Sunday, December 28, 2008

Lucy is standing!

I found Lucy standing in her crib a few days ago. The crib has now been lowered to the bottom setting - and we have entered the time of cruisin'. Lucy will now use objects to negotiate moving from place to place while standing. For example, when she is in the playpen, she will do a perimeter tour.
Oh boy - busy times are coming.
On the plus side, I don't really have to prop her up much in the grocery cart, she is big and strong enough to stay seated for the entire trip. Even with temptation (ie. Rebecca's hair) right beside her, she was very well-behaved on our last outing. Rebecca gave her hugs and kisses the entire time (wow - I was really surprised - I am more accustomed to Becca's screaming/pushing reaction to Lucy).

Monday, December 22, 2008

We're all sick

I've been sick for a while, off and on.  An annoying recurring head cold which finally moved down to my throat last week.

At the same time, both girls and mom got sick at the same time, with the same cold.  Madeleine had it the worst, losing her voice and being knocked on her butt for a couple days.  Lucy was next, with runny nose, coughing and a bit of a fever for a couple days.  Rebecca's been coughing, and napping, but otherwise seems ok.

While the adults in the household have really been beaten up by the cold, the kids have maintained their chipper dispositions for the most part.  Lucy requires many more cuddles, especially around bed time, but still beams her lovely smile when mom comes into the room.  Rebecca has been a total nut, as usual, but wakes up a couple times each night needing sympathy and often ends up sneaking into our bed around 6am or so.

So while it could be worse, it's really put a damper on enjoying the holiday season as far as getting out of the house is concerned.  Rebecca and mom are still very excited about Christmas, hopefully we're all feeling at least somewhat better in a couple more days.

Oh, and Maddy came down with an ear infection yesterday and is now on penicillin.  That was fun.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Rebecca turned 3 on December 10th


Here is the birthday girl enjoying some Rolie Polie Olie.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Another tooth for Lucy

Tooth #6 is out (as of Saturday, December 10th). Unfortunately this makes for an unhappy baby lately - she is terribly rashy on her bottom, and has facial rashes from all the drooling. I hope she will get a break soon, but I'm afraid she's already working on more teeth.

Successful nighttime bathroom visit.

So Rebecca has been giving us some trouble after bedtime.  When we go in to check on her she often either informs us that she needs a new pull-up or that she wants to sit on the toilet.

Several times recently we've had unproductive visits, no pee, but she gets annoyed when we try to get her off the pot and back to bed.

Last night, however, went differently.  I was just about ready to kick her off the toilet and to bed, when all of a sudden, she pooped.  She seemed a little surprised, I rewarded her with gusto, hugs, cheers, and a pair of shiny kitty stickers for her potty chart.

Tonight, was back to the normal routine of sit and sit and sit and not much happens.  Fingers crossed that we can reinforce the successful number two visits soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dare to compare - 7 month edition

Here is Lucy at 7 months of age. She is bigger than Rebecca was at the same age.












Here is Lucy - she likes to attack shoes and other objects neglected on the floor.












Here is Rebecca at 11 months of age, wearing something Lucy wears now! Rebecca was into attacking purses rather than shoes.













Here is Rebecca at 7 months of age, standing up with assistance from the crib. Lucy seems anxious to try to stand when held, but has not achieved the crib stand yet. We still haven't lowered the floor of her crib all the way yet. My doctor told me that larger babies take longer to achieve the same physical milestones (such as crawling, sitting etc.) as smaller babies. This is certainly turning out to be the case with my girls.




Here is Rebecca at 7 months of age -sitting unassisted. While Lucy can do this as of today, it is much more hit-and-miss, and we are now pushing 8 months of age.










Here is Rebecca enjoying blueberries at age 7 months. Lucy definitely eats more than Rebecca did, but is also pickier. Neither Lucy nor Rebecca seems to enjoy meat purées, and are not in a rush to hold their own bottle (although Lucy has surprised us by doing so a few times so far).

Independent sitting - hooray!

After weeks of trying, Lucy has finally managed to back herself into a seated position from crawling. While on all fours, she fully extends her back legs, and then lowers herself backwards. There are still occasional face plants, but all in all, I have seen multiple successes today alone. There appear to be two distinct sitting styles - one is normal, one has one leg in front, and one bent to the side. She has also taken to lounging on her side.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Another new tooth for Lucy

Yesterday, Lucy cut a new tooth while we were at the grocery store. That makes five now.

She had been cranky for a few days, and had been eating and sleeping more than usual. In my great maternal wisdom, I had credited her recent attempts to sit from crawling with the deficit in her energy levels. For many days now, she has been fully extending her back legs from a crawling position. Her feet are flat on the floor and her arms remain on the floor (so it's sort of a downward-facing dog on forearms). Unfortunately, she has not mastered the backing-up into a seated position part yet - so there have been many horrific face plants lately. It doesn't help that we have no carpeted surfaces. I try to keep her on the rug in the living room, but these days she goes whereever she wants. I have to keep her Robeez on all the time now, to ensure that she has enough traction for these manoeuvers.
At any rate... I took her out with me to fetch a few items from the grocery store, giving Greg and Becca a chance to enjoy the snow. Lucy was madly chomping on her vibro-teether. Suddenly, I saw blood on her lips. She opened her mouth, and I saw blood on her tongue. I'll admit to a moment of panic. My first thought was to check the tooth I knew she was labouring on. Nothing. That's when my heart truly began to pound. Could she have gotten something inappropriate into her mouth when I was looking elsewhere? Could she have bitten herself? I finally managed to convince her to keep her mouth open long enough for me to run a finger around. That's when I discovered that she had cut a completely different tooth than expected. This new tooth is on the same side as the one I was anticipating, but on the top instead of the bottom. When I found it, it had just pierced the gum and there was still blood around the edges.
I am beginning to notice that Lucy is expressing frustration when her explorations are curtailed. She is an incredibly curious baby, and like most babies her age, she is very interested in completely inappropriate objects (and locales). She would like nothing better than to get into Rebecca's room. Sometimes she does (because she's fast, and we're busy). Sometimes we shut the door. This annoys her to no end. She also expresses frustration via various wails and cries, when I take an object off the floor that she had clearly been heading towards. Her second favourite place to attempt to enter is the vestibule. Lucy is obsessed with shoes. She wants to go after any and all shoes, and puts them in her mouth. This is a challenge lately because (as I said above), she is almost perpetually in her Robeez. Sometimes she decides to gnaw on them in the middle of a meal - even when her face is covered in sweet potato purée. Sometimes she decides that one of the other Moms at Fitmom has more attractive sneakers than I do, and she attacks them. The worst scenario - as you may have already imagined - is when Rebecca's shoes are accessible to Lucy.
At this time, neither Lucy nor Rebecca seem to be experiencing the upsides of having a sibling. Rebecca screams whenever Lucy starts crawling towards her or some object (any object really) with ear-shattering exclamations like "HELP! Lucy crawlin'!!!". Rebecca is also inclined to try to change Lucy's direction by means of physical intervention. Lucy, who is obsessed with Rebecca, is heartbroken when Rebecca shuts her bedroom door in her face. Also, both girls seem to be more insistent about having my attention lately - but in order for me to spend time with them that does not involve trauma for either party - I have to separate them! This makes life a lot more complicated. It is very hard to achieve this. Obviously - Lucy's nap times help, and I have staggered their bedtimes a bit (they were previously synchronous), but it is difficult!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Rebecca's parenting input

Lucy's speedy crawling lifestyle has been the cause of no little distress for Rebecca. Becca is learning the hard way that if she leaves things on the ground, they are liable to be attacked by her baby sister, and covered in drool (or something worse). Lucy doesn't care that the item might be Rebecca's sock, Rebecca's shoe or Rebecca's favourite blanket. Consequently, Rebecca keeps asking me to clean her things after Lucy has been at them, or even just near them. Other than shrieking, Becca's latest coping strategy has been to suggest to me in no uncertain terms, that Lucy requires a nap or a snooze. I suppose this would effectively eliminate the problem, but keeping Lucy perpetually unconscious is just not viable.
Today, Rebecca made me sit at her place at the dining room table, so she could serve me "pretend bread" and make me drink fake milk out of a plastic bowl. It is fun to play along. Most of her imaginative play has been solo to date, and it is nice to see her branching out. She also accesorized me when I was trying on some old evening wear - I was told to wear a silver plastic crown in my hair, and a Hawaiian floral lei on my arm. The effect was certainly eye-catching.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lucy and I

If only Lucy had been looking at me instead of Rebecca!

