2.15.2017

life according to Lucas

Cats make meowing sounds.
Chickens make eggs.
Owls make who-whooing sounds.
Crabs make underwater sounds.
Bees make humming sounds.
Dragons make puffing sounds.
Animals make pawing sounds.
Feet make footprints.
Bellies make belly buttons.
Mouths make tongues.
Noses make boogers.
Butts make poopies.
Tools make everything better.
Trucks make honking sounds.
Foods make tummies feel all right.
Trees make stumps.
Sun makes sunbeams.
Winter makes snowflakes.
Water makes puddles and drips.
Babies make crying sounds.
Mamas make food.
Dadas make everything all right.
Jesus makes "evah-thing"!

"I be Dada!"

1.20.2017

ramblings of a sleepy lady

Some days I feel like Awesome Mom of a Toddler. My kitchen is pretty clean-ish. I've played trains and chase and cars and tent and goose. I've remembered to drink water regularly. I've come up with a dinner plan. I've read fifteen books aloud on three separate occasions all before 1 PM. I might have even vacuumed several rooms of my perpetually dusty house. These are the days that I feel like a superhero. I feel like a rockstar. Another baby on the way? No problem. I've got this.

Some days I feel like I-Cannot-Handle-Another-Child Mom of a Tornado Beast. I can't see my kitchen counters and Lucas has dropped his lunch on the floor for the third time. I've sat down in the bathroom twice but have been interrupted twice to go diffuse this-is-the-end-of-the-world-and-I-might-be-dying wailing coming from the other room. I have to resist the urge to make a giant plate of nachos for lunch. My living room floor is a minefield of seven different toy areas and even suggesting some minor tidying elicits more of the above-mentioned wailing. All I want to do is curl up on the couch and go to sleep. But the tornado child instantly notices my fetal position, takes a break from emptying out his toy chest, and climbs on top of me saying, "Wake up, mama. No more sleep. Wake! Up!" Another baby on the way? Who came up with this plan? I'm done.

Today was one of those latter days. I'm so grateful to have a husband who comes home from his long day at work and immediately takes over childcare. He takes care of all the things. He walks into our battlefield of a bedroom, where Lucas has been wreaking havoc for the past 90 minutes, and doesn't even blink an eye. He stops to give me a hug and Lucas grabs his work pants and takes off down the hall. And... Breathe. Everything is better with Jason around. And THAT'S why I agreed to this second kid plan. It all makes sense now.

Growing a tiny human and raising a toddler who doesn't nap anymore is a challenge. I'm only 17 weeks along, but I want a babymoon, like, yesterday. Where's my time machine, unlimited resources, and well-rested child when I need it?! I spend a little time every day dreaming up fantastic, relaxing, vacation getaways to cope. But then I realize that even if I went on my vacation, I would still want to bring my little munchkins along and, let's be honest, rest and relaxation would naturally suffer a tad. So then I get a little more realistic in my dreams: I just want to nap once daily. Is that so much to ask? "Wake! Up! Mama! Open eyes!"

I love my life, just in a much more sleepy way than before. And I wouldn't mind some nachos.

Pregnant me does not do nice, put-together pictures. This is as good as it gets, folks. At least Lucas is a cutie!

PS. We got to feel the Marshmallow kick the other day. The feeling never gets old. It's like there's a kungfu goldfish in there. Magical indeed!

1.08.2017

time travel

Have you ever wanted to time travel? Of course you have. Here's your chance! So apparently I wrote the following post back in October. And because I do so hate to write words and have them lost to the winds (read: deleted), I am just going to throw them out here now.

So.
Close your eyes.
Think back to your October (if you want more specificity, October 18th...ish).
Read the following post. (You will have to open your eyes to do this.)

Enjoy time travel! It will probably be nowhere near as satisfying as you've always imagined it.

*************

Lucas and I like to roughhouse. We wrestle and squeal; I tickle him and blow raspberries on his belly; he climbs on top of me, tackles me in a hug, and inevitably [accidentally] kicks me in the stomach, digs his elbows into my chest, and headbutts me in the throat. Great times are had all around.

