Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Islandwood and fun with a garden hose

Today we braved the heatwave in order to attend the Habitat Fair at Islandwood, which is an environmental learning center. Luckily, as the name would imply, the area is heavily wooded, and the shade offered a respite from one of the first true scorchers of the season. Doesn't he look like he's about to melt onto Drew's head?
While we were there, Silas got to meet an owl, plant a sunflower seed, and check out their hydroponic water recycling system. Very cool.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Silas explored the joys of the garden hose:
Every time he accidentally sprayed himself with water, he looked absolutely shocked. But he loved it all the same. Brings back fond childhood memories...
We set up a sprinkler that whirled water around and thought he'd love it, but it made a funny noise and freaked him out. Turns out, the hose was enough to keep him happy for a very long time :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Aloha, farm boy

He looks like he should be at the beach catching some waves, but apparently, we have Silas hauling firewood on the farm instead.
No, seriously folks...Barb (from mom's work) got this outfit for Silas when she was in Hawaii last winter. It is so adorable! Surely, we'll never encounter another baby with the same digs. Or so we thought...
This morning, when I checked Alden's blog, there he was wearing the same shirt! What are the odds! I knew they had a lot in common, but I didn't know that included fashion sense :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fear, thy name is...Lawnmower?

Silas is no fan of loud noises, so it's not a big surprise that he's afraid of the lawnmower. But like other things that he is afraid of because they are loud (the vacuum, the sheep), he is also strangely fascinated by the lawnmower. Here he is, standing at the window, whining softly with his lower lip pushed out and his eyes wide. As Shannon drives the mower near our house, he can't take his eyes off of it, no matter how scared he is.
I didn't capture the scaredy-face, unfortunately (it's pretty irresistible). Instead, he has his fingers lodged in his mouth to give him comfort and help ward off the coming doom as the mower circles ever closer to the house.

Meanwhile, one of us still has to walk Silas outside while the other vacuums.

But, we are making headway with the sheep. Until quite recently, Silas was, well, sheepish with the sheep. He was okay unless they started Baaing loudly. The suddenness of this was enough to send him over the edge. Now however, I'm happy to report that when they baa, instead of crying, Silas says "baa" back. In fact, he now seems to refer to the sheep as "baa." This, my friends, is progress. Perhaps when he can start imitating the lawnmower and vacuum, he will overcome those fears as well.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Still co-sleeping, still loving it!

Drew took this picture one morning a while back before Silas and I woke up. He thought it was hilarious that we were both positioned nearly identically. I do not think it is hilarious that I am somehow lacking definition between a chin and a neck, but I decided to post it anyways, for one very important reason--I think it really conveys, in a very intimate manner, how important and lovely co-sleeping is to us.

I recently found a survey online regarding co-sleeping. The survey is meant to gather data from families who co-sleep (or have in the past) in order to try to dispel some of the negative attention co-sleeping receives in our society. Interestingly enough, the industry most responsible for promoting negative aspects of co-sleeping is (drum roll please) crib manufacturers. There's also a going theory that co-sleeping is unsafe and that it should even possibly be outlawed. How sad. But should such a law be passed, well, there's nothing like a little civil disobedience to keep a family strong.

There's nothing unsafe about healthy sober parents sleeping with their young ones. In fact, there's no safer place for a babe to sleep then in his mother's embrace. Most of the world feels the same and most of the world co-sleeps. I just don't get the controversy. I really don't.

If it works for you, you should co-sleep, no matter what your friends, relatives, or strangers on the street tell you. Your baby will thank you!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

15 Months Old

I decided Silas needed a giraffe sweater in honor of him turning 15 months old, so I made this little number for him. He likes to point to the giraffe and it seems to make him smile. You are welcome to check out a few more pictures and info on the making of this sweater on my knitting blog, here.
Silas is a pretty slim guy, but he still has those chubby baby legs that just make me melt.
And this is a pretty common view we have a Silas now-a-days. I think it's safe to say that he can run now as well as walk.
Silas has gotten to the point where he is starting to make up signs. For instance, I asked him to say "hat" and he put both hands on his head. He's been doing that consistently ever since, even though we never taught him how to say that word. We've also noticed that he sometimes babbles not only vocally, but with his hands as well.

I blogged several times over the weekend, so if you are not an obsessive Planet Silas reader and you haven't stopped by in a while, be sure to read on.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad's Day

Since it was Father's Day today, Drew got to choose what he wanted to do. His choice--head up to Port Townsend for the day.

Lovely, lovely day.

