Thursday, January 20, 2011

Translating Todd

Todd is still primarily saying one word at a time with the occasional 2-word phrase. The interesting expansion of his language is into verbs and words which express more than just object identification. For those interested in the progression of toddler language, here are some examples.

"doing" (usually with pointing)
You are doing something interesting or unusual and I need to see or participate in whatever it is that you are up to.

You are eating something that looks or smells good. I need some, too.

I need you to move this for me to a new, and probably less-convenient location.

I require you to carry me at this time. Until I deem that you are allowed to put me down again.

I can't reach it, but I need this item that I'm pointing at. Please hand it to me now.
What is this object? Is it this for me to play with?

My food requires more tomato flavor. More ketchup, please.

Please cut my food into smaller pieces, mommy.
Please cut a piece of your pie/scone/sandwich/pizza for me.

"Talk! Talk! Talk!"
You are on the phone. Therefore I will describe what you are doing into the phone as loudly as possible.
I need to talk on the phone, too, even though I have no idea who you are talking to.

{Vigorous Head Shaking}
I would rather have you spoon feed me yogurt than wear that bib you are holding.

"help" or "stuck"
I have climbed into/on top of/under something and I can't get out without your assistance.

The toy I'm playing with isn't doing what I want it to do.
My sister just broke or tore a toy/crayon/box/piece of paper.

I want to watch Cat in the Hat.
You have a hat on and I need one, too. (same for "coat")
Where is Woody's/Jesse's hat?

I am playing with Jesse and that is what she says.

I am playing with Woody and that is what he says.
(He can clearly identify Woody, Jesse and Buzz as well.)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The One in which I Talk about Cooking

I realized the other day that it isn't really going to the grocery store that I hate. And really, hate is a strong word...but I do tend to procrastinate significantly when it comes to the grocery store.  Even with my current ability to go alone.

Honestly, it is the whole 'food management' that I am just really tired of doing. Planning meals, finding recipes, making the shopping list, feeling guilty for not clipping coupons or shopping the circulars, doing the shopping, putting away the groceries, cleaning out the refrigerator/pantry at the same time and then having to clean the containers for the leftovers that expired. Not to mention the dishes and keeping track of what is already in the cupboards.

I hope I'm not sounding whiny. I know that all of this responsibility is part of being an adult and having a family. And I'm much better at it than I used to be. I still remember the feeling of 'fear' when I was pregnant - knowing that by becoming a mom I was dooming myself to having to cook practically every night. I've increased my repertoire significantly and have found some easy, healthy frozen options for the nights I can't get it together. But I have been in a rut lately and need to pull myself out.

I need a system. I'm not sure what it is, but I need one. I need a repository to look at when I'm planning meals for ideas. I need to do the coupon thing and smarter price shopping  (in a way that doesn't involve going to four stores a week). I need to write a list every week. And I need to be proactive again about adding new recipes into the rotation.

I need to find a way past my two major challenges.
1-There are other ways I would like to be spending my time. If I could find a consistent time to plan and shop each week (or every two weeks?) and not let myself off the hook until I really do it. In truth, it probably only means giving up one knit/crochet session a week and it would reduce my kitchen stress. I've just got to overcome the mental hurdles and DO IT!

2-It is very satisfying to put a healthy meal on the table in front of my family. But there is nothing inspiring about cooking for this crew. Heather is just beginning to sometimes be willing to take a teeny bite of something unfamiliar. What Todd will eat is totally unpredictable outside of a few favorites. And neither will eat an unhidden vegetable.

Really, all three of them would be happy to eat the same 4-6 meals over and over expanding our repertoire is just to keep my boredom at bay and to try to find new things they'll try/eat.

If anyone out there has a brilliant system that might inspire me or a good recipe that your family loves, please share. I am hopeful that just writing this out will help me process what I need to do and move forward.

P.S. I hope this also helps explain why so few of my friends with newborns have gotten dinners from me. It is not a lack of love, but the fact that I just barely manage to cook for my own family. Those of you who have gotten food now know how lucky you are...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Miscellaneous Kid Update

I feel the need to write a post, but I'm honestly not totally sure what to tell you. Shall we see what comes out?