Lucy & Me



Classic Rebecca


O.k., this is an older one - but I just got a hold of it today so... enjoy!

The passage of time

November 10th - Rebecca is 1 month away from being 3
Rebecca has developed a particular interest in her privates. This is perfectly normal and healthy for her age and yet can have (and has had) some spectacularly messy side effects when combined with potty training. Rebecca is so keen to observe herself, that she "grasps and raises" (I don't know how else to describe it), with her hands when sitting on the toilet. When it comes time to pee, this inevitably causes a fountain-like spray. Good times.

November 11th - I turn 32.
I always make a practice of observing Remembrance Day, and I have been taking Rebecca with me from the time she was born. The last time was pouring rain, and freezing cold, but Rebecca was snug in the baby backpack. This time, it was only 2 degrees or so, with a little bit of snow, but no rain. Rebecca was in her comfy snowsuit and experienced the ceremony with my father and I. Greg, being sick, stayed home with Lucy. I fully intend to take Lucy next year, when she is a more suitable age. Rebecca by contrast, was nearly 1 the first time we went with her and therefore, much easier to manage. While it's important for me to make this a part of my children's lives, I also want to be respectful of the solemnity of the occasion. Rebecca was extremely well-behaved. She particularly enjoyed the music (no big surprise), and alternated between being held by Grandpa and Mommy. I was very happy that the 3 of us attended the ceremony together. Becca appreciated the airplanes, made comments about the poppies, and assured me that the 21 gun salute was in fact a noise made by clocks. I don't expect her to understand what's going on, or the purpose of the day at this point. All I am hoping to do right now, is to show her that it is something that we participate in as a family, and to create an awareness of it in her. Then, over time, she will bring her questions to me and I can explain in greater detail. I know that she understands the concepts of conflict and fighting, however, the concepts of nations, death and large-scale destruction are still outside of her world-view (too bad it won't be that way forever). She is beginning to understand aspects of death - like the idea that a body can be broken and not fixed, but the totality of it escapes her. Despite these grim musings, I enjoyed a fabulous day with my husband and my daughters - I let Rebecca crawl into my bed in the morning and we had a great cuddle, Lucy barfed on me and was also cute and cuddly, we went out for lunch, and we got our flu shots. Greg and I watched Battlestar Galatica way too late into the night while eating ice cream with hot fudge sauce. All in all, he was very sweet and attentive even though he was suffering from some freakish virus. It was perfect.

November 12th - Lucy turns 7 months old
Lucy started crawling several days ago, but has now reached a state of high mobility at seemingly impossible speeds.. Nothing on the floor is safe - including your feet. She has a penchant for shoes in particular. Nowhere was the change in her locomotion more evident than in today's (Nov 13) Fitmom class. She usually just rolls around on our mat, grabbing toys and chewing them. This time she left our mat, and went to someone else's. She pursued another crawling baby in order to chew on his Robeez (while they were still on his feet). She attacked my sneakers while I was doing butterfly crunches, and she rolled my water bottle across the floor. The downside is, now when she barfs (still quite often), it falls on the floor in front of her, and then she puts her hands in it and spreads it around (as though she was fingerpainting).

This week's trauma: Vaccinations

Apparently Rebecca knows what a needle is for.

The family trundled off together to get our flu shot for the year.  I was going to have to take a pass due to a cold w/fever.  Rebecca had no such luck.

She has fun reading books and intimidating a little 3 year old girl in the waiting room, and then it's our turn.  We proceed through the waiting room door, a couple paces down a hall and into the examination room where we'll be getting our shots.

Rebecca sees the needles laid out, does a quick about face saying "Oh no... Go home okay."  She lets herself back out into the waiting room and starts moaning, much to the amusement of everyone including the receptionists, who see me chase her down.  I carry her back into the injection room of terror, and she starts squirming and crying, working herself into a mini frenzy.

The nurse tries to tell me how I need to hold her just this way, while I struggle to pin her legs in my lap and grab her arms in mine.  We peel her shirt off and I grab her forearms.  The injection is done as quickly as it can be typed.  Rebecca then takes exception to the bandaid put on her upper arm, and I struggle to put her shirt back on.  She pulls her arm out through the neck of her shirt and rips off the bandaid.  I give up on it at that point, time to get out of the room to let Mom and Lucy get their shots in peace.  Rebecca's been wailing the whole time.  A constant chorus of "Oh no, Go home now ok, no more stickers (bandaid)" etc etc.

We beat a hasty retreat, with sympathetic smiles and chuckles from the receptionists and people in the waiting room.

I thank the receptionist on our way out and Rebecca follows it up with a tear filled "Thank you" burying her head in my neck.

"Oh dear, you don't have to say thank you." says the receptionist.

On the way home my wife reminds me that we should be grateful for not just having the opportunity to get vaccinated, but that it's paid for by our health care system.

Sure the flu's not the end of the world (unless you've got a compromized immune system, are old, or very young), but stuff like polio, diphtheria, measles, and whooping cough are no laughing matter.

I had whooping cough when I was quite young, and it was apparently pretty touch and go for a little while.  They had me in an oxygen tent and my parents were scared that I would die.  (If I'm not mistaken I *had* been immunized, but was in the small percentage of people who still contract it) I can't imagine how I'd feel having one of my kids come down with one of those diseases if we hadn't done the immunizations.

Worth a read:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/med/immuniz-eng.php

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Rebecca - a little crisper

Jolly Jumper and Trick Or Treating

First, the Jolly Jumper video:




Our little pumpkin:


(So cute she's out of focus in the full sized)
So here's the story:

Over the last couple months Rebecca's been getting scared of Halloween. Decorations at the grocery store resulted in her putting her head in her hands, or blanket over her head saying "Don't be scared, it's ok. Go home now."

That being said, she was quite excited about it, and took every opportunity to mention pumpkins and skeletons and scarecrows.

The night arrives, and she gets bundled up. She is warm, and super cuddly in her outfit. We head out, and the first leg goes well, with only a few requests to be carried, and a few resolute "Don't be scared" statements from Rebecca.

We go around the block where there's one of THOSE houses. You know the ones, bodies hanging from the trees, gravestones, do not cross tape, and spooky lighting.

I was expecting things to go sideways at that point, but Rebecca simply said "Hello scarecrows, hello pumpkins!" and we went up for some trick-or-treating. As we approached she did ask to be picked up, and I obliged, but she was in good spirits. She got her candy and was ok to be put down. As we left, though, we passed the owners' mini-van which had the door open to play a Halloween CD on the stereo. As our intrepid candy beggar passed a mournful shriek emanated from within the familymobile, followed up, in harmony, by an ear piercing wail of terror from Rebecca. (while crying) "Don't be scared. Are you afraid? It's ok. Bye bye scarecrows. Go home now."

All was ok with a good minute of cuddling though, and the trick-or-treating continued.
We get to a house halfway down the next block (we simply circled one block, so we were on our way home at this point) and Rebecca dutifully goes up to the front door. As the screen door opens she pipes up with a cheerful "Trick or treat!". Behind the door is a lady in a scary ghoul mask with a giant wig. Screams and crying ensue. The lady takes off her mask and tries to placate Rebecca. (while crying) "Trick or treat. Happy Halloween. Bye bye. Go home now. Carry me ok?"