Life has reached an excellent level of normal. We are a family of three that thrives on routine. Our days are filled in ways I would have never imagined two years ago but I can't imagine them any other way. Our new normal is near perfect. (Oh, naps, why have you fled Lucas?) Life is good.

But the day comes in a toddler's life when he has to be told that his normal is about to change. That day came today.

We were playing our daily game of "hide," a game where the two [sometimes three] of us crawl under a blanket and hide from Puma [if we're downstairs] or the "blue bird with a blue beak with no wings and two feet to walk slowly who eats flies and brown food" [if we're upstairs]. As always, Lucas became more and more frenzied and would come dashing under the blanket, limbs a-flailing, drool a-dripping, eyes alight with the excitement of the imaginary bird having possibly seen him. And, as always, he clambered up me, knees finding purchase in my gut and feet kicking repeatedly as he attempted to get as high up on me as possible. Usually, I'm relatively okay with this rough treatment as it's a fun game and I love the cuddles and snuggles that generally result once he gets all settled in under the blanket tent. But today, today I decided it was time to gently change his normal.

I told him he should try to be more gentle. I told him I liked hiding with him but maybe he could try being a little calmer. I told him I would like to not be kicked in the stomach anymore. And I told him: "There's a baby in my belly."

That's right. A baby. In my belly. Again. [Okay, fine, technically not my belly, but the concept of a uterus is completely lost on Lucas. Trust me.]

We are stoked.

When Lucas heard what I said, it was the most amazing thing. He just froze. He instantly calmed. He stared at my stomach. He said, "Wooow." The expression on his face was incredible. Since he had no reason not to, he seemed to take my statement at face value, 100% literally. There's a baby in mama's belly. He had this adorably curious and awed smile and kept leaning his face in towards my stomach and then back out. "Baby..."

He is going to be an amazing big brother. I know it. And this new little marshmallow is going to be so, so, SO loved.


1.04.2017

busy things

Warning: most of this post is about what has been keeping me from blogging for the past 5 months, which is work. Skip to the end if you want to just read about the fun stuff.

The fall semester was very busy for me. Unfortunately, I wrote 0 blogs during that time. I was teaching two classes that I had never taught before, so I had to do all of my course prep from scratch for those in addition to updating my material for my other two classes.

The first class was Discrete Math. I am obligated by my absurd sense of humor to inform you that this is not doing math in secret. It refers to the study of discrete mathematical objects (as opposed to continuous ones - think things that are separated from each other, like integers, instead of things that run together in a continuum, like real numbers). The real purpose of the class is to introduce mathematical logic and proof technique, but that's extremely dry (actually, very interesting! but only to me...) so I taught it using topics in discrete math as a vehicle. It's a very common first course in proof and logic. This was one of my favorite courses in undergrad, and one of the ones that convinced me to become a math major (I was a math minor before I took it). In the class, I taught how to prove things using pure logic starting with basic assumptions. We started with basic properties of integers (odd/even, prime/composite, divisibility) and moved on from there. We covered a wide variety of topics after that, from recursion to function theory to probability and counting to graph theory. It was a lot of fun for me.

The other class was called Foundations of Geometry. You might think the word foundations implies it is like high school geometry, but maybe easier (the foundations are the beginning, so they should be easy, right?). Really, it is a course on building all of geometry from a small set of axioms. We built Euclidean geometry (which is what you learn in high school) as well as much of hyperbolic geometry (which is a very strange place indeed). We also discussed other possible geometries. The strangest thing you might have learned in my class would be that the universe is probably not really Euclidean, but some kind of mix between Euclidean and hyperbolic geometries. This means that some of what you learned in high school geometry is actually a lie. Most surprisingly:
  • Given a line and a point not on the line, there is more than one line through the point parallel to the original line (try drawing that to see that it's not what you expect).
  • The angles of a triangle actually add up to less than 180 degrees (the larger the area of the triangle, the smaller the sum of the angles)
  • There are no non-congruent similar triangles.
  • There is no such thing as a rectangle.
Weird, right? Luckily, when things are on a small scale (like the size of a solar system), things still look close enough to Euclidean that we can't tell the difference. So, engineers of the world, you can continue to use Euclidean geometry. While you're at it, stick with Newtonian physics. But if you work for NASA, maybe learn some hyperbolic geometry and relativistic physics.

