Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Soccer fun

Yesterday, at Avery's house, Joris was delighted to discover that Avery's parents had gone ball shopping over the weekend. In addition to the balls she already had, there now were a soft baseball, football and a big and little basketball. For the first 15 minutes or so he kept picking up the balls, squealing "biii cash-ball! Tin cash-ball! Ha-ball! Whack!" (translated: big basketball! little basketball! Football! Baseball!). When Avery was still napping we practiced catching the ball, which he is getting better at.

A little while ago, friends of ours (thanks, Paul and Sarah!) pointed out that there is an indoor soccer organization in Seattle that offers classes for kids as young as 18 months. Of course, knowing our little man's near obsession with balls, and especially kicking balls, we had to check it out. It sounded fun (50 minutes of active games with lots of balls around) albeit a bit spendy. But, a perfect activity for Joris.

When we got another financial contribution from my grandma (who tries giving away some of her money about twice a year) we decided that we'd use the money to enroll Joris, if it turned that he'd like the class.

Jacob really wanted to take him and Tuesday mornings were the only time the class was offered that would work for us. (On the weekend it would interfere with the Dutch play group.) So this morning the boys went to check out the Arena Sports class.

Apparently Joris cheered with glee when he saw the open field filled with balls and insisted on carrying one of the balls around even when they were playing "red light, green light", which doesn't require balls. He had a blast and was excited to be participating in the different games, songs and activities. When he came back he told me "A,B,Tee, Mama!". They had sung the ABC song while playing with a parachute. They even ran into people they knew; my PEPS friend Sue and her son Adam attend the class as well!

Of course, Jacob signed Joris up for the rest of the quarter. I think it worked out well for everyone; Joris enjoyed the outing, Jacob felt like he was able to spend some time with the little guy and I got to enjoy nearly two hours (!) of being-home-alone time, which I used to clean (it's amazing how much you can get done in an hour without a toddler there to 'help'!) and start listing my thrift store finds on Ebay (have I ever mentioned how much I like thrift store shopping? It's amazing both what people will donate to a thrift store and what others are prepared to pay for certain things - i.e. Harry Potter Lego figures).

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wake up!

I thought this was a pretty cute example of Joris interacting with his stuffed animals, singing and saying "garbage truck". The video is about 30 seconds too long, but it takes too much effort to try to figure out how to edit it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Garbage Truck

A few nights ago when Joris had rejected every song title as well as the few recite-from-memory stories, Jacob started suggesting some non-existing story titles. When he asked "shall daddy tell you the story of Coco and the garbage truck?", Joris uttered a very excited "ja".

Ever since, he requests the retelling of the story any opportunity he gets.

"Coco ba-ga-kuk"

Which never ceases to put a smile on my face because the way Joris pronounces the word. If you didn't know that the sound was him trying to say "garbage truck" you'd probably think he was choking or having a small seizure.

When auntie Chris and uncle Jack were over for dinner last night, they had to tell the story of Coco and the garbage truck as well. I think he was a little surprised to hear that they had a different version.

Today was garbage day and all day, with each rumbling sound he'd hear, Joris would exclaim "ba-ga-kuk!" When the garbage truck came, we looked out of the window and waved and as soon as the truck left, a resounding chorus of "mowe ba-ga-kuk" started.

Jacob just sang Joris to sleep by singing the words "garbage truck" to the tune of Tom Waits' "Time". ("And it's time, time, time" now sounds like "garbage truck, truck, truck") It was was very hard not to laugh out loud.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Magnetic Chalk Board

Since our house is pretty small, we've been trying to find new ways to use our space as efficiently as possible. Joris has been very into art (painting, drawing, etc.) lately but we just don't have the room for one of those kiddie easel things.

So we came up with the idea of painting one of the walls in Joris's room with chalkboard paint. Brilliant, right?

When Jacob and Joris were at the hardware store to purchase said paint, Jacob saw, cleverly situated right next to the chalkboard paint, a can of magnetic primer. That's right, you could magnetize any of your walls, furniture or whatever else holds paint!

Which is why Joris now has a magnetized, chalkboard wall.


I just downloaded a few pictures from the camera to the computer and found this one from a couple of weeks ago.

