Friday, July 17, 2015

SBL #5, 6, 7 and 13

So, we're chipping away at the Summer Bucket List.  I feel pretty comfortable crossing off #5, 6, 7 and 13 this week, but I'm sure there will be more of #5, maybe a visit to a different garden for #6, the kids are already asking to go back for more of #7, and some beans on the front lawn that we're letting get just a little bit bigger before picking (#13).  (I could cross off #1 and #3 as well, but there will definitely be more of both before the summer's over, so I'm leaving them for now.)

Tuesday was rainy and we didn't have any set plans, so I decided it'd be a good day to check out the botanical gardens.  I've been wanting to go to this city-operated greenhouse for years now, so I was glad to finally take the opportunity.  It was very pretty, but not terribly interesting for the kids, despite my best efforts to get them smelling, touching and looking at the plants.  





After about 45 minutes at the garden we headed over to the Book Bank.  The kids lasted longer here.  We donated a few baby books that have been getting neglected on our shelves and then I read them about 983,457 Curious George stories. They came home with two Georges that we don't have, plus a cute picture book that I picked out.  



On Wednesday we met up with one of my old co-workers and her nephew who was visiting from Trinidad to pick strawberries. It was WAY colder than I had anticipated, so the kids ended up wearing a bunch of clothes that I had in a donation bag in the trunk. (That is to say, please don't judge! The adorable outfits I had picked out for the occasion are hiding under the over-sized and otherwise bizarre clothes.) The kids LOVED picking the berries; even The Bean, who couldn't be convinced to even lick a berry and had a great time at the play area afterwards. The berries, by the way, might be the best I have ever tasted. Sprout devoured about as many as she picked. We made most of them into really, super-sweet jam. (I'm going to have to cut back on the sugar if we go back for raspberries.)



 





On Thursday, we met up with a birth group friend (from when The Bean was born) and her two kiddos for a day at the amusement park on the Toronto Islands. It was the perfect weather and the kids had a blast! My only regret was buying tickets rather than a wristband so that they could have gone on more rides. Live and learn. I have a feeling we might be back again before the end of the summer, so I'll get a do-over.





All in all, a great week!  It's good we got it all in when we did because The Bean was down with a yucky virus today. Hopefully he's feeling better soon so we can continue the summer fun.

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UPDATED: The Two Moms to Be Summer Bucket List for 2015
1. Check out new parks and go back to old favourites.
2. Swim in Lake Ontario. 
3. Visit animals at the zoo.
4. Spend time in nature. Look for new "nature spots" in the city.
5. Donate books to the book bank.
6. Smell flowers at botanical gardens.
7. Go to the Toronto Islands.
8. Make popsicles.
9. Meet up with local bloggers.
10. Paint rocks that we find at the beach.
11. Go to a fair.  
12. Take a moms-only trip. 
13. Eat things that we have grown and/or picked ourselves.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Four and a Half

Sorry to those of you who got the "draft" update.  Stupid Blogger.  Not only ate my post, but posted a draft.  *Grumble*  Please pretend you didn't see that and enjoy this rewritten version.

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...and now we are the parents of a four and a half year old!


The Bean at four and a half is a kid with big ideas and strong opinions who does not like to be told what to do.  He is active and playful and articulate and loving.  Being his parent is a joy and a challenge.  

There is no doubt that language continues to be an area of strength for The Bean.  He is incredibly articulate and has quite a sophisticated vocabulary.  He loves playing with new words.  He also loves making up words, telling us what they mean, and using them in conversation.  

Recently he has started reading, which is just amazing. He's got a good number of sight words (Dolch) and can figure out most CVC words which means that beginning readers are the perfect level for him right now.  Surprisingly, he also seems to be reading some longer/more obscure words. I'm not sure if he's actually reading or just figuring out what things say given the context.  The word "office" comes to mind (a Microsoft Office ad on the computer).  I can't think of others, but it happens fairly frequently.  


Of course, he continues to love books.  He'll happily sit and listen to someone read for as long as they're willing to read to him.  He's also quite content to sit and browse through books on his own.  Journey and Quest have are wordless picture books that have become fast favourites.  He also loves the eeBoo storytelling cards that we picked up for him and Sprout.  Jen is really good at "playing" these with him.



He is very social. He will strike up a conversation with just about anyone. He always has something he wants to share or discuss. He can be a little shy around people he doesn't know, but it doesn't usually take him long to warm up. He's started to take a real interest in his friends and often asks about them and wants us to make plans to get together, whereas before we initiated most of the meet-ups. He seems to gravitate towards older children and girls. It's particularly infatuated with a former student of mine who we've become family friends with. If you ask him who he loves, he always names her first. I should mention that she's nearly three times his age, lives in Chicago and he last saw her in April. *Sigh* I have a feeling this will be the first in a long line of crushes.  

