Memorial Day Weekend and Our First Playdate

Okay, someone remind me that I have got to get some pictures of myself with Hula Girl while I am ginormously pregnant with Gelato. Seriously, I have absolutely none of the two of us together since she was like… a year old? Yeah, and that’s only 10 days away from being a year ago. So, I’d say I’m behind the times. Moving on…

Memorial Day weekend was great for our family. Memorial Day was the first holiday Jonathan has gotten off from work ALL YEAR. Seriously, while the rest of the world celebrates Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day, my husband sits in his office counseling the troubled youth of our fair city (and doing a lot of paperwork to go along with that). Needless to say, we were ecstatic to have a three-day weekend.

We spent Saturday the same way we spend every Saturday. I went out early in the morning to get some coffee and doughnuts (yes, I get doughnuts… yum!) and then hit a few yard sales in hopes of scoring some good deals on toys for my Hula Girl. I found books for $.25 apiece at one yard sale, and stocked up! Then I went home and we went to the park as a family. Hula Girl loves going places with Mommy and Daddy. What kid doesn’t like to see his/her family having fun together? I love the sense of security it must give her to see that her parents actually like spending time together.

We also began going through the things in our garage in preparation for our yard sale next weekend. Holy moly, our garage was in desperate need of a yard sale pick-through. Boxes and boxes of  “we just threw this in at the last minute when we were moving so we have no idea what all is in this box!” Let me tell you, for people who’ve moved six times in four years, we are not good at packing and moving. Yet. 🙂

Saturday afternoon and evening were spent at our across-the-street-neighbors’ house. They really like to go all-out for holiday decorations. Memorial Day was no different- they even had sweet red, white, and blue striped sparkly netting woven in between the rails on their deck and patio! And the food wasn’t bad, either!

Sunday we traveled to my parents’ house, where we got to participate in another barbecue that evening. It was a lot of fun, and we learned that Hula Girl can sleep through some very loud noise. Thank goodness.

Monday… ahhh, Monday… Jonathan and I spent the entire day out together. We left just after Hula Girl got up (she stayed with my mom). We went shopping for Gelato, Jonathan, and Hula Girl. We found some things we wanted for Gelato’s room (crib mattress, white noise machine, crib sheets, and a Miracle Blanket). We decided which toys we want to purchase for Hula Girl’s birthday. I got a new shirt and flip-flops (hint to all women: when shopping with your husband, make sure to wear your most uncomfortable clothing and shoes and complain the whole time so you get to buy cute new things). And Jonathan got a couple pairs of dress pants for work. We also looked at cars to figure out what we want to get next… we really need to get a new vehicle. Safety is our number 1 priority, and spaciousness is our number 2. So we’re looking at SUVs and sedans… so far Toyota is winning our hearts. Shock. We ended Monday by catchingThe Avengers… Jonathan loved it. I thought there could have been worse ways to spend 2.5 hours.

Today we had a playdate- our first official one. I was so excited because I have liked the little boy from the moment we first met him (he is such a sweet obedient boy!) and his mom is really fun. We met up at the playground and the kids sat in the swings for about 20 minutes before saying they wanted to go over to the slides and things. They went over there, and the little boy started climbing up and sliding and pretending his dinosaur was eating rocks. Hula Girl just stooped over and picked up the smooth rocks (her obsession with rocks continues… but only if the rocks are smooth) and handed them to me one by one. And then my nose started to bleed. For the fourth time in 24 hours. And my nose bled the entire rest of the playdate. Super cool to be trying to have a conversation with another mom and keeping an eye on your kiddo while pinching your nose and holding a napkin to your face. Zero points for me.

Yes, I had a one-hour long bloody nose at the park today. Hula Girl enjoyed seeing her friend and his new baby brother. And I was thoroughly humiliated. Overall, not exactly what I pictured when I said, “Playdate,” in my mind. Here’s hoping that the next one is a bigger success!

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May I?, Past-Tense Verb, and More!

This week has been a very tough week for me. I am really working on trying to find the joy instead of just getting by. Hula Girl is at the age of testing. And boy, is she testing. Constantly. It’s been… work.

We are working hard on first-time obedience right now. I will not expect 100% compliance until she’s much, much older, but it is important to me to train her well from the beginning (no need to do it twice). I am teaching her to say, “Yes, Mommy?” when I call her, just so that I know I have her attention right away. Then I give her a direction and remind her that she needs to obey Mommy. If she chooses not to obey, or does not obey within 10 seconds or so, she has been getting logical consequences. For example, I was putting her diaper and jammies on at naptime today, and I needed her to put her feet down (she likes flailing them in the air). I said, “Put your feet down please.” She kept them up there as if they were under a hover charm (Wingardium Leviosa!) and looked at me to see what I’d do next. Of course, I couldn’t put her in time out right before nap, so I did the next most AWFUL thing. I took one of her blankies away from her. Immediately she started crying and scrunching up her nose and asking for her blankie, “Mommy give [Hula Girl] white nankee, meese?!” I told her no, she lost her blankie because she didn’t obey. Her feet went down. 🙂 (But I kept the blankie until we moved on to the next step.) Anyway, it is mentally exhausting to keep up with such a curious smartie little kiddo all day long!

