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Showing posts from 2013

Living Language

Little L is a verbose little thing, totally earning her stripes as a member of our loquacious family. In fact, many who hear her in conversation will marvel that she is only 22 months because she sounds much older. Sometimes her sentences are clear and astoundingly complete and complex, surprising even us.

However, that's not to say that she is completely articulate or that she has already mastered speaking at this point. I mean, she's 22 months old! She often speaks in phrases rather than full sentences, and words are excluded all the time. There are moments when she will talk so quickly that her words blur together;  I want the iPhone sounds more like iwonaphone and her recitation of some sentences from her books are incomprehensible because she doesn't enunciate or pause between words. There are also times when she deliberately mispronounces words to make us laugh; tent becomes tee-ent and cream is said as crem, all to ham it up and make us giggle. And sometimes, she ma…

Fear of Spoilage

Okay, riddle me this: what kind of love fears that loving too much will spoil a child?

I have heard a lot of fear-based parenting "advice" in my short 22 months as a momma, much of it related to "spoiling" Little L and raising a monster. Since when does loving my kid and responding to her needs (and on occasion, wants) produce an entitled, demanding ingrate? I mean, if my parenting style was pure indulgence that wasn't tempered by boundaries or the teaching of values, then yes, there would be cause for concern. But in a household that loves Jesus and is teaching Little L to hopefully do the same, I don't understand this concern about her being spoiled.
Here are some of the gems I've gotten: - don't tell her she is beautiful or smart, or compliment her in any way, lest she become vain or arrogant - don't pick her up when she cries, especially during a tantrum or when it comes to sleep time - ignore her when she's throwing a tantrum and insis…

21

Reading: Little People lift the flap books, Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer, Richard Scarry books, Karen Katz books, all of our potty books, Seuss, and Usborne First Hundred Words. She's also partial to her Little Bunny Follows His Nose, Munch Bunch, and Usborne Peek Inside the Zoo books.


Eating: My formerly-awesome eater is now a picky eater, partial to fruit, sweet chocolatey cereal, breaded chicken (skin), popcorn, noodles, yogurt, yogurt melts, buttered toast, sausage, cheese and rice cakes. Little L will sometimes get in a mood for something specific (ham, cheese and cucumber sandwiches with mayo, fresh pineapple and cottage cheese, or Viet salad rolls), but her tastes tend to lean towards savoury snacks. 
Saying: "No more iPad left! No more iPad here!" (After I've hidden it)
"You have to use your balance!" (While sitting on a large rubber ball)
"I heard something. I heard a phone!" (When I forget to mute my iPhone)
"Did you have a g…

New Eyes

I'd like to think that I've always been a relatively soft-hearted person when it comes to kids. Almost all of my students and their parents would probably classify me as a relatively kind teacher who, though firm, was also loving toward their progeny. At least, that's what I'd like to believe.
But motherhood has a way of altering perspectives, and I find that in loving Little L, particularly through this current crazy phase of incessant whining and biting and tantrums, I am being given new eyes to see her. I am learning to practice compassion, a quality I always thought that I had but in hindsight I now know that I had previously lacked. 

I'm not exactly known for my patience, but God has been giving this to me in abundance as I try to cope with toddler tears and bites over everything and anything (and sometimes nothing at all). With that patience comes a supernatural (meaning it is also from God and by no power of my own) ability to step back from the moment and a…

Hell No Ween? Hell-oween? Hello-ween?

Since I became a Jesus-follower at the age of 15, every October I have had to wrestle with the whole Halloween thing. Should I, or shouldn't I? How much? Reject it? Redeem it? I think I've done the whole spectrum of things, from handing out candies at my parents' place, to abandoning ship (lights off, nobody's home) and hiding out, to "Noah's Fest" at church, to attending full-costume Halloween parties. Most years I've been mostly ambivalent (read: done nothing), since I was too old to gather free candy and not yet in a place and space where I needed to hand out my own.

But now that I have a walking, talking toddler, it changes everything.  I have to think about Halloween, and figure out how to help her understand it in light of our walk as believers.

