Monday, May 16, 2011

The apple party

I had assumed I would be throwing another train party.  Jude likes trains and I have a train cake pan, so it seemed like a no-brainer.  A few days after Jude attended Christian's April train party, I asked him what type of birthday party he wanted.  Of course, he was going to answer, "Trains!"  No, of course not.  Instead, Jude answered, "Ah-Ahps."  Translation: Apples.

Ok.  Apples.  I was not expecting this.  I continued to ask him every couple of days, waiting for him to change his mind.  His answer only got more enthusiastic and clear, "Ah-Ahps birthday party!" or "Jude Ah-Ahps party!"  As his birthday got nearer, any time anyone would mention it, he would always clarify for them that he was having an apple party.  When he told Gabriela, I smiled, and said my usual line: "Yeah, I don't understand it, but it looks like we're having an apple party."  Gabriela was the first person who thought it made perfect sense.  She explained that for him, apples are a sign of celebration- we have been apple picking and the kids bring apples to Gabriela's to chop and make apple cobbler one day a week.  

Whatever the reason for Jude's choice, he loved his apple party and clearly felt very special all day.  Whenever he saw any of the decorations, Jude would proudly proclaim, "My birthday!  Two!"  His "party" was very low key.  We invited the Roberts family and basically had a barbeque.  The adults ate while the three kids played in the back yard.  We had decorated the dining area in an apple theme- hung red balloons with construction paper leaves from the fan and placed apples around the apple cake I made.  However, because the cake had cream cheese icing and had to be in the fridge, the table really just appeared to have a centerpiece of apples for a while.  At one point, we checked on the boys inside to find that they were happily eating from all 10 of the apples on the table.  When we did bring the cake out, Atticus coached Jude and the other boys about when to blow out the candles (and who should be blowing out the candles).  I wish I had remembered the video camera.  Jude's concentration was priceless. And it paid off. As soon as the song was finished he stood up in his chair, leaned over, and blew out both candles in one big puff!

After eating the apple cake, Jude opened his presents.  He received pool toys and a kite from Christian.  (The kite was another strange request from Jude.  When I asked him what presents he wanted for his birthday, he first responded with apples.  When pressed further, he came up with, "Kite!  Fly!")  Finnan gave Jude a real shovel to match his.  (It has become clear to me that every male child needs his own quality shovel and large dump truck.)  We gave Jude a nerf football and a tunnel (tube-like thing that kids crawl through).  Atticus had run to IKEA at the last minute to pick up the tunnel (Jude is obsessed with tunnels) as the idea only occurred to me the day of the party.   I am amazed at how much the boys love that tunnel.  We'll just see how long it is before we have a tunnel related injury.  In addition to already turning it into a roller, a submarine, and a monster, they have also attempted to prop it against Finnan's foot board to make a slide and set it up between a chair and the sofa to make a bridge.  Fortunately, Atticus and I were on hand in time to scratch both these ideas, this time.

I am not much of a party planner, but judging by Jude's reactions, it was perfect.  And that is all I wanted for his birthday.

Jude LOVED the apple balloons.  He thought it was a "fun game" to bat them around.

Happy Birthday to You! (Notice all of the partially eaten apples to the side.)

His wish should come true!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Jude is 2!

I know I have posted this picture before.  But, I can not think of a better picture to sum up this little boy- the smile and the ever present dirty face say it all.  At 2, Jude is full of joy, energy, and mischief.  He is sweet, cuddly, charming, and always ready to give a hug.  He is social and outgoing.  He loves keeping up with the big kids.  He is willful, although not serious.  And he is very, very different from his older brother.  Atticus still describes him as "a force," and (taking the phrase from Honey) a "lump of love."

At his doctor's appointment he weighed in at 26lbs 11oz (30%) and was 34 inches tall (50% percentile).  He amused the doctor by constantly flipping himself (holding onto my hands while I was sitting and flipping himself over).  When the nurse gave him his only shot, he did not cry.  In fact, when he saw the bandaid seconds after the shot, he proclaimed, "Fun!"  The nurse laughed and said, "I need you to give lessons!"