I enjoyed teaching both of these classes. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the axiomatic approach to geometry. Basically, we started with the bare minimum assumptions, and then proved that the rest of what we know of geometry (and some stuff we didn't know) follows from those axioms using only pure logic. It was surprisingly interesting, and surprisingly difficult to teach. The main challenge was making it accessible. I spent countless hours on it, which is one reason I wrote exactly 0 blogs.

This spring marks the first semester in which I will not be teaching any classes that I've never taught before. All of my class prep will just be adapting what I did last time to make it better. This would have made it a very open semester for me, but we are starting a couple online classes that I will be teaching. You might think that it'd be hard to give an online class in math. Yep, it will be. We can't exactly just tell students to read the textbook and discuss it in an online forum. Instead, I'll be creating virtual lectures on my computer to closely approximate what you'd get in a classroom. I will make a video where I write on the screen like a whiteboard in the classroom, and narrate with roughly the same lecture I'd give in person. It will take quite a bit of time to create all the videos, but I'm hopeful that it'll go really well. Obviously in some ways it'll be harder for students - they can't interrupt me to ask questions - but it'll also be easier in that they can pause and rewind and re-watch anything they need to until they understand. And, of course, I will be available to answer questions online. This spring I'll be teaching both of the courses described above, but online. Let me know if you want to take one. Only partly joking.

So, enough about teaching. During all of this time, Lucas has gone from stumpy little guy saying 7 total words to basically-full-grown guy who says things everyday that I had no idea he knew. He's gotten really funny, too ("Mommy say wrong word," "Nap zero minutes!"), and to us he seems so smart. I have no frame of reference, but I'm constantly amazed by how much he understands and the complex thought patterns he displays.

One of my favorite things: whenever I'm playing anything with Lucas and he really starts to have fun, he gets all excited and giggly and shouts "Game!" One great game of note: he has me chase him around (or vice versa) and we each pretend to be something ("Dada 'tend piwate cat. Lukie 'tend monkey"). The game is called, simply, Chase. It is his favorite game in the whole world. In ideal situations, it is broken up by "Crash!"-es, which are: HUGS, after which I am assigned a new character to 'tend to be and we chase all over again.

To top it all off, Sharayah is cooking up another little marshmallow for me to play with, coming June 2017.

Yep, I have the best life in the world.

9.26.2016

the Lucas collection

The first thing that must be mentioned here is TODAY I SMELLED FALL COMING. This is news worthy of many exclamation points. On our walk this morning, Lucas and I basked in the warm sun, cool air, and the sound of crunchy leaves on the sidewalk. I am quite excited about the upcoming months. I won't have to come back from our walk each morning feeling like I just went swimming in a sticky pool of grossness. I will, however, have to listen to an hour of Lucas making his "brrrr!" sound every time a cool wind blows by.

Speaking of our morning walks, in the past two months Lucas and I have traveled 84 miles together. That is 84 miles of pushing his little red tricycle in sun and rain and dump truck dust, 84 miles of identifying the color of each car we pass and explaining the "WHY?" to the car's color [answers often include, "Pink might be the only color that car comes in," "Maybe the owner just likes green things," and "Perhaps the car feels fancy."], 84 miles of feeding Cheerios to birds, 84 miles of songs and games of I Spy and inane conversations about why car doors open and sometimes downright inaccurate factoids ["Tree stumps eat at night."]. Good times.

I have been trying to point out to Lucas the wonder of the soon-to-be-upon-us fall weather and how it affects nature. I show him trees that we pass every single day and try to show him how the leaves are changing colors. I point out the red and yellow and orange and brown leaves that are starting to pop up here and there and he will humor me and nod along with subdued excitement. And then he will shout out, "GREEN! Tree! GREEN." Yes, Lucas, but the RED... Sigh. The kid just doesn't get it.

