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    Happy New 2010!

    December 31st, 2009

    From all of us, to all of you,

    16 months

    December 29th, 2009

    Our monkey has reached his 16 month birthday. And this time, he truly deserves the term “monkey”. His personality is really coming through, and it is that of a non-stop, mischievous, stubborn little man. All this wrapped up in an adorable 20lb package.

    G now lives with one mantra “Why walk when you can run?” His run is super cute: his big BG diape makes him swing his legs around when he runs. It’s like watching a penguin waddle in fast-forward. Don’t let that fool you though: he runs circles at home (no joke) and makes your head spin.

    Long gone are the days of silent play where S and I could just casually surf the web while he played near-by.

    He learned a new trick Christmas day: climbing on top of a box gives you a whole new range of reach. He is a few days away from dragging items across the floor with the specific intent to get up to my computer table, or climb up on the couch. Just when we got comfortable with our child-proofing setup he changed the whole game plan on us. My mom is finally getting her wish: I have birthed a mini-me. I think I know now why her hair went gray.

    Please observe the bruises on his forehead and cheek. I considered touching that up, but I kind of want to remember the stubbornness illustrated in those shiners.

    His weight is recouping from his recent cold and we think he’s hitting a growth spurt just in time for his 16m milestone. He’s eating well and being a bit more accepting of our grown-up food too (he’s crazy for scrambled eggs, by the way). I gave up on trying to make him toddler friendly meals. After spending an afternoon cooking up a storm for him, only to see him turn his nose up at everything, I asked the school to put him on the hot lunch program. It’s been great! He eats what the other kids eat (which I think is an incentive), and I have less to prep each day to send with him. Also less dishes to wash too πŸ™‚

    So… now that I’ve talked up my mischievous, non-stop toddler, who wants to come baby-sit?

    Tattoos, life, joy and pain

    December 28th, 2009

    8 years ago I got a tattoo. It had been something I had been thinking about for a long time to commemorate a few major events in my life:
    – my mom beating cancer
    – my dad’s heart problems
    – a difficult relationship

    What I wanted to remember was that despite the difficult things that happened, I got through it and I’m a stronger person for it. I chose to put an ivy leaf on the small of my back (yes, yes, I’ve got a tramp stamp). Ivy, is a plant that can survive and thrive in dark and harsh conditions. I wanted it to serve as a reminder that as ivy can, I can get through difficult moments too.

    I spent awhile designing it (yes, myself thank you very much), and a few months of “marker practice” before I committed it in permanent ink. I wanted to be sure that this was something for me.

    It’s days like today that bring up the purpose of this tattoo. My dad had heart by-pass surgery. He’s now in recovery waiting to be transferred to intensive care. While he’s not officially out of the woods, he’s past the first hurdle.

    So while I wait, I’m here thinking of my body art and thought I’d share this part of me. Some explanation:

    1. I really like tribal body artwork. The 5-starred ivy leaf is my tribal interpretation.

    2. I left the blank space in the middle so that I can add life-changing events to it (I heard that once you get 1 tattoo you keep coming back, so instead of growing out on the canvas, I thought I’d grow in). I’m yet to add S and G to it. It’s not that I don’t want to. I’m just not ready to yet, as I haven’t found just the right symbols for them.

    3. the notch on the top leaf is to remind me that bad events can carry their scars. But you all dig scars, right?

    That’s it for now. It’s been a long day.

    Thank you everyone for your thoughts, prayers and general positive words from today.

    Merry Christmas

    December 25th, 2009

    Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas.

    Look what we got in a box? A jolly toddler… who hates hats. Sigh!

    ‘Twas the day before Christmas…

    December 24th, 2009

    … and all through our town
    everyone was content
    when Santa G came around

    We took G this afternoon to drop off our toy donation. Our local fire department collects for Toys for Tots. They’re always in need for toys for little kids, so using G as a guide we delivered some of his favorites.

