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!
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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.


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.  ;)