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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Aidan's commerical debut

Aidan was invited to be part of a commercial for the place where she takes swim classes. Check it out:

Thursday, December 4, 2008

shop-a-holic

Our baby girl is a shop-a-holic. And a fashionista. Aidan and I hit Target last night after work and school and this child went crazy - not over toys mind you, but over clothes and accessories. First, it was the sunglasses. She made a hard choice between the pink princess glasses and the purple Hello Kitty glasses. In the end, the purple won out (purple being her new favorite color in the whole wide world - followed closely by pink). Next we went to the clothing section because she needs a Christmas dress for her Christmas Pageant at school. (As an aside, Aidan's class will be standing on the risers and singing songs. She's been practicing at home and she knows 3 whole songs and they are cute, cute, cute! My favorite goes something like "I took a lick of a peppermint stick. I thought it tasted yummy. It hangs on the Christmas tree. But I like it better in my tummy.") Aidan, while I contemplate red versus plaid, is running from rack to rack saying things like "wow!" and "oh boy!" as she looks at the various offerings. She quickly picks a pink ballet skirt, 2 pairs of pink pants, and a pink shirt. She would have picked more if I had not hustled her out of there. We put some things back and sneaky Mommy hid most of the things we bought and so I can bring them back out as Christmas presents. I'm glad she's still young enough that I can engage in such sneakiness. It was easier to get her away from the toys. Although, she did get fixated on a sit and ride car. I got her to go by suggesting that if she didn't come with me right now, I might have to put back her pink pants. My, did she get up quickly after I mentioned that. We are going to be in trouble when she figures out that she can ask to go shopping.

Friday, November 28, 2008

ABCs song and playing school

I am loving being home with Aidan over the Thanksgiving break (5 whole days!). We have had great fun playing and doing art. Her imagination is really starting to take flight, which is cool. She's been playing with her "Little People" figures, taking them to school. She had lessons and PE (they caught a football), lunch, and nap time. The video below if of Aidan teaching her class the "ABC song."

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I must say, I have great respect for mothers who stay home full-time. Just coming up with activities to keep Aidan engaged without relying on the TV is hard. Just today, we have played school, painted, (watched some TV), danced, made a costume out of a paper bag, and had a scavenger hunt - and this is all before nap time. After naps, we are going to put up some Christmas decorations. Big excitement!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Playing the piano and singing

This is Aidan's new interest:
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Welcome Bishop Robinson


Today, our church was honored to have Bishop Robinson of New Hampshire worship with us. He spoke to us after church during out annual Thanksgiving luncheon. We have much to be thankful for, especially this man of God who is breaking down barriers for all of us by being who God called him to be. Such a lovely, loving man. We pray God's blessings upon him and his partner Mark as they walk a difficult but wondrous road.

First hair cut

On November 8th, Aidan had her first official haircut (other than mommy cutting her bangs). She wasn't so sure at first, but was happy with the results at the end. In other big fashion news, Aidan has kept a bow in her hair all day (she usually pulls them out). Big excitement for the girly mommy who likes to do her hair.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Foxes

Aidan has developed a fear of foxes. I'm not exactly sure why, but she's afraid that they are in her room at night. She's even afraid of Swiper on Dora. Yesterday, we went to Walgreens and found "Go away fox spray." We were lucky to find it at Walgreens and not have to go to a speciality store. We came home and sprayed her room and then sprayed it again before bedtime. She's not entirely convinced, but it helped some.

Her new favorite phrase is "Oh man!" when something goes wrong.

Aidan says she must watch Wiggles right now, so we are practicing being patient. She has a patient body, but that mouth....

More later.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Home and doing better

Aidan is home and did well with her surgery. She was VERY unhappy to be at the doctor's office and REALLY upset to see Dr. Bates. It was much harder emotionally for her this time around, as she is just aware enough to be scared. But she did very well post-op and coming out of the anesthesia. Late this morning she complained of her ear hurting. We gave her some Tylenol and are just watching her. Hopefully it was just a little drainage and all will be well. But she's up from a nap and helping Christianne change the sheets on the bed and vacuum. She's such a great helper around the house!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Surgery tomorrow

Aidan is set for bilateral ear tubes tomorrow at 7:30a. We have to be at the surgery center by 6:30 in the morning. I hope all goes well and quickly! I'll update tomorrow after we get home. We are planning on trick-or-treating tomorrow evening!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin patch girl





Princess Aidan



Here's a picture of our Princess Aidan. She's very excited about her costume and about trick-or-treating - at least in theory. We'll see how it goes.

Oh, and our child can sing the melody of the Viennese Waltz - and it is recognizable. I'm not sure if that's impressive, but it sure seemed that way to us when she started singing it at the dinner table this week.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ear update

Christianne took Aidan to the ENT today. I'm kind of glad I wasn't there, as Aidan put up such a fight having her ears looked at that they had to restrain her on a back board. I'm not sure I could have stood that. Christianne said she recovered quickly after they let her up and seems no worse for the wear.

Dr. Bates said that one tube is out and the other is clogged and on its way out. His recommendation was to replace the tubes. We tried to get it scheduled for this coming Friday, but no such luck. Right now, surgery is scheduled for Halloween. How's that for something to ruin your holiday? No trick or treating at school. :-( Hopefully she'll feel well enough to go out a bit that evening - especially since she's telling everyone that she plans to be a princess for Halloween. Now, we just have to keep her fever free until then. I'm asking for some maintenance antibiotics to keep the infection at bay enough (her ears are still red even with 7 days of antibiotic) that she doesn't get too sick for surgery, like happened last time. I guess the saving grace is that they aren't making us wait through multiple infections before getting us the tubes.

