Leading up to the weekend, it was a lot of prep work. I had last minute party preparations and shopping as well as major cleaning.
William's party went very smoothly. We were pretty organized that morning and decided to spring for the babysitter to come keep the kids entertained while we set up, finished cleaning, and decorated. The babysitter mostly played with Natalie because William was still napping. Both kids were highly entertained with the balloons. My parents and brother were about half an hour early, but unlike Natalie's 2nd birthday party last year, we were ready when they arrived. Mike's aunt also came a bit early, and then the remaining guests (a family from play group, one of my friends and family, and Mike's best friend and his fiance).
The party was mostly free play time for the kids in the beginning until Mike came back with pizza. Then after everyone ate, we set up William's first birthday video. Everyone came downstairs for that, and we pulled out the teeter totter from Mike's aunt for the kids to play with while we watched. Then we did the presents. Natalie was having a very hard time not monopolizing William's new toys (which continued to be a problem for the next several days). Natalie's friend who was with us had a good time helping bringing the presents over and unwrapped a few, too. William didn't actually unwrap a single gift, but he did enjoy playing with various items as soon as they were out of the packaging. If I've learned anything about birthdays and Christmas, its to open and assemble before wrapping.
Next, we moved back upstairs to cake. William of course loved his cake and made a huge mess. After cake, it was a little bit more play time before guests started to trickle out. My parents stayed a bit longer to visit, and Mike's friend and fiance stayed the night. We got William down for a nap, but let Natalie stay up. She was obsessed with the tool kit we got William and used it to "fix" Baby Kitty, but it really looked like a scene out of Hostile. I made a lot of progress cleaning up while she played with our guests.
Mike set up the climber his aunt brought down for us and I set up the water table my brother bought. Our back yard is now pretty amazing. We have: a play house and climber with slide (both hand-me-downs from Mike's cousins), a water table, a teeter totter, a sand box (from the yard sale down the street), a picnic table, a basket ball hoop, two ride on toys, a tricycle, and a good selection of balls. We also have a wadding pool, but it isn't out right now. Really the only thing missing is a sprinkler. We got sand for the sandbox later in the week and both kids really enjoyed it. That day though, Natalie really enjoyed the slide and William the water table and teeter totter.
Since it was getting late, we went out to dinner at Longhorn that night. Both kids did well in the restaurant. They were a little antsy while waiting for the food to arrive, but then they ate pretty well. Natalie did great because she got mac and cheese, William has been spoiled by french fries, so there was a little resistance there. Mike's friend got a huge chocolate cake dessert and Natalie was soon snuggled up to him to share.
Natalie had a little tantrum when it was time to come inside for bath when we got home, so our friend went out for a walk as we got the kids going on bed time. Over the passed two weeks, Mike has been doing bath alone. Since he realized he can do it for when I am at my class on Wednesdays (more about that below), I usually just let him do bath and I continue to clean up the house. I do the things that would usually delay bath time starting, like finishing cleaning up the kitchen, setting out clothes, putting away laundry, cleaning up toys. Some nights I set out a special activity for Mike and Natalie to do after bath, like a craft or book. Usually though, after he gets her dressed and her hair brushed, they just snuggle watching TV. Natalie is obsessed with Disney Jr, especially Doc McStuffins (this has a lot to so with her playing doctor kick).
That reminds, William continues to be pretty indifferent to TV at large, but he does actually watch some now. I try to have the TV on as little as possible when he is awake. Usually, he won't see more than a few minutes of TV before 4pm since we put the TV on after he goes down for his morning nap and when he gets up we are rushing to get out of the house. But, the other afternoon, he nursed while watching TV, which was a first for me. A few days ago, I really thought we were done nursing. William barely nursed at all for a day. I started to worry about engorgement. But then he got right back into it. Where he was nursing about 6 times a day, we are now down to 2-4. I think the key to getting back into it was allowing him more freedom. I've ditched the Boppy pillow. For a session when he is not tired, we are doing saddle hold where he has one leg on each side of me. He leans over just kind of lays on me. The only problem is that he wants to lay his head down and then he is like sideways on the nipple. For more snugly times, I hold him cradle hold with out the pillow. I think this worked because he has more freedom to move. He is getting to look at me better or at what he is playing with in his hands. He plays with his feet. In the saddle hold, he can sit up and then decide he wants to go back for more. I feel like this new nursing is allowing us to be closer and connect more, which continues to be something I feel we lack. I get so little time alone with William, and when I do after lunch before his nap, I'm exhausted from the whole morning. So, I really love doing bedtime with him and connecting with him and focusing on just him for a while every day.
