Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Treacherous Mirages

Our weather has been oscillating between gorgeous fall-like sweater weather, and treacherous icky winter storms.

Early Saturday morning we had a snow storm. I was scheduled to take a teaching test that morning, and was a bit bummed that it was being rescheduled. But I got excited about the prospect of playing in the snow with Jackson. The last time it had snowed (2 weeks ago), it was evening and nearly dark out, so Jackson and I didn't get to really enjoy it. But this time, we put on all our gear and headed out to play.

My excitement for enjoying the snow with my son was crushed after our first step outside. It was almost like a practical joke. It looked like lovely packable snow, and one step onto the white revealed a thin sheet of ice covering the 1 inch of snowflakes, mocking any desire for frolic and play. Our "playing" consisted of walking around for an hour, trying not to slip. I was highly disappointed, but Jackson didn't care and had enough fun to throw a little fit when we had to go inside.

We created our own storm yesterday inside the house that had a very similar effect. It required all events to be canceled and produced somewhat of a funny trick on the eyes.

Jackson's been due for a haircut for a couple weeks, and I decided yesterday was the day. Our previous experiences have been quite tame and lovely, and I had great visions of a calm movie watching toddler letting his mother sweetly trim his hair so he looked a little more clean cut. Mmmm... not so much the experience.

Mark's response was: did you really have to cut it yesterday? Here is Jackson's hair at the beginning of this month, so imagine it a centimeter longer. It was just to the point of bad bed head, and the mushroom look--where the hair gently curls toward the head, looking rather silly.

(These were taken on one of the amazing fall-like days)

It was obviously not a must-get-done task, but more like something that would be nice. It started out innocent, but after a battle to get Jackson to stay in the right chair and keep the hair shield on, the experience moved from a sweet trim to a forced buzz. Since it was going so well, I decided to use a #2 on the buzzer (which is pretty short), so I wouldn't have to cut the hair again for a while. After a minute, and seeing large bald patches, I switched to a #5 (much longer) and held Jackson's head in place. Though it looked pretty bad, I knew it would look worse only half cut. Pretty much he rebelled the rest of the day with a really short, late nap, and tears for most of the evening.

I wish I had great pictures of what happened, but Jackson had a hard time sitting still for the post-haircut shoot. From the front, he looks fine, just a bit bald.

From the back and side he pretty much looks like an Eastern European orphan. It's the poorly buzzed square head that has an aura of homely-ness. Some parts are a bit too short, other parts didn't really get trimmed. Similar to the snow, the front shows a mirage of a talented mother and sweet well behaved little boy. The back reveals the great fight it was to get that much hair cut, and begs for a new trim to fix all the mistakes.

But like the snow again, we'll enjoy the fact that he doesn't seem to care... at least today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Assimilating Information: Lost in Translation

In one of my early childhood music courses, we talked a great deal about Jean Piaget's (note this link is not to Wiki, since... it was not available today) idea of assimilation and accommodation. Though I had been tested on it twice before in Psych classes, the concept came to life when my teacher gave the following example: A toddler learns the word "truck." Soon everything on the road is a"truck." After his Mom notices, she says, "No, that's a car." The toddler takes a little while to figure out what the differences are, but eventually figures out the differences and can correctly identify at least cars and trucks.

This toddler's mind assimilated all moving road vehicles into trucks because he had made a nice box in his brain for vehicles and called it trucks. Humans learn by forcing new information into boxes they already have a hold on. When we realize there are discrepancies, we have to make new boxes (accommodation), and slowly learn to distinguish "cars" from "trucks."

Jackson is in the throws of this process. Like all humans he will be for the rest of his life, but it's so darn cute when you're a toddler. Most of it is funniest when he responds to verbal conversations or adult talk. It's so fun to feel like you know what's going on in a conversation.

-Me: "I don't think that's where it goes"
Jackson: Excited look, hearing a word he thinks he knows, "Heh!" pulls on his own hair

-Me: "I was worried since I parked so close to a firehydrant"
Jackson: "OOooo wooo wooo ooooo" (sound of firetruck)

-Mark: Says something to the effect of "wide eyed"
Jackson: Puts up his hand for an enthusiastic high five "aih iv!"

-Me: "Jackson, do you want some of this Chicken for dinner?"
Jackson: "Bawk Bawk"

-A little while later, he points to the bowl and says "Bawk Bawk" to indicate he would like more.

-Jackson points to the buttons on my shirt, I say "Yes, those are my buttons." Jackson then lifts up his shirt and points to his belly button.

And this would be Jackson ready to go out in the snow. I told him we had to put warm clothes on because the snow was so cold.

The following day when I mentioned his food was cold (not hot as he had thought), he looked at me and said "Noh!" (snow).

What a beautiful, enthusiastic window into the human brain. Love it!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Lovely Saturday

We are thoroughly enjoying Mark's 4 week break from school. Generally we try and pack in everything during the summer and his breaks to take full advantage of free Saturdays and his 4 day (40 hour) work week. However, this past weekend, we just lounged about and spent it doing fairly typical things like Christmas returns and heading to the park. Coupled with the nice warm weather we had (55 degrees), it was fabulous.

Being such a rare, unscheduled, lazy day, Jackson had plenty of time to practice all his new skills he's been developing of late. Although each of these videos is taken from random days from the past month, they give a great depiction of what Jackson does during the day and what he did on our lazy Saturday.

Jumping. Especially off of small platforms. This was taken at my aunt Terrie's house. Since then, we've considered getting him a little exercise step to just jump off of all day long.

Dancing. Especially when Disney is being blasted. (I am so proud he actually kept dancing after the video camera turned on!)

Blessing the Food. Jackson has gotten very good about praying before he eats. He bows his head and start mumbling, until his enthusiastic"Aimah." Often he'll mumble the whole time we're verbalizing our own.

Night Night Daddy. As soon as a song is sung and his prayers are said, he starts saying good night to daddy. This wasn't the most amazing digital capture, since he usually says it at least 3 times with a wave, but you get the idea.

The only thing missing from this lineup is his fairly consistent habit of waking up in the middle of the night. Grrrr. Usually he's poopy or missing his binky, but either way, it does not make for happy parents. It does make for a great excuse to have a lazy Saturday.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


What fun we had at the Chicago Airport on our way to and from Portland this last week. Mark and I took many turns going up and down the moving walkways. Straight entertainment for a toddler.

By the second time around (on our way home), Jackson was so good, he could sprint down the walkway and stop on a dime (reminded me of I-95 traffic here on the East Coast). He could also stay in one spot by walking the opposite direction of the walkway (impressive, I know). All activities were very tiring for both parties involved. Thankfully this helped secure a nap on both flights that followed the exercise.

The flights were decently pleasant with the naps, iPhone and plenty of fruit snacks.

The trip was even better. Despite much wet weather, we managed to get out an about--with some OMSI action, plenty of food and games, Seattle, and an anniversary trip for Mark and I! Thanks family for such an awesome trip.