As a kid growing up in a non-Christian home, I loved dressing up and going to public school and having a costume party with way too much sugar involved.  Before dollar stores were en vogue, my mom pains…

Twenty

Time for an update.  Here's a quickie:

Reading: Seuss, Little Critter, Usborne Little Book of First Experiences Treasury, Max and Ruby Treasury, Little Bunny Follow His Nose, and the FP Lift the Flap books.  Karen Katz books are still a favourite, although of late Little L has been more into singing kids' songs and listening to her CDs than reading her books. I have no doubt that her new iPad play time has contributed to this reduced time with her books; I'm just glad she's still reading ;) Eating: "I'm a chocaholic!" Little L will declare.  And she is; she *loves* chocolate milk, chocolate croissants, chocolate cereal... She also really digs her yogurt, her cucumber/ham/cheese sandwiches, rice (in any form), ramen noodles (not the instant kind), baked chicken fingers, baked fish filets (not the fish stick variety, but actual whole fish filets), most fruit, and cheese. Her new favourite snack food? Popcorn.  It's a somewhat dangerous food (choking), so …

I Can't Eat It! Not Taste Very Good

Today was a big feelings day :(. Poor Little L didn't quite know how to process feeling hurt and grieving the imposition of boundaries to her eating, so she cried.  Actually, she wailed. Tragically and inconsolably.  Ugly cries, the kind one might do if their feelings were really really hurt.

My only way to help her was to be firm but kind, giving lots of hugs and reassuring words.  That worked not really at all. So I nursed her. She settled down quickly and then passed out.
And now, as I write, she sleeps in a sniffly slumber.
What caused these big overwhelming feelings of offense? Little L is not yet able to vocalize and pinpoint her specific woes just yet, but her constant repeating of "I can't eat! Not good for little girls" gives me a clue.
When she woke up today and brushed her teeth, I told her she could only use/eat one kind of fluoride toothpaste, because too much fluoride might make her sick.  
When we got to Sunday School, she was immediately reminded tha…

The Family-less Bed

So we are trying to transition Little L to her floor bed now. I am so emotionally not ready to do this, but her rolling off the bed (again!) was sort of the last straw.  Since weaning hasn't happened yet, guess who gets to sleep on the edge of the floor bed with half her fat ass on the hardwood? Little L may be small, but she is a bed hog.

We are on Night 2, and my plan (ha! We know how this will end, don't we?) is to slowly distance myself further and further away from her and the floor bed until I can leave her alone in her room while I enjoy my king bed again.  Based on my projections, I should get to sleep on my own bed again by 2016. 
Anyway, Hubbs doesn't feel right sleeping on that inviting, soft (but firm) mattress without me, so he has temporarily set up camp in our guest bedroom (which doubles as his office, which means he spends about 15 hours a day in there).  The room now smells like dirty socks and beef jerky and oranges, but he is getting quality sleep.
So t…

Why is Little L Freaking Out?

There is a site out there devoted to reasons why kids choose to throw tantrums seemingly randomly. To us, these meltdowns are random and more than a little bit amusing, but to them it does seem like the end of the world (or at least, something major akin to you dropping your iPhone into the toilet before having backed up your photos).  In their little minds, the trigger for the freakout is huge! And frankly, I kind of get it.  I lose my sh!t sometimes even over little stuff, like getting cut off when driving or having to wait in line behind the slowest man on the planet. So I can empathize when something is perceived to be a big issue by Little L, even though perhaps to us it isn't.

So here are some of the "biggies," a list of the spaz-outs my darling Little L has been subjecting us to in recent days.  They are pretty funny, although kind of heartbreaking to watch, too - at least, as baby's momma.  I try not to laugh.  I do try to soothe and be understanding.  But s…

I Am From

Oooh..fun! "I am from" is a prompt by Shelovesmagazine.com's synchroblog post, and I thought I'd chime in with mine.  I did something like this with my fourth-graders for Christmas once, but used the phrase "Christmas is..." instead.  It's fun and can be easy to do.  All you have to do is think of all the experiences, feelings, sights/sounds/smells/tastes, and descriptions from your life that have shaped who you are today, and then write it down in sentences using the "I am from.." as your sentence starter.

