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This week Dillo has decided he doesn't need the 11-12 hours of sleep a night recommended for 3 year olds. Monday night I lay in his bed feigning sleep for most of an hour, and then finally got angry and left in a huff at 9:30. Only then did he stop talking and fall asleep. Tuesday he rejected me, begging for mr. flea, then when he got mr. flea he begged for me. We were not willing to dance to his tune, so he cried and cried. I think he was asleep by 9:45 or so.

Last night was my working night. The cell phone rang at 9:52; it was mr. flea telling me they were going to bundle into the car and come pick me up, since they were all still awake. Casper was tired and angry at Dillo for keeping her up, talking too loud with mr. flea in the next room. She was asleep in about 15 seconds once we got home. I had to lie with Dillo fr another half hour. Even though he was yawning and heavy-lidded, he kept mumbling, "I want Daddy." Even though half the problem while I was at work was that he wanted me.

And then this morning he was wide awake at 6am. WTF? I think the weather (hot hot hot, high 80s-90s all week), the increasing lateness of sunset (it is quite light at 8pm, when we start bedtime, now), and the ineluctable orneriness of the 3.5 year old are to blame. The heat is supposed to break today; I don't know what we can do about the rest.

ION, he has a very funny verbal tic now. He asks us a question, and we answer, and he is surprised, or feigns surprise, and says, "WHAT the...?" I am pretty sure he doesn't know what's supposed to be on the end of that sentence.

Casper, for her part, says, "Niiice" like a surfer when there's something she likes. And after a squabble over who would get the last jellybean from the Easter cake, she defended her grab, saying, "I have a fast hand!" (I laughed out loud, but did take the jellybean, which was rightfully Dillo's.)
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mr. flea just emailed me his morning conversation with the Dillo, after they dropped me at work:

"Conversation with Dillo this morning in the car:

Dillo: I finished (my cheerios) but its not enough ...
Me: (silence)
Dillo: Are you still in the poopie yard? [mr. flea has spent Tues-Thurs for the last 3-4 weeks in the field, spreading manure samples and simulating rain on them]
Me: No, I finished up in the field yesterday.
Dillo: (beat) All right! Doughnut store here I come!
Me: LOLs"

So yes, a strong fondness for donuts remains one of Dillo's primary personality characteristics.
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Lately we hold hands and say what we're thankful for at dinner. Today Dillo said, "I'm thankful for talking about butts."

And now, we're making "ice krispie treats." He will not be corrected, even when I explained that RICE krispies were made from RICE.

Today he was sedated and had all his cavities filled. He clammed up when I tried to get him to drink the medicine, and I had to use a syringe and force him. But then they took him back strapped into a red wagon and apparently he was fine, very cooperative and mellow. They were pleased with the overall condition of his teeth and gums - he didn't bleed much, and the dentist seemed surprised by that, given the extent of his cavities. I think these were definitely nursing cavities. All 6 of his top front teeth had cavities along the gumline, in between, and in back, and none of his other teeth. On this plus side, this should means we're done with the matter, assuming we keep brushing as we have been.

When they brought him back out he was a little dopey but not particularly funny, like that kid on Youtube. He was a little uninhibited, in speech, I think, but didn't say anything amusing. He was fascinated with the numbness of his upper lip. By lunchtime he could feed himself rice and by 1pm or so he seemed fully back to normal.
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mr. flea went in for a meeting with the Dillo's teacher today at lunch, so it seemed like a good time for an overall update.

He's 3.5 now, about 39 inches tall, 34 pounds according to the Wii. This means, IIRC, that's gained all of about 2 pounds in the last 18 months, which is not that surprising when you look at his figure and how it's changed (and is also developmentally appropriate). He's still got a round face and a round head and the snub nose he was born with, but the rest of him is no longer round - he's all slim and limby. He's definitely had a growth spurt this fall - I bought him 2T pants in September and they fit and now they are highwaters, so he's finally fully into 3T.

He's a bit fussy about clothes, and prefers "soft pants" (sweatpants and other elastic waist things - not jeans) and if given the choice would wear his black and orange striped pajama shirt 24/7. He likes stripes, and pajamas. We are laxer than we were with Casper - our rule is, you may wear ONE piece of your pajamas the next day to school (he usually picks the shirt) and you may not wear the same clothes two days in a row. (With Casper we had a "no pajamas at all" rule.) His hair is loooong and shaggy and I really should cut it, but he likes it long and you really can't cut the hair of a violently protesting child, can you? He dislikes having his hair washed at the moment, though liking baths otherwise, so I figure I'll wait until the phase passes before trying again with the scissors.

mr. flea reports that he's doing very well at school. It's a Montessori classroom, a primary classroom but the kids are almost all on the younger end of primary (3-4.5). His teacher says that in general she thinks he is advanced for his age, in social skills and skills. He and Evan and Adam are all very interested in their works, and spend more time together as a result. Dillo likes to do works and is really self-motivated and independent once he's understood them, and will sometimes move ahead before he is shown the next step. mr. flea came away feeling we are babying him a bit at home, and can give him more responsibility, on the one hand, and maybe expect a little more from him on the other. (Example: apparently he eats everything except tomatoes at school. At home, he's a pastafarian, and dinnertime is kind of a circus. So maybe we should impose a little more structure at meals at home.)

He's just starting figural drawing - drew a face of himself on the whiteboard last night, but was stumped about how to draw "his bones" and wanted my help. He speaks in complete sentences and is comprehensible. He knows some letters and sounds, and they work on this at school. He's interested in sound play and word play a little - replacing all the initial sounds in a sentence with the same consonant, like "BI'm the Biggest Barnibore, in the Betaceous Borest." Has been using his stomp rocket as a vacuum around the house, and we've had a lot of block and lego and train play - especially after mr. flea had the genius idea to use the Thomas duplo and dinosaur duplo together and make a Dinosaur Train!

His teacher reports that "butt" language is not a problem at school. It is one at home - every other word is "butt-butt" and he discovered the word "butt-hole" last week (I think at school - it's not something we say!) He teases his sister sometimes, and then cries when she gets angry at him. They're at a rocky point - he's old enough now to realize when she is being too bossy and to demand equality, but not old enough to be a real peer in many games. He's still a little shy/passive in the face of others' aggression at school, and shy with strangers - still buries his face in my neck. After a LOT of potty accidents over the break, he is mostly back on track, with occasional accidents rather than accidents as a matter of course.

I have been thinking of him as trying and exhausting and the other things I associate with being 3, so it was nice to get the glowing report from school about his maturity and self-motivation. He's a sweet boy, too, a cuddler, very lovey, in addition to being an energetic bouncy homework-distracting cookie-demanding three year old.
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We are toasting the new year - mr. flea and I with prosecco and pomegranate juice in champagne flutes, and the kids with Mango Tango in wine glasses.

me: To a good new year with our loving family.
Casper: I will try to have better feelings with my brother. [They have been fighting. A lot. We had a talk today about saying mean things like, "I wish I didn't have a brother."]
Dillo: I will have a poop!
mr. flea: That's a prediction that will come true.
Dillo: That talks!

Before that the neighbors set of some small fireworks in the driveway, and the kids loved it, especially Casper, who shrieked and shrieked. And I made spitzbuben.
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Dillo: I want to blast into space and see the big planets like Saturn.
me: Well, when you are a grownup you can be an astronaut and go into space.
Dillo: I want to go now! With you guys!
me: Well, unfortunately we are not astronauts.
Dillo: But we could dress up as them!

And apparently sneak into a spaceship.

In unrelated news, we received an Xmas card addressed to "Famous Chef with My Last Name + Woman We Bought House From." Who are not a couple. From our congressman.
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Dillo: Mommy? My nose is drooling.

mr. flea: Do you want to tell your daughter why no women have ever set foot on the moon?
(Casper was Extremely Indignant about this.)
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Last week was a pisser - I worked 7 days in a row. This week is okay - I work Wednesday night, but Friday is a furlough day. But then on Sunday mr. flea leaves on a trip (through Thursday), and he'll be gone another 5 days in mod-November. And my mother is coming for that, which helps in some ways (less worry about how to get Dillo to daycare), and is hard in others (MY MOTHER IN MY HOUSE - always touch and go.) Just gotta keep plugging through.

Our neighbor has a new puppy - an 11-week old border collie. (Her previous dog, also a border collie, died of old age in the spring.) It's little and submissive and licky and she's thinking of naming it Indie or Milkshake (although Casper suggested Rosemary, and Dillo suggested "Cheese." Heh.)

Then there was the feral kitten we dealt with on our camping trip, and a couple of different coworkers are fostering kittens ready for adoption. So little and sweet! Must remember we have one cat, who does not like other cats, and kittens grow up into cats. (This holds double if we took kitten siblings - do we really want to be a 3-cat household?)

A bunch of people in my life are back in baby mode, too, and as I am nearly finished getting baby stuff out of our house, I am thinking about babies, too. If we had decided to have a third, it would probably have been this summer or fall. I look at newborns and don't want one, but the charm of the 6 month old cannot be denied. (I mean, remember this?
best smile evah ). And Casper is at a point where she would be so helpful and charming as a big sister, and... ah well.
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me: Tomorrow we need to get a present for Penny's birthday. Do you have any idea of what you'd like to get her?
Casper: gallic shrug.
Dillo: "A pony?"
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It's a good sign you're ovulating when you find the character Hector on The Electric Company kinda hot.

Casper's latest angry note: Mom your a big fat hors. Illustrated, natch.

Dillo is working on being able to recite the entire corpus of nursery rhymes contained in the Opie/Wells Mother Goose. He can do a bunch - his favorite is Hey Diddle Diddle.

after later

Sep. 2nd, 2009 06:57 pm
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This is one of Dillo's favorite phrases; things aren't saved for later, they're saved for "after later." I've taken to saying it myself now!

He's been backsliding on the potty front - aside from what I am pretty sure was an illness-induced incident of pooping on the porch, he's still good with poop, but he has pee accidents frequently now - often 1-2 a day for the last 10 days. Last night he was naked after his bath and just stood there while peeing on the rug. (Previously he was 100% reliable while naked.) He was amused with himself and my anger, so we'll need to tread carefully to prevent making this a battle of wills. He's clearly testing, at home; not sure what the deal is at school. They make him change himself, I am pretty sure, but he seems to actually be proud to carry home a plastic bag with wet pants in it. Still in diapers overnight.

shy Dillo

Apr. 17th, 2009 11:44 am
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Wednesday night while I was at work mr. flea took the kids out to a ribs place. The woman taking the order talked up Dillo, and of course he was shy. mr. flea asked him what he felt like when people said hello to him like that, and Dillo's response was, "I want to get in the car and drive home," and also, "I want to go in the bathroom and peep [i.e. melt] down the drain." Poor little shy guy! mr. flea tried to tell him that people were friendly and a lot of people like children, and it's okay if someone says "hi" to say hi back.

Dillo's been a lot more interested in art the last month or so, as the drawings on the couch, walls, floor, and his wagon as well as actual paper attest. He really likes to draw circles and spirals (and can name spirals) - round and round and round. Also, he has a train made up of the five letters of his name, connected by magnets. Last weekend he arranged it so the front magnet connected to the end magnet and said, "Look, a pentagon!" *Pentagon!*

Still NO potty action yet. We need to get more forceful, and actually ACT on the M&M bribery, not just talk about it.

Tomorrow we are going camping in Alabama to see friends. As of tomorrow, my kids will have set foot in AL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, OH, and MA (add PA for Casper, and NJ if you count airport layovers). Southern children! Gotta get these kids to, like, Maine and New York City.
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Dillo just said that. Very clearly. We visited the *botanical* garden on Saturday.

Casper is writing a note to the tooth fairy. "I lost my tooth in a crack."

miscellanea

Apr. 1st, 2009 07:50 am
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I had a long (-seeming) dream this morning that was entirely me applying self-tanner. It was remarkably peaceful and relaxing!

Conversation last night at bathtime:
Dillo (to me): Do *you* have a penis?
Me: No, I have a vagina and a clitoris. I have a different bottom from you.
Casper: Hannah Montana has a vagina and a clitoris! And she has a hairy bottom.
Me: What, have you seen Hannah Montana's bottom?
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I feel like Dillo gets short shrift around here, being the second kid and all. And while he's a great talker, he is not as picturesque a talker as Casper was at his age. He says cute and funny things, but they are usually in the "you had to be there" vein (like when he said yesterday, to Owen's dad, "I don't like Owen.")

So, Dillo. He's 2 years and almost 9 months now. He went off to school in a pull-up this morning for the first time. We've been talking up the whole "peep in the potty" thing heavily lately, and bought the pull-ups yesterday, but he has yet to ever actually pee in the potty. He does sit on it at school; he mostly won't at home, though we haven't pushed. In related news (well, it's about his penis, anyway) I was able to retract his foreskin pretty much all the way last night (this occurred in the context of after bath, and him trying to do it, and complaining, "I can't open it!")

He mostly sleeps through the night and has been less often awake for the day at insane AM; often he's not up until 6:30 and Sunday morning he slept until 7:30! Getting him to go to sleep at night is a terrible battle though, which I have started handing off to mr. flea. He's simply not tired until past 9pm, because he gets a 2+ hour nap at daycare. I am very tired and impatient at 9pm, and mr. flea does a much better job of playing 'whose feet make a bigger shadow' with the flashlight and giggling until he falls asleep.

When I was doing bedtime more often, we had gotten into the habit of singing Little Bunny Foo-Foo and also telling the story of Casper's yellow balloon ("and the wind took it, and it went down the storm drain! Will you sing that one?") It's not a song, but a story that starts out true (Casper was SO SAD about the balloon) and ends with Dillo's inventions, regarding a space ship and a monster and the rescue of the balloon from the storm drain.

He remains a Beta Male - rough and tumble friends (like Owen, and some of his friends at school) are too much for him, and he's not aggressive in grabbing back a taken toy (unless he's tussling with his sister, in which case he's likely to give as good as he gets.) He still loves donuts (this morning in the car: "Can we go to the donuts?" No. "Will you take me to the coffee shop?") and en-dee-ems. He gets wild hairs and throws things, goes around the house dumping out bins of toys and sweeping magazines off the coffee table but in general is not deliberately destructive (he accidentally broke a DVD trying to get it out of the box). He hates having his hair combed and complains at clothing changes, wanting "soft pants". He mostly won't wear jeans and is silly picky about shirts - doesn't like tags.

He's not very interested in the new weaning bunny but is suddenly quite attached to his stuffed seal, Sealy, such that Sealy needs to be found before bedtime. This is a new phenomenon for me, as neither kid has much been into lovies before. He likes cars, and small rubber balls, and painting. He eats apples and yogurt tubes like they are going out of style. He can mostly sing the alphabet and recite numbers to 10, and recognizes the letters A and O. He's a little boy!

snow!

Mar. 1st, 2009 01:49 pm
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On chocolate-covered dates, a gift from a neighbor just back from Dubai: Dillo, "It's like a giant raisin!"

We've got about an inch of heavy wet snow over two days' worth of steady rain (there's a small lake in our back yard.) It's still coming down steadily, and it's not supposed to get above freezing until mid-day tomorrow, so all bets are, no school tomorrow.

