Thursday, September 30, 2010

16 months old, what's good to do around here?

Today is Carolina's 16 month "birthday". Hooray!

I took her to a local playgroup in the basement of a church. We did a 'trial' today. It's 2 hours long and starts at about 9.30am. At just around 10.30am, when they just finished singing (for like 10 minutes) and just before they started snacktime, she was tired. Yawning, crying a little and walking for the exit on her own. Yes, she really was.

Snack consisted of a shot of apple juice, a sandwich creme cookie, a cheese doodle, 5-7 cheerios and 2 saltine crackers. I am not joking.

I wasn't going to let her have the cookie, the cheese doodle -- and with her being super tired, I just excused us and we went home. I kept her up for another hour with reading, and watching a little bit of tv since I didn't want another day where she falls asleep for an hour at 10.30am and then is WICKED exhausted by 6pm.

It seems that every day this week she is getting more picky about what she will eat. I know there must be new teeth coming in since she's still really gnawing on a lot of things, and sometimes doing so intensely with yelling, but I can't see any teeth just below the gums. I just go along with it.

Yesterday morning I thought I'd put my foot down and insist she eat her rice cereal with apples. Yeah. That went about as well as you'd expect. I've gone back to relenting to whatever she wants. That consists of hummus, frozen blueberries, puffy "greens" snacks and some Annie's honey crackers. She wants cereal and milk for breakfast, and yesterday was happy with a scrambled egg and a melted slice of American cheese.

Unfortunately she broke out into little pimples on her neck and back shortly after eating the egg, but, I guess, at least she ate it happily and it has stuff she needs.

I even peeled an apple, cut it in half, removed the seeds and center part and she ate it happily. It was like a teething toy AND food. Phew! At least I found something she likes in large size. She won't eat the apple cut into little pieces, but enjoys working on it large size. Ok!

I started reading Maeda's The Laws of Simplicity (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)and I think, besides how it's reminding me of a lot of things I knew and "forgot" in helping me plan my graduate program syllabus, I should use some of it for parenting. Ha!

It's a bummer that the local, but cheap (only $9 per session/week), play group is full of a LOT of toys that are all a little dirty and a little old, and in the basement of a reformed protestant church, but the not-local, need to use 2 metrocard rides, very nice, very clean and very well-maintained play center is very expensive (about $40 per session/week). I suppose you do get what you pay for.

We will probably join the local one for rainy days and on a day of the week we normally don't have anything planned. Registration is by day of the week, and the costs are different for each day.

I should stop complaining, at least we have options. And it's better than keeping her at home and having her insist on watching Dora for an hour. AND at least she gets bored with TV after about an hour and WANTS to run around the apartment. I play hide and seek with her too.

Going to buy some crayons and large size paper. See what kind of artwork she can make at this point. So far it's just been a lot of scratching back and forth by holding the pencil upside down. It's really sweet how she does it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A kiss for Papa

Just the other morning, the baby kissed Papa before he left for work. He was "practicing" with her by kissing her on the cheeks. We kiss her a lot but this morning she did it back. Open mouth, as babies do, but she didn't try to bite him. It was very sweet.

She sometimes does something similar with me but often turns into biting -- or trying to. With 12 teeth in her mouth, and I think more (eyeteeth) coming, biting is a painful thing!

Super cute.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No no no, whining and lids

The past 2-3 weeks have been introduced with new words/sounds and a proliferation of her saying "nu nu nu" for "No no no". I believe I say No as often as Good Girl and Yes, but this is the No age. And No shows up more often than before since she's more active and dexterous than before.

She loves things with lids that she can twist (sort of) or snap (better)!!

There's also been a big uptick in whining, tantrums and requests for having the chupon.

Again, I think it's the stage. Becoming more aware of the world, getting anxious and also wanting her desires and preferences heeded.

I find it equally trying and fascinating. Mostly tolerable and enjoyable.

Going to the park every afternoon when school is out shows me that the whining, screaming and wanting only gets more. The park is transformed into a raucous screaming-fest after about 2.30 when the local grammar school lets out. Good lord it gets loud!!

She also insists at time in holding her own spoon to try to pick up things or feed herself. Mostly makes a mess but I play along when I'm up to it.

