Little Hands, Little People

Watching my 20 month old daughter play with toys that I, myself, used to play with as a child and absolutely loved playing with, makes me feel completely warm and fuzzy.

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Outdoor Playtime

Being the youngest in a family where even your siblings are 10 years your senior, you almost live as an only child. Rudy Mae’s brothers are extremely involved with her, but they are almost more like a second set of mini-parents than siblings. When it comes to peer-interaction, Rudy is lacking, and sometimes that worries me as far as learning important life skills like sharing, playing nice, etc. Luckily, I have a friend in town in a very similar situation whose baby daughter is 3 months Rudy’s junior. Therefore, we try to get the girls together often so they can play and learn. Mostly this was being done at a house, or even a local coffee shop, but a couple Wednesdays ago, Victoria asked me to join her instead at a local playgroup that meets at a playground for approximately 2 hours in the morning. It is attended by kids from about 11 months up to almost 3 years old. It was a lovely time and Rudy Mae and Ainslee Mae continued to solidify their friendship and thoroughly enjoy each others company.

Ainslee Mae and Rudy Mae share a slide at the park.

Rudy is still a little more hesitant than Ainslee.

She’s saying “bebe” in a terribly goofy voice.

Shhh…don’t tell: we got this toy for Rudy Mae for Christmas because she loved playing with it with Ainslee so much!

Libraries, Learning, Love

We love our local library.

Rudy does a bit more banging than puzzle-doing with the pieces, but she enjoys it. Not sure how the other library patrons feel about it, though.

Sometimes she just doesn’t know what to play with, opting for intermingling puzzles and toys and books.

Oh, I’m just sitting at a table with a polar bear doing puzzles, that’s all.

Playing with an eagle puppet.

Caleab and a bear.

Flipping through a magazine whilst a bear gives him a stare-down.

Rudy was saying “Eye…” so long and drawn out, as she pointed near the cat’s eyes.

Still flipping…

Putting one away to pull out another.

Rudy pulled some books off the shelf and made herself cozy on the ground.

Done with the reading, Rudy Mae decided to go back to the puzzle corner.

Still flipping??

Yours truly.

As I was taking some photographs of Caleab and my legs, Rudy got bored and mischievous and decided to start going through my purse. She was so into her task, she didn’t even notice I was above her taking her photograph.

When I was showing Rudy Mae this stuffed animal character from “Where the Wild Things Are”, she reached over and gave her nose a good honk.

You guessed it- he’s still flipping.

Caleab was controlling this large rabbit puppet and asked Rudy for a kiss.

Caleab and Rudelle Mae sat together and drew a picture for quite some time.

Some great artistry going on here.

An owl coming to life.

Rudy watches how Daddy does it as she prepares to have a go at it herself.

The concentration going on is intense.

These are the moments that I cherish and will hold onto forever.

Caleab holds the artwork steady as Rudy adds a few final touches.

The tools to complete the masterpiece.

Love.

Play Group: Not As Fun When You Are Cranky.

Living away from family and not knowing too many people where we moved to, pretty much all Rudy Mae has socially is her big brothers and her parents. We have a few friends, and one little friend in particular that Rudy Mae has play dates with now and then, but I started to feel really bad for her not having much around-her-age-interaction. I looked into our local library’s programs and they hold a baby and toddler play group on Thursday afternoons. Around Rudy’s first birthday, we started attending said play group. It took quite a few attendances for Rudy Mae to finally warm up and leave my lap, but once she ventured out, she really enjoyed herself. I am always so happy to go the Play Group because I know it is good for her and that she has more fun than when we’re just sitting at home.

The only thing that I am not particularly fond of is the timing of it. Play Group starts at 2pm and that almost always falls right when Rudy Mae is napping. It is usually around the end of the nap, at least, so in the case of last week, I woke her up from her nap a tad early so we could make Play Group.

This was a mistake.

Rudy Mae was playing with the little planes, trains, and automobiles that connect together for most of the hour. She usually plays around the entire room so I could tell that she was in a mood when she barely left that spot the whole time.

Every single piece she pulled out of this box, she had to smell before she played with it. Oddball!

Rudy is really big on putting smaller objects inside bigger ones.

Toys everywhere.

Not that I think my child is a genius or anything, but she is surprisingly good at these kinds of toys.

Although it’s out of focus, this is the face Rudy had on for 70% of the Play Group because someone was playing with something she wanted or some other calamity.

On the walls of the Play Group room hang some of the art that you can check out from the library.

Framed art.

After Play Group is over, everyone takes part in helping clean up, or at least that is the goal.

Earlier the week before, Rudy and I spent a little time at the library just for fun, no Play Group or anything. She loves the children’s section and all of its over-sized stuffed animals.

She was apparently very excited to be sitting on a bear’s lap.

Dream Big: READ.

Free as a Bird

On Sunday morning, Rudy Mae and I woke up before everyone. We ate a delicious breakfast and as soon as we were done, I could tell she was ready and rarin’ to go. We got dressed, brushed our teeth (a current obsession of hers), grabbed jackets and a camera, and went outside for a walk. Outside walks are a new thing to Rudy Mae. She has been walking for about two months now, but had a vendetta with shoes for the longest time (which I am just fine with- I have never had any of my children in shoes until they were steady walkers and we needed to walk in a public place or the likes. I feel like bare feet is the best way for them to learn). And if you know our outdoors area here, it is riddled with pine needles, twigs, soggy grass and an entire assortment of other maladies that she did not enjoy walking on with bare feet. Then one day, out of the blue, she picked up a shoe and demanded it be put on. Now she does not ever want to come back indoors.

Rudy Mae looking at the birds.

Time to get going.

So very happy to be out on a walk!

Sharing the pinecone with her mama.

Sharing the pine cone with her mama.

It was such a beautiful morning.

As we went around the block, Rudy Mae was intrigued by what seemed to be a garage sale and helped herself up into the driveway. As I went to retrieve her, I saw a family that we know from our local library’s play group that Rudy Mae goes to on Thursday afternoons. We said our hellos and when I joked about Rudy just walking into people’s yards, they laughed, “Well this is the one she should go to! This lady is giving tons of stuff away for free!” I immediately began to have an internal struggle! “Free?! Go look, Erica!” “You are constantly trying to reduce at home and get down to bare essentials- GO HOME!” “But maybe Rudy Mae might find a little book or something…” In the end, Free won, and we walking into the garage. We found some pretty awesome treasures.

It was hard not to go nuts and take all the books!

This sealed the deal to go look inside: the first thing I came across was a box set of the small, hardcover Beatrix Potter books. I grew up on those and although we have a complete treasury in one big book for Roo, it is just not the same as having the little individuals.

There was tons of these old puzzles, but we only grabbed two.

An old Fisher Price “Western World’, basking in the sun.

Wooden toys.

A little wood crate filled with wood planes, trucks, cars, etc. Trees, stop lights and road signs completed the set.

These little people did not necessarily go with Western World, but the lady just hand-picked a few out of a box filled with them.

Rudy Mae helped me wash her new little dishes. It’s a shame I did not get a close up of them. I’ll have to do that some time. In any case, they were those little Tupperwear play dishes from my childhood.

Cup cleaned? I think I’ll drink, then!

Beautiful, thick fabric I am contemplating using as a table cloth.

Caleab and Rudy Mae on our back porch cleaning up Western World.

Now that Western World is all clean, it’s time to play!

“Howdy Partner!”