Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Choo choo peanut buttah...

Every Tuesday, Mr. John brings a guitar to Elliott's class and plays songs for the kids. He comes to the class I teach too, and he usually just sings one song and works in melodies of other ones occasionally. But he loves the peanut song, and now I do too. I discovered that Elliott liked to sing this song when he found a cardboard cutout of a guitar and pretended to play it while singing "Choo Choo Train, Choo Choo Train" over and over again.
Don't understand what we're saying? The words are
A peanut sat on a railroad track,
his heart was all aflutter (or if you're Ell, a-fuddah)
along came a big old choo choo train (if you don't sing the next line, he gets stuck here)
Choo Choo Peanut Butter (Ell: Buddah)!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where I finally post new pictures

I recently gave away a few of our outgrown baby items, like the bassinet and changing table that we were given. That led to a panic that I was going to immediately get pregnant with number two and have no furniture for him/her, but I've since calmed down. The recipient gave Elliott a little wagon full of wooden blocks as a thank you, and he loves them. He raced around our living room pulling the little wagon for probably twenty minutes.
Then he'd round the corner too quickly and catch the corner of the wagon on the leg of the coffe table, and say "stuck!" until I helped him get it going again. Oh, and you thought I was kidding about the kid never wearing pants, didn't you. Ha. I only wish.
He likes to build towers with them, but since building vertically tends to require balance and coordination, he prefers to lay them across the table and build a horizontal "tower", saying "DID IT!", like lining them all up takes a lot of his concentration. Also, I've recently learned that Elliott calls anything red Elmo.
Then as we were getting ready for our Thanksgiving festivities, I decided to let Elliott have his very first hot chocolate. Have you ever seen a kid eat his first cupcake or taste their first hot chocolate? It's very high on the things-I-recommend-that-you-do list.
He started out slowly spooning out the mini marshmallows to make sure I hadn't tricked him into eating something nutritious. When the coast was clear, he relaxed and went for it.

I think he was looking at me to make sure I was still his mother. Like he was thinking, "aren't you the same woman that feeds me peas and that disgusting chicken stuff? Where have you been hiding this stuff?"
When he finally tasted the cocoa, he started drinking it like he was afraid any minute I might snatch it away and give him a piece of broccoli instead.
This is a face that has shut out the outside world. Also, when he finished eating a marshmallow, he'd pull the spoon out of his mouth with a flourish, eyes still closed, like he was getting away with something that I must not have figured out yet.
Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. Next, I'll post video of him singing the Peanut Butter song. Prepare yourselves for some unintelligible cuteness.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My life, currently

First, I promise to put up new pictures of Elliott this weekend. I haven't been taking as many as I used to, mostly because we are still working hard on potty training and he is usually either in his underwear or completely naked below the waist. The faster I can get his bare bottom on the potty, the better.

Which brings me to a little story. This afternoon I had Elliott sit on the potty, but he hadn't gone yet. So I left off his underwear and let him sit on the potty when he felt the need. This usually goes pretty smoothly, so I wasn't terribly concerned. Then I looked over and saw Elliott standing awkwardly by the Christmas tree. I knew the face he was making, and RAN over to him only to see that he had done his business. In. The. FLOOR.

Now, according to the potty training advice givers, you should never make a big deal about "accidents". You should just have them help clean up the mess and themselves, and casually mention that we use the potty to do their business.

The advice givers would not have liked my reaction. I mean, I didn't freak out, but casual I was not. It was more like this:

Nicki: What are you doing? NONONO! We do NOT poop in the floor!
Elliott: Pee pee.
N: Not pee pee. You pooped in my floor. That is NOT acceptable Elliott.
E: No pee pee.
N: Right, no pee pee. You are supposed to use the potty.
E. Potty! Did it!
N: UGH! (lots of grumbling as I'm putting him on the potty, cleaning up the mess, bleaching the floor, etc). That is NOT what we do. That's gross, Elliott.
E: Gross, Eyyitt. Gross, Eyyitt. Gross, Eyyitt.

