amazing/amusing phrases: thank you for picking out the brown sugar and giving it to me
obsessions: climbing, flowers, nature guide books, trams
food: cauliflower, rhubarb
good books: pete the cat rocking in my school shoes, extra yarn, franklin in the dark, honey...honey...lion!, chameleon chameleon, how to clean a hippopotamus, lowly worms storybook, the extraordinary dictionary of ordinary animals, actual size, bones, time to eat
good videos: moomin (invisible child episode), miniscule (ladybugs)
(we have a new dinner time game...she closes her mouth and opens her eyes and we put some food in there and she guesses what it is. shes never been wrong. we havent abused this game by putting a bunch of vegetables in her mouth so she seems to love it)
1. tummy. she has been ADDING things to her food list, ugh (cashew butter, sunflower seed stuff). i asked the doctor to order a 3 day fecal test to look for blood in the stool. the test said there was no blood, so that was good to know. woo hoo. now we wait until she gets older and see what she grows out of. weve already noticed that she is having less tummy cramping and behavioral insanity if she eats something from her "no no" list, now if something bothers her it shows up in the form of diarrhea and/or a red butt rash. one exception seems to be soy. i think that will be sticking with her for a while, or forever. im just glad the other stuff seems to be starting to wane in intensity. she can even eat small bites of cookies with butter in them. im trying not to get too excited.
2. bee sting. she got stung at the public gardens but didnt cry or tell me about it (i found it a few hours later). poor thing had a good welt from it. and the day before had been nibbled on by 2 black flies. she doesnt seem bothered by bugs.
3. tooth #19 & 20! teething done! this teething episode mounted gradually and then all of a sudden i was furious that i hadnt slept well in over a week. every day X was whinier and clingier and hungrier (because she wouldnt eat) and less willing to follow instructions. i found myself being very grumpy and negative and if someone opened the door a crack about complaining i would push it open, venting my frustration. i really hate how prolonged episodes of teething can make me so crazy. but now, that ship (teething, not the crazy) has sailed. hooray!!!
4. sleep. since her teeth popped out the nights have settled way down to the point where i would now consider her regularly (aka most nights) sleeping through the night, or at least by my standard. yes! also, our bedtime routine now involves replaying the day for her. she loves it and i think its a great decompressor for her to hear it. she has even allowed dave to put her to sleep lately. sweet, sweet freedom! lastly, she has been stroking my hair a lot for comfort. at night. and during the day sometimes i hear "you want to touch mamas hair". fine by me.
-crazy climber. she climbs boulders (singly and grouped) and she climbs scary ladder-type things at playgrounds now. its amazing to see her exude confidence in her body, if you can clench your hands in your pockets and bite your tongue against the "danger" signs flashing in your mama brain. of course we stand close by and occasionally offer verbal suggestions if she says she is stuck ("maybe you could put your hand/foot right there") but she gets up them all by herself. and, since finland, she has been very daring on the slides these days too. i love it!
-she has discovered narrow deer paths at the park and likes to bushwack through the woods and see if she can find her way out. shes really good at it. seriously, i think she will be hiking the grand canyon for her 5th birthday.
-she is finally becoming social and taking great interest in what other kids are doing, following them, and even interacting with them. its been interesting to watch her enter this new phase. she is starting to enter the wide world, and learn from and be interested in people outside of her parents. im used to her curiosity about books and nature and animals, etc. but her curiosity about what other people can show her and teach her is really neat to watch. it also means that her idea of fun is changing and she is seeking out the packs of daycare kids at playgrounds, or the older girls drawing with chalk at the park. it also means that our activities are really needing to change up to add more socializing opportunities.
-she is obsessed with flowers. she can walk around the neighborhood and distinguish between daffodils, tulips, geraniums, lily-of-the-valley, forsythia, pansies, dandelions, rhododendron, mums, forget-me-nots, buttercups, blood hearts, irises, and petunias. she adds more flowers to her list each week. its really shocking that she can see a flower in one color and later use the name properly for a different colored, same variety flower. she has seen tiny photos of flowers and accurately identified them. she also walks around opening and closing her hand saying things like "the buttercup opens. the tulip opens". sometimes when she goes looking for flowers and sees them she says "i like flowers so much, i sing this song: doe a deer a female deer...".
-she has been memorizing her books about animals, in particular two favorite books about underwater animals. she can tell you most of their names and factoids about many of them. i guess this is that phase where some kids become catalogers of dinosaurs, vehicles, animals, etc. i just love hearing her talking about the basking shark, daisy brittle star, or jonah crabs. i laugh every time.
-she is perfecting her blank expression with a sideways glance to mean "i heard you and im trying not to give you the time of day, while showing you im fucking with you".
-she can pick up that you are "playing a trick on her" instantly and can play the game back to you, and is not just mimicking. so dave will say "this is a turtle right?" (and its really a dolphin) and then she will say "its a frog" (and its really a crab). then she'll smile at you and shake her head and "nooooooo".
