Archive for the 'Lessons' Category

No amount of training

It started out all frayed nerves and tested patience.  It turned into fighting regrets, wavering self-trust, and lessons learned.

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I’ve always been fairly confident in my parenting abilities.  I have a mother who, while raising us in a home that doubled as a daycare, provided us with more education on parenting than average.  We saw, come and go, dozens of children over the years, all of differing behavioral dispositions, receptiveness to discipline, even levels of intelligence.  And my mom was and is a fabulous parent and daycare provider.  She has always treated her charges as she would her own kids – no better, no worse, no more or less attention, and the rules that applied to us, applied to them and vice versa.  And the kids were (and are) always there.  They arrived before we were awake in the morning, and didn’t leave until dinner time.

Like I said, this meant I was involuntarily enrolled in a 26 year course in parenting before I had my own.  At the time I was living at home, when I was still a kid myself, this was a burden at times.  Just at times, not always.  We benefited from always having someone to play with, nevermind the fact that our mom was always home; a privilege, no doubt.  We constantly had fresh baked cookies or muffins, a hot lunch at home everyday, and a parent always present for anything we needed.  But this also meant we had to share her for the majority of the day with other people’s kids.  We had to share our toys with other people’s kids.  We had to share our home with other people’s kids.  By the time I was in my teenage years, I was ‘over it’.  A little bit of quiet would have been nice.

All of this is just to say, in theory and on paper, I know about this parenting deal.  I’ve been witness to pretty much any challange a child can throw at you and I’ve seen an expert deal with it appropriately.  But, as we as parents all know, in theory and on paper is dramatically different, like worlds apart, from having to put the knowledge into practice.  With a real, live child.

***

Eirinn was tough this morning.  Not the worst she’s ever been, but she had her moments.  She begged me for oatmeal (as a second breakfast) and after I made it she insisted she “No Like It.”  She ran up the stairs when I asked her to sit on them to get ready.  Nothing horrible, just naughty.

And then she hit me.  Smacked me square in the nose with her finger, hard.  It certainly didn’t hurt, but she meant it to. 

So I slapped her hand.

This is where I have been fighting with myself.  One moment I regret it deeply.  I have always said “how can you teach a child that it’s wrong to hit by hitting them in return?”  And really, how can you?  It’s all fine to say do as I say, don’t do as I do, but a two year old won’t ever understand that.  All she knows is that she did something Mommy didn’t like, so Mommy slapped her.  So, if she were to learn from this lesson, if someone does something she doesn’t like, she should smack them.  Not exactly what I was hoping she’d learn.

Yet in the next moment, I’m ok with what I did.  She has to know why we don’t hit and that’s because it hurts*.  And we don’t want to hurt people.  After the hand slap, we had a long, heart-felt discussion, which she understood so well it brought tears to my eyes, about how we shouldn’t hit people, that we should be friends and we don’t want to hurt our friends.  We discussed how if she doesn’t hit anyone, no one will hit her.  We discussed how much Mommy loves her and how it hurts Mommy’s feelings when she is mean to Mommy.  And in the end, with no provocation, Eirinn said “Poor Mommy,” apologized, and gave me a huge hug and a big kiss.  It was all I could do to not stay home all day and hug my precious little baby. 

It’s so hard to remember, as an adult who has mastered all of these basic theories, that starting out, we have no idea.  How is she to know, without being taught, that hitting is wrong, or that we shouldn’t throw toys at the dog, or that food belongs in the bowl or in our mouth?  So we have to be patient.  She has so many lessons to learn, all at the same time, that I can see how it would take several mistakes before she fully grasps all of these new concepts.  But it’s so hard to remember.  After all, I’m new to this parenting thing and parents have just as many lessons to learn.  The difference is, as a parent, we have to learn these while acting like we already knew them.  We have to be instant experts.  Or incredible actors.

Looking back now, I don’t know if I would do anything different.  I know in an ideal world where children only needed to be told once and their parents kept their cool under any circumstance, I may not have raised my voice and just given her a time out and all would have been peachy.  But my child isn’t like that and neither am I, so I slapped her hand to get my point across, we had our discussion about why I did what I did (because she did what she did), we apologized to each other, and if you ask her now, she knows not to hit.  So under the circumstances, I don’t think I could have done anything differently and still come out with the same result.

But I’m still beating myself up inside, and why is this?  Because there’s always self-doubt in parenting.  We can’t escape it.  No matter how much training we had before our kids came.

***

* I most certainly did not hit her hard enough for it to hurt.  Absolutely not.  She was shocked, for sure, but not in pain.  I would never, ever purposely hurt my child.  Ever. 

