Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adventures with Joseph

Joseph's getting big and fun too. I finally hacked off his long hair at the end of April. It was getting out of hand, and he wouldn't stop twirling it as he fell asleep or when he got stressed or sad or pretty much all the time. We had tried to help him stop twirling through gentle reminders and changing a Frog & Toad story about willpower from not eating all the cookies to not twirling his hair, but all was for naught. He was getting a bald spot, so we finally took the plunge.
Before
Pile of hair
After. Not too shabby for someone who's never wielded scissors before.
All ready for church with his new 'do. What a handsome little fellow I have.
I've given him a few cuts since, and this is how it goes.
Day of cut: "Wow! That looks pretty good. I am amazing."
Day after cut: "There are a couple of spots that I missed. Still, pretty good for someone who learned how to cut hair from a blog tutorial."
Two days after cut: "Uhhh, there are lots of spots that I didn't quite get right. Well, practice makes perfect, right? I'll get better."
Three days after cut: "What in the world was I thinking? This is a complete hack job."

I'm sure it will get better, and having a moving target who doesn't like to have the scissors anywhere near his neck or ears doesn't help. Oh, and don't suggest clippers. I borrowed some from a friend, and he ran away crying when I turned them on trying to show him what they were like. No dice.

He stopped napping around his second birthday, but we still have quiet time every afternoon (today's "quiet time" consists of jumping on the bed, moving it, and screeching). But every once in awhile, he'll be so exhausted that he'll succumb to the delights of a nap. This occurs about once a month. Shoot me. We put him in a toddler bed as soon as our stuff arrived in February. He only fell out once the first night, and has done a great job. Naps have been tricky, as he doesn't actually nap anymore, but at night he stays in and sleeps well.
"Bid boy bed!"
Finally fell asleep on the floor.

One afternoon on the way home from the store (just a few blocks away), nothing I could do would keep him awake. I let him sleep for about 45 minutes before braving the nightmare that awaited me by waking him.

He finally figured out how to jump and does it EVERYWHERE! I showed him how to jump off small steps, and he's getting confident (perhaps overconfident) with larger ledges.
"Jump off da swide?"
He loves to jump off the end of the slide and from one part of the uneven sidewalk to the other. He has a goofy little dance/walk he does when he's excited, and his language is getting clearer and more complete all the time. His Ls are still Ys, Gs are still Ds, and C/Ks are still Ts, but Rs are coming along, and every once in awhile one of those other sounds will be correct. "Div Nowra tisses?" means "Give Nora kisses." He's putting whole thoughts into complete sentences, and I love to hear all those thoughts. He frequently answers by repeating the question, but Jake's mom found that asking "yes or no?" at the end of a question helps him know how to answer instead of just repeat.
First attempt  at fingerpainting for the grandmas' Mother's Day gifts. Remind me never to send anything to the US from Brazil ever again. Holy expensive, Batman!
Counting and sorting sticks
His fine motor skills are coming along too; he loves stringing beads onto pipe cleaners (just a few of the craft items I got on our trip to the US) or sorting and counting colored popsicle sticks. He likes to count things in English and Portuguese, and he can reliably count up to 20 in both languages and can count objects up to about 6, and then he starts skipping objects or double-counting. He's got most of his small letters down but the ones that don't resemble their capital letters (d, q, e, h) still need some work. He's started to associate sounds with letters. I'll hear him say, "Buh buh B!" and then we'll talk about some of the things that start with B.

Time outs, at least the way I was doing them previously, ceased to be effective, and it wasn't that I just gave up too soon; I'd been doing them that way for months. In theory, the amount of time it took to do a single two-minute time out should have decreased, and it didn't. Once he realized that he could get of the time out chair, all bets were off. I'd spend literally 30 minutes chasing after him and restarting the timer. We realized that it was an attention game when I'd tap out and Jake would take over, and Joseph would be done within five minutes. As Jake is not the one doing the time outs 90% of the time, we had to change course. I found that clear, logical consequences, as well as a certain amount of relaxing my expectations, has resulted in a much happier, more obedient kid. That is, until I started potty training. I expected some pushback, but about the potty. It turned out his desire to control his world extended to all aspects of it. I've threatened spanks and time outs far more than I'd like, but now that he understands his own plumbing a little and can sometimes tell me when he needs to go, I'm hoping we can get back to better cooperation because he'll have more control over his world.

