Thursday, May 20, 2010

He's Also Working on Newton's Laws of Motion

Over the past couple of months, the Pookie has discovered Gravity! It's fun to play with! It's dangerous when you are still wobbly! It can make the dog your best friend, or make the dog run from you!

The Pookie's been crawling since just before he turned 9 months old. Soon after he turned 9 months, he figured out how to stand up on his own. Last month (when he was 10 months old), he actually let go of the couch with both hands for the first time in order to clutch one of the Pumpkin's toys to his chest in glee. He has since stood for a few wobbly seconds a handful of times. It's very cute to watch, but also a bit worrisome, since he sometimes ends these moments by falling over and clunking his head instead of carefully reaching back out for the couch or something else to steady himself.

But even more fun for him and the dog, though not for me and Londo, he has realized that when he lets go of something (like food) while holding it from up above (like his highchair), it will fall! All the way to the ground! Woo hoo, such fun this Gravity is! He likes to do it over and over. And try it from other places, like toys in his crib or playpen or exersaucer. Unfortunately, this game leaves his highchair tray, crib, playpen and exersaucer empty of things to stick in his mouth and play with.

And that's when the squeeling begins. Perfectly entertained one minute, screaming from frustration and boredom the next minute. Ah, the life of a baby!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mother's Day Moments

The Pookie did not have the best night's sleep the night before Mother's Day. Londo helped ease the difficulty of getting him back to sleep at least once. But when the Pookie woke up at 6:00, I was just too tired to get right out of bed. Luckily, he usually entertains himself for about a half hour after waking up for the day, so I went back to sleep.

About 30 minutes later, I woke up and jumped out of bed. The monitor was off, which isn't unusual in the mornings, since I turn it off if he's playing happily in his crib. But the door to our bedroom was shut! With the monitor off, I need the door open so I can hear him when he is really crying and upset and hungry and ready to GET UP. We always leave the door open during the night, but the Pumpkin often shuts it when she comes into bed with us during the night.

And sure enough, as I jumped out of bed, I noticed that the Pumpkin was in our bed. But... Londo wasn't! Oh, Happy Mother's Day to me! Londo got the baby so that I could sleep in. I climbed back in bed, cuddled up with a very snuggly Pumpkin, and went back to sleep.

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Around 7:00, the Pumpkin started stirring. I opened my eyes, and she was smiling at me.

caramama: Did you know it's Mother's Day?
Pumpkin: Oh, it is?
caramama: Yes, it is. Can you tell me "Happy Mother's Day"?
Pumpkin: Happy Mother's Day!
caramama: Oh, thank you!
Pumpkin (after contemplative a moment): Where's Daddy?
caramama: He's downstairs with [the Pookie's real name]. Do you want to go down with them?
Pumpkin: No, I just want to snuggle with you.
caramama (heart melting): Okay.

After a minute or less...

Pumpkin: I want to go downstairs. Do you want to come with me?
caramama (not surprised by this not-unusual turn of events): No, I'm going to sleep in a little bit. You can go downstairs with daddy and [the Pookie's real name].
Pumpkin: Okay. You sleep in a little. I'll rub your back.

Then, she rubbed my back a little bit. I closed my eyes, acting like I was going to sleep and trying so hard to not smile. And then? She leaned over and kissed my cheek! Next, she got up, off the bed, opened the bedroom door, closed it behind her and called out to her Daddy to tell him she wanted to go downstairs (there is a babygate at the top of the stairs that she hasn't completely figured out yet).

Although I wasn't able to fall back asleep, I did lie in bed reading for like an hour or more, while Londo dealt with breakfast, tantrums and general whiny-ness. And when I did go downstairs for breakfast, Londo made me sweet rolls and cheesy eggs, as I requested. Londo gave me cards from him and the kids, and he gave me a gold baby booty charm for the charm bracelet I will eventually have, but for now looks lovely on a necklace chain. It was wonderful morning.

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The Pumpkin's swim class is now on Sundays (which we go to with one of my BFFs and her son). We get in our swim suits before we leave, and take off our outer clothes in the locker room. This week, the Pumpkin wanted to put her flipflops on by herself, but I told her that the ground was dirty and I didn't want her to sit on the floor in the locker room. I told her to sit on the bench. She promptly, without a word, slide off the bench and leaned down, looking like she was going to sit on the floor. I got frustrated at this very common experience of her ignoring what we are telling her to do/not do and trying to do what she wants anyway. I firmly reminded her that I didn't want her sitting on the floor, and I put her back on the bench. She slide off, and as I started to get mad, she finally explained that she wasn't going to sit on the floor. She "just wanted to stand up to put them on." Well, that's a fine compromise, and I told her so and explained why it was a compromise (not sitting on the floor, not sitting on the bench).

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The activities in the swim class are hit or miss with my girl. Some activities she generally likes, some she doesn't. Sometimes she doesn't like the same activity she loved the week before, or vise versa. She never likes to put her head, ears or eyes under the water, and although we've been working on it, I'm not going to push it especially on Mother's Day. Not worth the fight, when I know she'll get there in her own time.

This week, she LOVED jumping off the bench/ledge that's in the water. She puts her arms up "like Supergirl" and jumps to me. She loved this activity so much, that she would jump as soon as I had put her down on the ledge, way before I was ready. I explained that she had to wait until I was ready, and that she should ask me if I'm ready before she jumps. She started doing just that on the very next jump. Which was nice, because through most of the class she didn't listen to what I or the teacher told her to do. She didn't follow any instructions really, and kept hanging on and pulling me.

