So, last weekend at Nana's house, we happened to catch the first episode of Disney's newest kid show, called Bunnytown.
Having heard about it earlier, I'd also set it up to record at home. And good thing I did. We've watched it at least once a day almost every day this week. It's our new favorite show. Jon and I even enjoy it. Cute bunnies and catchy music... not much not to like, right?
Reviews say it's not educational enough. I say education, smeducation. We're all about the fun in this house!
We'll meet with his teachers next week (3 of them) to discuss their concerns, see what they say. Then we'll have to decide what to do about it. I told Otto tonight that Miss Kim was worried he didn't talk enough, and he said something like "Oh, Miss Kim." So I asked "don't you talk for Miss Kim?" and he said "No!"
I don't know what to make of that. I don't really know what to make of any of this now. Last night Otto said "C'mere Mama, sit down please?" He wanted me to help him with his puzzle. If he's speaking that well at home, why won't he do it at school? And if he is, then what do they want him to be saying? It's a $20million mystery. One I don't think I'll solve anytime soon.
No, instead I'm eating Nutella again. The jar just leaped into my cart last night at Target. Evidently it knew I needed a little chocolate therapy.
So in all our talking yesterday, I forgot to tell Jon one important little detail.
The car seat for my car is sitting in the lobby at day care (they needed it for the field trip).
And Jon didn't see it when he picked up yesterday. I called him this morning the minute I woke up and said "did you bring the car seat home?" The long silence at the other end gave me my answer before he could say, with justifiable confusion, "the car seat?"
So Otto and I are at home today. Car-seat-less.
It would be a very cold 2-mile walk to day care with Otto in a stroller, along a busy street with spotty sidewalks. And a very very cold 2-mile walk back to my house and the car. And did I mention we forgot Otto's winter coat at Aunt Meredith's house on Thanksgiving?
So I have decided to work from home today. And if I need to work Saturday to make it up, so be it.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to try an old relaxation trick with Otto at bedtime. We counted up to 10. Then we took nice, slow, deep breaths, in through our nose, out through our mouth. Then we counted backward from 10 to 1, and when we got to 1, Otto was supposed to be asleep.
Magically it worked. Jon has since started using it, and I used it again tonight. It cuts off arguments about more stories, and he's been staying in bed better, going to sleep faster. It feels good to him and he snuggles into his pillow and closes his eyes and smiles as I kiss him goodnight.
Tonight we did a couple of extra deep breaths for mama. This morning Otto's teacher at day care approached me and said she'd like us to consider calling a local agency for kids with developmental delays and learning disorders to have him screened, see if he needs help. It's a county program connected with the school system, and when I looked it up seemed to be more for kids with serious problems. Her explanation for why we should call wasn't very clear - something about his attention span? - and she spent most of the 10 or 15 minutes she was talking trying to sell me on the program itself, how wonderful it was. I just listened and nodded a couple of times and tried to figure out what it is, exactly, that's worrying her. Then I took the brochure and drove away.
By the time I got to work I'd done 2 things. First I called Jon, who was equally startled and alarmed by this development, and together we decided that it would make sense to go to our pediatrician next. So after I finished talking to him I called our pediatrician's office and talked to one of the nurses on duty. The conversation went kind of like this: "I'm feeling a little blindsided by this" ("I can imagine!" she said) "and I don't even really know what questions to ask. What would you look for? When do we screen for problems? They're saying he has a short attention span." ("he's TWO!" she said, "I have a grandson about that age and we can't get him to sit still for 5 minutes. And our doctors don't get too excited about most things until kids are 3.")
The upshot of the conversation with her was, get it in writing and ask them to be as specific as possible. Then we'll have something concrete to discuss. I felt a lot better after that. I *heart* our pediatrician's office.
This afternoon Jon talked to the day care owner, who wasn't aware the teacher was going to recommend that route and thought maybe Otto needed a little help with language -- nothing too serious, and nothing about attention span problems. She and the teacher will talk about it tomorrow and work on a written report for us. Internally I'm thinking, "you just do that." And we'll take it to our 3-yr checkup with Dr. Stone and see what she says.
It's upsetting to have a child care professional tell you they think there's something wrong with your kid. I have a feeling that my son, though, is simply a lot like his parents. Introverted. A little shy. Self-motivated. Not too interested in conforming or worried about what people think. I suspect he knows his teacher thinks there's something wrong, and that he enforces that perception by being contrary. If we, with his doc, decide he needs help, we'll get it for him. But as I pulled into the parking lot at work I thought "this is just the beginning. I will probably have this discussion, in many different iterations, with many different teachers, several times in the years ahead."
I'm not worried about him. I came home tonight and listened to him chatter, making up stories about puppy, narrating his thoughts and play process. When he finished dinner he decided puppy should flip the fireplace on and climbed off the bench saying "I slide down. Whee! That's fun!" He's no Hemingway yet, true. But he's two. We have a few years before he has to write his first paragraph in kindergarten.
He climbed under the covers for stories tonight and said clearly in his piping little voice, "Once upon a time..." I said "Yes, that's how all the best stories start, isn't it?" And he grinned with satisfaction and settled in to listen.
Wednesday night we were arriving and getting settled and trying to get Otto to bed in his inflatable Thomas bed - so I missed Project Runway. Oh, the horror! So I caught the rerun this evening. It was one of the challenges where they make the designers team up, this time teams of 2.
