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Tuesday, 02 October 2012 09:27

Favourite Toys

So far Clara has a relatively short attention span, so most toys don't hold her interest for long periods of time.  There are a couple of things, however, that she keeps coming back to in one way or another.  One, are her stuffed animals. 

Lately, she has started 'babying them' a lot - pretending to feed them, or changing their diapers. In this next photo, I found her doing this - Bo was on her change table and she was wiping his bum. :)

This baffles me - not because she loves them, but because they take up so much space and I don't really want her to have a million of them - and really, does she need a million of them? When I was a child, I was never that into stuffed animals, so I was always a bit at a loss about where to put the ones I had... What sort of gifts can I get her that go along with these?

The second thing that holds her attention a little longer than anything else are books.  This one thrills me, because I think you can never have enough books! She's even started grabbing two or three and disappearing to a quiet corner somewhere to 'read' to herself. 

It's also become a good 'quiet time' for her, if she starts getting a bit too worked up, we will put her in her room and make sure she has a few books only to come back 15 minutes later and find her completely happy like this!

There are quite a few other things on our Christmas wish list for her, but books and stuffies will definitely be involved somehow!

What are your toddler's favourite toys?

Published in Blog
Monday, 24 September 2012 16:05

Clara's Diapering Lesson

This year for Christmas, we plan on giving Clara a number of gifts that will help her to 'mother' her dolls and stuffies.  I think this will be intelligent on our part...

Lately I have been finding Clara's (clean) diapers scattered around the house.  Today she gave me a lesson on how to diaper her kitty with a velcro diaper:

First, you grunt and fight to pull the velcro apart.  It's tough!

Mommy: Then where does the kitty go?

Clara: Right there! (although it sounds a bit more like 'bite deya'!)

Then later on, I find her in the hallway having pulled the change mat out of her diaper bag - readying Bo for a diaper change as well.

Don't let that cute little smile fool you - look at the choke hold she has on her bear.  Bo is getting changed, whether he wants to or not!

Bo's a little off center... she'll have to work on that...

To complete the procedure, Clara demonstrates using snaps on a snap diaper!

I'm thinking I should make some diapers that are just the right size for her dolls... these are a bit big until her sister grows out of the newborn size...

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 12:26

The 'Birth Plan' Regarding Clara

When I had Clara almost two years ago - really? Wow... - I didn't have much of a birth plan.  I had read about all sorts of things you could potentially request for a birth online, and was told in our city that many of these things may or may not be available or possible for us, and to be flexible with these plans. 

Unfortunately, a number of things happened at her birth that left me feeling helpless and a little bit... well, uncomfortable, I guess.  That's a topic for another post, though, as I'll get into my birth plan for THIS baby sometime in the next few weeks.

THIS time around, I have something else to consider - my toddler.

When my water started leaking with Clara, I casually called the hospital, and they suggested we come since I wasn't certain if it was a water leak or whether I was just peeing a little (it happens).  So, we packed a bag - or maybe grabbed the bag we'd already packed, I can't even remember - and drove through rush-hour traffic to the hospital.  I packed my seat with a bunch of towels, just in case, but I don't think I really ended up needing them.

Everything was pretty laid back, and although we weren't really sure what the evening would bring - a baby, or a trip back home - we were relaxed and felt like we had nothing really to worry about.

"Focus, Mommy! What about me?"

This time we have the added complication of needing to have a plan for Clara.  Luckily we have a ton of family nearby who are ready and willing to jump in and help as soon as we need them.  Actually, our biggest struggle might be - how can we include both families without making either feel like they weren't able to help enough.

I created a few scenarios and asked each parent to let us know which times/days worked for them, and whether they would be willing to do these things...

1. If I go into labour after Clara has gone to sleep, is someone willing to come and stay at our house so Clara doesn't have to be uprooted in the middle of the night?

2. If I go into labour during a weekday (work days for all parents involved), who can most easily take time off to come and watch Clara? (Trust me, this isn't too much to ask of anyone - they're all practically tripping over each other to be the one we call first!)

3. If we are 'out' somewhere, can people meet us at the hospital to take Clara? Luckily both sets of Grandparents have their own carseat.

4. If my water breaks all over our kitchen floor and we have to rush away - can someone clean it up? :) Yup, everyone agreed to this too - we have wonderful family!

Then I made a couple of notes about how we would like things to go with her, just requesting that our families be willing to play along with this if they can...

