Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cinderella's temple

For the last three days, Kiddo has wanted to watch "the dress movie" (Cinderella). And we have watched it. Each time she sees the castle, she identifies it as a temple. I am not having much luck in convincing her otherwise. She in fact identifies most large ornate buildings as temples, whether they are or not.

It does add perspective to the idea of a temple though, because what it is really other than the home of our Heavenly Father, which is surely a castle in its own right.

getting her to sleep

Just before we moved, Kiddo started expressing a definite interest in sleeping in a bed, not her crib. As we knew she needed to move any way (what with the new baby coming and all) we figured we'd move her once we had access to another bed, so we did it in the new place. It was a disaster.

She loved the bed. Let there be no question about that. But only the first night we put her in the bed did she fall asleep there in any reasonable time frame. Night after night, we (mostly my husband) spent 2-3 (or more) hours trying to convince her to go to sleep, stay in bed, or anything. We also traveled for Christmas during this time, and then she was sick, and then family came into town, meaning that there was no good time to do sleep training (nor were we sure how to do sleep training on a 2-year old).

When I did find my resource on sleep training (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child), he basically said this: 2 is too young to move to a bed. They lack the impulse control to stay in bed. Yeah, I thought as I read that, we've figured that out. But he also gave suggestions on how to keep them in bed, so we decided to try it out.

After three nights, we were failing miserably. And then one night, about 90 minutes into our "get back into bed" routine (on a day when she was very tired, so should have fallen straight to sleep) my husband cracked. He brought her to me, told me she should stay there, moved the bed, and set up the crib. She fell asleep within minutes of being put in there.

And has for the last three nights. Her falling asleep quickly (thus perhaps finally starting to catch up on at least of month of sleep deprivation) is a good endorsement of my husband's plan. His joy in not spending hours trying to get her to sleep each night is another. But the best endorsement for me is Kiddo's joy in being put in the crib each night. It seems that she may have understood she wasn't sleeping well, and is grateful to be somewhere she can.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

kiddo in a picture

This is my girl.

Friday, January 22, 2010

our first visitors

Grandma and Aunt M came to town this last weekend. It was lots of good fun.

You may notice from what pictures I do post that I never do my child's hair. This is largely her choice, as she takes it out within minutes of my efforts. Hence I put forward no effort (plus its still really cute). But Aunt M feels differently. Not only did she do Kiddo's hair (adorable!) every day, she also offered bribes for leaving it alone. Note the tell-tale signs of m&m candies all over her mouth (the chocolate may not melt, but the candy coating sure does).

They came on Thursday. On Friday we shopped (yes my family, you read that correctly). On Saturday, we rested and played. That night my good husband and I went to the Opera in the City. It was amazing, and he loved it. Best Christmas gift he'll get from me for a long time, so I hope he enjoyed.

On Sunday we were going to go see the Statue of Liberty, but after church it was freezing cold and raining, so instead we just went home. We pulled out the dorritos (chips!) as soon as we got there. Kiddo did not dive into the chips as I expected, but instead ran towards the kitchen. I'm grateful I understood what she was saying "Get a tablecloth." Like any child who has recently moved, she understands that eating on the floor requires a table cloth for good picnic-ing. I'm glad I heard her because had she attempted to remove the kitchen table cloth I would have been very sad. We found another table cloth for our dorrito (and pbj sandwich) picnic.

On Monday we packed ourselves up and headed to New York City. Kiddo insisted that she could stand the whole way there. This is what she does on trains. I was glad that someone else was in charge of watching her, so I could sit my pregnant self down and rest.

We went to the zoo. She loved it. Her favorites were the sea lions, which for reasons unknown she called "pictures of M..." Really? Why? I don't know. Here is a classic picture of favorite Aunt M (and equally beloved Grandma).
Then after lunch we headed to FAO Schwartz. The piano was a big hit. You can see that she's really not heavy enough to make the keys work. Oh well, she liked running around on it anyway.

And that was about all the fun she could handle. As we walked to Times Square she dropped off into a peaceful slumber that lasted until the ride home. And even then she was content to stay in her stroller the whole way. That was a blessing for Aunt M for sure.
That evening, she got to (again) play with "brush and mirror" which was Aunt M's concealer. She painted her face many, many times. And since it went home with Aunt M, that's great. After all, clearly I will not have much of use to teach her about make-up.

The weekend was filled with books, and songs, and non-stop entertainment for my sweet little one. And a lot more rest than I'm used to (but could if anyone else wants to come by). We figured out that the City is close, and easy to get to, so pretend your coming to see us, and enjoy what this place has to offer.

As we dropped them off at the airport, Kiddo burst into tears and cried out "See Gramma and M again!" and was almost inconsolable. Good thing I packed the fruit snacks.

P is for...