Some tidbits about Jude, the two year old:
*Jude adores Finnan.  Whatever Finnan does, he wants to do.  Whenever I have to drop Finnan off somewhere, without Jude (swim lessons, Gabriela's), Jude will cry and cry, saying: "No, [me] too!" "Stay, Fa-Fa."  When Jude does get to stay with Finnan at Gabriela's he will also very confidently yell, "Bye-bye" even while Finnan might still be clawing at my leg.  One place he does not like being left is the gym nursery, no matter who he is with.  The last time I tried, the second we walked in the door, my happy baby who was talking about how fun the play center was started to wail uncontrollably.  Walked out, he was happy; back in, wailing.   I didn't leave him and haven't tried again.
*Jude's favorite toys seem to be balls and large dump trucks.  He sleeps with his Raff (giraffe) and Elmo- both gifts from Finnan.  He also loves the sandbox and swinging.  At home, he exclusively swings on the big boy swing, demanding to go "Fast!  High!"  He even will learn his head completely back and claim to "Pump!"
*He loves counting.  Before launching himself off of anything (pool deck, changing table, etc.), he will determine whether you will count or he will.  If he counts, he will proclaim: three, nine, twelve, thirteen! Should there be an occasion for more numbers he will continue to repeat twelve and thirteen.
*Jude is quite the eater.  I feel like I am constantly providing food for him.  Because of him, we can have no junk food in the house, as he will become obsessed with it.  We had pepperoni in the fridge once and every time he would ask for a snack he would frantically request it.  Even when I would hide it, he seemed to find it in there.  At bedtime, he always insists on a chip, even though he's never been given one to bring to bed.  His most recent obsession has been sliced pickles. . . and he always needs two.  Luckily, he also loves to eat the healthy stuff.
*Jude loves the pool.  We have been going to the Y frequently and he loves to jump to us unassisted, get in and out of the pool by himself, monkey walk along the side, and will even jump onto a noodle and swim across the deep end (while holding onto the noodle) without us even touching him.  
*His current favorite book is We're Going on a Bear Hunt. Every night he will go out in search of his book, saying "bear HUNT, bear HUNT."
* He will often argue with me about facts.  If he says the car is blue, he will not back off no matter what color the car actually is.    
*He loves labeling things and explaining whose they are.  If we see animals or characters in a book, he needs to determine which one is the Mama, Dada, baby, etc.  He very clearly delineates "Mine" vs. "Fa-Fa's."
*He has started throwing more tantrums, but can usually be distracted or a brief stint in his room will calm him down.  Recently, it has been noticeably harder for him not to get his way.  
*He will also occasionally exploit his brother's sensitivities.  As soon as Finnan is finished constructing his prized tower or train track, Jude is usually there to "help" modify the design.  While Finnan loudly protests, Jude continues modifying, unabated.

Yes, Jude, you are now two.  Now we will have to work on getting that second finger up.  Happy birthday.  We love you!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Back to the fields

It is the start of the most wonderful time of the year: fruit-picking season.  After a year hiatus, we were back in the strawberry fields a couple of weeks ago.  Finnan and Jude started strong, both carrying and picking their own fruit.  Then, I made the mistake of telling them they could eat the strawberries.  Jude's bucket was put down and left behind.  Finnan continued for a bit longer, but in the end decided to serve as my bucket carrier while I picked about 12 pounds of strawberries.  This, however, was fine with me.  There are few things I like more than picking fruit, especially on a cooler, overcast day.