1. There seem to be a new word or two coming out of Todd's mouth each day.  This has actually been going on for a while and it is to the point that I'm almost not surprised by new words.  Two word phrases are still more rare, so those get my attention a little more. But the most fun is the comprehension. He doesn't understand everything, but sometimes we can have a real conversation.

T: Nurse! Nurse!
M: Can I please start dinner before we nurse?
T: No.
M: Can I please get my phone before we sit down?
T: Yeah.


End of bathtime
R: Todd, you got in first, so you need to get out first.
T: Noooooooooooooooo!
Once he's out and in a towel, staring back at Heather:
T: Baff! Baff! Baff! Baff!
(bath, in Todd speak)

2. Heather is really great and a lot of fun right now. Coming up with lots of extravagant pretend play scenarios, singing, dancing, practicing writing letters, chatting away and making up stories. She can also entertain herself for a while with her toys and seems to need at least one good session of solo play each day.

But she also loves to play with other kids.  We have been to an indoor play place several times since my layoff, and this week she was definitely trying to actively find other kids to play with.

3. There are, of course, a few challenges now as well. Todd's sleep still sucks for a 20 month old. He naps great at daycare, but rarely naps outside of the car seat or my arms on home days. I can only put him down totally asleep and his overnight waking is random and unpredictable. He's finally gotten all his teeth through, only has a minimal cold and the separation anxiety is lessening during the day, so hopefully a breakthrough is coming.

I've considered various strategies, from bedtime changes to nightweaning, but each time I'm ready to implement his patterns change again. And quite honestly, he is minimally cranky when he's tired, so other than adult tiredness there isn't much other motivation. We've also considered a bed change as a strategy, since some nights he really enjoys Heather's bed and seems like he could cuddle up in it and sleep.

4. The primary challenge with Heather right now is her acting like a baby and refusing to do the things we know she can do (dressing herself, clearing her plate, putting on shoes, etc). In the grand scheme of things, we are working through it and it is really on the easy end of the Heather-behavior spectrum. But frustrating when both kids act like they need the same level of 'care'.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Yarny Goodness

The lack of knitting and crochet on the blog is not an indication of my lack of work with yarn over the past couple of years. (I'm honestly not sure when my last yarn-related post was...). In fact, according to ravelry, I completed 16 projects in 2009 and 17 projects in 2010. And that doesn't include the sweater that is done except the zipper, or the blanket for which all the squares are made but needs to be assembled, or the pair of almost finished baby sweaters. I think those are respectable numbers when you think about the challenge or cramming knit and crochet into my life.

Now some of these projects can't be blogged about because they are samples knit for a designer, but I will be sure to share when I can!

But here are a few examples of some of my favorite projects of the year. Ravelry links for those with accounts. I may come back and blog about some of these more specifically, but it is more likely that I'll just try to do a better job of blogging future projects or writing about the evolution of projects that didn't turn out perfectly right off the needles. (I have several sweaters that need some adjustments.)

1 - M's Blanket
This is a crocheted blanket that alternates a fancier granny square with a corner square in a 9 square blanket. The squares are crocheted together with double crochet and the border duplicates the outside of the fancier square plus a serrated edge that I found elsewhere.

2 - Acero Lace Triangle
This shawl is less red than it appears in the picture. I have yet to get a good shot that shows the colors accurately, although this shows off the lace pattern and texture well. The pattern is Miralda's Triangular Shawl by Nancy Bush. For me and I didn't make any modifications.

3 - Portfolio Cover
This is the felted case that I made to hold my portfolio. Entirely improvised by me and using leftovers from other projects. Very happy with the results. I've considered using what I learned to make a laptop case, but probably by the time I get to it I'll have a different laptop. :-)

4 - Burgundy Haruni
Another lace shawl for me that involved following the pattern as written. Amazing!

