Sunday, March 09, 2014

21 Months: Ears, Mouth, and a Hiney

Today she is 21 months old!

While her outie belly button is adorable, her curls get cuter by the day, and her "CHEESE!" grin is oh-so-cute, this month has centered on her EARS, MOUTH, and HINEY.

- Weekend ear pain had me taking off work and taking her to the doctor on a Monday morning only to find out she had two ruptured ear drums :(  This was only Cora's third ear infection (Jack had had at least ten by this age), but was our first experience with a rupture.  We were prescribed antibiotic ear drops and Amoxicillin, but she never seemed fully better so I wasn't surprised to find out that she still had an infection at her 10-day check-up.  After bumping up to Omnicef, she was clear as of last week.  Fingers crossed her ears won't cause us the same drama as Jack's.  His ear tubes just fell out and he immediately got an ear infection :(


Our mute child has really started talking!  She has had a decent vocabulary for a while, but she showed a definite preference for NOT talking.  She wouldn't play the "say..." game and she would generally gesture or make faces rather than say words she knew.  But this past month, she's started babbling, stringing her words together, and adding in lots of new words. 

Our favorite Cora speak:
  •  "wow-wee" for flower
  • "a-yi-yi" for I love you
  • "a-yeyow" for another (she says this one any time she sees more than one of something, so a lot!)  Jack used to say "nummy"
  • "pee-pee-poppee" for pee in the potty (see below!)
 We get a kick out of how she calls herself "baby."  When looking at a family photo, she points out "mama," "dada," "dja" and "baby."  If we ask where Cora is she always points to herself, but when we ask her what her name is, she says "baby."  To which we say, "no your name is Cora - C,C,C-ora"  Tonight, for the first time when we asked her what her name was she said "Tuh-tuh-tuh" :)  She can't make the C sound yet, but it showed she wanted to giver her real name a try.

She loves her Jack-Jack!

We brought out the potty at 19 months because we noticed Cora was really aware of our routines and thought she might be interested in trying the potty.  She wasn't.  She only occasionally, by chance, peed on it.  But midway through this month, things clicked and now she pees nearly every time we sit her on the potty and she's pooped several times!

Our experience with potty-training Jack was a long 12 month journey that I was DETERMINED to complete before Cora was born.  We hadn't really been trying with Cora, so to have her all of the sudden peeing and pooping was a very pleasant surprise.


Potty training is a double edged sword because it requires a lot of effort from the parent.  We weren't planning to make any effort yet with Cora and now are trying to determine exactly how much energy to invest.  Mardi Gras week was the perfect week to try things out because I had more time off and we were home.

I see POTTY TRAINING as a multi-step process.  I love that we've already gotten started and would love to pack up the diapers, but I expect this will take some time.  I just hope it will be 3 or 4 months rather than the YEAR it was with Jack!

Cora showing off her big girl undies!

The Potty Training Process (as I see it):
  1. Child knows how to make themselves pee.  CHECK
  2. Child can pee both on a little potty AND a big one (because let's be honest, it's not that convenient when your child can only go on a special-only-in-one-room-of-your-house-container-that-must-be-dumped).  CHECK
  3. Child can tell you when they need to pee rather than you suggesting it.  This has happened several times - yeah!
  4. Child is invested enough in peeing in the potty that they don't make it into a will power battle at every sitting. We don't push it when she's just woken up and grumpy and any other time she's not in the mood.  She's on board with "pee-pee-poppee" about 80% of the time.
  5. Child is comfortable enough peeing in the potty that they would do it for others (i.e. at school).  We're not going to push this yet.  We'll give it another week or so and see if we're still making progress before we mention it at school.  Cora's only there two days and we found with Jack that his teachers weren't invested until they felt he was really all about the process. 
    Cora has peed for her baby sitter.
  6. Child CAN poop in the potty.  I have to put this on the list because this was a big obstacle for Jack.  It freaked him out and he resisted for months even while he was easily able to pee in the potty. Cora has nonchalantly pooped several times in her potty.  I was so excited I took a picture and sent it to my mom :)
  7. Child can tell you when they need to poop.  Not yet
  8. Child sends themselves to the bathroom consistently (i.e. you are no longer prompting them throughout the day to safeguard against accidents.) I see this as a ways off

I hope the next month brings more forward progress!  I have to say that it's actually fun to have the whole family (daddy, mommy, and Jack) jumping and cheering every time we have pee-pee action.  It keeps the joy factor up in our house!

Friday, March 07, 2014

4 and a Quarter

Jack was all about being 3 and 3/4s, but  4 1/4 doesn't have quite the same oomph.  Still, he did seem excited when I mentioned Monday was his "4 and a quarter" birthday.