Lucas's vocabulary continues to grow in leaps and bounds. He is still a man of one-word sentences, but they are pretty effective in making us understand what is going on in his head about 48% of the time. He is also finally picking up some verbs which has allowed him to begin narrating his life in real time. Sit. Turn. Stop. Wiggle. Stomp. Go. Tackle. Hug. The word and action go hand in hand. And he demands that you acknowledge each time he does each action. "Wow, you're sitting again? Who would have thought?!"

Jason and I often call Lucas "stinkoman," usually for pretty obvious reasons. He doesn't seem to mind and often takes up the cry himself with "tinkamahn!" But, alas, as we've learned over the past few weeks, stinkoman is apparently a two-way street. Now, if I call him Stinkoman, he will enthusiastically call me Stinkomama for five minutes. The unfair part? If Jason calls him Stinkoman, Lucas will still call me Stinkomama. WHAT ABOUT STINKODADO? Yet another lesson in Life's Not Fair.

In less stinky news... I love Lucas. I love him more than just about anything. We like to play a game of, "I love you more than...!" Lucas and I sit on the floor and he shouts out objects and I confirm that I do indeed love him more than the object. An incomplete list of things that I love Lucas more than is as follows:

  • Cups
  • Trucks
  • Food
  • Books
  • Puma
  • Magnets
  • Tables
  • Cars
  • Pens
  • Water
  • Basketball
  • Crayons
  • Orange dozer
  • Chairs
  • Balls
  • Floor
  • Windows
  • Shadows
  • Helicopters
  • Dirt
Dado is the one exception. Lucas seems to understand. 


And to wrap up this little collection of Lucas tidbits, here's my closer: The other day Lucas was feeding me Cheerios. Don't ask me why. It was just very important to him at the moment. Anyway, he was feeding me Cheerios one at a time and I was dutifully munching away, not paying much attention by the 20th Cheerio except to routinely say, "Another? Thank you." Well. He pulled another Cheerio out of his little bag, started to put it in my mouth, paused to sneeze on it, and then fed it to me. My life is glamorous, you guys. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Jason will blog again one day soon. Promise.

8.29.2016

sometimes

Sometimes I use Facebook and the never-ending "look what I just ate!" pictures to get inspiration for meals. Don't judge my social media stalking, judge my inability to meal plan.

Sometimes I say a little prayer that Lucas won't be called to a strong interest in the bug world. Please, Lord, you know I can't handle that.

Sometimes I try to think of how to make the world go back to horse and buggy but also have someone discover teleportation. Best of both worlds.

Sometimes I wish Lucas would ask why the sky is blue instead of why the car is blue or why the sign is blue or why the cup is blue. I DON'T KNOW THOSE ANSWERS. I do, however, know why the sky is blue.

Sometimes I daydream about the day Jason and I become rich, famous authors. Lucas is always requesting that I draw cats for him. So clearly our books will have to be cat-focused.

this will be our cover art, toddler scribbles and all.
Sometimes I feel Asian.

Sometimes I try to clean up the five different piles of toys strewn about the living room, but I have to do it sneakily and quietly or Lucas will hear me and decide that those five piles are the only toys he's ever wanted to play with in the whole entire world. The kid is a short-attention-span tornado. Once, Lucas came running into the room looking for me and I hid under a blanket on the couch hoping, hoping, hoping that the music ball I had in my hands wouldn't start singing and give me away. I was both ashamed and pleased when he left the room in minor confusion and I was able to hurriedly pick up the last few things before he became sad little I Lost My Mama boy.
sometimes tornado boy turns into contemplative, how-does-this-bell-work boy.
Sometimes a day is rough and I ask Lucas to tell me everything's okay, and he will give me three little reassuring pats on the back. It always does the trick.

Sometimes I really enjoy vacuuming, and I wonder why I only do it every six months.

Sometimes I read a book/series that really, truly engages me, one that I feel compelled to give five stars [though I never do for fear I will set an inaccurate perfection precedent], and one that makes me feel sad but completely satisfied when it ends. Despite the number of books I read, this type of reading experience is a rarity as I have weird/unrealistic expectations of my literature. However, with that said: Two thumbs up to The Knight of Eldaran series by Anna Thayer.