I tell you, that was worth the price of admission right there. I got an awesome cuddle out of it to boot. And really, while these are the sorts of scars that never heal, they're also invisible so I can't get in trouble for them.

I can't wait 'till next Halloween.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lucy's new tooth

On Hallowe'en Lucy finally cut her fourth tooth. She has been a little cranky the last few days as it continues to ease its way out.
We are still exploring the world of mushy vegetables and other solids. So far her preferences look like this:
Rice: yum
Barley: yuck
Oats: super-yum
Carrots: indifference
Squash: super-yum
Peas: acceptable
Wax beans/yellow beans: yuck
Green beans: yum

In the past two days, Lucy has begun to make pre-crawling movements. This consists of rocking back and forth while on her hands and knees. She also sometimes fully extends her back legs so that she is doing a variant of downward-facing dog.
I distinctly remembered Rebecca's pre-crawling stage, so I decided to look at my blog archives.
I was frightened to discover that after having observed pre-crawl motions in Becca, she crawled and sat up within a period of three weeks, and within a month, she was pulling herself to a standing position using her crib, playpen - whatever.

Lastly, on impulse I bought a Jolly Jumper for Lucy. I don't think I've ever seen Lucy have so much fun. And it entertains the rest of us. More later - with pics from Hallowe'en.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Beautiful music

On the way home from Rebecca's Sportball class, we were listening to CBC radio. There was a particularly interesting segment on music that changed the world - in this case, the subject was a comic opera that was instrumental (haha) vis-à-vis the French Revolution. The name of the opera (an intermezzo opera in fact) was La serva padrona, a work by Pergolesi. Serpina's aria "A Serpina penserate", absolutely enraptured Rebecca. I was surprised because while she has been exposed to classical music before, I hadn't exposed her to any opera whatsoever. She said it was "beautiful music" and she also stated it was "princess music"! I think the princess reference is due to the female vocalist (perhaps it reminds her of some of the singing in Sleeping Beauty).
At any rate, ever since then, there have been requests for beautiful music. I had CBC radio 2 playing virtually all day today - and woe unto me if I tried to turn it off. Every time we would come to the end of a particular piece she would lament that the music was "gone". I reassured her that more music was coming and when I proved to be correct, she was mollified. I started to teach her to identify the types of instruments being played. I only had some success with harp though... Generally, she would insist on dancing to the music. If Lucy was awake, I got to dance with Lucy, and Rebecca would dance with her stuffed T-Rex (who happens to be my childhood stuffed T-Rex). This evening, we were listening to a babified classical music CD in the car (by babified I mean simply that it has been arranged for babies) and she was trying to add her own lyrics. She also claps out rhythms to songs on the radio (sometimes not the way you would expect).
She seems to have a real passion for music, and I hope I am up to the task of nurturing and encouraging her interest. I bought her a ukelele for her birthday. Maybe that seems like a strange gift for a third birthday, but ever since I let her fool around with my recorder, I thought it might be something she would like. This particular instrument makes a happy sound, is fairly sturdy, is made for children, and does not break the bank. Who knows - maybe she is all about appreciating and not keen to make music of her own - but somehow I don't think that's the case. We shall see.
So Grandpapa should break out Swan Lake next time we come for a visit!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A thunking sound

Lucy's third tooth is finally out - I can now feel that razor edge whenever she gnaws on my fingers!
As Lucy becomes stronger and raises herself further and further off the floor, her rolling seems to become more precarious. She flips herself over from her tummy to her back from progressively higher heights and more awkward orientations. The result is a thunk sound as her head hits the floor. It is very disturbing for me to hear, but does not seem to bother Lucy a whit. I don't know when she'll make her next leap forward movement-wise, but our family doctor told me that larger babies often need a bit longer to master these things. We shall see.
Lately, Lucy blows many raspberries. Sadly, this sometimes occurs after a feeding of solids. But this rather small downside (especially compared to the megabarfs), is greatly offset by Rebecca's reaction. Rebecca's thinks Lucy's raspberries are hilarious. So she laughs, then Lucy laughs, then everyone is producing raspberries. It's very funny and I hope Greg will make a little video of it before Lucy moves on to some other parlour trick. Our Lucy is very chatty these days as well, and I am very curious to see how having an older sibling around will affect her speech development. I think Lucy probably hears a lot more talking than Rebecca did, because I am forever having discussions with Becca in front of Lucy.
Rebecca's latest craze is favourites. Now, knowing her as well as I do, I know that there are bona fide favourites in her life. But this past week especially, she has been proclaiming everything to be a favourite. For example, every shirt she wears is her favourite shirt. The potential drama for our llama is vast.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Toddler wipeout guilt

I was in the bathroom coaching Rebecca through a potty break and she wasn't being very cooperative.  I shooed her off the potty but she toppled off her stepping stool and smacked her face on the ground, cutting her lower lip.  Much wailing and cuddling followed, as well as pangs of guilt.  I know it's not my *fault*, but I was right there!

When Rebecca saw her face in the mirror with blood running down her chin she piped up with a "Clean my face?".  Then she noticed some blood on her hands and followed up with "Wash the hands?".

She can be in pain and sobbing horribly, but she still wants to be neat.

Anyway, a little ice cream seemed to help the situation.  Not sure if it numbed her lip at all, but it sure made her forget her troubles.

Family reunited

Hooray! Greg is home from his conference, so everything is starting to go back to normal. Rebecca was so excited and overwhelmed by his return that she literally began climbing up the furniture. She was later placed in her room for a much needed nap and subsequently woke up in a very cranky mood. I think we will all sleep better now. When he walked through that door, I felt a huge wave of relief. I love my children, but bearing the burden of early years parenting alone, is not something I would wish to experience for a prolonged period of time. You could have a day with your children that runs perfectly smoothly (or close enough), and you would still be emotionally and physically exhausted at the end of it. Someone could ask you what you do all day (annoying, but it happens a lot) - and you'd draw a blank, in part because you no longer have the mental ability to retain non-essential information, and in part because it's all a blur. Having that other person there to support you at the end of the day, or to listen to your tale and actually understand where you're coming from - well, it's essential to *my* sanity. I learned that while I am perfectly capable of handling the two girls by myself for several days running, and I could do it if I had to, it would require that I change my comfort level when it comes to asking for helping, leaning on others, and admitting that I can't do everything by myself. I hate imposing on people, and I hate appearing needy. Anyhow, a big thank-you to everyone who made my five days and night of solo parenting easier by spending time with me, babysitting, or listening. Also thanks to Rebecca who cuddled with me in a dark and creaky house, on cold and lonely nights. It's a lot harder to be afraid, if you are looking after someone else. Years of night terrors, nightmares, sleep talking, and sleep walking have made me the kind of person who does not do well at night. Knowing that Rebecca has inherited some of these problems, I left my bedside lamp on, and my door open, so that if/when she woke up at some ungodly hour, she could choose to join me. That way, everyone wins!
Lucy had her 6 month vaccinations yesterday. She continues to be taller and heavier than average (but is consistent in this way). She charmed everyone in the doctor's office and was very well behaved. Lucy's third tooth has broken the gum open, but the edge isn't 100% free yet. The fourth tooth will also be coming down soon. I tried feeding her my homemade carrot purée, and I'm pretty sure she hates it. She seems to be a lot more discriminating about her food than Rebecca was at the same age. Next up is squash, and hopefully that will go a bit better.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weird happenings

