Wednesday, April 28, 2010

One more point for vinegar!

This is going to sound pretty crunchy, but I love vinegar! It is simply awesome! It is useful for so many tasks.

The latest in crunchy land: vinegar as a body odor remover.

When we were expecting Amor Chiquito, we began buying free and clear detergent to wash her clothes. Eventually, I started using it for all our clothes. I have never been into using fabric softeners because I am not a fan of strong smells. Most of them make me sneeze. There are enough allergens already making me sneeze, so why make it worse? The downside to using a free and clear detergent is that the detergent I have been using sometimes does not remove body odor completely. I do not recall where I got the idea, but I figured I would try adding a cup of vinegar to the large loads.

No more stinky undershirts! No strong vinegar odor afterwords either. In fact, Geeky Entrepreneur had no idea I was using it until I mentioned it. Yes, he picked on me, of course! What else is new?!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Language Update: She won't shut up!

I was looking back at old posts and I was surprised when I realized how much language development we have been witnessing the past month. A month ago, Amor Chiquito was just beginning to say short sentences. Now, she is saying sentences all the time and her sentences often consist of over five words.

A few examples:

Mommy, we are in a big house.

I want Daddy come back now. (He was at work.)

(We were driving.) Daddy, otro (Spanish for other) car stopped again?!

Amor Chiquito understands “you,” “I” and “me” now. Fortunately, she still says “hold you”! I know she will figure it out eventually. I am enjoying it while it lasts!

Amor Chiquito is beginning to learn about the difference between the present and the past tenses. For example, if we ask her to do something she has already done, she will say “I did mommy.”

She is doing better answering simple questions, such as what, who and where. She does not answer why questions yet.

Pretty cool stuff! Have I said that I am loving this stage?!

Friday, April 23, 2010

How to teach assertiveness?

Amor Chiquito has been interacting more and more with her cousin and our neighbors’ kids lately. I am noticing that she is very much a follower. This is disconcerting to me. I am not saying that I want her to be the leader. I feel that being assertive is vital, though. It is a very important skill that I want to help her develop. I want her to do the things she enjoys doing, to think about what it is that she likes or needs to do. I want her to feel comfortable speaking up when something makes her feel uncomfortable or sad.

Here is an example. Earlier today, Amor Chiquito was playing outside with the neighbors, ages five and two. Amor Chiquito does whatever the older girl does, which is pretty typical. At one point, the two-year-old began throwing sand at Amor Chiquito. There was sand on her face, near her eyes, in her hair... She did not say anything when it happened. Later on, Geeky Entrepreneur asked her if she liked that. She said “no.” He asked if it made her feel happy or sad. She said “sad.” We made a point of not showing any emotions or not asking questions in a suggestive manner. We wanted her to decide for herself how she felt about the sand situation.

Now what? We will tell her to tell us how she feels. Most importantly, we will make a point of using “I feel” statements. She will begin modeling eventually.

I feel that this is a good starting point, but that there is more to it than these ideas. If you have a little one, is s/he assertive? If not, what have you tried? How is it working out?

I look forward to your comments, thoughts and suggestions.

'Faid, mommy.

This is a phrase I have been hearing lots lately.

The past few weeks, Amor Chiquito has been learning about fear. “Afraid” is becoming one of the most popular words in her vocabulary. To make a long story short, she is afraid of essentially every animal, anything that moves. It is starting to keep her from enjoying some of her favorite activities, such as being outside in the neighbor’s playhouse. She hesitates to go in it because she remembers the time there was a bug in there.

Any thoughts or suggestions? This is a first for us and we are uncertain as to what the best way to handle it is.

Thus far, we calmly explain to her that bugs will not hurt her and that she is safe. We find ourselves repeating this many times in one day. What else can we say or do?

Is this just a phase? Will it be part of her personality? Is she going to be an anxious freak like me?! I certainly hope not!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Learning About Shapes

We have been teaching Amor Chiquito about circles, triangles, ovals, squares and rectangles.

This morning, she said to me "mommy, you teti (Spanish for breast) is round"!

I think she gets it! She really cracks me up!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Learning Names

I don’t know why I did not think of this sooner. So be it. Last weekend, I had a talk with Amor Chiquito about her name. For a long time, she responds to “Ari” and if you ask her what her name is, she would respond “Ari.”On Saturday, I told her that her name is Arianna. I then asked her her name and it was clear that she got it.

Still working on the last name. The name and last name together are too much for her right now.

I also told her about our names. My guess is that she knows them, but Geeky Entrepreneur and I call each other nicknames most of the time, so, just in case…

Here is our conversation:

Me: What is your name?
Ari: Ayianna.
Me: What is daddy’s name?
Ari: Poh.
Me: What is mommy’s name?
Ari: I don’t know! (insert silly gestures here!)
Me: My name is Johanna. What is my name?
Ari: Jajanna!

Poor kid! She has such a hard time saying my name she doesn’t even want to try! Every little kid I’ve met has a hard time saying my name. Consequently, I often become Anna for a while!

Oh, by the way, this must be a mommy thing, but I love hearing her say her name! She sounds adorable! She says it with such enthusiasm, like she loves her name!

Me boy too!

Learning about one’s gender and what that means is a tricky thing! Here are some stories for you. Some of them will probably make you laugh!

Saturday night, Amor Chiquito pointed at her girl parts and said the Spanish word my mother taught her. She then said that Jai, her cousin has girl parts too! I explained that Jai has a penis because he is a boy and that her parts are different because she is a girl. She was very upset and persistent. She said “no, Ari boy, Ari boy, Ari boy too.”

