More about becoming a big girl

Filed under: baby's progress — by Lauren on September 6th, 2008 @ 11:42 pm

Today was day four of napping in the big girl bed.  To recap, the first day was great, the second was a disaster, the third was pretty good, and now the fourth was even better.  Instead of needing to rock Anya to sleep in the glider and then transfer her, I was able to get her to fall sleep in the bed while rubbing her back, and she slept for an hour.  Not bad.  She can climb into the bed on her own with her Dora stool for sure now, which is another good thing.  If things continue to go well, we’ll probably attempt having her sleep in her bed at night in another week or two.  I just hope that in that time Anya starts feeling secure enough to return to going to sleep for naps without someone in the room.

In other news, we took advantage of being rained in today and started full-out potty training (in case you aren’t up-to-date, Anya has been using the toilet exclusively for poop for months, but is equally content to pee in the toilet or her diaper).  This morning after breakfast, Anya wore her big girl underwear for the first time.  Of the three pairs in the pack, she chose the white ones that said “Princess” all over them.  We started with training pants, the kind that have a little extra padding, although since the smallest size I could find was 2T (HUGE on her), the padding was completely useless.  The underwear looks like shorts on her!  She discovered that, unlike her diaper, she could actually take these off all by herself and did that repeatedly for a while until we realized the tag in the back was bothering her.  After I cut it off, she kept them on while playing with her toys.  She had one accident this morning, and then stayed dry the rest of the day when awake.  She wore a diaper for naptime and woke up wet; I think it will be quite some time before she’s sleep-trained.  Of course, Lex and I asked her if she needed to go to the bathroom about every 10 minutes (she eventually got annoyed with us and would shout “NO!” when we asked).  Also, she really only went to the bathroom when we told her she had to go try, like before getting in the high chair to eat.  Still, I’m glad she was able to hold it in better than when she was wearing a diaper, and perhaps soon she will start telling us when she needs to pee instead of us insisting that she go.  She certainly LOVED getting stickers every time she went on the toilet.  For now, she will wear a diaper to sleep and probably a pull-up with her underwear over it when we go out of the house, but only underwear while at home.

One other thing – Anya has gotten much better at going down the stairs by herself in the last few days, mostly because I’m trying to remember to give her the opportunity to practice instead of carrying her.  It’s a pretty slow process, which is why I had tended just to pick her up, but I will need her to be able to handle stairs on her own in a few months when the baby arrives.  She’s been able to climb up the stairs on her own for a long time, but again, it’s slow (unless she tries to sneak upstairs when we aren’t looking, then she’s a speed demon), and she is easily distracted, which isn’t very safe.  Anya would love to walk up and down the stairs, but due to some combination of the height of the banister, her short legs, and her general lack of coordination, she just can’t do it safely yet, at least not without holding someone’s hand.  Although she had been resistant to going down the stairs on her tush for a long time, she’s finally accepted that method.  She just needs to be watched carefully, because every now and then she announces she’s going to walk instead and tries to stand up, ultimately throwing off her balance.  I don’t think she’d enjoy a tumble down a whole flight of stairs onto the hard tile, and I don’t think I’d enjoy the heart attack that would certainly follow.

Daddy Daughter Day

Filed under: family,funny,moments — by Lex on August 14th, 2008 @ 8:01 am

This past Sunday, Lauren went into NYC to visit a friend. I told Anya that because Mommy was taking the bus to New York, that Anya and I would have a very special Daddy Daughter Day.

I had her at “bus.”

“Mommy take the bus! Mommy go to New Jork!” (Anya has an interesting accent sometimes.)

Now, spending time with one’s offspring isn’t a special event. I hate when it’s implied that because I’m home with Anya, I’m “babysitting.” No; I’m parenting. Spending an hour or a day solo with kid is part of Dadhood, and doesn’t suggest that I’ve achieved some milestone.

