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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gotta start early when you are a Priest's Kid

Aidan is taking her role as a Priest's Kid very seriously and practicing for the duties she can anticipate at church as she grows. Here she is practicing to be a thurifer (and maybe Altar Guild too):

Another jaybird night

Well, I'm sure you are all curious to know how going to sleep went last night. Aidan got her books and read and rocket and Christianne counted down 20 minutes and then put her in her crib with her pillow, 27 stuffed animals (a slight exaggeration), blanket, sippy cup of water, music, and a kiss and left. Aidan cried for a much shorter period and not as mournfully, and was then asleep.

However, when I went to check on her, again, no diaper. Left her top on this time. Diapering a sleeping child while making sure they say asleep is no easy task - did I mention I'm going in in the dark with just a very small, teeny tiny night light?

I did a better job last night, however, as she was not wet. On the other hand, I walked in to her holding out her index finger and saying, "Finger...finger." I grabbed her finger to see what was the matter (good thing I didn't kiss it!) and it was full of poop! I asked her where it came from and she said, "Diaper!" After a good hand wipe for both of us, lots of "magic soap," and a diaper change we were off to start our day. Oh, and a conversation about the down side of sticking your hand in your diaper when it has poop on it. Ewwwwww!!!!!!

This is a picture of Aidan's outfit for Western Day at school. If you look closely, the child on the right on Aidan's shirt is Christianne in her cowgirl outfit.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Naked as a jaybird

I'm not sure how naked a jaybird is, but last night, that's how Aidan went to sleep.

But, let me back up.

I am pleased to announce that Aidan kept all 5 of her books last night. Excellent getting ready for bed, little bug!

(We have many animal names for Aidan.)

We are starting to get the getting ready part under control, but the actual going to sleep part is turning into a production. Last night we:

Snuggled in the rocking chair and read 5 books.

We turned out the lights and snuggled in the big bed.

Aidan changed clothes 3 times.

I put her in her crib, but (not a smart mommy move, I know) relented and we tried snuggling in the chair one last time.

I finally put her in her crib, as we were getting no where, and told her good night.

She cried while Christianne and I felt guilty and like bad mommies (maybe one day she'll read this and understand we didn't try to be mean). And I tried to comfort us by saying, "Crying is a natural response to feeling frustrated and not getting what you want."

After about 15 hours (well, actually 20 minutes), Aidan went to sleep.

When I went in to check on her before we went to bed, she had taken off her PJs and her diaper and was sleep on her tummy, legs pulled up and to the side like a little frog, with her bare bum in the air. A very cute sight, I must say.

I am standing there wondering how I'm going to get the diaper back on her because I am NOT waking her up. Fortunately, she was hiked up enough I could get one side of the diaper over her hiney and the other under her front and do it up enough to stay on for the night. Next, I tried to figure out if she was sleeping on a wet sheet. Fortunately, she's getting ready to potty train and has a bit better bladder control, so the bed was dry. I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't.

(Don't worry, Aidan, I wouldn't have let you sleep in a pee soaked bed. I promise.)

This morning, it was evident that the diaper had leaked some, but overall, it was all good.

Our new plan is she has 20 minutes to go to sleep and after 20 minutes she goes into the crib, asleep or not and then we only go back in if it sounds like she's so upset she's about to have a psychotic break. I'm not sure those are the exact words we used, but that's the gist of it.

I'm sure part of this is related to the fact that the pacifier has gone bye-bye. It really helped her gear down from the day. She's only asked for it once since it disappeared, for which I am grateful. However, I'm eager for some more self-soothing skills to kick in! We've got evening things tonight and tomorrow, so we probably won't get a chance to implement the plan until Monday. We'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

First full-on meltdown

Aidan had her first almost-two years old meltdown last night. She is really resistant to going to bed lately. Some nights are great, but last night she was playing her counting game and generally not cooperating. She lost one book before even getting to her room, had the opportunity to earn it back with positive teeth brushing but lost it (she's at 3 books at this stage of the story). She lost one more book over getting her PJ's one. As soon as I put it out in the hall, she started crying hysterically. She kept trying to get out of the baby gate to go get it and when she couldn't open it by herself, she attempted to drag me or Christianne over to help her. All the while, crying real tears and snot running down her nose and half dressed because that's as far as we got in the process.

Although it made our hearts break, Christianne and I held firm that the book had gone "bye-bye" but she would have a chance to get to read it tomorrow night and she still had two books left. We reflected her anger and her sadness and inquired if she would like hugs or kisses to help her feel better (both were rejected). We offered to leave the room to give her some time by herself, but she clearly stated she wanted us to stay. We went on like this for at least 30 minutes before she finally calmed down enough to bury her face in my legs and accept reality.

