Monday, October 25, 2010

On Inducing Lactation

I just came across this website. It explains in great detail how a woman can induce lactation. Basically, it involves birth control pills, some herbs and a fair bit of pumping.

If you are adopting, you can still breastfeed! What can I say? Our bodies rock!

Classroom Visits One and Two

More about school! What can I say? We spent a fair bit of time at school last week.

Every other week, the parents spend the first half hour of the day in their children’s classroom. Last Thursday was our second time doing this. Basically, we get a glimpse of what Amor Chiquito is working on at this point in time.

Last week, we got to see Amor Chiquito work on “writing her name.” She also traced some geometric shapes. The kid is all about art work and “writing her name.” It’s all her. We are certainly not rushing her into writing anything.

The other time we went we worked on three different things. Amor Chiquito worked with tweezers. She did some counting and matching with an older classmate. And the third activity… I have no recollection whatsoever! Actually, come to think of it, I think she did some writing. What else is new?!

Curriculum Evening

Last Wednesday was curriculum night. We spent close to two hours in Amor Chiquito’s classroom, chatting with her teachers, looking at the different activities the kids work on, etc. The teachers went over each area and over the Montessori philosophy. We even got a Montessori-style math lesson!

The classroom has various work stations: practical life, math, sensorial, writing, reading, art, etc. The kids either work at one of those tables or sit on the floor, on a small rug, with a tray that holds whatever they are working on. Why a rug? If I see you on a rug with such-and-such toy, I know that that is your work space and that that activity is yours for the time being.

The kids also get math, Spanish and yoga lessons.

So, the infamous math lesson… It was great! All the parents were in awe, wishing we had attended a Montessori school as a child. By the time kids get to first grade they are adding four-digit numbers and some of them are even starting to learn the multiplication tables. The difference is that kids learn with beads, bars, squares and cubes. They learn about carrying numbers over and all that. But they do it all sans pencil or paper. They are learning in a way that they find fun and engaging.

Things I love about the Montessori preschool classroom:

Kids learn about ‘peace and grace.’ In other words, they develop social skills. They learn to be mindful of each other. They learn to peacefully coexist. They learn to set healthy boundaries. They even learn about being a host! Geeky Entrepreneur and his guy friend whose kids attend a Montessori school joke that their kids know more about “being civilized and hosting” than they, the dads, did when they were 20!

Here is an example: when we toured the school and sat in the classrooms in the spring, the tour guides were 11-12 year olds. When we went into the elementary classroom, a girl asked if we wanted water and brought us some.

Oh, this reminds me… The preschool kids serve themselves their own snacks and get themselves drinks. They use a two-cup glass pitcher and tiny, five-ounce glasses! So cute! If you see the tiny pitcher, you’ll agree with me!

Back to what I love about the classroom:
There are many different toys, each one teaching something and simultaneously letting my kiddo be a kid. Amor Chiquito might learn something from a toy now and she might learn something else from it later on.

I also like the fact that there is structure, but she learns at her pace. There is time when everyone is together as a group. They do circle time, read stories, sing songs, etc. There are also times when each child gets to work individually, with another kid, or with a teacher. When Amor Chiquito is working on something, it is something she chose and she works on it for as little or as long as she needs to. That is not to say that she does whatever she wants to do all day. The teachers are trained, have a curriculum, and they are aware of who is learning what. If they notice that Ari is mostly into art (which she is), they use art to draw her into another area so she can learn something else. If your child is into math, but it is time to move on, the teacher might say “would you like to count these?” Next thing you know, the child is learning about something else.

I often get to chat with the teachers, usually at pick-up time. But the curriculum evening gave us an opportunity to learn more about what Amor Chiquito loves to do and what she is like in the classroom. Here are some funny facts!

One of the teachers describes Amor Chiquito as ‘the eyes of the classroom’! My child is a tattle tail, in other words!

If someone needs help, she goes and tells the teachers.

If someone is running, she tells the teachers that so-and-so ‘is not using his running feet.’

When it is rest time (you know it’s not nap time, not for my kid!), Amor Chiquito lies down, picks up her head, asks her friends if they are ok, lies down, picks up her head, asks if they are ok, you get the point!

