Archive for January, 2015

January 28, 2015.

Age: 20 months, 1 week.

– All stuffed animals are “Ah-boo” (which is Elmo).

– Most foods are “Ah-poo” (which is apple, and also indistinguishable from “Ah-boo”)

– Sometimes it’s pretty frustrating to figure out what she wants. Frustrating for her, too!

– Doing things herself. I tried to buckle her into her carseat this morning and she wanted to do it soooo badly! “Mine! No mama! No! Miiiiiiine!” I gave her a couple minutes with it, then offered to help. She said, “Hap!” and then when I reached for it, realized that helping meant touching the buckle, and insisted it was hers some more. I had some extra time before we had to leave, so I decided to give her 5 more minutes with it before I did it for her. I figured she’d get bored or ask me for help before the 5 minutes was up. But another couple minutes, and she got it all by herself! Of course, she then immediately wanted me to unbuckle it so she could do it again.

If I don’t post this now, I won’t get it posted this week.

Running through my head

What was that?
What’s Elmo done?
Where is that music coming from?
Elmo’s singing!
Why is Elmo singing?
Elmo doesn’t mean to sing!
Whenever Elmo tries to talk
a song comes
a song comes singing out!

So Much Internet

I read a lot about parenting. I like to think about parenting and I like to be prepared for the things my child(ren?) will go through before they happen, as much as possible. So, like my family does, I read up. Books, internet, blogs. I talk to my parents, my husband, my friends, my siblings. But mostly, I read stuff on the internet. Today, I was reading a blog entry about how to discuss death with children. And suddenly, it clicked.

So many of these things I read cover one small aspect of parenting. How to potty train. How to create “natural consequences.” How to deal with death and tantrums and picky eaters and the struggle for independence vs. protection. How to do this or that and there are a million hints and tips and tricks to each one. It sometimes feels like I’ll never be a good enough parent because I won’t ever be able to memorize the thousand best things to say to my child when she is teased. So I was sitting there trying to grind into my head all the suggested phrasings explaining death, and going crazy because they all amounted to the same thing.

All of these articles are just saying the same things, over and over, about different situations.

  1. Kids are, first and foremost, people too. Listen to what they say they need, and ask if they’re not saying.
  2.  Be honest in an age-appropriate way.
  3.  Be consistent.
  4.  Chill out and save getting concerned for the things that are truly concerning, like medical emergencies.
  5.  Have fun, because holy shit being a parent is awesome.

What do you know, almost exactly what the book my parents got me has to say about the whole affair. And pretty much what my mom has to say every time I talk to her about a specific thing.

Will this stop me from attempting to absorb the whole internet about parenting? Of course not. But being able to take some of my gut feelings and turn them into a set of simple rules that make sense, are flexible, and don’t treat children like a math problem with one right answer is going to help a lot. I don’t need to read an article about how to deal with death, because I already knew. Be honest, be consistent, be calm, be kind, and always listen. Those are things I can do and believe in with my whole heart.

So there’s today’s revelation.

Not So Weekly Update: January 5, 2015

Age: 19 months, 2 weeks

Okay, so apparently it’s been a month since I updated. Not entirely sure how I skipped a whole month, but in my defense it was one of the two craziest months of my year (November and December).

So, we decided not to go anywhere for Christmas this year. It’s our year to go to Iowa, but F didn’t get any time off (well, he got Xmas day but ended up needing to work some anyway). So it would have been a whirlwind trip, complicated, and awkward because J is still nursing and there isn’t a good place for me to nurse her there. It was a hard decision but it was definitely the right one.

Instead, I planned a bunch of activities so that we were doing something active every day, and mostly getting out twice a day. I took J to the park a whole lot. I also took her to the Thinkery (twice), the Austin Science and Nature Center, to a friend’s house, the Austin Trail of Lights, a city hosted gingerbread man and ornament making activity, swimming, an indoor bouncy castle place, and to see Bouncemas at work. We made cookies together and played together and watched some Sesame Street together. We took a lot of walks around the neighborhood. The only thing on my list that we didn’t get a chance to do was go to the zoo, and I’m okay with that.

I was so scared that this break would be exhausting and miserable and I’d want to unload J to someone else at every opportunity. I even set up two full days where we had a babysitter. One so F and I could spend the day together, and one so I could have a day all to myself. Sadly, I was sick with a stomach bug both those days and spent most of them in bed, but it worked out to have a sitter. And I had the most amazing two weeks bonding with my sweet little girl. We didn’t get sick of each other, although there were definitely a few times where we’d had enough of each other for a bit. Fortunately, Dad was there to step in and give us some space apart. I think having a list of things to do kept us from spending too much time cooped up, and made it a lot easier to enjoy each other’s company. I’d also put together a list of foods for her to eat and made sure we had them all, so I could give her a nutritious and varied diet while we were off. It worked! I was never in a panic about what to feed her, or what to do with her. What an awesome two weeks we had :).

During that two weeks she seems to have grown a bunch, too. A few new words, but mostly she’s exploring new consonants. She figured out how to say “p” so “up” and “help” are clearer. She sometimes put’s the “dd” in “daddy” now (as opposed to saying, “Da-ee”). She’s taller and I think the days of her chubby little baby legs are gone. She’s really beginning to look like the toddler she is. We can put all her hair up in one ponytail (sorta). She also has the cadence of counting down. She’ll line up all her rubber duckies (of which she got a bunch for xmas) and then point to them one by one, saying “duu duu duu duu” in the cadence of someone counting slowly.

Let’s see, what else? She can walk on her tippy toes now! And does so quite often. She seems to enjoy it. It’s pretty cute. Her balance has improved a lot. The two are probably related somehow. Her canines poked through, too, which is a huge relief and makes toothbrushing much less awful. She figured out how to open presents pretty much immediately on Christmas day, and enjoyed it very much!

The break is over now, and we are back to our regular schedule (mostly). I managed to keep meals and sleeps pretty much on track the whole two weeks, but now she’s back at daycare and I’m back at work, and I think we’re both struggling with separation anxiety, while at the same time excited to be back into our regular environments. And very excited to get back to swimming lessons this weekend!

There’s more, but I can’t think of it. And I’d better post this before it waits any longer!

Oh, I remembered another big thing! Monday afternoon, I picked her up with some apple for a snack. Her friend Margaret was also being picked up at the same time and started crying to her mom, “Apple, apple, apple!” So I offered her a slice of J’s apple. J got really mad about this! “Mine apple mine! Apple!” I realized I should have let J give Margaret a piece of her apple, which would probably have avoided some hysteria. Eventually she calmed down about though. Maybe she realized that she had more apple? I dunno. Anyway, as Margaret was about to leave, J wanted to give her a hug: “how! how! how!” and pointing at Margaret. So they hugged, and it was adorable, because 1 year olds doing just about anything is adorable.

The next morning, we were getting J ready for the day and as I often do I started listing all the friends she would be seeing at school that day. It helps with the transition to talk about how we’re taking her to school and what she will do there and who she will see. When I mentioned Margaret she said, “Apple. How.” So I said, “Did I give Margaret some of your apple yesterday?” and she nodded, then said, “how!” So I think it’s pretty clear that she was able to remember something and tell a (very short) story about something that had happened to her! It was very exciting! Writing it down makes it seem totally silly, but this is the first time that I’ve seen her tell us about something she did or remembers!