That's the update on the ears. In other news, Aidan is having great fun getting us to pretend with her these days. Her two favorite things to play are "night-night" (where we call lie down, she covers us with blankets and we pretend to sleep ever so briefly before waking up and doing it all over again) and "party" (where we pretend to eat cake and drink tea or juice). It is really very sweet except the tile floor is HARD! Her best phrase of late is "Happy to see you, Mama (or Mommy)." She's also learned that when we say grace, it starts with "Thank you God" and ends with "Amen." Unfortunately, she says "Amen" every time we pause to take a breath. Perhaps we are raising a Baptist. Oh, that's the other thing she does: she calls every church she sees "Baptist Church." This stems from the fact that we have several Baptist churches on a frequently traveled road by our house. One day, Christianne was listing off the churches and said Baptist church 3 times or so. Now, Aidan thinks that's what you call all churches. We are working on the various denominations now. Aidan knows that she goes to "Thomas Church." She also knows the street she lives on and the city and state in which she lives, as well as the name of her school. I'm sure there is more to report, as she grows and changes every day, but that's it for now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some videos - I hope!

Here are some short videos Christianne took of Aidan. Hopefully they work.

This is Aidan and myself pretending to walk like ducks (Eugene is full of ducks, so we had a lot of practice).

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This is Aidan's Stevie Wonder imitation.

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This is Aidan going down the biggest slide ever!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ears, ears, ears

OK, yes, I'm a slacker mom who hasn't' posted pictures of her precious child in over a month. You will hardly recognize her by the time I get around to it. For now, you will have to content yourself with a brief update.

Aidan's ear tubes are pretty much out. We had hoped that by 2 she would have outgrown her ear infections and all would be well. No such luck. She's now had two ear infections in two weeks. She can go about 5 days without antibiotics and then the infection is back. She has an appointment with the ENT next Monday. I'm sure he'll recommend tubes again.

I'll keep you updated and I'll try to post pictures.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Trip to Oregon

We are back from our trip to Oregon. I'll try to post pictures soon. Aidan is such an amazing traveler. She did a great job with only one meltdown on the way out and none on the way back. And really, with 9+ hours of traveling, who wouldn't have a meltdown? She walked in the airport and stayed with us. She listened and followed directions most of the time. She did kick the passanger in front of her in the head on the way back, but, really, he was asking for it. What person sees that a small child is sitting behind him, in a car seat so she is up high, and then decides to lean his seat all the way back, jam his head into the crack between the seat and the side of the plane, and then gets upset that a little foot finds its way up to the deliciously lime green pillow sticking out? And mommy, who was trying to watch and prevent such things, dropped off to sleep for a brief moment after being kept up all night by a screaming child. Oh well. He was really rather nasty about the whole thing and quite passive-aggressive. I have to confess that, as he walked off the plane complaining about Aidan's behavior (and, really, compared to most 2 year olds I've seen on planes, she was very well behaved), I wished that he will one day fly his own two year old and that child will have ADD. Not nice, but I was tired.

The down side of our trip was that Christianne was sick the entire time, I caught a cold, and Aidan woke up screaming the night before we left with something hurting and I had no tylenol to give her. No es bueno. But Aidan loves flying and loves riding the bus and she had a great time. DVDs help too.

We spent our trip visiting our friends Pam (Gomma) and Bruce and my mother (Grandma). Gomma threw a little birthday party for Aidan and invited Nana Penny and Grampy Ted, which was wonderful. Aidan's still singing happy birthday to herself. The trip was marked by multiple, multiple, multiple trips to the park - often twice in one day - and several scoops of ice cream. One day, early in the trip, Pam and I took Aidan to the park and then decided to get "ice cream first" before going home. The next day, Christianne and I had Aidan at the park and then went to get lunch. As we were going back to the car, Aidan veered off and started walking back to the mall saying, "Ice cream first, ok, please" over and over until she found the ice cream shop. We were on vacation, so we ate a lot of ice cream first.

The parks we went to had two things in common: sand and running water. Aidan had a blast! Most days it was warm enough to strip her down to her pull-up and just let her run. She got very sandy. She dug and ran and climbed and slid. We started to see some of the same kids and parents at the park and Aidan made some friends with whom to play. It is so sweet to watch her try to initiate connections with other kids. She has two approaches. One is to just follow them around and do whatever they do. The other one she used was to pull up her sleeves and show them her tatoos (when we travel we put tatoos on Aidan's arms that have our cell phone numbers on them just in case she gets lost). It was so cute. We worked on sharing her toys. It is funny. If you ask Aidan to share, her first response is almost always, "No." But then, she'll think about it for a minute or two and then come back and share. She just needs to control of deciding to do it herself.

She is more and more interactive and verbal with her environment everyday. She's even learning to talk on the phone a little bit (with coaching about what to say). And, her new phrase is "Little bit" complete with gesture of putting her thumb and forefinger together, holding it up by her head, and squinting her eyes. She's done very well transitioning back to home and school and routine. I am glad of that.

Today is school picture day. I hope we get some good ones.

I'll try to get pictures up soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Darned laws of physics

Poor Aidan keeps bumping up against laws of physics that thwart her heart's desires. This morning, it was the fact that it is impossible to teleport the bite of waffle she desperately wanted to share with Christianne from the backseat of my car into Christianne's car that was just in front of us.

Aidan and followed Christianne most of the way to Aidan's school this morning. Periodically, Aidan would tear off a piece of her waffle, stretch out her arm as far as it could go given the straps of her car seat, and yell, "Mama! Waffle!" She was most disappointed that she could not reach Mama and there was nothing I could do to facilitate the transfer between solid objects. I suppose that I could have tossed the waffle bite through two open windows when we briefly stopped next to each other, but frankly that was just more than this can't-drink-coffee-since-going-through-two-pregnancies-mommy was up for prior to 8 in the morning. We contented ourselves with waving and yelling "love you!" through open windows. Requires less hand-eye coordination.

Other cute things that Aidan is up to. She now knows the name of the street she lives on. If you listen really carefully, you can hear it quite clearly. I won't describe it here in case some malicious person has found the blog. If you are a malicious person: GO AWAY! We are now working on the house number. This is proving a little more difficult.

Aidan is obsessed with the "Wiggles." We watch a portion of it every day. You haven't lived until you have seen Aidan do the "hiccuping chicken dance" and the "bop de doodle dance." We should video tape them. She is way cute!

She is also obsessed with flossing her teeth since her visit to the dentist. Her technique needs some work, but she's devoted to the activity. She even lets me do 3 or 4 each night. We use flossing as a reward for letting us brush her teeth. I'm not sure our child is "normal."

