25 February 2012

X files - 22 Months Old - Master and commander of language

could probably report this every month, but her command of language this month was impressive, from using long sentences, properly using expressions in context, to singing correct song lyrics. she is go go gadget talker. i love it.

amusing/amazing phrases: raisins all gone. go to grocery store to get more, [toy cheetah sniffs toy monkeys butt] cheetah: "woooooo-eeeeeeee. you go poo poo. i want to change your diaper."
obsessions: her dog puppet, new river train song, giving her animals a bath, talking about (and reenacting) being poked by a needle, pig meat (ham, bacon, pork), stickers
new food: mustard, lunch meat ham, hemp milk, guava juice
good books: can you make a scary face?, alphabet tree, baby beluga, dodo doo-doo, red sled, the best nest, fred and ted like to fly
fun videos: dolphin show, david letterman jumping dock dogs, shamu show

(the dog reading to X while she rides on papa; reading on the kitchen floor; playing animals)
(the bow actually stayed in for a few minutes; mama and X)
(papa and X; wearing mamas boots; mama and X again)

X-citing developments:
1. dr appt. got her final shot until school age years(!!!) and discussed the second blood work. X cried as soon as we got off the elevator to the dr office. i calmed her down only to have her go ballistic when the dr called us into his office. she freaked out all the way up until he actually poked her and then, go figure, she was quiet (while being poked). hopefully in the future we can convince her she doesnt need to be afraid. as for blood work, she still has low iron so the dr referred us to a pediatrician for a second opinion (our dr is a family physician) because the additional tests didnt show him anything. the pediatrician will look at the blood results and talk with us about further tests (stool samples or possibly more blood tests, though im not really interested in that) and where to go from here. from looking around online, i doubt its a diet issue (she loves foods high in iron), i think its a digestive tract problem of not absorbing the dietary iron properly and/or of losing blood in the stool (we havent seen any, but that doesnt mean its not there).

a sidenote about iron, it helps to eat iron-rich foods with vitamin C (to aid in irons absorption), so weve bumped up our cantaloupe consumption and the guava juice is new. these are basically the only things on "foods high in vitamin C" lists that X can/will eat.

2. eye appt. finally had our eye dr appt (the referral took a while) but thankfully all looks good. i guess X has extra skin around her nose (this is normal) that can make it appear like her eye turns in but everything checked out and she is fine. i cant believe how patient she was for the almost 2 hour appt.

3. weaning. i had had it with recent random night wakings. often she wasnt even getting at the milk, just making me sore for comfort while getting a bunch of air in her tummy in the process. then she'd be up whining about the gas pressure that that caused. no thanks. i was about to embark on a regimented plan to get her weaned (which would likely involve nights of crying)...and then i figured out i could work with her when she woke up and get her back to sleep without nursing by offering her other comfort and being firm and consistent and in a few nights (and staying patient with the 45 minutes it would take her to go back to sleep) she was fine giving up the middle-of-the-night nursings with little or no crying about it. now we just have the nursing at bedtime. this is very doable for me. not sure how long she will hold on to the bedtime nurse, but this is fine for now. i had really wanted to do it as minimally abrasive as possible and i guess i got my wish. and she gets to keep the mama antibodies through the bulk of the rest of cold/flu season.

4. wonder week. the last one? ha, i doubt it, but its the last babydom documented one i could find. as i mentioned, this wonder week started while dave was starting to get sick. joy. i love fake out bedtime. the start of the wonder week looked like this: finally down at 11p. up at 8a. back in bed at 10:30p! up at 8:30a...and it slowly returned to normal over the week until dave was mostly better. nearly 15 hour days with her, straight. no break. gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! thank goodness she was in a good mood for the most part.

5. fear crying. she has gained a new behavior (seemed to be florida/in-a-new-place triggered) where she cries intensely and inconsolably due to fear. they arent tantrums. they are triggered by seemingly nothing sometimes and she will wail uncontrollably for long periods of time (sometimes 45+ minutes) without being able to be consoled. at all. often she is wailing about some silly, unintelligible thing (sleeping in the car at night [!? shes never done that], seeing a boy named austin [he was a boy from florida], grandpa walking past her) and cannot be talked out of it or calmed down. this is our first situation where we havent been able to assess a situation, figure out what is causing her distress and find a way around or past it quickly. as with any foreign-to-us parenting phase, at first we were flustered, frustrated, confused, etc. and we had a hard time keeping our cool with her while trying to figure out how to make the wailing stop. i found myself talking to her about not crying, that there was "no need to cry", etc. and then i stopped and thought how terrible that is. she needs to know that crying is okay. i cry to release stress sometimes. things that make me mad or sad or happy can make me cry. crying is fine. so now i need to figure out the language to convey crying isnt for wimps while letting her know she was safe and doesnt need to be to scared of whatever it was that triggered her crying fit.

