Saturday, August 31, 2013

Photos from July and August

Our Picasa Album is now up to date.  Yay!

Gallant at Two

I knew I had not been blogging much about Gallant, but I had not realized how truly silent I had been!

I wrote about how he behaved at one year of age, but have said almost nothing since then (except mentioning teething in January, March, June, and July).

Blame extra visits and Skype time with family members.  Since they were satisfied with that and a mostly up-to-date Picasa Album, I have been neglectful!


At Gallant's two-year checkup he was 33.0 inches tall (15th percentile), he weighed 24.6 pounds (10th percentile), and his head size was 49.3 cm (66th percentile).

Overall, small changes from his 18-month checkup.

It was interesting to note that the percentile chart is now computerized, so the big discrepancies I have observed in older blog posts may now be an artifact of the past.

You can also compare these numbers to when his older brother had his two-year chekup.  Smiley was an inch taller and about a pound heavier.


That post about Smiley's two-year checkup mentioned a very long sentence.  Gallant uses language much differently.

When he turned two, at the start of the summer, he used few words.  He did not need many!  Almost any need would be met by either bringing an object to a parent and grunting (which could mean "play with me with this" or "fix this" or "may I eat this?") or if the object was out of reach he would point to it and say "there".

In mid-July his use of language really took off.  He suddenly became a talker with his requests, using sentences of two and then three words.

In early August he used his first four word sentence ("Daddy get bowl please").

Now, at the end of August, he can string words together to limit of his ability to concentrate.  Two days ago I told Smiley that he could use a ticket for computer time while Gallant and I took naps, and Gallant tried to bargain: "Me watch movie.  Daddy take nap."

Gallant, unlike his brother at the same age, does very little self-narrating.  He uses it to share happiness ("Run, run, run!") but in general appears to not feel a need to talk about his activity.


At one year he could only jump when holding hands.  Now he can jump off the weight bench by himself.  Hopping like a bunny is a frequent method of movement around the house (and has become a well-established "funny" part of going to the changing table).

He climbs up and down ladders well.  He loves slides, and can climb up most of them.  (The water slide at Amazon Pool is the best slide of all.)

Gallant is an amazing hiker.  We go up the steep route climbing Spencer Butte often.  Except for 6 to 8 places where the step up is too high for him and he needs a lift, Gallant can hike almost all the way up himself.  (Near the top is a ten foot rocky wall to climb, at which point he gives up.)

He love running, more than his brother ever did.  It seems like he could play chase all day.

Finally, I just wrote about how he loves wrestling.


Gallant does not swim, but is unafraid of the water after spending a lot of time at Amazon Pool this summer.  This is a great change from the start of summer, when he disliked baths and feared showers.

He can spend half an hour holding onto my back while I swim around.  "Me on boat!" he explains.  Often Smiley is a shark who chases us.

(Smiley cannot swim unassisted, but when wearing a life jacket can move as fast "swimming" as most of his friends hop around the shallow pool.)


Gallant finally got his last two-year molar in mid-August.  For two weeks he has been sleeping through the night.  Hooray!

Favorite Toys
The boys have very different favorite stuffed animals.  I am not sure if this is fortune or simply that Gallant picked ones not claimed by his older brother.

The only stuffed animal still in Smiley's room is bunny.  He ignores it, and it sits at the foot of his bed or underneath his bed.  But I am careful to leave it in his room in case his affection for it ever rekindles.

Gallant loves most a cat, dog, and bunny.  As is age-appropriate he calls many animals by the traditional noise they make, so these are Meow, Oof, and Bunny.

He also plays with other stuffed animals, more than Smiley ever did.  This is nice, since over the past five years our relatives have given us a bunch of them.

Gallant also loves his letter tiles (from a Bananagrams set).  Sometimes he works with his brother to place these on the letters of a book.  Most often he uses them as a "liquid" in his play kitchen because they can be stirred: he makes alphabet soup or letter tea for me to drink.