Aidan seems to be adjusting to her new school. The teachers comment on her vocabulary on a regular basis and she is learning new things each day. Today was show and tell with something starting with a "C." I suppose I should have let Aidan pick it out, but I packed some toy cups for her last night after she was in bed. When she's in formal preschool she can choose her own show and tell objects. She's coming home rather wound up, however. I don't know if this is a function of needing more physical exercise than they are giving them, the amount of time she is asked to listen and follow directions, that they serve dessert at lunch, or she's just so stimulated and excited at school that it is carrying over at home. But, boy, is she independent at home! And, she constantly wants to eat something. The other day, over the course the day, she ate 2.5 oranges and 2 bananas. You'd think we starve the child. We really don't!

Aidan is showing little interest in potty training, although we have had two instances of pooping in the potty. Very exciting. We need to find a better incentive for her as stickers seem to have lost their appeal. Maybe we should try dental floss. We are trying training pants that turn cold when wet. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

2 year stats

Well, Aidan's growing like a weed.

Height: 36.5 inches (95th %ile)

Weight: 28.4 pounds (75th %ile)

Head: 19 inches (70th %ile)

Her weight percentile jumped significantly, making the doctor inquire about this, but he said as long as her height is ahead of her weight, we are good. Maybe she doesn't need 1.5 avocados on a regular basis. But doctor said she looks good and is healthy and doing well developmentally. An A+ visit.

Aidan also got an A from the dentist. She had her first tooth cleaning, fluoride application, and exam. Everything but the exam went fairly easily, but overall, she did great! The dentist did say to plan for braces because her mouth is so small. Oh joy. :-)

A picture is worth a 1,000 words

Ready, set, go!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Doctor?



The picture doesn't relate to the post, but I know you all really read the blog for pictures.

As you may recall, we have had a rash of leprosy in the household. Fortunately, it only affects stuffed mice. Tonight as we were driving home, Aidan was lamenting Steve's owie. I was commiserating with her and out of the blue Aidan says, "Doctor." I asked if Steve needed to go to the doctor for his owie and Aidan said, "Yes." I told her that it was very fortunately that we were going to see Dr. Denison tomorrow and we would bring Steve to see if Dr. Denison had any special mouse medicine.

Poor Dr. Denison has no idea what he is in for.

Problem solving at its finest

Aidan and I were at the Little Gym on Saturday. One of the activities was for the kids to lie on their tummies over a big bolster, which we then rolled down an incline so the kids did a forward roll as a result. We did this activity and then the teacher moved on to something else. Aidan decided this was fun, so during free play time, she found another bolster, pushed it out from where it was (wedged between 2 mats), rolled it over to the incline area, and started to push it up into the starting position. It was really amazing to watch her discover her own thought, look around the environment and find the tools she needed, acquire the tools, and plunge again with her plan.

Our little fish

Aidan has decided that swimming is the best. Two weeks ago, when Christianne took her to swim class, Aidan started putting her face in the water and reaching down to get dive toys off a submerged table. Saturday, when I took her to class, she immediately started putting her face in the water and went off to look for dive toys she could go after. She is actually trying to swim down to them rather than just bend her knees to get them.

Last night at Kathryn and Susie's house, Aidan decided that she needed to jump off the diving board. Yes, you read that right. Jump off the diving board. Now, it was a low, home swimming pool sort of diving board, but still. The first time, she climbed up there all by herself and jumped off without any assistance. She still has trouble knowing to jump out and away from things and was a little close to the board. She didn't hit her head, but we were concerned that she might. But this little girl stood at the end of the board and jumped (or stepped) to Christianne. After that, one of us helped her jump so we could make sure she got out far enough. The other was on catch and retrieval duty. Aidan went quite a way under water and wasn't the least bit scared. She begged to do it over and over and over and over until she was so tired that her legs were jelly and we were breathing hard as well. We finally had to cut her off.

We are thrilled to have a child who embraces adventure and trusts herself and us so much. We are terrified (well, I'm terrified, Christianne is concerned) that this strength could also get her into trouble some day. I will never teach her to be afraid, but a health dose of measured thought might be nice. Until then, we'll watch her like a hawk and hope others will too.

Ready?

We are starting to work on potty training. As part of this, we flush the poop in the potty. (The handout from the doctor's office said this helps children learn that poop goes in the potty...we'll see.) Sunday we were at a party at a friend's house. Aidan needed her diaper changed. As she reached across to flush the toilet, I hear this little voice say:

Ready, poop?

And away it went...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lots of new things

Aidan had her first day at her new school yesterday. They said she did well and she came home happy and full of energy. We had a really great evening together. Aidan even came home with a "Monday folder" that contains information about what she will be working on this week and information sheets for Christianne and me to fill out. We had to sign the folder and send it back today. It really is like being in school! This week, Aidan's class will be working on recognizing the letter "A", the color red, and circles. She had music class yesterday and I think today is library time. Unfortunately, we had a very tearful drop off this morning. She stopped crying about 5 seconds after I walked out the door and looked like she was recovering when I peeked in. Hopefully, it will get easier. The lead teacher ("Gran") seems to want us to sneak off while she distracts Aidan. We have a policy of always saying good-bye. It leads to more tears in the short run sometimes, but how awful for a child to confidently go off to play, thinking their parent is still there, only to turn around for a hug or encouragement and find them gone. That just seems not so good. So, we are still working out the kinks.

Aidan's speech has just exploded in the last few days. She is regularly using short sentences and communicating much more effectively. It was like she woke up one morning and it all just started to click. It really is fun to engage with her in the new way.

We are working on using the potty. She got a brand new Elmo potty for her birthday (early) and pull-ups. We haven't had anything happen in the potty yet, but we are making progress with spending time sitting on it.

Aidan is still struggling with a little biting. She's bitten me twice in 2 days. Last night she did it again and she got sent to time out. After time out is over, I always go in and ask her why she got sent to time out. Not that I really expect her to be able to answer that question, but I want her to get used to the expectation that she think about what she did (as she becomes developmentally able to do this). Last night, I went in and asked the question and Aidan replied, "I bite." I about fell over. We talked about no biting and using words when mad. Just another sign of her growth and development.

