24 October 2013

X files - 3.5 years old - Busy bee, curious cat

such an active little thing with tons of diverse interests. shes certainly one of the most intriguing people i know. she can absorb so much now and sorts through it to find her biggest interests and uses that to drive her ever onward. its fun to be pulled along on the journey, and we feel lucky to be the ones who get to privately travel the early part of her path with her. we are also learning so much more about life.

obsessions: hearing stories (made up or from books), her (toy) animal friends, dessert

good picture books: on a beam of light, drat that cat!, nicos octopus, creepy carrots!, jumanji, the dark, meg goes to bed, very tricky alfie atkins, the big orange splot, the caterpillar and the polliwog, who needs donuts?, what can you do with a shoe?, the magic bed, aunt green/aunt brown/and aunt lavender, everyone poops, arthurs reading race, the day the crayons quit, mog and bunny, the story of the little mole who knew it was none of his business

good chapter/longer books: cloud tea monkeys, buddha at bedtime, jip and janneke, folktales from africa, the acorn tree and other folktales, orpheus and eurydice, theseus and the minotaur

adventures of tim series: tim and ginger, tim and charlotte, tim to the lighthouse

good special interest books: a first book of nature, whats it like to be...a bee?, are trees alive?, creepy creatures

 (summer girl)
 (cardboard butterfly wings; bucket o snails)
 (flying across marimekko bean bags; tire swing - finnish style)
 (testing the waters of her pedal bike; big jumping)
 (last day at linnanmäki. she was brave enough to ride solo on the horse)

X-citing developments:

1. daycare. its going well. she has a close friend there (someone else whose native language isnt finnish, but isnt english either) and has some older kid friends on the playground. she has several grown-ups she also calls her friends and she is socializing more each week. she seems to love the food and is really enjoying herself there. weve slowly added time to the length of her daycare day so she could be exposed to more finnish and her curiosity for the language has skyrocketed, even in the first week of increasing her time (she went from 8-noon originally, but now its 8:30-2p). if it was possible, id keep a list of the finnish words she now knows and has used. theyve told me she answers in finnish now to questions she is familiar with.

2. traditions.

family dinner. this is becoming real fun now. she can usually actually sit at the table for the whole meal, and as long as we all sit down together, with everything we need for the meal at the table, we can keep her attention focused and actually all eat slowly and calmly enough to share things from our day. she tells us what she did and ate and learned at daycare and then she asks dave how work went. we discuss events that happened in the world or in the city if they are interesting and just generally keep connected with each other.

flashlight walks at night. we dont have a set routine for this but after dinner since its been getting darker, weve taken the flashlight and gone for a walk through the nearby woods. i think it helps her to see her neighborhood and home in a whole new way, and to not be afraid of the dark. i forgot how different and exciting things can feel in the dark.

3. wonder week. i dont think these are ever going to go away. before her half birthday we had a week or so of very messed up sleep. she was irritable, sensitive, and clingy all for unknown reasons. daycare was even noticing it and curious about it.

4. nightmares (ive kept a list of those she tells me about): a bone crushed the roof of our house. a needle poked her. nutmeg (the cat) barfed on her leg. dishes crashed and broke. she was inside a mouth with teeth and got munched.

5. hidden talent: describing tastes. she seems to have a finely tuned palatte. she has tried things and been able to describe them very well. she had a jellybean flavor she didnt like and said it tasted like kitty litter. dave tried it and agreed. at a restaurant she tried a hearty, dark bread that dave was unable to describe to me, but within two bites she was able to tell me it tasted like raisins, which dave agreed was true.

6. personality.

-we have been working on meeting new people and how to talk to people you dont know or feel comfortable with (this is really coming up a lot with daycare interactions). we dont require her to perform, smile, or talk to people who try to interact with her if she doesnt want. we do require that she says 'hi' and acknowledges them, but beyond that weve been focusing on not being rude and taking her time to get comfortable (because once she is, then she is always quite happy and engaging and talkative, but pushing her to get comfortable before she is ready just doesnt work).

-for many things, she now wants to have exactly what im having (a pony tail, some milk in the same kind of mug, a candy of the exact same flavor bitten into by both of us at exactly the same time). for the most part, i think its cute and im aware that it will be short lived and soon what i am doing will be the height of uncoolness.

-emotional firestorms (screw calling them tantrums). phew! these are only manageable to deal with on a full stomach and enough sleep. im working so so hard on my own anger buttons during these moments and hoping against hope that i can help her formulate better anger management skills than me. in calm times, we talk about the times when she and i were upset, and i think we are making very interesting progress. these things might be hard or uncomfortable for some people, but i somehow find it to be among my favorite kind of thing to talk about with her, the tricky or embarrassing stuff.

-she is becoming a finnish kid. she has asked to play outside by herself (and lasted up to 5 minutes before coming to get me). she has woken up from a nap outside in her stroller and calmy and quietly walked inside the apartment building and knocked on our door. she is very comfortable with our yard area out front and knows to look for cars and to get to the side and can open the door to our building all by herself. this is not to say that we leave her alone for long, or routinely, but there are times when we feel okay with her being more independent.