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The fishy puzzle

Eirinn loves puzzles.  I’ve said it before because it’s true.  She loves puzzles. 

Puzzles have replaced television as her all-time favourite past time.  She doesn’t do those puzzles where the little wooden pieces have the same shape as the little holes on the board.  Oh, no.  She doesn’t even own one of those.  She does the big kid puzzles with the puzzle-shaped pieces that fit together like a puzzle.  Can you tell I’m not a puzzle person?  I have no idea how to describe them.

I know!  Pictures!  Pictures always help the verbally disabled.  Like myself.

She don’t do this kind:

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She do this kind:

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With great speed and accuracy.  She has a few of them.  They have either 20 or 24 pieces and, oddly enough, they are all scenes of under the sea.  Maybe that’s the universal toddler puzzle picture du jour.  I wouldn’t know, being a non-puzzler and all.

I think this is great.  The puzzles as a whole allow her to practice her hand/eye coordination and the topics of the puzzles (numbers, opposites, and the one in the picture, colours) are very educational.  She has improved her knowledge of colours exponentially.  Improved, not mastered, but it has taught her more than we could any other way.  And we’ve tried.  We started to think she was either colour blind or had a whole in her brain where her colour recognition should have been.  Turns out she’s just stubborn and wanted a puzzle to teach her, not Mommy and Daddy.

She does them non-stop.  First thing in the morning I have to dodge pieces to get her cereal to her mouth (yes, I still feed her her breakfast – geniuses shouldn’t have to feed themselves).  After work she runs to her puzzles and does them over and over again.  “Do puthle ‘gain?”  I think it’s safe to say that she lawbs her puzzles.

***

In other news, my sister got a puppy for Christmas.  Well, it started out a puppy.  A cute, little, black and white, Shih-Tese (say that in your head and I dare you not to laugh).  Sophie is a Shih-Tzu, Maltese cross which, even though we paid for a pure bred Shih Tzu, we’ve always suspected Bosco to be.

I say she “started out” a puppy because in her short three month life, she has morphed into a wee little devil-dog.  If you’re furry and small, she will eat you.  If you even remotely resemble a shoe, slipper, or sock, she will eat you.  If you are my daughter’s pants, she will eat you.  Or at least try, seeing as her teeth are still little pin pricks. 

She absolutely tortures poor Bossy.  She pulls his tail, bites his arse, hangs off his ears.  All this makes him bark, which makes Murphy bark at Bossy, which means Bossy then has an evil midget devil-dog hanging off his butt and a big ol’ meat-head yelling at him to shut up.  Poor guy can’t win for losing.  Whatever that means.

Lucky for Bosco, we got to puppy-sit Sophie this weekend.  We brought the devil into his sanctuary.  Dude was not impressed.

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And all Blue Bear had to say was “HALP!”

p.s. Notice Bosco’s incredibly long hippie bangs?  He’s getting his hair did tomorrow.

Leaky diaper update

Thanks so much for your help Carly, Stefanie, swimmom, Colleen and girlymama.  Anonymous Husband?  I bid you a 😛 with a lot of spit. 

That very day, I took all of your advice down to A&P and bought a jumbo pack of Pampers Baby Dry, size 5.  She’s a big girl now, and big girls have big butts.  I’m still using the remaining size 4’s during the day because she’s never had a leaking problem when she’s vertical.

Monday night, she was dry as a bone outside of the diaper, despite the over inflated water balloon that was sagging in her two jamas.  Hurray!  Success!

Tuesday night, she was soaked again.  Boo.  Not nearly as bad as she had been over the weekend, but definitely wetter than dry, which was the look I was going for. 

Last night, dry again.  I’m tres confuzzed. 

My newly educated guess is that circumstances outside of the diaper size are causing the leakage.  I’m sticking to the whole no water between dinner and bottle deal, so she’s not over-hydrated.  Maybe it’s the bottle that’s pushing her bladder beyond it’s fluid capacity.  But I’m not ready to give that up yet.  And I do mean “I” am not ready to give it up.  She’s a near-OCD creature of habit and the transition between our current bedtime routine and what comes next is not something I’m looking forward to.  Not without copious amounts of hard liquor, medication, and/or duct tape.  For both of us.

So, I’ll keep putting the size 5 on for bed, hoping that Tuesday night was an anomaly and that the larger size really is the best solution.  But if it turns out that that doesn’t work, I suppose I’m going to have to get used to one jamas, which means more laundry.  OR I’ll just buy more pajamas.  Yes, I’ll probably do that instead.

