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.  ;)