One of the very greatest things about Hula Girl in the past week has been her extension of the phrase, “May I…” from being asked to be excused from the table to asking for permission for just about anything! “May I climb on the couch?” “May I pick a book now?” “May I eat with my spoon?” “May I take Riley’s toys?” “May I talk to Grammy?” Super sweet. I like that she asks for permission!

She said her first past-tense verb today, and one of you (*cough, Kristy*) will groan. Whenever she toots, she says, “Moo me.” She generally adds a, “[Hula Girl] toot!” and a giggle. However, today, the car started to smell funky, and she said, “[Hula Girl] tooteed.” Yes, my friends, Hula Girl tooted. Tooted. Her very first past-tense verb. Her daddy will be so proud. As will her Grampy. Oy.

Hula Girl has also learned more of her favorite song, “Zacchaeus”… Here’s how she sings it:

Yah-dee-iss… wee eedoo mom, wee eedoo mom…he!

Mime up inee ick-a-mo dee, …he…see!

……Inee dee!

Yah-dee-iss! You! Mum! Nown!

Doh-deen… house… to-DAY!

Yes, she sings it often, and loud. I love it. She also likes the “Ask, Seek, and Knock!” song, as well as “Praise Him!”

She is also getting quite excited for her birthday. It is in sixteen days from now (we have a paper chain, so we can count as often as we like)! There are several things I told her she could do once she turns two: taste coconut milk, eat peanut butter, try honey, use a knife (toddler version), and others. Today at lunch she was eating leftover lasagna and I was eating cereal (granola) with coconut milk. She said, “When [Hula Girl] neen two, [Hula Girl] tie Mommy’s ee-ee-al?” (When Hula Girl turns two, Hula Girl try Mommy’s cereal?) Yup, kiddo. Yup. She is also excited because I have taken her to look at toys a couple times this week to get a feel for what kinds of things she might like to receive for her birthday. Her strongest penchant is toward “babies” (UGH! Is she really MY kid?! I HATE baby dolls!), closely followed by stupid Dora the Explorer instruments that would drive any parent nutso in 10 seconds or less. If you’re one of the folks interested in buying her a present, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, buy her a Dora the Explorer ANYTHING. I despise Dora, and she will absolutely not be part of Hula Girl’s childhood experience. I will seriously take the toy away from Hula Girl after it’s opened and throw it in the trash. Consider yourself warned.

We have a playdate scheduled for next Wednesday (our first one ever!) at the park. We will be meeting up with a little boy who is about four months older than Hula Girl, his new baby brother (like, 3 weeks old only!), and their mom. We met at storytime and we’ve seen each other all around town. So we decided to make it official! Yahoo! I am super excited. I really like this mom.

So, there ya go. More to come!

Garden Update! Finally!

I have high hopes for this year’s garden!

Jonathan built five 8’x8′ garden beds this year, each of which is fenced, and two of which are completely covered in netting as well (tomatoes and berries go in the netted ones- we have a lot of pesky birds… and by “pesky,” I mean, awesome… so we feed them- we just don’t want to feed them our fruit). Then we got a huge load of topsoil delivered (for free- our landlord really likes gardening, so he paid for all materials except the seeds and plants themselves). Then Jonathan completed the grueling task of wheelbarrowing (hey, Rachel, if “blow dry” is the verb, so is “wheelbarrow”) load after load of dirt to fill up our garden beds.

Once that task was complete, Jonathan spent several hours planning, drawing, and configuring our garden beds to make sure the plants that need the most water will receive it, and that the plants that need space will have it, and that the plants that need to climb surfaces will be near them. He did a fabulous job! Then he planted. And he planted. And he planted. Hula Girl and I were gone for 3 days, and that’s pretty much all Jonathan did- he planted.

And now… we’re starting to see sprouts! Yahoo! We have over thirty pea plants shooting up out of the soil. We’ve also got lettuce, kale, and something else. (I haven’t seen the diagrams, and I can’t get down low enough to the ground to read the sticks, and the “something else” is something I just noticed this afternoon during the midday watering session, so who knows what it is?!) We’re beyond excited to see little tiny green babies popping out of the ground here, there, and everywhere! Really, we take a lot of pride in our garden.

I can’t say that I did anything to help, though, which is sad for me. Jonathan will get all the glory this year… that’s okay, though. He needs a little glamour in his life once and a while, you know? 😉 Fortunately I will benefit most, as we planted several fruits, vegetables, and herbs he doesn’t even like, just so that I could have them! And no, I am NOT willing to share my tomatoes. So back off.

I think this weekend will be the “install the soaker hoses and timing device” weekend. My dad is supposed to give us a call to tell us how the “experts” would do it. I am excited to get these things in place, so we can mulch. It’s 90 degrees here today (not nearly as hot as it will be later in the summer), and by the time I watered midday, the ground was dry and cracked even though Jonathan watered this morning before work. Eep. We definitely need that mulch down. We really need to conserve that water! For the good of the veggies… and the landlord’s water bill!

