Special Update – Logan at 3 years, 10 months

Right now Logan’s life revolves around school. Last weekend was a long weekend and the whole time he was crying when I told him he didn’t have school those days. He loves going, and not just for the input. He is making friends, mostly girls. Ahem. He came home the other day chanting someone’s name. Turns out it’s a girl he has befriended and hugs often. And Glad told me that recently he hugged all the girls in his class before coming home.
His school is set up in a house, so classrooms are small and close together. The two preschool classes are next to each other, and though he is in one, he asks to be in the other one daily because of the teacher. He loves her and always tells me, “Today I’m going to be in Mamta Miss’ class.” He never mentions his teacher, though he does know her name. It seems that he has the run of both classrooms and both teachers feel it is better to let him partake of both rather than force him to stay in one. He is the only kid who does this, though. The rest will sit in their seats and not move until told, but he won’t stay seated.
His favorite activities are singing, puzzle play, and writing. He is good at drawing but still can’t write the alphabet on his own. I feel it is being introduced altogether too early, but that is something I can’t stop, as all Indian preschools introduce writing at 3 years. He brings homework writing practice and I help him do it. I just hold his hand and guide it, letting him control the pencil but making sure he doesn’t veer off into drawing mode like he would prefer.

Ready for school. He also has a cap as part of the uniform but doesn’t wear it as the one-size-fits-all hat is too small for him. Ha.

At home he still asks to do school with me, so when I can, I do reading with him. I feel learning to read takes priority over learning to write. He can read the alphabet, names and sounds; and knows the difference between upper and lower case letters. Sometimes we visit the Starfall reading website for phonetic practice. He kept asking me to write words for him to read, so I got a notebook and started with his favorites – farm animals. He can read all of those with no help. I’ve also added wild animals and some sentences about Winnie the Pooh and all the characters. So far he is enjoying it and getting the words down since they are about things he likes.
Logan has a love/hate relationship with his sisters. He will be super mean, grabbing, hitting, pinching and hurting them, then he will turn around and say in the sweetest voice, “I love you, Lila” and will hug and kiss her. Sometimes they play so well together and other times they fight all day. But I guess this is normal.   
Logan has also gone through a phase of refusing to eat, especially in the morning. At first we didn’t know how to handle it. He would start eating, then leave after a few bites, freaking out and screaming if we tried to get him to eat more. He would fuss to the point of throwing up what little he had eaten, and that would only make it worse as throwing up scares him. Not just him doing but even hearing someone else do it.
After some rough weeks, we finally realised that it was better to just let him eat as much as he wanted instead of forcing him to eat. He lost a lot of weight, but then started eating better of his own accord. He still doesn’t eat too well at breakfast, but I have found that it is because he doesn’t like to eat fast. When he can take his time, he will eat a lot, like at afternoon snacktime. He often asks for seconds at snack time and spends a whole hour eating sometimes. He hardly drinks milk anymore but has lots of yoghurt instead. He is slowly putting on weight again; his new love for buns is helping with that.

Here is a video I took of him this morning before he left for school.

Logan and Stories

Logan’s favorite Bible story is the one about the Lost Sheep (with Noah’s Ark being a close second – he loves any with animals). I recently downloaded a short video of the story from My Wonder Studio. They’ve seen it over and over, and Logan now has it memorised.
The other day while waiting to leave for school, Logan quoted the entire video, word for word. Except when he got to the part where the shepherd was counting his sheep, he started at 90 and counted to “90 10” (it apparently comes after 99) and then continued with the rest of the story.
He has a terrific memory for things he learns, whether it is via video, music, or just reading it to him. I can read him a story just a few times and then he will quote it back to me. He now “reads along” his favorites, quoting the whole thing with me while I read it.

My stovetop baking attempt

Something I really enjoy is baking, but I find myself without an oven and thus, no way to bake anything. I usually make all my family’s birthday cakes, and with Glad’s birthday just around the corner, I decided to try an experiment: “bake” a cake in a pot set inside another pot that is full of boiling water.
The basic idea was to use the double boiler method, except I later found out that a double boiler doesn’t work like that. Anyway, I made my favorite chocolate cake recepie, greased and floured the small pot, and put the whole thing on to boil. The general concept worked for the most part, except that there was no way to get any heat on the top of the cake so it never cooked, nor did the middle, though it probably would have if I had left it a few more hours. Yes, hours. The part that did manage to cook took 4 hours. I feel for an experiment it was ok, but that was a waste of gas and I don’t think I’ll try it again.
We did eat it, Glad and I. It was pretty tasty, even if it was half cooked in places. But now I need to find another solution. Does anyone know of a way to make a cake on the stove, without it burning? And I’m not talking about pancakes, I mean real cake. If you have any ideas, let me know.

