Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Growing Up

In addition to losing the baby fat, Joseph is showing some major signs of growing up. Some recent milestones include:

(1) The ability to retrieve objects that he has hidden. Today Joseph was playing with Todd's blue-tooth (trying to stick it on his own ear and saying, "Hello?"). After a few minutes, I noticed that Joseph no longer had the blue-tooth and said to him, "Joseph, can you go get Daddy's blue-tooth?" Joseph quickly scurried off to wherever he had hidden it and brought it to me. Not only was this very cute to know that he was responding to my request, but it is also an essential skill, since Joseph frequently places things in unusual places (Lightning McQueen has been missing for weeks).

(2) A new love for art. Joseph loves coloring now, and is usually pretty good at keeping the coloring on the paper as long as we are closely supervising him, and has also generally stopped trying to eat crayons. He likes us to draw simple pictures and then he identifies what we've drawn (which says a LOT about Joseph's intelligence, and very little about me and Todd's drawing skills). Then he colors them. My favorite, though, is when he scribbles and then points to his own work and insists, "Tzat?", like I am supposed to know what he's drawn. Finally today I told him he'd drawn water (since it was blue), and he said, "Hot! Bubbles!"

(3) A rapidly-expanding repertoire of tricks. It used to take us a really long time to teach Joseph tricks. For example, it took us from Thanksgiving until just before Christmas to teach him "ho, ho, ho" for Santa (which he now says about most old men). But now he is mastering new tricks, like pretending that he is an airplane, or pounding his chest and saying something that sounds like "strong man," in record time. And playing the piano.

(4) Make believe that goes beyond just putting things to bed. As described in previous posts, Joseph spends a lot of time putting toys and other people to bed. It was sort of the only thing he did for a while. But now, his toys have all sorts of other behaviors: talking to each other, kissing each other, getting dressed, and eating, among other things.

(5) He's practically potty-trained. Ok, that is a total lie, but we did put a little toilet for him in his bathroom just so that he can get used to sitting on it. And he does like to sit on it, then get up and get some toilet paper, and "wipe" himself (usually fully-clothed) off. He also likes to help us out during diaper changes. So, at this rate, I'm sure he'll be potty trained in no time.

Meanwhile, he can now climb out of the tub, which is problematic.

(6) Sometimes he cooperates in getting dressed. Today, he actually put his arms in his pajama sleeves for Todd. Amazing.

(7) He seems to describe memories for us. For example, yesterday Todd took Joseph to the golf store, and when he got home, he kept saying "golf club" to me. I think he was describing where he had been and what he'd seen. Incidentally, when I got him from his nap this afternoon, he was also repeating "golf club, golf club, golf club" to me. Todd is very pleased.

(8) Operation of the DVD player. Much to our chagrin, Joseph knows how to eject disks from the DVD player, which he does frequently when he wants to watch Nemo and we don't immediately put it on. I think he knows we'll usually put it on for him if it will stop him from messing with the electronic equipment, and if he hasn't already watched it, oh, three times that day (just kidding. Once is usually our limit).

(9) He's much better using utensils. Still, we usually stick with hands.

Thoughts while getting the car serviced

I’m sitting in the gray-tiled lounge of a car dealership waiting to pick up the family car from its annual, dealer-recommended and -provided $200 oil-change--I skip the quarterly and semi-annual recommended/provided oil changes ($50 and $70, respectively).

While here, I noticed a strange coincidence: nearly every woman in the waiting room has been informed of an additional expense that has shown up during the inspection of their cars, but that no men have been told that they have additional expenses. I guess men must take better care of their cars... ;)

I often worry that people don't know when I'm joking, especially online. The answer is: sometimes.

I’ve spent an hour and a half trying to be productive, but I’ve now surfed every website that I can think of. With that context in mind, here’s a question:

If you were me, which of the following ambient sounds would you most like to eliminate?

