Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tooth Hurty and the STRIKE

E has been working on a few new teeth. Number 5 showed up to the left (Ellie's) of her existing bottom teeth. From brushing her teeth, I think she's got some molars not far behind. I knew the pain was bad when she didn't make a fuss over me putting on an application of Orajel. She practically asked for it, actually.

However, the next night (Sunday), she bit me while nursing. She's bitten before. In fact, with the teething, she'd been using a playful bite to signal that she was done. (Playful because she smiled and had a gleam in her eye afterwards. Not because it didn't hurt...) I didn't think much of it at the time. However, later I noticed that I was bleeding and discovered that I had about a quarter inch cut. So, the next time she went to nurse on that side, I was especially protective. She went to nurse as usual and because the cut was right where she puts her teeth (albeit under her tongue), the pressure felt like she was biting again. And, not wanting to make the injury any worse, I overreacted and pulled her off. This upset her and she's basically been on a nursing strike ever since.

She only nurses when she's half asleep in the wee hours of the morning. She now has 4 meals a day and I started offering milk in her sippy cup instead of water. She's been taking naps without nursing, but then I try to offer her a meal/snack when she wakes up. She'll drink about 4 oz. before bed from a bottle, but otherwise, she only drinks what she takes from a cup or nurses in less than 10 minutes at 3 am.

I've consulted a bunch of moms (including my own). I heard a couple stories of babies who "weaned" themselves at age 9-10 months. Other moms have mentioned nursing strikes caused by strong reactions to bites. A few chose to wean their babies at that time. I looked up nursing strikes and apparently the average is 2-4 days. We're on day 3. I saw one article about a 40 day nursing strike. I honestly don't have the guts to read that one. If this lasts over 2 weeks, I don't know if I can keep it up. So, we'll see. Wish us luck....

I LOVE meal times!

Ellie in Toyland:  She just got a bunch of toy hand-me-downs from cousins.
All but one has a switch and makes noise and/or flashes lights.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Now Showing On...

Yesterday, I finally joined Pinterest. It became kind of a mission to fill out some boards and go through other people's boards. I wasted all that valuable nap time. So, if you're on Pinterest or just want to see what I did yesterday, check it out.

And, like that stupid mouse and his cookie, I also ran into a site called A flurry of activity later and I have a page on that one too. Finally, I have a way to keep track of books I've read. Some of the series I've been reading lately blur together a bit. All those vampires and were-creatures....

So, if you have suggestions for my boards or books to read, holler....

Friday, September 16, 2011

Put Your Hands Together

Looking adorable as she considers climbing the chair...

Earlier today....
Currently, Ellie is fighting her afternoon nap. Apparently, she's had enough sleep for today. But, before we ran into this snag, the day was going swimmingly. She had two very productive sits on the potty this morning. No doubt helped by the copious amounts of prunes I've been serving her. She napped for an hour this morning, which she hasn't done in a few days. She ate pretty well at breakfast and lunch and she didn't feed the dog too much. The beagle and I had a serious discussion yesterday and determined that he can in fact sit and wait to clean the floor. He just needs to believe that I am serious about it.

So, the reason she took an especially long morning nap was because she was planning on skipping the post lunch nap. Can't wait till she can tell me these things ahead of time so I don't bother wasting time and energy fighting the inevitable ;). So, aside from a little time playing with Froggy and Elephant in the dark, she went about 7 hours without sleep this afternoon. Going to bed this evening was a struggle too. She didn't really want to nurse and then tried sticking my finger in her mouth (which usually ends with her trying to bite my index nail in two). And then, she became virtually inconsolable. So, I dug out the hated Orajel (apparently she's not a licorice fan either) and applied liberally since she rarely complains of tooth pain and I couldn't very well feel around her gums while trying my best not to lose the end of my pointer finger. It would make typing difficult to say the least. The Orajel made things much worse for a while and then it kicked in. My guess must have been correct, because she then finished nursing and went to sleep relatively quickly.

But, in other news, she woke up this morning and decided to clap. All day, she celebrated her various successes on the potty and some when she was done eating. I've also craftily adapted our eating style to make feeding the dog more difficult. She generally only has one or two pieces of food on the tray at any one time, so it's a lot easier to block attempted donations and with less excess, she tends to be a little stingier. Before, she figured she had 3 pieces of fruit, so she might as well flip one over the side to watch the dog hustle. There still ends up being quite a bit of food on the floor, but it's mostly smaller crumbs from my periodic tray sweeps. And, Zeus is allowed to make a couple of passes throughout the meal.
As you can see in the video, meal times are a slow affair. She has been discovering the upper reaches of her voice, imitating primates, and she feels the need to inspect all her prunes by unraveling them and looking for a golden ticket. We may have started that rumor. She's not allowed to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory until she's at least 2, so she won't know....