I took Kiddo to the library story/play time for preschoolers yesterday. It is a secular nursery, so I am excited to have this resource (yay for public libraries!). I obviously don't leave her there, but other than that, and the lack of the lesson about Jesus it is very similar to the nursery she used to enjoy (she even asked to sing "I am a Child of God" - we didn't). They play with toys for a while, then sing some songs, read a book, and color. Perfect. They even end by blowing bubbles. Kiddo loved it. We will make this a weekly event. And, even better, the library is just a few blocks from our home, so we can walk.

While we were playing, Kiddo was using an alphabet puzzle. She knows most of her letters by now, so it was interesting to see her pick out the ones she is most familiar with. This puzzle had pictures on the letters, of something that started with the letters. She lifted up the "Q" with a quail on it. "Q is for BIRD!" she announced. Umm, actually while that it a bird, it's also a quail I explained. Then she picked up the P. "P is for elephant!" Umm, actually, that's a piano on it. I think it's great that she understands the script of letters going with words, but clearly the concept that letters make sounds, which match with words is still beyond her. Oh well, she's only two.

This idea is particularly interesting with another alphabet toy she has. The word for "y" is "yacht". Really? I'm supposed to convince my little girl that's not a boat? You first.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

who's in charge here anyway?

Kiddo and I went for a walk this afternoon. We needed to get quarters (ah, the coin-operated laundry...) and put some mail out for delivery. She was very excited by the prospect, and found her shoes for me to put on. Then she started doing her tantrum walk, even though she wasn't screaming or crying, just clearly trying to communicate something. That something was her non-desire to wear a coat. "Go outside in onesie, " she announced with confidence.

I got myself ready, then mentally hankered down for the wrestle to get the coat on. But she fought harder this time (she almost always gives in once she knows I'm serious), and I was more tired so I thought, fine. We'll have a lesson on decisions and consequences. I grabbed the stroller and her coat and hat, and we headed out the door.

I was sure when she felt the mid-30's temperatures she would tell me she needed a coat. After all, she's done it before, but I was wrong. She quickly got into her stroller, with the stroller blanket, snuggled in, and was merrily on our way. A few times she stuck her arms out to point to something, and although she was cold, would not admit to it. She did let me tuck her back in though, my one sign that she knew it was cold (normally her arms would not be in.)

At one point I tried to force the coat on her again, again, no luck. As we walked home (and she was more cold) she spent the bulk of the time curled up with her entire body in her stroller blanket (more of a sleeping bag like thing). She would occasionally pop her head out, laugh at her cleverness, then tuck her body back in. I felt more than a little foolish pushing this blanket lump home.

So I guess I learned something about decisions and consequences after all.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

brief thoughts on sleep training

It is heart-breaking, and almost unbearable, to listen to your 4-, 5-, or 6-month old cry pitifully in her bed as you try to teach her to put herself to sleep.

That was nothing compared to the agony of listening to my 2 year old cry out "Mama, open the door please" over and over.

She's still winning. But not for long.

how long have I been doing this?

Today was our first visit to the midwife that we'll be using here in the new place. In what I hope was an anomaly, we finally saw her over an hour past our appointment time. This meant that there was a lot of waiting. I suspected this, and when we left the house, I was careful to pack lots of food and entertainment for Kiddo.

As we sat in the waiting room, and she started straining, I realized I had forgotten one key piece of toddler paraphernalia: diapers and wipes. My good husband had to bring her to the restroom where he attempted to clean up a diaper mess with toilet paper. And the only thing I could think was how could I forget that, of all things?

Apparently after two years of mothering, I'm still lacking in the basic skills.

ps- although the wait was horrendous, the midwife seems to be great, and I am at peace with my second baby's impending arrival (or at peace with the person who will be helping with it at any rate...)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

our new home

Our old home, where we lived six months ago, was a duplex. It had two bedrooms, a living room/dining room, a kitchen, washer/dryer hook-ups, dishwasher, and extensive amounts of storage space. We really loved it there, although I'll admit, by the end we were running out of space given the ever increasing belongings of a two-year old.

Then we moved into someone's basement for six weeks, then our house for three months. Our house had everything our duplex had, except double, because it was two floors. We really didn't use the bottom floor though. But all the rooms were a little to a lot bigger than at our duplex, and we had much less stuff, as it was mostly in our storage unit. Plus, we had a carport, so we didn't have to scrape our windshield. That was the good life.

Now we live in the first floor of a converted house. It has three bedrooms, one of which we use as a computer/storage room, a living room, a eat-in kitchen (thank goodness only three of us eat there on a regular basis), and no storage space. There is a washer/dryer, but it's shared with the other two floors, and coin-operated. The bedrooms are very small. We park on the street, wherever we can find a spot. There is no dishwasher. There was no fridge, so we bought one. Turns out we still need a storage unit, albeit a smaller one, for more money. In many ways this is a step-down from what we had (which we were not anticipating in the years we dreamed of graduating and getting a job).

