Monday, January 10, 2011

Toddler update

Carson is 15 months old today, which means he actually started life right around 2 years ago! He is our constant joy. He is also exhausting. I don't think he is a difficult child; actually from my limited knowledge I'm guessing he may be on the easier end of the spectrum. But I don't think parenting a toddler is ever easy. He is so busy! We made the decision not to do much (any?) childproofing around here, which means there is lots of trouble for him to get into. I take my eyes off him at my peril.

Wearing dad's glove makes him happy

I realized recently that what truly wears me out through a day with Carson is the constant feeling of resistance. This is just a normal toddler issue. Part of it is a communication problem: he doesn't always know what I want him to do, or why I won't let him do what he wants, and I certainly don't always know what he is asking for or crying over, and so I feel I must drag him past whatever it is he wants, through the activities that must be done (eating, washing, changing...). And then there is the inevitable discipline. He has to learn that limits are set for him, and that he must obey, and that I really do mean it when I say no. I'm sure this is much easier to teach at this age than it would be later, but it is still a draining conflict.

At the park

But it's such fun when we're on the same wavelength and headed in the same direction--when he can tell me what he wants and I can make it happen, or when I can tell him what to do and he does it! And when we can play together; today he started a game of throwing a sock back and forth at each other, and this delighted both of us.
"Brushing his hair"

He uses about 10 signs at this point (although some of them are similar), including more (also means "I want it"), milk, drink, all done, fan, light, hat, dog, hot, outside. In the past week or so he has shown much more inclination and ability to imitate signs I'm trying to teach him (outside being one), but he also imitates everything I say, so he seems more inclined to learn and use new words than the new signs.

His words number at least 30 now, these being the ones he has independently and appropriately produced repeatedly, not counting the dozens more that he tries to say after me: cheese, banana, tea, avocado, car, shoe, book, snow, tree, keys, water, milk, light, bottle, bye-bye, night-night, backpack, outside, cracker, spoon, bowl, bath, down, swing, foot, toe, teeth, chair, jacket, blankie... Of course, his versions are not precisely correct. I've counted them if they are intelligible in context. Cheese, tea, tree, and keys sound rather similar, but there are differences and you can always tell which one he means. Blankie actually sounds a lot like baby, and he also says "ween" for tangerine; maybe I shouldn't count those! He's picked up most of these words just since Christmas--it's amazing how fast he's developing these days.

Loves to do grown up things like carrying this
big water jug all the way to the garage!

Some of the more adorable things he does include clapping for himself when he's proud (especially when he's stacking blocks, something dad recently taught him how to do), meowing at the cats if they are noisy around him (he really gets into meow-wow-yowing at them), and when we ask if he's tired and wants to go to bed and he responds "ny-ny" with audible relief. He goes down for naps and bedtime easily as long as he has one of his favorite fuzzy mini-blankies, which almost never fail to make him happy. Today he found a large soft fleece blanket that belongs to him but that the cats have been sleeping on for months and was quite taken with it. He immediately lay down on it and said "ny-ny", then dragged it to his room and tried to put it in his crib. What could I do? Of course it is washed and in his crib tonight.

Blankie love

He will go to his high chair on his own if we talk about eating, to his room to be changed if I announce "diaper change!", and to the bathroom if I tell him it's time for a bath. He'll fetch his shoes or hat or a book on command, and will go put his book back on the shelf if asked. A concept I was impressed that he understood this week was downhill; after we went on a walk where we went up and down a hill and talked about it, he volunteered "down" as we went down from the top of a footbridge a few days later. He also understands that cars go on roads and will point the road and say "car!". Getting him to stay off the road may not be so easy!

He is generally an excellent eater and likes everything except broccoli so far. He is just getting to the stage where he can't see us eating without insisting on having some too, even if he just ate a big meal. Cheese, avocado and just about any fruit seem to be his favorite foods. He's getting pretty good with a fork if the food is of a consistency to stab well, but his spoon skills leave much to be desired.

Carson reads. About food.

Other than eating, his favorite things are books and being outside. He spends a lot of time with his bookshelf, and he will sometimes get a book and then sit next to me reading to himself while I'm at the computer. He does generally prefer to be read to, although his attention span can be quite short.

