Mar. 20th, 2017 03:40 pm
dreamshark: (Default)
Lena proudly displaying the letter announcing that she has been promoted from toddler to pre-schooler at her day care.
dreamshark: Lena almost 2 in cute hat (Lena)
Amber and Lena hosted a family from the local baby-sitting coop for an afternoon visit (sort of an audition, I guess). Amber reports that Lena was SO excited to have visitors that she could hardly contain herself. I think Amber was a little embarrassed at the uncharacteristically hyper behavior, but if Lena was able to sit still for the group snack (and didn't bite anybody or throw anything) I think she was well within acceptable behavior standards for a 2-year-old. Look at that grin!! 
dreamshark: Lena almost 2 in cute hat (Lena)
Two Christmas shots of Lena making her grandparents happy by showing interest in their favorite toys. In the first one, Grandpa has invented a game for her using some of his multi-colored dice. Here she is demonstrating that she can not only recite numbers in order but actually understands the concept of counting at least up to three. Grandma thinks that's pretty impressive for barely two years old.

In picture #2 Lena is engrossed in the Megablox building set that Grandma gave her for Christmas. Grandma is gratified to finally have a little one who shares her love of building toys.

dreamshark: Lena almost 2 in cute hat (Lena)
This is the hand-made antique children's rocker that was made for Richard's father, or possibly HIS father. [personal profile] minnehaha borrowed it for a few years for her grands, and had it beautifully restored. Lena was impressed when we told her it was the Tatge Rocker (she knows that is part of her name). It's still just a little big for her, but she liked it and sat in it a lot over Christmas. The nervous look on her face in this picture is because she is looking at the rather disturbing Krampus picture hanging over the big lounge chair. (We eventually took it down. Lena was convinced that the small child being menaced by the Krampus was her friend Lola, and was really unsettled by it).
dreamshark: Lena almost 2 in cute hat (Lena)
No, really. The schools called a snow day for this. Lena was ecstatic. Snow!!!
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dreamshark: Lena almost 2 in cute hat (Lena)
Does anyone know where I could find a pretty Christmas stocking that says "Lena" on it? Or has some easy way to add your child's name that doesn't involve heavy embroidery skills? Is this the kind of thing you find on Etsy?

ETA: We have a solution. Richard unearthed a stack of unmatched handmade-looking Xmas stockings from the attic. The only one with a name on it says "Sharon," which I found odd considering I don't remember ever using it. He said he found it a garage sale. Personally I think I'm too old for a stocking, but sometimes when Amber is here she insists on stockings for everyone. But this year it will be 5 adults and one child, and I think it's time to say that only the kid needs a stocking.

Anyway, one of them has a nice fabric panel at the top with plenty of  room for a 4-letter name - and Richard has a huge box of fabric paints that he uses for decorating his canes and Christmas ornaments and various crafts. So the solution is obvious - right?
dreamshark: Lena almost 2 in cute hat (Lena)
Richard and I flew to Portland to spend Thanksgiving with Amber and family, as we have done for the past 10 years or so. It was a quiet hang-around-the-house type holiday, venturing out occasionally when it briefly stopped raining. We all went shopping at the Columbia Employee Store thanks to an invite from one of the neighbors. It was insanely crowded, but we all found the things we were looking for. Lena wasn't feeling well and was uncharacteristically cranky until we found this adorable hat and she went into Baby Model mode. Try this link for more hats, and to get a real idea of how many cute expressions she can cycle through in about 30 seconds.
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I tried playing Pokemon Go while I was there, but nobody else was interested except Lena, who mostly likes swiping through my Pokemon zoo and triggering the animations. But we brought her a special present - her own Pokemon deck. Richard went through his old Pokemon cards and pulled out pairs of the Gen 1 set that are in the Go game. Then he taught her to play Pokemon Concentration. She loved it!  ("I WIN!  Try again?") Larger set of pictures (and an animation) here.
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dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Most toddlers object to sharing their toys, but Lena never has. It's not that she is any less self-centered than any other toddler, it's just that she has different goals. She's much more interested in playing with other kids than she is in her toys. At an age when most babies were doing parallel play she was sidling up to older children and joining in their play, instinctively taking turns like a big kid.