Today I saw Lucy crawl backwards. She uses her hands against the floor to push her body back. It was truly bizarre. Maybe forwards is coming soon?
As for Becca, recently she developed an interest in sitting on a real toilet as opposed to her potty. At first I thought this was just a freak incident at the home of my parents on Thanksgiving Sunday, however, it quickly became apparent that Rebecca had decided this was the only way to go (so to speak). So, we made a trip to buy a toilet-top seat for her, and ever since then, her anti-potty attitude has disappeared. In fact - most surprising of all, today, Rebecca had a major breakthrough. We were sitting in the living room, working on a dinosaur puzzle while Lucy was taking a nap. The phone rang, so I went to the kitchen to answer it. In the 30 seconds that she was out of my line of sight, Rebecca ran to the bathroom, pulled down her pull-ups, placed her toilet seat on the toilet, clambered aboard, and had a big pee. I was astounded. Then she asked to use real toilet paper. So, maybe we *are* getting somewhere! I must admit, I far prefer this than having to clean the potty all the time. The only problem is that all Becca's poops this week keep "arriving" at 10pm. This is quite troublesome. Should change after a while (hopefully); she has no regular schedule.
I am getting a taste of solo parenting this weekend - yikes. Greg is off at an aerial photography conference. I must say - while I do have frequent opportunities to go it alone (what with Greg's work, flying lessons, etc), not being able to gush over or bemoan the minutiae of Lucy and Rebecca's day is hard to bear. Also, Rebecca seems to sense that the voice of authority has departed and is extra naughty. Just having an extra set of hands around makes life so much easier. Especially lately, given that Lucy is still recovering from a cold and is teething... I discovered today that as long as I am in a room, she wants to be held by me and me alone. I have managed to make some plans so that the time passes faster, and of course, I had to arrange for some babysitting so that Rebecca won't miss out on her normal Daddy & Becca activity (temporarily a Mommy & Becca activity). I am going to drag Becca to Lucy's vaccination on Monday morning - maybe she can help Lucy feel better. Today was rough though - the car was in the shop until 4:30pm, and Lucy was having a hard time with everything (still smiling a lot though). Rebecca was sweet and sour. I had a little respite because my parents spent a few hours chez moi - boy did I ever appreciate that. I got so tired of having to discipline Becca at the end of the day - I don't know how I kept my patience. At least now, I have a few moments to myself - I haven't heard any footsteps upstairs, so I think the monkeys are down for the night. All that remains is to take out the trash - ugh, not my usual chore, catch up on dishes and laundry, and prepare for tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sister walk

Lucy and Becca update

I'm way overdue for an update so here we go... (pictures may be worth a thousand words, but are not always as entertaining) :)
Lucy turned 6 months old on Thanksgiving Sunday. It's hard for me to believe that life could go by any quicker than it did when Rebecca is born, but since Lucy arrived it's doubled in speed. My maternity leave is half over and I'm wondering how I am going to get the most out of those precious days remaining. Because we had always planned to have two children, at the end of my last mat leave, I knew that I would have another chance to be at home. This time, I feel as though a heavy door will be swinging shut when I walk back into the office. Of course, when the winning lottery ticket comes along, that problem will be solved!
I ran my first 10K since Lucy this past weekend, so I am pretty proud of myself. I mean, it's only 6 months since I had the baby, and only 8 months since I had pneumonia.
O.k. - back to the babies...
At the beginning of my pregnancy with Lucy I worried that I wouldn't be able to love Lucy as much as I love Rebecca. This was of course not a problem at all. I love Lucy and her sweet cheerful nature. I still feel like Lucy gets shortchanged on attention, and particularly on my time - there won't be another mat leave after all. Rebecca gets two years of Mommy at home, but Lucy only gets one (barring that lotto ticket I mentioned).
One of the things that makes it easier to return to work is knowing that my children are with someone I love, trust, and know completely. There is no one on Earth I would rather they be home with than their Daddy. So I will gladly go back to the battlefield to bring home bacon, even if I am leaving my heart behind (maybe my soul too - it is the public service after all - hahaha).
Lucy, having successfully sprouted her two bottom teeth, is now working on the top two. There has been copious drool lately, but I see it as the lesser of two evils that could potentially come out of her mouth, so she can drool on me all she wants. I had started feeding Lucy solids at the end of September but it seemed to upset her digestion, so I had stopped. Stopping seemed to correct the problem so maybe she just doesn't like rice and barley. At any rate, we launched into oats yesterday and she adores it, so perhaps I will give the other grains another try.
Lucy is growing more and more alert, and babbles more and more. Sadly, those famous cheeks are receding as her face changes shape - but she is still a cutie.
Lucy hasn't managed to sit up yet - but I'm not terribly surprised. She adores being on her stomach, and she will never voluntarily stay on her back unless she is undergoing a diaper change. In that instance, she enjoys staring at her giraffe poster and being naked. Rebecca hated being on her tummy, and tried to stay on her back, so she quickly started to raise herself up from that position - which is how she managed to roll over and sit up on the same day- abs of steel. So - Lucy rolled first, but Rebecca sat first. Lucy is beginning to grasp her bottle - soon, the universe will be hers to command.
Rebecca has been very helpful with Lucy lately. She delights in having me sing songs to Lucy, and always has suggestions for which song to sing. Of course, her presence ensures that Lucy is smiling and laughing and happy. Rebecca has helped me: push Lucy in the stroller, feed Lucy her bottle, clean Lucy's face, throw out Lucy's diapers, and pick up Lucy's toys. She has also tried to brush Lucy's hair, help her walk by holding her hand, comfort her, kiss her, hug her, and point out when Lucy is crying.
Rebecca's recent forays into biting, hitting, and imitating my reprimands (when she's not laughing at my serious voice), have been less appreciated. We went to a restaurant and she starting stripping and crawling away. My efforts to control her were met with a bite in the abs which left a nasty welt. Boy, was I mad. Then, I felt guilty for being mad because I knew she was overtired. Naps are a big problem right now. She isn't sleepy enough to take her nap at 2 or 2:30 anymore, but even when she is tired, getting her to take a nap is very tough. She really fights it. So often enough, she crashes during a car ride, or at suppertime (which is far from ideal). Even at night, she has been a monkey lately. She pretends to go to sleep, then turns on her light and plays with her toys. If she hears us coming to check on her, she quickly turns off the light and lies in bed, pretending to be sleeping (we know this because sometime she tells us "Becca's sleeping").
But days with Becca are usually a mixture of frustrating and sweet lately.
Potty training is going to last forever apparently. She has days of complete anti-potty, and days where she's really into it. I guess we must persevere. Today, after a fit during which she attempted to destroy a pair of pull-ups with her bare hands after sitting on the potty (she was angry that I wasn't going to let her take a bath RIGHT NOW), she decided to try on her underwear. All of them at once!!! Then, when they were all on she started complaining that she was "stuck" and we had to take them all off as quickly as possible. Later she tried to use the real toilet instead of her potty - but her butt is too small and I had to hold her the whole time so she wouldn't fall in.
We are now doing 100 piece puzzles with Becca. It's a source of endless amusement for her, and it's fun to sit and work on sections together. She likes to focus on some aspect like leaves or tree trunks, and then move on to some other detail.
Every time we attempt a trip in the car, Rebecca is afraid we are going to the grocery store (home of scary Hallowe'en animatronics). If we do go, she hides her head the entire time. Don't know when this will change, but I understand that it is pretty normal. Hallowe'en doesn't make a whole lot of sense to a young mind trying to comprehend the world. Deliberate scaring - why?

Fun in the playground

I wish adults could keep the sense of fun and fearlessness that toddlers have.
But then I suppose we wouldn't be wise enough to operate motorized vehicles.

Thanksgiving: Playing in the leaves


Rebecca has declared that shirt to be her favourite.
This is the first time she has identified favourites (although they have clearly existed for a while).

Thanksgiving: At the playground


She likes to push leaves and twigs down the slide in front of her.
I don't know why.

Trip to the grocery store


A complete outfit requires a crown.

Lucy turned 6 months old on October 12th!