She had a great time with her birthday party on Saturday. We had 7 kids over and spent most of the time in the backyard playing with water toys. Later, she played in the sandbox with her wet bathing suit. Fun times! It was really a wonderful time for everyone. I'll get some pictures up.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New School

Well, Aidan will start her new school on Monday. It seems like a very fast transition, but we didn't want her to start a new room at her old school, be there a week, and then start a whole new school. Hopefully, she won't miss getting to say good-bye too much. She has been in such a mood this week. I hope something new and stimulating will help. Her new teacher was there this morning when I dropped off the application and gave me a big hug when she heard we would be joining the school. I hope that bodes well.

Oh, I forgot to say that Leprosy is spreading through the Steve colony. Two more have been stricken with the disease. One required surgical intervention to first remove the decaying nose and then suture the area to prevent Steve's brains from leaking out. The other is in the process of losing his nose. All told, 3 Steves are now ailing, but staying strong for Aidan, who is hugging everything in sight and begging for her pacifier. Poor baby needs some soothing!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Biting and Compassion

Well, our almost-two-year old, sweet Aidan, decided that, since she's almost 2 and full of big emotions and a little overwhelmed by it all, she would take up biting. I thought we might skate through with no biting. I guess not.

Wednesday I picked her up and her teacher told me that she had bitten at least one other child that day. Her teacher attributed it to boredom and feeling frustrated because of that. She got sent to the office for an official time out. Not just an in the room time out, but an in the school office time out. Our little girl, sent to the principle's office already.

So, Christianne and I didn't shame Aidan, but we did talk about "we don't bite" and "no biting." And I talked with Aidan about using her words and going to her teacher and saying "help" (or as Aidan says, "elp!" if she got frustrated.

Today, Christianne picked her up and the teacher said she had good news and bad news. The good news is that Aidan did not bite any other children today. The bad news is that Aidan bit herself twice. Once on each hand during various bouts of frustration with other children.

Clearly, she got the message that biting others is not acceptable. And, her feeling was so big she had to do something with it. (I have to say the psychologist in me who has worked with a lot of people who self-injure died a little even at the thought of Aidan hurting herself in this fairly normal way. I did refrain from dialing my friend who is a play therapist for a panic consultation.)

Tonight, we role played with Aidan things she can do when she's mad her frustrated. We worked on saying "Help!" as loud as she can. We also worked on wiggling her whole body when she has a big feeling she doesn't know what to do with. Christianne and I pretended to be fighting over a toy and when one of us yelled help, the other would stop. Then we pretended to fight with Aidan for the toy and coached her to say "help," at which point the other one would come in a negotiate a compromise. Hopefully it will start to transfer and no one, Aidan included, will be bitten.

While we were playing, Aidan got a little wound up and hit me in the face with a beaded hat. It hurt and I played it up a little to make the point. Aidan apologized and gave me a kiss. But here's the really compassionate, sweet part: Of her own volition, she left the room and went to the kitchen where we keep the Puppy Patch (cold pack for owahs) in the fridge. She came back asking for help, got me up, too me to the kitchen, said "Doggie, owah, help" (or some combination of that) had me open the fridge and get out the puppy patch. I handed it to her and she put it on my owah. It was so sweet. I picked her up and gave her a big hug and told her own proud I was of her for being so thoughtful and sweet. It is really great to see her developing the ability to care about others.

In other news, we are signing Aidan up for a new school. It looks like she could start in the next week or so. Her current school has been great in many ways, but is really going through a transition time and the school is suffering growing pains. In a couple years, things might be different, but Aidan really needs some more challenge and stimulation and we just aren't seeing it happen at her current school. Her new school is strong on structure and focus, but also seemed really loving and when I told them her first sentence was "I don't want that" they responded "We love self-esteem here!" I really hope they will nurture her soul as well as her mind. It feels like such a big decision to make. We both want what is best for Aidan and the known always feels safer than the unknown, but I think it will be a good move. If you want to check out the school, it is here.

Time to do a little cleaning and go to bed. Hopefully, Aidan isn't sleeping under her pillow or without her diaper tonight.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Oh gosh" "Oh well" and Pictures

Aidan has adopted two new phrases of late. The first one is "Oh gosh." The second is "Oh well." Both are very cute. Her other big accomplishment today was that she asked to walk at the grocery store and she walked almost the whole time (with occasional hugs) but even more impressive is that she 1) stayed with me, 2) when I told her to "freeze" she stopped immediately (and froze in place - very cute), and 3) did not pull a single thing off the shelves. I was very impressed with her behavior and told her several times how proud I was of the way she behaved. She also walked through the store singing "Happy Birthday Aidan" at the top of her little lungs (or Twinkle, twinkle little star). We will work on appropriate vocal decorum next.

And here a few pictures. Sorry it has taken me so long to update them.

In her princess dress:

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Aidan, the adventurous eater:

Edamame:
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Asparagus:
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Hawaiian day outfit for school (she chose the shoes):

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Aidan picks out her own clothes for school:

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We went out to dinner to celebrate Aunt Mary's birthday. Aidan had a long day and it was late. She decided she needed a little personal space so she set this up all by herself and took time to be quiet on her own. Isn't it great to see her listening to that little voice inside her? Fortunately, the restaurant wasn't very busy so she could do this:

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Aidan was playing with a mixing bowl. I told her that when she was little, she used to sit in it. So, she tried again:

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This is her new "Blue's Clues" chair. She drags it all over the house to sit in it:

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Cooperation Station

I know I've been posting lots of updates about things Aidan is accomplishing, but I am just amazed at what she is learning day by day and how she is developing. Every day there is something new. Yesterday, it was her blossoming social skills that amazed me.