Finally, totally obsessed with Dora. Some days all she wants to do is watch telly. I understand, I sometimes feel that way too. I know I said it before but her sitting in her chair so nicely and pointing for Do Do is just cute.

And saying (her version of) quack quack when I say Ducky is super endearing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Smart doings...

Just the other day at the park, Carolina decided that she wanted to go under the jungle gym -- like the big kids. But since it's not very tall (the above part) from walking under, she did something smart. She ducked her head down and put her hands above her head. This way she was able to tell when she'd hit her head on something and avoid it. I was duly impressed. Especially after I went under there to follow her (to make sure she didn't get hurt) and, of course, scraped my mid-back against a beam as I was about to come out from under there.

Mommy is too tall to be under there and didn't have the wherewithal, like the baby, to put her hands up to avoid injury.

She also figured out how to sit down, turn over and slide down the slide on her own. I helped her to practice but she's quite good at it now.

I think she's pretty clever, but I would, I'm her mother.

We had a pretty loud thunderstorm this evening. Scared the bejesus out of the baby. For the first time she has enough awareness of her world to hear a loud noise like that and be scared. So for the duration of the storm, we were mostly in the kitchen. She had the chupon in her mouth and was holding on tightly to me, with her head nuzzled in my neck. I kept trying to feed her something, anything, since it was dinner time but she wasn't having any of it.

My telling her it was nothing to be afraid of, just a noise. I even tried to show her the storm but the windows were all fogged up and covered in rain -- and once the lightning struck outside, she just wasn't feeling better about it. So back into the kitchen where there's no view and we just waited.

Gratefully the storm went almost as quickly as it came and I was able to convince her to eat some when it got quiet AND take a bath.

Dinner, bath, Dora, book, bottle, bed. (Minus the book tonight.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

15 month checkup

Rock 'n Roll t-shirt at the park
So far, so good. She's still about the same height (I forgot to ask exactly how tall, but my last attempt at measuring her she was about 29"). And has lost a little weight at 18.8lbs now. Apparently, this age is common to lose a little weight since they are so active.

The only concern was with her calcium levels. The doctor didn't measure anything but since Carolina has a bit of trouble with dairy, I haven't been giving her as much milk as other kids get. She does love ice cream, frozen yogurt, yogurt and cheese. I mostly give her cheese and some frozen stuff.

So they gave me a Vitamin D supplement, probiotics (again), and want me to get her a calcium supplement. Additionally, she's to eat ice cream pretty regularly -- if her belly can handle it. Her brain, as I knew, needs the fat. Apparently, ice cream is a good source of milk fat and calcium in the smallest possible "package".

If she can handle the gas and diarrhea, then I can give her more milk and cheese. I can deal with the super stinky poop cleanup if it means she's getting enough fat and calcium.

Otherwise, she's talking up a storm, basically running around and obsessed with stairs. I think it's fair to say she's pretty obsessed since, even if there is ONE stair, she'll go up and down it until you pull her away from it. Yeah...

I've started to read The True History of Chocolate (The True History of Chocolate, Second Edition) and it's pretty good. Made me really want chocolate every night, and so bought some Ben & Jerry's Chocolate (no other stuff, just the straight chocolate) ice cream. Man that's good stuff. I want to give Carolina some but Chocolate makes her crazy. I don't mean she gets hyper after, I mean she thinks it tastes so good she's a little crazy for it. I'll just leave it to her dad to deal with giving her chocolate ice cream when I'm not looking :)

What I learned in the book that I didn't know is the reason you're not supposed to give babies chocolate isn't the caffeine and sugar, which is bad, but dark chocolate is actually toxic to small animals (and human babies). It's only larger humans that can process it. It's something about the alkaloids. Yeah, I read but I don't remember all the details as well as I used to.

I know Carolina isn't a baby-baby anymore, but I'm still careful with the food she gets. Probably too careful.

I need to get a new recipe for zucchini bread-muffins. The one I have uses too much olive oil, which is weird anyway, and tastes too oily.

Today she said "mouth", and she keeps trying to say "shoes" by saying "sssssooo". When she wants to watch Dora, she'll sit in her little seat (a totally awesome 1970s Costco chair, which is a rip off of an Eames design) and she'll say "Doh-da", and sometimes also point to the bookshelf where we often leave the cable remote. Yup, she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it.