Joris had just gone into his room, retrieved "Ten Apples Up On Top", and crawled up on the couch where he "read" the book for a solid 5 minutes (about an hour, toddler time).

Monday, January 19, 2009

The trouble with sleep

It's been a rough week, sleep-wise and this time not all of it is Joris-induced.

Last Monday, Joris woke up from his nap at Avery's house not feeling well and proceeded to vomit such copious amounts that it required two complete changes of outfits for both of us. It made me realize that all the tad bits of food he consumes, do add up to a decent amount of stomach content. As he was looking at the chunks of vomit splattered on the floor, himself and me, he kept saying "uh-oh, uh-oh" in the saddest little voice. He had a low grade fever, which broke around 11:00pm, at which point he drank a big mug of warm milk and then slept until 8:00am, waking up perky and hungry.

Since that night, Joris has woken up every night at least once. Sometimes we were able to get him back to sleep within 15 or 20 minutes and a couple of times it took around 2 hours.

Which sucks, but pales in comparison to what my friend Leann has to go through with her 2.5 year old daughter - every night.

The trouble has been that I've been having a hard time falling asleep, both at the beginning of the night and after having been up with Joris. Insomnia has never been much of a problem for me, so it has been frustrating to lay awake, feeling the precious sleep minutes slip away, seemingly unable to find my off-button.

The other crappy part is that I'm waking up right around 5:30am or so and just lay awake, waiting for Joris to wake up.

This weekend we visited my parents in Oregon. It was very nice to spend time with them and my brother and his girlfriend, but sleeping was, of course, problematic. It is always hard to share a room with Joris, but this time all of us were suffering minor colds and Joris had arrived at the coughing stage - which meant that from 1:30am until 4:00am last night he was mostly sleeping through a coughing fit, while Jacob and I lay wide awake. And this was after the night when he went to sleep at 9, was briefly awake at 11:00 and then was up between 4:00 and 6:00am before finally crashing in between us in our bed.

We are making slow progress with getting Joris to go to sleep. It still takes forever, and 98% of the time we still have to be in the room until he falls asleep, but he does not need to be rocked anymore and is able to fall asleep in his own bed. A few times, he has been able to fall asleep without us physically in the room (our ultimate goal!) but only after a lengthy time of us being in the room first. But still, it's progress, right?

I'm banking on a positive turn-around of sleep this coming week. Maybe we will all sleep better after Obama's inauguration tomorrow - the knowledge of Bush finally departing is bound to increase everybody's happiness and piece of mind.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

If I were a truck...

In addition to balls, books, trains, cars and, recently, clay, Joris really likes songs. They have always been a part of his bedtime routine and they are also a stellar distraction technique.

Several months ago, I ordered some Dutch kids cd's from Holland and Joris has taken a particular liking to the Cowboy Billie Boem ones and will ask to listen to them by saying "kaboom!". To one of the songs (translated called the band-aid song) he will say all of the ending words / syllables:

Ik ben vandaag gevallen, nu ben ik bont en... blauw
Het gebeurde tijdens het... bal
Van je boem, boem...auw!

Ik heb een pleister op m'n elle... boog
Een pleister op m'n... knie
Ik heb er ook een boven m'n linker... oog
Ja, ik heb er... drie

Van je boem, boem... auw! (x3)
Nu ben ik bont en... blauw

Since he has discovered the power of saying "no", he has been harder to please at bedtime with the songs we sing. He'll either cut us off mid-sentence by saying no, or if we ask him "Do you want to sing (X) song?", we'll go through a lengthy list before he settles on something he wants to listen to.

Or he requests the same song, time after time. There was a moment when I was sitting next to his crib one morning at 2:00AM, singing "Apples and Bananas" for the 85th time that night (which had been the all night, every night request for several weeks already) when I was seriously contemplating the relative pleasure of slashing my wrists with my own dull fingernails.

But, often, Joris' interest is peaked in new and different songs and the only way to break the string of rejected songs is to suggest something he does not know and sounds interesting. Which is how we have ended up with such gems as "If I were a truck" and "Tiger, tiger".

"If I were a truck" started off as an attempt at distraction in the car, which worked so well, that it soon became a favorite. The tune changes slightly every time because we don't remember exactly how we sang it last, but it originally was to the tune of "The wheels of the bus".