Still, with Lauren going away for the day, I thought it’d be fun to label the day as special and plan some activities, vs. just hanging out and playing at home. I also assumed that if we gave the day a special name, we could add it to Anya’s repertoire of stories she loves to tell and be told (e.g., “Anya Goes to Sesame Place,” “Anya Goes to the Park,” “Daddy Wakes Up Anya in the Morning,” “Anya at School,” “Anya at the Library,” and “The Great Gatsby”).

After we dropped Mommy off at the bus for New Jork, we started driving to the Sprayground. During the drive, amusingly, Anya asked me to regale her with some of her favorite personal stories — the ones listed parenthetically above. Over and over and over again. It was cute, but eventually we ran out of stories, although demand for stories continued to rage. The stories became more self-referential and less, uh, interesting:

“Once upon a time, Anya and Daddy were driving to the Sprayground at Doorbrook Park! Anya wanted Daddy to tell her stories, so Daddy told her the story of how once upon a time, Anya and Daddy were driving to the Sprayground at Doorbrook…”

Anya has a good time at the Sprayground. She’s not the most adventurous kid at the park by far, but she can have a great time. We started with one of the little mini-streams, and she pretended it was a sink. (This became a major theme of our time at the park.) After washing her hands for awhile, she suddenly became consumed with the need to find soap and ran around looking for some until I suggested we use pretend soap instead. With some of the bigger sprayers, Anya enjoyed having me swing her around, darting back and forth through the sprays. There are lots of ways Anya plays at the splash park, and it’s a joy to watch.

Note for the jealous who can’t see how we played: I decided I wanted DDD to be a day I experienced live, instead of getting tied up in taping and photographing. You lose!

We ate lunch on our blanket at the park. Said meal was eaten very nicely by Anya, and punctuated with bursts of enthusiasm from her: “The man has a dog! The dog’s walking! The man is walking, too! He looks just like Charlie!” (I assume she meant the dog.) “The girl is wearing a swimsuit!” “The baby is crying!”

Post-lunch, we drove home. I tried to keep Anya awake — it was too early for her nap, but it was also clear she was pooped. As I attempted to engage her (“What does a cow say?” “What’s Mommy’s real name?”) The answers got softer and softer and more drawn-out: “L-aurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrren.” She conked out about two minutes from the house. Attempts to rouse her — loud taking, Charlie barking as we walked in, etc — were futile, and she went down for her nap. She woke up too early, after just 40 minutes, and rather than attempt perhaps a better solution in the long-term, I went for short-term success and satisfaction: I sat in the rocker and let her sleep the next 30+ minutes on my shoulder. Good times.

Post-nap, there was book-reading in the playroom, than piano-playing in the family room. When we first sat down at the piano, Anya began plunking keys at random and singing Elmo’s Song. Hilarious. We played songs together for a surprisingly long time.

Then, when I suggested we make a project for Mommy to welcome her home, Anya thought it was a heck of an idea. She made a beautiful card for Lauren, and when we finished up, it was time to go get her!

(“Mommy on the bus to New Jork!”)

Daddy Daughter Day was great. I do regret not having enough accumulated wealth to stick around and play with Anya all day long every day. The requirements of work and needing to Get Stuff Done aren’t flexible right now. But frankly, work doesn’t pay as well as Anya does.

Anya is 19 months old!

Filed under: baby's progress,doctor,friends,funny,tmi,video — by Lauren on May 23rd, 2008 @ 10:07 am

(In case you aren’t fluent in Anya-ese, at the end of that video when she was “reading” Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? she started talking about what each animal says. When she got to the goldfish, teacher, and children and didn’t know what they said, she made up “Ooh ooh ooh!” As her mom, I thought that was hysterical.)

That’s our Anya, such a big girl (although lately, if you ask her, she tells you she’s a little baby – YIKES!). She’s doing so much and she’s so fun to be around, at least when she’s not sick and cranky (this was a TOUGH week).