Cheeks are getting smaller, but she's still cute-tastic!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Temperament

I came across this neat article about gearing your parenting style to your child's temperament:
http://www.huggieshappybaby.com/info/lib/articles/article.aspx?section=library&article_id=19&_nc=633592463411849047&_nockcheck=true

Anyhow, here is how I view Lucy and Rebecca's temperaments (so far). There are nine traits comprising temperament:

1 - Activity level:
Rebecca -High
Lucy - Moderate to low

2 - Rhythmicity/Regularity:
Rebecca - Moderate to low
Lucy - High

3 - Approach or withdrawal:
Rebecca - Approach
Lucy - Withdrawal

4 - Adaptability
Rebecca - low to moderate
Lucy - high

5 - Threshold of responsiveness
Rebecca - very sensitive
Lucy - moderately sensitive

6 - Intensity of reaction
Rebecca - high!!!
Lucy - low to moderate

7 - Distractibility
Rebecca - very focussed
Lucy - easily distracted

8 - Attention span and persistence
Rebecca - High
Lucy - moderate

9 - Quality of mood
Rebecca - generally happy
Lucy - generally happy

So, I would say that Rebecca falls under "Active, Difficult or Feisty", and Lucy falls under "Easy or flexible". So far...
Either way, they are both amazing and wonderful girls and we love them dearly.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Pumpkin - What is it anyway?

Before I post about how a pumpkin ends up in my toddler's bed - what is a pumpkin anyway?
O.k., we know it is a winter squash. It is from the gourd family, which includes things like cucumber and honeydew melon. It has seeds.
The best answer I could find is that from an economic and culinary perspective, it is treated as a vegetable, while from the botanical perspective, it is a fruit.

I told Greg that I didn't really want to rehash yesterday's experience, so I am not going to provide a detailed narrative. Instead, I will provide a free-form randomly-rhyming poem that encompasses the challenges I encountered.

But first - three nice things about Wednesday with Rebecca and Lucy:
1 - Rebecca and I had fun at music class
2 - Rebecca and I had fun playing at the park
3 - Lucy and I had fun singing songs and playing with toys

Ode to a stressful Wednesday

Lizzie has a pumpkin
Becca wants the pumpkin
My pumpkin, my pumpkin
Watch it go away

Pitch a fit in the car
Throw your crown on the floor
Cry big gulpy sobs
Stuck in traffic

Go to the grocery store
One more time
Load up the Lucy
Becca is asleep

Wake her up to get the
bloody pumpkin
Hard to see the pumpkin when
you're shielding your face

Get a frickin pumpkin
Stroke it, hug it
Make it watch an episode
of prehistoric beasts

Barf on the floor
Barf on the clothes
Barf on the carpet
Barf on the blanket

Take all the kleenex out of the box
While Mom feeds the sick baby
cutting her teeth
Fall asleep with the pumpkin
Wake up at bedtime
Eat a supper consisting of
Mostly red peppers

Run through the house naked
Screaming so loud
Giving Mom a break

9:30pm finally time to myself
play the piano
hear overhead
thumping little feet

Go investigate it
What do I find
Pumpkin in the bed
And inflatable T Rex

Too tired to fix it
Go eat frozen yogurt

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A girl, her dinosaur, and a pumpkin.

Sounds like mom had quite a day.

I'll leave it to her to post about it. Needless to say, you know it's been a fun day with the toddler when you come home to find her asleep with an inflatable dino and a vegetable.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We can't take Rebecca anywhere

She blows milk bubbles, apologizes to mom (instead of me), and follows it up with an imitation:  "What are you doing Becca?".

No respect.  ;)


Monday, September 29, 2008

Noon in the grocery store of good and evil

An elderly lady was admiring Rebecca and attempting to strike up a conversation with her (Rebecca was loudly speaking about types of milk at the time). Naturally, this did not work out. So, the lady tried to discuss Lucy with Becca, referring to Lucy as "your little brother". I corrected her and then beat her with my shopping cart.

No, I didn't beat her with my cart, but I did imagine expressing my frustration.

Why do people assume my baby girls are boys?!?!?!

They don't look masculine! (At least, they don't look masculine to me).

Lucy was wearing pink florals with ruffles. Granted, her Robeez were gender neutral airplanes, but, come on people!!! What does it take?

Is it because they have hair?

Why assume in the first place? Most babies are rather androgynous in appearance.

*

There were pumpkins and scarecrows outside the store to mark the change in seasons. I had to run the cart through the scarecrow gauntlet because Becca was starting to freak out. If I were a smarter person, I would have kept this fact front and centre in my brain. Instead, I thought about the usual things that I contemplate in the grocery store - what is it like to be one of those lobsters in the tank? should we visit the lobsters or will it just make it harder when we have to leave them? why is chicken so expensive lately? what am I forgetting off the list? aren't these white pumpkins freaky! There were only 2 non-express lanes open when we were finished gathering our goods. I picked the lane that looked best to me. It did not look good to Rebecca. We were too close to the Hallowe'en display. It was an animatronic wonderland of rat-eating decapitated heads, skeletons agitating for freedom from inside little cages, creepy witches, and yes - more scarecrows. Two little boys were cavorting with legs from a life size plastic skeleton. If there is one thing Rebecca finds frightening beyond all else - it's animatronics. It can be an Easter bunny with a big smile, but she will still run for the hills proclaiming that it's "too scary".

You can see where my story is going, can't you?

She began to make spirited requests that we leave and go home NOW at the top of her lungs. She was very distressed and nothing I said or did seemed able to make it better. I changed to the other checkout lane - it was further from the display, but apparently not far enough. She hung her head forward so that her hair obscured her vision, and remained rigid in the cart, munching on her cookie so slowly that she liquified the corner. Maybe she wasn't even chewing it - just holding it between her clenched jaws.

How is Hallowe'en going to go this year??? I don't know. I think she is going to be terrified and no promises of candy galore will be sufficient to placate her fears. All morning she was practising saying "Trick or Treat" and was talking about Hallowe'en. Hmmm.

But the nicest thing happened, a lady who was ahead of us in line offered to let me take her place because I had two baboos with me.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rebecca is on the road to potty mastery

Those that can, do, and those that can't... teach... dinosaurs?

She might not be quite there yet, but it can be a lot of fun just the same.

Here's Rebecca in the middle of a successful pee, showing her dino friends how it's done.

Potty progress

Rebecca asked to be taken to the potty today!
Usually, she only asks to be taken to the potty after having an accident in her training pants, but today she asked to be taken to the potty because she felt she needed to go pee. And she did!
Many stickers were awarded.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rebecca's favorite song

Rebecca enjoys watching and singing along to these songs.

Sometimes she'll be walking by and you'll hear her saying the following under her breath:

"Claws and jaws and teeth and bone, they like to growl and groan and moan.  Rawwwr."


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Driving lessons: Trip to the park

After dinner today Rebecca and I took a trip to the park. She rode her trike:

 
(note image is a couple months old)
Most of the way down she was all over the place, taking her hands off the wheel while I dutifully kept her course true by pushing the trike straight with the Kettler Convenient Handle of Parental Influence (tm).  She was good about keeping her feet on the pedals, at points even providing a small amount of propulsion.  Her steering was erratic though, and suggestions/commands like "Turn to the right" or "Steer away from the curb" would result in the opposite effect as often as not.  "Straighten out" worked pretty well though.
We got to the park (a 3 block trip) and she climbed onto the play structure.  A little girl and her mom arrived shortly thereafter.  I found out in quick order that her name was Gloria (actually she said Gloria-Stefani, pronounced like Gwen Stefani) and that she was a few days shy of three years old.  She had a few inches on Rebecca, and some obvious superior playground experience/coordination.  They were pretty cute, and ended up clambering up the playstructure taking turns going down the curly slide.  
At one point Gloria asked Rebecca if she could take the trike for a spin.  Of course this elicited no response from Becca, so I told her she could give it a go.  As soon as Gloria mounted up and started pedalling, Rebecca ran over and I was worried conflict over possession would follow.  I was pleasantly surprised as Rebecca took on the role of 'adult' and grabbed a hold of the handle.  Gloria could pedal quickly enough that Rebecca was having to run full tilt, especially around corners.  She didn't wipe out, fortunately, and had a blast tearing around.  They did a couple laps of the wading pool, went around the basketball court, and then went behind some bushes.  I got up to go after them and they emerged, with Rebecca riding and Gloria 'driving' from in behind.
After a few seconds of this, they switched back, and Gloria started chasing Rebecca.  Images of taking Rebecca home with tire tracks up her back flickered through my mind, but Becca wisely made a beeline for the grass.  Gloria dismounted and gave chase on foot.  She was quite a bit faster than Becca and caught up within a few seconds.  Hunter became the hunted and Rebecca really poured on the coals to keep up as they ran across the little soccer field.  Pouring on the coals consisted of flailing her arms and kicking her legs out to the side more, but not moving any faster, it seems.  She was tired.  They had made it half way across the field when Gloria's mom and I decided to go after them.  Gloria was caught at the far edge of the field by her mom, but she did a quick dodge and started running back chasing Rebecca, once again passing her and becoming the rabbit, rather than the greyhound.
Rebecca made it back pretty winded, and after a couple minutes of trying to persuade her to use the swing, it was time to go.  It was getting pretty dark and bedtime was approaching.  Gloria offered to push Rebecca home.  It was quite cute.
The ride home was amazing.  Rebecca only needed major directional corrections 3 or 4 times the whole way home, I was almost exclusively providing propulsion instead of physical guidance.  Gentle reminders of 'straight down the street' produced the desired result.  I think she 'gets' steering now.  Nifty.
So she sort of knows how to pedal, and understands steering, next up, putting the two together.
Then comes a bicycle with the seat lowered and pedals removed.
*rubbing hands together in anticipation*

Our lives are set to ludicrous speed

I think I've told Greg a million times, that I wish there was an emergency brake in my life. Everything is passing much too quickly (except when Lucy is teething and crying - then time stands still). I would like to think that I would use the brake sparingly - but I know that's not true. I'd be yanking on that sucker every day - at the very least, it would mean catching up on the laundry. I do a full load of baby laundry - for Lucy alone - every single day. She is a vomit factory. Rest assured... I have lowered my standards applicable to the volume of barf damage on an article of clothing that warrants a journey to the hamper. And yet - when night falls, the hamper is full.
So it goes.
Today Lucy ate solid food for the first time! (Photo to come) I didn't dare delay any longer - she had become insatiable. Naturally, she ate watered-down rice cereal. At first she seemed a little confused/apprehensive, but after her first taste, she was so happy and excited, my greatest challenge was dodging her flailing limb as I attempted to land the spoon in her mouth.
Rebecca had two little breakthroughs today.
The first was that she informed me that she required a change of training pants due to poops. This is really unprecedented, and definitely a step in the right direction. Sadly, she later committed a blatant act of poop-denial.
The second breakthrough was that Rebecca actively tried to involve Lucy in play. It came about like this: Rebecca decided to forego her nap despite being very tired (an alarmingly common trend as of late). We built a lego castle to house Sailor Venus and a Parasaurolophus, until I was required to tend to Lucy. After changing Lucy, I brought Lucy to the living room, where she enjoyed a bottle of formula. Meanwhile, Rebecca took my new fall shoes out of their box, paraded around the living room with them, then went to the kitchen after informing me that she was going to "make a boat". She used pieces of packing foam to create the "boat". These were large rectangular pieces that we are waiting to dispose of, and there were about a dozen of them. She then came an informed me that she had made the boat, and then made a series of requests that I stop feeding Lucy, put Lucy down. I told her that Lucy's bottle needed to go back into the fridge and she said " Here - I take it". Then we received a tour of the boat. Rebecca had one special section that was for passengers, and she asked me to put Lucy on the boat. I was afraid that she wanted to send Lucy away on an imaginary boat, but instead, Rebecca clambered on - wished me goodbye and started sailing away. When she tired of the boat, she helped me play with Lucy. It was quite lovely.
In other Rebecca news, lately she makes me kiss her plastic dinosaurs - but presents different body parts to me. First I must kiss their mouths, then their tails, then their claws and so on. I don't know why this is the case.
I have discovered that Rebecca is mixing up "angry" and "hungry". She often says "angry" when she intends "hungry". Becca adores being tickled and chased by her Daddy. This includes being "eaten" by Daddy Allosaurus (or whatever she thinks of on that particular day). So lately, she keeps asking him for "angry" - and now we know that it means she wants to be attacked by a parental dino.
Becca forced me to decontiminate the bathroom yesterday following an unamusing show of interest in the toilet. Since I am still fighting off a cold, and my sleep is frequently interrupted by Captain Nightmares (Rebecca of course - Lucy sleeps like an angel), I find myself to be very tired lately. The hardest part of the day for me is around 2pm. Because Rebecca's napping is becoming unreliable, I can't always grab a power snooze anymore. Lucy was having trouble settling down, so I wrapped her in a very snuggly blanket. The sun was shining, I had a warm little toaster baby on my chest, and before you know it - I was sleeping. Well... Rebecca got out of her room, bypassed the safety on the bathroom door, and got out the toilet implements. Fortunately, her shrieks of delight woke me up. When I opened the door I found her with the toilet plunger in her hand, splashing it up and down in the toilet water. There was a rubber ducky in the toilet, and the toilet brush. The floor (but especially the bath mat) was soaking wet. She had two stuffed animals sitting on the bath mat, and there was toilet water on the walls. It made me very grumpy because I was still tired, and now had to face a rigorous cleaning of the bathroom. Also, Rebecca had poops in her pull-up while all this was happening. No rest for the wicked.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let me have some too!



It might be time to start Lucy on solids...

Another video for your viewing pleasure. Rebecca and her menagerie.

Please pardon the darkness, taken on our little camera.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Becca's potty training saga: Tub turds

We are somewhere in the middle of potty training. No one knows how big the middle is... that's what's so intimidating about it. This isn't the standard police box I imagined.
Onwards, brave reader!
The hourly potty sit model has been abandoned in favour of something more reasonable for our lifestyle. Potty sits now happen when Rebecca wakes us up, just after breakfast, before or after lunch, before and after nap, before or after supper, and before bedtime. There are also potty sits before any car trips or outings, and any time I feel she might be prepared to "produce". Yesterday (day 3), was mostly successful pee-wise, but Rebecca did not poop all day long. Today, she pooped twice. Once, in her room - two rabbit turds "My Poops!", during "nap" time, which prompted her to open her door, poop in hand - and make it be known. The second time... well... imagine this...
an exhausted but dedicated youngish mother, recovering from the ravages of a cold, but hellbent on enjoying the remains of the day with her two beautiful daughters, sits on the bathroom floor garbed in mismatched but vomit-free clothes which are decidedly incompatible with the inclement weather. She is washing the hair of her eldest cherub, while also interacting with the chubby-cheeked baby strapped into a vibro chair. The bathing baboo is clearly revelling in the opportunity to play in the water. She splashes merrily in the bubble bath, playing with a plastic watering can, a wooden boat, a face cloth, and a blue terry octopus. If she stops smiling, it is only in order to concoct a vivid tale about a journey to visit the sea witch. The baby vomits at three second intervals with the vigor of one posessed by demonic powers - and yet, she too is happy as a clam. She bats at her toys, and bestows smiles on everyone - she is overjoyed to be in the company of two of her favourite people, and coos and babbles appropriately. At the end of a long day, this idyllic scene is just what the doctor ordered for a Mommy whose enthusiasm for potty training is beginning to wane.

Lucy: [baby sounds of happiness]
Becca: My poops!
Mommy: It's o.k., accidents happen. Time to get out of the water.
[a dozen poops appear on the surface of the bath water]
Becca: NOOOOOOO! AAAAAAAAAH!!! [splashing and thrashing, and attempts to make her body as inaccessible as possible - by lying down flat in the tub and squashing poops with her kicking legs]
Mommy: Rebecca, you're splashing Lucy! I'm going to count to three. I want you out of the water now!
Lucy: WAAAAAH! WAAAAAAH! WAAAAAH!
Becca: NOOOOOOOOOOOO! My Poops!!!!!!!
Mommy: Rebecca, we need to get you out of the water - it's full of poop. It's dirty, it could make you sick.
Becca: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! [angry wailing]
Lucy: WAAAAH! WAAAAH! WAAAH! [translation: now I've decided that I'm upset, hungry AND tired]
Mommy: That's it!!! I'm taking you out of this tub NOW.

