Alden with his favorite book. He'll look at it instead of trying to tear it, eat it, or throw it.
We've taken a few giant leaps around here. Alden has started talking AND walking! You may say, "NO WAY!" but it's true! At first we didn't believe it either, but then mommy finally convinced daddy that when Alden was saying "Dun dun dun dun." in his booster seat at meals, he really meant it! When we started acknowledging it, Alden rewarded us with big smiles instead of moving on to the "I've had it with you guys. Now I am going to scream to make it clear" phase of supper. Even so, we often won't be sure that's really what he is saying since mommy and daddy have very different views about how much Alden should put in his tummy, but it is so cool to see him trying to communicate in our language and seeing his little face light up when his point is understood.
He ALSO has been testing the limits and getting into everything. But most of the time it seems more of a game than anything else. He'll try to get into the trash can and we'll say, "Alden..." and he'll turn to us and say "Nuh nuh nuh." with a little impish grin on his face (Translated: No, no, no.). We'll say, "That's right. No no." and he'll just move on to something else. It's so ADORABLE it's hard not to smile while telling him no. (No, he's certainly not perfect and if he's determined to do it, he won't listen...turning over on the changing table is one fight we never win without having a tantrum-head).
Sibling friendship has been another really enjoyable development that I hope will continue to grow. Now that Alden is interacting more on our terms, he also seems to play better with Rhianwen. I made a tent in her room the other day, and they both LOVED playing in there together for a couple of days.
Getting Alden to walk was on mommy's and daddy's agenda this month. Little did we know that it was on Alden's too! Saturday, I had just been at a birthday party with him where I had been talking to a friend about when I thought he'd walk. I gave him until the end of May (I had been noticing that Alden was starting to stand without holding on to things). When we got home, Alden just took off and walked across the kitchen and down the hall! Guess he was listening! He gets this little smile on his face because he knows he's doing something exciting. He still likes to crawl and cruise but if we put him down from our arms he'll often stand instead of sit and walk to where he wants to go.
And here is video footage as proof (facebookers, you have to go to the real blog to see it):
And this one's in response to Aunt Clara's request:
Rhianwen's been doing her own exciting things like learning how to float on her back at swim lessons and coasting on her balance bike (a very scary thing for mommy who anticipates many scrapes. None so far). She also likes picking out her own clothes and hair bows and has learned how to match colors. However, she may not get the idea that a smidgen of pink in her shirt does not necessarily mean that everything else should coordinate with it instead of the predominant color. Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn't. But we try to give her freedom.
A favorite outfit of hers.
She finally got the guts to hold a caterpillar...I convinced her it wouldn't bite.
Mommy's also decided that she's big enough to start some craft projects. We made a fairy the other day out of ribbons and a wooden candle cup. Rhianwen painted her nose and mouth all by herself! She loves playing with her and let her hang out on her light where the ceiling fan spins the fairy around. It must be fun to watch at naptime.
Fairy Elisabetta (named by Rhianwen after her Great Aunt no less).
Silly songs are a constant request in our home. If it weren't for mommy's sanity, they would be playing all day long and daddy would be singing them all day long. He was singing this one the other day:
"It's my job and I like it fine. No one has a better job than mine."
Rhianwen interrupted and said,"Not really. Somebody else has a better job than you."
Wally responded, "Who?"
Rhianwen said, "Mommy!!!"
Recently we've been trying to figure out ways to teach our kids positively about God. Obedience is such a focus in our house that sometimes it shuts out other aspects of life. All along we have been trying to explain motivations of the heart to Rhianwen, but it's been really hard to make it something understandable. I had been talking to a friend and to Wally about rewarding good behavior and what that is supposed to look like in relation to obedience and to encouraging proper motivation. How do you prevent encouraging good behavior for the wrong motivation? I don't want my kids to behave well b/c they expect a reward or b/c they want to avoid punishment...that would be obeying for a purely selfish motive. It would be teaching them to be self-serving. At least that is what it seems to me.
I think I can see using an "incentive system" for teaching new concepts. For example, if I introduce the concept of setting a good example, then when I notice Rhianwen doing that (even if she doesn't know she is) then I would tell her what she did and use the chosen activity/tool as a way to cement that behavioral concept into her head. But I think would not want to use it after she clearly understands the concept and our expectations.
Later, if I see that on a given day she has had a fabulous day in a certain area, then I could choose to reward her, but she shouldn't be owed a reward for good behavior.
On the flip side, I don't really want Rhianwen's main objective to be to obey in order to avoid discipline. I'm not really sure how to avoid that attitude, but I'm hoping talking to her throughout the day about God's love, planning, provision, and beauty will help her see that obedience is part of the method that He has provided us so that we can live life fully, joyfully, and gratefully.
Balance is SO hard.