Yeah, this isn’t the most exciting post I have ever written. How could I spice it up a bit?

OH! GNOMES!

Jonathan gave me two delightful garden gnomes for Mother’s Day. You all know that I love, love, love… absolutely love garden gnomes, right?!

One is your typical lil’ guy, green pants, blue shirt, red cap, white beard. He is about 10″ tall and he’s wearing an expression of curiosity and glee. The other is about 4″ long, but he is lounging on a large toadstool, which puts him about 8″ off the ground. He looks more relaxed and happy than anything.

I have been working on names. I’m thinking “Fumwallikin” for the tall one, and “Elmwinkle” for the small one. Any other suggestions?

29 Weeks and Natural Childbirth

Well, here we are at 29 weeks gestation, and I am ready to deliver this baby.

Yeah, yeah, he’s not ready to come out yet, and we have absolutely nothing for him yet, not even a crib. But eight more weeks, and he’s technically full-term, and by then I will be most definitely beyond ready. I feel so huge this time. I do weigh more at this point in pregnancy than I did last time, but I also started out weighing more pre-pregnancy. Boo. I think I’ve gained about the same amount of weight overall, but just that starting number… it’s really throwing me off my game.

Oh well, whiner!

Gelato, according to my Babycenter update, is about 2.5 pounds and about 15 inches long, head to heel. He’s getting big! His head is getting huge and his bones are solidifying. So I basically have to eat a lot of good-for-you-things. Check.

Something that’s been on my mind a lot during this pregnancy has been the idea of doing a natural childbirth. This was not feasible last time due to other circumstances. (I maintain that I was slightly hoodwinked by my doctor and her nursing staff… after doing a lot of research on that lately, I feel like we could have let the pregnancy progress longer and had a natural delivery.) However, I am somewhat glad that things went the way they did last time because I have a lot more motivation to really do the research and prepare better than I would have otherwise.

I have been asking a lot of mom friends that I trust about their experiences, and every single one of them who has had a natural childbirth experience says it was wonderful and that she’d gladly do it again. Many of them also rave about the Bradley Method, so I decided to check it out.

I found the book by Dr. Bradley, Husband-Coached Childbirth, at our library on Tuesday and I was finished with it by Wednesday night. I was pretty impressed with it and it motivated me to try this. At first when I was reading through some of the chapters, I was freaking out, because the experience he describes is so completely different from what I had last time. I am feeling uneasy about using an OB simply because I know that some OBs are very quick to suggest labor augmentation and/or pain medications. I am still not sure how my OB will handle it- she says she’s on board for natural delivery, but I think I will have to question her more closely now that I know what I’m looking for. (Watch out, a little info in my hands goes a loooong way and I am S.T.U.B.B.O.R.N… but if you’re reading this you already knew that about me, most likely!)

Anyway, it’s also been really helpful to look over a few birth plans written by friends and strangers. I used to think birth plans were stupid because you never know what is going to happen… whether your delivery situation will be “ideal” or not. That’s why I was so willing to just do what the doctors and nurses said I should do last time. I didn’t really give any of it a second thought. Oh, hindsight, you torture me… But this time I am ready to make a birth plan and I have a lot of very specific things I want to include. Jonathan has agreed to sit down and read the book, so that he and I can make the birth plan together. We will be doing this in the next two weeks, so that when we go back to my OB in June, we can bring the plan with us to have it approved and signed. I also plan to call the hospital in the meantime, just so that I can learn what is required by law/policy/whatnot, and what is negotiable. For example, some hospitals require 24/7 fetal heart monitoring (a really wide, really itchy band is strapped to the mom’s belly). This severely limits the ability of the mother to move around during labor. Other hospitals will allow 15-minute check-ins and the like. Each hospital is different… so yeah. Since I’m not delivering in the same hospital as last time (shucks!-for real, it was so nice being in a brand new facility!), I have no clue about the hospital’s policies and procedures.

I will keep you posted on our birth plan and how things are going. I can say that exercising yesterday was simple and easy to do every day, so I can see myself actually doing the things I’m supposed to do to prepare. (Bradley’s method includes several “exercises” that are basically as simple as folding laundry, or easier… one of them is called, “Sleep Position.”) Here we go!

 

May I be Excused?

