Monday, December 28, 2009

One of these things is not like the others

Jacob was pretty hilarious at dinner tonight. We had a wokful of shrimp fried rice for dinner. It had all the typical ingredients: eggs, soy sauce, peas, carrots, scallions, shrimp and rice. Jacob has maintained a "no veggie" attitude for quite some time now, so it seems rather obvious that he would object to the peas, carrots and scallions. Except that the scallions were too small to be recognized as vegetables, so they were eaten. He did remove carrots from his fork several times (though some slipped in behind a piece of egg or a pile of rice). He even evicted the peas, except for one pea. He took it in his fingers and said, "Jacob no like green peppers." The obvious thing to do after that would be to return yet another vegetable to his bowl. Jacob was not obvious, because the second after he finished speaking, he put the pea in his mouth and ate it. I was reduced to tears. Tears of laughter.

Writing the incident out now, it doesn't seem so hilarious. Maybe the best humor really is unexplainable.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Scariest Thing at the Library Part II

Like any good sequel, we up the ante for this post about Jacob's visit to a holiday themed library program for pre-schoolers. Last time, the second-billed star was Frosty the Snowman, now we have that jolly old elf, Santa Claus, visiting the Savage branch of the Howard County public library. How did it turn out? Read on....

This trip to the library was like most others. Getting the kids ready meant one last diaper change before leaving (and one last opportunity to adjust outfits, e.g. Jacob was still in his pajamas up to that point). We packed up in the van and daddy remembered almost everything. The forgotten item was the presents for the Marshalls, whom we were going to visit after the library. Whoops! We'll see them again soon.

Arriving at the library. we went in and headed to the children's desk to sign in for the program. The nice lady looked up Jacob's name and checked him off. She offered to stamp his hand which he adamantly refused to accept. The nice lady (who must have experienced this sort of reaction before) kindly said it was alright and to have a good time at the program. Jacob's behavior did not bode well, in my opinion. We walked over to the play area where Jacob played and I picked out new puzzles to replace the ones we returned. Then the bell rang, signaling the time to gather for stories.

We walked into the meeting room. Before Jacob could sit down, the story lady (someone different from the lady at the desk) started handing out jingle bells and a song. Jacob actually stood for the song and did a little bit of the dancing and other choreography that she was leading. He turned around; he rang the bells high and low. This did bode well, in my opinion. She continued with the usual blend of stories, songs and activities. Once Jacob sat in my lap, however, that was the end of his visible participation in the program. He did enjoy it though.

Then craft time came. This week's craft was pretty simple: each child received a set of stickers (with gingerbread men and such) and a red cardboard square with a ribbon through it. The child put the stickers on the ornament. I've come to the conclusion that the only problem is that Jacob thinks the word "craft" is a four-letter word of the unrepeatable variety. He had no interested in an extremely simple craft, the like of which he has done at home. He protested with his usual, "No, no, No, NOOOO!" with a "want to go back to car!" thrown in for good measure.

I told him Santa was coming, so he waited for a little bit. Santa waited a little bit longer to show up, so we were already out the door and back in the main library before he went into the meeting room. Luckily, he did his bit pretty quickly and then went to another room for pictures with the kids. Jacob, Lucy and I were first in line (everyone else was still crafting, I guess). So in we went. Jacob was unsure of what to do. I told him to give Santa a high five before I was ready with the camera, so this was the result:

The children's desk librarian was there and offered to take a picture of all three of us with Santa. By this point Jacob was done with this activity too, chiming in with his "No, no, No, NOOOO! Want to go back to car!" I wrestled him into position and we got this shot:

Just in case you can't see it, here is the look of consternation at lack of immediate departure:

Once I told him we were leaving, Jacob did say goodbye to Santa and high fived him again. All in all, I thought it was a pretty good visit to the library. If only we could have been good Santas and delivered our presents to the Marshalls, the would have been an even greater success.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lucy's latest accomplishment

Lucy is almost six months old and is beginning to show a new talent: grabbing things with her hands.

At first she just flailed them around as if they were merely endings on those two jointed sticks that Mommy and Daddy call arms. Now she has enough coordination to work her fingers into vise grips. She has demonstrated this power repeatedly on women's jewelry (while the women are wearing it, lest you think Lucy is some sort of cat burglar), Mommy's hair and Daddy's beard. She is also good at grabbing onto skin and getting a good hold.

Yesterday, though, she brought a smile to my face. I was feeding her from a bottle (she is only just starting on rice cereal and oatmeal cereal) and she reached up with one hand and then with the other and grabbed the bottle. She held onto it and held it in place for about 15 seconds. Hopefully she will build on this success and give Daddy a chance to do more while she eats. Maybe I could even blog with her eating in my lap. That may be too much to hope for.

I'm looking forward to future talents.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Scariest Thing at the Library

Jacob and Lucy attended a holiday program at the Savage branch of the Howard County Library on Friday. Frosty the Snowman was the theme for the program that included stories, songs, a craft and a special visit from the snowman himself.