After school, Aidan and her friend Ava were playing on the playground. They have these little sit and ride toys out there (cars and trucks and things). Both girls wanted to play with the same toy. After a little bit of help from me and from Ava's dad, the two actually started playing with the toy together. They took turns, with one riding and the other pushing and were able to take turns with almost no prompting from the adults. Every once in a while a little reminder to "use your words and talk about it" was needed, but they played well together for probably 20 minutes or more. It was great! I'm sad that Ava may be moving to a new school soon. She and Aidan are good friends and we like her parents a lot too.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Big weekend and proud moments

Aidan had a very big weekend this past Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was our usual of Little Gym and swimming. We then rushed home for a nap (I had planned 2 hours, Aidan chose 1.25 hours), a late lunch, and then off to a birthday party for one of her Little Gym classmates who just turned 2. More playing in the gym, cake, goldfish pretzels, and juice. Then more playing, balloons, and gift bags, and then home.

Sunday, we had church in the morning and then out to brunch. Home for a nap (2 hours this time) and then back to church for the 5:30 service because we then had to go out to a birthday dinner for Aunt Mary.

Here's one proud moment:

Aidan attended the entire 5:30 services (about 45 minutes) and was so good. We sat in the back for the first part of the service and she colored and did quiet things. The peace came just in time, as she needed a break from being quiet and contained. Then, for the liturgy of the table, we all stand in a circle around the altar. Aidan took a book (a fish book, which was appropriate as the Gospel was the Feeding of the 5000) and stood up on the altar step, quietly looking at her book. She was quiet the whole time, except when Christianne was cleaning up the altar after communion. After Christianne consumed the last of the consecrated wine, Aidan piped up, "All gone!" Both of us told Aidan how proud we were of her and what a big girl she was to have behaved so well in church.

Then we all went to dinner. Aidan did well with the bag of toys I brought and through the consumption of a very large plate of guacamole. She then decided she was tired to sitting in the high chair. Christianne tried to get Aidan to sit with her, but Aidan would have none of it. We had a booth on one side of the table and I gave Aidan an activity to do there and then gave her a blanket and Steve. It quickly became clear that what Aidan needed was some quiet alone time. Fortunately, the restaurant wasn't packed and there was an empty table next to us. Aidan took her blanket, spread it on the ground, got Steve, got her books, got her milk, and arranged everything just so and then snuggled on her blanket. She ended up sitting on her blanket reading her books and hugging Steve. Her cousin Andrew eventually sat on the floor and read with her. That was one sweet picture. We were proud of Aidan for identifying what she needed and making it happen.

Oh, and Aidan's learning to tell happy, sad, and mad faces apart (we have a book and we've been practicing. She's getting pretty good.

Trade?

The other day, Aidan and I were having a snack between Little Gym and swimming lessons. She was happily eating her snack of crackers and smooshed fruit. I was having my energy bar. Aidan comes up to me with her bowl of crackers, holds the bowl out to me and with big eyes says:

"Trade?"

How sweet is that?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A bunch of random things - with pictures!

From the "It is all in how you ask" category:

Aidan's developmental questionnaire has this item on it, "With your child watching you, line of 4 blocks in a row. Does your child copy you and line up 4 blocks?"

So, for a couple of months, I've been lining up 4 blocks, giving Aidan 4 blocks, and asking her if she can copy me. The resounding response? "NO."

I did it the other day and she looked at my line of blocks and said, "Choo-choo." I said, "Aidan, can you make a train like mine?"

That girl sure can line up 4 blocks.

(I wonder if she has to pick out 4 blocks or it is OK that I gave her the maximum amount she could use - I hate that questionnaire.)

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The other night, Aidan and I got home early and went to play with her toys. This lead to many train creations out of blocks and then lots of choo-choo time. At one point while we were playing, Aidan grabbed my glasses off my face. She knows this is a no-no. I tried to get them back, but she was very insistent. So, I decided to watch and see what she wanted to do. She carefully folded up my glasses and put the out of the way from where we were playing, saying, "Right there."

And then she came and tackled me.

A great game of rough-housing ensued and we had a great time playing together. I figured out from the context that she wasn't taking my glasses to take them, but she took them because she wanted to wrestle and she knows that I take my glasses off before we play like that so no one gets hurt. Today at swimming lessons, she did a similar thing, taking my glasses off and putting them on the side of the pool so she could splash me in the face.

Am I a geeky mother to think that is pretty amazing for a 23 month old?

Here are some pictures of our fun:

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I don't know why she did this, but she had fun and was very intent on it:

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This is what happens after Aidan helps with her laundry:

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During the same play session, Aidan initiated, with no prompting from me, our "boogity, boogity, boogity, boo!" game (see June's vacation/update post for explanation of this game). It used to be that I would have to start it. Now, she can apparently remember it, symbolize it in her mind, and choose to act on it. It is amazing to see her theory of mind develop. (Only a psychologist mother would use the phrase "theory of mind" in her child's blog/baby book.)

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Today, at the Little Gym, Aidan did a somersault all by herself - 3 or 4 times.

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Aidan has shown in small ways in the past that she can have compassion for others who are hurting or sad (usually with a little prompting). Today, she demonstrated her ability to be absolutely horrified at another person's (or stuffed mouse's) plight. Her little mouse Steve has a button nose. (You may remember that we have 5 Steves so we are never without one.) Aidan likes to chew on Steve's nose. Today, Steve developed leprosy and his nose fell off. Aidan was distraught beyond belief. She held him and kissed him, and said, "oh no" over and over. She finally calmed when I told her that he would be OK, but his nose would never be the same. She's given him extra TLC today. She was mightily confused when I handed her another Steve later in the day and he had a full nose. Poor kid's going to have impair reality testing and need therapy.

Steve before:

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Steve after being stricken with leprosy:

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Bedtime is going better. The books seem to be good incentives and last night she earned all 5 and kept all 5. She's also putting herself to sleep with less crying and carrying on, which is good. Once she gets that down, maybe we'll work on a big girl bed.

What a 23 month old needs in order to go to sleep:

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(That would be a pillow, 3 blankets, sippy cup, hand crochetted hat, and at least 7 stuffed animals.)

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She's also showing interest in using the potty. She asks to sit on it about once a day now. After she moves to her next class (August 25th), we'll start working more intentionally on it. Until then there is no real point because they won't do it at school until they are 2.