  • Clara gets to be the first visitor, so whoever has her after the baby is born should be willing to drop her off at the hospital for an hour or so (before they get to see the baby) so that we can spend some time with just the four of us - Brian, me, and our two daughters!
  • We would like this time to be as exciting as possible for Clara so she (at least at first) has not reason to be resentful or jealous of the new baby - including (I'm thinking) some kind of 'Welcome Home' party for the baby that includes lots of cupcakes (Clara's favourite). 

There are also a couple of things I would like to do differently post-birth with this baby.

  • Limited visitors at the hospital - ONLY our parents and brothers are allowed to come and see the baby at the hospital.  Last time we had a total of... 20? visitors come the first (and only) day we were in the hospital - and some of them even came twice.  The nurses were getting quite frustrated with all of the comings and goings of people, and I just don't think it's necessary.  This time all of our Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Cousins can wait until we get home.
  • Stay at the hospital... This is funny, since I thought I wanted a home birth (I think I'd still take it if it were an option, but it's not, so...), but I'm thinking I might stay at the hospital longer this time.  I assume I'll be able to, since I begged and pleaded for them to let me leave a day earlier than planned last time.  This time, it might be much more relaxing to stay in the hospital when I know the alternative is looking after a toddler at home... maybe... I'll have to think about this, or maybe just see how I'm feeling when I'm there.

In regards to watching toddlers, or ideas for getting toddlers ready for a baby sibling - I would love to hear anyone's ideas or ways you did this and how it worked.  Clara has already said that her baby sister can sleep in her crib - yay for sharing! We'll see how she likes it when she realizes what it MEANS! :)

 

Published in Blog
Monday, 17 September 2012 14:16

Forward Facing in the Car...

This past weekend we turned Clara's carseat around.  I know that a lot of recommendations say that children should be rear facing as long as possible, and even up to 4 years in some cases.  I don't know what kind of vehicles people have, but this wouldn't have been possible for us anyway.

In fact, it would be absolutely necessary for us to flip her carseat when we installed the infant carseat (which I suppose we should really do one of these days also...), since there is only one place in the backseat of our car where a rear-facing seat can be, and obviously we need two carseats to be back there. 

Also, we encountered more and more people with children who were Clara's age and younger who had turned their carseats forward facing.

And my husband kept saying how uncomfortable she already looked with her legs all crammed into the small space between her seat and the back of the actual car seat.  He was probably right...

But... but... it was just one more scary sign of how quickly she's growing up, and I was reluctant to do it.

But, we did it.

We turned her around.

And now that I see how her legs hang down, it's hard to believe she even fit facing backward!  One design flaw of this carseat is that the cupholder sits on only one side of the carseat and can't be installed if the seat is up against the door.  Because her seat will have to be moved behind the drivers' seat, we will have to remove the cupholder again... so dumb.

Anyway, just another big milestone for my little girl (who is increasingly less like 'my baby girl' every day).

Published in Blog
Saturday, 08 September 2012 19:01

Drinking from a Cup??

I actually know a lot of kids who are about Clara's age who have been drinking from a cup for awhile, so maybe it's not that big a step, but sometimes these little things just hit me.  She's using a REAL CUP? It doesn't have a lid or a spout or a straw or anything!

Absent-mindedly, I even filled this cup all the way for her and she drank at least half of it without spilling a drop. Just to clarify - she didn't spill the last half either, she just didn't finish drinking it.

I have these moments where she just stuns me, and I can't believe how fast she's growing up.  I feel so unequipped for being a mother at all, and now she's a toddler... soon she'll be fully a 'child'... and it just keeps going on. 

The greatest thing? Every day is WAY more fun than the day before it...

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 05 September 2012 13:08

Method-Free Potty Training!

For someone who likes to read up on parenting methodology, I've embarked on potty training with absolutely no method or real plan in mind.  Think I'll succeed? Well, eventually...

I have been saying all summer that come September - when I am finally at home with my daughter - I will start actively working on potty training.  It would be great for her to be out of diapers before the baby comes, although I'm certainly not expecting that at this point - my goal now is simply that she is out of diapers by the time her little sister needs to use the diapers Clara is currently using, which will be about 6 months from now. 

She hates being in diapers, and throws a fit every time we go to put one on her, screaming 'I have to PEE, I have to PEE!!!', which is usually not true, because we will then set her on the potty and wait for about ten seconds until she makes a break for her toys.  She really just wants to avoid the diaper itself, it seems. 

So, bravely, this morning I asked her if she wanted to try wearing panties.  She was so excited! I tried explaining to her very carefully that the rule with panties was 'only pee in the potty.'  'No peeing in your panties.'