Drop and give me 20!

Si learned from his Dad that push-ups are a great way to strengthen his upper body. All we have to say is "Silas, do push-ups," and he'll drop and give us 20 (or 5, maybe). Well, he's already better at doing them then I am.

We're off to spend Father's Day together. It's finally warm and sunny here and Silas is determined to make the most of it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Parents, music, and sneezes

I assure you, nothing has happened to Silas' left arm. It's somewhere behind the Tibetan singing bowl he's carrying in this picture.

Right then, on to some of the other language things I've wanted to mention on the blog.

First up: mom and dad. These are two separate signs, obviously, but not in Silas' world. He uses the same sign (pointing to his forehead) for both of us, and for Patrick as well. For lack of a better word, we'll just call it his "parent" sign. What we've noticed him doing lately, however, is combine two different signs to differentiate between his mom and dad. He'll sign "parent" and "music" to indicate Drew, and "parent" and "milk" (go figure) to indicate me. He by no means does this all the time, but every now and then he will.

Another combo: Now that he's learned the sign for computer, he will sometime say "computer music" to indicate that he wants us to play music through the computer. And while we're on the subject of music, for a while now, he's signed music when he sees a violin or guitar or another instrument, but that's not surprising. What is, however, is that he's figured out that a musical score is also related to music, and so he will use this sign when he sees notes or musical notation as well. Huh. I don't think we taught him this, but he figured it out somehow.

One last thing for this post: He thinks it's the funniest thing when we sneeze and will try to copy the sound. Usually, it will come out sounding like "aaii-yaah" or "aa-taah." If we sneeze again, he'll just laugh.

And, your Saturday afternoon bonus shot: best buddies.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tree House

Our friend built the house in the background, nicknamed the Tree House. We went to an open house there on Sunday to admire his handiwork before someone moves into it.

I've been wanting to write more on language development, but I haven't had time for a longer post lately. So, you can look forward to that, sometime in the near future...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Say What?

Ever since I studied language acquisition as an anthropology major in college, I've been fascinated by it. For instance, did you know that someone once proposed an experiment in which parents would bring their toddlers to an island to live for a number of years and only speak a form of pidgin to them so that they could observe how a creole language developed. Brilliant idea in theory, but highly unethical in practice. Anyways, now I've got my own little experiment in language development running around the house. I've been taking lots of notes. Here are a few observations:

Silas still mostly signs rather than vocalizes. He is beginning to say a few words, and I'll get to that later. Sticking with signing, it's been great to see how it helps reveal the inner workings of his mind. For instance, let's take the word "bird." Silas signs when he sees birds or pictures of birds. But he also signs "bird" when he hears them. One warm evening, we were preparing for bedtime and the window next to the bed was open. Silas lay there and we heard birds chirping and so he signed "bird." Just a few days ago, we were outside and a small plane flew over us, rather low. Silas was really intrigued and his gaze followed it till it was out of sight. I told him it was an airplane, but he doesn't have a word for that, so after thinking for a while, he signed "bird." Well, it was flying after all, so it was a logical conclusion.

Similarly, Silas doesn't know all of the signs for every animal. Often, when a creature looks like it might be a kitty (like a bunny or a squirrel), he'll sign "kitty" and when it's a bigger unknown creature, he'll sign "puppy." I took him to the PAWS walk last Sunday, which is a dog festival of sorts, and its goal is to raise money for our local animal rescue organization. He was in seventh heaven seeing all of the dogs, and he signed "puppy" over and over again, until, that is, he saw a corgi. He looked really close at that little dog, which didn't quite look like the other dogs, and finally decided it was a kitty. Too funny.

One of the things that has surprised me, is Silas' capacity to understand that a representative image of something is the same as what it's meant to represent. Sticking with "puppy" again: One day, I saw him open a book to a picture of a dog. This was a cartoon image, rather than a realistic painting or a photo, but he still signed "puppy" when he saw it. Likewise, he knows that the stuffed dog I made him for his birthday is a puppy (though an adult at his party thought it was an aardvark). Like the example I gave with "bird," if Silas hears a dog bark, he'll sign "puppy." He doesn't have to see the dog--the bark is all that it takes.

One of my favorite signing examples is music. Silas LOVES music, so this was an important one for him to learn. He signs it when a song he likes comes on. He signs almost always first thing in the morning to indicate that he wants us to turn music on. He also has figured out how to turn the radio on. It's set to the classical station, so he will often push the "on" button, sign "music," and then sit there and rock to the beat. Because we often play music through our laptop, he now equates laptops with music. One day, we were next door and he kept signing "music, music." There was no music playing, so I wasn't sure what he was referring to, until I saw him pointing to Shannon's laptop.

