deck), and when Ethan saw all the dried spots on Daddy's shirt, he knew something wasn't normal and said, "Oh-ohhh!"

There are many more "oh-ohhh" examples that have occurred, but too many to list. It is amazing to see how Ethan has realized that this world is not perfect, and we are thankful that he can recognize the "oh-ohhs". Often, it is quite funny what he considers an "oh-ohh".

posted by Beth

Monday, August 31, 2009

Ethan's words

Here are Ethan's first words:

  • Momma
  • Dadda
  • Zee (see) he is usually pointing to something
  • Dis (this)
  • Hi (he says this when he's holding a play phone)
  • Bah (Boo)
  • Uh oh (when something falls)
  • sssss (for wee wee)

He also makes these animal sounds:

  • tweet
  • woof
  • quack
  • moo

Ethan also has learned to shake his head no. It is so cute, because he does it rapidly. Sometimes, he just shakes no, even though he could mean yes.

~ posted by Beth

Ethan’s musical tastes

Today I came home to a free concert that Beth and her friend Erin were putting on for the neighbors. That is to say, they were practicing their violin duets on the deck out back. They are excellent musicians, so I couldn’t resist juxtaposing the end of “Ode to Joy” with a few bars of my ending on the harmonica, which I picked up a few weeks ago. Beth, being such a good sport, not only didn’t complain, but asked me to play a song for Erin.

At the end, we heard a distant clapping sound. It was Ethan, standing in his crib where he had recently been put down for a nap, looking out his upstairs window and applauding. I’m sure he must like the classics on violin, but it was “Skip to My Lou” on harmonica that garnered his accolades.

Some good news came a few minutes later, when he finally did applaud for the string duet. More good news followed in a few more minutes, when the fine melodies finally soothed him to sleep.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another Ethan first: He played hide and seek.

I would call this the non-competitive version: no counting to ten, just take turns running and hiding behind something until you’re discovered. We were at Grandma’s house, the same house where Beth grew up, with some of the same toys (including the Fisher-Price Movie Viewer). These pictures remind me of ones of her when she was Ethan’s age.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another Ethan first: He drank through a straw.

A couple years ago at the County Fair, Beth introduced me to a coffee and chocolate ice cream drink called a Frappe. I became an instant fan. Today, I introduced Ethan to the drink, and he too really liked it. I got the Frappe to go in a plastic cup with a lid, which meant he also got his first taste of drinking through a straw. I didn’t know whether he’d figure out the suction, but I soon saw the liquid moving up the straw followed by evidence on his lips. He only had a sip, and fortunately, he was content with that; coffee and ice cream aren’t exactly on Ethan’s recommended menu.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another Ethan first: He picked out his pajamas.

A few days ago, when I was holding Ethan and getting him pajamas from the chifforobe, he motioned toward the hanger and made his characteristic sound of wanting something. I wondered what he had in mind, but didn’t pursue the matter at the time. However, this evening when he did the same thing, I set him down and asked him what he wanted. He stepped into the chifforobe and, reaching about about five garments deep, pulled out his red one-piece animal pajamas. I don’t think he’d warn since before summer, but they were definitely what he wanted, so he’s got them on now.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Another Ethan first: He helped me find him.

Ethan still likes playing peek-a-boo. He covers his eyes, and I pretend I can’t find him. Then he uncovers, and I still tend to look around for a while before I discover that he’s visible again. He really likes that second part, and now he’s become part of the act. Taking the idea from when I’d make a sound to help him find me during chase and hide, today, he started making little sounds during peek-a-boo to cue me in to his revealed presence.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another Ethan first: He helped edge the driveway.

His part was to rake a pile of the grass remnants into a more compact pile. He also helped unload the wheelbarrow for a few seconds before I told him not to. Then we worked on refilling the wheelbarrow.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Another Ethan first: He hid around a corner.