Lucy was very attentive during the program and seemed to enjoy herself quite a bit. Jacob went into his usual passive mode. The librarian handed out colored scarves that the kids used as snowflakes. Most of the rest of the kids swirled the scarves in the air like snowflakes in wind and let them fall to the ground. Jacob just held on to his scarf. I helped him to wave it around. He enjoyed the stories and the sing alongs but would not stand up and dance around. He never has before, so I guess it was no surprise.

Then came time for the craft. Everyone who registered had one craft set to put together. The craft was pretty simple: glue a snowman to a stick, then glue a snowflake to a Styrofoam cup, then stick the stick into the top of the cup. The librarian handed me Jacob's kit. When I asked him if he wanted to do the craft, Jacob said, "No, no, no, no, No, NO, NOOO!!" After about 30 seconds of this, I asked Jacob if we should give the craft to one of the other children who weren't registered. Jacob just said, "No craft, no, No, NOOO!!" So I gave the craft to another child while trying to keep Jacob from bolting from the room before Lucy left.

We headed towards the door when Frosty came in. He waved to us. Jacob went up to him and gave him a high five, which made the librarian escort for Frosty (celebrities never go around with an entourage) laugh. Frosty then left to another room, where Jacob reenacted the high five and I was lucky enough to get the picture:

You would think that Frosty would be the scariest part of the program for kids, but they all loved him. Next week is Santa, so we will see how Jacob and the rest of the kids will do.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jacob's Jealousy Reaches New Depths Today

When Lucy was first born, Jacob was not too jealous of her. Angie and I had heard the typical story. An older sibling tells mom and dad after a week of living with a new bundle of joy that the infant can go back now. Jacob never said that to us and has always been very good and affectionate with Lucy, for example:

What could be more affectionate? Things have changed this week, however. It started with Jacob taking toys and books out of Lucy's room and putting them in his room. To be fair, some of them were Jacob's previously (though Lucy did receive her own copy of Goodnight Moon, and it's unclear to me why Jacob needs two copies; nevertheless, he took both). Lately, Jacob has been asking to get into Lucy's crib and into her playpen, as for example:

Today was the biggest move yet by him. We had gone shopping to the local grocery store. I've developed this system where Jacob rides in the shopping cart and I pull Lucy's stroller behind me. Sounds awkward? It is, but it is much easier than going through the process of putting Lucy in a carrier and taking her out again. The stroller also has a handle at the front so I don't have to pull the stroller backwards through the store. We are like a little train in the store, with Jacob as the engine (even though I provide all the power) and Lucy as the caboose.

But enough of this digression, the important facts are Jacob was sitting in the cart and Lucy in her stroller. We got back to the van. The parking spot on the passenger side was empty, so I pulled the cart by the side door with Lucy in the stroller by the back wheel. I opened the front passenger door and loaded a couple of bags. As I turned back to the cart, I saw Jacob finishing a kick at Lucy's stroller which sent it slowly rolling away from the van and into the traffic lane. My heart leaped almost as fast as the rest of me did. Another van came by at the same time. The women rolled down her window and said how she was scared to see the stroller come out. Yikes, Jacob! Have you been playing nice all this time, only waiting for this opportunity?

I'm sure it really was an accident but you can be assured, I'll never load groceries first again.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Long week since Thanksgiving...

Last week is definitely the sorest I have been in quite a long while. It all started on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when I took my brother-in-law, his wife and one of their friends on a high ropes adventure course at Terrapin Adventures. It was an awesome experience (videos will be posted soon on YouTube), with all sorts of climbing and walking challenges (traversing rickety bridges, walking on two wires, climbing cargo nets, balancing across logs, etc.). We had lots of fun but I was pretty worn out afterwards.

Everyone flew home by Sunday afternoon, which left a golden opportunity (since the sun was shining and the air was warm) to rake leaves. I started by myself while Jacob and Lucy napped inside. Eventually, everyone else came out later. We filled about eight bags, which may not sound like much, but I'm the sort to mash down the leaves and squeeze as much as possible into the bags. It was a full day's work in a couple of hours. My soreness from the day before was just beginning to kick in; leaf raking and bagging only added more.

Monday had no major exercise. Tuesday was Tae Kwon Do night with my friend David. We do about 1.5 to 2 hours of martial arts, followed by hanging out (playing board or video games, watching movies, etc.). I was not recovered from the weekend, so this workout definitely prolonged the agony.

Wednesday was Angie's birthday. I ran around to get a bunch of things done. No heavy lifting happened, but I did get a lot of chores done at home so that we could have a fun evening of nothing in particular to do.

Thursday was the big moving out day for my sister Rosemary. I helped load the truck with all her stuff that was stored here for the past half year or so. Only a couple of heavy items were a challenge for lifting. She has a piano, but it is a digital one that is moveable by two. On the other hand, many trips from the basement had to be made for all the boxes, etc., that were stored down there. After dinner, I went to her new place to help unload. I was very glad to help her out, and by this point being sore was becoming the natural state of things.

Yesterday, we had a beautiful snowfall of about three inches. Since it's the first snow of the year, not much stayed except on grass and trees. Jacob and I sledded and threw snowballs in the back yard (see proof on Facebook). Not really a hard work out, but fun.

Also, Angie received Wii Fit Plus for her birthday. We tried it out yesterday and today. The new games are fun and challenging. I look forward to future soreness from this!