Sometimes you try to brush your toddler's teeth and the toothpaste just falls off the toothbrush onto his tongue and he just eats it.

Sometimes I try to convince Lucas that the picture below does not have a cat on it. It just doesn't. There is nothing that even remotely resembles a cat on this album cover. Lucas adamantly disagrees again and again. I give up.

a few hours of christmas music every day makes the summer heat more bearable.

Sometimes I look Asian.

Sometimes the approaching second birthday of my baby makes me feel like I'm losing my baby. When this happens, there are two options: 1) Recall the above toothpaste incident or 2) snuggle in for a nursing session. Somehow when he's nursing, this nearly 3-foot bundle of energy turns into the squishy, heart-squeezing baby of days long past. So, basically, this kid is going to get breast milk forever. Clearly that's the solution.

Sometimes it's hard to end a list of sometimes.

8.17.2016

DADO

run!
Well, Summer Break is officially over as Jason headed back to work today. Before leaving this morning, Jason explained to Lucas how he had to go to work again and how he would be back this afternoon and that it would be Mama and Lucas days all over again. He then explained to me how he had to go to work again and how he would be back this afternoon and that it would be Lucas and Mama days all over again. Lucas and I both understood to the best of our abilities and Jason left.

The rest of the morning was spent with Lucas asking for Dado at every chance he could justify it.
-Playing with his cars: Runs over to the front window. "Dada? A car? A car. Dada." Yes, Lucas, Dada went to work in his car. He'll be back sometime after your nap.
-Eating breakfast: Points at Jason's empty chair. "Dada? Dadaaa." Yes, Lucas, that's Dada's chair. He is eating breakfast at work. He'll be back sometime after your nap.
-Playing with his cars: "Dado? A car? Blue? Blue! Dado." Yes, Lucas, Dada's car is blue. He went to work in his car. He'll be back sometime after your nap.
-Reading books before nap time: Pats the reading chair. "Dada? Dada! Book book. Dado." Yes, Lucas, that's where you read books with Dada. You get to read books with me today since Dada's at work. He'll be back sometime after your nap.

grass, mama! GRASS.
As you can see, life with a toddler is full of repetition.

Having said all of this, however, I have no doubt that Lucas will adapt to the working year schedule quicker than I will. The question will be whether he develops another anti-Dado phase due to Jason being gone a lot after being home for so long. He's a funny kid.

Some other random odds and ends:
-We have a neighbor named Bill. Bill seems to really love his lawn. Bill mows his lawn much more regularly than we do. Whenever we hear a lawn mower, we like to joke that it is probably Bill. Lucas apparently picked up on these comments. The other day, we heard a lawn mower and we casually wondered aloud, "I wonder who is mowing their lawn?" Lucas immediately exclaimed, "Bill!" We can now add "Bill" to his ever-growing list of words that are of no help in normal conversation.
-We have been able to watch a good bit of Olympics lately, despite the lousy NBC coverage/scheduling of events. More than a few times, I have been struck with downright silly thoughts. "Whoa, how did that gymnast just hop up onto that block so easily?" or "Man, when they're running so fast, how do they manage to stay in their own lane?" I realize that the gymnast hopped up onto that giant block so that he could then do a ridiculous feat of strength and skill on the rings, and I realize that the runner just ran a half mile in well under 2 minutes, but somehow the little things keep sticking out to me as impressive. Other mentionables: How a diver doesn't fall off the springboard when he's standing on his tiptoes. How rider/horse remembers the appropriate squiggly course of jumps. How any athlete performs while wearing jewelry. How coaches/teammates don't cringe when they hug/smack/huddle with sweaty athletes.
-At the aquarium we saw an adorable beaver. A lady next to me told her companion, "Oh look! That's either an otter or a chipmunk!" Um, ok. Moving on.
-On our Tulsa trip, we found the proposal tree. The proposal bench was gone, but you cannot remove the proposal tree. Lucas was more interested in the river.

river > icky parents

Lucas is now waking up from his nap. He is making squirrel sounds. Or maybe chipmunk sounds. I must go retrieve him. He will no doubt be requesting the presence of Dado. Unfortunately, Dado is still at work. I will have to distract him with my awesomeness. Until next time!

beautiful child.

