Sunday, February 3, 2013

Potty Humour

A week ago I began the early stages of potty training; however, I have no interest in taking away Munchkin's diapers just yet. Traumatic memories of the Pee Pee and Poo Poo Princess are still too fresh in my mind.

Instead of speeding through the process 'willy nilly' (a fantastic pun if she was a boy), I have opted to begin by incorporating potty sits into our daily routine. If she ever refuses to sit, that is okay. Thus far we do three to four sits a day, usually resulting in one pee. One day Munchkin peed on the floor...A LOT of pee! I am sure many more unforgetful moments await.

While preparing my girl for her bath last night I asked her casually, 'Where does pee come out?' Body awareness, you see, is a part of the potty training process. She answered simply by pointing to her potty. Well, you cannot argue with that logic!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Christmas Past

Another Christmas has come and gone. The halls were decked, the tree was trimmed, and Santa came to town. Munchkin took part in the festivities, her second Christmas, with great gusto.

 Two months before the holiday season I began teaching my little monkey about Christmas, admittedly the secular version for now. By the time December arrived her head was filled with tales of jolly Saint Nick, dancing sugar plums, and flying reindeer.

Excitement began building two weeks prior to the big day. As we gradually cleaned room by room of the house, parcels and cards arrived by mail almost daily. In total we received seven boxes by mail filled to the brim with presents and sweets. Munchkin witnessed their arrival with keen interest and tried her best to discover their hiding place after I whisked them away to the basement.

 A few days before Christmas Grandma arrived and decorating went into full swing. My girl stood in the rec room amazed one day to find the sudden appearance of a Christmas tree. She spent the afternoon of Christmas Eve helping to decorate the tree 'like a big girl.'

Decorations were fabric and wood to minimize damage and injury. Even then atrocities were inflicted by Munchkin upon a handful of defenseless ornaments. Overall, however, my biggest fears concerning the tree never came to pass. The tree stayed relatively intact and upright with no Munchkin accidents to report.
Opening presents Christmas day was an all-day affair. Here's a tip for readers: if unwrapping extends well beyond the morning, perhaps even into Boxing Day, you (or well meaning relatives) bought far too much!

Christmas Morning

(N.B. The largesse in gifts was not our doing.)

 Thanks to her grandparents Munchkin had at her fingertips every Fisher-Price and/or electronic toy within her age bracket, and then some. She even scored presents from people we never met. It pays to be cute! Santa stuck with the classics--a much appreciated wooden sled and cloth doll.  Mom and Dad kept the classic theme going with clothes, books, and a puzzle. No matter what their origin, Munchkin enjoyed them all.

 The remainder of our holiday was filled with playing inside, sledding to the park, eating lots of goodies, and buying yet more stuff at a Zellers closing sale. Yes, this involved, among other things, more goods for my girl. While she insisted on a stuffed giraffe and floor pillow, we bought a water table and climbing slide play structure for summer at less than half price. Who could resist?

Sledding Fun

 With Grandma back home, toys distributed throughout the house, and the tree down, Christmas 2012 is officially over. Happy (belated) New Year!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Head and Shoulders, Knees and...What?

At a young age I began teaching Munchkin body parts by singing the action song 'Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes.' Recently she has been able to point to various parts when asked. She knows her head, hair, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, chin, heart, belly, arms, hands, fingers, legs, knees, feet, and toes. Being anxious to expand her knowledge further, my girl has been asking about other body parts. While undressing for her bath last week she began quizzing me. A finger pointed to her belly, belly button, and then even lower. The last request covered new terrain and she was insisting upon an answer. Without blinking I replied 'bum.' I know it is better to use proper terminology for a variety of reasons, but I am not prepared to teach a 15-month-old 'vagina.' Knowing Munchkin she would add it to her gradually expanding repertoire of spoken words. That may seem like a stretch but I am discovering it is best not to underestimate my girl's abilities!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Busy Mornings

I can't help but notice the time between blog posts growing. With my husband back to full-time teaching, Munchkin down to one nap a day, and night feedings a thing of the past, there seems to be little time to post. The following description provides a brief window into my mornings, the busiest time of day.

My husband's radio alarm clock goes off at 6:30am. The French station snaps me awake instantly. My husband, however, could sleep through a hurricane. A gentle kick to the butt gets him moving. How did he ever survive before me? While he hurriedly shuts off the alarm, I soothe my girl back to sleep. Unlike her father, Munchkin is a light sleeper.