Tomorrow will be an interesting day. P will have Ellie for the afternoon. He always handles it like it's no big deal, but I tend to fuss a little about bottle/pumping logistics and worry about naps. But, since she's not napping for me, I guess it can't really get much worse for him. Plus, I'll really only be gone about 5 hours. Now that she's eating solids, that's really only one bottle and two little meals. Now, if I just repeat that a few times, maybe I'll stop worrying.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good Job

Helping Dad make a dutch baby.

Enjoying the Popcorn Parade commentated by Uncle A.
So, among the other things I've been reading, I ran across this reference to how you shouldn't tell your kids, "good job!" I Googled it and there were quite a few hits. The one that I ended up reading was this blog by a woman named Jennifer Lehr. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to know her from somewhere, but she has some very definite opinions on things. Apparently, she's heavily influenced by Magda Gerber's RIE approach. The RIE approach has an interesting history and is basically about respecting children and not manipulating them or forcing them to do things before they're ready. For example, don't try to stimulate them to crawl or walk before they're ready, just let them work things out on their own. Don't hover over them saying, "be careful" every time they do something new or potentially dangerous (walking, stairs, etc). And, don't tell your child, "Good job". Taken out of context some of these "rules" sound a little over the top, but once the reasons are explained, they make pretty good sense. And, in my opinion, it seems like you have to pay a little more attention to what the child(ren) are doing and your reactions, which probably isn't a bad thing in most cases.

I find myself naturally doing some of the recommended things, like praising specific accomplishments. I found that I quickly got tired of saying, "good job" and felt "yay" and "hooray" were a bit excessive for repetitive things that I hope to make commonplace. So now I say in a moderately excited voice, "Hey, you went pee-pee in the potty!" Or, "Way to put that piece of chicken in your mouth!" We were trying to get Ellie to say, "Bye-bye", but now I've backed off so that I just model it. I don't tell her to say it, I just say it myself. And, half the time, she says it back. I've also been narrating what I'm doing, which I mostly started as a way to talk more around her to model speaking. Otherwise, we'd have some pretty quiet days at home.

This weekend our friends from Indy came up for the Popcorn Fest. P ran in the 5 mile Popcorn Panic (finishing at about 43 minutes) and Ellie and I went with him for support. I also got a sneak peek at some of the booths. If I was really thinking, I would have made some purchases then because later in the day, it was ridiculous. I ended up waiting forEVER to get two small slices of pizza from the Stonebaker food truck. I'd read an article about them ages ago, but this was the first opportunity I'd had to try it. The two girls working it were going full stop, but they could only go as fast as the pizza can cook, so I think I was standing in line first to order and then to get my food for probably 45 minutes. The pizza was tasty, but not that tasty and certainly not that filling. On the upside, Ellie really enjoyed the parade and didn't suffer too badly on the nap-front despite the long day.

I keep trying to motivate myself to take her to the YMCA to swim once or twice a week. Heck, I'd like to take myself. I need to get in some extra cardio and the elliptical is not real inspiring to me. But, the schedule for free swim is kind of erratic (as are her naps). So, we've gone for a couple of walks this week. The temperatures have really gotten pretty nice for a late afternoon/early evening walk. And, the dogs love it too. Yesterday, we went before her dinner and Dad expressed disappointment at missing it. So, today, we went after he got home and it was pretty nice. Hopefully, we can keep it up on a relatively regular basis.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Something to Talk About

I think we're on the verge of being verbal. Ellie has been saying "mama" more and more accurately lately. She's also working on "bye-bye" and I've gotten her to say an approximation of "milk" and "grandma". We've been working on waving "bye-bye", but then I also have been showing her the sign for "milk" (which is kind of a sideways bye-bye), so I think I've confused her. Maybe we'll work on the sign for "potty" a little more and just leave "milk" for later. She's adorable when she does it too. There's always a lot of wonder in her face and a hint of bashfulness and pride when she gets the encouragement. Most of the time there is a lot of hesitation, so if we're leaving the room, she usually waves after we've turned to go. And, she is still trying to figure out the wave, so she usually waves both hands kind of at herself as she inspects her hands.

In other news, I've been doing some research on homeschooling. It's something that seems like it could be really beneficial to Ellie. All these grandiose plans occur to me of having a super literate ├╝ber-educated child. She could speak 7 languages, enter college at the tender age of 16, play several instruments and be a speaker at TED. I exaggerate a little, but not much. In theory, a stimulating child-led curriculum following her interests would be fabulous, but there's a lot of self doubt floating around too. Could I keep us on task? Could I raise pertinent questions to keep her searching for answers? Or, to take it down to the nitty gritty, could I learn the parts of a sentence enough to teach her? And then, what if she has a little sibling? How do I balance curriculum, naps, my fitness regime, assorted appointments, cooking balanced and nutritious meals, etc? It sounds like a lot. Then, I peruse homeschooling blogs and forums and it sounds like they play it pretty loose and easy. They wake up slowly, start school between 9 and 11, get in about 3-4 hours, and then the kids are on their own or doing chores and Mom gets dinner ready. How does anyone learn 7 languages on that kind of schedule? (jk) I've got a couple books coming to see if I can learn about the different styles and see a few more examples of schedules and curriculum. P is against this idea, for the record. But, I've asked him to keep an open mind and read "The Idle Parent". It's not a book about homeschooling, but it does encourage a home life where parents read real books instead of "Ten in the Bed" and there is stimulating discussion at the dinner table. And, if there's not, Dad reads poetry at the kids until they regurgitate it back. The author paints an idyllic picture (to me anyway).