7. likes/dislikes.

HATES: having any part of her clothes even a tiny bit wet. thus, we can go through 6 shirts in a day.

likes: mazes and hidden pictures, "tropical ice skating" (her terminology. this occurs in the living room and is basically dancing involving some slides and twirls), photography (my camera pisses me off with its suckitude so ive begun letting her take pictures with it. she seems gentle so far and has a lot of fun with it. she even takes videos. and some of her shots are really interesting).

8. learning.

-finnish. out of the blue, she counted up to 9 in finnish for me one day (i think she can get up to 20 now). it was so amazing to hear that come from her mouth. and a week after that she came to get me for bedtime stuff and called me "äiti" (finnish for mom). i was grinning all night long. its just too cool. every day after that it she seems to come home with a new word she knows from daycare. a week after that she came home with short phrases and promptly left me in the dust in terms of finnish comprehension. after a week of trying, she figured out how to roll her 'r's (this is a part of finnish pronunciation). so cute, and now she even rolls some 'r' sounds of her english words. lol.

-she knows our local tree leaves. when she picks them up she goes and tries to find the tree it came from. she can spot the tree even if its in the woods off the path, or from a tree with branches that start high up. because of this curiosity, we can now name all the trees in our typical walking/playing route.

-back in finland (after our north american summer trip), we rode in to the city center and X saw a couple of trams pass along the way. she noted their #s and told me where the route was going to take the tram (to the pool, to the sea/water). i was impressed. she also remembered that the bus we were currently riding on (one we dont normally ride) would have taken us to the house of a friend who we had been to only once, back in march. she even remembers details about where certain (non-regularly used) nature paths/trails take us. her memory is stunning.

-she knows the days of the week in order and can keep track throughout the week of which day we are on. she knows what are weekend days vs weekdays. she seems to know most of the months of the year and we certainly talk about seasons a lot and note all the differences and tend to talk about the name of the months with the seasons.

9. anecdotes.
-one day i found her singing to a whale book we had gotten from the library. the song seemed be entitled 'my humpback whale' and she spent a long time singing it to the pages in the book, complete with conductors arms.

-we were talking about translating finnish to english food words one day, and she said "porkkana". i said "carrots". and she said "not, its just ONE carrot". excuse me, i dont know all the grammar rules for pluralizing, geez.

-one evening, dave played a song he likes called "umi says" by mos def. one of the repeated lines is 'shine your light on the world'. X was listening to this and playing with our flashlight and she stopped to say "i AM shining my light!". lol.

-while lying in a hammock, with X, on a nearby playground in the shade, listening to the breeze rustle the birch leaves one day, X said "i laid my head down on her chest" (she likes to narrate 'stories' of her actions in this way sometimes).

-one day she got into her snowsuit and zipped it up all by herself and then put on her own shoes. she told this to dave and he said "alright, now you can move out" and she said "but i dont know how to cook yet!".

-we sometimes listen to the audio book of arnold lobels "grasshopper on the road". at one point, the grasshopper says "good morning" and a beetle says "every morning is a good morning". X came up to me and said "so, when the beetle said 'every morning is a good morning' he didnt know that grasshopper was trying to say 'hi'".

momma mentionables:

1. post-gluten-free diet. my mind is clear enough now that ive been able to make up stories for X on the spot. my mind could never think on its toes enough to do that before. i had even expressed this frustration to dave on a few occasions. very weird, it was like, before, i was panicky and tongue-tied and the idea of making something up on the spot was energy draining, even in theory. and, it was scary because my mind would literally be blank. but now, instead of telling her i can only read her a story, ive been able to make things up for her at the bus stop, while relaxing in the hammock, etc. and while its become energy draining in its own way (she now wants all moments of down time to be filled with stories. we have had to set some boundaries), im happy to feel like i have use of more parts of my brain now.

2. childrens book freak. this is what ive become. its partially because the english selection in the helsinki library system is, understandably, not as fleshed out as a native english speaking countrys library system. but its also partially born of boredom and lack of adult hobbies (i think), and of course the love of books in general, and the magical, adventurous fun that is childrens literature. i came upon (for better or worse, lol) a great site that has cheap used kids books that ships easily to finland (and currently shipping is free with two or more books purchased). its given us a great way to expand our library without paying an arm and a leg for english books purchased in finland, and we dont have to wait to stock up at thrift stores when we go back to the US. ive also got about a dozen different reading wish lists created for X on my amazon account, they make me unnecessarily giddy sometimes. and, im always searching childrens book/reading lists and comment sections and amazon ratings and other peoples recommendations and looking, looking, looking for new, good reads. if you ever want a kids book suggestion, on various topics or from various time periods (say 1940s authors up to present), im more than happy to point you down the worm hole. and please dont hesitate to pass along the names of your favorite kids books too!

3. halifax photo book. i finally got inspired and motivated to finish a photo book about all the trips and exploring we did while living in halifax.

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