Ethan loves to chase and be chased, and he is particularly amused when he chases me around  a corner where I pop out to surprise him. Today, he used that tactic himself: as I was chasing him through the French doorway from the piano room to the fireplace room, he tucked in tightly along the far side. When I came through, he gave me my surprise, toddling and giggling along the way.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kisses For Everyone

It all started about three weeks ago. His first kiss was to Mommy. I could hear a happy little waking baby on a beautiful sunny morning. As I leaned into his crib to pull him out, he gave me the softest butterfly kiss on my cheek. It made my entire day!

Since then, he has been giving kisses consistently to Mommy and Daddy in the evening right before bed.

Then, two days ago he began to kiss everything... Mopsy, Julius, his stuffed animals, even the floor. He even kissed the bunnies on his little new cup during dinner. Now, he will give kisses away to everyone he gets to know. Who will be the lucky one, next?

~ posted by Beth

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Another Ethan first: He kicked a soccer ball.

Ethan and I were playing in the backyard with a half-sized soccer ball. His first reaction was to pick it up and throw it. Then, I demonstrated how I kick it, and helped him do the same. He learns quickly: right after that he was kicking it about six feet away all on his own.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Another Ethan first: He spun around on request.

Ethan has been more maneuverable lately, including turning around in circles. When Mommy sees him do this, she lets him know that what he’s doing is called spinning. Along with his mobility, Ethan’s language comprehension has also been noticeably increasing. The physical and mental came together shortly after he surprised us by walking backward. Beth asked him if he could show me how he can spin around… and he did.

Another Ethan first: He walked backwards.

Beth, Ethan, and I were out in the field beyond the back yard, down by the river, having a lazy time along the path on this beautiful summer day. Ethan had been walking around, checking out the wildflowers. Then, for his own secret reasons, he decided to do something new by walking backwards. He was facing us and walked away about six feet along the path.

Another Ethan first: He mimicked a melody.

Ethan doesn’t say many words, but he likes to say his favorite, Mama. It used to be he’d say it in response to first hearing the word, but more recently he’s been initiating, as he did this afternoon after his nap. This prompted me to make up a little melody with just the word Mama, around a dozen notes long, just for fun. I thought I was merely providing an entertaining sound for him to listen to, but was I ever surprised when he repeated the melody back to me, matching my rhythm and relative pitches.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Ethan first: He pointed out his nose.

Mommy has been working with Ethan on identifying body parts, but I ended up getting to do the honors: holding him on my lap, I asked him, “Can you touch your nose?”  And he did.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Another Ethan first: He balanced Mr. Potato Head’s feet on his head.

Ethan finds it amusing to see an object balanced on my head for a while and then slowly slide forward and fall off. He likes making things slide off own head, too. This afternoon, he stayed still enough to balance for quite some time the blue shoes ostensibly containing Mr. Potato Head’s feet. This evening, he did even better: he balanced a funnel on the edge of his crib.

Another Ethan first: He dug a hole.

At the beach today, Ethan made friends with a boy who had a shovel. A hole in the sand was the product of their joint labor (well, Ethan was just playing, really). Later, when it came time to join forces with me, Ethan reversed the process and filled in a hole, demolishing what semblance of a sandcastle I had started.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another Ethan first: He body slammed the cat.

Julius was standing in front of Ethan, sideways to him. Ethan walked up to him and dove on top, immediately plopping Julius flat to the ground. Julius never left the ground, so it wouldn’t qualify as an official pro wrestling body slam, but the move carried all the entrainment value and then some of what I’ve seen from the staged sporting event.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Another Ethan first: He caught a bun with his feet.

Ethan was all buckled into his car seat, holding Big Blanky Bun in his hands, when the bun suddenly slipped down on its way to the floor. However, Ethan put his feet together to save the bun the from the fall and recovered it all by himself.

Another Ethan first: He led me by the pinky.

Ethan came up to me as I was sitting in a chair and took hold of my pinky finger. I got up and he pointed to Big Blanky Bun, who was up high out of his reach, so I got it for him. I didn’t mind being the gofer; his new way of asking for help is much nicer than the way he’s previously known—crying.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Another Ethan first: He zoomed his truck across the room.

