Sunday, October 28, 2007

Hands down, hardest day with Rebecca EVER

I suppose the poo-painting day was harder, but that day was only difficult because of that single incident. She was otherwise good on that day.
It's not even 3pm, but I know that this is still the hardest day I have ever had with Rebecca. She has pushed my patience to the absolute limit (although I am proud that I have not lost it at any point), and she has violated almost every rule we have.
She is wearing her fourth pair of pants for today, and I have had her in five diapers so far.
Let's start properly though - morning began at 3am. Rebecca was thirsty. I was on night duty. After providing Rebecca with an unseemly quantity of milk, I brought her to my bed because I was too damn tired and sore to contemplate "filly" in the toddler bed. This did not seem to calm her, and she placed herself diagonally, so she was kicking Greg in the back. I protected him with the body pillow, but I still had someone crawling over me at weird and random times talking about body parts "eyes", "nose", "ears". There was one moment where she suddenly started yelling about kitties - but I don't think she was actually conscious. Perhaps she has inherited my sleep talking. Ultimately, it was a rough night. When Greg was about to leave for work, he gave her a kiss and it woke her up. She immediately began talking about monkeys and went to the living room. Thus began my day.
Her overnight diaper had leaked (3am milk feeding is no doubt to blame), and I changed her on the floor while she watched the Hallowe'en Dora episode. This meant eating breakfast in pair of pants #1. Breakfast was oatmeal. At least half went on the pants, which became so dirty as to be unwearable. I had allowed her to eat breakfast in her pj top (which is our normal routine), for just this reason. When I tried to put a new shirt on her - she pitched a writhing, screaming fit. She would not bear to wear a shirt. Problematic. Then, when I took off her dirty pants, she would not bear to wear a different pair. Even worse. It's 5 degrees outside, and I wanted to go run errands. Then, she removes her diapers, and I can't get anything back on her. She is running naked through the house, and I am afraid she will pee on the living room carpet. I tried to subdue her with my superior strength, but the thing is - she is perfectly capable and willing to remove anything I put on her. This was the point when I first felt my patience fraying. I decided to try to see the silver lining. Maybe I will start potty training early. I hauled out the potty and cleaned it. I showed her how to sit on it, and I told her if she needed to pee, she had to do it in the potty. And oh my god, she actually listened to me and peed in it!!! Then we dumped the pee in the toilet and flushed it away. Unfortunately, her recent toilet obsession kicked in and she kept playing with the toilet until she managed to let the heavy wood seat fall on her thumb. I was very concerned, and she howled and howled. I gave her big hugs, and then began to try to persuade her to wear clothes. Even the sight of the diaper made her yell and run away. Lately she has been fighting the change table a lot, and there have been several diaper leaks. She can manage to remove the diaper without taking off her clothes. On night, the diaper ended up in the leg of her footed PJs. But I digress -in a moment of inspiration, I reasoned that she might be willing to wear her swim diaper with its lovely Nemo design. The bonus is - she can't take off the swim diaper herself. She was perfectly willing to step into the swim diaper. After that, came the second hand injury. She pinched her index finger in a cupboard of our entertainment centre while I was putting something in the dishwasher. There was blood under her nail, and I felt terrible. After consoling her, I was able to dress her (hooray!). I had high hopes for running at least one errand. I was able to return a DVD and search for a maternity back support belt at the big pharmacy. At the same time, I purchased a package of size 6 diapers to see if she might be protesting due to size 5 feeling too tight. Unfortunately, I was told that while they can order in the belt, they did not have any currently. I decided Rebecca and I would check out the nearest maternity store, and pick up some milk at the same time. When I tried to put Rebecca in the car seat, I discovered that the swim diaper had become dislodged, exposing one butt cheek, and therefore allowing a one-sided leak. Pants #2 were soaked. She also refused to be buckled into the car seat. It took me twenty frustrating minutes to get her into the car seat. When we got home, I discovered that she was quite willing to dawn the size 6 diaper. I also discovered that she had pooed in the leaky swim diaper on the way home. I dress her again. This was pair of pants #3. It was time to make lunch. During lunch, Rebecca noticed that I was drinking a glass of water. She asked for water. I brought her a water sippy with a straw. She put food in her glass and called it "fish" and then she drank it (without the straw). At the end of the meal, she dumped her entire sippy cup full of water onto herself and the floor. Then it was time for pants #4 and shirt #2. Also, she had made a massive poo of ultimate grossness. Rebecca seemed quite tired and cranky, and I tried to get her to sleep. After some time of horrible noises and banging, I decided to check on her. She asked for filly, so I gave in. I was tired too! The next hour involved no sleep, except on my part. For ten minutes, she played with her door. She would open it, then shut it, then open it, then shut it. Ultimately, I decided she wasn't going to sleep. She found a colouring book and asked to colour. I decided to let her. We sat in the sunshine colouring and I hoped that peace had been achieved. It was not to be - blatant wall colour, crayon confiscation and head banging quickly came to pass. At that point I decided she was well and truly going down for a nap - but she ran away from me when I tried to pick her up. When I cornered her, she did all manner of flopping and contorting. I brought her to her room where I had to change another poopy diaper. Then I abandoned her with Bala on her bed, installed the gate, and came downstairs to write my tale of woe.
Most of today - except when crying or yelling. She was smiling and happy. It makes it harder!
Also: She climbed on the coffee table repeatedly, she threw apple skin on me, she climbed on the dining room table, and she trashed her room.
I want Greg to come home!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Filly (continued)

