24 July 2013

X files - 3.25 years old - Xplorer

with the warmer weather since her birthday we have been getting outside with gusto which now means her brain and hands are always working, thinking, doing, testing, trying (there is a double meaning in those last two words). if we are inside she is imagining or reading, if we are outside she is exploring. its been great to watch the city blossom along with her, and to get to know each of them, in this new season.

**note to past readers, ive gone back and changed the kiddos name to "X" for the blog. while i realize this is a small, feeble way to attempt a little privacy for her, its something i want to do.**

obsessions: finding ants (and other bugs) and trying to get them to crawl on her, collecting "treasures" from outside

good picture books: the story of babar, danny and the dinosaur, toot and puddle, bunny money, king bidgoods in the bathtub, handas surprise, no-bot the robot with no bottom, eric (tan), we all went on safari, norman the slug with the silly shell, the magic hat, the three robbers, a carousel tale, insect detective, guji guji, the leaf men and the brave good bugs, black rabbit, louhi witch of north farm, katie and the sunflowers, rogers umbrella, whale gets stuck, the seal mother, indigo and the whale, the brave beast, can you do this old badger?, this is not my hat, lauras star, boo hoo bird, thats disgusting, little owls night, cook-a-doodle-doo, roller coaster, anatole, dog breath, mr pines purple house, mr strong, kittens first full moon, two bad ants, burnt toast on davenport street, the widows broom, the rainbabies, follow the line, henrys night, sleep like a tiger, cat dreams, penguin and pinecone, a picture for harolds room, pond walk, arnie the doughnut, little whistles medicine, our tree named steve, lets go home

good chapter/longer books: what if humans were like animals?, under the sea (mayfield), mercy watson goes for a ride, horse in the house, tales of oliver pig, the pony that went to sea, barefoot book of stories from the sea, the caboose who got loose, mrs noodlekugel, annie and snowball and the cozy nest, monsters of the deep (choose your own adventure)

frog and toad series: frog and toad together, frog and toad all year, days with frog and toad
mr putter and tabby series: row the boat, feed the fish, pick the pears, see the stars
poppleton series: poppleton, poppleton forever, poppleton in winter
henry and mudge series: the first book, bedtime thumps

good special interest books: the complete human body the definitive visual guide, life in the wild, thunder and lightening (pfeffer), unusual creatures

 (the reading box i designated for her in the living room; climbing in the viikki arb)

 (bubbles; bugs)
 (climbing; cats)

X-citing developments:
1. daycare. X was finally able to start (half day) daycare on may 20. this was great, but also hard. we chose a finnish daycare (finnish speaking kids and adults, some adults speak english, but basically none of the kids do) in a daycare center instead of in-home daycare like she had had in canada. so lots of new things to adjust to. i got to go with her the first few days and then i was able to do her breakfast with her for several more days after that. in that way it was great for both of us, but in my time there some aspects of being in such a loud, busy, large room made me nervous, and while i dont think X picked up on those feelings i can only imagine how the noise and largeness of the space and all the strange new kids and adults must have made her feel. i even teared up a couple times (she didnt see me) and was second guessing myself but trying to bite my tongue and sit on my hands a bit until i could really see how things would pan out. but, i saw the place was actually going to work after i gave it 1.5 weeks. the kids were all happy, and there are enough warm adults to make it a nice place to be. it got easier and easier for her, as it had before, and picking her up always brings a wonderful hug and a "i love your beautiful face momma". i think this will be great. and we are so lucky that its a ten minute walk through the serene woods to get to daycare, so easy.

2. potty. so she potty trained just before her third birthday, as i had written, and now we are just refining some potty behaviors. she had a few days in a row of accidents due to being unwilling to go to the bathroom when i suggested it (after i saw her holding herself). she seems to be holding it for long, long periods of time, perhaps testing herself to see how long she can go. i had to refine the way i made my request, instead of asking "do you have to go potty?" simply saying "i need you to put some pee in the potty" seemed to work wonders, perhaps because i wasnt questioning her bladders tensile strength and was simply asking her to sit and make some pee come out.

also, this may seem like a weird thing to say, but, with potty training...i dont see her "area" anymore, so i am less able to make sure it is healthy. she occasionally complains if the skin is in pain (i assume from foods that still bug her sometimes) and needs rash cream but otherwise its strange not to be knowledgeable about an area ive stared at and cleaned for almost 3 years, non-stop, multiple times a day. this is a good thing in many ways to be sure, but now it just reminds me that i need to be talking to her about her area and how its a private place of hers that doesnt need to be touched by strange adults anymore (or something along those lines, and even for bathing ive started to have her wash her area and be more in charge of it).

3. tired? i had a couple weeks there where she was willing to admit to me when she was tired during the day. oh it was sweet delight to hear her playing and then for things to get quiet and to find her asleep in bed. never. happened. before. this of course ended all too soon and we were back to where we always were, but every so often i can see a bit more willingness to give in to tiredness (in the stroller only though) when we go through the motions in just the right way and at just the right time. progress.