Anya’s speech ranges from single words to 8+ word complete sentences these days. Most of the time she talks in 2-5 word phrases. You saw her count in the video. Usually she does “1-2-3-3-4-6-11-12-13!” although this morning she got to eight in the right order. We’re not sure why six seems to be the magic number. She can identify several colors accurately, though she still makes mistakes, of course, but she gets them right much more often than chance would allow. She can tell you her full name and her birthday, too. It’s really neat to see her become more aware of how language works, especially when she self-corrects. One of her biggest misuses is “me/you” – she still says “Rock you! Carry you! Help you!” when she means, “Me.” Now, though you can ask her, “Hold you?” and she’ll say, “Hold me!” I’m also always amused when she repeats things we say. The other day we were talking about something, can’t remember what, and she turns to me and says, rather indignantly, “I said NO!” I wonder where she heard that? 😉

I was just talking with a friend of ours (her daughter is about 7 months older than Anya) about how crazy it is the way toddlers remember things from weeks or months ago, even if it was something that only happened once and it seemed insignificant at the time. She told me some VERY funny stories about her kid, and one story I had shared about Anya was how last week I was driving her home from day care and she suddenly starts asking me to sing something, but I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. She was getting more and more agitated, and then I finally realized she was saying, “Sing people’s trash!” She wanted me to sing a song I had made up and sang to her once several weeks ago when I was driving her home during the week when everybody puts out their big items for the spring bulk pick-up. I was astounded she remembered that – I didn’t remember it!

I’m sad that baby story time at the library is going on hiatus until July. Anya has the biggest “crush” on the woman who runs it. She talks about Miss Renee all week long, imitates the welcome song frequently, and when we’re there, likes to stand within a foot of Miss Renee whenever possible. I am glad she likes going to the library, though, and I guess it’s not surprising, because she still loves books more than anything else. She can “read” so many of her books. It’s incredible how much of them she has memorized. She doesn’t know every word, of course, but you can tell from listening to her that she gets the basic gist of a page. Almost always she ends a book with “The end!” She’ll still fill in the gaps with babble. Actually, when she’s “reading” or pretending to talk on the phone are really the only times she babbles anymore, though she mixes it with words (Right now she’s pretending to talk to my sister, and she’s telling her “Hello! Samantha how you doing? Come out!” It’s very funny). Another favorite pastime is singing. She can sing parts of several of her favorite songs, and isn’t terrible about carrying a tune, either (she gets that from Lex).

Baby play is so great to observe. I continue to enjoy watching Anya play with her dolls. She’s very motherly to them. She still loves to pull out a scarf or a blanket, lay it on the floor, and put a doll down to sleep (which now involves a lot of talking about it). We just picked up some cool pretend play toys from a garage sale, so now she also gives her babies a bath, puts them on the potty (along with the directive to “wipe the vagina and tushy”), feeds them, takes them for walks in the stroller, you name it. So cute. She’s developed a recent fascination with taking the clothes on and off of her dolls – mostly off. This week she stripped down her Cabbage Patch doll (with help), and after I suggested we put the baby’s clothes back on too many times, she took them from me, put them inside her toy drum, and slammed the lid down. Take that, Mommy! We’ve had a little art renaissance here as well, so there’s been a lot of requests to use crayons, markers, and most recently, paints. Like she said in the video, she likes to make dots (even with her food – gross).

We had a minor setback in potty training a for a little while this month. I think it was because there was a small incident involving taking her off the potty before she was actually done, and she became terrified of using the potty upstairs. It became problematic because she didn’t want to poop in her diaper but also didn’t want to go on any potty, so she was holding it in for 24 hours (not good when she’s used to going 2-3 times a day). Eventually a new Elmo potty seat and hand stamps whenever she successfully went on the potty got her back into the swing of things. She’s actually started telling us she needs to go potty first thing in the morning, too, even if she just has to pee – that’s a major improvement – but she still has a wet diaper more often than not. Our pediatrician’s advice was not to push it and follow her lead.

Anya’s been getting more mischievous and daring lately. Her climbing skills are getting better, which is how she ended up standing on a stool in the middle of the kitchen two nights ago. We’re used to being able to let her out of our sight for a few seconds without worrying that she’ll get into too much trouble, but it looks like those days are quickly becoming numbered. She wants to open, touch, throw, and climb on everything (but at least with climbing we’re not at the get up on a kitchen chair and climb onto the stove phase yet!). I’m sure she’s got lots more in store for us…never a dull moment!