And they lived happily ever after.
And naked Rebecca sang the "I'm a big kid now" song from the potty training video, while Mommy wondered why these things always happen when Greg is at work.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Becca's potty training saga: Day 2

Today was the second day of potty training. Rebecca was hyper all day long, and while still sick, had at least regained her appetite. We started off with a "morning pee" trip to the potty. She was successful and the subsequent awarding of stickers seemed to motivate her a great deal. Maybe she just needed time to process all the new expectations and tasks? At any rate, there were numerous successes, and I feel as though there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Hooray!

Problems:
  • Rebecca still seems to regard training pants as a variant of diapers. I am trying hard to fix this.
  • Rebecca had one big poop in her diaper (sadly, this messed up nap time) but didn't make any effort to tell me about it. The only reason I figured it out was because she wasn't sleeping like I was expecting.
  • Far more stickers are landing in "execution" than "communication". Most stickers are in execution is due to the hourly potty trips.
  • I had to use my big person voice to get Rebecca into the bathroomseveral times - it worked, and there were no tears, but it is somewhat frustrating. My best method for getting her into the bathroom if she is disinclined, is to convince her to show off her skills for Lucy.
  • Rebecca is still easily distracted. I don't think she's making an effort to listen to her body cues.

Achievements:
  • There were four pees in the potty, and one poop.
  • Rebecca told me when she needed to take her morning pee.
  • Rebecca seemed more enthusiastic about earning stickers.
  • Rebecca stayed on the potty a long time if she anticipated that a pee or poop was on the way.
  • Willing to pull on or pull off her training pants with help from me. I'm not doing it all by myself anymore (although her contribution is minimal - especially if she has brought toys into the bathroom).
  • Willing to wipe with help.

Highlights:
Rebecca brought the inflatable T-Rex and the Parasaurolophus model into the bathroom for one particular potty session. She opened the lid on her flushable wipe box and then made her dinos "eat" the contents.
Also, during yet another potty session, she brought a toy car. While she waited for pee to happen, she drove the car along the walls of the bathroom and the edge of the tub. Maybe I should bring her some reading materials???

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Becca's potty training saga: Day 1

Today was the official launch of Rebecca's potty training. In truth, the brainwashing has been going on for months - but today is the point of no-return.
We started after breakfast, with much fanfare. Rebecca got to wear a pull-up type training pant, and the diapers were banished. I also flipped up the change table part of her chest of drawers and screwed it into place, so that all temptation to backslide is eliminated. I made a lovely potty training success chart on which I eyeballed a picture of the Little Mermaid (it's not too bad). There are three areas where stickers are placed - "execution", "communication", and "just because". I have Cinderella stickers, Hallowe'en Dora stickers, and dinosaur stickers.
Execution is for getting anything in the potty, pulling training pants on and off, wiping, washing hands etc. Communication is for telling me she needs to go, or that she has gone. Just because is to sustain her interest and to acknowledge fruitless efforts. She seemed very keen and excited initially, especially when we finally opened up the box of flushable wipes. Before breakfast, we watched the potty dvd.
We talked about potty training. I tried to convinced her to train her Winnie the Pooh stuffed bear to use the potty as well (nothing reinforces like being forced to teach), but she had absolutely no interest in doing so. It's only 4pm, and she is having trouble settling for her nap - God knows why, because she has a cold and is very obviously tired. At any rate, it was a good opportunity to blog my frustrations and attempt to analyze progress so far in a more objective manner.

Problems:
  • She doesn't listen to me
  • She has her own agenda
  • She has a cold and is mercurial
  • She seems to have lost her initial enthusiasm and has started to actively protest the hourly potty sits (she runs away)
  • I have to encourage her, maintain her interest, but not come on too strong, keep it relaxed, and not lose my patience (this is extremely challenging)
  • She is easily distracted, and won't bother stop what she's doing to go to the potty
  • Clearly doesn't like being wet, but would rather remove a wet pull-up than attempt to use the potty
  • She doesn't tell me when she's taken a pull-up off
  • She was unhappy that I altered her room by dismantling the change table.
  • I don't think Rebecca is making much of a distinction between diapers and training pants.

Achievements:
  • Landed a micro-turd in the potty this morning. The rest were in the pull-up.
  • Told me she had pooped (within seconds of doing it).
  • Was bothered by a wet pull-up.
  • We banished diapers forever.

Highlights:

Rebecca invited me into her room to play. She was sweetly arranging toys on her table - little model-type toys - a mixture of Disney princesses, Winnie the Pooh characters, and dinosaurs. Then, she took a huge inflated T-Rex and savaged them all, knocking them onto the floor. All the while , she was yelling "Oh no! What happened?!?!". Then, the little people and animals hid inside her Fisher Price castle. But T-Rex found them again and ate them because he was "angry". Not hungry. Just angry. All of the sudden, Rebecca stopped and said "Poopy diaper". I asked her if she needed to go to the potty or if she had poops in her pull-ups. She made an incomprehensible expression of frustration. Then, she pointed to the parasaurolophus model, and repeated "poopy diaper". I said "Oh... the dinosaur has a poopy bum". Then she took the inflated T-Rex and had it sniff the other dino's bum, and T-Rex confirmed by saying "Poopy diaper" (a very doting and considerate T-Rex, given it had been eating the dino just moments previous). Afterwards, both the T-Rex and the parasaurolophus used a makeshift lego potty and wiped their bums. This was followed by hand washing and drinking milk out of a Woodsey bucket.
That event gives me a little bit of hope. It might just be possible that some of the things I say are accepted and processed by my toddler. However, in general, I am feeling frustrated and disappointed. Obviously this will go a lot slower than I had hoped. I will have to content myself with the little milestones. I am trying hard to be positive. My original intent was to make this a fun bonding day, in which fun featured prominently. In reality, it was a struggle just to get her to eat her lunch (this is not normal). Here's hoping tomorrow is easier.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another tooth for Lucy

After weeks of pain and screaming, Lucy finally has her second tooth. It emerged yesterday morning, which was fortuitous since I had to take her on an airplane.
Lucy was actually an excellent passenger on both flights we took, sleeping almost the entire time, and charming the flight attendants. On the first flight, she was crying wretchedly at the gate. I think the other passengers were alarmed at the prospects of sharing the cabin with a yowling infant, but we showed them Lucy's angelic side.
I wish I could say that the trials of teething are over, or that Lucy was enjoying a much-deserved respite, but it seems as though she is already working on more. It is so difficult to watch your child suffer. Somehow, her sunny disposition still peaks through between the monster barfs, the finger-chewing, the screaming, the diaper rashes, and the tears. There have been some fantastic cuddles as a result of the teething - so it's not all bad. :)
Lucy is beginning to scrutinize our food and beverage consumption. It is one of the things that happens before babies are ready to eat solids. It is a little unsettling at first, especially if you are holding her, but mostly it's humorous. She made some amusing attempts to drink Greg's diet cola yesterday night, but did not prevail. I still intend to hold off until 6 months of age if possible, however, Lucy is a very large baby, and I might have to start her on solids early if she begins to need a midnight snack to make it through the night.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Becca has musical taste!

Every now and then, daddy puts some of his music on, including some music DVDs.

My Stevie Ray Vaughn, Midnight Oil and Tragically Hip DVDs are in rotation.  Also sometimes I'll toss in Ray and skip around to the musical numbers.

About a week ago, Rebecca went through the DVDs, picked out the SRV box and brought it to mom and said "Music please".