It was one of those moments when everything just felt right with the world. I was heading down Grandma’s stairway with suitcase in hand, when across the room I saw Ethan push a little red fire truck from one end to the other. On his way back, our easily distracted boy saw Mommy and Cousin Ava playing with blue ball, which he picked up and tossed to them. It was a moment to reflect on how our Ethan has grown from baby to boy and reminded me of how much God has blessed us with such a wonderful addition to our family.

Another Ethan first: He went blackberry picking.

Grandpa and Grandma have some blackberries growing around a big, old cedar tree. I showed Ethan how to pick one and gave it to him to taste. He liked it, so I found some where thorns weren’t in the way, and showed Ethan. He plucked them right off and enjoyed the treats.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another Ethan first: He rocked in a rocking recliner.

If Ethan can get a good enough grip, he can climb up almost anything, including Grandpa’s recliner with the rough, burlap upholstery. He noticed it moving as he got on and sat square in the middle, just like he’d seen the adults do. With a little shifting of his weight, he was rocking away. He slowed down a bit after a while, which is when Grandpa took the video.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Another Ethan first: He spun a metal top.

Ethan has spun a baby top before, but this was his first time with the version for big kids. He kept it nice and straight and pumped fast enough to keep it going a good while. He also did a couple mini spins, one of which we captured in the video.

Another Ethan first: He fed the ducks.

We had some corn kernels for the river ducks. On a bridge over the river, I took one and showed Ethan how to throw it into the water so the ducks would eat it. Ethan took a kernel out of my hand and fed… himself. I showed him a couple more times, and he got it. He started taking the kernels and feeding the ducks just like Daddy.

Another Ethan first: He climbed up to the top of the big slide.

DSCF0249Even if the steps are so steep that they could be a ladder, the process is still the same: one step at a time. That’s what Ethan did to reach the top of a twelve-foot slide, the biggest in the park. I don’t think he knew how to look down and fear the height like I did.

When we got to the top, I was glad to be off the steps. Ethan was glad because he could start diving head first down the slide. However, for this slide, I wasn’t willing to give him that much freedom, so I scooped him up and we slid sitting together. It wasn’t as adventurous as his way, but it made Mommy, Grandma, and me feel better and was still lots of fun.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Another Ethan first: He held hands in prayer.

Normally, Beth and I hold hands when we pray over a meal, and we’ve tried including Ethan, but he hasn’t liked having his hand held when he’s at the dinner table. But this evening, Ethan reach out and took Mommy’s hand as I was thanking the Lord for our food. Thanks God for Ethan, too!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another Ethan first: He helped make the bed.

Beth was topping off the perfectly aligned sheets, blankets, and sleeping pillows with a few decorative pillows, of which two are large and one is Ethan sized. Ethan has played up on the bed plenty of times during the day, so he knows what the final arrangement looks like. As Mommy was taking the two large pillows and arranging them, Ethan helped out by finding the small pillow and tossing it up over head his head and onto the bed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another Ethan first: He held boo bun on an owy.

When Ethan gets a bump that needs ice, our favorite remedy is boo bun. It’s a small, cloth bunny band that wraps a jell-pack cube. The bun insulates the fingers from the frozen cube while it does its work. Ethan thinks boo bun is a great toy, which can make holding it on him difficult. Today, however, as I had held boo bun on Ethan’s head in response to a bump at the front door, Ethan reached up and held boo bun in place all by himself himself.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Ethan first: He sniffed a peony.

I was holding Ethan as he saw me take a whiff of a peony that Beth had brought home from a friend’s yard. He too was close to the peony and so did as I did. We were both most pleased with the fragrance.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Another Ethan first: He stepped down.

As fun as belly sliding is, there’s nothing quite like doing things the way that Mommy and Daddy do. Ethan was coming down the stairs with me today, when he decided to walk down facing forward. Holding onto spindles on the left side, he made it down one step and then another. The banister he was using was for the upstairs hallway, though, not the stairway. After his two steps, he had run out of spindles. No problem—he now had a perfect excuse to turn around and belly slide the rest of the way.