Now she has moved on to something much more sophisticated. If her little friend is fussing instead of playing, Lena initiates an activity of her own (like jumping up and down), laughing merrily while she does it. Eventually the other child decides she must be missing out on something really fun and joins in. 
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
 Lena unexpectedly received this customized pumpkin in the mail! This is an old Tatge tradition started by Lena's great-grandpa Orville. The names are engraved on green pumpkins and the kids all root for their special pumpkin to grow up and be the biggest. Orv passed away last year, but one of the uncles is continuing the tradition. I'm not surprised by that, but everyone was surprised that he went so far as to MAIL the pumpkin. Usually the grandkids and their families are expected to come and pick them up. Lena knew all about pumpkins because of an exciting day trip to The Pumpkin Patch, a local attraction that is apparently the Hay Ride of the pumpkin world.

The last two pictures are Lena's costume for this year. It's a zebra character from some toddler show that Lena watches. Whatever it is, it's pretty cute, right? Lena was particularly pleased to have a tail. And to get free ice cream at a local Halloween event in Milwaukie (Oregon, not Wisconsin, and yes that's how you spell it).

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For the record, Lena will be two years old on November 10.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
In my last post (earlier this evening) I reported that granddaughter Lena was now speaking in sentences, but seemingly constrained by the inability to say more than 3 syllables at a time. She was clearly TRYING to say longer phrases, but would drop words out of the middle. For instance, she would try to say "I'll be right back" (sometimes, adorably, to one of her toys) but it would come out as "I'll right back."

"No more monkeys (jumping on the bed)" turned into "No....mon-keys" with an awkward pause in the middle, sometimes followed by an attempt at the second part of the line. I remember this buffering problem from when my own children were learning to talk. When Thorin first started repeating words, he could reproduce just the last syllable he had heard: "Daddy" became "Dee."  Then one day he could suddenly repeat 2 syllables, and "Dee" became just a fond memory.

Anyway, Amber just texted that Lena had suddenly started saying longer sentences, starting with the surprising declaration, "I am a robot."  A little later she said, "Gamma come visit me," a sentence noteworthy not only for the increased length and grammar but for the combination of remembering the recent past and projecting it into the future. And, of course, heartwarming. I miss you too, little Lena.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
I took advantage of being retired to fly out to Portland for one day of babysitting. Lena is just a month away from her 2nd birthday, and is more adorable than ever. She is finally saying "Gamma" and "Gampa" and is capable of constructing short but pithy 3-word sentences. She has trouble getting out more than 3 syllables at a time, but still manages to experiment with many new parts of speech: pronouns, adjectives, interjections, indefinite articles. A lot of her "sentences" are really just a noun, but usually introduced with "A" or "Oh", as in  "A Bus!" or "Oh, PlayDoh!" She rather suddenly learned colors since the last time I saw her (which was only 2 months ago) and is starting to use words like "Happy" and "Sad."  When she sees a picture of a Mommy, Daddy, and small child she says "Happy."  Awww.

Didn't take a lot of pics since she had a cold and wasn't as photogenic as usual, but here's a cute one where her nose isn't running. She was actually a little grumpy until I said, "I'm taking your picture" and got this. This kid is a natural model.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Well, okay, toddler pictures. She's 20 months old in these pictures.

