Toys For Boys

We are home now from a lovely week spent in VT with my family. Two “Christmas”es, two feasts, lots of wonderful time spent with my parents, siblings, etc.

Lewis is getting really comfortable with all his aunts and uncles and Grandma and Grandpa now. He is especially attached to Auntie Anna, possibly partly because hers is the only name he can say. I have been hearing all about “NaNa, NaNa!” ever since we saw her at Thanksgiving, so spending another week with her has further cemented his love. We got back Sunday afternoon, and Monday morning he was repeatedly pointing to the door saying “vrrrm, vrrrm.” (Asking to go in the car.) When we started getting ready to head to the store for groceries he then began asking for NaNa.

Besides the great family time, we also of course had Christmas presents to enjoy. For Lewis this meant getting way too many presents, although they were all wonderful things that he will enjoy. Most of them came from Chris and myself, but he also got more than I expected from everyone else. (Although as one of my sisters pointed out, I should have expected this since he is the only baby in the family. Of course he is going to get spoiled by everyone!) On top of the gifts received, Lewis also had access to some of our childhood toys and things that are still in my parents house.

With all this toy shopping, gift receiving, etc. it is interesting to see which toys he favors and how these choices relate to “girl toys” vs. “boy toys” and such. (I also got “Pink Brain, Blue Brain” by Lise Eliot, Ph.D. as one of my gifts, so this probably contributes to the fact that this topic is on my mind.) So far Lewis’ toys have pretty much all fallen into the “gender neutral” category.  He had a few small cars and some balls (which apparently are categorized as “boy toys”?), and loves coloring which is considered a “girl” activity, but besides that it is all animals, puzzles, blocks, music toys, books, etc. It seems that toys for younger babies and toddlers are thankfully often closer to being “gender neutral” and as children grow older there is more and more of a divide. This divide partially reflects the natural differences in the preferences and play styles of the different sexes, but also plays into it and creates even more of a divide.

So how do Lewis’ new Christmas toys fit into these categories of girl/boy/etc.? It seems we have managed to keep a pretty close balance, sticking close to “neutral” territory.

He got a three new trucks, which fall firmly in the “boy toy” category and are definitely his biggest stereotypical boy interest. He started getting interested in construction vehicles a few months ago after seeing some trucks at work every time we walk to Starbucks or the grocery store. He’s been making car/truck sounds for a while now, and often random items become “cars” to drive around, including pieces of food, a coat hanger, a block, etc.

In the “girl toy” category is his new toy vacuum. Generally housekeeping items are favored by girls, as well as play food/kitchens/etc. (He does enjoy playing with my kitchen things as well as pretending to feed his stuffed animals, but we chose not to get a play kitchen yet due to limited space.) But he loves helping me when I vacuum so we new a vacuum of his own would be a hit!

Comparing his own vacuum with the extension from Grandma & Grandpa's.

Comparing his own vacuum with the extension from Grandma & Grandpa’s.

The rest of his toys, I think, fall into the neutral category. Wooden blocks, a few more books, small animal figures, a T-Rex puppet, animal fridge magnets, and a crawling tunnel.

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I’m pretty happy that his interests are still so diverse and he hasn’t yet been effected by societies expectations of what a boy should like and do. In some ways he does already fulfill stereotypical ideas of what a boy will be like: active, noisy, likes trucks and dinosaurs and monsters. But really, he is just his own person and that is what I love. I look forward to seeing him grow up, and hope I can help him keep a balanced personality and enjoyment in all types of activities and interests.

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Early Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve! We are in Vermont enjoying a week at my parents’ house. We had our main Christmas celebration on Sunday since that is when most of my family was able to be here.

Lewis’ favorite item in his stocking was a whisk with a giraffe shaped handle, which he will have fun using while “helping” me cook.

At first he wasn’t very interested in participating in the present opening, but after a little while he realized that those packages had good things inside. As the only baby in the family he has been spoiled with too many presents and we saved a few more to be opened on the actual Christmas day, when my brother will be here too. So far the biggest hits have been a realistic toy vacuum and a DIY Truck from one of his aunties which has wooden tools, nails and screws, etc to take apart and put together.

Lewis has been the center of everyone’s attention (as usual.) He was a bit overwhelmed when everyone was here, especially my sisters with their two dogs, but he has stayed happy and excited to explore the house and spend time with family. Today we are recovering with a more relaxed day, play time outside, and an extra long nap.

We have also all been enjoying lots of food and holiday treats. We had a big turkey dinner Sunday, and tomorrow will be feast number two with ham! Lewis gets to eat all his food while sitting in the old wooden highchair that my siblings and I all used as babies.

Photo Friday

[We’ve been quite busy getting ready for Christmas around here, so sorry I’ve been slacking on getting posts up! We head out to Vermont tomorrow for a week-ish with my family, I will hopefully try to update from my phone at least once while there. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season this year!]

I bought Lewis a Santa hat and he is adorable in it but he would rather see Mommy and Daddy try to wear it.

I bought Lewis a Santa hat and he is adorable in it but he would rather see Mommy and Daddy try to wear it.

Sensory bin full of cotton balls. He was quite entertained with this for a week or so, but has now taken to just throwing them all over the floor and/or dumping all kinds of other toys into the bin and then abandoning it.

Sensory bin full of cotton balls. He was quite entertained with this for a week or so, but has now taken to just throwing them all over the floor and/or dumping all kinds of other toys into the bin and then abandoning it.

I brought some toys out when we had a bit of snow last week. Tried to show him how the truck made tracks, but he was much more interested in just eating the snow.

I brought some toys out when we had a bit of snow last week. Tried to show him how the truck made tracks, but he was much more interested in just eating the snow.

Got a lot more snow over last weekend, so the three of us all went out together.

Got a lot more snow over last weekend, so the three of us all went out together.

Me and Lewis making handprints on the snow.

Me and Lewis making handprints on the snow.

He loves the ornaments we hung, but since I don't want to have to hold him up in the air all day long to see them I hung some "ornaments" just for him down lower. :)

He loves the ornaments we hung, but since I don’t want to have to hold him up in the air all day long to see them I hung some “ornaments” just for him down lower. 🙂

Water painting again, this time just on construction paper.

Water painting again, this time just on construction paper.

The label from the cookie cutters makes a nice crown!

The label from the cookie cutters makes a nice crown!

Test #2

Ok, I apologize for the fact that I am clearly a bit technologically challenged. My first attempt I deleted on accident and the last one I posted before I meant to. My goal is to add a photo to this before posting.

The camera on this isn’t as good as my usual camera, but it’s better than my old phone and should be sufficient for quick updates.

Lewis has been loving all the snow we are getting this week. There is more coming today but it is supposed to be quite cold so I’m not sure if we will go out.

Time to post this and see how I did this time.

Stained Glass Window Decorations

Like plenty of other Mamas I know, I enjoy spending time on Pinterest looking for ideas of crafts and activities to try with Lewis. A few weeks ago when I came across this post for Heart Suncatchers I immediately thought of how well this would work to make Christmas decorations.

This is such a simple project, and easy to do with any age of child. I wasn’t sure how Lewis would do with it. Either he would enjoy and make some beautiful decorations, or he would stick one or two pieces of paper on and be done. We’ve made glue collages before and he never really got into it, but he also has been super excited about Christmas decorations, so I thought maybe this would be a bit more interesting than a plain piece of paper.

I cut out a Christmas tree shape and an ornament shape, and he chose the ornament to start with.

Starting out, carefully placing the tissue paper onto the ornament.

Starting out, carefully placing the tissue paper onto the ornament.

I cut out a piece of clear contact paper and taped it sticky-side up onto the table, then stuck the paper outline on this and let him get to work. I gave him a small pile of tissue paper pieces to choose from and he carefully stuck some on one-by-one. Then he realized that I was holding out on him with the tin full of extra paper pieces, and insisted that he needed the whole thing.

Trying to pile all of the paper pieces on top of the ornament.

Trying to pile all of the paper pieces on top of the ornament.

It was interesting to see his understanding of the sticky paper, and watch him pressing the tissue paper down to help it stick.

Once he seemed “done” with the ornament I asked if he would like to do the tree picture. He was a bit impatient while I got it taped down onto the table, but then got to work on decorating it.

Piling paper onto the tree.

Piling paper onto the tree.

Once he felt done with his tree he started peeling some of the pieces back off and also tossing the loose pieces onto the floor.

Throwing paper is fun!

Throwing paper is fun!

I helped him down from his highchair and together we gathered up the paper into the tin, and then he got to take the tin and throw the paper around on the floor and eventually dump it into his sensory bin full of cotton balls.

Later I cut roughly around each shape, stuck them onto a second sheet of contact paper, and then cut around the edge of each outline. Lewis then helped me pick which window to hang our new decorations in.

Chris came home that night and noticed our decorations but didn’t seem too impressed. The next morning the sun was shining through them and he said “Oh! Your decorations are fancier than I realized!”

A bit of a cloudy day, but the light still looks pretty shining through the tissue paper.

A bit of a cloudy day, but the light still looks pretty shining through the tissue paper.

Lewis had a lot of fun with this, and has also been excited to see them in the window and sometimes asks to be picked up so he can look at and touch them. I think this is definitely a project worth repeating, possibly with star and candy cane shapes next time. It can also be easily adapted to other holidays or made with non-holiday shapes.

When he’s a little older Lewis will also be able to help rip or cut the tissue paper to get ready. He “helped” this time by ripping a piece of tissue paper in half, but then he was done with that.

We’ve been hanging other decorations too! I showed Lewis how I make paper snowflakes, and some of those are hanging in another window. We also have our big archway decorated with all our “tree” decorations since we don’t have a tree.

IMG_2239We’ve had the lights hanging there for about a week already and just added the ornaments and garland after Lewis went to bed tonight. He is going to be so excited in the morning when he spots this!

I hope everyone else is getting into the spirit of the holidays too!

 

 

 

(un)Wrapping Presents

Lewis and I got to work on wrapping most of our presents today! I would say “all” of our presents, but there are a couple of handmade things I’ve been slacking on finishing up, as well as one thing for Chris that hasn’t even shipped yet. And of course I can’t wrap Lewis’ presents in front of him, so those will be done at some point when he is sleeping. Unfortunately, he seems to be boycotting sleep this week.

We started out by wrapping as many as we could with our beautiful homemade paper. I love it!

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Lewis was quite happy for a while playing with some Christmas decorations, watching me, playing with the tape dispenser and holding my scissors. Yes Daddy, I let him hold the scissors. No, he didn’t cut any fingers off or poke out an eye. They are children’s scissors after all and he was very good about just holding them gently and carefully inspecting them.

After many presents were wrapped, however, the novelty began to wear off for him and started to realize that some of the things that I was wrapping in all this paper were a bit interesting. A few things he tried to steal pre-wrapping, and he also attempted to unwrap one of the presents for Daddy.

So I gave him his own presents to unwrap!

IMG_2068I basically just started taking scraps of wrapping paper, grabbing nearby toys, and wrapping them quickly and messily, then giving them to him to pull the paper off of. He loved it! He didn’t really care what it was inside, it was just the fact that he got to unwrap something that he enjoyed. Bonus: he should be able to handle unwrapping his own presents on Christmas for the most part, with maybe just a little help getting the edge of the paper started.

We had fun with our festive present wrapping and unwrapping, but besides that today has been a bit of a flop. Lewis’ 15 month appointment was this morning and he was not at all happy with it. He was fine in the waiting room, and getting weighed (he got to stand on the big scale this time!) but once we went in the exam room it was all downhill. He tolerated having his chest listened to and his ears looked into, cried his way through having his tummy poked, height measured, etc. and continually tried to escape the room after that. We did manage to wander out of the room and find some toys to play with while the doctor prepped his immunization shots, but of course it was back to tears as soon as we had to go back in the room to get his shots.

Lunch and morning nap were fine, but then his afternoon nap didn’t happen and instead just consisted of him crying for several minutes, my going and getting him, comforting him, re-settling him, only to have him cry again for many more minutes. Eventually I went back to him when it is clear that he wasn’t going to relax, and he happily played (and unwrapped presents) for the rest of the afternoon/evening. Then bedtime rolled around and there was much more struggles and crying in the crib, eventually ending in this:

WP_20131209_003The poor thing wore himself out with his extra long afternoon and all his crying, and ended up falling asleep nursing which he has not done in several months. He is getting two molars in but we gave him some Tylenol, some I’m not really sure if the issue is to do with discomfort from that or just general overtiredness and too many fun and exciting things to do.

Thankfully he is peacefully asleep in his crib now, and hopefully we will have a normal night (which still involves one or two more wake-ups) and a better day tomorrow!