Another Ethan first: He pulled a bunny out of his crib.

Like many young children, Ethan has a security blanket, only his has a bunny attached to it and is called Big Blanky Bun (see photo of Ethan and bun). Big Blanky Bun sleeps with Ethan every night and sometimes starts the day in the crib. Ethan wanted him, so we went to the crib, and pulled him out. The blanket part was easy, but it took a bit of pulling to squeeze the poor bun’s head through the slats.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Ethan first: He stacked his blocks.

That’s not to say that Ethan’s interest in toppling is waning, just that now he’s taken a liking to building the tower, too.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Ethan first: He showed me how to play piano.

Ethan has been plunking piano keys ever since he could reach them. He likes standing under the piano when Mommy is playing and adding his “grace notes”. Other times, he’ll sit on one of our laps and play his own tune, or we’ll guide his little fingers to in a simple melody. Today, on my lap, he swapped roles. He took my index finger and used it to play a few notes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another Ethan first: He stacked a ring.

The carnival workers who operate the ring toss look forward to this achievement, in hopes of future clientele. We just like seeing Ethan progress from only knocking stacks over to now starting to build them up.

Another Ethan first: He winked at a waitress.

Ethan and I took Mommy out to a restaurant for Mother’s Day. We got amazing service. With all of Ethan’s cute “this, this” sounds, pointing to objects, hiding, and peeking, we had at least one waitresses with us more than half the time. Ethan enjoyed their company, particularly Katherine, who really caught his eye.

Just for fun, Katherine winked at Ethan, and to everyone’s surprise, he winked back!

Ethan winking at a waitress

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another Ethan First: He played the whistle.

Ethan has long shown interest in the piano. He loves to play along with Mommy, whether from her lap, or by stretching up from the floor just high enough to plunk the keys.  Recently, he got a new toy, a whistle. It was intended as a bath toy, but turns out to be even more fun out of the water. Mommy demonstrated how it worked for about a week before Ethan caught on and began playing himself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Another Ethan first: He popped a balloon.

Ethan was fascinated by his birthday balloons, even though they remained lofted out of reach for a week. Eventually, the helium escaped and they came down to his level. We knew then it was only a matter of time until Ethan learned one of a balloon’s distinctive properties. We were concerned that he would be traumatized by the sound, but the balloon was spongy enough to dampen it to just a Buo-sized pop.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another Ethan First: He raided the pantry.

Two days after his birthday, Ethan was in the kitchen when Mommy noticed the characteristic quietness that often spells trouble. Ethan had found the raisin box in the pantry, took the container down from the shelf, set it on the floor, took off the lid, and helped himself to the yummy contents.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Ethan first: He climbed into the tub.

The day after his birthday, Ethan reached new heights in his climbing prowess. He's long enjoyed the adventure of climbing over Beth and me while we are lying down. Now the whirlpool tub, that's a different story. But a good grip, persistence, and a mild disregard for the power of gravity all worked together to gain him access to the coveted bath toys.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another Ethan first: He fed Mopsy and Daddy.

Yesterday, Ethan picked up some hay and put it in front of Mopsy’s mouth. Mopsy, our house rabbit, took the hay and tossed it. Today, on his birthday, Ethan took a piece of toast meant for him and put it in Daddy’s mouth. I was more appreciative than Mopsy; it was good toast. Tonight will be the real test: will he share his birthday cake?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another Ethan first: He mounted his truck.

Ethan has known how to get off his truck since he started riding it, although his initial dismount style of falling off like a log was a bit less than graceful. He has since learned to step off with the help of the coffee table. Getting on is now just as effortless, even without supporting furniture. Ethan puts a leg over, climbs on, and starts scooting around.

Another Ethan first: He walked across the room.

Ethan’s balance continues to improve. This evening he made two trips, and almost a third, from Grandma on one end of the room to me on the other.

Another Ethan first: He turned off a noisemaker toy.