Amber and Lena flew out for a few days this summer to attend Tatge Fun Day in western Minnesota. She also got to visit the aquarium at the Mall of America and try out the cute but noisy Mickey Mouse Car that I scored for $.50 at a yard sale.
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dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Amber and Lena are here for a few days, so we're having a little open house tomorrow starting about 3pm. If you want to say hi to Amber and meet The World's Cutest Grandbaby, now's a good time to stop by. 
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Lena discovers that she LOVES daikon radish! Yes, that's a menu in her hand. She likes it because she thinks it's an instruction book.
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Lena helps assemble her new playhouse!  And then she tries it out. And demonstrates spiral slide on almost new water table.
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Lena helps Grandpa assemble cardboard brick-blocks.
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dreamshark: (sharon tire)
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Lena at 18 months, still bald, still adorable. We're flying out there next week for a visit. Can hardly wait. I keep ordering new toys and shipping them out ahead of our visit. All of them are things that require assembly, which will give us some fun activities to do together. Lena doesn't really care about toys all that much, but she loves putting things together. Since they were having a heat wave when the water table arrived, we all assembled it together during last Sunday's Skype session. That was really fun to watch. Lena's only speaking in single words, but clearly understands directions as complex as "No, honey, that piece is upside down.Turn it the other way." It proved to be a lot of fun to play with even inside (with no water). She especially enjoyed running the little balls down the big central spiral. But once water was added, all she really wanted to do was SPLASH. And try to figure out how to scoop up water in a big cup and then turn it upside down to pour it out. Harder than it sounds. The order of the steps matters more than you might think.
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Lena just turned 18 months and is finally starting to talk. She's been practicing individual words for about 3 months now, but usually she would just say the new word nonstop for a day and then forget about it. Now she's starting to use her words conversationally. But she's still more interested in large muscle activities and expressive body language. So it's not entirely surprising that her favorite toy is her new slide and her favorite word is "Wheee!"

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The other exciting developmental news is also evident in these pictures. Although she is still pretty bald, the hair she has managed to sprout is starting to curl! That little bubble over her left ear is actually a perfect round curl. This is the first physical manifestation of any relationship to me. Mostly she looks like Olin's family with Tatge dimples. But now she has Kahn curls! 
dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Conventional wisdom has it that while toddlers may engage in "parallel play" they don't start playing together in any sense of the word until age two or three. Clearly, somebody out there is not paying attention to what children actually do.

This is parallel play. To the uninitated it doesn't look like play at all, but Lena wouldn't have gone to all the trouble to get herself into that tiny chair if she hadn't seen the other little girl sit down first. Parallel play is when they copy each other without actually interacting or even obviously looking at each other. So yeah, Lena definitely does that.
But here's Lena just a few weeks later taking turns on a toy with a slightly older baby. Lena, being an absolute whiz at pushing buttons, seems to be showing Vivvie how to work the thing. But there's no question that they were wandering around this party together checking out the toys and taking turns playing with them. I took this picture, so I saw them doing it.
 I also took these two shots of Lena and Nora playing together at Minicon. Lena just watched Nora for a while to figure out what the "game" was (picking up those little Disney characters and sticking them onto the Lego-like tower). Once she had it figured out she joined in, taking turns with Nora. Admittedly, it's a simple non-verbal game, but clearly cooperative. Nora is 3 or 4 so this is not actually 2 toddlers, but Nora didn't give Lena much direction (although she was very patient with her).
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But these are the pictures that really put the lie to the claim that "toddlers don't play together." Lola is only 21 or 22 months old, and she is "reading" to Lena! I'm pretty sure that Lola can't actually read, but she likes to mother "Baby Lena" and she know that this is one of the things parents do with their babies. And Lena is happily playing along. Those are also Lena's new shoes on Lola's feet. Not even 2 and the girlfriends are swapping clothes! (I think Lola is very socially advanced).
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dreamshark: (sharon tire)
Lena sees her shadow for the first time. Hilarity ensues. "Look at that thing!  What is it? It's following me!"
Her parents aren't sure if she just noticed it for the first time if if this is literally the first time she's seen it since she started walking. Portland in the winter is a pretty gray place.
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