Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nearing 3 years

Wow. I sorta can't believe it. Girlie is turning three in a couple weeks. On the one hand, she seems so much older than 2, but on the other hand, her life has really whizzed by. It does happen so quickly.

Harper continues to be the same girl she's always been: inquisitive, sensitive, aware, curious, busy, imaginative, purposeful, energetic. She is very sure of herself, confident in who she is. Even though she is young, she is not especially impressionable. Harper knows what she wants and she has strong opinions. She continues to have an ease with language and communicates really well. Her latest phrases include "Actually..." and "Speaking of_______, (something that relates)" She's learning to ask for things nicely instead of demand or throw fits. "Would you please help me unbutton my shirt, Mama?" was a good example of this tonight. She came to me with this question with tears in her eyes after she'd already tried herself and gotten frustrated.

When the girl is upset, our go-to is to teach her to express how she is feeling and try to tell us what is making her feel that way. We've found that when she gets her feelings validated, she recovers sooooo much quicker-- even when the answer is still no or she still has to do what Mom or Dad is asking. "I can see that you look sad when I ask you to do your potties in the toilet. I am sorry you don't want to do them right now, but we always do potties before naptime. Please obey."

It isn't always natural for me to be so rational all the time, especially on days when things aren't going as well as we'd like, but I am learning, too. My first inclination is to feel frustrated when Harper questions me or tries to disobey, but when I address her this way, I feel like it helps in many ways. 1. I remain calmer and more in touch with her heart. I treat her like a real person who has her own perspective and feelings. 2. She learns to communicate better and bring her feelings out so they can be helped, and she can feel understood. 3. She learns to respect Mom/Dad not out of fear but because we respect her first.

Harper loves school and loves the structured environment where she can play with other kids her age. She prides herself on being a "preschool girl" and reminds us when she's embarassed or not as able as she'd like that she's "still a preschool girl". A good example of this is wiping her own bottom. She hates doing it but we're trying to get her more comfortable with it since it's a pain to have to attend to her throughout the day for tukus-wiping and if she ever does poos at school, that'd be an issue. When she can't wipe well, she tells me, "But I'm still a preschool girl, Mama!" (more to reassure herself than anything).

She reads independently, every day. For the past few months we've made a concerted effort to bring home lots of early reader books from the library each week. A couple weeks ago, I noticed Harper reading in Ethan's club chair and she'd obviously turned on the lamp beside her. She was reading "Fish Out of Water" to herself. It's quite long, about 50 pages, about a fish who is fed too much and grows too large for this and that container... Anyway, she read there for about 10-12 minutes and Jack and I went into the bedroom to talk to Ethan. Shortly after we left the room, Harper came in with her book and leaned against our bed to continue reading it. She finished the last 8 pages in there with us. She'd simply moved to be near us, but she remained interested in her book and finished it there. The last pages I had her read out loud so I could hear her and see that she was really doing this. Then I questioned her a bit about the book and she recalled the whole narrative for me. She really is a gifted kid. We've known this for quite some time, but it surprises even us sometimes.

It can be tough to differentiate which things we can expect to be so grown up about her (i.e. reading, understanding and communicating her own feelings) and which things are more age appropriate (i.e. wiping own bottom). She's definitely in an in between phase and each day she becomes bolder and more of a kid, less of a baby. I wish she'd cuddle more and give me kisses every time I asked, but I am also proud that she knows what she wants and asserts herself.

She's also devastatingly beautiful. I am her mom, but I am just in love with her face, her curls, those puffy, pouty lips, those dark, dark eyes, dramatic lashes, gorgeous skintone...Whew! She says she wants to start ballet after she's three... I'm looking forward to seeing that girl in a leotard and tights, pointing her toes and extending her arms. Every year is fun with Harper. I just love her through and through.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

10 months old

Jack Jack got his own room yesterday... sort of. We'd been wrestling with the moving to the crib issue for a couple months, trying to set him in there for the first part of the night as we did with baby Harper but as soon as he'd wake crying (as babies do), this would upset Harper and we'd have two crying kids in need of consolation. So the decision was made to move his crib into the office, set up his own monitor in there, and see how it goes. Last night was the first try and he was set down at 8:45 after nursing, slept for an hour, was comforted back to sleep, slept another hour, and came into our bed with us. He then woke for the next two hours on the hour until I nursed him again at 2:45 and he slept until 6:30. My sensitive kids... when something's been changed they notice it.

