Friday, April 25, 2008

Israel is...still growing! For some unknown reason, I am unable to post videos of his progress, but I thought I'd post a picture to tide the grandparents over. I type this...the video FINALLY worked! Here you go!

Israel now babbles nearly constantly while awake. He likes the explosive consonants: Da, da! and Ba, ba! He also makes a long, gurggling, Aaaaaaa... sound. We have no idea what that means.

He can sit up on his own quite well now. (He sits in a shopping cart like a big boy.) He can stand up and hold onto furniture and is starting to shimmy from side to side and move around while standing. He is quite mobile on his belly and can pivot around and scoot through the house backwards wherever he wants (or doesn't want) to go.

He has added avocado and green beans and yogurt and tofu to his diet. He can chew up pieces of squishy food and just last night, he ate a whole banana with Pat just holding it up to his mouth and him nibbling on it!

With each little advancement like this, he is becoming less an infant and more a toddler before our eyes! His personality is developing, too. He never leaves any doubt how he feels about anything. He loves to be around people and loves the outdoors. He laughs hard, cries hard, thinks hard (you can see it on his face), is fully awake when he's awake and fully over-it when he's tired. He has softened a bit recently, though, in that he now wants snuggle time now and then, which is new and wonderful. These days, he comes inside in the evenings (after watching his dad play basketball with whoever happens to be out) covered in dirt with sticky hair and stinky (McCrory) feet. He lives fully, our little one.
This is how we know it is spring:

On Friday, a 3rd grader we have known for years came over to see if our nephews (who stayed the weekend with us) could come out to play basketball. We were given the goal and had just placed it outside our house.

On Saturday, our nephews would rather stay at our house than go to the Indianapolis zoo. I played basketball referee through the open kitchen window while washing dishes.

On Sunday, our backyard neighbor (whom, until very recently, I viewed with suspicion, to say the least) went to church with us and played basketball with the gang of kids that is now perpetually at our house. He was great with the kids.

On Monday, I returned the 3rd grader's shirt to him and picked up the basketballs from the backyard.

On Tuesday, the two year old across the street yelled something unintelligible as I took Israel outside to water the flowers. Her mom came out and asked if the girl could sit on our porch swing. We sat and talked about how to change babies' diapers (like this: "Swish!" and swoop your hands up...) and how to go down a slide (sitting on a swing, putting your feet out...) and how to look both ways and hold hands when I walk her back to her house.

On Wednesday, a little neighbor boy came over and knocked on my door as one of my piano students was arriving. "Somebody's here," he said. "I know." I had seen them out the window. The last student left and he met her and her mom at the door. "That sounded real good! I thought it was the ice cream truck!"

On Thursday, the girl who lives caddy corner from us came over and knocked on my door. "This was in your mailbox," she said, and handed me my out-going mail. Another girl came to borrow sugar for her mom.

Last night, our backyard neighbor knocked on our door after 11:00 pm. We joined everyone on their front porches to watch the fire trucks put out the fire that was blazing from the business three doors down. My neighbor from two doors down brought her boys and we sat wearing blankets on our porch until midnight to make sure the fire was more than extinguished.

This morning, my dog ran to my gardening neighbor out of preference over me while I was weeding our front yard. He loved her and sent her back.

We are a motley crew, our block. There's the widow whose boyfriend and his friend help care for her four kids -- the little girl who I think is the nicest and her sister, who is the loudest. And the blended family with three elementary-aged boys, one with quintessential red hair and stick-out ears, one I can barely understand, and they all smile every time they knock on our door and even disobey politely. And the drug dealer's boyfriend, who turns out seems to be a great guy. And the great, friendly guy with braids who has promised us the aid of his gun if we ever need it and, I am surprised to find out, is into the political race and a staunch Obama supporter. The older gardener who comes over sometimes merely to walk our dog and who blew out his birthday candles in our dining room. And then there are the kids who you would think live on our block, who come from all around just to see what we're doing and ask where Pat is and whether they can play with our dog and get a drink out of our water hose. Sometimes, it seems to me that I surprisingly live in a strange version of the 1950's when everyone congregates on their front porches and carries on conversations across yards and fences and streets. Even the neighbors I don't really know comment on Israel's disposition while I'm outside weeding my yard.

This is how we know it is spring: Our neighborhood is blooming. New relationships are sprouting and there is new growth on the old ones.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The fastest-growing McCrory

Israel is growing SO QUICKLY! He has had another spurt of "firsts", the saddest of which was his first trip to the ER on Easter Sunday (thus no Easter pictures) due to a high fever and no doctor's offices being open. It was one of the more frustrating firsts for him, I'm sure. The days that have followed since then (including today) have been his first time of being sick. He's in good spirits about what is now only congestion, but it's been a rough ten days for us all. But neither fever nor body rash nor coughing spells nor cutting his two top teeth can keep our busy little guy down!

He eats three meals of real food a day (loves avacados, oatmeal, and peas...) and uses the potty for real messes almost every time! He can now sit up and is learning to stand by holding onto chairs. He can even waddle around if you hold his hands! He loves to look at books, listen to music, (many thanks to Josh and Ange for singing songs that soothe him to sleep at night...) play peek-a-boo, take showers and wave his hand in the water, catch the cat's tail, laugh at the dog, and "wrestle" with his dad. (It's really just Pat laying Israel on top of his stomach and pretending Israel has him pinned down -- Israel thinks he is so tough!) Here are some pictures of what the fastest-growing McCrory is doing these days.

eating cereal...

playing after a morning shower...

getting rid of the cereal...

generally being cute...

clowning around...

...and crashing out after a bedtime snack. Goodnight!