Near the end of class, she begged to go down the clam slide. She loves slides. The teacher accommodated her request by hurrying through the last activity. Then, we told her she could go down once. She got to the top of the slide, and freaked out. The previous week, she went down it twice, but you land in water at the bottom, and she did NOT like that. So there she was at the top, and she started getting all upset. At the teacher's suggestion, I got her to come around the side of the slide and just put her on halfway and hold her as she went down, making sure she didn't dunk at the bottom. That was a success.

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After swim class, the Pumpkin thinks it's really fun to take a shower in the locker room. I got her shampoo and soap for the shower, and she started taking off her flipflops. I explained that she needed to leave them on in the shower. She tried to take them off anyway. I insisted that if she wanted to shower here, she had to leave them on. She did, and we headed to the shower. Where she promptly turned up the volume on defying, ignoring and arguing with me.

We were maybe in the shower for a minute--two tops!--and I had already told her twice that if she wanted to take a shower there, she had to listen and follow my instructions. I told her that she had one more chance, and if she didn't listen we were going to go home without finishing the shower. Literally, 10 seconds later, she continued arguing/whining, sitting bare-bottomed on the gross floor. She insisted that she didn't want her hair washed. The hair that already had some shampoo in it. The hair that I didn't even finish rinsing off, as I grabbed her off the floor, sobbing and whining. I bundled her in a towel and out of the shower. I explained firm, and angrily, that I was putting her clothes on and my clothes on and then we were leaving. She'd have to shower at home. She kept crying that she wanted a shower there in the locker room. And I basically (and probably verbatim) said too bad.

Do you know how the sound in locker rooms carry and echo? Yeah, that was fun.

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Over the past year, we've tried numerous times to get the Pookie to nap at my parents' house when we are there for family gatherings. But it's like he knows there is all sorts of fun going on elsewhere, and he refuses to sleep! So on Mother's Day I realized that we needed to get that boy a nap at our own house before going to my mom's for a cookout. This was really a good idea.

While he was napping, the Pumpkin and I made pudding, and we got ready to go over. We got over there about 4:30, had some early dinner and played with everyone. It was a good time, made so much better by having a well-rested baby. The Pumpkin is now old enough to go off and play with her cousins, which she did at one point, but she still likes to stay around the adults.

For dessert, my mom had ice cream and toppings available. I had brought the pudding with blackberries to go on top. My husband started dishing out the ice cream, and called out, "Who wants ice cream?" Of course all the kids came running. My girl was one of them, and she was especially interested in the sprinkles/jimmies to go on top. Although this was prior to the Pumpkin's allergy appointment, we had been careful all year long since we first suspected the peanut allergy. So before Londo gave any to her, I reminded him, "Be sure to check the label." My dad said, "There are no nuts in it. It's vanilla!" I responded, "But we have to check to see if there are any nuts in the facility where it was made and packaged." Sure enough, Londo read out loud, "Made in a facility that also contains peanuts, treenuts..."

So no ice cream for the Pumpkin. Luckily, I did have the pudding, and I quickly dished her a bowl and Londo put sprinkles on top, and she was as happy as could be! (Although later I realized that we didn't check the sprinkles' label! Doh!)

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We got home right at bedtime. Londo and I swept the kids straight upstairs and started their bedtime routines. As part of the bedtime routines, the Pumpkin (and now the Pookie) has always given us a hug and kiss goodnight. But lately, the Pumpkin has not wanted to give me one before I go to put the Pookie to bed. In fact, probably every night the week leading up to Mother's Day was without a kiss. I don't believe in forcing them, but I do want it to be part of the bedtime routine.

So that night, I said to her that I would like my hug and kiss while she was on bed. She rolled away from me, as usual. I kneeled down and looked her in the eye and said, "Pumpkin, I've had a really wonderful Mother's Day. You have made it so special for me! What would really be special is if you gave me a hug and kiss goodnight right now. That would make me so happy!" She thought about it for a minute, and then she sat up and gave me a wonderful hug and kiss! A beautiful end to a (mostly) lovely day.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Question of the Week - Other Languages

I totally had a different question of the week which I haven't had time to post, but then I read Ask Moxie's site today and remembered a different question I've been meaning to ask.

Do you use any words or phrases from different languages in your house as part of your normal lingo? If so, what?

I know there are a few of you who live in other countries and/or have spouses who speak other languages, so I'll bet you guys have a bunch.

For me and my husband, we speak American English and live in the US. BORING! But I used to be pretty fluent in Italian and lived over there for a semester in college. My goal when having kids was to start speak Italian again and get books and music in Italian so that I could teach them Italian. Italian is not super common here in the States, which is part of why it is appealing to me. I want to be able to say things to my kids that they will understand but no one else will. You know, like, "Stop your crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" (You all know I'm kidding with that, right?)

Although I do have some board books and a CD with music, I've not had the time to brush up on my own Italian language skills enough to use regularly with the kids. But there are some words that I have used and continue to use, as well as ones that I hope to use more (please excuse--or better yet, correct--any typos or misuses, as it's been many many years since I spoke the language regularly):

-Basta - means "enough" and I've used this with the dog for years. I'm planning to use it with the kids more, as needed.
-La bocca - means "the mouth" and I used it this with the Pumpkin when referring to her mouth as in open it or close it. I have a feeling I'll be using the phrase "Ferma la bocca" when I want her to shut her mouth in the teenage years! Ha!
-Aperto/Chiuso - ("open/close") I use this when playfully trying to get the Pumpkin to open (and close) her mouth to brush her teeth.
-Ciao - ("hello" and "goodbye" informally) I say this pretty often, especially with the accompanying "bella" (beautiful)
-Di mi - means "tell me" and though I used to say it all the time when living in Italy, I don't now. I plan to use this more.

How about you? Do you tell your child that he/she has that certain je ne sais quoi? When they keep begging for something, do you say nein? Do you greet your child with ni hao in the morning? Do you remind them to say por favor? Di mi!