Now I have to fight back laughing so that he knows he didn't just get off the hook, but it is pretty difficult. We go down the stairs to the bathroom.

Nicki: Where DO we go poop?
Elliott: (long pause) Potty!
N: That's right. We use the potty. Not the floor. Do you know why?
E: Gross, Eyyitt. Gross, Eyyitt.

Just in case you thought my cute kid was so cute that you are considering stealing him or making your own. It isn't all fun and games. But it is pretty funny sometimes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I served Elliott broccoli florets with hummus for a before dinner snack, and he is currently just using them to suck all the hummus off. Jokes on you, Elliott. I snuck artichokes and spinach in there. Booyah.

Friday, November 19, 2010

19.5 month edition

Around here, we are knee deep in the "my turn my turn" phase. Which means if we are brushing his teeth, I get a turn for 3 seconds, then Elliott grabs the toothbrush and says "my turn" until I turn it over. He has to be involved in making his oatmeal at breakfast time now, so I have him dump everything in the bowl, and then I stir it for a half a second and he grabs the spoon and says "my turn" until I let go. He helps me to pick up his laundry, throws away his own diaper, brings his dishes to the sink, and throws away any trash he finds. I've had to slow down everything I do to help him feel involved, and while it would just be easier most of the time to do it myself, he seems to really enjoy being a productive part of the household. It's kind of nice, actually.This is exactly what it looks like. Or, if you aren't familiar with yoga, it is Elliott imitating me doing the downward dog pose. He has much better form than I do.
He stretched out this mat, and started doing this on his own. I showed him upward dog too, just so that he's a balanced baby. (That is a joke- I'm not that weird.)
We're also still figuring out his eating. After talking with his teacher, and discovering I'm being a control freak with his food, I've started sending things that I know he likes. It's much less stressful knowing that I can sneak in at least one serving of veggies in his oatmeal (we make it with pumpkin), sending him with a pb&j and some crackers with hummus at lunch time, and giving him turkey dogs or spaghetti for dinner. Then I can introduce new foods on the side, and if he likes them I can just add them to the list of things he likes to eat.

The toilet training is still underway, but he's doing great. He does best if he's upstairs and has lots of books to choose from, so I think for Christmas Santa will be adding to his library. His current favorite books are a book of first words, books with flaps he can lift, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. He's started to try to finish the sentences in that one, saying "Hungry!" at the end of each page that ends with "...but he was still hungry."

I think my favorite new development is that he is starting to sing. One day in the grocery store he started to sing something that sounded suspiciously like "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and then later in the car he was singing "Brother John". When he washes his hands he his own version of the ABC song, and sometimes in the car he'll just try to sing along with whatever song is on the radio by going "Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!" either really loud or in a funny falsetto.

He's still a charmer and seems to love new people, though occasionally he'll get shy with a new person around. It occurs pretty randomly, because he'll see some of David's friends (who he's seen several times) and he gets really quiet and watches them closely for a few minutes before opening up. However last night we had a babysitter come over who had only watched him once before, and when I opened the door he shouted "HIIIII!" and ran up the stairs to see her. Once they got to the living room, he grabbed a book, nuzzled up to her on the couch, and pretended we didn't exist. He wouldn't even give me a hug goodbye, which is really weird for Elliott. I guess he just likes college girls. :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This weekend- In pictures

