Monday, December 12, 2011

A Reluctant Bather

Upon finishing his dinner, which had been spaghetti with tomato sauce, Nicholas approached me. He was, as is typical after such a meal, rather orange. Looking him over, I asked whether he would like a bath.
"No!" said he.
"But you are covered with pasta and sauce," said I.
"Pasta," said he, "Nikki eat pasta!"
And from somewhere on his person, he procured a length of spaghetti and popped it into his mouth.
"Bathtime," said I.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Calendar

This post is a bit late, but I thought I'd share how we are doing Advent this year. I can't remember where I got the idea for this, as it was about 12 months ago! I decided this year to make Nikki an Advent book basket. Over the year I collected a variety of Christmas/Winter themed books, wrapped them up and put them in a basket. There are around 30 books in total (I wrapped 2 or 3 together to use them all!) and Nikki gets to unwrap a present every day! Much more exciting than a bit of chocolate!

Here's our basket from a few days ago:

Nikki's New Hat

What happens when you tell a hat-obsessed two year old that the wooly-circle-on-sticks you are holding is going to be his new hat? This!

Nikki insisted he try on his new hat whilst it was still on the needles!

I was quite pleased with how quickly it knitted up - three evenings and the hat was complete, and I made the pompoms the next morning. I am quite impressed that there are still three pompoms on the hat!

Final Discharge!

We had an appointment at the Children's Clinic at our local hospital on Thursday. This was our final developmental check at the hospital. I have found it incredibly reassuring that they don't just forget you once you leave the NICU. We have had several check-ups with the clinic, and are still awaiting our final 'show-off' appointment with the physio in January (she hasn't seen him since he started walking). The physio has been especially reassuring, since he was so slow to reach the gross-motor milestones. The fact that we were getting told every couple of months that he was doing well (and several times that he was able, just not confident enough to try) made it that much easier to watch babies half his age doing things he couldn't.

Thursday's appointment was mostly a cognitive development assessment. We played some games and Nikki performed fantastically - at the top end of the normal range for his actual age (or two months older than he should be). Proof that he is a clever little monkey!

We were also reassured that the heart murmur that is usually noticed by the GP when Nikki gets a chest infection is almost impossible to hear when he is healthy and is thus of no concern whatsoever. I thought as much, as they heard it occasionally when he was in special care and hadn't worried, but a confirmation is always nice!

We can now cross our fingers and hope that he never has to go into hospital again!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When Drawing Gets Boring...

What do you do when you are fed up of simply using your pens for drawing?

This is what Nikki did:

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Tree

Nikki has his own special Christmas Tree. I've been so eager to get this one out, but I waited until the 1st of December because I didn't want to be picking up the decorations all year!

I found it in the January sales last year - it is a little slot-together wooden tree with Winnie-the-Pooh decorations to hang from pegs on the tree. I was a little dubious about whether he could work it, as the decorations are hung by a thread (literally!) and I wasn't sure his fine motor and hand-eye coordination were up to it. Needless to say, he prooved me wrong!

Look at the concentration on that face!

A Bus Adventure

I had to go into town yesterday, and since I don't have a car and my Mum didn't need anything in town (I usually only go when she's going, so I don't need to worry about carrying back the shopping and a potentially over-tired-and-cuddly little boy) we took the bus. Now, I haven't taken Nikki on the bus since he's been old enough to understand what a bus is - we really don't go into town that often, preferring to walk to the local shops, which happens to mean we go right past the swings and duck pond...

Needless to say, it was a big adventure! Nikki made friends with various old men on the bus, getting them all to play peek-a-boo with him! He loved it so much that I think we might just need to get the bus occasionally, just for the fun he has.

He was such a good boy while I ran my errands that I even bought him a treat - toy helicopters! He is thrilled, as he has been carrying around a book on planes and helicopters for the last week, so now he has one of his own!

And since we're on an aviation theme - aren't these new pyjamas the cutest? A big Thank You to Auntie Sammy who got them for his birthday.

Little Astronaut!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tot School Update

We've not done much Tot School after all. Planned lessons went out the window a little bit to allow for Birthday celebrations and potty training. And now there's Christmas on the way, so I can't expect much more focused 'school' this year. Especially as I have to clear out and tidy before we get a whole lot more stuff...

That doesn't mean we haven't been busy, just that we've been ignoring any themes and planned activities. We do lots of counting and sing our ABCs (Nikki's favourite at the moment) and I am tortured daily by annoying Russian, Chinese and Japanese cartoons.

Nikki now often uses 3-5 word sentences. He is recognising when people are sad/happy/silly and is always talking or singing. Or making noise with his bells or xylophones or hammer...

He is learning Russian well - he loves learning his 'bookvi' (letters) and has a good vocabulary. He sometimes uses 2 word phrases, but his language skills are still noticably behind his English.

I feel a little guilty, but I have hidden his Chinese books for the moment. I just couldn't find the time to prepare them and there is no point in him listening if I can't read somewhat-accurately. He still has his music cds, LR and his dvds, though.

I am tentatively introducing Japanese. It was actually my first choice (I love the way it sounds, and it looks so pretty!) but there is a woefully inadequate supply of toddler-suitable learning materials. Or any oral-based materials, really. Chinese was just more available. I do have one vocabulary dvd (Wink to Learn) and some you-tube songs. I was so disappointed to see that Pim wasn't available with Japanese script, only an anglicized text. The same for Russian and the second Chinese set. Such a shame, but their loss!

In terms of planning, I have been working on a language curriculum for Nikki that we shall be starting in the new year. It is a gradual progression set of books which I am writing in English and Russian, designed to gradually introduce new phrases/grammar structures/vocabulary etc. We will use it primarialy as a language development course, but once he is reading independantly he can start at the beginning (back to the simplest phrases) and read them himself. I would love to have it in Chinese and Japanese (and any future languages that we may study) but I need to get fluent first!