But this place has some beautiful positive aspects too. We are together. We are close to a temple. It is our home, and we don't have to leave, or find a new place to live anytime soon. We still fit. And it feels like home. What more does your dwelling place really need?

singing time

In our church, children from 18 months to 3 years old go to nursery. It is a time to sing songs, play games, and learn short Gospel lessons. Kiddo loved nursery from her first day. Because of nursery she loved church. She is still fine with church, but I am sad that she misses this experience (although I know in my heart, she'll be fine).

And then we moved to a branch, which is a smaller congregation than our old ward. And Kiddo is the only child between the age of 12 months and 4. There will be nursery for her soon, but there is not one yet. So she sits in the adult meetings with my husband and I, were she draws, has lunch, and sometimes goes on little walks. (And we try to keep her out of the curtains.)

Last week I asked the woman in charge of the children's classes (kids 4 to 11) if I could bring Kiddo by when they did singing time. Kiddo was very excited. They were learning a new song. She sat in her chair, and after hearing the song a few times, joyfully participated in singing. She was only a little more off key, and missed a few more words than the older kids. But I wish you could see the picture in my head, of her sitting there, amidst the eight or so older kids, but paying very close attention to the whole process, and loving it. We'll be doing singing time again.


Kiddo learned to talk about three months ago now, and went from 10 words to hundreds, used in sentences, in literally a few weeks. And ever since then, the baby babbling that had been such a part of her life basically disappeared. Except this last Sunday. She kept turning to me, and stringing together nonsense syllables. After church was over, I babbled some back to her. After I had said a few "things" to her, she turned to me and said "You sink so?"

I completely cracked up. That was one of my responses to her for months as she babbled. "You think so?" was something I said to her all the time, but haven't for months. But she still remembers that it is the response to babbling. I wonder what else her little brain holds (other than all the words to all the Little Bear videos).

making cake

We had the missionaries over for dinner on Sunday. We made brownies, so Kiddo helped me "make a cake." As she actively helped stir, getting a fair amount of brownie mix on her, the table, and every where else, I sighed her name and tried to show her the right way to stir. As I got upset again about how she was doing it, I was reminded that she will only learn the right way with practice, and that's what we're doing, so accept the mess, and the resulting joy, and believe that the brownies will be fine. They were.

Monday, January 4, 2010

what we're up to

Kiddo got sick over the holidays, and continues to slowly recover. So anything "productive" (read: that helps bring my home into slightly more order) isn't really happening (hopefully I'll get dinner made, I think Little Bear will help). All day today (and yesterday, and the day before) within 10 minutes of putting Kiddo down, she melts down, so I hold her again, and still get nothing done.

Right now we're listening to music on iTunes, with Kiddo cuddling with her dad's replacement toothbrush heads. The things that bring comfort to her...

Friday, January 1, 2010


Disclaimer: For most of my married life, I spent a minimum of five hours a (working) day on a computer. That was my work, my school, my life. It was easy to blog. After finishing my degree, I determined to use the computer less. I have been more than moderately successful. Which means, some things get reported late, or never...

Christmas was spent at my parents house. As well as my parents, my little sister, her husband and two kids were there, plus my little brother and his girlfriend, and also my sister-in-law and her two kids (my brother is in Honduras right now). So there was much excitement in the land.

As we do on Christmas Eve, we danced to the Revels music. Kiddo was excited to lead the dance for while, as the song continued though, she dropped out for a while, then was finally carried by my brother's girlfriend. If you saw all the pictures, you would realize that by the end (all of five minutes) I think four of the five kids were being carried.
Then we had the children (all 4 and under) change into their matching Christmas pajamas. We've tried to take pictures of the five of these kids before. This continues to be one of our best shots. Then we put Kiddo to bed without enjoying the rest of the Christmas Eve fun, because when your 2, and exhausted, it's time to go to bed.

Christmas morning was exciting. Here is Kiddo with two of her favorite gifts: a pretty dress with flowers on it, and a sketch book and pen so she can draw. She has recently learned that she loves to draw, and we are very grateful that she almost always confines her abilities to paper that we've provided her.
Another well loved gift is her bear that recites "The night before Christmas." It's not clear that any one else likes this present. But she really does. And I almost know the whole poem now.
It was really nice to be around so much family for Christmas time. It was nice to know that when it was over, we had a home to go to. It was nice to get away. It was nice.

(You may note there are no nativity reinactment photos, or for that matter Santa photos. Both of these activities were no-go's for my child. She refused to participate in them both. At least she didn't cry because of the nativity (reinacted with my nephew playing all the key roles). She can, and does, sing "the baby Jesus song" forever (Away in the Manger) so for all she doesn't understand about Christmas yet, she understands that she likes to sing about baby Jesus. We're making progress.)