I was having a really rough time of it with him in late March to early April, and one of the things that got me through was a line in General Conference from Elder Enrique R. Falabella: "a child who sings is a happy child." Joseph was so miserable with the way I was disciplining him. Things he'd previously enjoyed (like showers) were no longer fun. I was miserable and totally convinced that I had somehow broken my child. But he sang (and sings) all the time. Lately, it's humming "Choose the Right" or "If You're Happy and You Know It," but that kid always has a song or is asking me to sing. It gave me hope that even though he was unhappy at the time, he wasn't lost. My sweet kid was in there somewhere, and with the Lord's help we could help him come back. In mid-April after yet another attempt at a shower with him screaming and crying, I got in there with him and he said something that made me realize that he didn't want to get his head wet. A month or so before, we were at a friend's pool. Though he could easily touch the bottom, he slipped and went under and didn't come up. I jumped in and grabbed him after watching him sort of flail for a second or two, but his head didn't emerge. He was pretty traumatized, and attending a baptism later that week didn't help. We thought he was over it, but we kept shoving him into the shower, which only made his fear worse. We were able to help him become more secure in the shower and that helped turn his whole little world right side up again. He still is freaked out by large pools (Cedar City Aquatic Center was a total nightmare. He wouldn't leave our arms), but another baptism a few weeks ago didn't result in his leaving the room, and I think we'll continue to progress.

Funny things he's said lately:
Proudly pointing to his fleece footie tractor PJs: "These are dress jammies."
After I asked him what his name was: "Sílvio Miller."
"W, X, Y, and......CAMEL!!!"
Looks over the city from our apartment window and says knowingly: "That's Brazil."

He loves to help me bake by dumping in the ingredients. He had a hard time not plunging his hands into the flour/brown sugar/batter/butter at first, but he does OK when I promise him the beater or spoon at the end. And he's getting better with it. Now it's just a matter of convincing him he can't actually crack the eggs or pour the vanilla by himself.
First cookie beater. I think the boy's in heaven.

"Yet's chet our tate!" (Let's check our cake!)

He's getting better and better about playing by himself for more than a few minutes at a time. One key was having the right kind of toys. I like that I can finally go about my other jobs without being constantly needed. It's only taken almost three years! It's fun to watch him talk through a problem or sing to himself as he plays.

Ikea trains. Best Christmas gift ever. Now if only he'd figure out how to "mate a tawh bwidge" (make a tall bridge) himself.

Legos.
Playing with cars. He likes to take the taxi, rev it up, and let it crash off the windowsill. I don't mind unless Nora is under the window, and then I freak out. Poor kid.
He loves to wear Nora's hairbows. I never realized how sad it is for boys not to have accessories. We'll get him some superhero books or something so he can get into capes. For now, though, I think it's hilarious.
Looking sharp, dude.

I found him in here. "Snats in da dwryer?"
During a cold snap in June. When you don't have heaters or insulation, 55 degrees sure is cold.
 We sure are lucky to have this boy. As difficult as some days can be, I wouldn't trade him for the world. But does anyone want to fly to Brazil to potty train him? :)
Cheeser.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Adventures with Nora

I realized I haven't posted anything of substance in quite some time, and I'd like to rectify that, if only because I type faster than I write, and journal entries have kind of gone down the tubes too. This is the first of a couple of catch-up posts. Sorry about the picture overload, except if you're a grandma, then you're thrilled. :)