8.07.2016

enough

Pep talk time.

Sometimes I worry that Lucas won't feel loved enough by me. I'm sure it's a silly fear, but I have it. I worry that I'm too concerned with rules and schedules and expected behavior and that I'm too impatient, unimaginative, and distant. I know I'm at home with him all day long and we cater to his every need and most of his desires, but I still get hit with waves of feeling like it's not enough, like I'm not enough. I look at my phone too often, I'm too eager to pawn him and his needs and attention on Jason, I'm more concerned with him following his schedule so he doesn't interrupt mine.

I know I'm a good enough mom in that I have no doubts he will reach adulthood without starving or sawing his arm off. But am I a good enough mom that he will know he's loved beyond comprehension? That his very smile is enough to make my heart soar? That his well-being is willingly, eagerly, one of my absolute top priorities every single day? I want to be the mom he deserves. His sweet spirit deserves a selfless, patient, kind, and wise mom. And some days, it's hard to swallow that I'm the only mom he's got. It's ridiculous, I know. I just love him so much on the inside, I want him to see it on the outside.

But here's the thing: I am enough. Feelings aside, I am enough. My head knows this. I am a good enough mom to make him come running with glee when I call him. I am a good enough mom that I know when he needs that nap, that extra squeeze, that change in activity, even if he doesn't. I am a good enough mom that he knows whenever he needs a cuddle, he can come find me - me with soapy dishwater hands, me sitting in the bathroom, me trying to scrounge up dinner. He knows that I am enough for him. This should be enough for me. This is enough for me.

I was chosen to be Lucas's mom and this is a daunting, mind-blowing, and incredibly peace-giving thought. Some days feelings just need to be kicked in the face. Enough is enough. I may not be very good with creative meals or creative playtime activities or creative teaching methods [ha, creativity seems to be my issue...], but I am more than enough for Lucas, a mom hand-chosen by God despite my fears and insecurities and lapses of creative Pinterest-worthy life enhancements.

I wouldn't let anyone else dare to question my love and enough-ness for Lucas; why do I allow myself? Quit it. Pep talk over.

God, guide me. Teach me. Help me to love my little boy like You love me.

Come on, mama, don't be such a silly mama.

8.02.2016

beautiful knees

Did you know knees are beautiful? Well, they are. I didn't know until about a month and a half ago.

At the beginning of June, Lucas was outside mowing the sidewalk. He got a little too enthusiastic and his knees bit the concrete. He's a pretty tough little guy though, and he honestly didn't seem to mind that he was bleeding. He just got right up and continued his mowing. The only time he cried was when we had to make him stop playing ["I wasn't done mowing..!] so we could clean him up and band-aid him. But then he went on his merry way. If only the story ended right there, with Lucas mowing off into the sunset. Unfortunately, what followed was six full weeks of band-aid-ed knees.

The first two weeks were torture. If a band-aid even showed the tiniest sign of falling off, there were meltdowns and freaked out wailing and panicked tremors and the need for a half an hour of soothing once the band-aid had been fixed/replaced. It was nightmarish. It got to the point where he didn't want to get wet [band-aids and water don't get along], diaper changes were an extremely stressful ordeal [he started equating the removal of his shorts/diaper to seeing his knees] and there had to be band-aids on hand at all times as literally nothing else would calm him down. It was miserable for everyone involved.

After the first two weeks, even though we knew his knees were completely healed up, we decided to stop fighting him. He very clearly "needed" the band-aids for his peace of mind. We had tried the Very Stupid Method of using reason with a panicked toddler and it honestly just made things worse. [Nothing makes you feel like a horrendous mom like having to bodily hold down your screaming kid just to get his diaper on so you can get his shorts back on so that his knees are covered again so that you can attempt to soothe him.] So instead we decided to be okay with this [hopefully] temporary phase and just let him have his knees covered at all times. I knew realistically that he wouldn't turn 12 and still require band-aids on his knees. I knew it, and yet it was still hard to know whether we were doing the "right" thing by allowing him to be afraid of his knees. Logic above all else? Apparently not when you're dealing with a toddler.