More Hula Girl cuteness for posterity’s sake:

  • She has learned to ask permission before leaving the table. A couple weeks ago, she learned how to undo the buckle on her booster seat, leaving her free to climb down whenever she felt the urge to leave the table. However, Jonathan and I have been quite strict and have not allowed her to leave the table until a) at dinner, all parties have finished their meal, and b) she has asked permission to leave. We use the phrase, “May I be excused from the table?” So now we hear every night, “May I be dood at ba-boh? Meese?” If it is not time yet, we say, “No, you must wait until everyone is done eating.” The best is when she asks to be excused from the table, receives permission, and then says, “No, deel eating,” and takes a few more bites. What, were you just testing us!? Silly girl. But I am rather pleased that we’ve started getting her in the habit of asking permission and waiting for all to finish. It just seems nicer when families hang around and finish together rather than hogging and dispersing.
  • She understands all prepositions, but generally uses “at” in place of “to,” “from,” and “for.” She also puts everything in present tense. For example, “[Hula Girl] and Mommy diving inee car at playnound?” (“[Hula Girl] and Mommy are driving in the car to the playground?”) Another example, “[Hula Girl] give dees at Yahdee!” (“[Hula Girl] gave a kiss to Riley!”)
  • She is starting to memorize and sing/recite even more songs and poems. She is even able to correct Mommy and Daddy when we make an error. For example, there is a song which goes, “Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him in the morning, praise Him at the noontime…” Jonathan made the grievous mistake of singing, “…praise Him in the morning, praise Him in the evening…” last night. This lack of understanding was greeted with nothing but pure frenetic desire to make sure Daddy knew the correct way to sing it: “No, ‘pase eem inee eveneen,’ Daddy! ‘Pase eem inee noonmime!'” (“No ‘praise Him in the evening,’ Daddy! ‘Praise Him in the noontime!'”)
  • She never stops talking when she is awake. This includes talking all the way to… oh, 8:40 last night (after we put her down at 7:30). Some of her conversations with herself are list-making: “Ama, yeah! Papa, yeah! Nay-nay, yeah!…” “Wum, two, eee, oh-ee, ix, no, wive, yes, ix, weven, eet, nine, tennnnnnnn. Yeaaaaaaaaaaah.” Other conversations review things from her day, “Ed yight, BOP! Yeh-yoh yight, yo nown! Neen yight, GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” (“Red light, STOP! Yellow light, slow down! Green light, GOOOOO!”) “Where are you, [Hula Girl]? Inee ma-oom? Yes. Mum out!” (“Where are you, [Hula Girl]? In the bathroom? Yes. Come out!”)
  • She is learning to enunciate /s/ very well. She always responds very clearly, “Yes,” when asked a question whose answer is yes. Just today she was working hard on saying that we were driving by other people’s houses: “Diving by udda pee-pohsssss ousssessss.”

 

A Momentous Event in any Girl’s Life

Hula Girl got flowers today… from a boy.

We were at the playground this morning, and she was clambering all over the equipment. (It scares me that she can climb as high and go down all the big slides alone now… but she’s really gotten the hang of it, and who am I to hold her back, right?) A little boy and his grandma showed up, and he started trying to climb all the ladders… unsuccessfully.

Poor little guy- he was trying so hard, but he was definitely scared. I think it was also slightly embarrassing for him to watch my not-even-two-year-old GIRL climb up the ladder he had attempted just moments ago. Finally his grandma stepped in and helped him figure out where to place his feet on the rungs, and he did all right. Once he got to the top, he was smiling the biggest proudest smile!

Then he started talking to us (I was talking to his grandma, so apparently he decided Hula Girl and I should be his friends). He told us he is three (and a half, says Grandma) and that his name is Bjorn. Yeah, like the baby carrier.

He and Hula Girl watched each other play for a long time, and then they both wanted to swing a bit. He talked to me the whole time swinging, and then when we decided it was time to go, his grandma decided they should go as well. She is from out of town (visiting while Bjorn’s mom delivered Bjorn’s brother in the hospital), and she needed directions to the hospital. So I pulled out my handy dandy phone and looked it up for her.

When we looked up from the phone, we saw Bjorn walking over to Hula Girl with several dandelions in his hand. He handed them to her and said, “Here you go!” She smiled and took them silently. As they walked away, she said, “Beige you! Bye!” (Thank you! Bye!) The whole way home, she kept telling me, “[Hula Girl] wowohs umma boy!” (Hula Girl got flowers from a boy!)

As my mother-in-law said, “Let’s hope these are the first of many!” 🙂

Doctor Visits and an Update-28.5 Weeks

Hula Girl and I had to go to my parents’ house over the weekend so we could do a final follow-up visit with her ophthalmologist (yes, I realize I spelled that word incorrectly in several different ways in several previous posts… but this is correct, my friends). The visit went smoothly, and we’re good to go now. No more leaky eye! Hooray!

I had to drag Hula Girl along to my OB appointment yesterday. Yes, I have officially entered the 3rd trimester… last Thursday. So, this was technically my 28-week appointment. Here’s the gist- he’s growing right on track, all signs point to healthy (both me and him), and all is good.