On Sunday, Amor Chiquito and Jai hung out with my mother. My mother, hoping to reproduce Saturday night’s conversation asked Ari if she is a girl or a boy. Amor Chiquito happily said “Ari is boy!”

Mom: Ari, you are a girl.
Ari: No, no, no, me boy!
Mom: No, Ari, you are a pretty girl!
Ari: No, Ari pretty boy!

We picked up Amor Chiquito and on the way home I was sharing the story with Geeky Entrepreneur. She said she is a boy for the nth time. Geeky Entrepreneur told her only girls wear dresses. He figured that way she would be ok with being a girl! But, no, it did not work. She does not give a damn about social norms! She said “boy dress too”!

Here is the funniest story of them all! My brother is teaching his son to pee standing and to use the toilet rather than the potty-chair. My mom decided that if that is the case he will pee in the tub instead! She had back surgery a few months ago, so cleaning her bathroom floor many times a day because the little one can’t point the right way is not doable for her right now.

So the story… Amor Chiquito saw Jai peeing. She got in the tub an attempted to pee the way Jai does! She even tried to grab something, except there was nothing to grab because she is a girl! Sorry, kid, you don’t have a penis! Hopefully your penis envy will go away soon!

Precious! I could not stop laughing!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Update: Amor Chiquito is going to preschool!

The long post is coming later, but, for now, here is the update!

Amor Chiquito will be attending a local Montessori school in the fall. She will be attending Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We toured the school and sat in at a Q&A session for parents of potential students. I brought in my list on my PDA, about 15 questions! After that visit, we were sold!

Next, we filled out an application.

Once we had applied, it was time for the child visit. Amor Chiquito went in last Friday, April 8. It was simply awesome! She loved the school, she felt at ease, she fit in right away! I love when I worry for nothing!

Tuesday afternoon, we got the acceptance letter in the mail and mailed the initial payment.

My “baby” is going to school! Wow! I still can’t believe it! In no time, she will be three years old, already.

News from the Potty Department

As a parent, I am always learning something new, even when I feel like I know everything there is to know about a particular topic. For example, I thought I had potty training all figured out. Not really!

Here is what I have learned the past few months:

A little potty seat in each car is a must.
In our case, I don’t drive, so Amor Chiquito and I get rides from both my husband and my mother. Just bought a potty seat for my mother’s car and life is good! No more worrying about Amor Chiquito needing to go to the bathroom, but not going because being on the big toilet in some strange bathroom makes her nervous. No more being on the highway and the child refusing to pee in a diaper and holding it in for half an hour!

We will continue having her ware a diaper at nap time.
I had stopped having her ware a diaper at nap time because her diapers were always dry. The other day, she wet my mother’s bed. Why go through that if she can wear a diaper? I am not saying that we ought to do that for years, but we will definitely do it for a few more months. Sometime in the summer, I will stop having her ware a diaper because she will not be wearing one in preschool. Something else we will be doing is asking her to try going to the potty before her nap.

A night time diaper is a must for us, for now.
Every now and then, we have a dry diaper in the morning, but most of the time we don’t. I can get her up in the middle of the night and have her go to the bathroom. Call me lazy, but I am not doing that! Sleep is a tricky thing for my family. I am not screwing with that! We’ll use diapers and deal with sleeping diaperless later.

She wears underwear when we go out now!
I’ve graduated; no more big diaper bag! Her snacks and the travelsize wipe container fit in a small purse just fine!

Different things work for different people and for different stages. This is what feels right for us, right now. I bet that in three months I could write a post about the same issue and I will be telling you about how differently we are doing things at that point!

Speaking of going to the potty, Amor Chiquito just went so I told her we needed to wipe. She said “no tote (don’t touch), p-eww,” laughed, and ran away! Silly kid!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Turn every opportunity into a learning experience.

Or something like that...! The title is from one of the Love and Logic books.

Amor Chiquito was being impish and not in a cute way. It was lunch time. She kept getting up, grabbing toys and things that were not toys, and making messes everywhere. She intentionally dumped soapy water on the floor. She spilled sauce on the table.

Moving away from the important stuff, the lesson Ari learned today… You should have seen me… I was walking into the kitchen and stepped on the soapy water puddle. My socks were soaked. I return to the dining room. There was a royal mess on the table. Heck, there was a bit of sauce on my laptop keyboard! Cleaning the mess required many paper towels. Actually, it required a big towel!

Sometimes, I love being a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes, I love *the idea of* being a stay-at-home mom! It’s a messy, sometimes intense, job! Very long hours! But, at the end of the day, it is worth it!

Back to Ari’s lesson… I was busy cleaning up the sauce, so had not gotten to the soapy water on the floor. She slipped and fell. She did not get hurt.

Amor Chiquito was being a bit dramatic and asked for help. I said “You are ok. Come see mommy. I will give you a hug.” After the hug, I asked “Do you know why you fell?” She said “no.” I said “You spilled soapy water on the floor. We need to clean it up.” She said she was afraid of falling. I told her she would be safe, that I would stand near her, but that she needed to help clean up. She cautiously walked over and help clean up.

I love Love and Logic! Geeky Entrepreneur and I were listening to the cd’s last weekend to refresh our memories. One of the things the book emphasizes the most is to take any misbehavior and turn it into a learning experience. They suggest that you show your child empathy and that you then deliver the consequence. They say, over and over again, to “let the consequences do the teaching.” No need for screaming. No need for passive-aggressiveness. No need to bark orders 24/7. It really does make a huge difference!

Time for night night… Here is to hoping that she naps today. She did not nap yesterday. Life gets very interesting when she does not nap!