I decided to focus mine on the earliest parts of my life, from birth until early adulthood.  But seriously, I could be writing forever.  Here's what I've got:

I am from Mah, strong and hard-working like a horse
But also from dusty, flat prairies and long, cold winters
with scarves and toques and mittens on strings
I am from strangers matched and married in three months, 
a convenient relationship turned into a Christ-loving one

I am from…

On School in the Fall

As the brisk midnight air wafts in through my bedroom window, my mind drifts back several decades to the hallowed halls of my first years in school.  Fall was a magical season, from getting new school supplies and clothes to anticipating which cute boys would be in my class.  The familiar smells of Mr. Sketch would make me giddy, as would those initial days and weeks when everything was novel and unknown; the air was ripe with potential for the year to be great. As back-to-school bulletin boards changed predictably from apples and leaves to cornucopia and turkeys, followed by witches and black cats and jack-o-lanterns, my excitement would grow and grow. My chubby young fingers would inevitably be drawn to the colourful border trim, as well as tracing the grooves along the off-white concrete cinder block walls as I headed in and out for recess.  Every change of the displays preceded another upcoming holiday and season, and the ensuing festivities were always the highlights of my year.…

Friday Reflections

After reading the CNN iReport on "The Unnatural Mom," I was taken back 19 months to that day in the hospital when, with tears streaming down my face, I gave consent to the attending doctors to inject me with pitocin and give me an epidural.  Maybe it was all of those crazy hormones surging through me, or perhaps the hours of unrelenting contractions and sleeplessness, but I felt like I had done my unborn baby the biggest disservice ever.  Guilt flooded my heart and mind, and I was grief-stricken over my choices.

I, too, had somehow bought into the whole "natural mama" mentality, and though in many ways it empowered me to look at birth as a beautiful and natural process, it also biased my preferences in a way that didn't allow a lot of wiggle room for when things went sideways (which it inevitably did, in my case).

And, like the author of the CNN piece, my guilt stayed with me for months, and was compounded by my breastfeeding trials.  I felt like I was letting …

Imagine!

Little L has started forming an imagination.  It has led to all sorts of crazy hijinks, I tell ya!

Like, she will spend literally 10 minutes interacting with her teddy bear, squealing a loud and high-pitched, "Silly Jed! Silly Jed!" before erupting in a fit of giggles.  I have no idea why or how Jed is being silly but it's hilarious to watch. She has been doing this every couple of days, too!

Little L is also obsessed with hiding in a tent.  Per Miss Bee's idea, we have created a bit of a tent/toddler-cave for her by draping a fitted sheet half-over the crib. Little L likes to retreat inside several times a day to pow-wow with her stuffies.  Today she said, "Bye-bye Mommy" and crawled out of sight for 5 minutes.  As I sat watching from the family bed, I could hear Little L talking to her toy companions and yelling when the Fisher Price puppy wouldn't play his songs. 

The other day, Little L made a bee-line for her kitchen and then set up her stuffies f…

On Being Brave

I hate bugs.  Like, fear-and-loathing kinds of hate.  And so, the other day when Little L flipped open her book on eggs and was studying the picture of the egg sac of a spider, I had 'Nam-esque flashbacks to when our old place had that spider infestation.  Instinctively, I shuddered and exclaimed, "Yuck! Disgusting!,"and immediately after that, Little L began to do the same.

A genius IQ or PhD in psychology is hardly necessary to figure out that toddlers learn by mimicking their parents.  It's all part of the developmental process, which is why a whole subsection of the toy industry is devoted to making fake mini-versions of real-life, adult products (including mini-Dyson vacuums! A bit over the top, if you ask me).

But that was a wake-up call to me, because I had never considered, up to that point, that perhaps I could be inadvertently passing along phobias (of bugs, drowning, the dark, cluster textures and clowns) to Little L based on my behaviour and words.  Upon …

Owning It

Our household is full of distracted parenting. By that, I mean that Little L doesn't always get 100% of our attention because we also have our smartphones in hand, and are busy doing the social media thing or playing games or checking our email.

