Monday, August 29, 2011

Crazy toddler weekend

Layla took us on a crazy adventure this weekend - her baby group decided to rent a house out on Orcas Island (about a 1 hr ferry trip from Seattle) and stay together for the weekend. 7 babies (toddlers now! they are 18 months) went. Us parents thought it was a pretty crazy idea.

It turned out it was not so bad, if you don't mind not sleeping much. The house was fantastic, a large 4 bedroom with huge windows overlooking Puget Sound and a gigantic porch and yard. It had lots of great amenities for a large group like big comfy couches and two tables and a huge kitchen. It also had lots of extra beds and space. 5 babies and their families stayed in the house, one in a tent in the yard, and another got a separate cabin because his mom just had a little-tiny baby and he thought they'd want some privacy.

We learned a lot about our babies this weekend. They are all very happy kids, willing to do just about anything, go any amount of time without sleep, and play with any kind of toy. They are also very possessive right now, and want just about everything they see. A lot of the weekend was spent running interference on the best toys (a toddler-sized bike and a transformer car). They are also very good at screeching, but they understand a lot more than we think.

The favorite activity of the weekend was hanging out at the small lake in the middle of the island, which has a sandy beach and a playground and a very shallow swim hole. Layla thought it was way too shallow and demanded we go out as far as we could, as often as she could. The other babies were content to play in the sand and make sand castles. At night after the babies went to bed the moms and dads had a really good time and got to know each other better. Some of us even went to a clothing-optional hot tub nearby where there were lots and lots of naked people. We were not brave and opted for the clothing.

We took a few pictures which I will try to post if I get a chance.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Layla's new favorite books

Layla has a new list of favorite books to share with you.

Layla's new most favorite book in the whole wide world is '10 little babies.' She LOVES babies, and loves to do all the things they do in the book (drink milk, play with dogs and cats, drive around tricycles, look at fish, throw big fits, etc). She insists I read her this book at least three times a day, usually multiple times. Fortunately it's a really cute book and I don't mind.

The next book was loaned to me by another my in our baby group - her son LOVES this book and now, unfortunately, Layla does too.

This is seriously one of the hardest books I've ever read in my life. It is all about Elmo's balls. He likes big balls and small balls and footballs and juggling balls. How can you read a book like this, over and over, and 1) maintain enthusiasm and 2) maintain a straight face?? Oh Elmo, I already hate you!

The mom who introduced Layla to Elmo's Balls redeemed herself somewhat by also loaning us this book:

This book is hysterical, very simple, and somehow captivates Layla at the same level that it captivates both me and her daddy. It's about a pigeon, who wants to drive a bus, and throws a big gigantic fit when he can't. I think we can all relate to that. Mo Willems, the author, drew very cute pictures and has a lot of good dialogue in it. This is one of many awesome books he has written, and we've tried some of the others, but this is Layla's favorite.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

17-month update

On August 11, Layla will be 17 months. Wow!!

Here is an update:

Eating and growing: she is growing like a weed (esp in the last two weeks, she is now as tall as almost all the older boys in her baby group!) but somehow she is eating less, or at at least it seems like it - she has become pretty picky the last two months and went from eating and loving everything to carefully tasting (she sticks her tongue out to taste) and then choosing only the stuff that suits her. It's not a diverse range but it is mostly healthy stuff, like almost all fruit, peas and some other veggies, eggs, and almost anything with pasta. So, it's not so bad. But, we've started making a lot of separate meals for her to try to get her to eat more, especially if she's not eating much because she doesn't feel very well.

Talking and interacting: she's got a lot of words down now, including apple, bike, ball, car, whoa!, mine, book, eye, nose, mouth (and pointing at the parts), Layla (Yay-ya!), and she can associate animal sounds with dog ('woof! woof!), cow (moo!) and she's almost got duck (ga! ga!). She's still working on a lot of consonant sounds like "L", "S", "T", and there are a lot of words and phrases that pop out that she doesn't repeat regularly (like 'hey you guys!' 'who's that?' and 'help please!'). She can understand a LOT and I keep reminding myself to make sure to explain things to her and be careful what words I use now - she's paying close attention!

Mobility: She's almost running now, and has really gotten into CLIMBING - she climbs up everything including the jungle gym at the playground, our book cases and dressers, kitchen chairs, and anything lying around. So far she has had only had a few big falls including one from a chair that was kind of scary. She climbs boldly higher and higher though and has been giving us mini-heart attacks on a regular basis.

Favorite activities: Layla still LOVES daycare and wears herself out completely every day she's there. She has developed a great relationship with each of her teachers and even knows the teachers of the other classes so I suspect she's become quite a social butterfly there. Outside of daycare she likes everything we do as long as we keep doing different things throughout the day - our house gets way boring by about 10 am. So we spend a lot of our weekends going to park playgrounds and various social events with other kids, farmer's markets, playing with the neighbor kids, a little shopping here and there, a zoo or aquarium trip now and then, and lots of time in the backyard. Fortunately that's all pretty easy since it's so nice outside right now. The winter will be a whole new game though - and we're already starting to brainstorm some ideas for indoor fun for our little Adventurer when it gets dark and cold out.