Details-

  • My blood glucose test (did it 3 weeks ago) came back with perfect results. Duh. As if anyone was concerned about me getting GD. Ha.
  • I gained 3 pounds since the last visit. I don’t really want to keep gaining a pound a week during this trimester (even though that’s what they say typically happens), but at least Starbucks isn’t doing half-off Frapps anymore. 😉
  • My blood pressure is (still) really low- 98/68. The lowest it’s been during my 2 pregnancies so far was 90/58 one time when I was about 30 weeks along with Hula Girl. The highest it’s been was 110/80. I think that was earlier on in the pregnancy with her, like around 24 weeks or so. (Aren’t you glad you know this now?)
  • Gelato’s heart rate was in the 140’s… holding strong there, I guess. Good for him!
  • Annnnnnd… I’m still measuring EXACTLY at 28 weeks. So, an early delivery is not looking hopeful… even though I feel like I could give birth tomorrow. I am SO much bigger this time around. Sigh.

I have been doing kick counts each night. I downloaded an app on my phone that stores all my kick count info. I start the app, which keeps track of time and I tap the screen each time I feel movement. I do this until I’ve felt him 10 times, and then I save the time. They’re generally looking for about 10 kicks within 10 minutes. My most recent kick count has 10 movements in… 40 seconds. Gelato’s a mover. All.the.time. Haha, yesterday I was sitting on the couch and I was watching my entire stomach shifting side-to-side. I think he thought he was swinging or something.

 

23 Months- Noteworthy Stuff

Hula Girl is officially 23 months old today! That means she’ll be two soon. Yikes. I am ready, but also not ready. I sent two pictures of her to a friend today- one from a week ago and one from a year ago… what a difference a year makes!

As you know from yesterday’s post, we are going through major sleep wackiness right about now. Actually, we did get a fantastic 3.5-hour nap yesterday. There were several variables that went into that nap, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be replicated today. First of all, I forgot to close one of her windows. So she had fresh air, outside noises, and the clack of the blinds to keep her company… whoops. Secondly, I spent a good 30 minutes in her room with her before her nap, reading book after book. Third, I implemented some of the things from yesterday- reviewing the “sleep rules” butterflies with her and reminding her that I am not leaving, I am just going to my own bed to nap while she naps. I also reminded her that I will be back when naptime is over. But today I got her down for her nap later than I wanted to, and from the way she was acting, we’re due for a short nap again. She was Miss Crabby Pants all morning. Probably because after yesterday’s fabulous nap, she stayed awake until almost 9 p.m., singing, laughing and talking to herself in her crib. I just can’t win.

On a positive note, Hula Girl has been very into songs, stories, and chants lately. She loves to sing her own versions of songs to us (hand motions included, as always). I love listening to her sing in roomtime. She sings along with her kids’ Bible songs CDs that we play. Yesterday’s song was “Zacchaeus” and she sang, “You…mum… nown!!!” over and over last night while she was falling asleep. Whenever she hears the song about Jesus knocking on our hearts, she runs to the door and “knock, knock, knocks!” She can also recite some of her favorite simple stories, and often tells stories as she’s sitting at the breakfast or lunch table or falling asleep. And chants- don’t give that girl a catchy phrase unless you want to hear it over and over for days. For example, today I said, “Yes, indeedy!” in response to something she asked in the car. She then insisted on hearing me say, “Yes, indeedy!” over and over again all the way home. During roomtime, all I heard was, “Yes… in… deeeedeee!”

Her enunciation is getting better and better. She still can’t say /r/ or /l/. Her /r/ sounds become /y/ and her /l/ sounds become /ee/, /y/, or /d/, depending on where they fall in the word. For example, our cat’s name is Riley, and she calls him “Ya-dee”. She calls lions “yi-yons.” She says little “eedee”. She has just recently started adding in /t/, /v/, and hard /g/. This doesn’t mean that she can say all things super well. She speaks very fast (“veyee wast”) and I frequently have to ask her to repeat herself. But she is getting better and better, and I almost always know exactly what she’s talking about nowadays.

Hula Girl’s appetite, for the first time in her life, leaves something to be desired. She has not been into eating very much lately. She’ll still eat a variety (pretty much anything we put in front of her), but she’ll take like one or two bites and declare herself all done and ask to be excused (“scuze?”) while climbing down from her booster seat. I am not super concerned about this. She is thinning out considerably, does not ask for snacks, and is not consuming terribly large portions of milk. I see no reason to get upset and create yet another battle of wills. If she says she’s done, okay, she’s done. I take her plate. In the event she tried to come back and eat more later (“hummingbird feeding”), I would not allow it. She’ll learn quickly enough that eating is to be done at established mealtimes and snack times.

I am considering switching Hula Girl’s milk to coconut milk. Most pediatricians recommend whole milk until 2 years of age (well, obviously after breastfeeding is over), but at 2, it’s generally okay to switch to 2%, 1%, or even fat-free… whatever the family drinks. Not being a milk-drinker myself, I couldn’t care less whether or not she actually has any more milk ever again in her whole entire life! She had the fattiest stuff at the right time, and now we don’t have to be so incredibly worried about brain development anymore. I am also concerned that dairy milk contains so many antibiotics… that can’t be good for a human. (I’m even considering just going straight to coconut milk for Gelato when he turns one, just because of the antibiotics… yuck!) Anyway, coconut milk has more calcium than dairy milk (yes, it’s added, but it’s still more), and it has the right amount of fats. Plus it’s darn tasty. We’ll see what her pediatrician says at her 2-year well-child visit in June.