Nora has been such a good baby. She's hit all her developmental milestones on target and is affectionate and curious. She liked tummy time much more than Joseph and flipped back to front at about 3 1/2 months.
Two months
Get that elephant!
Look at those cheeks!
We are not amused.
Pretty in pink at 3 months.
4 months. Aerobics class?
Why yes, yes I am adorable.
Five months.
Cold day. I couldn't find any of her long-sleeved clothes so the too-small hat and Joseph's too-big coat had to do.
Around Mother's Day.
Sucking on her toes. That's my girl!
She loves looking at books and freaks out when you take one away. I'm a proud mama.
She couldn't wait long enough for us to finish eating before sacking out in the bumbo. Poor thing.
Nora is growing by leaps and bounds, but is also on the small side. At her 6 month appointment, she measured in the 5th percentile for weight and 25th for height. Not shocking when you realize I was about the same at her age, but still a tiny thing. She's still in 3-6 month clothes, though I'm about ready to get out the next size. She's happy and funny unless she's teething.
First three teeth.
Her first two teeth came in five days apart at 5 1/2 months. The third popped through a few weeks later, and the fourth and fifth emerged within days of each other last week. First three are on the bottom, and the next two are on the top, but the lateral incisors. If only they were the cuspids, we could call her a vampire. :) Just before our trip to Utah at the end of June, she was up on all fours and starting to rock back and forth and even make little scoots.
Ready to crawl!
By the time we got home two weeks later, she was making real progress with an army crawl. At seven months she was crawling like mad.
Sitting up with just a little support.
She finally sat up without supporting herself with her hands just after that, and moved quickly to pulling herself to standing.
Like a boss.
I've got places to go, Mom!
And then this week she started cruising along the furniture.

Cruising.
Yesterday she tried to take her hands away from the shelf she was leaning on.

I'll be shocked if she's not walking like a pro by nine months. It's so funny to see this teeny tiny person doing things even older babies don't often do. The girl's got places to go and things to do, and it's my job to keep her in one piece so she can go there and do it. Even though she's mobile, she's pretty self-contained.
Some"bunny" is busy.
I never knew I could actually get housework done while a baby was awake. I told Jake the other day that I think I got more done that day with Nora awake than I did Joseph's whole first year during his waking hours. She was a great sleeper (8 pm to 5 or 6 am) until she hit about 5 months, and then she decided she needed to wake up several times a night. Then she slept great the whole time we were in Utah and then was back to the same old tricks when we got home. Over the last few days, she's finally been sleeping longer at night (8-11 and then sleeping until 5 or 6 before a quick feed and back to sleep for another hour or so), and it's made a big difference for me. I'm hoping once I get on the ball with solids—I've been pretty lax, what with potty-training Joseph—she'll be sleeping longer during the night. She hasn't been feeling well the last couple of days (more teeth, maybe?), so she's been a little crabby and needy, but she is still so sweet and fun. More posts to come in the next few days.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Potty Training Status Updates I Thought Better Of

 ...And am now posting here for people who like me better.
  • People say that two in diapers is just so hard. Not true. Two in diapers is cake. Potty training an older kid with a younger sibling still nursing is the real nightmare. Props to parents of twins or more. I don't know how you do it.
  • We went through nine pairs of cloth training pants in a single day.
  • The goal for the week went from "A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place" to "Don't Do Anything That Will Send You to Jail."
  • I am astonished at the quality and quantity of bodily fluids coming out of my children right now.
  • People say that newborns are the best birth control. Lies. Potty training is the best birth control.
  • How, HOW do you have four accidents in an hour? What else is left after two? You haven't had a drink in hours!
  • Boy, am I glad Jake sprang for the dryer. They're not common here, but I'm sure grateful.
  • A lot of lights went on in his head after the first accident in training pants. It's good to know something besides the plumbing is working.
  • I am very thankful for tile floors right now.
  • I had a cuppa mint tea after a rough patch of five accidents in 30 minutes. Those Brits understand a thing or two about what to do in a crisis. 
  • That little tantrum (his? mine? whatever) just set us back about two weeks. 
  • In all my work with children of various ages, I've never worried that I wouldn't be able to outlast one of them. Until now. He's giving me a run for my money.
  • You know your husband is a catch when he offers to take a day off work to help with potty training.
  • I neither maimed my children nor drowned my sorrows in a bucket of ice cream after they went to bed thirty minutes early. I'm going to call today a win.