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Swimming lessons are going very well. Aidan loves them!

Those are the major updates.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gotta start early when you are a Priest's Kid

Aidan is taking her role as a Priest's Kid very seriously and practicing for the duties she can anticipate at church as she grows. Here she is practicing to be a thurifer (and maybe Altar Guild too):



Another jaybird night

Well, I'm sure you are all curious to know how going to sleep went last night. Aidan got her books and read and rocket and Christianne counted down 20 minutes and then put her in her crib with her pillow, 27 stuffed animals (a slight exaggeration), blanket, sippy cup of water, music, and a kiss and left. Aidan cried for a much shorter period and not as mournfully, and was then asleep.

However, when I went to check on her, again, no diaper. Left her top on this time. Diapering a sleeping child while making sure they say asleep is no easy task - did I mention I'm going in in the dark with just a very small, teeny tiny night light?

I did a better job last night, however, as she was not wet. On the other hand, I walked in to her holding out her index finger and saying, "Finger...finger." I grabbed her finger to see what was the matter (good thing I didn't kiss it!) and it was full of poop! I asked her where it came from and she said, "Diaper!" After a good hand wipe for both of us, lots of "magic soap," and a diaper change we were off to start our day. Oh, and a conversation about the down side of sticking your hand in your diaper when it has poop on it. Ewwwwww!!!!!!



This is a picture of Aidan's outfit for Western Day at school. If you look closely, the child on the right on Aidan's shirt is Christianne in her cowgirl outfit.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Naked as a jaybird

I'm not sure how naked a jaybird is, but last night, that's how Aidan went to sleep.

But, let me back up.

I am pleased to announce that Aidan kept all 5 of her books last night. Excellent getting ready for bed, little bug!

(We have many animal names for Aidan.)

We are starting to get the getting ready part under control, but the actual going to sleep part is turning into a production. Last night we:

Snuggled in the rocking chair and read 5 books.

We turned out the lights and snuggled in the big bed.

Aidan changed clothes 3 times.

I put her in her crib, but (not a smart mommy move, I know) relented and we tried snuggling in the chair one last time.

I finally put her in her crib, as we were getting no where, and told her good night.

She cried while Christianne and I felt guilty and like bad mommies (maybe one day she'll read this and understand we didn't try to be mean). And I tried to comfort us by saying, "Crying is a natural response to feeling frustrated and not getting what you want."

After about 15 hours (well, actually 20 minutes), Aidan went to sleep.

When I went in to check on her before we went to bed, she had taken off her PJs and her diaper and was sleep on her tummy, legs pulled up and to the side like a little frog, with her bare bum in the air. A very cute sight, I must say.

I am standing there wondering how I'm going to get the diaper back on her because I am NOT waking her up. Fortunately, she was hiked up enough I could get one side of the diaper over her hiney and the other under her front and do it up enough to stay on for the night. Next, I tried to figure out if she was sleeping on a wet sheet. Fortunately, she's getting ready to potty train and has a bit better bladder control, so the bed was dry. I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't.

(Don't worry, Aidan, I wouldn't have let you sleep in a pee soaked bed. I promise.)

This morning, it was evident that the diaper had leaked some, but overall, it was all good.

Our new plan is she has 20 minutes to go to sleep and after 20 minutes she goes into the crib, asleep or not and then we only go back in if it sounds like she's so upset she's about to have a psychotic break. I'm not sure those are the exact words we used, but that's the gist of it.

I'm sure part of this is related to the fact that the pacifier has gone bye-bye. It really helped her gear down from the day. She's only asked for it once since it disappeared, for which I am grateful. However, I'm eager for some more self-soothing skills to kick in! We've got evening things tonight and tomorrow, so we probably won't get a chance to implement the plan until Monday. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

First full-on meltdown

Aidan had her first almost-two years old meltdown last night. She is really resistant to going to bed lately. Some nights are great, but last night she was playing her counting game and generally not cooperating. She lost one book before even getting to her room, had the opportunity to earn it back with positive teeth brushing but lost it (she's at 3 books at this stage of the story). She lost one more book over getting her PJ's one. As soon as I put it out in the hall, she started crying hysterically. She kept trying to get out of the baby gate to go get it and when she couldn't open it by herself, she attempted to drag me or Christianne over to help her. All the while, crying real tears and snot running down her nose and half dressed because that's as far as we got in the process.

Although it made our hearts break, Christianne and I held firm that the book had gone "bye-bye" but she would have a chance to get to read it tomorrow night and she still had two books left. We reflected her anger and her sadness and inquired if she would like hugs or kisses to help her feel better (both were rejected). We offered to leave the room to give her some time by herself, but she clearly stated she wanted us to stay. We went on like this for at least 30 minutes before she finally calmed down enough to bury her face in my legs and accept reality.

For some reason, she seemed to blame Christianne for this whole episode, even though I was the one who took the book away. Poor Christianne. All she wanted to do was repair the connection with Aidan and Aidan was having none of it, trying to push Christianne off the bed and refusing hugs and kisses good night. It was a sad night for everyone.

Aidan and I settled into the big bed to read, but she was wide awake after all that crying and showed no signs of going to sleep. I offered to put her into the crib with a pillow, water, blanket, Steve, and Sally (large, knit flower person). She agreed and all was good for a bit. Then she started crying again. Christianne went to check on her and got to snuggle her for a bit, then Aidan started calling for me. Back in the big bed. I suggested that she could just sleep in the bed (as sometimes having an audience just makes things worse), but she insisted that I lie down with her. We laid down and eventually Aidan fell asleep at 9:40p, about an hour and 20 minutes later than we like for her to go down. She was a tired little girl this morning.

Neither Christianne nor I have ever wanted to go back on our word so much as when Aidan was acting as if we had eviscerated Steve in front of her, but knew that the ultimate best thing was to keep the limit.

Maybe tonight, we will get to read, "Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You?"

