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Wednesday, 13 June 2012 21:51

It's Never Too Early to Start with Chores!

I do not consider myself a 'natural' parent.  I don't trust my instincts, although when I have heard all of the angles, I do trust my own common sense.  That being said, I am always ready and willing to hear another Mom's perspective on how they do things, and I am also willing to admit that I may not be doing things very well myself.

A couple of weeks ago, we had friends over for supper and I was trying to get a few dishes done before we started dessert.  The Moms were in the kitchen chatting and I can't remember where the Dads were - we were being very 'Mennonite'* in our interaction, I guess.

While I was trying to get this done, my daughter started throwing a bit of a tantrum and I recall voicing my frustration at how sometimes I'm at a loss as to how to deal with her.  She throws tantrums when she NEEDS nothing!  My friend very kindly said 'Have you ever thought of getting her to help?'.

I said 'Do the dishes?'

My friend said 'Yes'.

I said 'She's not even 18 months old...'

At this point, my friend suggested I pull a chair up to the sink and just let her play in the rinse water. 

My daughter was ecstatic. She had the time of her life splashing in the rinse water and 'helping'.  It was great.

So it started a journey for me of discovering how to get Clara involved as much as possible.  I've discovered that she is not only fascinated by the prospect of helping out, she's also not too bad at it - for an 18 month old, anyway :)

Here's my proud little fuzz-head helping me with dishes.  The easiest thing to get her to do is to put cutlery away.  She mostly just piles it into the drawer all helter-skelter, but it thrills her to do it.

Please don't look at how gross my kitchen is...

Published in Blog
Thursday, 24 May 2012 20:15

CLARA!!!!

There! I've said it! After months of calling my daughter 'Celia', I'm beginning to go crazy trying to steer away from name conversations when I LOVE talking about names!!! I was starting to get confused in real life, and was beginning to refer to her as 'Celia' in all text or online contexts.  I would send my Mom a text and she'd be like 'Who?'.  Oh yeah... only on my blog...

Also, although I've been trying to be sensitive to the fact that my kids might grow up to be highly sensitive people and not want their personal information known to the world, I have to realize that they have me for a mother.  Or maybe they have to realize that, but either way, these kids will have no secrets.

So, my daughter's name is Clara.  Clara Faith. 

And here is a bit of her 'naming' story...

Years ago, long before I was pregnant, my husband and I were randomly discussing potential baby names while lying in bed one night.  He suggested we name all of our kids after famous composers.  He is a classical music nut, and we both play the piano, so it was an amusing train of thought.  He started listing names...

Heinrich.... No.

Friedrich.... Frederyk? Freddy? Maybe...

Hans... No.

Carl... No!!! (One of those bad-people-associations)

Johann... No...

Suddenly I said "Wait?? Where are all the girls' names?"  So he continued listing...

Harriet... If you can promise me it will NEVER be shortened to Harry? So, no.

Vittoria... Not really a fan, no.

Camille... My aunt had a cat named Camille once... it was kind of crazy.

Clara...

                  Wait....

                                         I like that!

It's old-fashioned (which is cool now - Sophia, Emma, Olivia, etc.) while not being in the top 100 list (although I've met a lot of little Clara's since, so it's more popular than we thought, which is ok too).

-- How's that for geeky, Mama G? :)

Faith is an important virtue to us, and it sounded good with 'Clara' (we thought, anyway), but we have no great story for that one.

As it happened, we had initially chosen a different name for her, but immediately after she was born we switched her name to Clara Faith.  I'll tell that story in another post...

Published in Blog
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 11:54

My First Time Making Play-Dough!

Yesterday morning, I made play-dough for Celia for the first time.  I found this recipe online...

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp cream of tartar (optional for improved elasticity)
  • Food colouring

Directions:

Add all ingredients except food colouring to a pot, mix together and continue stirring over low heat.  The dough will begin to thicken until it resembles mashed potatoes.  I found that the mixture stayed the same for awhile - I eventually turned up the heat slightly which sped up the process.  Once it started to thicken, I found it thickened quite quickly. 

When the dough pulls away from the sides and clumps in the center, as shown below, remove the pan from heat and allow the dough to cool enough to handle. There was a note in the recipe that said if the dough was still sticky, it needed to cook more.

Then, I took a ball of it and mixed in some liquid food colouring by hand.  I have no pictures of this, because my hands were covered in food colouring!

So, initially I put a clump in front of Celia and gave her a plastic knife to play with and demonstrated how you could cut and make patterns in the dough.  She then asked for a spoon, so I brought her a plastic fork and spoon, thinking she could have fun with those also.  Evidently I didn't catch on that because she was strapped into her booster seat in her usual eating-spot, she assumed this purple goo in front of her was food.  I clearly told her not to eat it, and I know she understands those words, but when she took a bit on her fork and started bringing it toward her face, I decided to let her find out for herself what it tasted like.