1. the radio playing a mix of today’s hits and yesterday’s favorites sung by people who may or may not have won “American Idol”
2. the louder-than-I-would-talk-indoors voice of the young eastern European mom on her cell phone chatting about something that is either really intense or really amusing to her
3. the television tuned to “The View”
4. the tense pacing of the salesmen on the empty showroom floor.
5. the old guy who occasionally (unwittingly?) mutters something in a way that makes me think he’s talking to me but he never looks up from his papers—possibly in response to #2, but I’m not sure. (I wonder if I ever make/will start making those noises)

If you picked #3, you were right.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quack Quack

Joseph is really into ducks lately, so Todd and I have been wanting to take him to feed ducks. Apparently, this is much more difficult than when we were kids, where you could kind of just feed ducks anything, anywhere. Now, there are all kinds of restrictions on duck-related activities.

We took him to some gardens while we were in Los Angeles after Christmas, but the ducks there were unfeedable. He did do a lot of running around, though, and had a great time with his Nana and Uncle Brent.

Last week, we took him to the Wild Animal Park with the express purpose of feeding ducks. Yes, we went to the Wild Animal Park to see ducks, not lions, elephants, giraffes, gorrillas, etc. But they do have a nice walk through duck ponds AND you can buy duck food.

At first, this activity turned out not to be a hit. Joseph kept trying to eat the duck food that we gave to him and wasn't very happy about sharing it with ducks. Eventually, I gave him some fruit snacks of his own and then he felt better about parting with the duck food.

These ducks would eat right out of your hand. This also turned out not to be a hit, because Joseph wouldn't let go of the food and so the duck nipped his finger. So after that, we stuck with throwing food to the ducks, and Joseph quite liked it.

We didn't get any pictures with the ducks (it was hard enough keeping him from eating the duck food), but we did document Joseph and Jonah's fascination with some elephant figures, which were far more interesting than the actual elephants.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Joseph's friend Matthew came over to play the other day. Matthew is the closest kid in age to Joseph at church, and they have similarly-mellow and pleasant dispositions. Joseph loves Matthew and they get excited when they see each other.

The first time that Matthew came over (in December), Joseph gathered all of his toys throughout the house to give them to his friend.

Evidently, he also felt that Matthew was not properly groomed, and help him spiff up a bit. Matthew is really patient with Joseph's attention and affection.

However, the prize for the first person's name that Joseph has learned to say goes to his friend Ashton. So far, Joseph says Mom, Dad, and Nana, but I think Ashton's is the first formal name he's said (though it's arguable that he's said something like "Lena" for his cousin Elena).

Ashton is a bit younger than Joseph but they seem to like each other as well. Ashton follows Joseph around, and Joseph likes slamming doors on Ashton (which Ashton isn't so crazy about). It's nothing personal against Ashton. Joseph just really likes shutting people out of rooms. Ashton came with us to Santa's Village and is the boy pictured with Joseph in "In Between Christmases."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blog Neglect

Today is the day I'm supposed to start studying for the California bar. What better day than today to blog, then?

We've gotten some hints (some more subtle than others) that we haven't been blogging enough lately. Well, things have been really busy, and I guess we set expectations high with frequent blogging in the past. Anyway, we had our Christmas travels (which we still haven't finished documenting), then I started back up at work and have been working pretty long hours, we are busy with church assignments, Joseph won't let us work on our computers, and we are in the process of closing on our condo so Todd has been super busy dealing with real estate and mortgage agents and checking bank websites to decide whether to LOCK or FLOAT (still floating).

In fact, things have been so busy that Joseph has started doing some of the household chores. When I went to check on how his load of laundry was doing, this is what I found:

In case you can't tell, that's some dirty pajamas, a sippy cup, and a Little People guy.

We've also been eating a lot of take out. Here's Joseph biting into his first BRC (Beans, Rice, and Cheese burrito from El Pollo Loco. I don't like them, but Todd and Joseph do):

So long as Joseph keeps up with the housework and is okay with eating take-out everyday, perhaps we can be better about blogging in the future.