I've started reading "Raising Freethinkers". It's not as pleasurable as "Idle Parent". Co-written by 4 people, the book is structured as a series of essay-chapters with Q & A, resources, and suggested activities at the end of each section. I've been reading it on Kindle for iPhone and decided it falls into the category of book you have to physically own. (I've just about decided all non-fiction books fit in this category.) It simply will require highlighter, dog-eared pages, notes, and lots of flipping pages to find certain passages or resources. And, I do anticipate using it quite a bit. The writing seems a little stiff and at a more collegiate level than most parenting books. So far the only thing that rubs me a bit funny is that the authors advocate a diverse religious literacy program and warn against indoctrination. Yet, they also suggest practicing answers with your kids to help protect them from religious kids trying to indoctrinate them. Isn't that just substituting one form of brainwashing for another? I understand why they do it. You can't just raise a kid in a minority and not prepare him for unpleasant possibilities the majority may inflict on him. However, it seems a bit hypocritical. Mostly, I just feel that the book is way above me and that I should read all the resources to begin to have a glimmer of preparation for guiding another human being through this journey. I've gone most of my life not really giving myself a label in terms of religion. When pressed, I'll cop to "agnostic", which P tells me is a misnomer. After some initial research, I'm beginning to think "humanist" would be a better description of my personal philosophy. The authors assume that the reader is quite literate and has done extensive research on religion. I feel like I forgot to do my homework.

I posted a question on a Mommy Facebook group I'm a part of (nearly 200 strong). Hoping to narrow my reading list a bit, I asked for people's favorite parenting books. I'm afraid I did myself a disservice. Instead of narrowing the field, I now have a LONGER reading list. Some of the titles and authors are; Dr. Sears Discipline Book, Dr. Brazelton's Touchpoints, How to Talk so Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, and Parenting With Love and Logic. There were a few other titles, but these are ones I've heard about before and they all have pretty exceptional reviews on Amazon, so I'll start with these after my other books. Comment or shoot me an email if you have any advice or reading suggestions.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Parenting 101

P and I have both started reading parenting books now that Ellie is getting to be verbal. I swear I almost have her saying, "bye" (as in, "bye-bye pee pee, bye-bye poo  poo"). She's also been tossing around "mama" a lot the last couple days, but I don't think she's got the meaning locked in. She does tend to use "mamamama" when she needs comfort like food or nap. But, "dadada" is used mostly for when she's having fun and playing. As much as it pains me, it really isn't a surprise that Dad is the fun one in our family.

I just finished reading The Idle Parent, by Tom Hodgkinson. He's a Brit and to hear him tell it, he didn't want kids to get in the way of his drinking beer and reading. His family started with a pretty standard Western Civilization experience after their first child was born. They bought lots of stuff, he commuted a lot and ended up compensating for his absence with more stuff. Somewhere along the way, they realized that Son #1 was happier when they didn't fuss over him too much and let him make his own fun. So, through trial and error, he worked out his method of Idle Parenting. Some of his recommendations seem a little extreme to me, but most of them make a lot of sense. The general idea of letting the kids play on their own without undue parental influence was a key component of my upbringing. To this day, I'm never bored for long. There is always something to do. I particularly found his list of recommended reading  useful. I've started a reading library wish list on Amazon based on his list with just a few minor additions of my own if anyone wants to peruse the titles. He recommends liberal reading aloud of books above their level and lots of repeating poetry so that they can learn a few pieces by heart. I've never been much for poetry (other than Shel Silverstein), but I'm willing to take a look at his recommendations. He's even got me looking into home schooling although we have a few years to get to know our daughter before that becomes a decision we need to make.

P is reading one called Raising Freethinkers, by Dale McGowan and a couple other people. P has been exploring his atheist tendencies and ran across this book. It's supposedly a guide for raising an ethical and moral child in a secular home. It's next on my list to read, so I'll post a synopsis later.

On a less serious note, we took a jaunt over to Grandma's today to work on Ellie's wardrobe. I borrowed her fabric paints to make a little cheerleader shirt for E to wear supporting Dad in his 5K Popcorn Panic run next Saturday. I think it turned out pretty well.

We also solicited some advice and assistance from Grandma on Ellie's Christmas outfit. Ellie and I took a little Mother Daughter jaunt downtown on Thursday and found the cutest little Christmas tights on sale (she just HAD to have them ;)). Grandma's going to help us with a top of some sort. We'll post pics sometime in December.

Other books on the reading list include John Holt's, How Children Learn, Jane Healy's, Your Child's Growing Mind; Free-Range Kids; Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto; and a short book, Teaching Montessori in the Home. Please holler if you have any recommendations.