"OK!" She grinned.

First she sat on the potty for awhile, but produced nothing.  This didn't really surprise me, since she'd just woken up and had probably already used her diaper. 

Then it was breakfast time.  Diaperless toddler sitting at the kitchen table... nervous Mommy sitting across from her. 

No accidents so far.

Then she went down to play for a little while.  Suddenly I see her crouching in the hallway saying "I Poop! I poop!" with a puddle forming below her.

I try to explain to her how it is yucky to pee on the floor...

"Yucky!!" She excitedly squeals... I don't think she's getting it.

I then explain to her that now we have to change her pants and panties because she has gotten them dirty. 

I think my biggest mistake today was letting her try again... because then I let her put on a fresh pair of panties and pants (and socks), which she wets again about 30 minutes later.

Then I tell her it's time to wear a diaper again.  This makes her sad, and she fusses and cries.  I try to explain again that if she wears panties, she can't pee in them or else she has to go back to diapers, and for a second it seems like she might understand.  Maybe she did.

Maybe we'll try again tomorrow...

I have read articles on potty training in just a few days, but it seems as though this is only ever attempted on children who are quite a bit older than Clara.  I have also read articles on letting babies go 'diaper-free' from very early, and training them young to respond to signals, etc.  I don't want to make Clara wait until she is 3 to potty train, when she so clearly wants to be free of her diapers now - and I certainly don't have the patience or ability to devote the amount of attention and time to a more vigorous method of potty training, so I guess we'll just try again tomorrow - and see how this goes!

What methods of potty training have you used? Do you have any advice for training an almost 2-year-old?

Published in Blog
Friday, 24 August 2012 12:13

Let's All Yell 'KINKY!!!'

I knew it would happen.

That day when my daughter would begin to copy everything I say, in the most awkward locations possible.

It began when we picked her up from her babysitter's yesterday (a close friend of ours), and my friend began to tell me about how my daughter was awkwardly dancing to techno music - I say awkward, because it was extremely awkward, and I won't go into detail but let's just say that I have no clue where she picked up these 'moves' (she has never been exposed to MTV or anything like that), and as soon as she's old enough to understand when I tell her that something is 'not appropriate' - this sort of dancing will DEFINITELY be on the list. 

I mean, it's funny because she's not even two, and has no idea what she's doing, I'm sure it was completely innocent, and my friend said she considered video taping it because it was so hilarious, but then decided it was best if these things don't end up on film - for Clara's sake.

ANYWAY... I was very quick to tell my friend that Clara had never witnessed anything 'kinky' at our place whatsoever, because honestly - I was a little embarrassed. 

Clara overheard this statement, and for some reason decided that the word 'Kinky' was hilarous.  She started chanting 'Kinky! Kinky! Kinky!' as she ran around my friends' yard.

She continued to chant 'Kinky! Kinky! Kinky!' as we drove away.

We tried to talk to her about other things... she would be distracted momentarily, but would shortly thereafter begin chanting 'Kinky!' again, obviously thinking this was the funniest thing ever.

We had been invited to my in-laws for supper, and I was absolutely petrified of what they would say when they heard this.

I tried to tell myself - and mentioned to my husband - that it actually sounded a lot like her word for 'Kitty', and probably no one would know the difference.

Brian laughed at me and said, "Yeah, but when your face turns that shade of red I'm sure they'll figure it out".  Everyone's hilarous... 

This is my daughter laughing... at me...

And here again, laughing at me... more than a little mischeviously.

I'm beginning to feel a bit frightened, actually...

Because she is CERTAINLY plotting against me!

And I am no match for that little grin.  That charm.  And that terrifying memory... 

So it begins.  The time when I have to be SUPER careful about every word I say, because she WILL hear it, and she WILL remember it - and she WILL repeat it - probably months later at my Grandma's birthday party or something...

I'm so afraid...

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 21 August 2012 22:59

Toddler Bed 'Mishap' #1

My daughter is proving to be a lot like I was as a child.  My Grandma informed me that it has always taken me hours to fall asleep - even when I was a toddler.

Clara will typically 'act tired' - the typical soother-need, snuggles with her pink 'Bo' bear, and everything is suddenly a huge crisis.  She gets extremely whiny and it doesn't help that she has inherited my husband's clumsiness which means she'll trip over her own feet every 90 seconds or so - resulting in bumps and bruises, and extreme tantrumy meltdowns. 

After she is put in her crib/bed for night, however, she changes completely.  Suddenly it's party time.

