Doug has been out of town all week (he comes home tonight, yay!) and so it's just been me and Carter this week. Carter is at an age where he's really easy to hang out with, not terribly whiny or clingy or fussy, and happy to play independently for long periods of time, so this has actually not been that difficult, other than the obvious missing of Doug/Daddy.
It's also finally cooled off a bit here, which means we can go outside, finally. We've been able to hang out in backyard and in the cul-de-sac in front of the house (Carter likes to push his cozy-coupe around), go for long walks, and even go to restaurants with outdoor play areas. I've been wanting to explore some of the many parks around Austin, and so the other day we went to one I'd heard good things about: Rattan Creek Park. They have just recently rebuilt the playscapes, apparently, and one was nicely toddler-sized. Now that school is in, it's nice to be able to go to parks and not worry about Carter getting run over by bigger kids. Here are some pictures from our visit the other day.
They have a gorgeous hiking trail that's about a mile long and follows Rattan Creek. I didn't have a stroller, but decided to see if Carter and I could just walk along it together.
As you might have already guessed, this was sort of like walking a cat. Carter went where he wanted to go, didn't necessarily stay on the path, and frequently stopped to check things out. That was fine, as we didn't have any particular need to go all the way down the trail, but it was an interesting experiment. He finally got tired and started saying/signing "home", which I took to mean he was ready to go. It was a nice park, and I think that next time I'll bring the stroller or a carrier so we can go for more of a walk.
Now that I'm getting into the rhythm of the semester, I'm really enjoying working part-time. I have Monday mornings and all day Wednesday and Friday to spend with Carter. I typically work during his naps, and that helps. I'm trying to get myself to the point that I don't have to stay up late and work after he goes to bed on Monday and Wednesday nights, and I'm getting there. I love teaching, and I'm enjoying both of my classes this semester. It's just enough time away to satisfy my need to be around grownups, and I feel like I especially enjoy my days with Carter because of it.
We have swimming lessons on Wednesday mornings, which we both enjoy. Carter loves the pool and spends the whole time smiling and laughing. Sometimes we eat lunch at home, and sometimes we go out. I'm trying to find all of the restaurants in town with play areas, and I've found quite a few. We went to one (Waterloo Ice House) this morning for breakfast, actually. They have a playscape and a sand pit with lots of toy cars in it, and it's all fenced in. I'm looking forward to taking Doug there, so we can relax with a burger and some beers while Carter plays.
Here are some cute videos from one night this week. I decided to follow him around with the camera for a while to see what would happen.
I got him a little doll stroller after he spent hours playing with his cousin Matti's stroller when we were in NC. As much as he loves that stroller, he doesn't want anything to ride in it. He just likes to push it around and occasionally crash it into things, as you see here. Though this one is mostly him pointing out the wall he just crashed into.
I'm sure I've posted a video of him dancing before, but this one is really cute. When Doug isn't home we'll often listen to music and run around the kitchen, and he will stop and dance when a song he really likes comes on. If you watch closely, you'll notice he's keeping the beat of the music fairly well. I guess those music classes are paying off, LOL. ;-)
And here he's showing us the proper way to eat an oreo. Oddly enough, he did this the first time he ever had one. To my knowledge, no one ever showed him how to do this, or did this in front of him.
He's recently started asking to watch videos of himself. He knows the videos are on my computer, so he'll point to the computer and say the name of the video he wants to watch. He gives his favorites videos one-word descriptive names, like "Tractor", "Chicken", "Cookie", "Dance", and "Crash". He also knows which keys to touch on my keyboard to watch the video again, or to skip to the next one. Isn't it amazing how quickly little kids absorb technology?
He can name several colors now, like purple, blue, and green. He will occasionally use a color as an adjective, for example, "blue light". I'm not ready to say he can count to 4 or even that he recognizes numbers 1-4, but he will say those when he sees them on the Numbers Baby Einstein video we have. And if I say "one", he will invariably say "two!" but there's not yet any sign that he's actually using these words to represent quantities, or even that he has an inkling of what a one-to-one correspondence is. It will be interesting to watch his pre-math and reading skills develop in the next year. That's going to be exciting for me. :-)