On another note, Lila said two new words today. We were putting the toys away and she picked up a block and said “bok” and kept saying it the whole time we were working. Then in the shop, Logan was talking about chocolate and Lila, with a big grin, said “chocolate” (though not perfectly like that). At the rate she is going I won’t be surprised if she is talking well by the end of the year.

Chatterbox

I’m still adjusting to the fact that Logan can talk so well now. I’ve been so used to him not talking that every time he uses a new word it takes me by surprise. He is now making 2- and 3-word sentences, generally a noun-verb-noun combination, for example, (these are some of his actual sentences) “Mommy hug daddy” (seeing me give Glad a hug), “Mommy eat food”, “see cow”, “mow lowlock” (more yoghurt), “watch video”. He says lots more than this but that is all I can think of at this moment. Tonight he surprised me even more by quoting the whole song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. He can’t say all the words perfectly, but he knows it. When playing, he spends lots of time talking to himself. Most of the time he either talks about what he is doing (such as when making a puzzle he keeps repeating what part of the picture he is doing) or he counts. He can count to 10 but he always skips 7 since he can’t say it well. Sometimes he stops at 5 or 6 and goes back to 1. He will do this over and over, non stop. The way he talks on and on reminds me of my youngest brother, Zeke, when he was 3. He went through a phase when he repeated the same words of his request for a night snack exactly the same every night for months on end. If I remember correctly it went something like this (with a preschooler’s accent): “Take a piece of bread, put peanut butter on it, and more bread and honey on it, and put it together and put it on a plate and cut it and eat it.” Every single night. He just had to say it. I can imagine Logan coming up with something like that soon enough, though at this time Logan’s night snack is just a cup of milk and his request for it is always just “mowk”.

Growing Up…More and More

Watching your children grow is full of never-ending excitement and fun. Both of them are changing so much, so fast that I can’t keep up.

Last night while feeding Lila her dinner, she started saying the sounds she knows – mama, dada – and then she added a new one: baba. She kept saying it over and over, repeating it every time I said it too. The funny thing is, she can say as many “words” as Logan can. She is learning from and copying him.

Logan’s list of words is as follows: mama, dada, baba (baby, refering to Lila or any baby animal), na-na (food), and deow (there). At 2 years and 3 months, this is all he can say. Anything else is some version of uh uh. He uses lots of gestures but many times I don’t understand him. So I tell him “Show me what you’re talking about” and he’ll take me to whatever it is.

Something new for him is that he has started saying animal noises. He can make sounds for the dog(sort of a high-pitched puppy bark), cat (he says “aum”), cow (again, a very high-pitched “Oooooowwww”), monkey (this one he got right), rooster (similar to the cow), fish (opens and closes mouth to make a smacking sound), and perhaps a few others. It’s cute to see him trying this as for about half a year now he has not tried to say anything new. I really hope he starts talking more soon as he gets frustrated at times when I don’t understand him. Also, at the rate she is going, Lila might pass him up with talking, just like she has with all the other motor skills she has that he didn’t at her age.

Lila loves to interact with people. She will “talk” and get excited when she gets attention. She loves to play with Logan, too. Everything he has in his hands are most interesting at the moment and she has to have them, so she grabs them from him and the tears begin. I’m teaching him to get a toy for her so that he can trade her for the toy she took from him, but it doesn’t always work. She won’t let go of the one she has and shows minimal interest in what he is giving her…until he begins to play with it. Then she wants it. By that time he does too and the senario starts all over again. It keeps me busy all day.

When she sees someone for the first time in the morning, she is all smiles and excited talk. She makes sure you know she is happy to see you. Sometimes I just look at her and wonder how I ended up with such an adorable baby.

I took them both to the children’s library again yesterday. This is a small private library I discovered not too far from the park we go to. The books are divided by age so that all the books Logan will like are in one place. That makes it easy to get them. There are tables at the kids level, small child-sized beanbag chairs, and a room with wooden puzzles and toys. Both of them enjoy going there a lot. The attendant is very happy when they come and gives them lots of attention, Lila especially. She took Lila into the toy room yesterday and played with her while I read to Logan.

Here are some pics from our previous visit.







I think finding happy places like this is one of the joys of childhood. I want my children to have memories of fun times, places where they enjoyed themselves, and of just being children. They grow so quickly that too soon it will all be over and they will be thrust into the world of teenhood and then adulthood, with demands and pressures they never had before. I say let them be little while they can.

Lila is Growing Up

Samsung

Lila seems to be on fast forward speed lately. At only 7 months old, she is doing things that I have not seen a baby so young do ever. For example, her favorite thing to do is stand up. She will stand anywhere as long as there is something to hold on to. She will even hold on to the rocking horse or the walker and can steady herself. She does fall a fair amount but is getting better by the day.