A LONG update

Filed under: baby's progress,doctor,video — by Lauren on December 14th, 2007 @ 12:28 am

Here’s another very long update. I know I can get a bit wordy when it comes to writing about Anya, but hopefully when I’m 75 I’ll be able to look back at posts like this one and remember what Anya was like when she was little 🙂 If you make it to the end, thanks for reading!

Anya will be 14 months old next week. She’s sporting 9 teeth, including one molar, with 3 more starting to poke their way out. I had her at the doctor’s office this morning (she has yet another ear infection, even though we finished the antibiotics for the last one yesterday), and she weighs 22 lbs fully clothed. The doctor referred to her as a peanut – I think that’s a first for Anya! We’re still transitioning between 9-12 month and 12-18 month clothes. The pants are the biggest problem – 18 months pants are ridiculously long, but the 12 month pants are becoming capris, and they don’t fit easily over her chunky little thighs (to be fair, though, she’s down to one significant fat roll per leg). She’s still in size 3 diapers, but they’re getting a little snug, so when we finish what we have in the house, we’ll move on to size 4s.

She’s walking much more than she’s crawling now, and if I ask her to stand up and walk she will. She’ll still crawl if she’s in a hurry – or if she falls down enough. Tonight she was trying to walk from the hallway to her room, but she kept tripping on her pants (18 months, and too long), so after the fourth or fifth time she gave up and crawled the rest of the way there. It’s exciting to see her toddling around the playroom, usually with a toy or two in hand, and it’s very funny when she tries to walk around carrying something that’s the same size as she is.

I think the neatest thing that’s going on with Anya these days is that when I watch her play, I feel like I can almost see her brain growing and making new connections. She’s always experimenting and figuring out new stuff all of the time. She recently mastered her stacking rings and the nesting cups she has for the bath. Also, I noticed last week that when she “reads” books to herself, she now turns them around so that they are facing the right way. However, she has a couple of Sesame Street books with pictures of Grover doing a handstand, and when she gets to those pages she always turns the book upside down so that Grover looks like he’s standing on his feet. Speaking of books, a few days ago she was playing with a little brown stuffed bear, and she picked up the book Jamberry, which has a brown bear on the cover. She looked at the bear in her hand, said “Grrr,” then looked at the book and did the same, and then put the bear doll on top of the picture of the bear on the book!

I also really like to watch her play with her dolls. There are four that she’s particularly attached to – Elmo, Ernie, Gymbo, and her Cabbage Patch Kid – but she enjoys playing with pretty much any doll. She does some very cute things with them. Anya still loves to pretend to feed them with a spoon, but now she’ll take her sippy cup (or anything that looks like a cup) and will give them water, too. She also makes them talk – she’ll give Elmo water, holds him up and say “More” and then give him more water. She’ll take Ernie’s hands and make him wave, exclaiming “Hi!” repeatedly (I got that one on video!). I think the sweetest thing she does with dolls is imitate things I do with her. She’ll pick them up and say rock them, saying “Ahh, ahh;” pat them on the back and say “Okay” (as in “You’re okay”); give them kisses; and put them in her swing and push them while saying “Whee!” You know what? I just like watching her play in general. She loves to color (and she can name several colors, though she doesn’t really get which one is which yet), and she loves to sing songs (some new ones she’s learned are “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Row, Row You Boat”). She doesn’t say all of the words, of course – usually it’s just a phrase or two here and there, and she does some or all of the hand motions. She’s constantly coming up to me and asking me to sing certain songs, or she’ll sing them to her dolls. Check out this video of Anya playing and singing:

She can identify a lot of people in her life by name – both sets of grandparents and her two great-grandmas, all of my siblings, all of her teachers at day care (new and old), to name a few. We also discovered that she can accurately identify and name circles, stars, happy faces, AND the letters A and B (capitals only)! Some of the time she can point to the letter C if asked, but not always. She’s a little ridiculous with the stars – she can find them anywhere. We were out to dinner and she kept signing and shouting “Star! Star!” over and over, but I didn’t see one at all. Finally I noticed this tiny star on her placemat, and when I validated what she was saying at last, she was SO happy (and she stopped shouting it, thankfully).