It started out innocently enough; she was a newborn who hated sleep and the phone kept us awake and entertained while we rocked her or fed her. And at age 0 months, she neither realized nor reacted to having us be on our iPhones.  Fast forward 18 months, however, and we now have a full blown walking, talking toddler on our hands.  She knows what she wants and she understands what is happening.  She knows when she is getting our undivided attention and when she is getting that leftover time when we are waiting for something to load on the phone. And inadvertently, our actions are hurting her heart and leaving a negative lasting impression.
As I've read about this new "distracted parenting" thing, I have become quite convicted …

Overheard

Me: Look! Panda is looking for his panda friend.  He is lonely and wants his friend to sit with him.
Little L: (moving panda toys to sit together). Hi hi! I sorry, friend! We talk talk! (Later) Little L: The pandas sit together ***
(As we cuddle on the family bed) Little L: I like big hugs! (And then she proceeds to big hug one of us) ***
Little L, recounting the Gospel in her 18 month way:  Devil bad. Jesus good! Owie owie cross.  Owie toe. (Insert her version of the sad duck face) ***
Me: (playing telephone) Hello? It's for you Little L! It's Ye-Ye! Little L: Hi Ye-Ye! Hi Sweetheart! (He calls her his little sweetheart). ***
Little L: I tackle Daddy! I tackle you! (and then waits for *me* to tackle her). ***
(While I was out for coffee with a friend) Little L: (to Miss Bee) Mommy come back soon! ***
(Standing in the bathroom after cleaning up from lunch) Little L: I take a shower!  ***
Me: Do you like this food? Does it taste good? Little L: Terribilicious! Yummy in my tummy. ***
Little…

Tough Stuff

Little L is no fragile flower.  She constantly runs into things and falls down.  She has already had two scraped knees, a bleeding index finger (I think somehow her nail managed to separate from her finger on one side), and a black eye.  She has also run into edges and corners of walls and tables countless numbers of times, and  has had a few spectacular flops onto the floor as well. And with the exception of the black eye fall (which did result in a one-minute cry that I had to nurse her better from), she has not cried after any of those spills or incidents.

Sure, she *did* cry when her fingers got caught in the elevator door (but wouldn't you cry too?).  And she cried when her one finger got smushed a little by a folding stool (the crying only lasted a minute).  But as a whole, my kid does not cry after a spill.  In fact, I didn't notice the knees until a day later, and the bleeding finger only came to my attention when her blood started to stain the books she was reading.

L…

17 Months and Changing

Little L likes to keep us on our toes.  ĹšJust when we think we have things figured out (ha!), she tosses us a curve ball to knock us upside the head.  Thanks for that, sweet girl.

Things that she used to love? Not interested.
LIST: bathtub toys, Fisher Price zoo/farm, stuffies/"friends", the swings, putting on her shoes, jam on bread and pasta with marinara sauce, "drawing," touching the dots on her bedroom walls

Things that never used to interest her? Very interested.
LIST: singing kid songs like Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes, playing with wood chips and gravelly sand, the slides, climbing into the stroller on her own, the skin off breaded oven-baked drumsticks and chocolate homo milk, counting to 10, kicking a ball

And I think she might be slowly dropping her afternoon nursing; the past few days she has not needed to breastfeed to sleep in the afternoon, but has been lulled into slumber by way of moving vehicle or in our arms (at Superstore!) or during a str…

Get Your Mind Outta the Gutter

Little L has taken to saying, loudly, "A big, a big, a big cock!"

Yep.

In public.

And it's innocent enough.  She is trying to describe the very large, plumed blue peacock she saw at the zoo a couple of weeks ago.  She just doesn't like to say the first syllable of the word, and it comes out sounding perverse.

But how does one explain this to random stranger at the supermarket who has overheard this phrase, and is wondering if they should be calling Child Social Services?

I am thinking I should just keep this kid at home for now.  ;)


Hot in the Summer Time

So, um, when did your little ones stop wearing onesies, either under their clothes or as their clothes?