She can crawl very well, and loves to get into the garbage can. If I leave it on the floor of the room, I can be sure to find her in it. She wants to play with Logan and will try to join in on what he is doing. He gets upset because she grabs his toys and eats them. If she gets into something that isn’t for her or I have to take something away she dissolves into a puddle of tears and loud crying and I have to quickly find something to distract her with. She is so curious and inquisitive; her playtime really is learning time.

The best new thing is that she can say “ma-ma”. She says it with real understanding; she knows she is calling me and loves to get my attention, though most of the time she will only say it when she is sad, hurt, or tired.

Her babyhood seems to be speeding by. Logan seemed to be a baby for much longer, but that could have been due to his not crawling until 11 months or walking until 15 months. It feels like only yesterday that Lila was a tiny baby who would just lie there, and now she is a dirt-finding, garbage-eating, drool machine. 🙂 Ha. But even though she does those things, one look at her huge smile is enough to melt my heart.

Learning, Learning, and Loving Food

Logan is learning lots of new things these days. One thing he does that no one taught him is covering his ears when there is a loud noise. I guess that one is inborn. He is also doing well in eating with a spoon. He almost has that one down. When he forgets to use the spoon and I remind him, he will sometimes pick up the food with his hand and put it on the spoon.

And you’ll never guess what his new favorite food is – channa! Or as we call it in english, chickpeas. They are one of the staples of an Indian diet. Here they are usually prepared in a spicy sauce and Logan likes them that way, but will also eat them in a salad or just on their own. The other day he was offered pasta or channa salad for lunch and guess which he chose? The salad. He is quite the Indian boy. Though he will eat pasta, he doesn’t love it like I do. He also saw the salad leftovers being served the next day and wanted it with the rest of his meal. He will also eat beets, dhal (lentils), and pretty much any Indian dish. If it is very spicy I simply add yoghurt to it like the locals do and that helps to cut the spice.

Of course if I was to put a cookie or chocolate or ice cream in front of him, he will leave all this favorite healthy food and want that instead. In that he takes after his father and me. Not that we eat it all the time but we do like to have the occasional sweet and he likes the ones we do. But I’m happy he eats so well and likes healthy food.

My Birthday – by Logan

I thought that for my birthday I would take you through my life in this past year. So let’s get started.

Here I am in the hospital. Is that really me?? I was so scrawny. Even the newborn diapers didn’t fit me properly.

But by the time I was 2 months old I had filled out nicely.

Look at that. I could hold my toy at 3 months.

At 4 months I went on my first vacation. I look like such a beach bum, don’t I?

I got my walker at 5 months and started using it, though I couldn’t touch the floor at that time.

By 6 months I was stealing the girls hearts away. Can’t you see why?

By 7 months I learned that play with daddy can be fun.

By 8 months I could sit in the bath and splash on my own. I loved it.

At 9 months I tried to drive a car. Don’t believe me? Check out the photo below. Mommy caught me heading out by myself. She said I am not allowed to drive until I am tall enough to reach the pedals and I have my license. I hope that will be soon.

At 10 months I took my first train ride with mommy and daddy from Mangalore to Chennai, a 16 hour trip.

At 11 months I could kneel on my own. And I had finally gotten this crawling business down. It’s harder than it looks.

And here I am at 12 months. I’ve got my own bed, can hold my own bottle, and I love this cozy corner.

And I suppose you are wondering what I did for my birthday? Well, mommy organized a small party for some of my friends and she made me a cake. The party theme was “Down on the Farm”. I looked like a farmer in my overalls and we played animal games like pin the tail on the donkey, matching mommy and baby animals, horse races (daddy had to be a horse), and we colored animal pictures.

Here is my yummy cake. It was a carrot cake with chocolate icing and lots of decorations.

Mommy also made me a cake with one candle.

Daddy helped me blow the candle out.

All my friends at the party.

It’s been a long year and I have grown up and learned a lot.  Love you all. – Logan

Early Learning – It Does Work!


Early education – this is something I’ve had in mind to post about for some time now but since it is a huge topic I’ve kept putting it off. Today I got inspired to write it because of something that happened with Logan. I won’t go into a long dissertation on the benefits of early education; there is way too much to say on the topic. I’m just going to give you the proof that it works.

When Logan was 7 months old, I decided I needed to start him on the joys of learning. I know from everything that I’ve studied on the topic (thousands of pages over the past 15 years or so) that there is no better time than babyhood for a child to learn things simply. I pulled out the flashcards, math dots, picture facts  and I went to work.