Anya is still a little chatterbox, repeating everything, picking up new words daily, sometimes after only a few exposures. At this point, most of what she says is actual words instead of baby babble, although not all of it is intelligible unless you are using context clues or you know how she pronounces certain words. One of my favorites is “glasses” (which she calls “glockies”). She points them out everywhere, but she loves to point to mine, say “Please” (asking to touch them), and then immediately answer her own request by saying “No, no, no” while wagging her finger. What’s crazy to me is that she often says words that I didn’t even know she knew. Last night when I was getting her ready to take a bath, I told her what we were about to do (“Bat! Bat! Oh boy!” – she LOVES bath time), and she rubs her tummy and says “Clean!” I was totally shocked! She did it again tonight, too. Going back to Jamberry, she had been looking at a page in the book where the bear and the little boy are dancing in a sea of berries (not kidding about how dumb the book is, by the way), and she points to the bear, says “Jumping” and starts bouncing up and down. She clearly is listening to everything we’re saying; I think we’re going to have to be a little more careful about what we say around her – certainly the fact that two of her recent words are “burp” and “poop” support that!

Here’s a video of Anya talking and signing a bit. In the title of this one and the one above, I put December 2007, but I realized after I had uploaded them that the footage was actually from November. Oh well.

This kid has got some memory! She only sees my dad on weekends because he gets home too late from work, but one of the first things she always does when she sees him is make faces at him (an ongoing game they have). Everyday when Lex is getting dressed, she asks him “Star?” because he wore a t-shirt with a star on it once, and she loves stars (of course, now he wears that shirt a lot because it makes her so happy). Another star story: I cut up an apple for her last week and I gave her a few pieces shaped like stars. I didn’t cut up another apple for her again until Tuesday, almost a full week later, and one of the first things she does is ask me, “Star?” I didn’t even remember that I had done that!

We’ve been having a rough time with food since Anya turned one. She’s been very reluctant to try new finger foods – if she doesn’t recognize it, she often won’t feed it to herself. It’s not a taste issue, because if I can get it into her mouth, she’ll usually eat whatever it is. We’ve finally gotten her to eagerly eat eggs, fish, chicken, and broccoli after weeks of trying. She’s definitely one of those kids who needs 15-20 or more exposures to some foods before she’ll eat them. The exception is carrots. I CANNOT get her to eat finger food carrots. I’ve tried a lot of different ways of preparing them, but she will not eat them, even though she’ll eat baby food carrots (ironic, isn’t it?). Even if we mash them up and mix them into the baby food, she’ll suck the puree off the pieces and then spit them out. I can put them into grilled cheese sandwiches and she’ll eat them without a problem, but she just will not eat them on their own. Grrrr! Naps have also been less than ideal. Part of the problem is that we’re trying to get her on the schedule in her new day care class, but it really doesn’t work for her. Even when we ignore the schedule and do what’s best for Anya, she still fights naps. When I bring her into her room, she’ll start asking “Daddy? Daddy? Book? Play?” and she’ll cry if I say no. I can tell who is going to win the battle pretty early into our nap routine. At least putting her to bed at night is a breeze.

Despite being sick more than being healthy for the past two months, Anya is still a very happy baby. In fact, she’ll be the first one to tell you that. “Happy” is another word/sign she learned in the last two months. She’ll point to pictures of people smiling and tell us “Happy!” Sometimes, though, she says it when we’re playing or if someone she loves comes to see her. It’s as if she’s saying “I’m happy!” The only thing sweeter than that is “I love you” which she now says totally unprompted at appropriate times, like when video chatting with her daddy in California on business. Anya, we “luh loo” too!