For some reason, she seemed to blame Christianne for this whole episode, even though I was the one who took the book away. Poor Christianne. All she wanted to do was repair the connection with Aidan and Aidan was having none of it, trying to push Christianne off the bed and refusing hugs and kisses good night. It was a sad night for everyone.

Aidan and I settled into the big bed to read, but she was wide awake after all that crying and showed no signs of going to sleep. I offered to put her into the crib with a pillow, water, blanket, Steve, and Sally (large, knit flower person). She agreed and all was good for a bit. Then she started crying again. Christianne went to check on her and got to snuggle her for a bit, then Aidan started calling for me. Back in the big bed. I suggested that she could just sleep in the bed (as sometimes having an audience just makes things worse), but she insisted that I lie down with her. We laid down and eventually Aidan fell asleep at 9:40p, about an hour and 20 minutes later than we like for her to go down. She was a tired little girl this morning.

Neither Christianne nor I have ever wanted to go back on our word so much as when Aidan was acting as if we had eviscerated Steve in front of her, but knew that the ultimate best thing was to keep the limit.

Maybe tonight, we will get to read, "Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You?"

A few pictures

Aidan's bohemian look:


Dressed for "Inside-Out Day" at school:


Toddler dresses herself:


Aidan wants glasses:


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brushing Bobby's and Steve's teeth

Here's our first video post:

operation brush teeth and get ready for bed

Tonight, we tried the new plan. Aidan got to pick 4 books to read at bedtime. She, however, picked 5. So, in an on the fly adaptation, the 5th book became the "tooth brushing cooperation" book. I held the book and informed Aidan she could have it if, and only if, she brushed her teeth with no crying or carrying on and cooperated. I stood in the bathroom with the book as a reminder as Christianne brushed Aidan's teeth. It went much, much smoother. Bribery, what a parenting tool!

Then, it was off to get ready for bed with a count of 5 books. We explained the rules: Little girls who cooperate when getting ready for bed get to read all 5 books. Little girls who don't cooperate and who have to be chased down, get books taken away. Things started off well enough, but then she decided she didn't want a diaper change. After working with her a bit, we did the count to 10 and she lost a book. She then got the diaper, but balked at PJs. Once again, she lost a book, but this time I took the books she lost (my choice of which books) and put them out in the hall. This seemed to make an impression on her. After a little crying and a reminder of how the rules work, she got on her PJs. In fact, she put her PJ bottoms on (backwards) all by herself. She almost lost a third book after this, by sitting in the book reading chair and not letting one of us sit with her, but she managed to pull it out. So, she gets 3 books tonight. I told her that maybe tomorrow night she can get all 5.

Oh, and last night she went to sleep without her pacifier. We are trying it again tonight, with it close by in case of an emergency bale out. The doctor wants it to go away at 2. It would be nice if she were to decide on her own she didn't need it (last night, she gave it to me after using it just a few minutes). Here's hoping.

The world according to a toddler

In the world according to a toddler, if you yell "My turn!" repeatedly at the top of your lungs, it magically becomes your turn.

In the world according to a toddler, a sandwich bite made into an airplane tastes yucky if flown by a parent, but is yummy if the toddler is the pilot.

In the world according to a toddler, if you say "Uh-oh" after doing something you aren't supposed to do, it magically becomes an accident and you don't get into trouble.

In the world according to a toddler, if you just ignore a unwanted request, the request simply ceases to exist.

In the world according to a toddler, everything is better if it is dipped in something.

To be continued...

You know you're a mother when...

Aidan has developed quite an interest in buses, as I think I've mentioned before. Every time we are in the car, she's on the lookout for a bus. After she sees the first one, she says, "Agin! Bus!" and "Where are you bus?" over and over. On a good day, we can see 4 buses between daycare and home. She gets so excited when she sees one.

So, now, I find myself driving around town and everytime I see a bus, I find myself feeling so excited and I start to proclaim, "There's a bus!"

Then I realize I'm alone in the car.

Our almost 2 year old

Aidan is very busy being almost 2. She knows her own mind and what she wants and is reluctant to relinquish control to another. Our short hand for this is "The NO MONSTER is here." Poor thing. It has got to be so hard to want to do so much, have limited things that you can accomplish on your own, and then have some mommy or mama tell you that you can't do one of the things you know that you could do it given the opportunity. Or, to think you can do something just fine by yourself, thank you very much, but have a grown-up have a different opinion (like teeth brushing).

