24 February 2013

X files - 2 Years & 10 Months Old - Finn-ding our way

so much change and newness going on around us and happening to us probably makes for a less than interesting "X files" entry. it was hard to note changes with her because so much else around us was drawing our attention. she did seem to take to finland quite quickly, maybe she was meant to be here.

foods: clementines, lingonberry, cloudberry, lactose-free dairy products, oat-based "yogurt", rhubarb, baltic herring, passion fruit
obsessions: picking her nose, eating yogurt, riding public transit, making cat noises to express her displeasure about something
             
(pippi horse and house and moomin chairs at the itäkeskus library)
  
    
(with papa outside the central train station in helsinki)

X-citing developments:
1. sleep. she sleeps in her own room in her own bed now. she had major issues with the adjustment for the first week or so. now it has settled in to the inevitable calling us in to her room 1-4 times before settling down, taking forever to go from settled down to actually falling asleep, waking up 1-4 times every night for various items, waking up too early and yelling or talking to us from her bedroom. ugh. and why again do parents think its so magical when their baby sleeps through the night? i guess it gives you several months (if youre lucky) in a row to re-fill your sleep tank from being totally wiped with a newborn, before the toddler and beyond years of irritating sleep habits begin.

2. food issues. finland has tons of lactose/milk/soy/gluten-free foods, and restaurant and grocery store labeling is pretty phenomenal. as a result there are lots of new food "groups"/options available to X. thus, she has been willing and excited to try all kinds of new food since arriving. we also cant believe how well her stomach has done. finland is well suited to her system i guess. :)

3. physical/fine motor skills.
- she has been walking all over and very active here. its nice to be outside each day. she loves the snow as much as she loves the water. so far, im always the one saying "lets go inside".
- she can (with much supervision) actually cut clementine pieces in half with a real paring knife. it was her idea to try, but its good to teach her kitchen/knife safety early on i think.

4. personality.
- she loves riding public transit of all varieties, but she wants her own seat and to be near the window on the road (not sidewalk) side of said transit, or else...
- she is doing lots of pretend cooking, and imagining with her car and animal friends.

5. learning.
- we changed up our bedtime routine again, and we are now reading before bed. we have actually started chapter books (send ideas if youve got em). its been as good as anything (read: not super good) for winding her down at night, plus we get to talk a bit about new ideas, words, behaviors.

(pascal campion art of mom/child bedtime reading)

- she is very interested in different languages. not surprising since every time we are out she hears different languages and most of the books at the library are not able to be read by me. also, aunt megan and uncle courtney got her some cars 2 wall stickers for christmas. we do most of the characters voices for her, one of them is french and one is german. she asks them about words in their native language. i guess its great that she is aware and has the interest. i hope it makes daycare a twinge easier to swallow (we are choosing to put her in a finnish daycare, though most of the workers have functional english so they would be able to help her through frustrating situations. otherwise, its basically full immersion. i hear it takes about 6 months to be fluent for kids in that kind of situation).

6. anecdotes. (M=me, mama)
- during breakfast one morning: X-i would like some oatmeal and a clementine. M-okay, you dont want the clementine in the oatmeal though do you?, X-no, that would be "peh". M-thats what i was thinking. X-but i could try it though. [we eat and are done. she climbs down] M-let me wipe your hands, X-be careful with my chin mama!

- after coming in from playing outside: X-mama i need a tissue. M-okay, you know how to go get one yourself. i can help you with it if you bring one to me. X-no mama, i could get the tissues by myself in canada, but here in finland i always rip the tissues. i need your help. M-(long pause) yes, i guess thats true. lets go take a look and try to figure out how you can get your own tissues here.

- while drawing pictures, X is telling me about what she is drawing: X-heres her butt...im drawing all the parts she needs. heres her head, to cover her brain. her eyes, nose, pee pee part, and bumhole. she needs those...and she needs a dog. he plays in the yellow snow. M-(gross face) does he take a bath afterward? X-yeah. thats why its not so gross.

momma mentionables:
1. winter. the snow that sticks around here is beautiful, and as long as i wear snowpants everywhere, i dont mind the cold/winter. this also means i get to wear fleece (as my under layer) at all times. winter has its perks. the trickier thing is dressing X. especially when we are doing indoor and outdoor things in one outing. she gets hot and irritable indoors easily, so we try to use her warm one-piece snowsuit for just lengthy outside play, and her two piece snow stuff when she are going inside somewhere.

2. transitioning. it is humbling to see how having X did, in the end, make the moving transition in finland much more smooth. it was kind of a hinderance having her around while we orchestrated the move, and i felt guilty about all aspects of that. but once we arrived, i had about a week of "holy crap. what am i going to do and how am i going to do it with a kid in tow!?" but the government stuff was so easy and most of the official duties were put in daves hands because he's the breadwinner here. everything beyond that was for X and me to discover, and get used to together.

3. work. i gave myself about two weeks in finland, but we felt as settled as we were going to get for a while so i agreed to start a bit of work on projects with both of my halifax bosses. i think it will be okay. im committed to nothing that requires a short time table and i would still have time to take a finnish language class once X gets in to daycare.

4. daycare. its looking like it will take four months to get her placed somewhere. she will start with half days first and then we would work her up as she is ready. they seem very willing to adjust to whatever we need. she does need a doctors note for her food sensitivities though.

5. yelling. i do this. ive noticed its only when im tired (which is not ruling out too many potential time windows). for the most part, im able to handle tantrums, etc somewhere on the spectrum of calm to "get over it, im unimpressed" (not that i say those words, its the vibe i give off). i can usually avoid yelling. but, cut me off from semi-regular sleep for too long and by the end of the week youve got a person who can yell with the freakiest banchies. i wish i didnt go there, ever. i always feel it was absolutely avoidable and was totally the fault of me and not whatever child action brought it on. im working on it for sure.

6. bored. the bulk of my challenge of being with X all the time everyday is that we arent even busy. we dont know anyone. we have no pressing errands or visits or appointments. this applies to the weekend too. and our apartment is so small that cleaning it and taking care of household things just doesnt consume much time. i have always believed in a healthy amount of "busy". not super stressful busy, but enough to keep your day, your life flowing. we are stagnant here. it makes me feel lazy, grumpy, and lame. in high school my grades would be dropping right about now. whenever i was on a sports team, working, and in challenging classes i was able to juggle and do great. there was no time for lazy, but i always fit in time for fun. when i have all the time in the world everything is slow and boring and depressing. as ive said before, i like figuring out the puzzle of how to accomplish everything i need to in a day/week...where i do not thrive is in blank slate mode. im trying to create artificial routines and activities for us, but its still driven by me. theres no friend/family/boss/obligation expecting you to be there. i guess this means im undisciplined, or some form of it. i guess thats true. im much happier balancing. like how i balance the adventurer in me with the strong homebody urges. give me too much of either experience though, and its not pretty. i need and like and thrive in a balanced life, and in doing the balancing. in a few months i think this aspect of life will change, for the better (fingers crossed). 

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