Let me tell you a little about Jack at four and some change:


It's cool to see how his concept of time and its structure has evolved over the past year.  Last year, he associated his days at school with what that day's snack was (Waldorf is a proponent of rhythms and each weekday has a set snack and routine.)  He would talk about how Mr. Ben the music teacher came on rice day.  He never said Monday, but instead said "rice day."  (Which then became quinoa day after the flare up over arsenic in rice.)

Well, the boy is now far beyond this surface level understanding of his weekly schedule.  He knows that Sunday is church day and he talks about the order of his activities (which class first, what floor, and when snack happens.)  "I go to school three days: Monday is the first day, then Tuesday, then Wednesday."  Monday is quinoa day, Tuesday is yum-yum day (we've not graduated past calling oatmeal "yum-yum"), and Wednesday is baking day.  "On Monday, I go to swimming lessons.  Once there was a holiday on Monday and I didn't go to school, but I still went to swimming."

"On Thursday, I stay home with Mommy.  Daddy goes to work."  Fridays are the day with his sitter.  Saturday he knows that we all stay home.  During this past week of Mardi Gras, he would keep checking in on where we were at in the week, confirming that he wasn't going to school on his regular school days and making sure he knew when it was Daddy and Mommy at home vs. just Mommy.

He's also QUITE aware of his TV schedule.  We've kept it to two days a week.  He calls them his "Sam days" and usually wants his second Sam day to be right after his first.  (I try to hold him off.)  He LOVES watching TV and I love being able to line up Cora's nap and Jack's TV time.  Jack's TV repertoire: Fireman Sam, Thomas the Train, Bob the Builder, and he's always happy to watch Barney Visits the Fire Station or any real life fire video/movie. 


This would be the most inaccurate update if I didn't mention, emphasize, and underscore that Jack NEVER STOPS TALKING.  I used quotation marks above because he's recounted his schedule to me so many times, I can hear his voice clearly and feel quite comfortable quoting him.  Jack talks to me, then switches midstream to talking to Cora, then segways into his favorite tune:

Fireman Sam, he's our friend...
Safest place I know, 
Pontypandy by the sea
Welcome to our town
Where we all live safely
We all live safely.....F-I-R-E-M-A-N..."
You have to love a song that segways back into itself endlessly!

Jacob and I crack up at the dinner table as Jack earnestly recounts the happenings of his day, complete with exaggerated facial expressions, interrupting himself with lines like "This certainly is a lot of rice!" and chuckling at his own jokes.  The majority of the time, I love listening to Jack.   Now when Jacob is out of town or after several hours of being alone with can become a little bit insane.


Because Jack never stops talking, it can be hard to get a word in to discipline.  We are hearing a lot of "But I was trying to tell you something!" when we are interrupting to tell him no or to reprimand.  This genuinely frustrates him and he starts to cry.

Every night before bed we have to go through the following before leaving him in his room alone can be considered acceptable:
  1. Switch closet light on.  Leave door generously ajar.
  2. Ask him how many kisses he wants before we go to bed.  (We get numbers like "400 closets full" and "1,000 10-hundred"
  3. Tell him that we promise to leave the closet light on.  All night long.
  4. Promise to tell him when it's morning, even though 99% of the time, he is the one telling us that it's morning.
  5. Promise him that we'll tell the other parent "all of these things" and that "we won't forget any of these things."
  6. Start to leave..."One more thing Mommy!"  Listen.  Say "okay...goodnight" a few more times.  

He is the most awesome big brother.  If Cora is upset, he always pipes up to advocate that we give her the thing she wants.  "Just give her the snack Mommy."  He gives her hugs and calls her "his baby princess."  She terrorizes him a good bit, smashing LEGO creations he's worked hard on, but he never retaliates.  He's protective, attentive, loving, and despite their 2.5 year age span, they can have quite the good time together with silly little games they create on their own.

He continues to be a voracious reader.  We have 30+ library books checked out at all times.  I'm reading the Little House on the Prairie books aloud to him now and we are both loving them.  (We're on book two.)  His latest interest has been Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggy series.  He continues to adore Berenstain Bears and Jacob and I somehow muster up the energy to keep reading them.  Since he no longer naps, he rests daily for 30-40 minutes just flipping through a stack of his books.  We read to him at least two times a day, but I know there are days I read 20 books.

He can ask some profound questions about death and life after death.  He about broke my mom's heart by saying that he wanted to die before Grammy so that he could be waiting for her at the gates of heaven.

The best thing about Jack is his insatiability about life.  He wakes up every morning full of energy and excited about the day ahead. 

Flowers for Mommy

It's a rare night that I don't wish I could be a better mother, more patient, more in-the-moment, and more worthy of him and Cora.  They can wear me out and wear me down, but when I stop to think, (like by taking the time to write this) I'm just in awe of how awesome they are and what a privilege it is to be their mom :)