Leaky Diapers

I’m going to publish a better post later today, but for now I am in need of help (again). 

The last three nights, Eirinn has leaked through her diapers over night.  Well, not through them, but she has spilled over them.  The poor thing wakes up soaked, top and bottom.  I have cut down the amount she drinks at night; nothing between dinner and her bedtime bottle, and I’ve even reduced the amount of milk in her bedtime bottle.  But nothing seems to be working.  She is going from her nap until bed (about 4 until 7:30) without peeing at all, but it seems she is saving all the liquid she consumes throughout the whole afternoon until bedtime and just fills the diaper.

She is in Pampers, size 4, which is supposed to fit 22 to 36 lbs.  She weighs about 27 lbs, so I know she’s not too big for them.  I do them up as tight as possible without winding her and they are pulled up as high as I can wretch them.

I’m not sure what to do.  It’s really frustrating because I am the Worlds Biggest Loather of Doing Laundry and we do One Jamas and Two Jamas (wearing pajamas two days in a row), normally.  This, obviously, can’t be done when One Jamas become Wet Jamas.

So, HELP!!!  Do you have any suggestions of what to do?  Bigger sized diapers?  Overnight diapers?  Put her in a food dehydrator and then swath her in cotton batting and cling wrap?

Friday Five – Things she learned this week

I brag a lot about Eirinn.  I know.  But it’s because she amazes me more and more and in different ways every day.  By the reaction of my mom when Eirinn does something genius-like, I can tell that she’s way more advanced than I ever was.  If that’s the case, logic would lead me to believe that she is going to be smarter than me.  WAY smarter than me.  Oh, who am I kidding?  She’s already smarter than me.

This week she had a turbo-charged learning week.  She flipped her brain to Hyper-Drive Warp Speed and now knows everything.  Literally.  She can do advanced linear algebra, has a masters in Shakespearean theatre, began Swahili 101, completed Spanish for beginners, and finished her first 1000 piece 3D puzzle.  Well, not quite, but close.

Here are five things Eirinn learned this week:

  1. How to count to 12.  She can (key word being can, as in she doesn’t do it every time) count to 12, in order, not missing any of the numbers.  Brilliant.
  2. The alphabet.  Her version is now complete, A to Z, but still has a thick baby-accent.  I can understand her perfectly, and the alphabet is correct.  Genius.
  3. Knows that hello in Swahili is ‘jamba’.  No joke.  There’s a Diego episode (surprise, surprise) that takes place in Africa and the boy says hello and she responds with “Jamba!”, which is right.  Smartypants.
  4. Her Spanish vocabulary now includes: ayuda me (help me), abuela (grandmother), abuelo (grandfather), soy (say or I am, I’m not sure; she’s the Spanish speaking one in the family, not me), rojo (red), azul (blue), uno (one), dos (two), tres (three), quatro (four).  I’m sure there’s more, but a foreign language mixed with baby-accent makes it difficult even for a mother to understand.  Desgarrado.
  5. She has conquered her first puzzle.  It’s only 6 pieces, but it’s a real puzzle, not one where the shapes go into the cutouts.  She has a little trouble with the dexterity of it, but she puts the pieces where they are supposed to go and just needs out help snapping them into place.  Mommy has run out of synonyms for ‘smart’, so…Smart.

Bonus bullet:  She has learned all the lyrics to the theme songs for Go Diego, Go and Dora the Explorer.  Don’t role your eyes.  I’ve done enough of that for all of us.

Friday Five – One Day Late

So we’ll make it a Saturday Six?  Deal. 

This weeks Friday Five Saturday Six is – What We Did On Saturday.