In addition to liking girls, he has been saying fairly consistently for the past six months or so that he wants to be a girl. We're not really sure what to make of it. When we ask him why, he says that "girls are cool" and that he doesn't like being the only one who is different in our family.  We assure him that plenty of boys are cool too, and that we are all different from each other and what makes him different makes him special to us, but that we love him no matter what. He's worn "girl clothes" out a few times and has been pretty instant about growing his hair long like Rapunzel's.  (He wants to be able to stand on the balcony and let it down so our guests can climb up it.) We're trying to be respectful of his wishes and provide guidance. 

He loves pretend play and dressing up. His knight costume is a favourite, especially the sword. Captain America also gets a lot of wear. The biggest pretend play games are "babies" and "school" ...and sometimes "babies go to school." This type of imaginative play definitely wins out over any toys. There really aren't many toys he's very interested in.  Magnatiles got a good bit of attention for a while, but he even seems to be taking a break from those recently. If couch cushions count as toys, those might be his favourite.   



He's incredibly active. His climbing is just crazy. The way he manipulates his body is amazing to watch and he really seems fearless with regards to heights. He also loves to spin, jump, slide, run, splash and ride his bike and scooter. He's becoming much more confident in the water and will submerge his head (briefly) again. He can handle his two-wheeler (with training wheels) quite well. We've been spending lots of time at parks, splash pads and pools. He's been asking to go back to gymnastics, so I'm hoping to get him into a program again this fall.  






He loves music. Recently I've been blown away by his ability to remember both tunes and lyrics to new songs. He's been singing a lot and requests particular CDs to sing along and dance to. His current favourite is his "Welcome to Kindergarten" CD.  

He is SO pumped to be going to school in the fall.  I think he's going to love it. He's completely ready socially and I think the academics will be great for him too.  He's very curious about a number of things -language and geography standing out among them. His fine motor skills are low, pencil grip and penmanship in particular. He can write his name and draw stick people and other basic things, but doesn't seem to have much of an interest in art (though we've noticed he likes to paint objects rather than paper) and has to be encouraged to do any type of writing.  He does enjoy mazes and some kindergarten activity books.  



We're going to have to work on establishing a morning routine. While he loves being out, getting him out the door can be a challenge. He doesn't like having to get dressed or brush his teeth. He also just likes to lounge around and play. He'll get ready quickly when motivated by a fun activity or people he wants to see, but I imagine once the novelty of going to school wears off that we're going to have a bit of a challenge.  




I also anticipate that he's going to miss Sprout. They've become quite close. They get along well about 90% of the time.  The other 10% Sprout doesn't do what The Bean is telling her to and he gets upset. It is the sweetest thing to watch him "look out" for her, though we've noticed that he seems to feel responsible for her and seems to have some anxiety about that in certain situations, so we've been trying to reassure him that Mama and Mommy (or another adult we trust when we're not around) will take care of Sprout and that he doesn't have to worry.  

We've been trying to work on difficult behaviour.  Being bossy. Getting upset when things don't go his way. Being defiant. Blaming others. He's halfway to giving up naps, and he's definitely more difficult the afternoons when he hasn't slept. We also notice a difference when his stomach is bothering him. Difficult behaviours are best managed with lots of one-on-one attention and very calm and patient responses. It's hard sometimes though. Except for the rare occasion we've cut out all TV, movies, tablet and phone. It was becoming a battle every time it was time to turn the device off and just not worthwhile.   

He's still having tummy troubles.  Going completely off dairy has certainly helped and he is doing much better when we're giving him his daily fibre supplement (which we've been bad about since summer began)  I still feel like there's something more going on.  I think we may have him go through full allergy testing. At this point I just want to know what's going on and solve the problems once and for all.  

Despite the  digestive issues, he has been growing.  That said, he is still a peanut.  He's about 40.5in and 33 or 34lbs. He's moving into some 4T clothes, but mostly for length. He can still wear 18m shorts! Made-to-fit pants are a lifesaver. If given a choice, he would wear PJs all day, everyday.  "Zips" (fleece one piece jammies) are his favourite. Even in the 100 degree humidity we've been having. Aside from PJs he goes for cozy sweat pants and superhero t-shirts.   

He's picky about food but will try new things. He eats a lot of cereal and bread.  Nuts are also a favourite. He's so-so with fruits and veggies, meaning that he sticks to the ones he likes. We always swore we wouldn't make a separate meal for the kids, but: Famous Last Words. Otherwise we'd be eating a lot of chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese.

The past (four years and) six months have definitely been busy. There's been a lot of change in our lives and a lot to navigate with those changes. The Bean is a more sensitive kid than I sometimes realize and he definitely wears his heart on his sleeve. As always he's teaching me how to be a better Mama. How to listen and watch and have patience and be gentle but also how to live in the moment and not take things too seriously and smile more and love openly. This kid. My heart. 


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

SBL #2 and #4

First update for the The Two Moms to Be Summer Bucket List for 2015!

We've knocked two items off our list!  Last week we had a mid-week holiday for Canada Day (July 1st), so we decided to take the kids to the beach.  There's a little beach in the city that I hadn't been to for years and thought might be a nice place to check out.  Unfortunately there was quite a bit of litter, including broken glass, so it's probably not somewhere we'll be rushing back to, but still, I'm glad we visited.  It was a cool day and the water quality at this beach is spotty, so we didn't bring our suits, but that didn't stop The Bean and Sprout from wading in.