Rebecca continues to wake up and want nothing more than a warm body beside her. She doesn't seem to need actual cuddles, but sitting on the bed is rarely enough to satisfy her.

Since she consistently opens her door now, we put a child gate across it at night so she can't escape. When she does wake up and opens her door, she gets pretty upset that there's a gate in the way. By that I mean you can hear a definite change in the nature of her crying, going from 'upset that she's alone at night' to 'furious and filled with rage' in a couple moments.

Generally if she's in that mood when you go to pick her up she uses the classic 'going limp' form of non-violent non-compliance. It's ok though, as at 30 pounds you can still hoist her up if necessary. At this point, she'll start the flounder flop, where she wails and tosses her body side to side, trying to get you to drop her. Sometimes she throws in a little neck skin grab or an eye gouge for good measure.

Amazingly though, if you put her down on her bed with her blankie, and lie down beside her, she almost always calms right down right away. Waiting long enough for her to really settle before trying to make your escape (avoiding the risk of injury present when you fall asleep on the toddler bed) can be trying, but generally worth it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Beware the Measuring Tape!!!

I invited Greg and Rebecca to join me during my prenatal appointment yesterday.
Too bad I had forgotten about... THE MEASURING TAPE.
Everything was going fine until it was time to determine the fundal height. This involves the doctor measuring the height of the uterus by palpating my belly, and is following by a measurement with a .... MEASURING TAPE.
UH OH!!!
Since this was my first second trimester checkup, this standard step had been completely forgotten by me. Oops - bad Mommy.
But unfortunately, Rebecca has not forgotten her unholy terror of MEASURING TAPES.
What's worse than having one near you?
Having a doctor put a MEASURING TAPE on your Mommy!
Tears and wailing ensued.
Tears and wailing did not subside until we left the doctor's office.

Pay attention to me!

I felt Babootwo move this morning! 6am.
I was concerned that I might be mistaken (though I didn't think so), so I checked the archives of my Rebecca blog, and apparently I felt Rebecca move for the first time at almost exactly the same stage of gestation.
I had a prenatal appointment yesterday. Everything looks good. All my blood and urine tests have come back with respectable results, and no one has suggested that I have put on too much weight yet. Blood pressure is also good. Tried to get Greg to hear the heartbeat, but unfortunately, Rebecca was pulling on the cord and he lost track of the sound.
I am getting into lower back pain, and my GP suggested doing crunches, being careful to bend at the knees when picking things up, and to get a special maternity belt. I am concerned that my pregnancy edema is going to return. I can already feel a tightening in my calves that I know is the precursor to losing sight of my bones and blood vessels. I will endeavour to drink more water, but I believe it may simply be my fate to balloon whilst pregnant.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the table

Rebecca now sits at the table to eat at least one of her meals. She seems to prefer this to the highchair, although she has a tendency to squirm around.
Also, she is obsessed with pumpkins.

Head Banging Woes - it gets ranty

Rebecca developed a new and unappealing behaviour this past week - head banging. It is extremely distressing to see my 22-month old bang her head into a solid object. Because there have now been a half dozen incidents, I have been able to find the common link. Rebecca bangs her head when she is frustrated because she is not getting her way.
When I have a non-medical problem with Rebecca I do two things. The first is that I call my Mom to see what she has to say. The second is that I research the problem on the internet and find out as much as I can. (If the problem is medical and urgent, I call Telehealth, if non-urgent, I speak to my GP at the earliest convenience).
Unfortunately, neither my sister nor I were head bangers. I don't know about Greg.

