Monday, March 31, 2008

Will sits in his new chair and thinks about math

Grandma Brenda brought Will some fun things when she visited a week ago, and they have been THE things to play with recently. First, he got this new chair, which he really likes because it's small enough for him to carry around to somewhere he wants to have a seat, and he can climb into it by himself. He sits in it a lot now, and his favorite place to sit is about one foot in front of the TV in the basement. In case you're wondering, that giant sticker he is proudly wearing on his tummy is half of the label to the diaper genie bag dispenser. See if you can find where the other half is.

Grandma also brought Will these cool glasses. So Will got to double his pleasure by trying the glasses on while sitting in the chair.

After he wore the glasses for awhile to feel smart, Grandma unveiled this pretty toy, which in addition to being fun to touch is actually a functioning calculator called an abacus. I'm not sure how it works exactly but there are stories of Chinese and Japanese children who can do complex arithmetic with one of these and get answers faster than another person who punches the numbers into an electronic calculator. That normally takes several years of training but we're starting Will at a young age, since, as Grandma Susan says, he "thinks about math" a lot.

Do you see the other half of the diaper genie label?

Friday, March 28, 2008

awesome shades, dude

Will got some new red sunglasses a few weeks ago and for some reason he likes wearing them. He's always been a fan of mom's or dad's or Aunt Jenna's sunglasses, but never really wanted much to do with the strap-on little guy ones that we've gotten for him in the past. He would instead usually prefer to squint directly at the sun when we play outside. But I guess he likes these new shades.

Probably because he looks so baaad in them.

What do you think YOU'RE looking at? That's right, I got a cookie. I gets what I wants. In FACT, gimme another cookie!

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Grandma & Raisins save the RC Volunteer Banquet

Last Wednesday was the annual Washtenaw County Red Cross Volunteer Recognition Event, and this year Erin was the chief organizer. I was the background music pianist. The event went really well. Will came with Grandma Brenda and entertained us all as the event was getting started. He wasn't dressed as sharply as last year, but was still very cute in his little tie.

Anyway, as mom had to be running around getting things ready, Will started to get a little impatient. He had been sick and was eating irregularly, so Grandma and I guessed he was hungry and got him out a little snack - raisins and juice. After giving him a few raisins, he let us know that he was not going to be happy unless he got to hold and eat the entire box. Soon it became obvious that we had to either give him what he wanted or take him home, as arriving people were being greeted by a screaming mad little guy.

So Grandma saved the day and he got exactly what he wanted - a whole box of raisins.

Then he was happy for a few more minutes before something else made him mad and Grandma took him home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Willie

Happy belated Easter everyone. We had a very nice one - the Easter Bunny came and Will got some new toys to play with. Also we did an Easter Egg hunt at church which was pretty fun and Will got a balloon. It was hard to beat last-year's Easter getup, but Will had a very nice sweater to wear that Grandma Susan made him - nice work Grandma, it looks great on him.

We took this picture with the camera on timer delay - I couldn't believe it actually turned out as well as it did, so I didn't even care that we weren't quite lined up right.

Will is too young for candies/chocolate yet, so he got some new books and toothbrushes and some sidewalk chalk and other stuff. But DAD got some candies, and I let Will check them out. It turns out that those Cadbury egg things are perfect for holding in a little hand, then throwing. So that was something that Will did for much of the day. At one point, Will whipped one of the eggs right into Duke's face. Duke was a little surprised but he shook it off and we all had a good laugh.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Will gets caught kissing the computer screen

Will worked a lot on the computer at Grandma & Grandpa's house, which was a treat for him because Erin and I rarely let him play with our laptops, even for a second, because he usually messes them up with some random key combination that ends up being the precise sequence for deleting some important file or program.

Anyway, in order to keep him entertained, I set up this visualization to a song that was on the computer so when he pressed buttons the screen was constantly changing. He was so intrigued by the colorful display and the music that he leaned in to give the screen a quick taste, then a couple more. Then by the time I had grabbed my camera he was just kissing the screen over and over. We were really quiet so he didn't know we were watching until I announced myself - as you can see in the video below. Busted!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

being silly at Uncle Jeff and Aunt Sara's

On our ways to and from Lincoln for my Spring break, we stopped in Peoria to visit Uncle Jeff and Aunt Sara and their cat Sonoma. Will found plenty of things to play with there, but he had the most fun running around after Sonoma and throwing/sucking on her fetching balls (including the yellow soccer ball). Also he had a good time with Uncle Jeff's hat.

Yes, that is in fact one of his socks on his hand in the picture on the left.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bath party!

When we were at Grandma's a few weeks ago, Will got to start taking his baths in the big bathtub (in the past, he always had to take them in the sink). One night we were joined for some playing and dinner by our friends Brenda (who is also my cousin) and Chris and their two kids: Simon (who is my Godson, or more appropriately, I am his Godfatha) and little Nora, who is just a couple months younger than Will. We had a great time, and the kids got along really well. When it came time for Will's bath, the other kids agreed to join in the fun! Fortunately, Grandma/Aunt Susan had three rubber duckies so everyone could have one.

This was a pretty hectic event, with one child or another constantly having to be picked up after they slipped and went under water. And the rest of the family were crowded around laughing and taking pictures. It was fun for all. Here Simon is helping us wash Will - he did a very good job and Will was a good sport about it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Dance party: part 3

The final installment of the dancing documentary: the last dance.
Here Will is spinning and flailing his arms very enthusiastically to the singing alphabet magnet thing that Aunt Sara and Uncle Jeff got him for Christmas. Educational and fun! By the way, in case you're going mad trying to figure out what the thing is singing, it's: 'I' says "aye" and 'I' says "ih"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dance party: part 2

Here Will is dancing to the songs played by his musical drum. He prefers the spanish version of the song ("!tocando el tambor!"). The drum was a gift from our friends Jenni and Steven, who have their own little guy or girl on the way. Maybe Will will let Baby Hawes borrow his drum someday, or at least teach the baby some moves.

