There aren’t many crafts that catch Danny’s attention, but now that summer is here and I’m doing more table time with Eric, I’ve been trying to find activities they will both enjoy – or ones I can easily modify and do at two levels at once.
When I saw a craft for lava lamps, I immediately knew it would captivate them both.
As a bonus for this totally not crafty mom, it was super easy to do!
The prep Eric and I did alone, mostly for the potential spill factor. First, we filled a water bottle a little more than halfway with oil. Honestly, after doing it, I should have gone more for 3/4 full – now I know!
Once that’s done, I filled it the rest of the way with water, leaving about an inch at the top. Be careful to add the water slowly, or you will get a bubbly mess in your bottle! Fortunately, the bubbly one was the first, and they dissipated while I prepped a second bottle real quick.
Eric loved adding the food coloring – 10 drops to start. (There were many, many more before we were done!)
This is where I brought Danny in, and we went to town. I broke a few Alka-Seltzer tablets into quarters and let the boys drop in one piece at a time. Bam! Lava lamps!
Danny giggled in delight, dropping in tablet after tablet as I handed them over, and Eric “experimented” – his words, not mine! He started playing with the colors, and he was amazed when he added yellow drops to his blue bottle and got green!
Awesome bonus, as the bottles got more saturate with Alka-Seltzer, we started getting little tornadoes in the bottles.
This lasted a good hour, the older boys having a blast with the bottles, Andrew doing his favorite thing: watching his brothers. I ran downstairs at one point and printed off this simple color chart, and Eric learned a bit about colors, too! Then, of course, he started turning the food coloring bottles into a tower, then into battling ninjas, but hey… It’s the thought that counts.
I think this is definitely one we will repeat!
Maybe this will get me back into blogging more often? I was sitting here thinking that I at least had to post something about Christmas, if only for the purpose of being able to remember, years from now, what the kids were like!
Of course, Eric and Christmas were a match made in heaven. He is the perfect age: old enough to be so excited and understand all the ins and outs of the holiday – Santa, Jesus, presents both given and received, spending time with family – and young enough to not be totally wrapped up in the stuff. There were very few “large” gifts, none from us, and yet he was so thrilled and so thankful for everything he received. “Mario jammies? That’s my FAVORITE!” “Mommy, a new BOARD GAME!” “Look, I got new bedtime stories!!” Everything, almost literally, was what he “always wanted,” and he was truly appreciative of it all. It was awesome.
And then there was the family aspect, and another year of getting to watch these two grow up together…
They were instantly best friends and playmates, though toward the end of the visit, you could tell they were starting to wear on each other’s nerves just a little bit. (Plus, they were both getting so worn out and exhausted from the excitement that everything was a challenge…)
As for Danny, he had a blast in his own way. He warmed up very quickly to all the family we visited, and he even opened a few presents. At one point, we got him to open 3 or 4 in a row before he abandoned the gift opening to actually play with something he’d received. He was very into giving hugs and kisses all around when asked, started using his words or PECS a bit with people that weren’t me or daddy, and overall had a pretty great holiday. He even spent some time playing with and around the other two!
All in all, it was a pretty great holiday, followed now by a great week of relaxing at home together. Danny’s favorite gifts from this week are probably his LeapPad, his Little People farm book (with about ten billion flaps and words in it), and the Hot Wheels track for the bath tub that totally makes bath tub worth his while. Eric’s are harder to pinpoint, since they are still ALL his favorites, but if I had to choose 3 they’d be Super Mario Galaxy, the Zhu Zhu pet (aka hamster toy) he got from Santa, and his Imaginest stuff. And Danny’s Hot Wheels track for the bath tub, heh. Danny got to play with it first for a bath, and Eric came in halfway through and gave a wounded, “Mommy! Why don’t I get to play with THAT?!?!” Honestly though, when it comes to Eric, there are no flops or least favorites – he’s having a hard time deciding what to play with at any given time.
I did lose my blog entries from August 30 to current, however, there haven’t been a WHOLE lot of those. (Yes, I need to blog more.) And any photos in entries between July 9 and August 30 are missing. Otherwise, if you see anything amiss, let me know… Everything should be up and running again!
I’ve pretty much dedicated this summer to having as much fun as possible with the boys – especially Eric, who has been in school…pretty much all his life. I mean, daycare-style for the first years of course, but he’s not had a break ever, so rather than spending this summer prepping for Kindergarten or whatnot, I’m just making memories.