    One of the firemen was outside of the station (deep frying a turkey of all things). G saw him and his funny Santa hat and lost it. It took us awhile to calm him down and after-wards he constantly kept looking over his shoulder to make sure the guy in the yellow jacket and funny red hat was far, far away.

    I’m really glad we did this and am really looking forward to doing it again next year.


    Merry Christmas everyone!

    Let’s talk Santa

    December 24th, 2009

    I’ve really been struggling with what kind of exposure I want G to have to Santa. I’ve got nothing against the jolly man in the red suit, don’t get me wrong. However, I do have a problem with… how should I put this… his authenticity.

    I want to tell G about the origins of Santa and what he represents: generosity towards others, fairness and humility. I’m hoping to skirt the whole “Is he real?” conversation (some day) by acknowledging that St. Nick (aka Santa) was a real, live person, and that people resurrect his memory each year to honor him. I don’t want the focus on Santa (for G) to be “What will I get from him?”, but “How will I live up to his spirit?”

    So… starting this year I’m creating a new family tradition: on Christmas Eve we will each go and donate to an organization. When G’s old enough he can pick out what he wants to donate (it could be an item, cash or his time volunteering). This year I picked for him, but I picked some of the toys he’s enjoyed playing with that, hopefully, other kids would enjoy as well. It will be his first year being Santa.

    Then there’s the whole “gifts on Christmas day” conversation between S and I. I’ll be honest, I don’t want G to get any gifts from Santa… or if he does, I want Santa gifts to fit into his stocking (only). For the record, I’m not saying “no gifts” on Christmas day. G would still get his share of holiday loot, but it would clearly be labeled from the giving party. S, however, isn’t buying into this idea and doesn’t want G to be “the only kid who doesn’t get anything from Santa”. His argument is “if G plays Santa for someone else, who will play Santa for him?” So we’re trying to reach a middle ground. I’m willing to compromise on a single “Santa” gift. One! It has to be within $30 and we can wrap it in special paper (I stole this idea from S’ sister). We’re still ironing out the details though, so stay tuned for final decisions. Luckily for us, it’s not something we need to figure out this year.

    You might be thinking that I’m killing Santa here. I’m honestly not. If anything I want to keep Santa alive for G beyond the age of 6. I want him to perpetuate the spirit of St. Nicholas by doing deeds in his name, past when his classmates say “Santa’s for babies!”

    With this G still gets to bake cookies with me (yummo) and go hang out with a Santa in pictures. I’m not denying him those experiences. I just want to encourage him to honor the season by asking “What can I do?” and not “What can I get?”

    I want to put a big disclaimer here: I have nothing against others who want to tell their kid that Santa lives on the North Pole with a gaggle of hard-working elves and a flying sleigh with reindeer. I will support any of my friends who want this to be what their kids believe in. It’s just not what I want to tell G. The problem at hand will be how do I merge my friends’ perpetuation of the “Night Before Christmas” version of Santa, and the Santa I want G to know. I don’t want my kid to be the one ruining Santa for all others. I’m open for ideas here.

    How do you non-Christmas celebrating folk handle this?

    My angel is a hitter :(

    December 23rd, 2009

    It’s true. G hits!

    For awhile now he’s been throwing temper tantrums. Well, he’s now taken it to a whole other level. G got a hold of the remote control in our bedroom this morning while I was getting dressed. He sure loves those buttons! Once I was ready we needed to go, so I took it out of his arms. Yeah, I was expecting his normal screaming in disapproval, but I was not expecting a smack and a head butt.

    S and I are not voilent people. We do not hit him or each other, so this behavior is very foreign to me. I understand it can come with G’s age: he can’t communicate to tell us why he’s upset so he’s turning to physical expression.

    I asked one of his daycare teachers if he hits in school and my heart sank to hear her say “Yes!” She said when he’s upset he’ll bang his head against a table (that explains the forehead bruises), which they redirect to the soft padded area of the room. He’s also started to hit. Why has no-one brought this up before? She didn’t sound concerned about it and used the “Well, he’s a little boy” reasoning. I’m hoping the focus was more onΒ  “little” than on the “boy”, because irregardless of gender, I can’t stand for a child that’s abusive to those around him. The good news is he doesn’t do it unprovoked, so there’s no danger of him walking up to you and behaving violently.