We have 3 main issues right now:

1) Bedtime. Aidan does not wish to go to bed at night. Delay, delay,, play, play. I think it is related to her difficulty transitioning from having us full time on vacation to our work schedule (insert working mommy guilt feelings here), as well as her desire for independence. Our new plan is Aidan gets to pick out 4 books to read before bedtime at the beginning of the getting ready process. Then, for each time she doesn't listen or engages in delaying tactics, one book gets taken away. After all 4 are gone, no stories and just a hug and a kiss and bed. We'll see how that works.

2) Teeth brushing. We had some success with bringing a parade of stuffed animals into the bathroom. Aidan would brush their teeth, each in turn, and make them spit into the sink while singing the teeth-brushing song (it is pretty cute). Then, one of us would brush Aidan's teeth. Then she would get to brush mama's or mommy's teeth. It worked for about a week. Now, we are back to her wanting to do it "MYSELF" or just refusing altogether. Any one got any tips? I'm thinking of trying a sticker chart. (Curious about the teeth-brushing song? Click here and choose "Songs" in the left menu and then "Ready for bed." It is cute song. Cuter when Aidan is singing it.)

3) Dinner. The last two nights, Aidan has decided that she wants "treats" for dinner. Last night, she wanted little jelly fruit flavored things (at 17 grams!?!? of sugar, they are a rare treat). The night before, she wanted "ice" (ice cream). So, we introduced the concept of having to eat dinner before treats. Last night she finally got interested in dinner and ate reasonably well. The night before, we told her "2 bites of everything on your plate." She climbed up into her chair, crying pretty hard, and started eating. She got to the chicken and balked. We held firm and she ate her chicken. And then she got her ice. Poor thing.

On brighter notes, she is continuing to talk more and more each day and we can understand more and more each day. She's singing more of the songs she knows too. And she's counting more. She has some numbers all the way up to 20 now and enjoys counting as she does things. In the "be careful what you model" category, Aidan has started counting when she's doing things that I have told her to "hurry up" about, as when Aidan is given a choice, she has until we count to 10 to make a choice or we make it for her. So, now she counts as she doing things. Her counting usually goes like this "6...7...8...2...3..." Sometimes, it goes "16...17...18..." However, she's getting the idea.

She can now, with some reliability, identify the letter "A" when it appears by itself.

And she is GREAT at identifying animals.

She LOVES painting with paintbrushes now. We have indoor (on paper) and outdoor (on the sidewalk) paints and she is having the best time. We are having fun too, particularly when we are outside and can draw and paint ourselves!

She is working on her pouring skills too - and getting quite good at it. When we are outside, she likes to fill up a bucket with water and pour it into smaller buckets and then back again. She hasn't figured out that different sized containers have different volumes, but she's having fun experimenting. She's also having fun spraying us with the hose.

She continues to be my helper in the kitchen and loves participating in the cooking process. Lately, however, she wants to cut things herself. I'm not quite ready to turn over my kitchen knives. Last night, we worked on cutting bread (with a dull knife), however, and she thought that was great fun.

She can now jump with both feet leaving the floor. She is almost ready to start jumping off things. Right now, she tends to step off (with a little lift of her upper body that makes her think she is jumping). But the other day, I saw a true two-footed jump off a soft block.

Oh, and she loving swim lessons now. Doesn't really want to follow the lesson (other than the part about jumping off the side, doing the Hokie Pokie, and going down the slide), but loves going. Big improvement from the first two times.

In the cute now, but will become irritating later, category: Aidan's teacher informed me that Aidan will go up to another little girl and say, "No, no Lindsay. Don't do that. That's a no-no." Aidan seems to feel the need to take care of Lindsay (and boss her around). When we are leaving for the day, if Lindsay is still there, Aidan will try to take Lindsay's diaper bag to her or to one of Lindsay's parents if she sees them. It is really sweet.

Those are the main Aidan updates. Christianne has figured out how to get video off our camera and onto the computer. This weekend I hope to figure out how to upload it here so you can see Aidan in action.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A moment of sweetness

Last night (before the "I'm so mad I'm going to take off all my clothes" incident, we had a little accident in the kitchen. A glass lid to a skillet fell on the floor and shattered into a million pieces. We were all standing in the kitchen. I scooped up Aidan and took her and the dogs to Aidan's room while Christianne cleaned up the mess. Everyone was OK except Aidan got a couple of little cuts on her foot from flying glass.