This is what I have found out about toddler head banging:
  1. It is common. Apparently it occurs in up to 20 percent of healthy children.
  2. 3-4 times more likely to occur in boys than in girls.
  3. Generally occurs starting after 6 months of age, and usually ends before age 4.
  4. They aren't strong enough to actually hurt themselves in a serious way - they can't cause any neurological or brain damage with the banging.
  5. Their intelligence will not be affected, in fact, there is some evidence that it is linked to increased intelligence (don't know if I buy this factoid - it was just one study with 5oo or so participants and I think that gauging developmental advancement is a bit fuzzy - besides, what would that suggest about the gender disparity in the behaviour???).

Toddlers bang their heads because:
  1. They want attention (because it definitely gets parental attention!)
  2. They want comfort (i.e. to help themselves go to sleep)
  3. They are frustrated or stressed (over or under stimulated, having familial stress, or just having a temper tantrum)
  4. They are in pain (from ear aches or teething).
  5. They enjoy it (apparently some do enjoy it).
  6. They have a developmental problem
What I need to do and remember as a parent:
  1. The more attention the behaviour receives, the more likely it is to persist.
  2. So - that means ignoring it. It means pretending not to notice, not giving her whatever it is she wants, or distracting her with something else.
  3. Do what you can to keep them safe at the same time, and try not to worry (hahaha)

Rebecca knows her own mind. She is very independent and knows exactly what she wants.

Examples of when Rebecca has banged her head:
  1. Crayons: Rebecca's crayons are routinely confiscated due to her tendency to colour the walls (and windows, and floors etc.) Today I returned her crayons, and she coloured in her colouring book. I made a quick trip to the washroom and immediately heard the sound of crayon on wall. I caught her red-handed. I confiscated her crayons and put them on top of the fridge (otherwise she will go to any means to retrieve them). She then cried and banged her head on the fridge, while calling out for her crayons.
  2. 'Vies: Rebecca enjoys watching movies ('vies). Because we don't watch television in our house, we only have DVDs that we have rented or purchased. Rebecca has a few favourites. I let her watch some Winnie the Pooh - she was laughing and enjoying herself, and learning new words (all good things). Unfortunately, the 'vies came to an end, and I removed it from the machine. She kept turning the t.v. back on - hoping to watch more. When I would not play another movie, she banged her head on the tv.
  3. Me: Greg and I had lunch out with Rebecca yesterday. She was quite tired and had been fighting off sleep most of the morning. When I left to go to the washroom, she got upset and banged her head on the table.

Is there something wrong with my Rebaboo?
This is of course, the scary question in the back of my mind.

No, I don't think she's autistic. She has well developed social skills. She points, she follows your gaze, and she has pretend play (such as brushing her hair with my kitchen basting brush). She had all of these behaviours before she was 18 months.
I'll admit to some concern about her speech development. According to my Mom, by the time I was Rebecca's age, I could speak in full sentences. I guess I expected Rebecca would do the same. She has a very broad vocabulary, but speaks - not on command, but when she feels like it. I haven't heard her say a phrase longer than 3 words (unless imitating someone else). It is clear from her ability to follow simple instructions and to make connections between unrelated things, that she is capable of understanding complex concepts. She is also an excellent communicator. And she walked independently at 10 months, so clearly, her neurons can fire correctly. So, I guess I need not worry. Greg is mildly offended that I would even entertain the notion that Rebecca is something other than perfectly normal/wonderful. I actually think she is better with numbers and music than letters - but that may be a bit of a premature assessment on my part. Perhaps I am a little sensitive this weekend because we spent some time with the daughter of friends of ours and (because I am a details person), I have noticed in the last few months, that her speaking abilities are probably way ahead of where Rebecca was at the same age. It made me worry. Also, because I was speaking French to one of my friends at this party, some of the francophone guests assumed I was francophone, and one in particular asked me if Rebecca could speak both languages. I had to sheepishly admit that no, she could not, and I qualified it by saying that even her English was pretty limited right now. She replied by saying that all her children were perfectly bilingual. Good for you stranger - kiss my tourtière! I suppose I *am* contributing to the death by a thousand cuts of half of my culture, by keeping my daughter ignorant. And yes, your bilingual children and superior to mine. While it may not have been a direct criticism, I did feel there was an implicit judgment there. (Also, I am pregnant and consequently hormonal and sensitive). Maybe it is wrong that Rebecca has a few words of Spanish in her vocabulary rather than French. I have certainly made an effort to expose her to French through books and music (including lots of traditional songs), and via speaking to her. I have this icky feeling of somehow neglecting part of Rebecca's heritage when I run into these types of questions. What is my level of responsibility here? I know you can make a child bilingual early if each parent speaks exclusively in one language. But I didn't want to do that. I thought she could pick it up the same way I did - via school, family and books. I am also angry. I have seen someone tear a strip off a close friend because they assumed that she was Lebanese, and when she did not reply to their Arabic queries (because she doesn't speak Arabic), they accused her of denying her culture. People love to judge others!
But what the hell?!?! Rebecca isn't even two years old yet.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Filly