Sweet P should get about 100 extra points for pushing Elisa to finish a project properly and really do the work. As she said, it's hard to imagine Elisa going any further without sewing skills. The woman believes in hand-sewing only, and with the time limits they have... oy.
The special guest - Sara Jessica Parker - was really cool. Everyone had to pitch her ideas for an addition to her Bitten line of clothing, and she was very gracious with all of them, even the head cases. A couple of the designers started crying when she walked into the room. I'd be excited too, she's better than any of their other guest "icons" to date.
Then they got to shop at Mood, but had a budget of just $15. I bet the producers laughed evilly at that.
I wasn't sure about Sweet P last week, but you have to respect someone who can make Elisa's ideas look really good. She was coaching Elisa from the minute they paired up, telling her she had to actually finish the edges of her fabric and driving decisions about what to buy at Mood. She and Elisa ended up in the top 2 of the runway challenge. But Victorya pulled it off and left with the prize.
Christian ends up in the bottom two. As the young pup of the bunch, he evidently thought the 80s are long enough ago to be considered retro. This was before he stood up in front of judges in their 40s and 50s who informed him otherwise. Plus the dress was too tight and too short. Not for the everyday woman!
Marion goes home -- this after Michael Kors says his outfit is awkward and "a little Pocahontas" (ouch). Heidi is a little kinder and just says she doesn't get it. Marion is the one who really doesn't get it, though, and has to pack his gear and leave. Bye bye, Marion! Sorry it was you and not the crazy marionette woman.
Tomorrow we head home. Otto has had a great time this week hanging out with all of us and playing whenever he wants, whatever he wants. Getting back into the groove on Monday will be difficult, I'm afraid. We will get there eventually...
Yesterday morning we climbed out of bed early, helped finish prepping some of the side dishes (and pie) for the T-day feast, and then got on the road for Des Moines.
People on I-80 drive like maniacs. Just FYI. It's a little unnerving to be passed by people going 90mph, esp. when you're in a minivan that's sort of "gust" susceptible, if you know what I mean.
We had a great time at Bob and Meredith's. Grandpa Steve came, too, which was so nice because we haven't seen him in forever. Otto enjoyed playing with his cousins. He and Jack esp. spent the afternoon and evening playing playing playing. Baby Leo is walking! He is sooooo cute and kissable.
I ate too many Party Potatoes.
Otto ate yogurt, a cream cheese/strawberry sandwich, applesauce, chips, crackers, cheese, a banana, a breakfast bar -- everything, in other words, but turkey dinner. I gave him points for sitting at the dinner table with everyone and being social, even if he didn't want any party potatoes.
My Cranberry Chess Pie turned out extra good this year, once we got the crust figured out. The first crust Jon made for me slumped in the oven, so we bought Pillsbury dough. Sacrilege, I know! But it had to be done. And the resulting pie was still excellent. It was gone... next year I think I'll make two cranberry pies and one pumpkin pie, since that's what everyone loved.
We changed Otto into jammies for the ride home and he crashed almost before we were out of the neighborhood. Jon and I enjoyed getting a little glimpse of Des Moines, which has grown and changed a lot since we were there. It's a nice city, big enough to have a lot of amenities, small enough to feel you belong.
So, I bet you're dying to know what Party Potatoes are, huh? Oh, they're evil goodness. Sort of like my Grandma's macaroni and cheese. Go here to see the recipe, but be warned -- the recipe alone could induce a food coma. And you're probably more susceptible today than usual.
We have no plans for the day, other than to stay away from anything resembling a store. And napping. Napping sounds like a good idea.
This is how our trip went:
Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain rain snow SNOW SNOW snow.
But! We are here safely. Otto did well. Jake did well. At one of our stops Otto discovered red Gatorade which, with the lightening bolt on the bottle, reminded him strongly of Lightening McQueen. He insisted on having a bottle -- I insisted on him having a small bottle. Negotiations were successful for both parties.
We rented a minivan for this trip, and Jake had the whole back seat to himself today. He was in heaven, all stretched out back there like a prince. Otto liked the high-up seating and great view from his captain's chair. Jon and I still don't want to actually own a minivan, but will admit that they have their uses.
Tomorrow it's turkey and stuffing and potatoes and pie at Bob and Meredith's. There will be multiple boys in the house (not including the grown up ones), and I am looking forward to it greatly.
There are painters here today, painting things deep, dark blue and watermelon and battleship gray. The watermelon is my favorite. I'm the only one who likes it, besides our interior designer. But I will be proved right in the end!!! (I hope - or I'll be repainting it myself some Sunday afternoon)
The millwork contractors are upstairs running belt sanders and big drills.
And the carpeting guys are coming in later this morning with a big machine to strip the carpet out of my office (it was installed improperly). That's going to be LOUD.
All of my office furniture is piled into one half of the room -- 3 big bookcases, table, 4 chairs, L-shaped desk, filing cabinet. It looks like a used furniture shop in there.
Quiet peaceful library? Not today. I'm looking forward to getting this done so we can go back to being just our normal noisy self.
Jon and Otto went on a field trip today.
I got home and said to Otto, "what did you do today?"
He said with great joy, "I saw trains!"
I asked if he saw cars, too, and he just looked at me, then said "I saw trains!" again. C'mon, mom. You know what's really important, don't you?
Jon told me he pointed out a train and said "hey, that looks like Gordon!" Otto considered for a moment, then agreed. "Yeah," he said. Then he pointed. "There's Toby!"
Needless to say, he had an excellent day.