The next three weeks had Lucas getting better and better at dealing with his band-aids falling off/being replaced. No more curling up in a ball. No more shrieking. No more body tremors. If a band-aid started to curl up, he'd come running to find one of us and then sit in our lap "being brave" [read: squinching his eyes and looking away] while we fixed his band-aid. As soon as we pronounced him "good good," off he'd go happy as a clam [if indeed clams are happy]. Without us constantly trying to wean him from the band-aids through coaxing, bribery, and even a little trickery, he was able to finally be at ease with his knees again and, more importantly, was willing to trust us with his knees again.

Over time we transitioned him from big band-aids to smaller band-aids to, finally, tiny circle band-aids. He handled each transition well. By this time, it had been over five weeks of constant band-aids. Lucas would dutifully check his knees every morning, before and after each nap, before bedtime, and ten other times during the day. He would pull up his shorts, pat each knee, and declare each one "good good" in turn. Lucas was in a good place mentally, so we initiated Operation Give Your Knees Some Air. We knew that it was much better for him to be aware of a band-aid being taken off rather than him suddenly noticing it had fallen off, so anytime a band-aid started to show signs of falling off we would make a big deal over taking it off, exclaiming wildly about how good his knee looked, and then coax him to give his knee some air for a few minutes. The amount of air he would allow his knee gradually grew and eventually we had an hour or so of a band-aid-less knee. Success! However, he would inevitably remember his bald knee and ask for a new band-aid, and we would oblige.

We seemed to eventually reach a standstill with our weaning progress. He would sometimes go a couple hours without a band-aid, but come nap time or bedtime a "deb-bay" was insisted upon. We figured more time was needed. However, on Day 45, inspiration struck by complete chance. As Jason touched on in his last post, Lucas has a friend named Big Bear. Big Bear does everything with Lucas. His latest activity is sitting on Jason's amp while Lucas strums on the guitar or plucks away at the keyboard. Big Bear makes everything funny. Big Bear convinces Lucas that it's nap time or bedtime or time to go upstairs or downstairs. For whatever funny toddler reason, Big Bear has huge sway in reasoning with Lucas. On a whim, Day 45, Big Bear was astounded by how smooth and good Lucas's knees were while they were "getting air." Big Bear did a thorough examination of each knee, sniffed each one up and down, gave each knee a fluffy pat and "wooooooop!" and... boom. Lucas accepted Big Bear's expert opinion with a squeal of delight and went on with his day fully and completely band-aid-less. Nap time came, bedtime came, one day passed, two days passed. Not one band-aid was needed. The first couple of days Lucas would require another examination by Big Bear and his knees were always pronounced "good good." Lucas would nod in agreement and all was good.

It has now been almost two weeks since Lucas last had his knees covered. His beautiful little knees. The skin no longer has any marks from the initial injury or any rashy patches from constantly having band-aid adhesive on it. It has been over a week since he has had to check his knees for the "good good" confirmation. Big Bear has even been able to retire his Knee Doctor hat. Life has returned to pre-June-8th status. So.much.relief.

It is a bit weird how much pride I feel for Lucas's accomplishment. I'm just so incredibly proud of him. I know this is just Silly Mom-ness talking ["My baby is the best thing since peanut butter and bananas!"], but I can't help it. If you had seen how much fear and panic he experienced those first two weeks, it would be a little easier to understand why I feel so proud of his ability to now run around with his two little brown knees completely band-aid free. He totally conquered his fear and I could not possibly be more thrilled for him. Goodness, I love this kid.

7.15.2016

Big Bear?

Lucas loves to understand, and he loves it if he can tell that we can see that he understands, and he loves for us to understand him. Sometimes some of those things are accomplished. Sometimes it takes a little bit of thinking.

On our recent trip to Branson, we brought a few stuffed animals for Lucas. He always has some animals in his crib when he sleeps, and he often plays with them when he wakes up and also throughout the day. Until just before the trip, he still didn't really have a favorite. He liked various animals more than others at various times, but no favorite. Well, just before our trip to Branson, Lucas finally settled on his favorite stuffed animal. His name has become: Big Bear.