It's not a horse. It's a request/command that Rebecca uses on us. As far as we can tell, it means "I am tired and I would like you to lie down beside me on my bed". It is often accompanied by a little person grabbing your hand and pulling you in the right direction.
About an hour after an initial semi-successful putting down of the toddler, there was an unending series of yowls that indicated a need for parental intervention. Rebecca had woken up on the floor sans Bala. A very tired Rebaboo gave me the Filly command, and I obliged. When I thought she was sound asleep, I tried to leave (very carefully). Unfortunately, she heard the sound of me pulling the door closed and I was forced to re-Filly. The second time I departed successfully (and did not shut the door completely). Clambering over the gate is getting tricky (it's like something out of Entrapment), and I can't see the situation improving over the next six months. After this evening, I am amazed that Rebecca has the energy to wake up at all. I was informed about receiving my baby that she had only napped for a scant half hour today. Despite this, she seemed possessed of demonic energy. I can honestly say that I have never seen her so hyper. During her earlier unsuccessful nap, she had completely trashed her bedroom. She ran around the house all night, flinging herself onto the couch, laughing and squealing. I had to remove her from the oven at least three times (the bottom drawer, not the place where turkeys go!), because she had crawled inside to play with the the baking sheets. She wiped out three times on the floor (although it barely slowed her down), because she was running so fast. But, we also danced to music, looked at some books. She wanted nothing to do with the lovely stew I made for supper, but happily ate a banana and a yogurt and some taco meat.

Second trimester - goodbye to the walking dead

The second trimester is the blissful break. I love it! I have my energy back, I don't feel like barfing all the time, and my skin is starting to look less like it did in the 8th grade. However, the aches and pains of various ligament and bone rearrangements have arrived. Now I am plagued by back pain and rib pain and my feet have become wimpy. It's still an improvement over perpetual nausea and fatigue. Happily, Greg is quite willing to give food massages to me. :)
I don't feel like a zombie moving relentlessly from one work day to the next. Suddenly the prospect of staying up past 10pm is not so daunting.
*
I had a dream about Babootwo recently wherein Babootwo was revealed to be a boy. Greg asked me how I knew the baby was a boy. I said that the baby was naked and he had a penis. Did I miss some subtlety in the question?
There have been studies about the accuracy of the gender predictive dreams of pregnant women. Shockingly, such dreams turned out to be about 50% accurate. Go figure. By chance, while reading this information, I came across a second study of the dreams of pregnant women. Apparently, the predictive accuracy of dreams concerning when and how labour will commence is quite high.
We will have to wait until December to know for sure(sorry Mom!). When we had the ultrasound for Rebecca, she was quite accomodating and spread her legs wide. I have decided to take some cold orange juice with me to the December ultrasound in case the baby is asleep and needs a reminder of who is the boss. (Because once the baby is part of the household, the truth will out - the babies rule the roost here).
I have been feeling disconnected from Babootwo. This will probably change once the baby starts to kick me - which supposedly can be felt earlier in a second pregnancy due to muscles being less taut.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Goodbye first trimester!

Despite what the calendar might say, I am feeling as though I have escaped the first trimester. My extreme fatigue is now just fatigue, and my nausea has gone the way of my waistline - that is to say - completely vanished.
You may notice the new ticker! I know it has a bit of a creepy factor to it, but what's really amazing (to me anyway) is that the display baby changes over time to reflect developmental upgrades (as it were). Three tickers already... but if I find another intriguing one, it's going up too.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Maternity clothes

