Friday, August 22, 2008

Toddlerese, Now In Sentences!

On Sunday after our lovely trip to the Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs, our good friends came over so the guys could do a fantasy football draft and us ladies hang out with the Pumpkin. We took a long walk to search for the playground area with the baby swings, which we found much to the Pumpkin's delight. After the draft, we all went out for dinner and had a great time.

We will ignore the part where I'm extra tired and crabby because of the weaning and the fact that I'm giving up coffee. Good times.

While we were at dinner waiting for our food, we gave the Pumpkin some raisins to tide her over. We try to limit the amount of raisins she eats because of the affect on her poop, but this child would eat them all day long if she could. Londo was trying to give her some at a time, but she kept wanting more and really wanted the box. So he gave her the box. Just not worth the fight.

Until I realized that she was eating the whole box and that she'd had a bunch earlier in the day that Londo didn't know about. So I took the box of raisins away, quickly substituting with crackers.

And my child said, clear as day to those who understand her dialect of toddlerese, "I wan raisi. I don wan crackher." (I want raisins. I don't want crackers.)

I looked up at my husband, "Did she just say that?" He agreed she did, and we both turned to her, surprised at her two complete sentences and her ability to voice her wants so precisely.

Of course, we had to translate to our friends. Although they see her about once a month, it's hard to understand toddlerese and each child's dialect when you aren't around the toddler every day.

Londo and I are now realize that she is speaking more and more in sentences and using concepts that seem ahead of her 17 months of age. Have I mentioned that my child is a supergenius?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It Comes With the Job

Hey! Did you remember that I have another blog where I review things like books? Me neither! Just kidding. I remembered, I just haven't had much time to write anything over there. But last night I finally wrote my review for my TBR Challenge July book! I read and reviewed the book The Pact, by Jodi Picoult.

The book was excellent, but it's left me thinking a great deal about how I need to protect my child (and future children) and how to watch out for her (them).

For example, I worry a great deal about the fact that depression runs in families. Since I suffer annually from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and had postpartum depression (PPD), I am concerned that my children may also suffer from some form of depression. It's not an easy thing to live with, and I hope that they don't. But what if they do? Will I recognize the signs? Will I be able to do anything to help? Will they feel comfortable talking with me about it and asking for help when they need it?

I like to think that I will and they will. I hope that seeing me actively manage these issues and my being open about the issues will provide them a good model if they have issues of their own. I like to think that because I know the signs and am watching for them I will be able to recognize them in time to help. It's hard to be go through depression, especially as a preteen and teen when your emotions and hormones are going crazy anyway. I like to think that I can help them. But when the time comes, will I notice a difference between normal moody teen behavoir and real issues? Will I be able to provide the support and understanding they need, or will I just be Mama not understanding it and trying to get into their business?

What about something bad happening to them? I have the book Protecting the Gift just waiting to be ordered when I put in my next amazon order, since I hear such good things about it. But things can happen to children even with the most watchful parents. I think about how in just a few unattended moments, the life of the girl in the book turned down a dark path and never righted itself. Those things happen. I think of Elizabeth Smart and other children who are snatched from their very bedrooms. Not all end as well as Elizabeth's story.

I worry. I worry and worry and worry. I've never been a worrier. I know I can only do my best. I know that bad things happen to good people. I know that I can't protect my child(ren) from everything (goodness, I wish I could!). I know that my child(ren) are already having it easier than many other children in the world.

But I still worry. It's what parents do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Becoming Helpless

My parents raised me to be a strong, independent woman.

My mom encouraged me to explore, follow my curiosity, and trust in my body, mind and spirit. She passed on to me respect for other cultures and a travel lust to see other places, as well as the belief that I could go off on my own to see those other countries and cities. She never held me back, although she always held a safety net of love and support if I need to fall back.

My dad never had a different standard for his daughters than his son. He did understand that as individuals we had certain capabilities and needs that were different from each other, but if there was a sofa to be moved, he wouldn't wait for my brother or some other guy to help if I was there and up to the challenge. He did teach me that it was important to be respected as a woman but that it didn't mean that I should be treated as less capable of things than a man. When we packed the car for a trip, I was hauling bags and lifting them into the car. When my dad refinished the basement, added a room on the house and built a deck on the back, it was just assumed I'd help (and even known that I loved to help) with everything from bricklaying to electrical wiring.

I went to college with the belief that I could handle myself, my money, my schedules, my trips, my apartment upkeep and anything else that came up. This was a belief that I had and my parents had. If my parents had any doubts, they did not show it. If I had any doubts, I called my parents and got the understanding, support, love and help I needed. My mom talked me through any medical and emotional issues and helped me figure out if I need to go to the specialist for my headaches or simply ask for a new kind of migraine medicine. My dad came down and brought tools so we could fix the couch or the toilet, always together with him teaching me how to fix it myself.

I spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, knowing no one there before I left, just knowing that I had always wanted to go and was finally going! After my spring semester ended, my sister came over to Europe, met me in Paris and we traveled around Europe together, although I did plenty on my own before and some after. We learned how to navigate the trains, the layout of new cities, how to overcome language barriers and how to live cheaply while still seeing some of the greatest things in the world. Our parents gave us the belief in ourselves and created our independences that enabled us to do that.

I was raised an independent, strong woman who could take on the world.

So why is it that I now ask my husband to fix a handle on the lid of a pot? As he pointed out, I know where the screwdrivers are kept. Why do I nag him about fixing the toilet, when I know what is wrong with it and could easily to go the store to buy the part myself? Why do I put off taking trips places until he can go with me? Why do I wait for him to unpack the car after a trip?

How have I become so helpless??? Or maybe it's pampered...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dinosaurs In My House

When Londo and I decided to go to downtown DC with the Pumpkin this weekend, I immediately suggested the Museum of Natural History so we could see the dinosaurs. Although Londo suggested a couple of other places, I insisted on the museum with the dinosaurs. I kept thinking about how the Pumpkin loves her book That's Not My Dinosaur and always points out the dinosaur in another book she has. How she has recently gone from saying "dino" to saying the whole word "dinosaur." I just knew it would be something she could look at and get and enjoy.

So Sunday morning, after the Pumpkin slept through the night (a rarity these days), I went in to get her out of her crib and told her we were going to see the dinosaurs today. She started saying "dinosaur" a lot, and we went to find her book and get her a sippy cup of milk. We sat down and read about which was and which wasn't her dinosaur, had breakfast, and got ready to go downtown.

When we got to the Natural History museum, the first thing we saw when we entered the building was the big elephant in the entry hall. Well, the Pumpkin loves "ella" so it was fun to let her see the big elephant up close. Then we went into the dinosaur hall. At first, I'm not sure she got what she was looking at. But Londo and I kept pointing out the dinosaurs, the fossils of so many different types were put together and displayed all around, including the huge Diplodocus and large allosaurus and the star of the That's Not My Dinosaur book: the stegosaurus. We also looked at the smaller models of dinosaurs in the dioramas.

It didn't take long before the Pumpkin was pointing at all the bones and models, calling out "dinosaur!" Granted, she did that for everyone set of bones, including the fosils of the Woolly Mammoth, but eh, close enough. After all, she's only 17 months old, even if she is a supergenuis. We stopped by the museum store before getting some lunch at the museum cafe, which is our way of supporting the free museum through overpriced souvenirs and costly sandwiches (I'm being serious here).

In the store, Londo and I were looking at the dinosaur stuffed animals. He was holding the Pumpkin when he picked up the stegosaurus and asked me, "What about this one?" Well, the Pumpkins entire face light up, she threw her arms around that stuffed animal and exclaimed "DINOSAUR!" Of course we got that one.

Once we got home, the Pumpkin spent the rest of the afternoon talking about the dinosaurs. We taught her that dinosaurs say "ROOOOOAAAARRRRR," which she proceeded to practice constantly. She stands there, throws her head back and roars very loudly. It may be one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

If you ask her where her dinosaur is, she will go right over to her stegosaurus and say "Pumpkin's* dinosaur." She will also say the last word of every page of her book (for example, if I read "That's not my dinosaur. It's tail is too..." she will say "fuzzy" or something close to that word). When she came downstairs this morning and saw her new dinosaur, she exclaimed so happily, "Pumpkin's dinosaur!" And started her roaring all over again.

It seems to me that we didn't just bring home one dinosaur from the museum in the form of a stuffed animal, but we also brought home a very realistic sounding, 17-month-old dinosaur toddler.

*She actually says her own name here. She's gotten really good at possessives and loves to point out what's Mama's, what's Daddy's and what's hers.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Question of the Week - Favorite Sport

In honor of the Olympics, I'm wondering:

What is your favorite sport to watch?

It doesn't need to be an Olympic sport, after all it is about to be football season and I know that's Londo's favorite sport.

Mine is definitely gymnastics, and (as I've mentioned before) I love the Olympics especially because of the gymnastics. (PLEASE don't tell me the result from last night. I have it recorded and plan to watch it tonight!) My second favorite sport to watch is football. I loves me some football, especially the Redskins. I am indeed ready for some football!

What about you? Do you have a favorite sport to watch? Do tell!