We started out our Halloween weekend in festive (handmade) undies, since Elliott is currently learning how to use the potty. His preschool teacher is on board, we have an Elmo Potty DVD, and little potties scattered throughout the house. Also, when you let your kid play with water in the sink, it's pretty hard to tell if he's had an accident when he dribbles the water all over himself and the rest of the kitchen. Just in case you didn't know that already.
Then, after church this morning, we finally drug out the stuff to carve a pumpkin. Elliott helped, and he was really, really excited about it.
He danced, he jumped, and he used his little wooden spoon to scoop in the pumpkin. He would NOT touch the guts this year. Maybe I traumatized him by letting him eat all of those seeds last year.
This year Elliott was the Cat in the Hat. I made this costume, and I made it entirely too large. But it was cozy and fleece and he seemed to really dig it.
Well, he did like it- until it was time to leave and David and I were scrambling around like crazy people. Setting out candy, spray painting our hair blue (yes, blue), dressing Elliott up, then forgetting all the things we needed to leave the house, and finally just grabbing two to-go cups of spiked cider for Mommy and Daddy to warm up on this chilly Halloween. He lost it for just a little while.
Then he got over it. Maybe he understood that eventually we would take him to get lots and lots of candy.

See those tears? Halloween is hard on a little guy.

It took a couple of houses, but eventually we had established a rhythm. He wouldn't say trick-or-treat, but he did say thank you and "Haween!"
Thankfully, we managed to get a lady to take our picture while we were out and about. Our hair was a little dark to show off the blue all that well, but we had a good time taking Elliott around our little neighborhood. And we really like to "check all his candy", too. Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The many faces of 5pm

5pm, post preschool. Elliott has discovered this book recently, which he loves because it has BIG TRUCKS and QUACK QUACKS and Meow....'s in it, and thus he can read it to me.
I can't get enough of this face...
Or this one, which is usually given if I mention something he'd really like to have or do, like go outside or crackers.
He isn't shy in front of a camera, and likes to get up in the lens. I think he's trying to see what I'm looking at in there.
These blue eyes get him lots of attention, sweets, and balloons from the people at the grocery stores and banks.
And this is usually when 5pm becomes 5:30, and he get cranky and cantankerous.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This is what mischief looks like

I know better than to leave Elliott unattended. I know not to leave hot beverages within his reach or candles going. I know to keep the gates up and my laptop closed. And now, I know to put the lids on candles when I'm finished burning them, because he will pinch off the top of the burned wick and smear it all over the place, leaving him looking like he ate charcoal for dinner and the chair he was standing on smudged with carbon.
Doesn't he look guilty here? That's because he is.
Don't worry. It obviously didn't slow him down at all. I don't think anything could.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Our bathtub has been giving me problems. Out of nowhere it stopped draining last week, leaving the bath water standing until the next morning. We keep a little catcher over the drain because my hair has a tendency to collect, but I think at some point David got tired of cleaning it out that he removed it.

I bought a bottle of Drano Pro and emptied it into the drain, and although it took a while, it seemed to eventually loosen whatever was stuck in there enough to let the bath water slowly drain out. But after a couple of days the water was still standing, so I bought another bottle of Drano, figuring that two bottles of harsh chemicals should surely work.

Yesterday after my shower there was still about three inches of water in the tub. My landlord was coming over to replace the air filter on our furnace, so I asked him if he could bring a snake or something to help me fix the blocked drain. I was pretty exasperated, because we have had a few issues with the apartment, like a dishwasher that doesn't do a great job on the dishes and a dryer that doesn't vent out properly, making our bottom level damp and sticky. After a little while though, his head popped up over the banister smiling, and he dangled a small baby washcloth in his hand.

"This was in your drain. I think that was the problem."

I feel dumb.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Round here

I'm home sick with a sick Elliott, so I figured I ought to put up some new videos and pictures while we're waiting for him to feel better.
Last night we read this picture book while waiting for Daddy to come home. I got it on camera, because he is trying hard to say all of these words. Watching it today, however, showed me that it may not be terribly clear to anyone else. The "Eat" at the end is as clear as a bell though.
Today we had to stay home from sch
ool because Elliott is running a fever, and he had a banana for his morning snack. I LOVE the way that he says "banana".
These were taken a few weeks ago when it was still sunny and hot here. I took Elliott to Fuller Park Pool, where he learned how to be brave enough to jump in the pool with no one to catch him. Luckily for everyone, he was only in the kiddie end, where the water was about 8 inches deep. Whew.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Considering myself lucky

Elliott just finished dinner, and I took him downstairs to change his diaper afterwards and didn't put his outfit back on. We went upstairs and I resumed cooking dinner, and turned around to find my baby naked as the day he was born, and the diaper laying in the floor beside him. He looked partly proud of his accomplishment, and partly a little nervous about the response I was going to have.