A few pictures

Aidan's bohemian look:

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Dressed for "Inside-Out Day" at school:

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Toddler dresses herself:

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Aidan wants glasses:

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brushing Bobby's and Steve's teeth

Here's our first video post:

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operation brush teeth and get ready for bed

Tonight, we tried the new plan. Aidan got to pick 4 books to read at bedtime. She, however, picked 5. So, in an on the fly adaptation, the 5th book became the "tooth brushing cooperation" book. I held the book and informed Aidan she could have it if, and only if, she brushed her teeth with no crying or carrying on and cooperated. I stood in the bathroom with the book as a reminder as Christianne brushed Aidan's teeth. It went much, much smoother. Bribery, what a parenting tool!

Then, it was off to get ready for bed with a count of 5 books. We explained the rules: Little girls who cooperate when getting ready for bed get to read all 5 books. Little girls who don't cooperate and who have to be chased down, get books taken away. Things started off well enough, but then she decided she didn't want a diaper change. After working with her a bit, we did the count to 10 and she lost a book. She then got the diaper, but balked at PJs. Once again, she lost a book, but this time I took the books she lost (my choice of which books) and put them out in the hall. This seemed to make an impression on her. After a little crying and a reminder of how the rules work, she got on her PJs. In fact, she put her PJ bottoms on (backwards) all by herself. She almost lost a third book after this, by sitting in the book reading chair and not letting one of us sit with her, but she managed to pull it out. So, she gets 3 books tonight. I told her that maybe tomorrow night she can get all 5.

Oh, and last night she went to sleep without her pacifier. We are trying it again tonight, with it close by in case of an emergency bale out. The doctor wants it to go away at 2. It would be nice if she were to decide on her own she didn't need it (last night, she gave it to me after using it just a few minutes). Here's hoping.

The world according to a toddler

In the world according to a toddler, if you yell "My turn!" repeatedly at the top of your lungs, it magically becomes your turn.

In the world according to a toddler, a sandwich bite made into an airplane tastes yucky if flown by a parent, but is yummy if the toddler is the pilot.

In the world according to a toddler, if you say "Uh-oh" after doing something you aren't supposed to do, it magically becomes an accident and you don't get into trouble.

In the world according to a toddler, if you just ignore a unwanted request, the request simply ceases to exist.

In the world according to a toddler, everything is better if it is dipped in something.

To be continued...

You know you're a mother when...

Aidan has developed quite an interest in buses, as I think I've mentioned before. Every time we are in the car, she's on the lookout for a bus. After she sees the first one, she says, "Agin! Bus!" and "Where are you bus?" over and over. On a good day, we can see 4 buses between daycare and home. She gets so excited when she sees one.

So, now, I find myself driving around town and everytime I see a bus, I find myself feeling so excited and I start to proclaim, "There's a bus!"

Then I realize I'm alone in the car.

Our almost 2 year old

Aidan is very busy being almost 2. She knows her own mind and what she wants and is reluctant to relinquish control to another. Our short hand for this is "The NO MONSTER is here." Poor thing. It has got to be so hard to want to do so much, have limited things that you can accomplish on your own, and then have some mommy or mama tell you that you can't do one of the things you know that you could do it given the opportunity. Or, to think you can do something just fine by yourself, thank you very much, but have a grown-up have a different opinion (like teeth brushing).

We have 3 main issues right now:

1) Bedtime. Aidan does not wish to go to bed at night. Delay, delay, delay...play, play, play. I think it is related to her difficulty transitioning from having us full time on vacation to our work schedule (insert working mommy guilt feelings here), as well as her desire for independence. Our new plan is Aidan gets to pick out 4 books to read before bedtime at the beginning of the getting ready process. Then, for each time she doesn't listen or engages in delaying tactics, one book gets taken away. After all 4 are gone, no stories and just a hug and a kiss and bed. We'll see how that works.

2) Teeth brushing. We had some success with bringing a parade of stuffed animals into the bathroom. Aidan would brush their teeth, each in turn, and make them spit into the sink while singing the teeth-brushing song (it is pretty cute). Then, one of us would brush Aidan's teeth. Then she would get to brush mama's or mommy's teeth. It worked for about a week. Now, we are back to her wanting to do it "MYSELF" or just refusing altogether. Any one got any tips? I'm thinking of trying a sticker chart. (Curious about the teeth-brushing song? Click here and choose "Songs" in the left menu and then "Ready for bed." It is cute song. Cuter when Aidan is singing it.)

3) Dinner. The last two nights, Aidan has decided that she wants "treats" for dinner. Last night, she wanted little jelly fruit flavored things (at 17 grams!?!? of sugar, they are a rare treat). The night before, she wanted "ice" (ice cream). So, we introduced the concept of having to eat dinner before treats. Last night she finally got interested in dinner and ate reasonably well. The night before, we told her "2 bites of everything on your plate." She climbed up into her chair, crying pretty hard, and started eating. She got to the chicken and balked. We held firm and she ate her chicken. And then she got her ice. Poor thing.

On brighter notes, she is continuing to talk more and more each day and we can understand more and more each day. She's singing more of the songs she knows too. And she's counting more. She has some numbers all the way up to 20 now and enjoys counting as she does things. In the "be careful what you model" category, Aidan has started counting when she's doing things that I have told her to "hurry up" about, as when Aidan is given a choice, she has until we count to 10 to make a choice or we make it for her. So, now she counts as she doing things. Her counting usually goes like this "6...7...8...2...3..." Sometimes, it goes "16...17...18..." However, she's getting the idea.

She can now, with some reliability, identify the letter "A" when it appears by itself.

And she is GREAT at identifying animals.

She LOVES painting with paintbrushes now. We have indoor (on paper) and outdoor (on the sidewalk) paints and she is having the best time. We are having fun too, particularly when we are outside and can draw and paint ourselves!

She is working on her pouring skills too - and getting quite good at it. When we are outside, she likes to fill up a bucket with water and pour it into smaller buckets and then back again. She hasn't figured out that different sized containers have different volumes, but she's having fun experimenting. She's also having fun spraying us with the hose.

She continues to be my helper in the kitchen and loves participating in the cooking process. Lately, however, she wants to cut things herself. I'm not quite ready to turn over my kitchen knives. Last night, we worked on cutting bread (with a dull knife), however, and she thought that was great fun.