She requests it occasionally now, will often sit and watch for a few minutes then go and do her thing.  I foolishly thought that meant that she wasn't listening anymore as she was off prowling around the house.  I turned it off and Rebecca came running.  "Music back on!"

She has also fallen in love with Ray Charles, and requests it as well, though that's a little more hands on as skipping around to the music numbers is necessary, avoiding the creepy dead brother scenes.  I'll have to pick up a Ray Charles best of CD or something.

Until recently the only music she requested was Dan Zanes Catch That Train, which isn't objectionable either.

So, now on to getting her into the Oils, Hip, Wide Mouth Mason and the Trews.  ;)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dual cuties



Photo credits to Elizabeth - thank-you Elizabeth!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't call me baby... anymore

Yesterday, I was doing a few chores in the kitchen while Rebecca coloured in the living room, and Lucy napped in her crib. All of the sudden, I heard Rebecca singing. It was the same line over and over. As I approached, I realized she was singing "Don't call me baby - anymore!" from the Kreesha Turner song "Don't call me baby". It really cracked me up. Now, whenever we're in the car and the song comes on the radio, I turn it up for her. She really seems to love it. She has subsequently picked up the lines "Don't call my number/Don't call me over". It's good to hear her expand her musical preferences beyond train songs.

4 months and 10 days: Lucy's first tooth!

Lucy has cut her first tooth! It is one of the bottom front teeth. Yesterday she was exceptionally out of sorts, and made random cries of pain. Thank goodness for the Tempra. Today, I could feel the sharp top of the tooth, which has erupted from the gum by a few millimeters.
Unfortunately, while the stages before the tooth emerges seem to be more painful, the appearance of this tooth is not granting Lucy any respite, since the adjacent tooth is almost out as well.
Hopefully Lucy will get a break before the top ones - there is no sign of them yet, but if she's anything like Becca (which the early teething seems to indicate), it won't be long.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Singing sensation with powers of retention

Rebecca can sing a Disney princess medley with the best of them, and has actually begun to sing in tune most of the time. What really surprised me was that although music class ended more than a month ago, this evening, while I was changing her diaper, she began to sing all the songs from a typical class - in the order that they occur! That is to say - she started with the greeting song, and was singing the names of the other children in the class. Wow. I was really shocked.
Scary wondering: Does she really remember all the things I say and do, even when she appears to be ignoring me?!?! What about that time last week when I cursed another driver through my open window? (He cut me off when I had the right of way - he was at a stop sign, and I was in the stream of traffic, so I honked my horn, and then he gave me the finger, so I called him an a**hole ). And yes, the girls were with me (which is part of the reason I was so ticked off by his actions).

Things that make Lucy laugh

Things that make Lucy laugh:
- Being tickled in the ribs
- The Down by the banks of the hanky panky song (with gestures)
- Zerberts
- When Mommy's bangs brush over her face

All Greg's girls and Greg's feet

I should probably retire my t-shirt - it's from a Taekwon-do competition 5 years ago.
Anyhow, if I wear a nasty t-shirt with holes around the house, I guarantee that barf-queen Lucy will not throw-up on me. If I wear anything remotely presentable, it's like asking for a spit-up shower.
As you can see from this picture, Lucy is extremely interested in Rebecca and everything Rebecca does. The reverse is not really true. Rebecca likes to do her own thing, and while she is intrigued by Lucy, she isn't riveted by her.

4 months and 8 days: Lucy rolls over back to front!


My flyboy was off to the airport, and thus, I found myself once again the master of bedtime. I had come to the story part of Rebecca's nighttime ritual, when Lucy began to wail. I pondered the merits of intervention - often Lucy will resettle herself, and it is very disruptive to Rebecca to splinter her nighttime routine. However, after a few minutes of wait and see, the wailing increased and it became obvious that I needed to do something. I apologized to Rebecca, promised an extra story (or two) as a reward for her patience, and I went to check on Lucy. Lucy was on her belly in her crib, with one leg through the rails. No wonder she was annoyed! But hooray - Lucy rolled over! Unfortunately, she still has to learn rolling front to back, so I may need to make periodic rescues of this kind. This particular milestone grants me a measure of relief because I no longer feel as though she can really get stuck.

HUMMUS AND PITA!!!! WAAAAAAH!!!

I consider Becca to be (usually) an excellent eater. She eats a wide variety of meats, dairy products, fruit, vegetables, and starchy foods. Lately her willingness to try new things has evaporated, but given her range of food favourites, I have not been overly concerned.
Except... lately she has become too fond of hummus and pita.
This might not seem like a bad thing to most people, after all - this is fairly healthy fare. However, imagine living with someone who wants to eat pita and hummus every day at every meal (sometimes to the exclusion of other things). Imagine a toddler with wicked garlic breath and a crown.
It's 7:45 AM, and someone is wailing at you... she is wailing for HUMMUS AND PITA!!! Explaining that it is not a breakfast food doesn't really cut it.
The picture associated with this post shows Rebecca preparing to eat some hummus and pita. We used to let her dip her own pieces of pita into the humus container but we had to stop for a few reasons:
1 - Sometimes she would lick the hummus off her pita and redip it
2 - If she thought we weren't watching, she would use an available utensil (or failing that - her finger), to avail herself of hummus (sans pita!).

Hand over Lucy!

Rebecca has recently developed an interest in holding Lucy in her lap. She announces her desire to do so via one of three extremely direct statements:
1) Hand over Lucy!
2) Take Lucy!
3) Hold Lucy!

Naturally, I do what I can to encourage her while ensuring that Lucy's safety is the top priority. After about two seconds of holding Lucy, Rebecca has had enough, and insists I remove the baby.
Becca has also begun to wonder and care if Lucy is absent (for example, if Lucy is at a doctor's appointment). While jealousy is still apparent, it is clear that Lucy has been incorporated into Becca's vision of he world and her concept of family. Whenever Rebecca plays with her toys and designates a Mommy, Daddy, and Becca, there is also a Lucy. It makes me happy.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What Rebecca says when she's stuck

So, there's been a toddler phrase that has been mystifying mommy and I.  When Rebecca feels trapped, or is being held and wants free, she'll say a phrase which starts out mostly nonsensical and ends with some identifiable words.  It's always made up of the same words, sometimes in slightly different orders, so we know she's trying to say something particular.

It goes something like:

"Oh bee see cry oh no oh please oh please I'm stuck oh no oh no help me."

Imagine that incredibly quickly:

"OhbeeseecryohnoohnopleaseohpleaseI'mstuckohnoohnohelpme"

There was something about a bear in there as well, last time she said it.

It's so funny, but still a little perplexing.  I have no idea what "Oh Bee See Cry" is.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Lucy 4 month appointment

Lucy turned 4 months old yesterday! Aaaah!!! How can so much time pass by so quickly?!?!
We took her to the GP for her 4 month checkup and vaccination today. Lucy now weighs about 15 and a half pounds, and is 65 cm long. She is therefore in the 90th percentile in terms of height and weight for her age. Apparently, it is good that these things are proportional. She was quite vocal about her dislike of the shots - and while I was able to soothe her immediately, she went into a second round of wailing shortly thereafter which may have simply been the result of being tired. At any rate, while she seems to be generally more sensitive to pain than Rebecca, I was pleased that Lucy did not give me the same look of betrayal and accusation that Rebecca used to give me during her initial vaccinations. Of course, Lucy did manage to vomit in my hair, on my neck, and down my shirt during our visit to the doctor's. In addition, she peed all over the outside of a fresh diaper and I had to be given one of the ones kicking around the office which seems to have originated in the 80s (based on the size, materials, and shape). I'm not complaining, but it is funny/interesting to see how diaper technology has changed.
Lucy's height means that she is 1cm from the limit on her infant car seat, so we will have to switch her to a toddler seat before the next appointment. I will be happy to say goodbye to the heavy infant car seat which is so awkward to carry and weighs a thousand pounds.