Gallant plays with vehicles a lot, but unlike his brother has no favorite kind of vehicle.  Duplos, Matchbox and Hot Wheels, or any other toy car or plane or helicopter is great.  He has favorite real-life vehicles (trash trucks, construction vehicles, fire engines) but shows no favoritism towards these in toy form.

He also uses our toy phones a lot.  He pretends to call his great-grandmother at least once per day.

Colors and Letters

A month ago Gallant could recognize color names and letter names as part of their categories but could not use them correctly.  (If we asked him what color an object was, he would say a random color name.  If we asked him to identify a letter, he would say a random letter name.)

Something in his brain finally clicked, and now he knows almost all his colors (blue and purple are still interchanged) and quite a few letters.

One curiosity is how, as a younger child, his play environment is much less strictly designed.  When Smiley was two I tried to mostly expose him to uppercase letters until he learned those well.  (Books, of course, were an exception.)  Gallant sees many more lowercase letters as a two-year-old, and so far is learning a haphazard collection of uppercase and lowercase letters: he will need to learn more than 26 to master a complete alphabet.


When Gallant turned two he was not a picky eater except for proteins.  He would eat yogurt and hummus, drink milk, and sometimes eat beans or cheese.  Now he also enjoys salmon, sliced turkey, oatmeal, egg, cotja, and more often other cheeses or beans.

Both boys are still picky about vegetables, preferring carrots or frozen spinach.  Smiley will also eat tomatoes.  I hide vegetables in blender recipes of smoothies, batters, and ice creams.

Fruits and grains are no problem.

Gallant seems to be growing.  Thursday for lunch he ate half a pear, a bowl of salmon, a salmon quesadilla, a banana, a few corn chips, a cup of milk, and a piece of chocolate for dessert.  Then he drank more milk before his nap.

Our Types of Roughhousing

Two years ago I wrote about how much Smiley loves roughhousing, and ten of his roughhousing games.

Gallant loves roughhousing even more!

This is partly because early this month Smiley and I started taking Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes twice per week.  The dojo has a nice play area for siblings to use, and Gallant enjoys their toys--but he also spends a fair amount of time watching his father or brother wrestle.  It is now his favorite activity at home.

So here is an updated list of our family's roughhousing games.  When describing them I will use wording that implies only Gallant and I are playing together, but during the summer his older brother is usually also participating.

(I also recommend the Gracie Games.)

1. Circles Around Daddy

I kneel or sit in the middle of the sitting room.  Gallant runs around me.  I try to grab him.  Sometimes we are the big bad wolf and a little pig/goat and I "eat" his side when I catch him.  Other times I just tickle him.

2. Horseback Rides

An old standby.  But usually this is short-lived and we progress to the next one...

3. Don't Fall Off the Horse

Gallant grabs my back and I try to make him fall off by slowly tilting to one side, leaning forward or back, or moving erratically.  Sometimes I pretend I do not know where he is and am looking for him.

Smiley knows the advanced version from the Gracie Games, called Crazy Horse.  It is basically the same thing, but by holding onto my back with one one arm over my shoulder and the other arm under the opposite shoulder (like a seat belt chest strap).  I do not get choked, and legs are long enough to wrap around my waist much better, so I can do many more movements rolling around or standing up to try to make him fall off.

4. Jump off Daddy

I either lie flat on my stomach or kneel, and he jumps off my back onto the carpet.

5. Charge at Sitting Daddy

I sit and he runs at me.  If he impacs me hard enough then I pretend he knocked me over: I rock backwards while hugging him to my chest, then rock forward and return him to a standing position.

6. Chest Bumps

This game was inspired by the Busy Penguins board book. I kneel with my torso upright, chest held forward, and knees apart. He runs at me with his chest held forward and we crash together. If he impacts me forcefully and accurately (without involving his arms, hands, or head) then I start to push with my chest, so he bounces off me and falls over (which is great fun).

7. Toss into the Air

While kneeling or standing I throw him up and catch him.

8. Hide Under Daddy

The first roughhousing game invented by both boys was when I kneel and they scoot underneath me.  Smiley does not play it any more.  Gallant sometimes still does.