4. security blanket. she has become very attached to a white tram shirt i got for dave to wear at her birthday party (he later put it on a pillowcase and let her sleep with it, and it has stayed her shirt ever since). we are still adjusting to the meaning of it in her life. she gets upset if she forgets to bring it with us or if it isnt allowed to be in certain places. she even named it.

5. oral health. we switched from just brushing her teeth with water to using toothpaste, and we bumped her up to twice a day brushing: before daycare and before bed. aside from needing lots of reminders during the teeth brushing process, id say shes pretty good about the whole thing, which is great.

also, she still putting a shit ton of crap in her mouth. it seems to be more of an absent-minded thing rather than a stress thing. why cant she be done with that phase of life yet?

6. mischief. she has started telling us not to come in the room or to not watch her when she is playing. this immediately means she is doing something she knows is against the rules. she then gets very mad about it when we go against her wishes to not watch her and stop whatever action she is doing.

7. fine motor skills.
-she can now dress herself if we lay the clothes out on the floor. for the most part she loves doing it so its one of those things you can ask her to do and even if you need to walk away, she will still do it on her own.

-she is starting to be able to cut with kiddie scissors, one handed. and, of course they are tucked up on a shelf out of reach...

8. learning
-she has gotten way in to bodies, bones, blood, and other human anatomy type of stuff. its pretty neat to see that she is actually interested in it, and remembers things, and thinks about it and has questions later.

-she can identify tons of underwater animals in real life and in pictures from different books. one time we got a new underwater book with a mantis shrimp in it, and she ran to go get the other underwater animal photo book we had and found the page that the mantis shrimp was on in that book. it just clicked right away. no prompting.

(the two books with the mantis shrimps. [yeah i took a picture of it] i just cant believe it, these books had hundreds of pages in them, and these two pictures are very different shots of the animal; okay, i thought this was super cool too, so sue me. we had the human body book open one day and she saw the above picture and said "look, tube worms" [tube worms are aquatic animals]. i agreed that they did look like tube worms but that it was actually a microscope picture. she thought for a second and said "oh, those are bad germs that our body eats" [we had, on a different day, been talking about germs and looking at other pictures of them in this book, but she hadnt seen this picture])

-i love going together to pick up our books on reserve at the library. ive seen that she can now recognize different books that are done by the same illustrator, and not just ones in the same series.

-she is already starting to get an ear for finnish it seems. at daycare, i asked her the name of a little boy who i didnt know and she thought for a second and said "bi-no", i looked at the wall of kids names in her room and saw a name "väino" which is pronounced very similar to what she had said (without the "b" sound obviously). then i heard the daycare worker use his name while talking to him and i realized how much his name doesnt sound like a name (in a string of random finnish words, at least to my ear, "vii-no" doesnt sound like a persons name), but she was able to pick it out of her head based on what must have been just the workers talking to the boy a lot and the way they said words to him. i was (perhaps unreasonably) impressed by this. i also hear her making jibberish words and songs at home that seem to be more finnish than english sounding. and ive heard her saying the names of other kids in her room to herself.

-she is working on using the words earlier/later correctly and more sophisticated opposite pairs. one breakfast at daycare, she told me "im going to eat my whole breakfast, excluding the cucumber". lol.

momma mentionables:
1. observational learning. duh, ive just recently connected that how i learn in school/on the job is how i learn personally (particularly, parentally). i function best in a situation where i have observed others do/experience something, heard opinions/advice, and had time to reflect on how those pieces of information can inform my personal experience. with luck, i am then able to delicately enter in to the new world/task/experience with plenty of people around as sounding boards for stress/fear and to help me tweak my techniques as i learn to do it by myself. this has always been my fastest route to comfort, confidence, competence, and balance. but, being the first of my friends and my generation in my family to marry and then the first, again, to have a kid i was sorely, sorely lacking in the main, important factors that have always helped me get through novel situations. perhaps this helps me to grasp (and perhaps forgive myself a bit for) having such a hard time dealing with the challenges of parenthood. the scales of challenge vs enjoyment are becoming more balanced though, and im glad to finally be getting some foothold, though i would have certainly benefited from more parallel camaraderie along the way.

2. buyers remorse for birthday gifts. id say about 50% of my birthday gift choices for X (and i had to buy for both grandmas as well) were right on, and 50% would have been better left as cash and spent on experiences. at least we realize that now and will remember that for next year. a few key gifts, some new books, and an experience or two. that will be a more well-rounded celebration.

3. finland job. so, a few days after X got settled at daycare i wrote to 6 people for jobs with an open cover letter. two people didnt have a budget to hire anyone new but liked my skill set. the other 4 were heading into the summer vacation i assume because i did not get a reply, which seems unusual here because for this and other inquiries i have always gotten very helpful, prompt replies. and so, i guess i will try again in the fall once everyone is done soaking up the sun and nature.

4. yelling. i think previously i had mentioned reducing the yelling factor (at least from my mouth). its never been a common thing, but whatever it has been was too much in my book. at some point i read this little entry and it was a good little putting-it-in-context reminder.

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