Yes, my daughter still sleeps in my room and for the last two months in my bed. Several teeth appearing in quick succession, her father being away in early September, and the ongoing pain of molar teething created this less than satisfactory arrangement. Although a comfort to her, I am relegated to the very edge of the bed and face the danger of falling out every night. Meanwhile, Munchkin has free reign of a generous middle portion where she rolls from left to right, sleeps horizontally, and occasionally (not to mention inexplicably) flips upside down. At this point I'm not sure if she's ever leaving our room.

My girl generally wakes by 8:30am. Thank goodness for blackout curtains! Being a couch potato at heart it seems, Munchkin enjoys watching a few youtube videos interspersed with brief nursing sessions. The latter I try to avoid at all costs by hurrying out of bed for a quick bum change and the promise of a yummy breakfast with milk supplied by 'Bessie', not Mommy.

Breakfast preparation involves cutting up fruit and making cereal. She usually eats grapes, clementines, and blueberries on a plate, as well as pear puree in her cereal. Cereal consists of baby cereal such as mixed grains or barley, but increasingly oatmeal and cream of wheat. If Munchkin is particularly hungry (due to the aforementioned lazing in bed), she stands by the counter as I work, begging for fruit pieces to be popped in her mouth. Somewhere during the preparations I manage to grab myself some fruit, cereal, and/or yoghurt.

Breakfast is generally a quiet meal. She shovels the fruit down, asks to practice eating her cereal with a spoon, but then reverts to using her fingers. Who knew cream of wheat could be a finger food? She then begins her morning reading at the table. No, not the morning newspaper. My girl enjoys browsing through parenting and wildlife magazines, assorted mail order catalogues, and toy flyers.

Once breakfast ends, I find myself in a race to tidy the kitchen, and often to prepare for supper, before Munchkin delivers her smelly morning constitutional and her demands for 'baba' reach deafening proportions.

I quickly clear the table, clean the high chair, and prep for a crock pot supper while Munchkin plays in the kitchen. Her play style is unconventional at best. My girl loves dish towels. She lays on them, wears them on her head, and bum slides across the floor on them. Emptying the baking cupboard is another favourite activity. Wearing a tube pan while twirling on the floor is especially amusing. No ball on hand for rolling? No problem. A potato works just as well. Finally, throwing cookbooks on the floor and browsing their yummy treats is great fun while mom cringes with every folded or (less often) torn page.
Back in September I retrieved my slow cooker from the cupboard and put it to work several days a week. Pasta sauce, chili, chicken stew, and shepherd's pie have all found their way into my crock, as well as more exciting Columbian, Moroccan, and East Indian dishes. I enjoy the less rushed supper time, while everyone likes to try Clio Crocker's latest creation.

Once the food has been 'crocked,' Munchkin and I retire upstairs. A bum change, dressing for the day, and teeth brushing soon follow. The bed is quickly prepped and a nursing session commences. Within minutes she falls asleep, leaving me to sigh in relief and be thankful that I survived yet another busy morning.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

For many months now my husband and I have been teaching Munchkin various animal sounds. The usual pet, farm, forest, jungle, and savannah menagerie have been included, such as dogs, cats, cows, pigs, sheep, horses, chickens, ducks, bears, wolves, owls, monkeys, tigers, lions, and elephants. These sounds have been reinforced through books, toys, and the occasional Youtube video. While children often begin mimicking farm livestock and household pets, my girl, thanks to her father's tutelage, enjoys howling like a wolf. She's capable of several additional sounds, both exotic and mundane. Recently my husband was quizzing Munchkin on her favourite furry and feathered beasts. At the end of her pop quiz he asked, 'What sound does Mommy make?' Without skipping a beat, my lovely daughter replied, 'Grrrr'. . . the sound of a bear! Thanks kid.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Munchkin Report

Given that my daughter turned one-year-old in August, an update on her progress seems overdue.

Munchkin is not quite a baby anymore yet not quite a toddler (I assume some form of 'toddling' is a prerequisite for using that term). Over the last year I have watched her become a beautiful, smart, funny little girl.

Her strawberry blonde hair with curls behind the ears, large expressive grey eyes, and cute little nose melts the hearts of everyone she meets (even if they keep telling me her eyes are blue). Where ever Munchkin goes, she becomes the centre of attention. Fortunately we do not go out too often--I don't need a diva on my hands!

My girl has quite a personality to accompany those good looks. She chatters often (when not in the presence of strangers), understands a surprising amount of what we say, learns quickly, and loves books. She especially enjoys being outside and is fascinated by animals.

