Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mommy's new endeavor

I am very, very excited to report that I've signed up for a free 30-day trial of the Muzzy German Language Course for Children -- not for me, of course, but for John (and Lila, when she's a little older)! If you've never heard of Muzzy before, take a look at their website: They also have programs in Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, Russian and Portuguese.

I've always wanted to start teaching the kids German at an early age, but I wasn't sure how to go about it. When I started doing some research about teaching toddlers a second language, I rediscovered the Muzzy program, which my high school German classes used (in part). I think John will really enjoy learning another language. Just for fun, I taught him four words in German this past week -- dog (Hund), sheep (Schaf), train (Zug) and plane (Flugzeug). He understands what I'm talking about when I use the words in context, and he has produced Hund and Zug on his own numerous times.

I'm sure I'll have funny stories to share on the blog once John and I get started with Muzzy. I can't wait to see how he does!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Valentine's Day party at Parent's Day Out

The Parent's Day Out program that John attends celebrates every holiday with a little party for the kids and their families. There was a big Thanksgiving feast back in November and a Christmas sing-along in December, but I forgot to bring my camera for both of those, so I was determined to take photos this past week for the Valentine's Day-themed party.

When it came time to sing a few lovey-dovey songs, John clammed up immediately. He usually loves singing, but he never wants to sing in front of me during these Parent's Day Out parties! He just looked at me shyly with those big, adorable brown eyes.

Here he is waiting patiently for his heart-shaped cookie.

Here are some of the other kids and their parents. There are four boys and four girls altogether in his class. He is buddies with a 20-month-old boy named Evan.

Ta-da! Look, Momma, a cookie!

John absolutely LOVES going to Parent's Day Out. I wish he could go two or three times a week! He does so well in structured environments like that and has a blast playing with other kids his age. His teachers, Miss Lynne and Miss Julie, say John is one of the most active little boys they've ever had in their many years of teaching the 1-2-year-old class. I believe it!

I've been looking into Montessori schools in the Milwaukee area because I want to enroll John in a class for 2-3-year-olds (pre-pre-school). He is definitely ready for it. And I'm ready for it too!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's new with Lila

Lila loves to hang out on Grandma's or Mommy's knees. Not only does she get to look at her favorite people this way, but she also has a great view of everything around her.

Here's a video I took of Lila while she was sitting with Grandma on one of the barstools (a favorite location for Grandma). Grandma got Lila to giggle on camera, but it is very, very subtle. John is talking loudly in the background, too, so you'll need to turn the volume up on this one.

Giggling Lila from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

Here's Lila kicking back on Mommy's knees and telling Mommy a story. Lila loves to talk, just like Mommy!

More cooing from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

Lila got the most adorable winter hat EVER from Ma Bonnie and Papa Jeff. She looks so cute in it, but she hates having it on. She doesn't like having anything on her head, really. She gets sweaty very quickly (just like Mommy).

Lila is amazingly good at tummy time.....leaps and bounds above where John was with tummy time when he was 3.5 months old. Now we will actually play a little bit while she's on her tummy. I like to angle the mirror in front of her so she can see herself.

This is a video I got of Lila during tummy time. She'd been on her tummy looking at her activity cube for a few minutes before I turned the camera on, so she was tired after a minute or two of filming. But you can see that she is keeping her arms pretty straight, which is not that easy to do when you're her age!

Tummy time from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

This is a photo of Lila in the infant insert part of her Ergo carrier before I strapped her onto my chest. Surprisingly, Lila doesn't really like being in the Ergo anymore. My life would be so much easier right now if she did. I've even tried using our other carrier, which is like a Baby Bjorn. I just think she wants to face out now that she is older! While her head control is very, very good (I hardly have to hold her head at all anymore), it's not quite good enough yet to put her in the carrier facing out. I bet she'll be ready in a few more weeks.

We've really stepped up the playtime for Lila. She's awake so much more during the day now, and I try to fit in some playtime during each of her wakeful periods. I am amazed at how well she does when I pull her up to a sitting position. She keeps her head completely level with her shoulders (see video below)! And, when she reaches the sitting position, she is almost strong enough to maintain the position by herself! I am so impressed. I think the tripod sit is just around the corner for her.

Lila is also very close to rolling over on her own (from her back to her tummy). When I put her down on a blanket, she often rolls onto her left side right away. I'll gently push her into position on her tummy and then prop her arms up for her. Lila actually started rolling onto her left side more than a month ago, but I forgot to write down the actual day. To be completely accurate, the first time Lila ever rolled onto her side was when she was in the NICU. Every night, the nurses would strip her down to her birthday suit (to get the most accurate reading), and the minute they'd put her on the cold metal scale, she'd flail her arms and kick her legs so hard that she'd roll onto her side. (It took FOREVER to weigh her because the scale wouldn't register with so much movement.)

Pulling to a sitting position from Sarah Schuchard on Vimeo.