But here's the sweet part. We get in Aidan's room and I explain that we have to stay in there for awhile because of the broken glass. Aidan, without prompting, comes across the room, strokes my face, and says, "Sorry." It was so sweet. I thanked her for the sympathy and reassured her that she did nothing wrong. But it was a nice show of unprompted caring and toddler understanding that something bad had happened and she wanted to reach out.

Of course, later, she threw a fork at me. Still, a sweet moment of connection in the midst of her desperate race toward selfhood.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I'm so mad....

OK, first you have to understand the set up. Aidan has a new swimsuit - a Dora swimsuit. She insisted on wearing it to dinner tonight. It has a little cover-up dress that goes with it. After dinner, she wanted to take off the swimsuit and put on the cover-up. As it was near bedtime, I convinced her to put on her pajama top and then put the cover-up over the top. Imagine a short sleeve PJ top that has a white background with pink flowers all over it and pink trim. Now imagine a lime green mesh spaghetti strap cover-up that says "DORA" across the front over it.

Notice there is nothing about a diaper or PJ pants mentioned above.

A wrestling match ensues (after much appropriate parenting, choices, etc.) that results in 1) Aidan throwing 2 diapers at me (after throwing a fork at me at dinner) and 2) Aidan wearing a diaper and PJ bottoms.

We have a talk about throwing things and what are appropriate things to do when angry.

We settle into the "big bed" to read stories (her new thing; she doesn't want to sit in the rocker anymore). She does well for awhile and I remind her that if she wants to be in the big bed, she has to settle down. She decides to get down. I give her a choice of getting down and going to her crib or staying in the bed with me to read stories. This stops her for a moment and then she is off. I very calmly retrieve her and put her in her crib with all her nite-nite things, tell her I love her, and leave the room. It is quiet for a bit and then crying ensues. Usually she will calm down and fall asleep in no more than 10 minutes. She didn't seem to be doing this, so, I went into her room to check on her.

Now, here's the "I'm so mad..." part:

"I'm so mad I'm going to take off all my clothes!"

Aidan is standing in her crib with her PJs and diaper off and the lime green cover-up in some contorted mess around her torso with one arm through a strap and the other strap around her chest - crying.

Of course, I give her lots of empathy while calling Christianne to witness this sight.

The two of us finally manage to get her diapered (again) and in her PJs (again) sans the cover-up and all lie down in bed for some stories. Christianne makes the mistake of briefly lying on Aidan's pillow. This causes loud protests from Aidan, who eventually banishes Christianne from the room with a "No Mama! My pillow! Move!"

Aidan and I talk about how she hurt Mama's feelings and now Mama is sad. Aidan calls Christianne back and they repair the disconnection. We all lie down and read stories.

Aidan is now asleep (with her clothes on). Let's hope it lasts all night.

Vacation pictures

We started off in Wellesley. Christianne and Aidan played a lot while I was at a conference. But we had some time to play together too. And best of all, we got to see Gomma!

Playing "Beep, beep" in the rent car:


At the park:


Playing outside with mommies and Gomma:

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Learning to do a front handspring:


Sweet pictures:


In Rockport, we visited Christianne's long-time friend Karin. On day she took us to an orchard in Essex where Aidan got to see lots of animals. She was a little unsure about some of them, but mostly enjoyed the experience. Poor little girl was sitting in time out when 3 sheep came trotting right by her (she was up on a little wall and not in danger of being stepped on). That freaked her out a bit.


Next, it was off to Salem, MA, home of the famous witch trials. It was a bust of a visit from that standpoint, but we found a lovely commom where Aidan could run and run. She's also demonstrating her ability to fasten the straps on her stroller and push it HERSELF.


Aidan loves smoothies:


Then it was off to Boston. We spent a lot of time in Boston Common, looking at ducks and swans and running around.


There are bronze ducks in the Common and Aidan had fun sitting on each and every one. I'm not sure we did. The last picture needs some sound. Imagine her saying, "Mama, mooooooove!!!!" and making "I'm working really hard grunting noises."


On our last day in Boston, we went to the New England Aquarium. Aidan was a little overwhelmed at first (it was rather noisy) but then she got into it. However, she totally freaked out when we watched the divers jump into the tank to feed the fish and the giant turtle.


Aidan and I have a game we play called "boogity, boogity, boogity, boo!" This game is difficult to describe, but it entails me making little grabbing motions with my hand in front of her face for the "boogity, boogity, boogity" part and then with "boo!" quickly opening my hand. She thinks it is hysterical. For a long time, I would do it alone, but now she's started doing it back to me. I pretend to be surprise/scared and she laughs as much as when I startle her. These are pictures of her startling me. (You should hear her try to say "boogity")


General cuteness that can't be classified: