Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Conan's vocabulary is steadily building. He now regularly uses these words:

Birr (Bird)
Bobbol (Bottle)
Boon (Balloon)
Kee (Kitty)
Dok (Dog and/or cow)
Hot (which also means cold)
Dat (That, usually accompanied by pointing)

I've also heard Stick, Tiger, Rock and something that sounded a lot like Good Job recently. It's a pretty good list of words, with one pretty glaring ommission. Do you see what is missing?

No? Yeah, that's right, No.

At nearly 17 months old Conan does not say no. He never has. Sure, sometimes he refuses. He shakes his head, and sometimes even cries and stomps his feet and throws things. But he has never once even used a "nnnn" sound to express his refusal. I'm sure that eventually, like all toddlers, he will become enamored with No. But so far, he's very much a Yes boy. He'll happily sing Yeah-Yeah-Yeah to himself while he plays, and if you ask him a question he'll almost always answer with an enthusiastic Yeah! It's really sweet.

I'm not sure why he doesn't say No, but I have a couple of ideas. For one thing, we've tried to make Conan's environment safe for him to explore, so we don't have to constantly tell him no. Most everything in the house that he can access is ok for him to get into. We didn't do this because we're extra specially enlightened parents, we did it because it's much easier, in the long run, to spend a few afternoons child-proofing than it is to constantly watch out for him getting into things he's not supposed to get into. Because he WILL get into everything he can.

More than that though, I think it comes from focusing on telling him what I want him to do, rather than what I don't want him to do. So instead of telling him not to stand on the chair, I tell him to please sit down on his bottom. Instead of telling him "No throwing food" I tell him "Give it to Mama." "Pet the kitty on the back"
is more effective than "Don't poke the kitty's eyes." It was hard at first, but I've gotten better at it over the months, to the point where it's almost automatic for me to give Conan positive instructions instead of prohibitions.

I'm certainly not perfect at always giving him positive instructions, and it's not like he's never been told NO. But I do make an effort. I started doing it because I noticed that, for instance, If I said "don't throw your food" it was as if he heard only "throw your food." The negative just didn't seem to register. Even at a very young age (around 9 months or so) he'd do exactly what I just told him not to do. I found pretty quickly that if I rephrased my requests into the positive it had a much more satisfactory effect.

I wonder if it works on grown-ups too? I should give it a try. The whole world could use more positive instructions and fewer prohibitions, I bet. It'd be pretty nice if someday No wasn't a primary word in our vocabularies.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chloe turns One

Today was Chloe Skywalker's first birthday. She wore the most beautiful little party tutu, and underneath she had special birthday bloomers with her name and the number 1 embroidered on them. She was even more stylishly dressed that Conan, although he was looking pretty sharp in his party shirt as well. We've got some good-looking babies in this family! There were lots of kids (and adults) there to help celebrate, and so very many presents. Little Chloe had a BIG pile of loot by the time they were all unwrapped. Conan enjoyed testing out some of the new toys, and as always balloons are tremendously fun. There was cake with strawberries for desert, both of which Conan finds delicious. He was super worn out by the end of the party, he fell asleep in the car almost as soon as we drove away. That's the sign of an excellent party, I guess!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kiah turns Two

Saturday we went over to the Ericson house to help Kiah celebrate her second birthday. It was a lot of fun!
There were cookies and cupcakes as well as cake, and Conan liked them a lot.
Doesn't he look handsome in his party shirt? Even with his cheeks stuffed with cake and crumbs all over him, he's a good looking little man. Or at least his mama thinks so!

Baby Morgan didn't get any cupcakes, but she enjoyed tasting a lot of other things.
It was great to see everyone, and really fun to have all the kids together. The big gift of the day was a little pink ride-on car with fairies all over it which played a song about how "in a magic fairyland, the fairies play all day" over and over. It's still stuck in my head two days later. Kiah was really proud of her fairy car. So cute!

Friday, April 16, 2010

30 Seconds of Frogs

This is 30 seconds of our nightly frog song*. There are so many frogs that it's not ribbits that you hear, after a few seconds it becomes a solid wall of sound. I find it weirdly hypnotic. It reminds me a little of heavy metal guitar.

It's also a good explanation for why this swamp we live in really just doesn't have a mosquito problem. Thank goodness for frogs!

*It's a video, but there's nothing to see 'cuz it's nighttime! ha.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visiting Great Grandma Joy

Conan is completely recovered from his illness, so last night we went to visit Conan's Great Grandma Joy. He just loves her, they have a great bond, and I know she really missed seeing him on Easter. They had a lot of fun exploring the yard, looking at the flowers, picking up rocks, and watching birds.

I believe this was Conan's first introduction to dandelion seed poofs. We haven't had any go to seed in our yard because somebody picks all the pretty yellow flowers he sees. :) GG showed him how to blow the seeds off and he loved it.

Conan really liked the flowers. He called the tulips "ball" and had to touch each one. He was actually surprisingly gentle and didn't pick or squish any of them.

GG Joy tried to help him smell the flowers, but he wanted something a little more concrete so he tasted them instead.

My mom arrived when we were about finished playing in the yard, so we all went inside and enjoyed a wonderful dinner. It was a lovely evening, a nice make-up for having missed Easter. It's so nice to have Conan back to his cheerful healthy energetic self!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Sick Baby

Conan is sick. It's the saddest thing ever to see him feeling so poorly. He is steadily getting better, but it will be a while yet before he's back to his usual cheerful and active self. It's really alarming to see him just lay still - when he's healthy he never stops moving. Ever. :(

It started Sunday morning with a fever and some vomiting, followed by diarrhea, listlessness, loss of appetite, and general fussiness. He slept a lot and ate/drank very little. We gave him Pedialyte and Acetaminophen and lots of love and cuddles. He's very clingy, which is another clear signal that he isn't feeling well.

Thankfully, his fever has now receded quite a bit. He still has a bit of it when the Acetaminophen wears off, but it's nowhere near where it was before. He hasn't thrown up since yesterday, but the diarrhea continues and has created a terrible diaper rash. Poor little guy!

We went in to the Dr. this morning, and got reassurance that we are doing all the right things. It'll just take a bit more time for him to recover. Now that he isn't throwing up anymore we are supposed to start feeding him more bland foods like crackers and oatmeal and milk, as soon as his appetite returns. Dr. Floyd also had some advice for dealing with the rash, so hopefully we can get that healed up soon as well.

Sick babies are no fun. The worst part is feeling so helpless, unable to make him feel better or even to let him know that he WILL get better. :(

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Easter Expectations

I was excited to go out to Grandma Joy's for Easter with the family this year. I could see it all in my minds eye: how much fun Conan would have hunting for eggs with his cousins, how cute and charming he would be, the great pictures I would take - it was going to be so much fun. But alas, we woke up to a feverish, fussy, all-around sick baby. It took me a while to give up on my expectations and admit to myself that he was just too sick to go anywhere. We got him all dressed and then put him down for a nap, delaying the decision about weather to go until after he woke up. I really hoped that he'd feel better after his nap, but it wasn't to be.

After a bit of thought, we decided that I should still go out to the family dinner while Conan stayed home with Papa. It was a hard choice for me. I really wanted to go; it's not often that all my cousins converge. But on the other hand, it was really hard to leave my sick baby. I'm glad I did go, at least for a short while. Even without Conan there, it was fun to watch the other kids hunt for eggs, and I still managed to take a few good pictures. Below are some of my favorite images from the day.
Odessa gets some help with collecting her eggs.

Chloe explores the flower bed with help from her mom and dad.

Chloe really got into finding eggs. She's quite the little go-getter!

Dale enjoys a moment with Odessa; Odessa enjoys eating Dale's necklace.

Mom and Grandma Joy watch the egg hunt, cameras at the ready!

I brought home a few plastic eggs and we have been practicing playing egg hunt in the house with them. Next year Conan's going to find all the eggs!