We have a definite morning routine now, and we usually all eat breakfast together before I leave for work. As soon as I get up from the table and start to gather my things, Silas signs good-bye. I love this, as it's entirely unprompted (though in a way it brakes my heart).

One of Silas' most common signs is "book." He used to use this sign to show that there was a book in front of him, but now he will also sign "book" when he wants us to read to him. If we read a book and then put it down, and he wants us to read it again, he will give us back the book and sign "book" very insistently.

It's hard to say for sure, but it seems like every now or then, Silas has been putting two signs together. the reason this is difficult to determine for sure is that he often says two or three signs in a row because he gets confused and doesn't say the sign he really wants to say the first time. But still, there have been several occasions (and Drew could probably relate more) when it seems intentional. One day, for instance, Silas pulled out a book with a picture of a bird on it. He signed "bird" then looked at it and signed "bird book." Occasionally, it seems like he's saying "more something" like "more milk" or "more music." One glorious day, I came home from work and he signed "hello mom." That. was. awesome. But it might have been completely accidental. Either way, I'll take it.
And that segways into the next topic--the spoken word. Si's vocal words are limited, but recently, he's had a breakthrough on the parroting front. He has indeed tried to imitate "duck dog" several more times since I reported the first occurance of it on Sunday. He's also been saying "daddy" for the last few days, and it's sounding startlingly clear. He tries to repeat "mommy" when I say it, and sometimes he gets it, but it often sounds like "ba-bee" instead. I don't know why. He most definitely knows how to say "mama" and for several months has seemed to be directing "mamamamama" towards me when he wants me or wants something from me (see the happy baby picture of Silas in the orange jacket for an idea of how he usually looks when he says "mamamamama.") It's only been recently, however, that he makes efforts to say words like "mommy" or "daddy" in imitation of us. Other words he'll attempt to parrot include read, bird, baby, pee, and butt. That's our boy!

Naturally, it is very exciting to hear him repeat words, or even just sounds, back to us, but what I'm most amazed by is knowing that without signing, we'd still have almost no ability to communicate with Silas. How frustrating that would be for him and for us as well! We obviously are still working with a limited vocabulary, but what signs he does know seem to go a long way. I think about how many times he was able to tell me he wanted milk, or the time when he signed "bird" to me and pointed out a bird that I myself hadn't even seen, or the first time I finished singing him a lullaby and he signed "music" to indicate that he wanted me to keep singing. I am just so grateful to have this way to communicate with him while he's still learning (and still largely unable) to physically speak.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Look!

I gave Planet Silas a makeover today. --Hope you like it!

I think I'm done tinkering with it, at least for now :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 08 Book of the Month

Announcing Planet Silas' June 08 book of the month:

Frog Book by Chelona.

This month's book is a departure from the more traditionally formatted picture books that have made the list in the past. This one truly blends the lines between book and toy.

This is a book with a touch of whimsy. The movable frog and wordless pictures allow parents and children to imagine a story together. I love the fact that he can't bend, wrinkle or tear the pages.
He can't chew on the binding until it comes apart either (see Good Morning Farm! below), and this makes it much sturdier than a board book. Because the wood pages can be wiped clean, this is a favorite to give to Silas to "read" at the table before and after meals.
Silas knows the sign for frog (in baby sign, it's sticking your tongue in and out), and it's pretty cute to see him say "frog" over and over again when he's looking at this book.

We have a video of Silas playing with this book when he first got it in March, which you can watch here.
"I really like this book, mom!"
And...this month's honorable mentions are:

Dr. Seuss's ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book!

A classic! It's easy to see why. Si's favorite passage is "big D, little d, what begins with D? Doughnuts and a Duck-dog, D d D!" D is his favorite sound to vocalize, at the moment. When we recited the D line for him today, he said "du-dog!" We haven't been able to get him to repeat it, but it was still fun to hear, even just that once. The only thing we don't like about this book is the K part, which ends with "K k K." As innocent as this book might be, we can't bring ourselves to say "K k K" when we read it to Silas, so we usually make something else up instead.
And finally:
Good Morning Farm! by Matt Mitter, illustrated by Frances Cony. A great board book for introducing animal sounds, Silas loves this book... fact, he's loved it to death:
Just after taking these last two photos, the book broke entirely. Nothing a little glue can't fix!