Big Bear is not our biggest bear. Sharayah likes stuffed animals also, and she actually still had some from childhood (plus a few that I gave her), among them a panda about the size of Lucas, and a brown bear that is much larger than that. Lucas also has a panda bear that is tiny (about the size of a beanie baby, though it isn't one) and a medium panda bear that is from one of the Kohl's Cares series (that's meant to tell you how big it is, because most of their stuffed animals are about the same size). There are other various bears throughout the house. We have a lot of stuffed animals in our house, and a lot of bears.

The two pandas are among the animals that we would say belong to Lucas. I don't know how, beyond the few animals that still mean a lot to Sharayah and are thus hers, we decide which ones are Lucas's and which are just animals that live at our house and belong to... everyone? At any rate, some of the animals are Lucas's, and some of the ones that are his sleep in his bed with him, and two of those are pandas, a tiny panda and a medium panda (ok, if you really never have seen a Kohl's Cares stuffed animal, they're usually about a foot tall, or a little bigger).

Well, Lucas started taking a pretty fierce liking to the pandas, much to Sharayah's delight (don't forget about her big panda). So, on our trip to Branson, we brought the two pandas as well as some other animals whose identities have escaped my memory. The pandas did not yet have names, so we referred to them as the big panda bear and the little panda bear. Relative size is one of the things you unconsciously teach to your children, and I guess Lucas heard us enough times pointing out big and small versions of things that he caught on. When asked, he knew which was the big panda bear and which was the little panda bear.

Then. In Branson, one day Lucas brings the big panda over to Sharayah and proudly announces (with short vowels [I don't know any easier way to describe the pronunciation of the almost words that he says] "BI BE! BI BE!" (If I'm not describing it well, just think of "big bear" with the final consonants dropped [his second favorite thing to drop, after food]). We were suitably impressed. He was saying "Big Bear" for crying out loud! Or, we thought he was. So the bear's name became Big Bear.

The thing is, some time later, maybe the same day or the next, he made it clear that we had misunderstood. He brought the little panda bear to us and, leading to great confusion, said in a sweet little voice, "bi be! bi be!" What? He clearly knew which bear was bigger. We asked him to to find the big bear, and he did. We asked him to find the little bear, and he did. And then he said "bi be!" Or so we thought.

We eventually figured it out. He was not misunderstanding, and he was not saying the wrong size. We were just not understanding. As it turns out, when we described big and little things to Lucas, we unconsciously used a low pitch for big things and a high pitch for little things. We must have done it pretty frequently, because although Lucas did learn the actual words for big and little, he also learned that you can use low or high pitch instead. And eventually to him, since L's are hard and B's are easy, it seemed clear that even though you know both words, big and little, you might as well just use the word big for both concepts and distinguish which size you mean by altering your pitch. I don't remember exactly how we figured out he was doing that, perhaps when he described a pair of large and small things other than bears as "BI BI!" in a deep voice for the big thing and "bi bi!" in an impossibly sweet, high-pitched voice for the little thing (again, those are just big with the g dropped). At any rate, we figured out there was no "BIG BEAR." It was, in his mind, just "BIG! BIG!" He just wanted to show us that he knew which bear was big and which was little.

To this day (which makes it sound like that was a long time ago and not a month, although it feels like he's been doing it forever) he lets us know every time there are two of something anywhere that he knows which is big and which is small. Two green beans? One is BI BI and one is bi bi. Two sandwiches (we always cut his sandwiches into quarters and give him two at a time [that's another story], and he eats one exclusively until there is a clear big and small sandwich)? One is BI BI, and the other is bi bi. Two panda bears? Well, one is BI BI and one is bi bi. And so, Big Bear was born, although Lucas didn't name him like we thought. We named him and Lucas learned the name from us. Either way, he is Big Bear. And he has the coveted job of being cuddled all night by our little fellow.

Lucas reads Big Bear and Brown Horse a story in Branson.