She put it in her mouth, made the most hilarious 'this is disgusting' face, and said 'Mmmm!' as if indulging me or attempting to be polite despite the awful taste.  I put my hand below her chin and told her to feel free to spit it out - she did, eventually, but not before she had tried to enjoy it.  Valiant effort. 

Since she was clearly unsure that it was not food, I played with it for awhile 'with' her, demonstrating how to make a little bowl, a banana, a cake and then chopping it into pieces (maybe I should stop with the food references, way to be confusing). "Don't eat it! But LOOK! It's a BANANA!"

She is probably too young yet to really 'get' it.  I finally balled it up and handed it to her, saying 'Look! A Ball!'.  She loved this! Lately she's been quite obsessed with anything spherical - my geeky husband and I who have no knowledge of or experience with sports whatsoever are terrified we are seeing a soccer-kid in the making - and when the playdough was shaped like her favourite toy, she was thrilled.

She grew tired of it quickly even still - too young, me thinks? and it was soon bedtime.  I lumped the three balls of playdough into a margarine container and into the fridge they went.  I'm sure we'll see them again this rainy week.

Published in Blog
Monday, 21 May 2012 22:09

My Favourite 'First'

Celia is my first daughter - my first child - so all of her 'firsts' are incredible and precious.  (I apologize in advance to all of my subsequent children, because this pregnancy has already been much less interesting that her's was, and I presume I'll take some of your growth for granted also - I'm sorry).

I think the milestone that excited me the most was the day she began walking.  And then, the day I realized she was walking more than she was crawling.  This was when I realized that she was really no longer a 'baby', but was now a toddler, and becoming a child.  My BABY was growing up!

Sigh.

Published in Blog
Thursday, 17 May 2012 22:17

Toilet Paper Happy!

I had one of those moments today when I realized that Celia had wandered off and had been contentedly quiet for much too long.  So, I left the kitchen cleaning that I was doing and discovered this:

Here's another view...

I walked in on this scene and immediately said 'Celia, NO!' but instead of handling the situation immediately, I then ran around the house looking for my camera because honestly - I couldn't possibly miss these photos.  As you will note in this second photo, she is reaching for the door under the vanity - she had begun the clean-up process all by herself.

Please note that one of Celia's tiny feet is bare, and the other is wearing a shoe.  She did this herself and refused to let me either remove the shoe she was wearing, or put a shoe on her other foot. Kids are weird. 

Anyway, I proceeded (after I had taken a few photos) to instruct her to clean up the mess, and she happily began to pick up the pieces of toilet paper and throw them in the garbage under the sink.  She was also determined to close the cabinet door between each piece she threw in, which made the process longer, but hey - she was doing it!

We're in the beginning stages of trying to figure out how to discipline her.  She has begun to hit and throw random temper tantrums when she doesn't get her way which makes me think I've dropped the ball somewhere.  When it comes to making messes and cleaning up, however - I find the job of teaching easy.  Especially since I have a kid who seems to love putting 'things' inside of 'other things'. 

Sometimes I will still just put things away after she's gone down for a nap or to bed, because ultimately it's a lot faster and simpler, but often I make her clean up after herself and it seems to be paying off.   On days when I feel like I'm already turning out to be a terrible parent - things like this make me feel like 'at least I'm doing 'something' right!'.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 21:21

Worst. Bedtime. Ever.

Okay, so this picture has nothing to do with the events of last night, but it's adorable and I wanted to include it.

So last night, I decided to give Celia a bath with bubbles for the first time.  We discovered awhile back that she was a little bit afraid of bubbles, and I didn't really want to push it, but seriously - what kid doesn't like a good bubble bath?!? So I wanted her to learn that they can be fun.

So I filled the tub with water and bubbles.

She doesn't really like baths anyway, but when she looked into the tub and saw the bubbles, she said 'No, no, no...' and tried to run away.

Then I asked her if she wanted Mommy to come with her.  She said yes, but it was still a bit of a struggle to get her undressed.  We both did land in the tub, however, and although she did get a bit more used to the water, she was never entirely comfortable. 

At the end of the bath, I thought it would be nice to 'reward' her by letting her wear a bathrobe that she received when she was born and only now was she big enough to fit into it.  So, I pulled out the robe and put it on her to wear while I was getting myself dressed.  She was thrilled.

She ran to the living room where one of our closets has mirrored doors, and paraded herself in front of it, admiring her new bathrobe. 

As I listened from the other room, I heard my husband's voice say worriedly "Oh, Celia... no..."

Then I heard a loud 'smack!'.

And then I heard Celia cry.