-she pretend plays "Xs restaurant"
-she is making up weird laughs to get a rise out of us
-she has been closing her eyes while walking (and occasionally while riding her bike)...and yes, she has bumped into walls.
-she has been identifying smells lately. "sniff, sniff. smells like puppy poo/flowers/dinner". too funny.
-she has been liking stories about things we used to do when we were little.
-she can open closed doors now. yikes.
-she handed me one of her toy whales one day and then grabbed a horse and said "i want to go to sydney, take me in your mouth" (this happens in "finding nemo"). then we proceeded to play a game where various animals got a ride in the whales mouth and get blown out of his spout. too funny.
-she has taken to saying "heck no" and "of course"
-she is starting to switch "you" in her sentences to "i", but she still doesnt know she can use "me". thankfully she also hasnt started using "mine!" to any big extent.
-she has been working on properly using words like recognize, notice, remember.
8. death talk. at the museum one day, we were talking about the animal bones and began the discussion about death/dying. i have no problem being honest about it, but i found that the descriptive words are very abstract and not really understood by her yet so i had to find a way to describe it so she could get it (sort of). "when the whale gets sick he slows down, slows down, and stops swimming. then his skin comes off and all thats left is his bones and teeth/baleen". and then she wants the hear the story about how all of her animals die.
9. introvert. someone at playgroup told me X was an introvert. not that i wasnt aware of this, but i hadnt put a name to it. i think it helps because then you can enter new environments or social situations from that angle and it helps get her settled and comfortable faster to think how she thinks. i guess i should also read that newly popular introvert book (quiet). dave and i both sport varying degrees of this personality as well, so it could be very enlightening.
1. change. be the change you want to see in your child. seriously learning a lot over here. again. as usual. right after her birthday X started to sport what i called "advanced tantrums": she pretended like she couldnt hear my initial request, then we would go through a whole series of hemming and hawwing until i ended up picking her up and carrying her (kicking and screaming) to whatever thing (diaper change, or whatever) we needed to get done. it was obviously far from ideal and nothing about it felt right. this always happens when she reveals a new and undesirable behavior to me. i just do something, anything, at first, and when it doesnt feel right (or work) i think more about it and keep my ears and eyes open for others with the same issues and finally we come up with something that works best for everyone. in this case, it turned out it was that i needed to be firm and committed to the request i was making (though not dictatorial or disrespectful) and guide the situation to where it needed to go. she needed me to be in charge and make her feel secure and taken care of enough to follow the rules. so instead of both of us flaring up like wild animals, i initiate my expectation, observe and verbalize how she feels about what im asking of her, but assert that we still need to do the activity. by calmly, but firmly, being in charge she is able to stay calm, and even if she doesnt like the thing we need to do, she will come because she trusts me and the atmosphere i have created around the thing we need to do. always learning something new.
2. daycare. im ready for some day care. ive hit my wall. i always thought (pre-pregnancy) that i wouldnt be able to stomach any time as a stay-at-home mom, so lasting two years was fairly shocking to me. but things are just not making sense for me to stay at home full-time anymore. im getting bored, she is getting more and more curious and energetic and i feel like other kids are better able to fill that role than me, for a certain chunk of the week at least. im looking at doing part-time daycare (a few mornings per week) to get us all eased in to the inevitable trek toward school and me working more hours. i think this will be good for everyone. she really wasnt ready before, and that is why i waited, but now i really see it and feel it. i think she can do this, i think she will enjoy this.
3. a blog entry about really trying to understand the people who oppose your beliefs (in parenting or otherwise). this has been something i have been trying to work on for.ev.er, with (what seems like) agonizingly minimal shuffles forward. being a know-it-all is something i think i came out of the womb as. i think somewhere in college i got a whiff that maybe my way isnt always the best for everyone. and now that i really, really know that to be true, its been a goal to focus on the humbling practice of controlling my tongue, calming my knee jerk reactions, and halting the free flow of advice that every minute threatens to spill forth from my mouth. its been painful, mostly because i honestly believ(ed) that what i can impart can be of use to the person because lots of things that guide me come from other people...but only when im ready to hear, understand, accept them. i feel like, because of X, ive been making changes in this realm faster than before, but ive still got a horribly long (infinite?) way to go until i feel like what i exit from my mouth is able to be perceived and absorbed by the person with the right intent and compassion that caused me to craft the message internally.
4. a blog entry about rage and control and parenting. i could relate and am myself seeing less and less and almost none of Rage these days. it feels good and im glad i got ahold of myself early. not that i spanked or did/said anything i really regret, but rage is a cloudy poison and im glad to see clearer these days. its also great to have to apologize less.
5. a blog entry about trying to explain to others why you parent the way you parent. not that i do everything that this woman does, but it is a good generalization of our parenting tendencies. thankfully i dont feel like i have a use for an open letter to our extended family, but in case anyone was wondering what we attempt to achieve each day with X, this would be the best thing ive seen yet, to give you an idea.
6. a blog entry about a mother asking for compassion as she navigates her childs aggressive behavior. aka, me on most days.