I can't believe Lila will be four months old in less than two weeks! I'm anxious to find out how much she's grown in the last month -- her next well-baby appointment is on the 28th.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lila in her Valentine's Day outfit

Check out the adorable Valentine's Day outfit Lila got from Ma Bonnie and Papa Jeff.....I love it!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Our 25-month-old

Yes, John is another month older already, so it's time for an update and new photos! Since I totally forgot to discuss his talking in the last post, I'm going to try to tackle it in this one. But first, some photos from the past month.....

John continued to celebrate his second birthday for days after his actual birthday on the 8th. In the first photo, he's opening a present I had forgotten to give him (a Mr. Potato Head). You can tell how surprised he is to see it!

John's teachers at Parent's Day Out knew John would be turning 2 over the holiday break, so they were ready for him on Tuesday the 11th with his very own birthday hat! Miss Julie and Miss Lynne said he wore the hat nearly the entire four hours of class. He wanted to wear it later that afternoon after his nap and even days later! He still has it on the dresser in his bedroom.

John has always loved walking around in other people's shoes. His new favorite shoes to walk in are Mommy's running shoes and Grandma's boots. The way I see it, he's probably just sick of his own two pairs of shoes -- he's still wearing the pair of size 5 brown leather shoes we bought for him last spring and the pair of size 5 blue Converse sneakers we bought for him last summer! (While his feet have gotten a lot wider, they haven't gotten much longer at all.)

Grandma's sectional couch is a favorite hangout of John's. He likes to climb up on the very top of the cushions and peer over the edge or out the back windows. When Halley is sitting on top of the cushions in the corner of the sectional, he gets very upset and asks her to leave even if she was there first, hehe.

My favorite photo of the bunch -- John wearing a pair of 1960s-style sunglasses that Grandma bought as a gag gift for a friend's birthday.....

So, on to the talking. In the past month, John has started doing three new things:

1. Using the first person ("I ride bike!"). But he doesn't use it exclusively yet. He still frequently uses the third person ("John ride bike!") or else omits himself from a sentence altogether ("Ride bike!" -- a statement rather than a command).

2. Negating statements ("John no like it.") He is still in the very early stages, but it's so interesting to hear him work through it! Negation is one of the hardest things to learn in foreign languages. I remember struggling mightily with negation in French.

3. Stringing together longer sentences, of four or more words, while still remembering to follow the subject-verb-object sequence ("Big kids ride big bikes.") As he's saying something, he's very consciously thinking about what words he wants to use next, sometimes even pausing between words to give himself time to think. It's exactly the way I speak German when I haven't spoken it in a long time, hehe.

For a few months now, John's been using prepositions. I can't remember when he started using them, but it was definitely before Christmas and possibly even before Thanksgiving. (I'll have to ask Ross if John was using them while Ross was still home on R&R). The prepositions he uses are "in," "on," "out," and "with." For example, he'll say.....

"Shobel with?" (He wants to bring the yellow shovel Grandma bought him with him in the car.)

"Target in?" (He wants to go into Target.)

"Momma on?" (He wants me to get on his bike.)

Some humorous things John has said in the past week or so.....

Mommy: (talking about one of John's toys) "Hmm, this one is interesting."
John: (a few minutes later, picking up a tiny Lego piece) "This, interesting?"

Mommy: (while giving John a bath and worrying he might be pooping) "Did you poop, John?"
John: "No, toot!"

John: (taking a piece of pizza out of his mouth because it had black olives on it) "John no like it. Mommy have it."

Mommy: (putting John on the changing table and accidentally taking out one of Lila's diapers) "Ok, John, let's change your diaper."
John: "No, Momma, Wiwa's diaper!"

John: (walking up to Lila, who's in her car seat sucking on her pacifier) "Hi Wiwa! What doin'?"

Grandma: (calling out my name, trying to find me in a store) "Sarah! Where are you?"
John: "Say-rah! Are you?"

There are so many more humorous exchanges that I'm sure I've forgotten, so from now on, I'm going to try to do a better job of writing things down right away. There are, however, some things John says regularly that I find hilarious:

"Jamma!" ("Grandma!" This is an upgrade from "Ma.")

"Jew me." ("Excuse me." John almost never has to be prompted to say this. He knows he needs to say it when he's trying to get by someone who's in his path, or if he has tooted.)

"Momma put you bed?" or "Momma get you out [of the booster seat or car seat]?" ("Momma put/get me.....?" John repeats the pronoun he hears me use. He is really having a hard time understanding what "me" means.)

"Daddy fly red airplane!" (John says this all the time, and I have absolutely no idea why. We've always told him that Daddy flies a helicopter, not a plane. And certainly not a red airplane.)

I'll be posting some new videos of John soon.....check back for those.

John and the huskies.....

We went to the arboretum the Saturday before Groundhog's Day to check out an exhibit about groundhogs. We were pleasantly surprised to meet a few huskie dogs who were there as part of an exhibit called Husky Heroes. John went from dog to dog, very curious to pet each one but at the same time a little apprehensive. He is definitely cautious around dogs other than Halley!

John liked sitting on the sled to have his photo taken next to one of the huskies. He thought the sled was really cool and kept wanting to pull it away.

We will definitely be going back to the arboretum soon to play in the Children's Garden. I noticed that all the little kids that day had on their snowpants so they could roll around in the snow and play.