    However, hitting is not acceptable in our home and I want it to stop. Pronto!

    I think we’re going to have to start with time-outs. I’ve read 1-2-3 Magic and really get behind the principles behind it. My hold-up has been his comprehension. The other day when I said that I feel it lets him get away with a bit more than if he was older is biting me in the rear. I just feel like he’s not really understanding what I’m saying to him, so what’s the point of a warning? The book even states it’s meant for kids 2+. I’m reading Love & Logic Magic now which can be applied to younger kids. Hopefully it will give me some better techniques with his age.

    Meanwhile, I think I’m going to re-purpose the Bumbo chair to his time-out spot. I don’t have a dedicated time-out area in our house yet, and I guess it’s time to assign one. The Bumbo feels as good as any: he still fits in it and can’t get out without assistance. I don’t use the Bumbo for anything else, so I’m also not fearing him associating any other activity while in that chair as punishment.

    Also, I need to be clearer why he shouldn’t hit. I’ve told him not to, but not what his hitting causes.

    Ugh… toddler-hood. I’m seeing a glimpse into the terrible two’s and I’m not thrilled.

    Oh, and for the record: while unpleasant to listen to, I think I still prefer the tantrums.

    Artwork Day

    December 22nd, 2009

    In the spirit of the season…

    12.21.2009: Who needs snow when you can make snowmen out of brick?

    12.11.2009: Christmas Tree

    I love that G’s school observes such a diversity of holidays. I know they did a Kwanzaa activity on the 14th, but I don’t know what it is. There are some Menorah paintings for Hannukah still hanging up in the room too. You’ll have to wait to see those.

    Bubb-uh and Hhithy

    December 21st, 2009

    Those are G’s new words. Acquired just last week.

    Bubb-uh is bubble. We discovered this after picking him up from daycare last week while the kids were playing with bubbles. We have no idea how long it’s been around, but hey it’s new to us. I even tried to get this on video, but as soon as the little red dot on the camera came on, G went mum. Oh well, you’ll have to take my word for this for now.

    Hhithy stands for kitty. G hasn’t worked up the “k-uh” sound yet, which is why “kitty” starts with an “h”. Personally, I think it’s a mix between “kitty” and “hissy”, because while many kids will learn that cats say “Meow”, G will insist they say “Hisss!!!” since that’s all Neko can demonstrate in G’s presence.

    So that brings us up to 9 words? S and I are listening so intently to everything he says now. There are times we swear he hear him repeat a just-heard word (like “light”, and “eight”), but can’t get him to do it more than the once. Those words we don’t count. We’re only counting ones that are repeated and used in context.

    I’m loving that words are starting to sprout up so much faster now. I can’t wait to find out what’s next. I will really, really miss the baby babble though. It is so sweet!

    Honestly, I feel like it’s also letting him get away with a lot too. At least in my mind — I keep telling myself, “He’s still so little, he doesn’t understand” when he does something he shouldn’t. I feel that when he acquires a richer dictionary that excuse isn’t going to fly anymore. This is not to say, I’m allowing him to stick his finger in the electrical sockets or anything, but it’s made me a (relatively) relaxed parent. I’m enjoying not having arguments with him, or frustrations that he didn’t do something I asked him to do. I feel awful saying that I have “low expectations” of my child, but right now, I do. I expect him to eat his meals, take good naps, do his business in his diapers, and play nice with those around him. He’s fulfilling each of these tasks beautifully, and I’m thrilled! I’m excited about having deep conversations with him and finding out why He thinks the sky is blue, but I don’t want baby G to go away just yet. 9 words are right where we should be.

    Anyone want to start a pool on what words will come next (and when)?

    Movie Monday

    December 21st, 2009

    We haven’t done one of these in awhile.

    Here’s some bath-time joy for you guys πŸ™‚