I love this. That she can tell me what she wants and needs. Awesome. I can put up with the tantrums occasionally so that we get this communication. Love it!

Friday, September 10, 2010

15 months and going...

It's been quite a while since I posted something. The summer was brutally hot and humid and we spent a lot of our days in the park or avoiding outside, depending on how the weather was.

We just returned from a week in Mexico visiting Abuelos y familia. It took her about 4 days to really get comfortable with the family since she hadn't seen them since March and, surprisingly, warmed up to Tio David pretty quickly. I guess since he was willing to hold her hands up and down the stairs (her favorite activity after watching Dora), he won that spot in her heart :) All considered, she was pretty good on the planes there with me and then on the way back with both of us.

I was recently talking with a friend of mine who has an 8 month old about what foods I was giving at that time. It made me realize I forgot and how quickly these little ones change. So I'm going to write down what we do now, for future reference:

She's on one nap a day and is usually from 11/12pm for 1-2 hours. She went to sleep at 10.30am on Tuesday (after the extra-long day on Monday getting home with a serious delay at Houston) and didn't get up until 2.30pm. Very unusual but expected. She's usually desperate for sleep by about 6.30/7pm, mostly since she's walking EVERYWHERE and loves going up and down stairs. While in Mexico I didn't force her to go to sleep at her usual time, in case she wanted to stay up to play with her cousins. Nope, she's like a clock... Was ready for bed at about 7pm CST.

She has gotten much pickier about her food and likes more variety in her diet, and more sweets. She's crazy about pizzelle that my mom makes. Since the past few weeks she's been super-hungry, I was feeding her more since she's just finished a growth spurt. But it's mostly like this:

Get up for breakfast. Cereal with milk, toast, eggs (with cheese usually)
Go to the park, snack (like "healthy" cookies or crackers like Hot Kid Organic Baby Mum-Mum Original Rice Rusks) on the way back or substantial snack (more like lunch #1) like grapes, peaches, grape tomatoes, blueberries once we're home.
Lunch #2. Usually largest meal of the day includes some kind of meat, veg or fruit and pasta or rice. Cheese, sometimes. Sometimes it's just cheese, and sometimes it's just an endless array of fruit. Other days it's more balanced. I've learned to go with it and fight her less. Much easier on us both.
Snack on way home
Dinner. Like lunch but smaller, unless she's really hungry that day.
Bath, Dora, book, bottle, bed.

My mother-in-law insisted that I give her 3 bottles a day, maybe 4. She said the baby needs it. I said I don't think so and that eating real food is more filling. I gave it a try mid-week while in Mexico, to be polite while we were there, but she was waking up early in the morning and crying out more at night. I'm really really not sure why the change but we fed her a bottle when she did get up at 4am. That didn't help her go back to sleep right away, but she would finish it. I'm doubtful it was waking up because she was hungry but I went back to our normal routine when we came home just the same. I think it was more anxiety that she was waking up with. Her cries were more like scared/stressed than hungry.

While teething, as I've mentioned before, she's been a blueberry-a-holic. This week, since her 4th molar finally broke through. She's less obsessed with frozen blueberries. She wouldn't eat a frozen one since Monday when it broke through. Yesterday I got her to have some but only after I defrosted them a little.

This is good news as although it means frozen blueberries might be off the go-to list for a while, at least she's been less cranky from the teething. Phew!

So now she has 12 teeth: four top/front, four bottom/front, four molars. I don't know when the others are supposed to come in but I don't care. She's happy, I'm happy.

She's also started to be more shy around strangers. And is less willing to go in the park without me if other kids are around. Just the past 2 weeks, around when she turned 15 months. Something clicked in her head and something changed. I'm assuming this is a new change that is part of the growing cycle. It's curious. she's also having temper tantrums. They're not terrible and not very often, but they're there and they are definite. I ignore her for the most part -- just make sure she doesn't smack her head on the floor or ground as she's doing it. And then when it's done, I go "all done?" And she gets up and we move on.

I've wanted to get her into more classes, the Gymboree ones are great and the equipment is really super. But they're very, very expensive. So, we go to the public park. Not the nice, private one with the grass -- the city ones with the rubber "floors" and sprinklers and slides and stairs and swings. They do the trick. It gets a bit boring but at least we have 2 to choose from that are within 10-15 blocks of the apartment.