At Q&A time, Geeky Entrepreneur asked if the teachers might have suggestions as to how to ask about her day because we just don’t get much out of her as to what she did in school today. The admissions officer (also a teacher), Laura, who I have loved since day one, was in the classroom. She said that three-year-olds tend to be in the present, so when we ask about the school day, she will probably talk about what she just did, not what she did four hours ago. She also said that a child Amor Chiquito’s age tends to do lots of observing. All three teachers, as if they were a quire, said “nooooo”! They each went on to say that she is very busy and that she is, most definitely, doing, not observing. It was definitely a funny moment. Everyone in the classroom was laughing. Next thing I know other parents were calling my silly kid Arianna Genius.

The funny thing is that, since I am not a teacher and since she is my first/only child, I had no idea that Amor Chiquito is not your typical three-year-old. She has known her letters since she was two and she loves to doodle. I know not every child does these things. But I also know that plenty of kids do. Long story short, she is who she is and I don’t question it. I love her for who she is. I will continue to do my best to figure out what she needs to continue developing.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Montessori School Children's Fair

Amor Chiquito, her cousin, Grandma and I attended the children’s fair at Amor Chiquito’s school yesterday. It was a lot of fun. The kids had a blast. I had a blast watching them! It was also great to see how almost every parent did something, be it cook and donate some food, set up, staff a table, etc., to make it happen.

One of Amor Chiquito’s favorite activities was the bounce house! In fact, she liked it so much she went in twice.

She also loved the pony rides. Did that twice as well. She looked so cute riding the pony, helmet and all!

Amor Chiquito painted a pumpkin. She said the pumpkin is Nana’s surprise birthday present. She did not know this, but Halloween is Nana’s favorite holiday. So Nana will be so very happy, mostly because her one and only grandbaby made it just for her!

Amor Chiquito did some beading. She has a bracelet made by her and I.

She went to the face painting station. She got a butterfly on her face and green hair. I wish you could have seen the green hair!

The fair was held at the school playground, so Amor Chiquito also spent lots of time climbing, going on the swings, and playing in the sandbox.

By the time we came home my feet were killing me and I needed a nap. But I am so glad the kids got to go and I am glad Geeky Entrepreneur and I got to do our part to help the school out. We each cooked something.

Next year, I hope to talk more families into going. Yaminette, I’m looking at you! I also hope that both grandmas can make it because I know they will love seeing the kids having a blast!

Those of you with kids nearby, I will do a better job next year and tell you ahead of time so you can come join us if you and your kids would enjoy that.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lunch Update

A while back I posted about how Amor Chiquito was barely eating her lunch. Well, that has changed! Here is the update:

Amor Chiquito was not much of a breakfast person. By the second or third week of school that changed. She now has a bowl of cereal before she leaves every morning.

We learned from one of the teachers that she was, most definitely, eating. She was going for seconds at snack time, in fact!

About a week after I posted here about lunch, Amor Chiquito started wiping out her lunch completely. When she started eating her entire lunch, I was sending a quarter of a homemade waffle and fruit. I was alternating between grapes and strawberries. Here we are, three weeks later, and the kid is still in love with waffles and strawberries! I don't offer waffles at home so that she does not get sick of them. We'll send something else, eventually, but why screw with it if she is loving waffles and strawberries right now?

I used to send water. She was not drinking much. I switched to juice. I sent orange juice for a while. This week, I am sending crangrape juice and water, about a two to one ratio. Four ounces of 100% juice. No juice at home because she has juice in school and at grandma's, of course. It is working beautifully.

If you are curious, she still will not touch meat! Her protein comes from dairy and nuts. Fortunately, we now know that she is not alergic to any nuts.

Baby slings, if used safely, are simply awesome!

To read about all the pros of using a baby sling, go here:

We used one with Ari. As I just posted on Facebook, my only regret is that I did not use it more.

Some of the many things I like about having a baby sling:

Bonding time

She was held, which is something babies need a lot of.

I had my hands free.

Bonding again.

When we went somewhere where there were people who were strangers to Ari, she was in the sling. There was no way anyone could just grab her from my arms. Trust me, people love doing that. And, believe you me, nothing pissed me off more than someone ignoring my child's needs and making her cry because they wanted to cuddle her. Yes, I get it. I love holding babies too. But, you have to build the sense of trust first, remember?