as an update to this: since weve been home from FL, she has had one crying fit for her babysitter, and a few fits for me. i would say these crying spells are related to the FL ones, but not the same. they arent fear-triggered so much as they seem to be something else. for me, her fits have been around snack time or from being tired and needing a short nap. it starts by her not answering my question, or if she says "no" and i comply with her "no"...she crumples and fixates on this question/interaction. again, these arent tantrums, they are like intense emotion storms where you cant get through to her. i saw she was hungry for a snack, so we were trying to remedy that, the situation deteriorated and derailed. or, i saw she was tired, and was trying to help her take the nap. it took 45 minutes to calm down in order to take the nap she would normally be fine with taking. ive been stumped about dealing with it. if it breaks down to the point where i cant deal with her nicely anymore, i tell her i am going to go take care of myself for a minute and she will need to wait until i can get back to her problem. and actually, this has been the thing that works the best (for me, and actually for her too), probably because im taking care of myself and lowering my stress level so that she cant feed on my stress and use it to build up her outburst.

6. physical. she seems to be really relishing the thrill of climbing these days. more so than any other time in the past.

7. personality. she has been saying "you dont want to go to..." A LOT these days. ugh. so now its about not framing it in the language of choice. i give her lots of choice in her day, but not about where we are going anymore. according to her, she would love nothing more than to stay in the play room from sun up to sun down. no thank you.

she also loves having her puppets read to her. she loves her puppets in general. she also loves to supply them, her animals, and us with scripted lines that we are supposed to say to her. her favorite thing is to hide somewhere and say "wheres X. cant see her. hear voice but cant see her. where could she be" one line after another without break. if you dont then repeat her exactly as the script goes, she will patiently repeat your line, once, maybe twice, and then she starts getting testy. i guess she would make a good director, she tells us who, when, where, and how to deliver our lines.

8. learning. she has on hand 2-3 dozen songs that she knows the lyrics to and wanders around singing to herself. i would say there are also another 2 dozen songs you can remind her of and she can sing. also, she can hear a song once or twice now and sing it even if we havent talked about the lyrics (heard her do this with "ive been working on the railroad" and was floored). the kid loves music.

she is talking, and talking, and talking. she is basically thisclose to just conversing with us like older preschoolers. its wild. she hears things from the tv, radio, computer, other people, us in the other room and she repeats, repeats, repeats. she can say anything and is remembering longer and longer phrases and the context that they belong in. i didnt fill out much in the "amusing/amazing phrases" section this month (see above) because everything she said was a bit mind-blowing, so i didnt run over to the computer and record much.

anecdote: dave was sick in bed one day. she climbed up and dave said "dont squeeze me. papa doesnt feel good". X said "take me to doctor" ("me" referring to dave. lol) and dave said "no, papa is okay, he doesnt need to see the doctor". then she came over and put her hands under him and said "scoop you up, take to doctor". haha. i think i will have a partner in crime for forcing dave to see a doctor in the years to come. finally, two against one will be better.

9. patience-testing updates:
- physical aggression. shes on to another round of bullying (friends now). similar to her last bout, it mostly comes out when she is hungry. she will grab and squeeze people (their skin or their clothes), occasionally she will push. often this is accompanied by her "scary face". may this pass quickly...
- her "expletive" use. this issue seems to have died down considerably by just not highlighting it when she tests out her expletive. we will just say "i heard you say X", if she presses us to acknowledge it.
- throwing food on the floor. she knows our food rule (no throwing food on the floor), so we simply tell her after the first food-on-floor incident "its not okay to throw food on the floor. its looks like you are done eating. [we push her chair away from the table] climb down now and lets wipe your hands. dinner is over." it took a very short time (a few days) for her to modify her actions.
- getting her winter gear on to go outside or getting a diaper change. we are still working through this one. for diapers, it seems to help to allow her to bring an animal or toy with her while we change her, or to engage her by talking about a book, a song, an incident that recently happened. with winter gear, we will get her essentials on in the house and then bring her coat and hat out the door into the hallway with us and talk to her about putting them on before we actually get outside.
- "soothing" her after a fall or scary event. in some ways this is much better, in some ways this is WAY worse (see above note #5).

momma mentionables:
1. just a few parenting articles/finds:
- the website for the dr mckenna sleep lab. he is out of notre dame and studies the science of mother/infant sleep. its really interesting and compelling. i particularly liked this video.

- more infant sleep info, with some science behind what is "normal" in infant sleep and why cry-it-out and controlled crying arent okay.

- benefits to co-sleeping beyond infancy.

- french parenting article. ugh, the new "tiger mom" parenting style. im sorry, i saw nothing about the french parenting of young ones that was impressive, nor did i find any of the college-age products of said parenting style to be impressive or desirable (at least in the kids i taught in rennes). so, no, i do not buy this latest ode to a parenting style. i did smile though when i saw this because the woman investigated moms who lived in ohio and moms who lived in rennes. go figure.

- insight into what happens to the brain when we "lose it"

- community play things. the website of a great made in u.s.a. wooden toys/furniture company that makes extremely high quality, creatively designed things and offers free shipping (in the u.s.). cool!

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