Friday, July 31, 2009

Grace can count....

....from 9 -13! Most kids her age are probably learning (or know) 1-8 or 1-10, but not this child! She knows 2 (and can hold up 2 fingers to match), 6 (sometimes), and then 9-13. It sounds something like this when she counts:

9 nine
10 den
11 avanee
12 delve
13 dirtee

It is so cute I wish I could get it on video but she clams up as soon as I take out the Flip camcorder.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

City Mouse, Country Mouse

I have lived in Ohio for 17 years. And, I really don't consider the part of Ohio where we live as "country" although it is certainly more like the country compared to where I grew up. When I first moved out here I used to tease my friends about being farmers, but in reality, I know few people who raise farm animals and other than their vegetable gardens, they don't tend any crops. Sure, there are working farms nearby, but I am glad for them so we can get fresh berries, corn, pumpkins, etc. in season. About the only person I know who is really into raising animals is Miss Jessie - one of the teachers at Grace's daycare and our babysitter. Jessie has been very involved in 4 H (up until tonight when I Googled "4H" I had no idea what the 4 H's stood for - Head, Heart, Hands, and Health). She invited us to the county fair so this evening, Grace and I visited her there to see what it was all about. We walked right past all the stereotypical fair stuff and headed to where Miss Jessie was - with the animals. She was so sweet and gave us a tour through several different barns. Grace had the opportunity to hold baby chicks, baby ducks, a rooster, and a rabbit. She also pet an award-winning goat, Lucky, who is being raised as a pack goat, meaning he carries heavy packs for his owner. But, by far, Grace loved the horses. She was so overwhelmed with excitement every time we got near one that she almost cried out to touch them. The owners were so nice to us, allowing Grace to pet and feed some of them. Even the mounted sheriff was sweet and allowed us to touch his horse and he gave Grace a stick-on badge. On our way out, we stopped to watch a group of teenage girls exercising their horses in a large fenced area. Grace was in heaven....All the way to the car, Grace kept saying, "Thank you, Jessie." Over and over...

Potty Progress

....there isn't any!

Why? I take full blame. I haven't been consistent. It is really hard to do since the best way to train Grace is to stay home for several days in a row. That is close to impossible for us. We are always out and about somewhere..... So, I have been putting her in "big girl undies" here and there when we are home, which hasn't been working too well.

Today, she put on her Little Mermaid panties as soon as she woke up and I set the timer for 25 minutes. Wouldn't you know it...she had an accident about 20 minutes in - right on the carpet. So now she is sitting on the potty chair, drinking her juice, in front of the TV. I figure any time she is sitting it is going to be on that potty chair from now on!

I have offered her cool presents if she pees or poops in the potty, but that doesn't seem to be enough of an incentive.

I am going to take a shower now, and you can bet Grace and her potty are coming in the bathroom with me. Keep your fingers crossed for some success!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Can I have S'more?

Atwood Lake, located in Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties, is an easy drive from Akron and Cleveland. With 1,500 acres of water it is one of the state's top lakes for sailing and pleasure boating. Kellie's parents have a vacation house at Atwood so we visited "Grammy Betty" and "Papa Pat" for the day. I am not sure where we were in this aerial view, but wherever it was, it was very serene and pretty.

Grace and I followed Kellie down to the lake - about an hour drive from our house. When we got there we were greeted by their house nestled among trees and pretty gardens on a hillside. You walk down about 25 steps to get to the dock and their boats.
Gammy Betty, Dawson, and Grace drove the boat to the marina where we had lunch. Grace and Dawson loved steering, pushing the button for the horn, and leaning over the sides of the boat to look at the water. For some reason this made them really giggle!Playtime on the deck started out with exploring, pouring water, and dipping their toes in the pool.
But for Grace (who couldn't wait for her bathing suit) playtime quickly turned into splashing and jumping in the pool in her shorts and shirt! She was having such a great time that I just went with it and didn't worry about changing her. Heck, she was already wet! What good would it do now?The girls also practiced taking turns on the swing and slide - a difficult thing for 2-year olds! They had their share of saying "mine" but overall did really well with each other. There was a lot of holding hands, talking to each other (we are not sure what they were saying) and smiling, too!And right before we left, Grace and Dawson roasted marshmallows in the fire pit. Grace ate all the ingredients for S'mores - marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers - separately - not in a S'more!
It was another really full, fun day with our friends!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Let's give this a try....