 Monday I took the kids out of the city to a nicer beach. It was also a warmer day, so better beach weather. And my mom joined us, which made the kiddos (well, all of us, really) quite happy.  








We didn't collect rocks (see SBL #10) on either of our beach trip, so I guess we're either going to have to go back to one of the two we visited or check out a third!  Good thing summer is far from being over.  


UPDATED: The Two Moms to Be Summer Bucket List for 2015
1. Check out new parks and go back to old favourites.
2. Swim in Lake Ontario. 
3. Visit animals at the zoo.
4. Spend time in nature. Look for new "nature spots" in the city.
5. Donate books to the book bank.
6. Smell flowers at botanical gardens.
7. Go to the Toronto Islands.
8. Make popsicles.
9. Meet up with local bloggers.
10. Paint rocks that we find at the beach.
11. Go to a fair.  
12. Take a moms-only trip. 
13. Eat things that we have grown and/or picked ourselves.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Two and a Half

Our baby girl is two and half years old today. 


Fortunately for all of us she more adorable and sweet than she is frustrating in her two-and-a-halfness.

She has become quite a little chatterbox.  Her speech can be difficult to understand, but that doesn't stop her.  She likes talking to people, but will happily carry on one-sided conversations with her babies and stuffed toys or just chatter away to herself.  She also likes to sing.  


She walks, gallops, runs, and hops everywhere.  She also likes being carried up the three flights of stairs to our apartment.  If I explain that my arms are full she asks me to come back to her, often telling me that "[her] wegs are bo-ken."



Though not the most adventurous physically, she does love to climb.  She's pretty good at it too.  

I don't know how it happened, but we have a girly girl.  Her favourite colours are pink, purple and gray ("gay"). She loves to wear skirts, or better yet, two skirts layered one over the other.  Her dress-up  persona is a "ballewina pincess" who has a tutu, magic wand, and does little other than twirling and turning the people around her into kitty cats.  

She also loves to pretend to be Melissa (McClelland) from the band Whitehorse, married to The Bean's favourite musician, Luke Doucet. This mostly involves her stuffing a blanket under her shirt (their baby), going backstage (the kitchen) or "frontstage" (the living room) and talking to Luke (me) or playing instruments (whatever she digs out of our instrument basket). The Bean also likes to be Melissa when we play this game.

While she likes to play with people, she is usually quite content playing independently for periods of time. This floors me and Jen as it is something The Bean just does not do. She will draw, do Play-Doh, read books, do puzzles, play with stuffed animals, etc. 



She loves arts and crafts. Again, something The Bean isn't really into.  She'll often request to colour, paint or do Play-Doh.
  


We sometimes call her "Ms. Independent" for the obvious reason that she likes to do things herself. Not everything, mind you, but if she has her mind made up about something... She's quite a stubborn little thing.


Along those lines it should be noted that she is very nearly potty trained. She wears underwear when she is awake and can "hold it" for several hours. I can't remember the last time we had to change a dirty diaper. We do bring a travel potty and a change of clothes with us most places, the former which we use fairly often, which means the later hasn't been necessary. The down side is that she uses having to go to the potty as a major stall tactic at bedtime. Can't win them all, I guess. 

Her favourite books right now seem to be the Angelina Ballerina books and Dora books we have. She LOVES being read to and will snuggle right in for story time.

She is a pretty snuggly kid, overall. She's very, very clingy attached to me. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm primarily at home and that she still nurses 2-4 times a day (wake up, before/after nap when I'm around, and before bed). She "loooves nursing!" but tells me she will stop when she's 26.  Um. Yeah.  


Her best friend is clearly her brother. She goes along with 90% of his plans and is pretty much his shadow. She also really seems to like hanging out with my cousin's son who is seven months younger than her. She adores her Grandma too. Oh, and my cousin Paul. 
  


She still isn't big on breakfast, but overall eats decently well.  She's fussy about mean and won't eat chicken breast or pork chops, but will eat chicken fingers, hot dogs and sausages. Most grain-based foods are fine and she eats enough of a variety of fruits and vegetables that we're not overly concerned about her diet.  




She's a big kid. She's in size 2T and sometimes 3T and now wears size 7 shoes. I frequently get asked if she and The Bean are twins (though she is still quite a bit shorter than he is).

And finally sleep.  This is the one area I wish were significantly different.  I can't figure her out.  I feel like she should be getting much more sleep than she does, but it's a nightly battle.  Bedtime is 7:30pm, but she nurses until about 8pm and then usually doesn't fall asleep until 9 or sometimes even 10pm and is usually awake and coming into our room by 5:30am to nurse.  It's brutal.  She naps from about 1:00-2:30pm most days.  I don't know if she is overtired or overslept or what, but I am hoping something changes.

 A few more pictures of the little monkey from the past few months: