Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gardening, water, Pumpkin Festival, and more

It's been a busy week around here! I didn't get pictures posted from last weekend, so I have a bit of catching up to do.

The weather has been spectacular and we've tried to spend a lot of time outside. Last weekend I decided the time was right to pot some herbs and plant some lettuce. This is the first time in a while I've tried to grow anything from scratch, so we'll see how it goes. Carter was very helpful, and was really interested in the planting process. He especially liked helping me fill the pots with soil.




The herb garden is looking good so far!


We planted lettuce seeds in a window box and also dug out a row along the fence in the back yard for planting. Carter really wanted to help!


This was hard work, as the dirt back there was packed solid and pretty dry. I dug out a trench about a foot deep, mixed in the potting soil, and refilled it. Carter enjoyed the digging part so much that I had to distract him to get the seeds planted! He likes to help water, though his water technique is basically to dump water.


A week later, my lettuce seeds are sprouting!


With any luck, we'll have some yummy salads in a month or so. Or the squirrels will. Either way, it's fun to have some plants growing.

Last Sunday afternoon we took Carter to see a performance of "Curious George Live", which is basically a musical for kids. We weren't sure how it would go, but it actually went pretty well. Carter didn't quite have the attention span to watch the whole thing, which was two 45-minute-long acts with a 15 minute intermission, but he made it halfway through act 2 before he asked to go. He wouldn't have made it that far if it weren't for the spinning light toy we bought him and all the snacks he ate.

I bought Carter a set of vehicle stamps this week, and they proved to be a big hit.


He will carefully press the stamp on the ink pad, then press it on the paper and say, "Watch what happens!" before picking it up again. We have another inkpad with more colors, and he's learned to touch the stamp to lots of different colors to get a really colorful mark on the paper. It's been a lot of fun!


Here's a little thing I decided to try after reading about it on a blog. I hung a little plastic cup on a hook next to the refrigerator and taught Carter how to push the stepstool over to the fridge, and then to dispense water to drink.


You can see that there's a towel hanging there as well, because there are lots of spills! One of the first things we had to do was establish that you count to three after the water starts, and then pull the cup back. Otherwise, the water overflows. Carter doesn't care about the overflow, but he does seem to like the "one, two, three, stop!" game.


It's cool that he can get his own drinks of water now, without having to ask.


Of course, we also had to establish what to do with the water left in the cup.


Carter's still very interested in pouring, dumping, and spitting out water. I have been trying to establish "dump zones" around the house where it is permissible to pour/dump/spit, rather than ban it outright -- I finally realized this was a losing battle. So water and other liquids may be poured/dumped/spit into sinks, the bathtub, the toilet, or anywhere outdoors, but nowhere else. So far this is working pretty well! I also ordered him a water table for playing in outside. Clearly this is something he needs to do in a constructive manner!

Speaking of water, we met Doug for lunch at Terra Burger on Monday this week, which has a playground and a splash pad. The splash pad was on that day, and Carter basically spent all of lunch running around in it and getting soaked.

I didn't have a change of clothes for him, so I had to take him to the bathroom and dry him off with paper towels, and put him in the car in only a diaper! I need to remember to keep a towel and a change of clothes in the car, for times like this. He got a little cold, but otherwise didn't really mind. In this picture he was "clipping" his toenails with a straw!

We went to get his hair cut on Monday, and this time I took pictures to show the person exactly what I wanted. It really made a difference, because this is the first time I've ever been happy with the results of a haircut!

Here's another random picture. We were at Home Depot, and while we were looking for something on one aisle, Carter started lining up these light switches to make a little train. They really do look like train cars!

When he was done he put them all back in the box without being asked. He's suddenly better about doing that, especially when we're out somewhere. He'll carefully put everything he got out back where it came from. Too bad he won't do this at home!

He's still very vehicle-obsessed. Today we went to a pumpkin patch in Elgin, about 45 minutes from where we live, and I thought he might be interested in picking out a pumpkin. Notice there are NO pumpkins appearing in any of the pictures below. Here he is checking out the "hay tractor".


The hayride was a big hit, as expected. We rode the entire loop around the farm three times.



He ran around a bit.


And even explored the corn maze.


But once he saw this little dirt pit full of rusty old toy trucks, it was all over.


Seriously, look how old and rusty this truck is! He played here for an entire HOUR. I ended up going and buying us some pumpkins, because he had zero interest. It was all about the trucks.


It was a fun trip, though, and I'm sure he'll only enjoy it more as he gets older. There was a lot to do there. That place is primarily a Christmas tree farm, and it's apparently a fun place to go for trees. We may make a trip out in December, just to do the hayride again!

This evening we headed to a local favorite for dinner, the Waterloo Icehouse. The one near us has a huge fenced-in playground with a big sand pit and lots of toy cars and trucks, and Carter just loves going there. Doug and I love that it's a place where we can have dinner and a few beers, and we can just sit back and watch Carter play. He had a blast, and even ended up playing with some other little boys on the slide. He generally tends to play alone when we're out like that, but lately he's started talking to other kids more and more and trying to play with others.

He ran around the cul-de-sac tonight with the neighbor kids until well after dark. They were out when we got home from the restaurant, and he was so excited to see them! It's fun to watch him start to connect with other kids. He's probably not going to have any siblings, so friends are going to be an important part of his life.

Carter doesn't really take naps except on the days Michelle is with him. On no-nap days he goes to bed early, so it all evens out, but it's interesting that he just doesn't want to nap for me. I don't mind, honestly -- it's much easier to organize our day when there isn't a nap to work around. And it's kind of nice to have a couple of hours to hang out with Doug in the evenings. :-)

We've been working with Carter on learning to phrase his demands as requests, and it's interesting how quickly he's picking it up. He was starting to scream and shout when he wanted things, and we finally realized that it was partly because we aren't responding to him as quickly as we used to when he was a baby, so he was resorting to screaming, which is really hard to ignore. Little kids need so much to be heard, and it's so easy to slip into the habit of not hearing them, you know? So we started rephrasing his demands as requests -- for example he'd scream, "Mommy get the raisins NOW!!!" and I'd say in a quiet voice, "Mommy, can you get the raisins please?" It didn't take long for him to catch on, and now he asks for almost everything in a sweet, smiley way, and always with a "please" at the end. It's so adorable!

Tomorrow we might decorate those pumpkins. I'll post pictures of it if we do. The next two weekends we'll be traveling, so there will definitely be some interesting posts coming up!

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