It is probably just as well that Jude ended our picking whining at the end of the row (probably from a strawberry-induced stomachache), as we might have ended up carting 24 pounds of strawberries home.  It turned out that 12 pounds was already too much.  The reusable grocery bag I used to transport the strawberries home turned about have the strawberries to mush.  I spent the rest of the day separating the good strawberries from the mushy and making 12 jars of strawberry jam and some delicious homemade strawberry ice cream from the mushy ones.  I was exhausted, but man, I love canning and homemade ice cream.  (As an aside, if any of you have an ice cream maker collecting dust, use it.  You won't regret it!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No! My room!

Jude: My room!
Finnan: No, it's my room!
Jude: No, Fa-Fa, my room!

(Repeat above three lines at least ten times.)

Finnan storms out of the room and into ours.

Finnan: Daddy, tell Jude that it is my room.
Atticus: It is your room.
Alison: And it is Jude's room.
Jude (from a distance): Yah!

Finnan goes back to bed and there is silence.  It is 9:00pm.  One hour after we initially said good-night.

Finnan and Jude have been sharing a room for about a month now.  The room layout has already changed three times.  And I have regretted the change more days than I have not.  However, this is how it is going to be.  To keep myself from changing my mind, I immediately got the guest room back in order. There is no longer any room for a crib.  And besides, Jude is no longer in the crib and the guest room is not child-proof.

Below is a picture of the first layout.  When Atticus first set up the crib turned toddler bed in the room, the boys immediately set to jumping from Finnan's bed to Jude's and vice versa.  Pushing the beds up next to each other seemed to make that activity a little safer.  The problem with this set up- Jude was constantly trying to get into Finnan's bed, which he did not like.

Attempt #2 was to move the toddler bed back against the wall and set up a bed of blankets in the two foot gap between the two beds.  Jude mainly opted to sleep on the floor, however, he was not sleeping well.  So for attempt #3, we removed the crib and now the crib mattress is on the floor.  The first night we did this, Jude sleep through the night for the first time in almost 2 weeks.  (That morning we also saw some molars popping through which could have accounted for the poor sleep.)

This move has had its challenges and benefits.  Jude used to fall asleep immediately in his crib.  Now, they both seem to stay up a while after we say good-night.  They also both seem to wake up at least 15 minutes earlier than they used to.  There is also arguing and crying.  The benefits?  They are learning how to figure things out between each other as we are really trying to stay uninvolved after we say good night.  They also will hang out for a while together after getting up.  When they do emerge from their room together, they will join us in bed for a bit before the day gets started.  I have been separating them for naps, but today when I was putting Jude down he cried out, "Fa-Fa!" Finnan desperately wanted to join Jude, so I let them nap together.  I heard them reading Good Night, Gorilla together and then Finnan came out.  He reported that Jude is asleep, but he wanted to get some more books to look at quietly.

Some time over the next year, we do plan to finish the upstairs and they will have a room big enough to fit two twin beds.  Most of the time I can't wait for their upstairs room.  How wonderful it will be to put them to bed and not hear any of the silly spats.  What will probably happen?  I'll be sitting at the bottom of the stairs straining to hear what they are talking about.

Just one more picture.  One night after it seemed to be taking them quite a while to fall asleep, I found Jude like this:

It seems as if I am one step closer to achieving my goal of them being able to fall asleep anywhere.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dump truck soccer

Before I had Jude, I severely limited Finnan's screen time to TVs and computers.  Well, then I had Jude and reality hit.  Turns out TV is necessary and not only as a break for me.  My kids need breaks, too.  The shows they watch also greatly expand their pretend play.  Dump truck soccer is a game they invented based on one of Finnan's favorite YouTube videos about cars playing soccer with a gigantic ball.  In Finnan and Jude's game there aren't goals, but a lot of quality pushing of the ball, crashing into the other dump truck, and laughing.   It is a lot of fun to watch.      

As an aside, Finnan's most requested YouTube video theme is boat sinking.  The kid can not get enough of watching boats sink.  I have no idea why he first asked to watch such a video, but you would be shocked at how many boat sinkings have been memorialized by YouTube.  It often scares me how much access kids have to technology, but the availability of information is no doubt amazing.