4 Months Update

Filed under: baby's progress,doctor,thoughts — by Lauren on February 19th, 2007 @ 8:10 pm

Anya had her 4 months appointment at the pediatrician today. She’s a whopping 15 lbs, 12 oz (90th percentile) and 26 inches (97th – ! – percentile). Aside from a pesky rash that just won’t quit (normal for some babies, unfortunately) and a touch of laryngitis (which makes her cries sound so sad and pitiful), she’s big, beautiful, and healthy as can be.

That paragraph had a lot of parenthetical comments.

Some of the things we discussed today were Anya’s sleeping and eating habits. Unlike several of her friends, Anya still sleeps swaddled in her Co-Sleeper in our room, and although she slept from 11-4 last night, she’s not showing signs of being able to sleep through the night. She’s a pro at falling asleep, but not staying asleep. We’re going to work on helping her give up being swaddled first, and we’re using a cold turkey approach. As I am writing this, she is taking her first nap in the era of no swaddling. It took 30+ minutes for her to truly fall asleep. We had at least 15 minutes of crying, at which point I pinned her arms down just so she’d calm down enough to start working on falling asleep. Then we had a long period of falling asleep for 5 seconds, startling herself awake as soon as her arms dropped, waking up to cry, lather-rinse-repeat.

I’m VERY uncomfortable with letting her cry herself to sleep at this age, but that’s basically what I did, though I was there to put the pacifier back in her mouth and be a comforting presence. I feel SO guilty about it. She trusts me to take care of her, and though I know I’m doing something good for her in the long run, it feels like right now I’m letting her down. I’m definitely not ready to let her cry it out on her own, and therefore I’m not sure how we’re going to approach getting her to sleep through the night. I know we have to get her to learn that she doesn’t need to eat when she wakes up, since the doctor says that there’s no physical need for her to eat in the middle of the night – it’s just a comfort for her. We are going to work on helping her give up the extra feedings once she’s mastered sleeping unswaddled. One suggestion the doctor had was for Lex to be the one to comfort her back to sleep instead of me. The advantage of this approach is that Anya won’t be able to smell me/the breastmilk, and the bonus is that I would get to sleep more, though I know if I can hear her cry I won’t sleep. I’ll either have to wear earplugs or leave the country or something.

We plan to transition her out of our room to her crib at around 5 months – we don’t want to move her before then because some research has suggested that keeping the baby in the parents’ room decreases the risk of SIDS, and the highest risk period is between 2 and 4 months. I don’t think she’ll have too much trouble since she takes naps in her crib during the day with no problems, and it may even help her sleep through the night more easily since I won’t be able to hear every peep she makes. I think it will be tough on me when we move her out, though. I love having her so close by; it’s so amazing to have a baby in the first place, and I can’t describe the joy and comfort I get out of hearing her breathe and watching her sleep. She’s only going to be little like this for such a short time, and I don’t want to miss a second of it.

Anya still nurses every 3 hours during the day, which is fine, and now that she’s 4 months old we can think about introducing solids. I’m inclined to wait as long as possible, but Lex wants to start them sooner. Aside from avoiding the stinkier poops that come with solids, there’s some evidence that delaying foods decreases the chance of allergic reactions, and the doctor suggested that with Anya’s tendency to have a rash, waiting until at least 6 months might be good for her. However, Anya is showing a definite interest in people food whenever she watches us eat. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get a clearer answer about how to proceed once we start (rice cereal vs. veggies, etc.), but I understand – there’s no “right way” to do it.

In other news, Anya’s really got her head under control, and she’s trying to push up on her hands. She’s so close to rolling from her tummy to her back, though right now she ends up spinning herself in a circle from the way she brings her knees up to her chest. She can scoot on her back if you let her push off your hands with her feet. She grabs at anything you dangle in front of her, and if she’s able to grasp it, it goes in the mouth. And, if there’s nothing available to put in her mouth, she’s a pro at getting her hands in there. She coos, blows bubbles, smiles, and laughs. She’s become a real little person, and we love her.

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