Luckily it was only number 1, so I didn't have any response at all other than to put another diaper on him pronto. Also, he says diaper like this : Bah-per. And when he goes down the stairs, he counts them by saying, Bah...? Boh...? Hai...?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

16 months

So, toddlers keep you busy! In fact, Elliott and I are going to start at a new preschool next week because I am pretty sure that he is ready for some new areas to explore. He's growing quickly and trying very hard to prove that he is NOT a baby and can do all things himself. And if he can't, get ready for him to launch that thing across the living room, followed by "Naaaaooooo!!"

So. Yeah. Other goings on have been hiding things from Elliott now that he can climb on our furniture, rescuing crayons from his mouth, hiding the mops and brooms, and trying to convince him to eat something besides crackers and fruit. He's almost mastered stairs, which is terrifying, and he's starting to say lots of words, which are becoming harder and harder to say no to.

Mo? (More)
Peees (Please)
Tish (Kiss) - He uses this to manipulate more time from bedtime. It works.
EEEEAAAATTT (Eat, Hungry, Breakfast, Snack)
Teey! (Kitty!)
Tees (Teeth)
Hasses (Glasses)
Iss (fish)
OH? (phone, or any object that could resemble a phone)
Bup (drink, cup)
Baaee (bye)

He can also wink (except he uses both eyes), dance, sing along with Itsy Bitsy Spider, and destroy the shelf that houses his toys in seconds flat. He finally likes to go on the slide at the park, and LOVES other kids. He likes most people, but especially of the younger and older variety, since he gets the most attention from them. He flirts with ladies when we go out to dinner, says "Haaiiii" to burly men with big beards or bald heads, and chases little girls while chattering and trying to imitate their conversations.

It's fun around here, but also challenging, and tiring, and filled with head scratching as we try to figure out Elliott's frustrations and how to get him to stop climbing the walls.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New videos of the toddler

A chat over some frozen grapes. It runs a little long, so feel free to stop it early if you get bored. Especially before I start to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider.
Here, we practice putting dry oatmeal in a bowl with a teaspoon. It kept him quiet for almost fifteen minutes while I made dinner.
And finally, we continue Elliott's adventures in food (I swear I take him out of the high chair every now and then) as he tries out seaweed. I swear this is a food substance, and apparently kids love it. I tried it and it tastes like the seaweed on the outside of sushi, except there isn't any soy sauce or other ingredients to distract from the seaweed taste. Not my cup of tea, but it looks like it won't go to waste.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Elliott's baby

A few weeks ago I went to a neighborhood yard sale with Elliott to look around. At one house, I spotted a white plastic adirondack chair that was just his size and he sat in it for several minutes, swinging his little feet and leaning back in the sun. I took it up to the table to pay, and Elliott spotted this pink stroller with a baby doll in it. He took off pushing it up and down the driveway, and I thought about buying it for him, but it was priced at $15- which I didn't really want to pay. The lady selling it apparently got a big kick out of watching him play with it though. She was selling old toys of her grandkids, so she took a lot off the price because she liked watching him play with it.
He wheels around the living room with his baby stroller, powering over any toy or furniture in his path. (See the chair?)
While the baby hangs on for dear life, he pushes her around, and briefly slows down to dig in the carrier/backpack for the dried up baby bottle to feed her.
I tried to show him how to wear the carrier as a backpack, and you would think I strapped some torture device to him. He was not a happy guy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ell's first haircut

So last Friday, Ell's hair looked like this. It isn't all that unruly, but it was closing in on mullet territory in the back, and my sister didn't think Elliott had the rural street cred to pull off a mullet. So I hemmed and hawed about getting it done, fearing that a haircut would make my baby look too grown up. Over the last year we've all heard about how I try to prevent Elliott from growing or doing big boy things.
Plus, I had some purple rubber bands laying around and the back was the perfect length for little pigtails. I may have gotten curious about what a future daughter would look like. And she may be beautiful. Haha. Kidding! Sortof.