She came running back to me, in horrified tears, as my husband explained that she had peed on the floor, which is when he had spoken her name.  She had then proceeded to try to get away from it, slipping in the liquid in the process and landing directly in it.  She was soaked in pee - and so was her brand new bathrobe. 

She was absolutely devastated when I pulled off the bathrobe, and even more angry when I then put her back in the bathtub, which had not yet been drained.

Worst. Bedtime. Ever.

Published in Blog
Saturday, 05 May 2012 09:03

Rubbermaid Bin Fort?

The last bedroom door in our hallway goes into our 'cat room', as well as an entry room since the previous owners installed patio doors in it.   This is where we keep the litter box - and Celia is not allowed in it unsupervised. 

Which is why I am constantly finding ways to block her from going past the end of the hallway, without blocking the cat from her litter box or food dish.

Enter this Rubbermaid bin.

It is actually full of Celia's old baby clothes, and just sort of landed there after a day of sorting one day and I thought it would make a good little barricade.  As you can see, I was wrong.  Celia got up there all by herself.  At this point, she wasn't quite able to get down on her own, but she seemed quite content to hang out on it for a long period of time.  I brought her some toys and books and she seemed to have a blast!

Until she got sleepy, and then it was naptime.  She seemed almost willing to curl up right there and nap, but I moved her to her bed anyway.

I've always thought cats were funny, the way they will randomly hang out in the strangest places.  It never occurred to me that kids would do this too.

Do your kids hang out in any strange or funny places?

Published in Blog
Monday, 30 April 2012 20:01

Bedtime Routines!

Today I have the privilege of co-hosting, with Growing Up Geeky, this week's 'Toddle Along Tuesday' theme.  As usual, I left this to the last minute, and my husband was at work so I had to take these pictures myself - I apologize, they're not that great!

Anyway, we are not very consistent people, but in general - this is what Celia's bedtime typically looks like.

7pm.  Bathtime - usually every other night, and tonight wasn't one of those nights, so no pictures!

7:20pm.  Milk!  And yes, the odd colour is because she was spoiled tonight and had a bit of chocolate milk mixed in (this usually NEVER happens).

7:25 - Teeth brushing time!  I didn't get a picture of this, because juggling a toddler, a toothbrush, and toothpaste while not getting toothpaste all over myself and the bathroom is difficult enough! 

7:27 - Storytime! I'm pretty sure this is Celia's favourite time of day, although she was a little bit confused about why I was taking so many pictures.

Anywhere from 7:35 to 7:50 depending on how tired Celia gets... and then, it's 'Soother and Bo' time.

This is her give-away 'it's time to go to sleep now' pose.  She willingly takes a soother, and the paw of THAT bear (no other stuffy works for this) goes on her nose.  I love it, it's adorable.

Thanks for joining us this week for Toddle Along Tuesday! I look forward to seeing all of your posts!



This week's Toddle Along Tuesday topic is Bedtime Routines! What do you do with your little one before bed? There are no rules here, except that you link up a relevant post (old or new) rather than your whole blog.

Published in Blog
Friday, 13 April 2012 09:42

She's Talking!

My daughter may be 'behind' the world in learning to walk (nearly 16 months), but her language skills are heading through the roof! Maybe she's not that special, but it amazes me how this little girl who didn't walk or talk (not even a word) a month ago, is suddenly able to have entire conversations with me...

She started out with (probably typical) 'Dadda', and 'No!', and although she said 'Mumma' occasionally, it wasn't consistent enough for me to think she knew what she was saying... about last week she started pointing to me and saying 'Mumma', and the other night she started crying and when Brian walked into her room, she said 'Mumma!' as if she wanted me (I'm definitely more likely to pick her up and cuddle her...).

Now all of a sudden this last week, I've heard her say the words 'more', 'ball', 'Grandma', 'Grandpa', 'Table', 'Diaper', 'Cat' (which is weird, because we've always referred to the cat as 'Kitty'), 'baby', 'down', 'up'... ok, that's all I can remember at the moment, but I'm impressed!

Last night we even heard her talking in her sleep! Nothing intelligible, but it was cute anyway. 

Published in Blog
Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:35

Another Late TAT...

I'm late for another Toddle Along Tuesday with Growing Up Geeky, but I thought this was another fun one and wanted to do it anyway...

So after much thought about this particularly photo hunt - what exactly is a 'photo blooper' anyway? - I came up with these photos, not because the photos themselves were bloopers - I took them very deliberately - but because it seemed like a 'life blooper' I was catching on 'film'. 

Do you see why I found this funny? Look a bit closer if you don't...

I just want to note that I did not put her soother on her face.  I found her this way during an afternoon nap - I have no idea how the soother ended up there, but I thought it was hilarious anyway...

Published in Blog

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