This morning Grace and I went shopping for some big girl panties. For a few weeks now she has been showing awareness of her body functions by telling me "Mommy, potty" and "Mommy, poop". We bought a potty chair and a potty seat several weeks ago and lately Grace has been sitting on the potty chair reading her books - but so far she hasn't "gone" in the potty at all. Too bad, too. It plays music when something is in there, if you get my drift.

Well, as of today she is now the proud owner of 12 pairs of big girl underwear - Dora, the Little Mermaid, and some pretty florals. After nap today, instead of putting a clean diaper on her we looked at the big girl panties, talked about not making Dora wet or dirty and put them on her. I set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes with the intention of putting her on the potty every time it went off. But, as is so often the case, Grace had other plans. Thrilled the the novelty of new underwear, she told me "Mommy, potty" every few minutes so we went to the potty. We sat. We waited. We read stories. We sang potty songs (I made these up...I don't know any real songs with that subject). We talked about Dora....The conversation went something like this:

Me: Do we pee pee on Dora?
Grace: No.
Me: Do we poopy on Dora?
Grace: No.
Me: What happens if you need to pee pee or poop?
Grace: Mommy, potty!Good....she understands. We did this over and over for about an hour and I kept a close eye on her looking for signs of something about to happen. Then, all of a sudden I heard "Uh oh mess" and yes, she peed on the carpet! So I said that was okay and we went right upstairs to change...into another new pair of Dora underwear. Feeling a little confident that she wasn't going to pee again any time soon, I decided to snap these pictures. And wouldn't you know it, about two seconds after this shot.......she said, "I poop!" Ah, yes. She pooped on Dora. Didn't we just talk about this?

Two hours, two pairs of new underwear....not bad, I guess. At least she is aware of what happened. Baby steps, right?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Please touch

Every time we go to the zoo the experience is totally different. It was a cool, sunny Sunday morning which made it perfect for a walk to see the animals. As I looked back at the pictures of our visit, it seemed like it was a very "hands-on" experience.

For the first time, Grace walked on the rope bridge alone. She saw other kids doing it and with a little encouragement tried it herself. I waited at the end to give her a high five when she finished. Grace was every pleased with herself and ran around to do it again!I bought Grace a "zoo key" which you insert in the slot on a variety of kiosks throughout the zoo to hear information and songs or poems about the animals. Since Grace has been interested in necklaces lately (she calls a necklace a"na-neck") , I told her it was her special zoo necklace and showed her how to put the card in the slot. Once she got the hang of it, we were on a hunt to find the animal exhibits that offered the zoo key narration.Next time we might pretend we are Dora the Explorer looking for the place to put our key card. They are not at every exhibit and not the easiest things to find!We stopped to touch the fur of a coyote, a bobcat, and a rabbit. Grace liked touching these and asked to go back a few times. The zoo employee was very sweet and let her touch as much as she wanted. You really can feel a difference in their fur. The bobcat's was especially thick. We also looked at their ears, eyes, and noses.After the jellyfishwe waited on line to touch the sea stars (aka "starfish, but they really aren't fish), sea cucumbers, and snail shells and looked at hermit and horseshoe crabs up close. We learned that the hermit crab will turn the horseshoe crab over to eat it so the zookeeper was there to make sure that didn't happen while they were in the same tank together! Grace was patient and gentle so she must have really liked touching the sea animals. Of course she asked for "more" but instead of more sea creatures we went to see the farm animals.After her feeding experience with Nana and Ba at the Central Park Zoo in New York last week she was very brave and climbed the fence on her own to get closer to the sheep and goats. I almost had a heart attack thinking she was going to fall into their pen! I even heard other parents telling their older kids, "See, that little girl is not afraid!" I guess they didn't notice me holding my breath!We didn't touch these animals, but it WAS a special treat to see the two of the baby jaguars in their enclosure with their mom. Three babies - Bella, Nakita, and LeBron - were born in March and will stay in this zoo for about a year. We only saw two of them, though. In the wild, the mother jaguar stops taking care of her babies after the first year. The big one is named after LeBron James from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He weighs 25 pounds - the same as Grace - and the other two are about 20 pounds each.