Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Swimming, spring!

It's finally spring here in Texas, yay! That means temperatures in the 70s every day and clear blue skies. It's not quite warm enough to go swimming, but it's definitely the best time of year to be outside.

Here are some pictures from a visit to one of our favorite parks on Sunday morning, Williamson County Regional Park. We rode the train:

I brought a hat for Carter, but he insisted on wearing mine! We then went for a "walk" on the park's lovely walking trail.

It's fun to watch Carter explore the world. It's so easy to take everything you see for granted, but when you're out exploring with a small child, you see it all with fresh eyes. We stopped to pick up rocks and talk about their colors, to look at bugs and flowers, and to examine cacti along the path. Carter knows what they are, but likes to say the cactus pads look like cookies, heh. Then he points to the spines and says, "Ouch!"

This is a picture Michelle took when they were on a walk in our neighborhood. He had a lot of fun playing in the creek, and she said they even found some crawdads!

It seems like so much is happening with Carter, but it happens so slowly -- that seems like a contradiction, but it's true. Every day I realize he's doing something new, but the change tends to have been so subtle that I didn't realize that particular thing was changing, if that makes any sense.

His use of language changes all the time. He uses language in really interesting ways to express what he's thinking, and sometimes you have to think about it to figure out what he's saying. Something I hear a lot these days is, "Mommy ___ too!", which means he wants me to do whatever he is doing. Tonight he slipped and fell on the kitchen floor, and he said, "Mommy fall down too!" He's starting to use words like "mine" and "yours" now, and he's starting to share with us and with other kids.

In general, he's relating to other kids more and more. For a long time, he just watched other kids from a distance, but now he interacts with them, uses their names, and tries to engage them in conversation or play. So far, he seems to be very gentle with other kids. If he really wants a toy that a kid his age or older has, he'll go over and ask for it. If the child is younger than him, he'll try to just take it away, so I have to watch him around littler kids! It's funny how they understand the power of size.

He has started to express a little interest in using the potty, so I got him the "Once Upon a Potty" book (which he loves) and we've started experimenting with having some diaperless time during the day. He has yet to actually do anything while on the potty. He'll pee on the kitchen floor, then go over and sit on the potty, for example. So he's not ready yet. I'm not in a hurry!

Something that has recently improved is his singing. He still doesn't really carry a tune, but he sings entire songs and gets all the words right, which he wasn't doing until recently. He knows the theme songs to all the shows he watches, and a lot of the songs they regularly sing on those shows as well. He'll just start singing, and after I get past the utter lack of tune, I'll realize what it is and can sing along. Sometimes when I play a CD he'll try to sing along, and the results can be fairly bizarre!

So not American Idol material. ;-)

Here are a couple of videos from this morning's swimming lesson. In the first one, Carter is just watching the two girls in the class go through the motions of the song they're singing.

But he's starting to participate in group activities like this. At Gymboree this past Monday, he participated in a couple of group activities he's only watched from a distance for months. The other little girls in his swimming class are a little bit older than him (going by when he should have been born, at least), and he seems to be about a month behind them in everything so far.

Here is a video of him swimming today, in which you can see the progress he's made since the last time I posted a video.

He has only started jumping off independently in the last two weeks. This is progress, but it has its disadvantages as well. He still needs to learn that you only jump off when cued by an adult to do so. Today I had to sit next to him at the edge of the pool to keep him from jumping in when it wasn't his turn. He also jumped off the island (the platform you see in the last video) and went for a swim by himself, with the teacher nowhere near! He wasn't the only one that did that today, actually...

So he's at the point where he's about to really take off with the swimming, but doesn't really know his limits yet. In other words, we have to keep a close eye on him around pools right now. Of course, the whole point of having him take swimming lessons so young was to get him to a point where he could get himself out of trouble in an emergency situation, and we're almost there.

Here are a couple of other random pictures from the last week. Here he's trying really hard to eat his noodles with chopsticks:

We went to Champion Park on Monday, where Carter was incredibly muddy within 5 minutes of arrival. He had a great time, but I had to strip him down to a diaper to put him back in the car! I need to remember to bring along a change of clothes when we go to places like this.

That's it for now! Happy April!

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