(For most of Smiley's sixth through eighteenth months, this was a position he preferred even more than hugging for showing affection.  I'm not quite sure why being snuggled underneath was so comforting to him.  Gallant never had such extreme fondness for it.)

9. Strength Training Equipment

I use Gallant as a weight, or otherwise involve him in my strength training routine.

When I lie down on the floor on my back I can use him as the weight when I do a press, lifting him above my chest.  I can also hold the gymnastics bridge position while he crawls under me (which he loves to do, because he is currently enamored with tunnels).

I can also do planks or side planks while Gallant hides under me, or crawls under me.

When I sit on the floor I can do crunches or side crunches while he sits back against my legs.  I occasionally tickle him.

When I stand on the floor I can hold him while I do squats or calf raises.

When I sit on the weight bench I can use him as the weight when I do a front raise, lifting him in front of me.

When I lie on the weight bench I can use him as my weight for leg raises, holding his armpits with my ankles and lifting him as I put my knees to my stomach and then back down.  (Gallant knows to keep his legs loose and not try to kneel or stand on the weight bench as he approaches it.)

When I lie face-down on the weight bench with my ankles under a loop, I can do back extensions while he sits or lies down on the ground in front of me: I kiss his toes as I lower my torso, and he giggles and then hides his feet for a few reps.

Overall, not a bad set of exercises before I need to get the dumbbells.

10. That's Not a Pillow!

Smiley and Gallant play this game slightly differently.

When Smiley plays it, I pretend that I am nearly asleep and looking for my pillow.  We "set up" by having him lie down and be still, and I lie down with my head on him.  Then he wiggles and tries to crawl away as (with eyes closed) as I mutter complaints about "this pillow is not very soft" or "this pillow is too hard and poky" or "is something making noises while I try to sleep?", and pull him back into place or pretend to fluff or squish him like refreshing a pillow.  Eventually I open my eyes and act surprised that it is Smiley.  I say "that's not a pillow!" and ask him when he came to my bed and where he put my pillow.

When Gallant plays the game, he gives me a pillow and I pretend to sleep.  Then he approaches me and I pretend that while sleeping I mistake him for a blanket: I grab him, put him on top of me, and try to make him flat and still while he tries to escape.  As before, the game ends when I open my eyes and say "that's not a blanket!" and ask him how long he was there.

11. Foot Rides

We do two kinds of foot rides. Sometimes Gallant stands on both my feet and we hold hands. Other times he sits on one foot and wraps his legs and arms around that leg.

Usually we just walk. Sometimes I pretend I do not realize he is there, and moan and complain about how my shoe(s) feel heavy.

12. Chase

We chase each other around the back yard.  On days of bad weather we play chase crawling inside the house.  (Both boys run too fast for running inside to be safe.)

Is chase really a kind of roughhousing?  At least it often leads to roughhousing.

13. Hitting and Kicking

Like all toddlers, Gallant likes to hit and kick but is normally prohibited from doing so.

But if he asks me while we roughhouse then he is allowed to hit my arms or kick my legs. Of course, then I get to hit his arms or kick his legs.

I do so with moderate intensity: not hard enough to cause any pain or hurt but forceful enough that he gains some idea why hitting and kicking is considered "not nice" in most circumstances.

Learn How to Roughhouse

I often meet moms at a park or library who watch me play with my boys and say, "I wish I knew how to roughhouse like that, but as a girl my father never did that with me."

I recently wrote about our family's many types of roughhousing.

As another resource, the family who designed the curriculum used by the dojo at which Smiley takes classes has created a set of excellent videos about the foundations of their kids' curriculum.  The set of Gracie Games videos only costs $30 and could teach any parent to be among the best roughhouse-ers!  That would be a much more fun holiday present than a toy for a kid who yearns to wrestle with a parent.

Smiley's Five-Year Checkup

I am not sure when I last mentioned Smiley's size.  Perhaps it was way back at his two-year checkup?

We waited until August for his five-year checkup, to make it part of getting ready for Kindergarten.

Smiley was 42.5 inches tall (28th percentile) and he weighed 35.5 pounds (16th percentile).  Apparently five-year-olds do not get their heads measured.