If I were a truck, I'd have four wheels
I'd have four wheels, I'd have four wheels
If I were a truck, I'd have four wheels
And they'd go round and round

(And then there are doors, windows, an engine, radio, etc.)

One night, at his wit's end after an endless list of rejections, Jacob asked "Shall Daddy sing a song about Coco?" to which Joris excitedly said "Ja!".
"Coco is a tiger, so it will be a song about tigers."
In Jacob's own words, the song is tediously repetitive with mostly non-sensible rhymes, but it never ceases to crack me up.

Tiger, tiger, stripy cat
Tiger, tiger wears a hat

Tiger, tiger wants to dance
Tiger, tiger wearing pants

Tiger, tiger likes to flirt
Tiger, tiger wears a shirt

Tiger, tiger wearing shoes
Tiger, tiger drinks some booze

Maybe someday we'll have a whole treasury of made up songs!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Approximations & Christmas

You know how toddlers speak in a language that approximates real speech, but that only their parents can (partially) decipher? Joris has been having lots of fun imitating words, inventing his own words and experimenting with different inflections. I cannot possibly start to list all of the new words he has gained, but below are some of my favorite (not quite the actual) words:

boop (book)
boop (boat)
kee-kee (uncle Jack)
ten (train)
cole (school)
tin (spin)
os (Oskar)
mahnie (Melanie)
dok (oom Dirk)
hahpee (puppy)

and, of course:

cock (clock - he uses this occasionally together with his invented word "hacko")
teat (sit)

Joris has been happy to his new friend Madeline again this week and I think she is a positive influence on his language skills since she can say pretty much everything. One of their favorite activities this week was playing with the bright pink, princess adorned, plastic tea set that Maddie got for Christmas. Tomorrow we will see Avery again, who Joris has been talking about for the full two weeks that we've not seen her. It is getting confusing however to figure out now who he means when he says "Amee". We'll have to ask "Grandma? Avery? Madeline?" and he'll say "ja" when we mention the one he means. Hopefully they'll get individual names in not too long.

I have kind of neglected to write about Christmas. Too much other stuff to do! We had a lovely time, though. On Christmas itself, auntie Chris, uncle Jack and our friend Richard, who has recently moved to Seattle, came over for lots of appetizers and a late table grill dinner. It was really fun.

The Saturday after Christmas, my parents, brother and his girlfriend, Melanie all were able to make it up to Seattle. They had planned to spend Christmas with us, but were unable to leave due to the massive amounts of snow in Portland that day. My dad had two of the plastic greenhouses collapse due to the snow and actually had to use the tractor to make it out to the mailbox! Anyway, it was a really great visit and Chris and Jack joined us again for dinner. We had a fancy ham Christmas dinner which turned out pretty good.

Joris has been mentioning oom Dirk, but especially Melanie a lot this last week, including pointing out pretty, blond, young women and very hopefully exclaiming "Mahnie!". I think his sentiments mirror the rest of us in thinking that Melanie is a very nice girl who we hope will someday be a permanent addition to the family.

Here are some pictures:

Uncle Jack and the flying lion

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Since a couple of weeks, Joris has started to develop a sense of pride - or maybe just a stronger sense of self. It started when I recruited him to decorate the green gift boxes we'd use for Christmas gifts (Jacob baked a shit-load of delectable cookies) with red paint. He got really into the painting after practicing for on a few sides and started saying "more" when he wanted to move on to a different side - all the while muttering "mooi, mooi" (pretty).

When the boxes were drying, he'd point to them, say "mooi" and then point to himself with the utter most pleased expression on his face.

Since then, Joris has been pointing out things he has done and saying "Doota" (which he still uses to name himself).

"Dee!" (Check out these cars stacked on top of each other!) - "Doota" (I did that!)

"Dee!" (The man is driving the truck!) - "Doota"

"Mama koosh. Daddy koosh. Doota koosh." (We all have juice!)

He is definitely grasping the whole idea of property and I'm waiting for the time when everything will be "mine, MINE!". So far, he just points out and remarks on what belongs to whom.

"Amee, kei (klei -rhymes with "I"). Doota, kei" (That's Maddie's clay, this is my clay).

"Hat, Doota - hat, Doota" (Joris should wear his hood, it's raining).

Happy New Year!