Hula Girl is, as always, a climber. I am now having a hard time taking her to the park alone because I can’t climb up the metal ladders after her to ensure her safety. She hasn’t gotten it down perfectly yet, so I know she could fall at any second. It’s tough because when I go with her, I have to stop her part-way up each of the structures and insist that she tries something else for a while. When Jonathan takes her, she can climb as high as she wants and he can follow along just below her. I don’t believe in helping her climb at all. We do not touch her unless she slips off or misses a rung and will actually hit the ground unless we step in. If she’s low enough, I actually just let her fall. Better for her to learn from her mistakes than to be over-confident in her abilities. But I am glad that she’s learning to climb so well this summer, so that next summer when I have both of them at the park alone, I will not have to watch her so carefully. Another area where she can clamber well is on those foam play surfaces inside malls. She can get her little toes to grip any incline and hoist herself up to the top in record speed. I am seriously keeping in mind that she can join the Y’s rock wall climbing club when she’s six. The only downside to this talent is her propensity for climbing things she oughtn’t… such as the hope chest, the back of the couch, the dining room table, the baker’s rack, her dresser, etc. Fortunately she’s got the sense not to try to climb out of her crib. I have seen her considering it a few times, but then she looks down… and loses her nerve. (For now.)

Okay, there’s a good update for you for this month. Next month, it will be a YEARLY update. Whoa. And tomorrow will be a THIRD TRIMESTER update. Whoa again. Time is a flyin’.

 

Sleep Challenges

Things have been crazy lately.

Hula Girl is 23 months old tomorrow, and her sleep wackiness has rarely been so frustrating.There are a few notable times in her life when her sleep has been just so downright icky that it’s brought me to tears and nervous breakdowns.

When she was just a teeny newborn, she developed the dreaded 45-minute naps, which we did not conquer until she was 21 weeks old… that’s a LONG time. They were not vanquished without many tears (ours), tantrums (mine), and desperate attempts at… well, anything that was recommended to me by experienced moms from all over the parenting spectrum. Nothing, I mean nothing, worked: CIO, rocking, swing, stroller rides, car rides, pacifier, bouncing, singing, patting, PU/PD, wake-to-sleep, etc. Nothing. We just had to wait it out.

Then when she turned 15.5 months old, her sleep went berserk. She started takinghours to fall asleep for her afternoon naps, or sometimes she just wouldn’t fall asleep at that time, period. I stuck to my schedule, though, because I could tell by her cranky crabby ways that she just plain needed more sleep. We lived on early bedtimes for a month. Then her sleep improved, and she was back to normal for a month.

Cue 17.5 months, when she got a major cold; we hit daylight savings time; we had an impromptu weekend trip including flying, hotels, and weird hours; and then we had family visiting for Christmas. Lo and behold, kid wouldn’t nap in the afternoon again. So we dropped the pm nap, and went to one nap per day. It took a goodtwo months for the 2-1 nap transition to shake out, but once it did and we hit our groove in February, things were great.

And then we hit 22 months old. The last two weeks have been even more torturous on my heart than any of the other times of sleep disturbances. One reason: she can talk. Now, when she’s crying herself to sleep, it’s not just cries. It’s, “Mommy, Daddy, [Hula Girl] wants you!” It’s, “One more kiss, Mommy? Please?” It’s, “Mommy come in [Hula Girl]’s room? Now? Please?”

It started innocently enough- she started taking shorter and shorter naps. She was taking 3+ hour naps every day, and I was loving the extra time during which I got to nap. Napping is wonderful on a pregnant body. But then the naps dropped down to 2 hours, 45 minutes. And then 2.5 hours. And then 2 hours. During this time, I handled the shorter naps by providing earlier bedtimes so that she could make up lost sleep. But then she started waking earlier in the mornings…

I stuck to our schedule as best as I could, but nothing seemed to help. I moved naptime and bedtime earlier by 15-30 minutes, but that only resulted in earlier waketimes. So, it sounds like she just needs less sleep now, right?Wrong.

Have you met my kid when she is sleeping, well, on schedule? Happiest child on earth. Have you met my kid when she is sleeping, well,not on schedule? Whiny drama queen girl. This, my friends, is how I know she is not getting enough sleep. (Also, if you do the math, she was sleeping 15+ hours daily whereas now she’s getting about 12-13 hours total, which is a huge drop. Toddlersdo start needing less sleep, but not that much less, that quickly.)

Monday of last week, she surprised me with sleeping in and taking a 3.5 hour nap. But that was because she had been up crying in the night on Sunday night/Monday morning for an hour or so (see my previous post to read about that ordeal). Then all sleep went berserk.

She has not taken a nap longer than 1.5 hours in a week. She has not woken from a nap without screaming in that entire time. She has taken no less than 40 minutes to fall asleep each night. Last night she cried and screamed for an hour before she finally fell asleep. She has woken no less than 45 minutes early each morning. And most mornings she has cried off an on until it’s time to start the day.