  1. “We” (as in Eirinn by choice and Mommy by default) woke up at 5 am.  “We” had wet through “our” diaper and onto “our” pants and shirt.  “We” then tried (unsuccessfully) to remove “our” wet shirt, but could only get one arm out because “we’re” only 19 months old and “we” haven’t been given this lesson yet.  This ignorance led to an hour and a half of moaning and groaning before Mommy begrudgingly dragged her half asleep butt out of bed to see what the problem was.  Soaking wet toddler = awake toddler = awake household.  This would never have happened if “we” hadn’t chugged three (3) sippy cups of water and then a bottle of milk right before bed.  Mommy says “lesson learned” and won’t be watering the toddler like she was a dying cactus.
  2. Our friends Carly and Lucy came for a visit!  Carly and I see each other every Wednesday for Durham Mom’s Night Out, but Eirinn and Lucy hadn’t played together for a couple of months.  It’s always a treat to see these two together because they can be so different, but still get along like peas and carrots.  Where Eirinn is boysterous and energetic and outgoing, Lucy is quiet and thoughtful and sweet.
  3. For the very first time, Eirinn rode the bus.  By herself.  Just kidding, Carly, Lucy and I were there, too.  Eirinn got her own seat and we sang “The Wheels on the Bus” loud enough to annoy the weird guy with wiry, dandruff-y, badly dyed hair sitting in front of us.  Why bother using public transit if you’re not going to make other people wish they hadn’t? 
  4. The four of us were taking the bus to Apple Fest, which is an annual tradition I have yet to miss.  Love it.  LOOOOVE.  IT.  Why so much love?  Four words – cider, dumplings, fritters and fudge.  The line up for the fritters was too long given the minus 30 degree weather, but I was all over the other three like flies on…maybe a bad analogy when talking about food.
  5. Lunch was delicious world famous pancakes as made by Anonymous Husband.  AH played the role of Wicked Cool, Kick-Arse Husband today.  Not only was he Master Chef of the Griddle, but he also woke up early on his sleep-in day so I could shower and he drove to his parents so I would have a stroller to shuttle Eirinn around the tundra in.  Sank-coo, AH.
  6. Little People were played with and books were coloured in by Eirinn and Lucy during the hour between lunch and nap.  It was the cutest thing watching them interact.  As an illustration of their differences, while colouring, Eirinn talked all of us through what she was doing and demanded invited us to colour with her.  Lucy, meanwhile, was quietly examining the Magic Markers, figuring out the science behind their magic-ness, assembling and re-assembling them, all without so much as a whisper.                                                                                    picture-254.jpgpicture-258.jpgpicture-261.jpg
  7. Absolutely conked out from all the early-waking, friend-visiting, bus-riding, Apple-festing, can-cake-eating, play-play-playing, Eirinn slept from 1:30 to 4:45, and only woke up because my face was all up in her grill saying “WAKE UP, LAZY, OR YOU WON’T SLEEP TONIGHT.”
  8. And last but not least.  Her time after dinner was spent doing…whatever this is.  I don’t know.

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Ok, so because I a) felt guilty for missing Friday or b) talk too much, we ended up with a Friday Five, Saturday Six, Sunday Seven, A List With Eight Points And No Catchy Title Because There Isn’t A Day Of The Week That Starts With ‘E’.

19 Month Birthday

Favourite Foods: Still cancakes, french toast, waffles…pretty much anything you put maple syrup on.

Favourite Toys: Anything you can colour with; blocks.

New Words: She knows so many words, it’s hard to pick out which ones are new and which ones she’s just improved her pronunciation of.  She’s picked up some longer words like ‘crocodile’ and ‘thunder’.

What Makes You Laugh: Loud, strange noises like “Blah!”; doot-doot’s (a version of tickling that is basically just poking her in the chest).

New Skills: A skill she’s been working on this month is threading words together to make sentences.  Our favourite is “Here I come!” because that usually means we’re going to get some kind of hug and/or kiss.

Bedtime: Still holding at 7:30pm.

Times Awake: When she’s not teething, none.  But if her mouth is bugging her, it can be up at 4 or 5 times.  Ick.  Stupid yet-to-be-born, nerve-piercing, pointy teeth.

Naps: One at around 1pm for around 2 to 3 hours.  She used to be the 20 Minute Nap Queen, so this length has been a huge relief.

Eirinn has become increasingly independent this month.  She does everything herself, practically, and loathes help.  Her language skills have improved immensely, with the beginnings of sentences and phrases popping up here and there.  She knows many, many songs now, both their lyrics and the tune and it’s the cutest thing to hear her perform them along with the actions or some made up dance to go with it.

With this independence comes a great deal of exhaustion.  Mine, of course.  It’s a constant sprint, chasing after her, saving her from dangers.  She wants to be doing everything RIGHT NOW, and that means I have to be doing everything right now.  In a span of five minutes, she’ll go from colouring to climbing the stairs (no hands, one step per foot at a time) to riding in her push car to running through the halls to sitting nicely reading a book to running laps around the table to poking the dog.  And I’ll be right there with her colouring, climbing stairs, strapping her into the car (and immediately unstrapping), running through the halls, sitting her on my lap to read, running laps with her (as per her insistence), and blocking Bosco’s nostrils from probing toddler fingers.

But I find the energy somewhere.  You have to.  With parenthood, being too tired is not an option.  This means I often sleep through my favourite shows at night, but that’s ok.  That’s what God created the PVR for. 

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