Little L is still wearing them, and when she was first born our ex-family doc gave me so much grief when we put her in a sleeper without it that I'm scarred for life.  Fast forward 17 months... and now that it's hot and sometimes muggy outside, I just don't think she'd be comfortable wearing layers.  At the same time, I don't love that onesies are so thin that to wear them on their own might be a bit too chilly, y'know? Little L has tons of cute dresses and summer outfits that are thicker by nature of the fabric or design, and to wear just those articles without the onesie is now an option.  I've actually been doing this for the past two days, with no complaints from my kid.

But is she still a bit too young yet? Conventional wisdom says when she potty trains, that's when you ix-nay the onesie.  Plus they make them up to 24 months in age/size.  She is…

Zoo! Cam-uh! Cock! Gir-aah!

It was our 8th anniversary on Tuesday.  We celebrated by taking Little L to the zoo, which happens to be 45 minutes away on a good day (and 1.5 hours in traffic, which is when we decided to go).  I didn't think the pay-off would be worth the non-stop book reading and entertaining I had to do to ensure we didn't have a backseat meltdown.

But it was. So, so, worth it.

Let's face it: our local zoo is not amazing by global standards.  In fact, it's pretty sad.  The fake lions in the front are showing their age from the weathering of the elements; paint has begun chipping off.  The property is sprawling, but rather than be a lush oasis of eye candy, there's a lot of flat gravelly road reminiscent of someone's farm.  The space is peppered with fake animals to try to pretty up an otherwise-boring space, but these lovely looking lawn ornaments seem out of place with the badly-painted, amateurish-looking "main concession" building.  The mid-point concession bu…

More Antics and Observations

* Little L likes to interject every so often in our conversations with, "Hmm? I wonder..." I think she got that from a Berenstain Bears book.

* Sometimes when we read books now, we will do so in fill-in-the-blank fashion and let Little L finish the sentences.  It is surprising how many words she has remembered from each page of each book.  Alarming, actually.

* "S" is proving to be a challenging consonant for Little L sometimes.  Instead of saying, "I sit!" when she plops herself down on her step stool, it sounds more like, "I sh!t!"

* Little L is really identifying with the subject-adjective/noun format in her sentences, particularly when the subject is "I" and the adjective or noun is something kind of obscure and not really even a word sometimes.  Example: "I shouter!" "I loud!" "I light!" "I sweet!"

* My dear girl has started repeating simple sentences, like "I like it!" Sometimes …

Antics

* Little L has figured out that bread crusts are for suckers.  When given a slice of jam-laden bread (her fave), she will automatically peel off the crusts.  We didn't teach her this; she just knows!

* As we read her toddler Bible, Little L likes to stop and point at things that she knows, like "bad cow" for the golden calf or "pray" for Daniel in the lions' den.  Well, she has recently started stopping on any page with a drink goblet and saying, "Wine! Water!" whether or not it's from the last supper or Jesus in Cana.  I'm pretty sure I've only ever told her that story of the miracle once.  Weird detail to remember!
* So, although Little L knows quite a few words, she isn't always good at distinguishing context yet, and sometimes she confuses words. Take for instance the onomatopoeic word, "Baa!" She oft confuses it with another similar-sounding word, which is why, after Hubbs made the sheep sound to her while reading an…

Getting Serious and Non-Baby For a Moment... On Christians and AbortionPolitics

Some of you may have heard about the senator in Texas who filibustered an anti-abortion bill in its 11th hour the other day.  She looks a bit like the Who's the Boss? mom, played by Judith Light back in the day, don't you think?  But I digress.

Anyway, the bill didn't end up passing, so now a whole bunch of abortion clinics in TX get to stay open, and are legally permitted to perform abortive procedures after 20 weeks' gestation.

How am I supposed to react to this?  As a Christian? As a mother? As a woman?
I am pro-Jesus.  I am pro-Bible.  I am pro-life, pro-Truth, pro-grace, and pro-love.

The initial reaction, my gut instinct one, was to be repulsed, because abortion is repulsive.  I have a friend who likes to "share" some of the goriest pro-life movement images ever, on FBook.  I always cringe when I see the images pop up in my newsfeed, because they are revolting.  Seriously, nobody who has eaten should ever, ever click on those links because you will be r…