Every year my husband chalks a special birthday sign for the boys. It has become a fun tradition in our home and the boys look forward to it. Below are pictures of Abishai's birthday signs. Happy 3rd Birthday big guy!
We went to the Zoo one rainy day and witnessed mating season up close and personal.
We watched a peacock unfurl his feathers for his desired companion, but in the middle of his display he had to chase away another gentleman caller. In the end she was adequately impressed and granted his advances. It was over in seconds.
We also saw two Ibexes fighting for mating rights with the females.
We've been out on our front porch a lot in the last few days: coloring, having lunch, eating supper and socializing with our neighbors. Abishai calls this area "The Garden". I don't know why he calls it that, but it sounds nice.
I've been waiting for the day when Abishai would be old enough to help me with the laundry. The day has finally arrived! For this activity I lay out all the clean socks on the floor and then hand him a sock and ask him if he can find the matching pair. Once he finds the matching sock, he hands it to me and I fold them together. He's a big help and it's a new added responsibility that he can be proud of.
Micaiah, 15.5 months, in a moment of nonchalant confidence.
After 15 months of reading about extended nursing from a variety of sources, I came across an article in Mothering Magazine (Sept/Oct. 2007) that beautifully summarized the current state of knowledge on this. Since I can't say it better myself, I'll just give you some word-for-word quotes from the article. My own thoughts are placed in brackets. I plan to let my youngest wean himself and have already kicked myself around the block for force-weaning my oldest at 12 months. Anyways, here are the quotes:
1. "The World Health Organization recommends that children be breastfed for up to two years and beyond, as do UNICEF and the Canadian Pediatric Society."
2. "In many parts of the world, it is normal to breastfeed for two or three years or even longer."
3. "Research shows that the fat and energy content of breastmilk actually increases after the first year. Breastmilk adapts to a toddler's developing system, providing exactly the right amount of nutrition at exactly the right time". (Ever wonder if your toddler is not getting enough nutrients at meal times? You don't have to if you're breastfeeding.)
4. "According to research, the immunological benefits of breastfeeding actually increases during the second and third years of nursing. The antibodies in breastmilk that protect a newborn against pathogens, viruses, and bacteria are still present in the milk of mothers nursing their toddlers. Literally thousands of antiviral, antibacterial, and antiparasitic factors are found in human milk, protecting against hundreds of infections and diseases, including E. coli, pneumonia, strep throat, Salmonella, influenza, rotavirus, rubella, West Nile virus, mumps, measles, diabetes, meningitis, and many childhood cancers such as leukemia. These immunological factors remain present whether the nursing child is three months or three years old. This doesn't mean that your child will never become ill, but nursed toddlers contract fewer diseases, and when they do get sick, they heal more quickly... In addition, breastfed toddlers are much less likely to suffer from asthma and allergies." (Makes it sound like breastfeeding is something like a natural vaccination.)
5. "Dr. Jack Newman, founder of the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic in Toronto, Canada, and author of The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, believes that extended breastfeeding actually promotes a child's independence and emotional development. He says, "The breastfed toddler is more independent in the long run because his independence comes from a deep-seated security that comes from breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a source not only of nutrition, but also of comfort, support, and security."
6. "Numerous studies show that breastfeeding promotes a higher IQ, including increased reading comprehension, math skills, and scholastic ability, even into adolescence. In one study, breastfeeding was associated with a 4.6 higher mean in three-year-old intelligence. The fine motor and language skills of breastfed toddlers also develop more quickly. According to Ginger Carney, a clinical nutrition manager and lactation consultant at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee, "The unique coordination of the tongue, lips, and jaw during breastfeeding exercises the muscles used for speech." In other words, the act of sucking promotes oral development, which enhances language skills."
7. Nursing soothes the aching of gums, skinned knees, bumped heads, and tantrums that come with toddlerhood. Toddlers experience a roller-coaster of big, messy emotions from moment to moment, and reconnecting with the close, physical touch of nursing reminds them of your love and support during those difficult times. While mothering a toddler is an amazing journey, it can also be intense and demanding. A few moments of calm, quiet nursing throughout the day can reenergize both of you."
We went to the duck pond for our nature study the other day. The boys joyfully welcomed the Canadian Geese back to town. They really enjoyed watching the show the male ducks put on in their quest to attract the females, but the best part was feeding them our homemade bread.
We had a lot of fun playing musical shapes the other day. We danced around to the song "The Never Ending Story" and when the music stopped, I called out a shape and Abishai ran to stand or sit in the shape. Abishai especially enjoyed playing this game while dressed as a bear. Micaiah likes being held when we dance, so he was in my arms while I was taking the pictures.
My son loves Winnie the Poo. So in order to encourage him in potty training, I made him this game. It's called, "Help Poo Get To The Honey Pot In The Tree". Every time Abishai tells me that he has to go to the potty, Poo gets to move another stone closer to the tree. After four times, Abishai gets a chocolatey treat. But he has to tell me; It can't be me reminding him or taking him there myself. I think Abishai likes the challenge of getting Poo to the honey pot, because now Abishai can pull down his pants, get on the potty and (attempt to) wipe all by himself. Sometimes, he says "No thank you mommy" when I offer him his treat. Congratulations, Abishai, on successfully completing potty training!
I picked these magnetic rocks up at Scholar's Choice the other day. They've been a fun way for the boys to experience magnetism. They are really strong and take some force to pull apart. Here are a few pictures of the boys playing with them. Note to self: do not place near the computer.