Have I mentioned bonding?! There is nothing like feeling your little one close to you. Ari is three and I still love snuggling with her!

Infant Massage

Here is a post talking about a DVD that teaches parents about infant massage:

The post and the DVD focus on babies, but we all love a nice massage, so let's do the same for our toddlers! Even if we are not pros, it will still be relaxing and a bonding experience. I love giving Ari hugs and rubbing Ari's back!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homemade Leg Wax

I don't see myself doing this any time soon. I don't mind shaving. It does not irritate my skin, so long as I use the right razor for me, and I can do it quickly. That being said, I came across this recipe and I am sure some 'crunchy' person out there would love to try it:

If you do try it, tell us how it went!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Article: Memoirs of a Bullied Kid

Single Dad Laughing... His blog rocks!

Here is his latest kick-butt, inspiring, powerful post:

Article: Empowering Children with Choices

Give your kids choices. Don't be a dictator! It's frustrating and draining as heck for us grownups and it's no more fun for them.

Check out these suggestions:

Three-year-old Checkup and a Rant

Today Amor Chiquito had her three-year-old well checkup. It was boring. And, for that, I am very grateful.

Height: 37.25” (60th percentile)
Weight: 31lb (50th percentile)
BMI is in the 40th percentile. She did not say what it is and I forgot to ask.

Blood pressure was 94/60. Just looked at this chart:

If I am reading the chart correctly (which is a big if given the program that reads my computer screen), her blood pressure was a tiny bit high. I meant to ask the pediatrician and forgot to. I hate when I do that. I usually make a list of questions, but I did not know what to expect for today’s checkup. The pediatrician is very thorough, so my guess is that the blood pressure was fine. I think I will call the nurse, though. The doctor is human. She could have forgotten to look. Five minutes of my and a nurse’s time will ensure that Ari is fine and will give me peace of mind.

We talked about Ari’s diet. The pediatrician says she sounds like a typical three-year-old and she sounded surprised when I said Ari loves to have whole wheat pasta for dinner. As usual, she talked about limiting juice. Tell my mom, and every other grandma I know, doc, please!

The fact that Ari is still nursing came up in conversation. She politely suggested that we only nurse at home because, at this age, nursing in public tends not to be socially acceptable. She does not know that I don’t give a rat’s ass about what other people think, especially when it comes to my daughter nursing. Usually, she nurses at home, but if she really needs the comfort in public, I will not say no. If she just fell or is scared, why the hell should I say no? To make you happy? If you don’t like it, look the other way! I nurse in a way that you will never see what you don’t want to see. So, please, grow up, deal, and don’t be one of those annoying, nosy people! If you don’t nurse your child, that’s totally fine. Just don’t tell me I should stop because, frankly, it’s not your business.

Ok, rant over! My husband commended me on how politely and respectfully I listened to and ignored the pediatrician! The way he said it was pretty funny!

Ari got her finger poked to check her iron and lead levels.

She got the last HIB vaccine (prevents one of the bacterial infections that causes meningitis) and the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine was a nasal spray.

Vaccines, another hot topic, I know. We decided to do vaccines, all of them. There you have it, if you were curious. Yes, I would do some things differently next time around. I might delay getting some of them. The two, four and six month vaccines were fairly hellish for us.

On a different topic, we talked about seeing the doctor last night during dinner. Her response: “But why? I don’t have a booboo.”

I decided to talk about the shots at the doctor’s office, before the doctor showed up. I like to prepare Amor Chiquito for things as much as I can, but I did not want her to unnecessarily worry about shots for a day or so. Things went well. We got a few ows. We gave her Tylenol, in case she got achy. We dropped her off at school. The imp didn’t even look back. I didn’t get a hug today!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Article: You just broke your child. Congratulations.

Just read this article for dads by a dad. I say it is for moms too. Us moms screw up too.

Please take five or so minutes to read this. I promise it is more than worth it. While you are at it, hug your child, tell her/him how much you love her/him, show it with your actions, and, when you screw up, do the right thing and apologize.

Being a parent is not easy. There is so much to do. There are so many distractions. If you want to do something really big that changes lives, give being a parent your all. Your child will be a better person and will, in turn, inspire others. It is a cycle.

Thank you to Logical Mommy for posting this.