Jonathan and I have been wracking our brains trying to think of anything we could try to tweak or modify in order to help her sleep better (and more). Our best option right now looks like we’ll have to stick with earlier bedtimes (and possibly shifting her schedule 30 minutes early to deal with the sun rising earlier), and just let her cry it out at sleep times.

See, we’re pretty sure that (even though she’s developed a slight cold), she’s learning to exert her independence and she’s trying to gain control over us in this area of her life. We’ve seen it in several other areas throughout the day, so we’re chalking it up to full-blast boundary testing behavior.

Some of the other things she’s doing to test boundaries:

  • She has learned to unbuckle her booster seat buckle. She has been wanting to decide when she gets to come down from her chair, thereby ending her meal. We have been firmly enforcing the rule that she is not allowed to leave the table until she is excused. However, it has takenwork and not just one reminder per meal.
  • Related to the above, she has been trying to stand up in her seat. The established consequence for this behavior is that the meal is over. We have to think of a new consequence: if she tries to leave her chair (she wants the meal to be over) and we say no, she stands up, which means the meal is over. She wins. Sigh. (I am considering setting up the pack’n’play downstairs so that I have a convenient place to put her for time out; carrying a toddler up and down the stairs while in my third trimester is not the best idea for us.)
  • Choosing her own clothes- no big deal on this one. She can wear whatever the heck she wants to wear (within reason). “Sure, you can wear your pajamas all day long. We’re not going anywhere, anyway! And Mommy has set that example all your life! You learned from the best!”
  • Potty. We started having some battles around the potty a few weeks ago. I just backed waayyy off and let that girl do her thing (or not). It resulted in a few accidents, but she didn’t like those. Plus she realized she wasn’t getting a rise out of me, so she’s back to perfect potty behavior (with the exception of begging to get out of her crib at sleep times to use the potty- another power ploy).

See, she’s a boundary-pushing toddler right now. I read a great article the other day discussing toddlers and their behaviors, and how we as their parents can reinforce and support appropriately. It’s basic stuff, but it was a great reminder.

Anyway, here’s our game plan for sleep issues:

  1. Hula Girl helped me make three “sleep rules” butterflies to hang on her wall yesterday afternoon. They are 1) Lie down, 2) Close eyes, and 3) Go to sleep. Very simple. We chose pictures of babies and kids from a few different parenting magazines exemplifying each of these rules, and Hula Girl had a blast gluing the pictures onto the butterflies. Then we hung them up in her room and now we point to them and discuss them before each sleep period.
  2. We will let her “cry it out” at bedtime as long as we’re 100% positive that all her needs are met. We put her down clean, dry, watered, medicine-d, and loved. There is nothing different now than there was three months ago, except that now she can talk and is trying to win a power struggle. We choose not to engage.
  3. We will remind her at the beginning of naps that Mommy (or Daddy) is still here, and we will be back for her when naptime is over. No sooner. If she chooses to wake up, she can wait until naptime is over. No amount of crying will bring a parent back into the room until that very special time. (Don’t get me wrong- we’re not keeping her locked in her crib in the dark for a ridiculously long period of time. 2.5 hours minimum. That is perfectly reasonable for an almost-two-year-old.)

Now, for number three to be perfectly effective, I would like to get a little tool- a Gro-Clock. There are several models of toddler clocks out there similar to this one, but many many many of the moms I moderate our board with have this specific one (only available in the UK, Australia, and Canada), and love it the most. You can see why- it’s so simple, right!?! We need one ASAP.

Any other suggestions? I know there are plenty of you out there who’ve BTDT with this time in a toddler’s life. Maybe you could send some encouragement my way, at the very least…

 

Words, Nighttime Potty Escapades, Zoo, and a Tearful Moment

Words: Hula Girl’s vocabulary is growing and her pronunciation is getting better… and funnier. For example, she lengthens out short /a/ sounds to more of a /ee-yah/. Bread and bed both come out sounding like “bee-yab.” When she’s saying hi to the man in the car next to us, she says, “Hi, Mee-yam!” (Yes, it sounds like she’s calling him “Ma’am.” That’s another thing- words ending in /n/ come out ending in /m/ when she says them. “One” becomes “wum.”

Here’s how she counts to ten: “Wum, two, ee, oh-ee, wive, ix, wevem, eet, nine, nuhnnnnnn!”

Another catchphrase of hers is something she gleaned from my own vocabulary, “Oh my goodness.” Except when she says it, it comes out like, “Ohhh myyyy nee-neeessss!”

She calls books “boops” and the tube slide the “boob.”

When she wants another one, she’ll say, “Nodda wum, meese.”

She has updated her pronunciation of her blankets. No longer are they “Neen wah nee-nees,” but rather they are called, “Wipe neen wesh ninkee an puh-poh neen wesh ninkee.” (White clean fresh blankie and purple clean fresh blankie.) She is quite specific.