After the kids went to bed, we had a little down time, then we decided to play 90's Trivial Pursuit. We've had that for years, but hadn't played it thinking it would be ridiculously hard and thus unenjoyable. But it was pretty great. Mike even stayed up after that to play Based Loaded with his friend, which is there go to game from when they were kids.
The next morning, we go everyone up and going and still did our traditional Sunday morning pancakes. I like to get out of the house everyday and I know his friend likes to go out and do things too, so I looked into the local farms. We wound up going apple picking and blueberry picking. Everyone had a good time. We got two pints of blueberries and a ton of Jona Gold apples that are ready this early in the season. (We brought seven apples to a play date on Wednesday and still have at least ten left). William loved walking around with his apple. Natalie made friends with the granddaughter of one of the orchard workers.
After we got back, the kids had lunch and got down for nap. Then our guests soon left.
My class started last night. I'm not sure what the think yet. I had started to look forward to it, but worried about the work load. Now I'm kind of going the other way. It appears that the work load isn't going to be bad, especially since there won't be any papers. But the first class was only about half as long as it should have been and she said we won't often be there longer. And I didn't feel like I fit in with the other six students. First of all, I was the only one working with older students, two didn't even know what secondary ed meant. Two of the women were working with preschoolers. One student was a college freshmen. One woman isn't a teacher, but a social worker. I think her taking the course is pretty awesome. While one woman has extensive experience with preschoolers and one had done a practicum in a preschool, I got the impression that I was the only one who had traditional classroom experience. I think I might be the only with a master's as well. The professor was very nice and loves her subject, but is a little, I want to say flustered, but it sounds too flighty. Her husband just passed away suddenly a month ago, so its a challenge for her to say the least. But I don't think its going to effect her teaching overall because she has taught this course many times. She asked us what we wanted to know and I said that as a parent I'm interested in what we might face with Natalie starting school due to her JRA. While physical disabilities, including JRA, are covered in the textbook, we are only going to spend one day on them at the end of the course. I felt like she almost brushed it off as not being special ed because its a 504 plan. That set me off a little. I knew what a 504 plan is and I thought it was well within the scope of the course, especially if gifted and talented is covered. There was also the case that a couple times she told us things I taught my students. She told us that the textbook questions follow the chapter and to use quotation marks in our google searches. She also discussed jigsaws like we don't know what they are, where I used them a lot. I know she has to accommodate everyone, but it got me thinking that maybe there is going to be a lot that I already know. For example, I know there will be a lot for me to learn about the individual types of disabilities, but maybe the accommodations and how a PET is run and such will be repetitive. I also felt uneasy about assigning textbook questions since generally I find very little value in textbooks compared to lecture. So, we'll have to see.
- Natalie has been stable in the potty training. Still have accidnets, but some of it is becoming more routine.
- William seemed to pick up a couple words: apple, car
- William has learned to spin in a circle.
- After a slight resistance, Natalie has been enjoying doing some structured activities.
- William has been excited about elevator buttons.
- William has been walking from the play group door, crawling up the stairs, and walking in to play!
- Trouble with both kids eating. William can't get enough at lunch, but wants to be spoon fed at dinner. I think this spoon feeding is one of a few things: either its his way of getting attention at dinner or its him wanting to learn to use a spoon or its new to him because we never did baby food. Meanwhile Natalie is refusing dinner almost completely every night and we've been forcing her to stay at the table in hopes of eating a little more.
- Lots of pointing from William.
- Natalie has been talking a lot about time, such as the retelling the sequence things happened or will happen.
- Natalie has really enjoyed pretending to be other people, both people we know and TV characters.
- William has learned to play chase. He knows how to look back to bait you on.
- William can back down stairs.
- Natalie can go down and up a few stairs without holding on, but does not alternate feet. (I didn't do that until I was 5 and in Kindergarten).
- William continues to enjoy putting all sorts of items into holes, such as blocks into his new ball popper or Mr Potato Head parts into the car ramp.
- Both kids continue to enjoy books! William likes Max and Ruby and Maisy, as well as others. Natalie likes tons of things, but in particular she likes early reader stories.
- William continues to play independently quite a bit. He is very happy to wander around playing on his own, unless I sit at the computer or snuggle with Natalie. This and Natalie's desire to not play alone are why I don't actually play with William much. I watch William a lot.
- William needs time to warm up when we go into crowded situations, like play dates, play group, or the library. But after a little bit, he is ready to wander around again.
- William loves animals! He was enjoying the guinea pig at the library so much today that he sat in one of the librarians lap to see it better.