Communing with Nature

Like a moth to a flame, Munchkin is drawn to anything electronic. Who knew babies could be addicted to smart phones? Although she loves pressing buttons, she optimistically believes that touch screens, like those on the phone, are universal. I often remind her, 'No Dear, Mommy's computer/ipod/television is not that advanced.'

A streak of independence and 'I'm a big girl' syndrome has recently emerged which we try to respect within reason. She insists upon brushing her hair, cleaning her teeth, eating from an adult plate, and taking a shower. Now, if I could only get her interested in potty training!

Her sense of humour developed early. She enjoys laughing and playing jokes on her mom and dad. Munchkin's favourite games include surprise peek-a-boos from a corner, splashing at people both for real and pretend, and threatening to spill her sippy cup while smiling impishly. Did I mention she can be a handful at times? The smart funny ones often keep their parents hopping!

My girl's previous destructive/deconstructive instincts have waned. In fact, she often sorts and resorts her toys into bags, boxes, and bins. She even enjoys building with her blocks. Nevertheless, those earlier destructive tendencies sometimes come to the fore.

'Deconstructing' the Toy Shelf

Munchkin's mobility has improved greatly during the last two months. Yes, she finally moves FORWARD! She bum scoots forward at a good speed, and even faster if I'm in pursuit. My girl achieved actual crawling in mid-September but she prefers the efficiency of bum scooting which allows her to travel hands-free. She practices standing every day, can pull herself up to a standing position, and has begun to cruise the furniture. In short, she's getting more dangerous by the day!

Bedtimes are still a struggle and have even regressed recently. Bedtime can take several hours and involve nursing for at least half that time. Crib refusal is my reward at the end of these torture sessions. Fortunately, however, she no longer feeds overnight. I thus take solace in achieving that holy grail of parenthood--sleeping through the night.

Teething is not as painful as previously but still problematic. Munchkin now has eight teeth. The vast majority of those teeth have appeared in the last few months. Sleep schedules have been disturbed and my milk supply decreased. Once or twice a month we suffer from almost inconsolable night screaming--inconsolable that is until the drugs take effect which can be at least an hour. The next set of chompers to surface will be the dreaded first-year molars. I can't wait!

Looking back over the last year I am extremely pleased with her progress. Admittedly, it sometimes irks me when a child half her size walks by. I simply remind myself that my girl developed in other areas. Her fine motor skills are excellent and her intelligence shows itself day by day, often in surprising ways. A few years from now it won't matter whether or not she crawled nor will it matter when she walked. In fact, bedtime is the only thing that really needs improvement. Let's hope that happens sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to School

Another summer is at an end and September is already upon us. Newspapers, television, radio, Twitter, and the blogosphere all carry the same message: it's back to school time! Back to school for everyone it seems, everyone but me.

For the majority of the population the new year actually begins in September, not January. As I write this post on Labour Day, during my daughter's naps, I'm imagining everyone hard at work. Students are picking that all important back-to-school outfit--something new but not hot enough to sweat, and something cool enough to be noticed but not stand out. Teachers are preparing for class or at least choosing their own perfect ensemble (the same rules apply as above). Parents are doing laundry, organizing school supplies, and packing lunches. Or, perhaps everyone is just having one final summer romp before it's officially over? Whatever. I'm going for an affect here. Bear with me.

Even at home the back-to-school buzz is in the air. Mind you, although my husband teaches university, I have not seen much preparation recently. After being off for a year and just coming back from vacation, he is clearly in denial. Hey, at least he'll have that in common with his students! (To be fair, we did have a sick baby and unexpected guests this weekend.)

For more than thirty years, as a student then professor, those words--'back to school'--haunted my late summers, filling me with a combination of dread and excitement. It's not surprising that something still seems missing, even after two years off. Don't I need that back-to-school haircut, comfortable but stylish shoes, and a few outfits to update my wardrobe? Where's my course outlines, texts, and office supplies? Are the readings in the book store and on reserve in the library? Did I miss that meeting with TAs? Have I revised the course websites? Shouldn't I be slaving away at the computer working on lectures for the next two weeks? (Okay, I admit, I was NEVER THAT prepared...not two weeks in advance!)

Whatever happens, munchkin's school career will begin in four years. Although I'll be sorry to see her go (is that my new mommy naivety speaking?), I'm looking forward to those back-to-school sales. After all, isn't that what it's REALLY all about--shopping?