There's some good clappin' in this video, and a step I can't quite identify but which might be a modified version of La Salsa or Merengue.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Dance party: part 1

Over the next few days, I will present a three-part documentary of Will's most video-worthy activity of late: dancin'.

Will has always been able to appreciate good music, and has shown the beginnings of dance skills/skeelz (in case you need reminders: rockin to the Thomas the Train book and more Thomas-rockin, but this time as a lion). Now that Will can walk/run/climb he is finally starting to show promise of keeping up with his groove-shakin daddy. Currently, Will's dancing consists mostly of spinning in a circle, sometimes throwing in a segment of hand claps. He also likes to shake-shake-shake his hands at times - waving them around excitedly. But he also will sometimes put one or both hands behind his back, in a very gentlemanly pose, as he spins around.

Anyway, here's part one of the dance party documentary. When we were in Lincoln a few weeks ago I gave him my phone, which plays music, and he spontaneously started to dance. Enjoy!

Friday, March 7, 2008

the man cave

This was Will's primary hangout when we were visiting Grandma & Grandpa in Lincoln last week. The "man cave" is the cabinet where my parents' TV was before they got a sweet flatscreen. Perfect fort size, just needed a couple of pillows and blankets to soften things up and distract from the chords hanging down in the back. He even liked when we shut the cabinet doors so he could really hide, then jump out and surprise people.

Will's sort of cousin Moe

Uncle Adam and Aunt Chandi are getting a Boston Terrier puppy named Little Moe Szyslak, "Moe" for short. He is unbelievably cute.

Check him out here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

bath pictures: 17 months

After a couple of (relatively) bad bath pictures (like this one), these have to be some of the best ones ever, rivaling the 8-month pictures, which are still my slight favorites. Will is a toddlin' and talkin' machine now, which is so much fun. At times, frustrating, as he has an attention span of about 2 seconds and is very demanding at times of things when I'm pretty sure he doesn't even know what he wants. But in general, we have been having a really good time with him. We just got back last weekend from a week in Lincoln visiting Grandma and Grandpa and they got to share in the fun - look for posts on that trip in the coming weeks.

In the past month, we've done all kinds of fun things. We built a fort and played with/ate playdough for the first times; played in the snow, with the cats, and with dad's clothes. Also we finally found a fun solution to distract from the horrors of having to get dressed for bed, which has been rough in the past. One of the most fun of Will's recent developments to watch is his "dancing" to music - I have some videos on this to be posted soon.

I've heard from other parents of young children how astonished they are as their kids start to learn - "soaking up" everything around them like a sponge. We're seeing that with Will now, literally every day he does something with either Erin or I to demonstrate something he learned that is so smart we have to call the other person and have him do it again. For one thing, his vocabulary and ability to communicate with us grows daily. As in the past, he still likes to jabber long strings of nonsense, but he also says certain things to make a deliberate point, consistently. Such as "uh-oh" - whenever he falls over, or anything gets dropped, he'll say it. He even says it when we're playing Wii bowling and the bowling ball collides with the pins and they all crash down.

He understands a lot of what Erin and I say to him now too. You can see that in the story of breakfast - he nods his head if he wants something we're offering. Although, to be fair, he nods his head if you ask him almost anything that he doesn't quite understand. Other than nodding/shaking his head and uttering a few things, he constantly demonstrates that he understands what we're saying. You can see, at the end of the story of breakfast video when he signs to us that he's done eating. He definitely knows the word "done" - he signs it reliably when he's done eating, and when he is sitting somewhere playing and wants to be done to go play something else. Also, last week I was playing a golf video game with my friend Andy and Will was sitting by us on the couch. When Andy made a nice shot, I told him "well done!", then Will looked at me, confused, and signed "done".

He understands more complex statements as well. When we read Barnyard Dance, one of his favorite books, one of the lines is "clap your hands", and he always claps when we read that line. I can even give Will instructions - for example, tell him to "go pet Duke" when Duke's laying on his back like he does. He'll walk over slowly, and carefully stroke Duke's tummy fur. Here's a very cute example: yesterday, Erin asked Will where his drum was, and he made the "I don't know" sign - we asked him the same question when he was in the bath last night, hence the picture below. He then went wandering around and a few minutes later, he found the drum wherever it was stashed and brought it out to show us, beaming that he had found it.

Will also knows his body parts. In the picture below he's responding to "where's Will's nose?". He also knows his ears and piggies, and sometimes other parts. Also, if we ask him "where's dada's/mama's nose?", he'll happily stick his finger up our noses.

Last thing - we can get hugs more frequently, and better ones, mostly because we can ask Will directly for a hug. Unless he's busy he usually complies. Now Erin and I always try to get the most special hug, in which Will actually pats us on the back during the hug - then we brag to each other ("I got some pats!").

As of this posting, there have been 2310 visits to Will's page.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

bath towel peekaboo

Will does this all the time now. In fact, it's the best way to get him to stop complaining after I take him out of the warm bathwater to get ready for bed: ask him "where's Willie?"

Monday, March 3, 2008

Will helps dad fix the sink

A couple weekends ago I replaced the faucet on our kitchen sink. I tried to do this during Will's afternoon nap, but as is usually the case with these home projects, it took me way longer than I thought it would. So when Will woke up from his nap, he made sure to help me as much as he could by climbing all over my work area. I gave him a few tools to hold for me, but he really just wanted to sit with me and be part of the action. Even though it took me longer to finish the work it was very much worth it to have his help.