The basic idea of early learning is that you give the child input, even if you think they aren’t capable of learning it yet. Glenn Doman was a pioneer in this area of early learning, working first with brain-injured children and later with well children. You can learn more here.

Ok, we all know that a baby’s brain is the greatest computer ever built and that the more information you give it, the more space is available on that “hard drive” to store even more stuff, unlike conventional computers that have limited space, even if it is 100 or so GB. Once it’s full, that’s it, won’t hold more. But a baby’s brain will expand to hold everything you put into it. How cool is that?

I’ve taught many children from young ages, but somehow it is different when you have your own child. As much as I wanted to pour so much into him, I was being held back by, “I need to do one more thing, wash one more load of laundry, clean one more thing” so that by the time I was ready to give him attention, he was ready to sleep and the opportunity was missed.

About one month ago I was discouraged with my lack of being able to give him the input I know I am capable of giving him, so I made a plan for how to go about it. I typed out exactly what I want to do with him, made sure the materials were all together in one place, and then committed to giving him at least ½ hr. of focused time every day.

I would sit with him and show him all the flashcards, math dots and picture facts, plus things like reading a baby book together or watching a video.

Then the magic began to take place.

Today we were going over the words he has been doing for the past week. I decided for fun to see if he knew them by holding up two and asking him to pick the right one. Guess what? HE GOT THEM ALL RIGHT! I’m not joking. After doing this week’s words, I took last week’s words which he hasn’t reviewed all week and checked him on them and he also got those right. He can read about 20 words now.
Then I checked him on the math dots using the same method. He can identify any number up to 60 (that’s as far as he’s done) and HE CAN ADD! I’ve been doing addition with him for the past two weeks and he gets right every problem I ask him. He just grabs the card with the correct answer every time.

He also has a great time when I show him the alphabet and phonics flashcards. He has just begun those, but I feel that these will help him with learning to read faster.

He likes to see picture facts on a variety of topics, will watch a Baby Einstein or Kiddie Viddie video all the way through, and is now watching videos in Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and Hindi in order to be ground in the basics of these languages.

Seeing him learn these things has me so excited. He is just too smart for only being 9 months, but then again, any baby can be as smart if they receive the same input. On the physical side, he can now clap his hands on his own. When he gets excited he waves his arms around and makes all the noise he can. He is the most adorable person around and I can’t get enough of him.

Mr. Smartypants

Watching a spanish Baby Einstein on food.

This is from our trip that I talked about in my last post. He fell asleep on daddy’s shoulder while waiting for the bus.

Logan and his best friend, Eric.

Growing Up


Logan is teething again, and it is making him very fussy. Two days ago he had a fever all day and night, and spent the next day out of sorts. He is doing better now, but is still not sleeping well. Pray for him.

Last night at dinner time I decided to give him banana and yoghurt to eat as I thought that if his gums were sore, that would feel nice since it is cold. Well, he got very upset when he saw it and wouldn’t eat it. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was until I saw his eye following my plate. I offered him some rice and chicken and he stopped crying and ate it. I had no idea he could tell the difference in the foods. He wanted what I was eating and none of that “baby food”. Ha. He did eat the banana and yoghurt afterwards.

He likes to eat pretty much anything, and gets mad if you don’t give him a food when he wants it, but of course I can’t give him just any food he sees. I don’t feed him spicy food yet, though I pick the meat or paneer (a cheese) out of the sauce, rinse it off and mash it for him. If the sauce is very mild, I put a little in the rice to make it soft. He has a taste for Indian foods. And of course he wants to taste my coffee (not allowed), daddy’s wine (not allowed but daddy gives him a taste anyway) and any spicy snack we are eating (again not allowed). I don’t want him to have stomach trouble from eating spicy things too early so I don’t give him anything spicy unless it is very mild.

As for the wine…you should see the puppy dog face he makes when I say no to it. He actually will look to daddy and beg and opens his mouth wide when the cup comes closer. Then after the allotted taste, he licks his lips and is so happy. Hmmm… he knows how to manipulate already.

This month he seems much more intelligent than any time in the past 8 months. He knows how to make himself be understood (at least some of the time) and just generally seems more “grown up” and not a baby any more.

I was watching him in the walker today and he was moving it at top speed sideways. He kind of bounces on both feet to get it to move. It is so cute. He loves checking things out and exploring, though of course I have to make sure everything is safe as he still eats everything he finds. The other day I had washed his diapers and they were in the bucket waiting to be hung. I left it for a minute to do something and when I turned around, Logan had a diaper out of the bucket and was chewing on it. I still don’t know how he managed to reach down from the walker and get it out. And he wasn’t very happy when I took it away. He gets very offended when anything is taken away from him.

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