When it comes to developing character, they say more is caught than taught. Ethan was playing with a toy train that, when he presses its chimney, begins moving and musically invites all within earshot to “hop on board the animal train”. Within the last few weeks, he’s become familiar with starting and restarting the sequence. This evening, without any direct instruction, or even an example within the last couple weeks, he came to understand that when he’s done with the toy, he can press the chimney again to make it stop. And he agrees with me that this is a good thing to do. Ahhh, silence.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Ethan first: He handed me a toy.

Ethan and I were playing around his toy doorway. The toy also has a window that Ethan likes to open and find me hiding behind. Sometimes, I give him something through the window or the door. Today Ethan caught on, and now he likes giving me objects, too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Another Ethan first: He said “Dadda”.

Right before Ethan’s second word came a refinement of his first. I asked him if he could say “Mama”. As usual, he did, only this time instead of his normal elongated articulation of each diphone, his cadence and tone matched mine exactly. His utterance of the word sounded just like mine. Then I asked him a couple times if he could say “Dadda”. Instead of the confused look and occasional “Mama” I’m used to getting, both times I got hear from my boy the sweet-sounding word I’ve been waiting for.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Another Ethan first: He put back a picture on request.

Ethan was playing in our bedroom, when he spotted a small picture of Beth on my nightstand. Curious as always, he took hold of it to get a better look (and taste, of course). Beth told Ethan that, no, he couldn’t have it. He understands limits and has learned to be obedient, so Beth knew that she could put the picture back and expect him to leave it. What she didn’t expect was that when she said, “Please put the picture back”, he would understand and do as she asked all by himself.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Ethan first: He rescued a bird shadow.

Ethan loves birds. His face lights up with fascination when there is a flock of them outside. Today, he even defended a precious bird in his own little way. Birds don’t exactly tremble with fear before our house cat Julius, especially when he’s only shadow stalking. All the same, when Julius was after an unwary bird (or so he thought), Ethan came to the rescue.

Another Ethan first: He climbed up and down the stairs.

Ethan is becoming more adventurous, and his goals more lofty. He started climbing the stairs on Friday. We were eating dinner with friends, a time when Ethan often plays around on the floor. When things got suspiciously quiet, we looked for Ethan, finding him a couple steps up the stairway. Today, he went further, making a round trip more than half way up and all the way back down. It would be only a couple more days before he would reach the summit.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Another Ethan first: He stood up and stayed standing.

Ethan has found a reliable balance, at least when stationary. Today, he stood tall and strong all on his own for a good two minutes. He was well planted without a hint of the wobbles.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another Ethan first: He walked on his own.

Beth was playing with Ethan while talking on the phone to Grandma. I sat down nearby and held out my hand, which Ethan took hold of has he stood up. I motioned for Beth to hold up her hand, and Ethan transferred his balance support from my hand to hers, then back to me, and back to Mommy again. I backed up and held out my hand again. Ethan came, all on his own, walking toward me. He made it three steps before losing balance and plopping safely down.

Grandma and Ethan wondered what all the subsequent cheering and excitement was about. We described the scene to grandma; we’ll explain to Ethan later.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Ethan first: He roared like a lion.

Ethan picked up a new animal sound. Eight months ago it was the seal, one month ago the monkey. Today, when I suggested to Ethan to “play with your lion, grrrrr”, he let loose a compelling lion roar of his own.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Another Ethan first: He signed “more” and “all done”.

When Ethan’s tummy says “no more; I’m full”, his natural reaction is to turn away and spitza, sometimes sending his meal flying for effect. A more civilized approach is to communicate with sign language. Ethan is too little to articulate words, so instead we’ve been teaching him to tell us what he wants with his hands. Today, it clicked—just in time to help bring order to the otherwise chaotic world of squishy finger foods.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Ethan first: He put a hexagonal peg through a hexagonal hole.

He tried putting it through a triangular hole first, but that’s one of those life lessons everyone has to learn.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Ethan first: He played ball.