Speaking of changes, Jack continues to grow up into a cutie pie big boy. He signs more words, including elephant (along with the trumpeting sound), and bird (pinchy fingers). We had a huge (bigger than my head) sunflower from our garden cut and in a pitcher on our dining table for several days, during which time he learned to do a snorty nose for the word 'flower'. He also puffs up his cheeks and blows when we read "Mirror Me" and we get to the page where cow puffs his cheeks. He also sticks out his tongue when the frog in said book "sticks out his long, pink tongue". He began signing "all done" a couple weeks ago, and uses this sign to let us know he doesn't want to eat any more. He makes the sign for water when he's thirsty. He can follow the commands "Arms up! Arms down!" and feels proud of himself for doing so. He says Dada (started on July 1st), and he says BaBa for bye-bye as well. He still uses the signs for these words as well, sometimes verbally communicating, sometimes signing, sometimes both simultaneously. Jack also says "fff--sh" for fish (which we first noticed when he was standing in front of Harper's aquarium, touching the glass), and "kkkk" for duck/quack. He can identify them in books this way, as well as point them out when asked. He also does a "vvvv bbbbbb" sound for a car.

Jack is also working on walking. That downhill skiier scoot (this side, now that side pull with the legs) is going to be gone soon (the crawling stage is such a short window of time!). Jack's been cruising furniture for a while now, but he's getting bolder, even taking a few unassisted steps (walking!) back and forth between mom and dad a few nights ago (July 3rd was when he first did it). We went to a 1st birthday party for Brooklyn Collins (Adam's daughter) this weekend and she had a push toy that you walk with. Jackie LOVE LOVE LOVED it. He pushed it along squealing excitedly. We had to distract him and give him his sucker when we finally pried it from his hands. He lets you know in no uncertain terms that he is mad when a toy is taken from him! He's a second child-- knows how to fight for his toys already! When we got home, we got out Harper's old walker/stroller and let him push it around. He loves it until he hits something and he's stopped. Then he gets frustrated.

In preparation for American Idol auditions coming up, I have recently eliminated breastfeeding until just before naptime, so he's going from his middle of the night feeding (the wee hours of the AM) until around 2 PM before nursing again. In the morning he's eating oatmeal cereal, some banana and yogurt. He is drinking a lot more water (I've tried formula, whole organic milk, and soy milk-- won't drink any of these) from the sippy cup too. Jack also eats graham crackers, bananas, Cheerios, tiny bits of bread, and he still eats a lot of baby food, preferably a tad warm.

Jackie had his first ocean experience the weekend of June 21st. We went to Cayucos with Amy and Jason. It was so nice to stay at a home, where we could have our bedroom for our family and a kitchen to feed the kids. Jack liked the water except for the coldness. He liked playing in the sand on the shore with big sister Harper, too. He pretty much likes everywhere as long as he's with his family. It was tough to keep him from being covered in sand. The first day, he (despite my best attempts to prevent it) tried to eat some sand. After discovering it wasn't so good, he never tried it again! It was funny that I'd spent so much effort trying to keep his sandy hands out of his mouth and if I'd just let him do it right away, it would've been a lot less stress in the end.

Jack's a hugger and a kisser. He will often scoot over to me, pull himself up and kiss my leg. He's also starting to do the "mm, mm, mmmmm" sound when he hugs. Today he even patted my shoulder when he hugged me. He is also a very ticklish kid, good spots include under the chin, kissing his ears, under the armpits, inner thighs, sides of ribs, feet just under toes. He cackles and laughs big belly laughs and loves to be tickled. He also sings. He does high-pitched aahhs and he vocalizes the b sound while flicking his closed lips to make the sound more staccato.

He's fun.