One of them is definitely the zoo – and specifically the stingray pool. This year, the St. Louis zoo has not only brought in their stingray pool, but they have tiny sharks swimming around too! (Not the aggressive eat your face off kind, obviously, though you’re still told to hold very still when they swim by.) The pool was our first stop at the zoo, and it was a HIT. At first, I think Danny just liked being able to read in and feel the water – the kid loves to play with water, as long as he’s not IN it. He just tolerates baths, and would much rather kneel on the outside and play that way, but give the kid a pond or water table or anything like that and he is in heaven! Once I’d reminded him to stay still, he stopped splashing around and suddenly – stingrays! Every time one went by, he would giggle, and a few times he even got a little splashed as one flipped a wing tip in his direction. He LOVED it.
(Honestly, I was just impressed that, when I told him to “hold still, Danny,” he DID it!)
Eric, well, he had a ball. He was a little afraid of the sharks at first, convinced they would bite his hands off, but the fact that he got to actually touch the stingrays overcame any hesitation about the few sharks. I don’t think he enjoyed it quite as much as Danny did, but he still had a good time. Plus, he learned some more about stingrays, different sizes and colors, how their tails are the stinging part, a few little things like that. He’s been pretty curious about animals of all kinds lately, so we went with it!
And me? Well, my favorite part was just seeing my boys, side by side, both totally engaged in the same activity and having a great time that doesn’t involve running, pushing, sliding down stairs, or getting each other into headlocks.
Summer with boys is always entertaining.
Danny has been in his preschool class a little over 2 months, and the school year is coming to a close. He’ll be doing summer session, but it seems a good time to look back at the progress he’s made so far.
Of course, the big one I’ve already covered: his PECS. I still marvel at how wonderful it is to know that, if he wants something (a toy, some food or drink, to play), he can just come to us and let us know so easily. It’s just…indescribable!
There are others little things, too. He lines up to go inside and outside at school. Danny! Mr Impatient himself will run over to he door to the playground and stand back to the wall with a little grin when I am dropping him off. Now, he’s supposed to go hang his backpack up in the classroom first, so he’s technically being a little booger, but I still love it.
He also points! And waves goodbye! He just started doing both recently, and like the communication, I can’t say how much I love seeing him give a little wave when we say bye-bye to someone, or having him point to show me something he likes or wants closer too instead of him just trying to get it.
At 3, this should be nothing, but as with many things Danny, this small stuff (late or not) is so big and wonderful to me. I can’t wait to see what he learns over the summer, and how he does when he settles in for his first full, consistent year of school in the fall.
I think one of the things that captures me every spring, once the weather is nice enough to go to the park frequently, is how the boys change during the winter months. Danny has really come into his own with the playground! He is, I think, finally acting like a little boy instead of… Well, instead of I don’t know what. Previous summers have seen him walking the playground studying shadows on his arm, or bolting off the playground every two seconds to run away, or climbing up or down stairs, or just not doing much at all. It never seemed to hold his interest for very long – even when he was doing stuff like sliding, it wouldn’t last very long at all.
The bolting was probably the most bothersome of all, because it made it impossible to even GO to the park. That left me feeling terrible, though, because Eric so desperately wanted to go, and if we did, we’d end up leaving after 5 minutes because I just couldn’t keep chasing Danny down.
This little guy was loving the playground today! We stayed for over an hour, and he didn’t bolt once. Not once! He looked a few times, but then he changed his mind, swung back around, and went off to play some more. He chased some of the bigger boys around. He slid. He climbed. He loved to swing and swing and swing! He would track me down, take me to the swing, and tell me “Up!” If I let him slow down or stop, he’d look at me pleadingly. “Up! Up!” And he tackled everything the playground had to offer.
As for Eric… Well, with Danny acting like Eric used to, it only stands to reason that Eric has discovered a new way to play. Mr. Social, who has begun accepting everyone on the playground as his best friend, fell in quickly with all the other boys and ran off with the pack.
They were thick as thieves from the moment they laid eyes on each other, chasing around playing monster, making group trips to the water fountain, and doing everything together… There were even a few gatherings of the Secret Boys Club, where they discussing pressing matters such as how many pets they had and what their favorite character is from Toy Story.
At last, it was time to drag ourselves home, and before we even got out of the parking lot they were begging for more. Well, at least Eric was… Danny wasn’t saying anything (big shocker, I know), but he watched the park disappear from view quite longingly.