She’s very specific about everything. This morning I sneezed in the car, and heard, “Beh boh, Mommy. Mommy nee inee no inee cah inee Mommy cah-eet out-ide diveen at yoo.” (Bless you, Mommy. Mommy sneezed in the nose in the car in Mommy’s carseat outside driving at zoo.) She always tells me that yawns happen in mouths, etc. She always tells me the exact location of everything. It reminds me of Harry Potter’s first letters from Hogwarts, addressed to Harry Potter, under the stairs, in the smallest room, etc.Yeah, I’m a geek.

Another of my favorites these days is the way she enjoys her food. Every meal is accompanied by a loud chorus of, “Yum, yummy, nummy, num, num, yummy, num, nummy, yummy, yum, yum, yum!”

Nighttime Potty Escapades: Sunday night was killer. Jonathan and I were woken at 3 a.m. (technically Monday morning) by Hula Girl crying for Daddy and Mommy. We went in, and she told us she’d had a bad dream. We comforted, prayed, and left. Five minutes later, she cried again, saying she wanted to go “poopoo an peepee inee big boppy inee Mommy Daddy yoom.” (Poopoo and peepee in the big potty in Mommy and Daddy’s room.) We thought it through and Jonathan carried her to our bathroom and set her on the potty. She went peepee, but refused to go poopoo. So we took her back to her room, put a dry diaper on her, and put her back to bed. Five minutes later, she was crying to go poopoo. So I went and got her, put her on the potty, she poopooed, and back to bed she went. She fell asleep until the morning. So weird. I am hoping this is not going to be something that happens often.

Zoo: We went to the zoo for the second time today. But before I get into that, let me back up a couple weeks to our first visit. That trip was pretty much a disaster as far as outings go.

First, Hula Girl threw up in the car just as we were pulling into the zoo parking lot. Of course, I had a fleece hoodie and lined pants as extra clothes in the car (um, hello, no one reminded me to switch the backup clothes when the seasons changed). There was no way she was going to be able to wear those hot hot clothes all the way through the zoo in 80 degree weather. So, I did what any sensible mom would do. I stood her up in her stroller in the middle of the parking lot, stripped her NAKED (not even undies on that little bum!), washed her down the best I could with water from my water bottle (of course I had no wipes- who do you think I am, Ms. Ready-For-Anything?!), and then dressed her again in her (slightly vomited-on-and-still-wet) undies, fleece pullover, and heavy lined winter pants.

Then, I went to the ticket window, purchased my ticket (Hula Girl is free until she’s three), and asked where the gift shop was.

Next, the gift shop didn’t carry anything smaller than a youth size 6-8. So, we bought a bright yellow T-shirt featuring a zebra and the words, “Go Wild at the Zoo!” I also had to buy a hat for her because her normal hat had been sitting dangerously close to her carseat, and it got vomited on. Nice. So there we were, tourists of all tourists, with my kid in a ducky hat and a zebra t-shirt… and that’s when I realized…

We left her shoes in the car. Now, call me selfish, call me lazy, call me anything you like. But I’ll tell you what I am. Pregnant. You think a giant pregnant lady with a toddler swimming in a Lemonhead-colored t-shirt needs to walk all the way out to the car just to get the kid’s shoes, when a perfectly good stroller is available?! Heck, no.

So I pushed her all through the zoo in the stroller. Not really fun for her, but at least it kept her contained and we could go at a decent pace.

Fast forward to today. Here’s what we did:

North American River Otters- Hula Girl’s favorite animals!

That’s right, my monkey girl pretty much made out with all the animals she could through the glass. She kissed otters, monkeys, lizards, and takins. She also yelped at peacocks, honked at geese, oinked at pigs, baa-ed at sheep and goats, and laughed while one camel tried to bite off the other camel’s leg. (No joke- does anyone know if this is a normal camel mating ritual or something?)

She ran and ran and ran. I wondered when she’d get tired of running. I have always heard of this phenomenon where kids’ legs get “tired” after walking for a while. (I vaguely remember feeling this way myself when I was a wee one.) Suddenly, Hula Girl was unable to take a step without stumbling. I asked her, “Would you like to ride in the stroller and take a little rest?” She came tripping over and climbed into the stroller, saying, “[Hula Girl] take eedee yest.” I’m pretty sure if I had kept her in the stroller and walked for another 20 minutes, she’d have taken her nap right there in the zoo. Ha, but my pregnant self was tired of walking, so we came home instead. All in all, the second visit was much better than the first.

Tearful Moment: Today I cried sobbed, wailed, and poured out my heart to God. This beautiful baby has gone to Heaven, far sooner than even she had expected. When I saw the news, my heart broke. All these questions for God- Why now? Why her? How could you? What will her parents do now? And then a moment of peace and thanksgiving- Thank you, Lord, for letting her go quickly.

What a story. If you have the time, please go to that blog and read through the posts written throughout Avery’s short sweet life. Her parents are an inspiration to all who are going through a really really hard situation. Her message is clear and strong. Be prepared to sob your eyes out. Because it’s so unfair. Again, here’s the link: averycan.blogspot.com

 

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