When she was still sleeping in her crib, we would hear her talking to herself and to her stuffed animals for sometimes over an hour before finally falling asleep.  We suspected she wouldn't easily stay in her toddler bed after she discovered she could simply get up and run around her room, and we weren't wrong.

Now, after her bedtime routine, we say goodnight and close the door.  Then we hear the patter of tiny feet running back and forth across her bedroom floor.

Mr. Marbles?

Never mind... Seinfeld reference... I think I'm funny...

Every once in awhile she will even knock on the inside of her bedroom door, and we will say 'Clara, it's bedtime - go to sleep!'.

We haven't bothered to always look in on her either, since she has - up until now- always ended up back in her 'big girl bed.'

About an hour after she had fallen asleep tonight, I heard her start to whimper.  I looked into her room to see her lying across her bedroom floor with her head wedged underneath her bed.  I don't know how she ended up there, but now her still-sleeping self was wanting to be free again.  She didn't wake up as I tugged her head free of her bed frame and snuggled with her a moment before lying her back in her bed. 

Weirdo.  What sort of funny situations have your children gotten themselves into?

Published in Blog
Sunday, 12 August 2012 09:59

A 'Big Girl' Bed!

This bed has now been slept in by my baby girl.  It happened so fast, but I don't think she thought so.  We were planning to babysit for some close friends who were going on a date for their anniversary.  Because they weren't sure how late they would be gone, we decided to set up enough beds for all three kids to fall asleep here before their parents got back to pick them up.

Since we have been planning to transition Clara into a 'big girl' bed at some point anyway, we thought we might as well move the toddler bed in now and let her get used to the idea. 

This is what her room used to look like.

We realized we might have a problem when we moved the bed in, and she excitedly ran into the room and lunged herself onto her new bed.  I wasn't sure she's willingly give it up - even for that night - for her friends.  Luckily for her our friends returned before the kids were in bed, and she was free to sleep in her new bed.

We offered her a choice of beds and I don't think she even glanced at her crib. I thought we'd take some time for her to get used to the crib after we moved it into her room, but she didn't need that. My daughter was more ready than I was for her to be a 'big girl'.

She fell asleep last night after her usual amount of jabbering to herself, which included a few times of getting out of bed and running around the room, but that was expected.  After she fell asleep she didn't wake up, and she didn't roll off the bed. 

Now we have completed one step of getting ready for baby, and there are now beds for two little girls in my daughters' bedroom.  I can't believe how fast time flies!

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 24 July 2012 21:10

Finger Painting!!!

A few days ago I commented on the fact that I had lost my camera, after spending a great day taking pictures of Clara's finger painting day a couple of weeks ago.  i would like to note that although I had assumed without thinking that it had been MY slip-up, that I had lost the camera because I am that flighty - the camera was found in my husband's messenger bag, the one he brings to work.  :)

Anyway, here is our finger painting day!



I don't actually remember the exact recipe I used for this, but the ones I found online were almost all the same:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • food colouring

Directions

In a medium pan, mix all the ingredients together to make the finger paint. Cook over low heat 10 to 15 minutes. Keep stirring the finger paint mixture until it is smooth and thick. After the finger paint has thickened take the pan off the stove and let the mixture cool.

After cooling, divide the finger paint into storage containers depending on how many colors you would like. Add a few drops of food coloring to each container.

Stir the coloring in to the paint to determine the shade of color. You're ready to finger paint! Cover tightly when storing.

I should note that although the consistency of the finger paint was really nice when I had poured it into these jars, after it had cooled it had thickened quite a bit.  I don't know if I added to much corn starch (I'm not a very precise measurer) or if I let it cook too long.  Either way, I'll aim for runnier next time!

When it was ready, we headed out to the deck where Clara could feel free to get messy!

Here, it looks like she's trying to conduct the finger paint...

She got a bit more into it, but it always seems to stress her out when her hands aren't clean.  My little priss.

While we were outside, I gave her two different sheets of paper.  I helped a bit, just to smooth out some of the bigger globs that she had ignored at the end of each 'session'.  Call it artistic license, but there was no way these pictures would fit into any type of frame with the kind of globs she left behind, so I smoothed them for her.

Then I hung them on the wall of our deck to dry. This one was my favourite, I think.  Unfortunately because the paint was so thick, despite my efforts to keep it as smooth and thin as possible, it still gathered and cracked, so the pictures aren't frame-able after all.  I'll try again, though, because I love what they ended up looking like!

Published in Blog

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