My first pregnancy spanned four seasons, and therefore involved a wide variety of maternity clothes. Due to the fact that the particular year I was pregnant for Rebecca involved an extremely hot and protracted summer, many of these clothes were summer clothes. Also, I am convinced that the heat was part of the reason I had such extensive problems with edema. That year (2005), fall was practically nonexistant, and I only experienced a small portion of winter (but there had been considerable snowfall by the time Rebecca arrived - as is evident in the pictures). So, I imagined reusing all these items. The thing is - the timing of this pregnancy is out of phase with the last one. This was at least partially by design. I had vowed to myself never again to endure the hottest months of the year while pregnant - given my extensive discomfort previously. But, even though I can't wear my regular clothes, many of my maternity clothes that are appropriate for the current weather, are way too big.
Therefore, Rebecca and I had an expedition to the maternity store to round out my wardrobe. I think I now have some work-appropriate pieces that should last for quite some time.
Speaking of work, the cat is out of the bag. I spoke to the Bureau director a few weeks ago - so now I am free to dress like a pregnant woman without fear of discovery. I don't think anyone at work was surprised - there are many women my age in the office, and most who've had one child tend to go for a second round.
Still feeling relatively miserable, although I can begin to sense that my energy levels are coming back - soon I will be able to function without a nap during the day and be civil to my husband. My skin and hair are much improved. My hair in particular was very dull and unappealing for much of the beginning of this trimester, but it is starting to look and feel more lustrous again. My waist is long gone, my belly is released (as is typical of a second pregnancy - it isn't hard as a rock as I remember from my last pregnancy, it is simply flabby due to the relaxation of the muscles by the high progesterone levels - I literally lack the ability to suck in my gut). My queasiness is becoming more intermittent - but certainly not absent. I'm starting to experience some twinges in my back - but this is neither surprising nor unexpected. I am still getting up several times a night to pee, but once again, this should be greatly improved when I hit the second trimester, since the uterus then moves upward and relieves pressure on the bladder. The only new territory, is that I've discovered what comes after double D - not that I wanted to.

Affection on demand

I have previously mentioned that Rebecca will now request hugs. But now, she will also give kisses on request, provided you say "kissy" and make the "mmm" sound first. In sum - hugs are given on her terms, kisses are given on our terms.
Apparently, it is quite normal for toddlers to be extremely affectionate as they approach age two. I must admit that it is far more palatable than some of the other behaviours in the neighbourhood of two.
Rebecca has always seemed to have a mind of her own. Is she willful and defiant? Probably not - she just knows *exactly* what she wants. I say *exactly* because she is so particular. Beyond that, certain things are acceptable or unacceptable in her universe. For example, if I get out of the shower and have a hair towel wrapped around my head - that constitutes a "towel/hat" (in her words", which is distressing and must be removed. In fact, any head accoutrements for herself or myself are not appreciated (including hair clips, sun hats). The exception are "helmet"s (bike-style or otherwise), because they please her a great deal. Becca does not appreciate it if we rearrange key pieces of furniture - such as the coffee table. If we do so, she promptly moves it back to its original location.
She is showing signs of low-level deviousness. It is apparent from her body language and facial expressions (and the uttering of "no, no, no" often accompanied by head shaking), that she is well aware of which actions and behaviours are not permitted. But nevertheless, she will try to do these things right under your nose. She could be chanting "no, no, no" as she sidles herself towards a forbidden object/location, casting furtive glances all the while. She also seems to request "mook" late at night, when she's not actually thirsty - presumably as a means to be liberated from her room.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sleep improvements!

Rebecca is getting a little easier to put down. Though she can reliably get up in the dark and open her door, the doorknob covers on all the doors in the hall keep her from getting any further.

The routine now seems to be:

1) Bedtime - Mom and dad often are suckered into letting her stay up a little extra
2) Put her down - she usually protests as we leave the room
3) A little crying
4) An escape attempt. She either gets too upset to open her door and has a little cry on the floor, or does the same thing in the hallway. She is now often giving up and going back to bed on her own now. If she gets really worked up, a bit of a cuddle and back to bed.
5) I'd say somewhere between 50 and 75% of the evenings she wakes up crying at some point (anywhere from 10pm to 2am). Usually a quick cuddle and it's back to bed without much protesting. Occasionally it will be a long night with multiple wake-ups.

All in all, I'd say it's a very tenable situation at the moment. (Knock on wood)

Learning to share all over again

As the pregnancy rolls on, I have to get over the fact that I'm no longer alone in bed with my wife.

No, it's not the growing baby to be I speak of. It's the infernal giant blue whale pillow.

A couple times that thing's crowded my space. Ah well, if it makes mom feel better, I guess it can stay.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The eroded tongue

I ran out of sour hard candies - my usual nausea remedy, just at a time when I hit a resurgence of feeling exceptionally nasty. I tried to find hard sour candies (which you might imagine would not be challenging prior to Hallowe'en) - but failed. The next best thing was Double Sour Skittles. I swear, these guys were coated in crystallized acid. It burned! Nevertheless, they certainly staved off the feeling of wanting to vomit.
But today, my tongue is all chewed up. I guess I overdid it. In fact, I think I ate so many that I actually aggravated my upset tummy (a side issue not related to feeling nauseous, but no fun nonetheless).