I made an appointment in Canton at a kid's haircutting place a couple of people had suggested to me. Which may have also been 6 miles from the closest Sonic. It is really genius. Each salon chair is a vehicle (firetrucks! Sparkly convertibles! Lightning McQueen!) And each mirror has it's own tv and dvd player on it. I picked out an Elmo movie and the lady went to town.
I had to be fast, but I managed to snap a few pictures in between distracting him to look down so she could work on the aforementioned mullet.

See the back? I wasn't lying.
Zoning out to the Elmo movie.
As a treat for his excellent behavior I bought him a new book with Elmo on it. It has a puppet in it which he thinks is amazing and so he steals the book from me. Then for some reason Elmo stops moving and talking and he doesn't really understand why.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Its summer!

I've been bad at putting up new pictures, because I've been busy enjoying the beautiful weather we've been having. Elliott and I have taken another trip to the petting zoo (this time he could tell me what some of the animals said, and he mooed and baaa!ed along with the cows and sheep), gone to the botanical garden where Elliott played in the dirt and sand and went down the most terrifying slide ever, and have taken lots of walks around town. Mostly, though, we try to get to the public pools around here, because they are wonderful.

He is still doing great with the signing classes we are taking, and especially loves to point out balloons, hats, balls, and sunglasses to me. He has added a few words to his vocabulary, although some are unclear except to us (shoe, cheese, juice, and kiss all sound like sss! or oos!) and others are more like onomatopoeia (guitar is doongadoongadoong and bubbles are rapid blowing noises while he reaches for the place behind the couch where I keep them). He is starting to test his limits, by throwing dinner on the ground and saying nononono when he's reaching for something I've told him to leave alone. He won't eat meat unless it's hidden in spaghetti or belongs to another child. I called my mom a couple of days ago asking for help to get him to eat real food and she laughed at me and told me to give him pudding and leave him alone. Which wasn't exactly the advice I was looking for, MOM.

But overall we're good, and busy, and enjoying the things that come with summer, like cheap berries and popsicles. Ice cream and sunshine. Pools with sprinklers mounted just high enough for Elliott to walk under but manage to spray me in the chest while I am trying to get brave enough to get my stomach wet.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

He gets it honest...

For those who don't know what the title of this post means, it's what my family says when describing a trait that has obviously been passed down from family (or kinfolk, as my dad says). I also want to start by saying that I KNOW you shouldn't plop your kid in front of the tv and call it a babysitter. And I don't. The few times I've tried it (in desperation, mind you) by renting a sesame street or curious george video from the library, he has been completely uninterested or even a little freaked out. He'll watch the screen for 15 seconds and then go find a book, or a ball, or destroy something.

But Elliott LOVES the remote control. And since the power button is bright red, he usually figures out how to turn on the tv pretty quickly. Today it was on channel four, but he pushed buttons and it quickly became fuzz. Then he managed to land on PBS, and there is a nature program on about animals in Madagascar. He is enthralled, standing in front of the tv staring up at the lizards and lemurs and whipping around every so often, like he's asking me "Are you seeing this?!"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why my floors SHOULD be cleaner

I mean, who else in the world thinks a broom looks like a really cool toy? I've had to start hiding them.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ol' Crazy Eyes

Spending the day outdoors does something strange to us.
Makes us see the world a little differently.

Puts a little sparkle in our eyes.Lets us all wear rose colored glasses. Or cardboard novelty ones from the dollar bin at Target.