Ethan loves balls: little grippy balls, larger-than-life beach balls, even foam blocks with holes for little fingers that aren’t really balls at all. We got to toss the balls back and forth for the first time today, because now when he throws and rolls them, it’s with a direction and purpose.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Another Ethan first: He went sledding.

Twenty degrees and beautiful powdered snow—a perfect day for a sled ride. Ethan held himself steady with his hands while Daddy pulled him up and down and up and down the hill in the backyard.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another Ethan first: He clapped his hands audibly.

A casual, baby form of clapping hands was sufficient for Ethan for a total of five days. Today, he decided to be like everyone else with a proper, flat-handed, palm-smacking applause.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Ethan first: He walked behind his walker.

Ethan has been improving his balance. When he is standing at the coffee table, he no longer needs to crawl to get to the sofa: he can stand momentarily in between. Yet his most obvious display of stability came today when he was using his walker toy. He stood behind it and took step after step until he had walked from one end of the room to the other.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another Ethan first: He clapped his hands.

Grandma has a knack for encouraging our boy. She was persistent for months, coxing Ethan into raising his hands to show us how he’s “So big!” Her patience has paid off. Mommy and Daddy have likewise long been helping Ethan learn to clap hands, but it was the visit from grandma this weekend and her special touch that won the applause of little Ethan.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another Ethan first: He said “Mama”.

Inspired by Ethan’s baby words, I’ve been asking him at bedtime for weeks now if he could talk. Every night, I ask with pronounced articulation, “Can you say Mommy, and Daddy, and Ethan, and Buo?” (Buo is Ethan’s nickname; it’s pronounced like boo and is short for buoy.) He knows that along with “Buo” comes a barrage of kisses and tickles. He responds with anticipatory giggles and subsequent laughter, but no answer to my question. In contrast, Mommy’s been taking a simpler approach, and now when we ask, “Can you say Mama?”, he says “Mama” back, especially when it’s the Mama who’s asking.

Another Ethan first: He engaged Daddy in monkey talk.

Ethan is a fountain of sound. He giggles, coos, squeals, and grunts. He makes raspberries and is forming words. Some of his sounds defy description, and most are beyond me to imitate. One that I can, however, is his monkey sounds. Before bedtime he made a monkey noise, and I monkeyed back at him. He laughed and replied in kind, and we carried on the conversation for a couple minutes.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Another Ethan first: He waved goodnight.

For weeks now, the final part of Ethan’s bedtime ritual has been throwing a rabbit out of his crib and me throwing it back in. After a couple volleys, he would usually dive onto the stuffed bun and directly proceed to sucka and slumberland. Lately however, he’s mostly stopped falling for that charade. Tonight, I came to the point where I just had to wave goodnight—only to my surprise, he waved back! He wasn’t happy when I left the room, but about a second later the crying stopped, giving way to the peaceful sounds of sucka.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Ethan first: He hid his face.

Ethan happened to have a bib on during a diaper change, so to keep him entertained, I flipped it up over his face and asked, “Where’s Ethan? Where is he? Where is he? Where is he? …” Then I pulled the bib down and answered, “There he is!” He giggled with excitement, as he has countless times when we’ve played the game. But this time, he took hold of the bib and hid his face from me all by himself. I filled in the vocal part; he did the peek-a-booing, half a dozen times or so. He was giggling away, while I was trying not to look to stunned from witnessing another wondrous surprise.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another Ethan first: He completed a lap around the house.

Starting from the family room, he crawled to the music room and then proceeded to the front foyer. Next, he passed through the dining room. As we saw him coming around the kitchen corner, we realized his plan. He headed for the dinette, and ended up back where he started in the family room—a full circuit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Another Ethan first: He drank on his own in his high chair.

Ethan has been holding his bottle while in our arms for a couple weeks now. When he was in his high chair, Beth gave him some juice in his BPA-free plastic bottle. He took it by the handles and drank it all. Beth just provided the refills.

The good news is that even though he knows he can drink on his own, he doesn’t mind still being held—because we’re not ready to give that up.