This is how Casper feels about it:
DSC_0054.JPG

The weaning has occurred. Casper was a whining mass of jealousy at the mall yesterday, and covets and appropriates Dillo's new bunny. Dillo has asked to nurse multiple times, and cried angrily at several times (including the middle of the night) but we made it through okay.
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On potty-training:
"When I grow taller than Daddy, I will peep in the potty."

I sure hope it doesn't take that long. Also, I adore the "peep" in the potty formation he has made, based on "poop".

On careers:
"When I grow up into a dog, I will be an astronaut dog!"

All righty then.

Casper currently wants to be a fortune-teller/artist when she grows up. The fortune-teller part is from Mrs. Wu on avatar.

At this very time we are eating donuts, and Dillo has a cake donut with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, and he is running over to tell me about EVERY SINGLE SPRINKLE on his donut. For example, "Here is a pink one! Like [Casper's] donut!" and "Here is a yellow one! Like your scarf!"

There are a lot of sprinkles on the donut. It may be a long morning.

Dillo song

Feb. 3rd, 2009 09:24 pm
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I want cookies
And also broccolis
Because it is yummy
It is not yucky

Magnificent plural recently: snakeses. Hilarious pronounciation: pop-iss-cle for popsicle. (Yes, it is sometimes like living with Gollum.)

He turns out not to like rice krispie treats, leading mr. flea to ask, "Is he really our son?" He's very iffy on sweets in general, but does love chocolate.

Yay baby (Anassa Kata to E!): Harrison Tecumseh, big sister is Caroline.
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ta-blong. As in, "where does this tablong?"

(Meaning "belong," in case your two-year-old translator chip is wonky.)

I should also note, as I mentioned in comments elsewhere, that I had a good morning planting trees at Casper's school. The project was a day of service one, with some sponsorship by the city (the guy in charge was the city forester, and the city will bring a truck to water the plantings until they are established), a few volunteers from the service organization that organized the thing (a family of 4 from Kenesaw, which was nice), and mostly parents, most with kids, from the school. I met and had a nice chat with a parent whose younger child is at the same place as Dillo, and met a family whose youngest daughter shares my name, who have just been zoned into our school (and the school-age kids are unhappy about it.) I worked alongside a latino couple for a while, moving mulch, and only found out at the end when Casper and Dillo and mr. flea showed up that they are the parents of one of Casper's classmates. They didn't seem to speak much English, but I would have made more effort if I'd realized. Dillo and the younger child of one of the PTO parents who's the main engine behind the gardening and planting efforts hit it off, so that was nice.

We planted about 15 flowering cherries, 6 redbuds, 10 lil' gem magnolias (they stay small), a scattering of oaks and maples, and some bushes mostly between the magnolias. The school used to be fonted by a lawn with flowering cherries, which were all lost during the renovation construction that ended a year ago. When we first saw the school, it was asphalt drop-off loop and parking and vast expanses of red clay covered with anemic pine needle mulch. Two immense cedars planted in the 1920 (when the school was built) survived, saved during the construction by parent protest. The trees we planted today were pretty large - 2" mostly - so should make the place look inhabited again, come spring.

And now I want very much to plant a flowering cherry and a redbud in my yard.
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The Dillo has started backseat driving, as a corollary to the ongoing "I don't want to go to school" theme. When we stop at red lights, he'll put his feet into the back of my seat and push, saying, "Go, go!" When the car gets close to his school (after I am dropped off), he'll start telling mr. flea to turn around, or turn, and go a different way. mr. flea has been teaching him to notice and name the red and green lights, which seems to be working as a distraction from, "I never get any donuts" and "I don't want to go at school."

We had a bunch of hilarious conversations at various points in bed together last night (and yes, for all intents and purposes Dillo and I are co-sleeping at this point, and I do not like this regression at all). The only one I really remember went:

me: Hello lovey boy. I love you.
Dillo: I love ... your nursie.

Yeah, pretty much.

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