It has been a cold and snowy winter! Kiefer doesn't really like the snow except for sledding, but it has been too cold for that. So we have spent most of the winter indoors. Kiefer enjoys playing with his blocks and coloring at his little table. He's pretty good putting together both the Mega Blocks and the Duplos, however, his favorite part of playing with either type of blocks is dumping them out of their containers onto the floor. Luckily, thanks to daycare, he is learning how to pick up and he will sometimes help us put them away! Kiefer loves to color and he no longer tries to eat the crayons like he used to a couple of months ago.
Kiefer also enjoys watching a little Curious George, Thomas the Tank Engine or his new favorites: The Berenstain Bears and Fireman Sam, which Roel discovered on PBS/Sprout OnDemand. I remember the Berenstain Bears from when I was a kid, but I had never heard of Fireman Sam before. It is a Welsh stop-motion animation series that was apparently popular in the UK during the 1980s, but the company that brought Thomas the Tank Engine to the US recently picked up the rights to it and has brought it to the US. Kiefer likes to get his toy fire truck when he hears the theme song. It's pretty cute. I almost forgot that he also likes "Little Einsteins." It's a Disney show, which introduces kids to music and art. He loves to clap his hands to the music. Kiefer usually watches one of these in the morning so I have a chance to get dressed and get things together for the day. He also watches one after bathtime as I am getting him into his pajamas. I have found that the distraction means I don't have to chase him around and wrestle him into his pjs.
Kiefer has watched Sesame Street only a few times. I am not a big fan of Elmo (I find him too hyper) so it's not something that I usually pick out for him to watch. A couple of weeks ago, I did let him watch it and Kiefer got really excited when they featured the letter d. He kept saying "D!" He's very good at saying the d, mama, papa and up. Recently he has also started saying tractor. Because he can't say much, he will usually just point to what he wants, and if it is another room, he will take us by the hand and lead us into the room. Holly, his daycare provider, has taught him some sign language and I'm afraid I don't know much, but I do know the sign for "more." Kiefer is a healthy eater and if he runs out of his snack or dinner, he's quick to sign for more. He also signs "eat" when he his hungry. Those are very important signs and he wants to make sure that we understand him!
Another skill Kiefer has just acquired is climbing down the stairs by himself. He's been able to climb up the stairs for months, but going down is more tricky. He goes down backwards on his hands and knees. Even though he can do it, sometimes he is too tired (or lazy) and holds his arms up as if to say, "Pick me up!" We also like that Kiefer now points to his bum when he has a dirty diaper. It's pretty funny and very useful! Now we just need to get him to want to sit on his potty.
Yesterday, I drove up to Laconia, New Hampshire for a day of relaxation and pampering with my college friends. We called it our "2nd Annual Spa Day." We started the tradition last year. Rather than getting Christmas presents for each other, we decided to do something nice for ourselves. I got a pedicure and massage and it was heavenly. Afterwards, we enjoyed a late lunch and even did a little shopping at a nearby outlet. We went to Osh Kosh and Carter's, of course! I love to find deals on clothes for Kiefer. Actually last weekend, we found a great winter jacket for him at the Carter's Outlet in Brattleboro, VT. It is a 2T size for next winter and it was only $8!
I cannot believe that the spring semester starts tomorrow. I am not ready for the campus to be full of students. The study abroad office is going to be very busy and I am going to be swamped with work. It is weird that I won't have any classes this semester! I do have to meet occasionally with my cohort (6 other doctoral students who are also doing their comps this semester) and the department chair a few times during the semester. It will help us move along and work through problems we may encounter with our comps papers. I only just finished my incomplete from an independent study I took this past summer, so it's not like I had much of a break. The good news is that my comps paper is going to expand upon the work I did for the independent study.
We're hoping that the groundhog does not see his shadow in a week so this winter won't drag on for many more weeks!
~April, Roel & big boy Kiefer