She can now jump with both feet leaving the floor. She is almost ready to start jumping off things. Right now, she tends to step off (with a little lift of her upper body that makes her think she is jumping). But the other day, I saw a true two-footed jump off a soft block.

Oh, and she loving swim lessons now. Doesn't really want to follow the lesson (other than the part about jumping off the side, doing the Hokie Pokie, and going down the slide), but loves going. Big improvement from the first two times.

In the cute now, but will become irritating later, category: Aidan's teacher informed me that Aidan will go up to another little girl and say, "No, no Lindsay. Don't do that. That's a no-no." Aidan seems to feel the need to take care of Lindsay (and boss her around). When we are leaving for the day, if Lindsay is still there, Aidan will try to take Lindsay's diaper bag to her or to one of Lindsay's parents if she sees them. It is really sweet.

Those are the main Aidan updates. Christianne has figured out how to get video off our camera and onto the computer. This weekend I hope to figure out how to upload it here so you can see Aidan in action.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A moment of sweetness

Last night (before the "I'm so mad I'm going to take off all my clothes" incident, we had a little accident in the kitchen. A glass lid to a skillet fell on the floor and shattered into a million pieces. We were all standing in the kitchen. I scooped up Aidan and took her and the dogs to Aidan's room while Christianne cleaned up the mess. Everyone was OK except Aidan got a couple of little cuts on her foot from flying glass.

But here's the sweet part. We get in Aidan's room and I explain that we have to stay in there for awhile because of the broken glass. Aidan, without prompting, comes across the room, strokes my face, and says, "Sorry." It was so sweet. I thanked her for the sympathy and reassured her that she did nothing wrong. But it was a nice show of unprompted caring and toddler understanding that something bad had happened and she wanted to reach out.

Of course, later, she threw a fork at me. Still, a sweet moment of connection in the midst of her desperate race toward selfhood.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm so mad....

OK, first you have to understand the set up. Aidan has a new swimsuit - a Dora swimsuit. She insisted on wearing it to dinner tonight. It has a little cover-up dress that goes with it. After dinner, she wanted to take off the swimsuit and put on the cover-up. As it was near bedtime, I convinced her to put on her pajama top and then put the cover-up over the top. Imagine a short sleeve PJ top that has a white background with pink flowers all over it and pink trim. Now imagine a lime green mesh spaghetti strap cover-up that says "DORA" across the front over it.

Notice there is nothing about a diaper or PJ pants mentioned above.

A wrestling match ensues (after much appropriate parenting, choices, etc.) that results in 1) Aidan throwing 2 diapers at me (after throwing a fork at me at dinner) and 2) Aidan wearing a diaper and PJ bottoms.

We have a talk about throwing things and what are appropriate things to do when angry.

We settle into the "big bed" to read stories (her new thing; she doesn't want to sit in the rocker anymore). She does well for awhile and I remind her that if she wants to be in the big bed, she has to settle down. She decides to get down. I give her a choice of getting down and going to her crib or staying in the bed with me to read stories. This stops her for a moment and then she is off. I very calmly retrieve her and put her in her crib with all her nite-nite things, tell her I love her, and leave the room. It is quiet for a bit and then crying ensues. Usually she will calm down and fall asleep in no more than 10 minutes. She didn't seem to be doing this, so, I went into her room to check on her.

Now, here's the "I'm so mad..." part:

"I'm so mad I'm going to take off all my clothes!"

Aidan is standing in her crib with her PJs and diaper off and the lime green cover-up in some contorted mess around her torso with one arm through a strap and the other strap around her chest - crying.

Of course, I give her lots of empathy while calling Christianne to witness this sight.

The two of us finally manage to get her diapered (again) and in her PJs (again) sans the cover-up and all lie down in bed for some stories. Christianne makes the mistake of briefly lying on Aidan's pillow. This causes loud protests from Aidan, who eventually banishes Christianne from the room with a "No Mama! My pillow! Move!"

Aidan and I talk about how she hurt Mama's feelings and now Mama is sad. Aidan calls Christianne back and they repair the disconnection. We all lie down and read stories.

Aidan is now asleep (with her clothes on). Let's hope it lasts all night.

Vacation pictures

We started off in Wellesley. Christianne and Aidan played a lot while I was at a conference. But we had some time to play together too. And best of all, we got to see Gomma!

Playing "Beep, beep" in the rent car:

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At the park:

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Playing outside with mommies and Gomma:

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Learning to do a front handspring:

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Sweet pictures:

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In Rockport, we visited Christianne's long-time friend Karin. On day she took us to an orchard in Essex where Aidan got to see lots of animals. She was a little unsure about some of them, but mostly enjoyed the experience. Poor little girl was sitting in time out when 3 sheep came trotting right by her (she was up on a little wall and not in danger of being stepped on). That freaked her out a bit.

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Next, it was off to Salem, MA, home of the famous witch trials. It was a bust of a visit from that standpoint, but we found a lovely commom where Aidan could run and run. She's also demonstrating her ability to fasten the straps on her stroller and push it HERSELF.

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Aidan loves smoothies:

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Then it was off to Boston. We spent a lot of time in Boston Common, looking at ducks and swans and running around.

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There are bronze ducks in the Common and Aidan had fun sitting on each and every one. I'm not sure we did. The last picture needs some sound. Imagine her saying, "Mama, mooooooove!!!!" and making "I'm working really hard grunting noises."

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On our last day in Boston, we went to the New England Aquarium. Aidan was a little overwhelmed at first (it was rather noisy) but then she got into it. However, she totally freaked out when we watched the divers jump into the tank to feed the fish and the giant turtle.

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Aidan and I have a game we play called "boogity, boogity, boogity, boo!" This game is difficult to describe, but it entails me making little grabbing motions with my hand in front of her face for the "boogity, boogity, boogity" part and then with "boo!" quickly opening my hand. She thinks it is hysterical. For a long time, I would do it alone, but now she's started doing it back to me. I pretend to be surprise/scared and she laughs as much as when I startle her. These are pictures of her startling me. (You should hear her try to say "boogity")

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General cuteness that can't be classified:

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