Testing the depth

As for the outdoors, he's at a disadvantage living in this town. Not only does he have a mother who chills easily, but since he started walking 2 months ago, opportunities for snow-free strolling around the yard have been much reduced. And it's much harder to walk when the ground is slippery and uneven and you're bundled up in snow gear that's a couple of sizes too big! But he still asks to go outside frequently, so we keep trying.

What could be better than snow and a stick?

I told you I might bore you with my scrapbooking (or baby-booking) excesses! I promise next time my update will be shorter :^)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

To begin: a look back (part 1: winter)

After the crazy ride of 2009, in which we settled in together as newlyweds, bought a house, and had a baby, 2010 seemed pretty quiet, though we did get to spend time with all our far-flung family, some of whom were celebrating major milestones. Most of the action for us centered around the amazing development of Carson's first year (and a bit) of life. Since this blog exists to chronicle his growth and our mundane family happenings, we'll take the opportunity to recap 2010 before jumping into the new year.


Three months old

One of Carson's first rides in the marvelous BOB

Little burrito baby

Early January--enjoying no snow yet!

JANUARY hit us with a bang as Mount Shasta was pummeled by the Great Storm of 2010. Over the course of a week, at least 8 feet of snow fell at our house, most of that in the first 3 days.

"Our deer" looking for food on the first full day of the storm.
Last we'd see of them until May.

Day 3--view from the top of the woodshed,
which we shoveled to prevent collapse

Because it was wet, heavy snow and because temperatures stayed too low for melting, this storm caused tremendous damage throughout the Mt Shasta area. Limbs and trees fell everywhere, and the whole town was without power for several days. Ultimately, southern Siskiyou County was officially declared a natural disaster area.

Our house from the road, Day 3. Burdened trees.

Fallen maple branch blocking garage door

Bubba looking to knock some snow off bent birches

Carson and I huddled by the woodstove for 4 days before the lights went back on here, melting snow for water since the well pump wasn't running either.

Carson really pitched in to help during these tough times

Meanwhile Bubba endlessly shoveled snow to keep open access to the wood shed and to get our cars out of the driveway.

Our front doorstep, day 4

Hey, my car's in there!

That's my car too! Yeah, the lump.

Front yard. Those lumps are crabapple trees.

Front yard. Walkway to garage and woodshed.

We lost one mature birch next to the house and had major damage to a dozen or more fruit trees and other deciduous trees, but were grateful there was no harm to any structures. It was a harsh introduction to what winter looks like in our new home, but it's likely we will never see such severe weather again.

Fallen birch and very bent birch.
All four surviving birches lost large segments of trunk.

Spruce and firs in the front yard.
The conifers came through much better than
the birches, locusts, willows, apples...

With more snow on the way, we got these two hard-working
fellows to partially shovel our roof on day 6. When they were done,
they stepped off into the drift!

Carson, still unperturbed after a week of storming

Just a couple of days before the storm, Bubba rescued a stray kitten from a foreclosed house in the middle of nowhere on the Klamath River. I was not enthusiastic about adding a fourth member to our already complicated feline family, but despite never receiving a real name, "Little Cat" stayed with us for 6 months before meeting an untimely end. More about him to come.

In FEBRUARY we continued to grapple with winter and adjust to my working one day per week (which I started in January). We were blessed to have both of Carson's grandmas make the long trek up to babysit him when both Bubba and I were working. They continued to do this regularly until he turned a year and we finally made other arrangements--what generosity! Carson enjoyed the attention of his grandmas and also the gifts that often arrived with them. This month Grandma Mac brought him a bouncer, which he took to enthusiastically.

A favorite game at this time, called "how big is my mouth?"

Four months old

Daddy loves his boy

We took a couple of trips to the Redding area this month in search of warmer weather and sun.

Off trail mountaineering in the Bob at Clear Creek Gorge

First shoots of baby buckeye

In MARCH we enjoyed a trip to Sonoma County to celebrate my mother's 60th birthday at Cornerstone Gardens.
Carson is a fan of his (soon-to-be) Aunt Sarah

A serious and arty game of ball?

In other news, Carson worked on sitting up and started eating solids--the first spark of a consuming and enduring passion! He was a happy baby and by this point lots of fun to play and laugh with.
Since March is an unequivocally wintry month in Mount Shasta, our other activities consisted of basic survival and keeping a fire going at all times--meaning we don't have exciting photos.
Except this one:Bubba's being mobbed!

To be continued...