5 - Henry's Green Circle
This is one of those blankets made from a doily pattern. There will be more of these in my future. Although circles are annoying to pin out. For an adorable little boy (and his mama).

6 - Amy's February
This is one of those projects that will probably be featured again because it needs some tweaking. It is an awesomely comfortable sweater that I have been wearing around the house a lot and out a little. I modified the button band/closure and it is okay, but I don't love it. I really only like it (sort of) with a square necked cami under it...and I really need it to work with more shirts to be a more reliable piece in my wardrobe. The buttonbands are crocheted, so the adjustments won't take long, I just have to sit down and do them.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Nice Holiday

Well, Santa didn't bring me a new job or more sleep, but we still had a very nice Christmas.

I have no complaints about the holiday season that is now coming to an end. I wouldn't mind a few more days of it, but that part isn't up to me. ;-)

I did start it with a little anxiety. I was very excited for this year because I knew Heather would be into it and love her presents, and I thought it was likely that Todd would do great as well. There was a lot to look forward to and each time I heard about someone else getting the tummy bug going around it gave me a little bit of dread. I've been sick over the holidays before and I didn't want the kids to deal with that. (Really, I hope they never have to deal with it, but especially at the holidays.). Thankfully we were spared (at least for now, knock on wood) and all of our plans were fulfilled without a hitch.

Getting Todd to nap anywhere other than my arms or the car has been a struggle, but as he doesn't get nearly as cranky as Heather did without a nap, we just kind of roll with it and try to get him some kind of downtime. We managed one long car ride after lunch, and a couple of times I just held him so he would get some sleep. Not ideal, but thanks to my iPhone it is slightly less annoying than it would be without it!

The highlight of Heather's Christmas was definitely her Woody and Jesse dolls with pull strings (from Toy Story). She found them first under the tree and had to be coerced to open anything else after half an hour of playing with the next room. There were other things she liked and she did let us do stockings first, but I knew that Woody and Jesse would be king and queen of Christmas for her. Santa did such a good job on her stocking that she commented that he 'knows me very well' and 'he is smart'. It was a lovely day at home with my parents and some of us never got out of our pjs!

Todd enjoyed many gifts. The remote control train, the tool bench and several vehicles have maintained his interest. I have to say that both kids enjoy presents that the other received. There have been a few difficult toy moments, but most of the time they do a decent job of taking turns and sharing. It helps that Todd's attention span is short, so he is usually done with a toy before his allotted number of minutes is up. And when Heather challenges Todd's use of something, I think it is more about her plans at that moment and not about being possessive. If her current game involves Woody *and* Jesse, for example, then she can't deal with Todd using one of them at that time. But if she's just playing with Woody, she'll practically beg Todd to play with Jesse.

We also had nice visits in Johnstown and Dayton. Including some snow play at Grandma and Grandpa's, lots of fun presents (many Toy Story or vehicle themed), visits with family friends and the joy of sharing our excellent pictures of the kids by Seedlings Photography with family. Once home, we had both planned and spontaneous get togethers with neighborhood friends and two terrific New Year's day parties to attend.

To top it all off, my circle of friends was blessed with two precious arrivals that I can't wait to meet. I worked a little on the refurbishment of their dresser before Christmas and I hope to help finish some of the preparations in the coming weeks. I guess I need to finish knitting their sweaters. :-P

I hope that your holidays were wonderful as well!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Keeping my cup full

I read this post over at PhD in Parenting and I feel like maybe it can help me figure out how I'm feeling. Now, honestly, after six days of holiday celebrations and having my parents around to help with the kids I am feeling pretty good. Tired, yes. But the excitement, anticipation and extra work of Christmas is past (minus one trip to the mail center this afternoon) and there is no 'next thing' hovering over me.

But there are still two things I'm dealing with. And they kind of go hand in hand when it comes to my emotions. To use the metaphor in the above-referenced blog post, I feel like I'm struggling to keep my own cup full so I can keep pouring for the kids.

1 - Being unemployed and how I define myself. It is not that I only define myself as an architect...but I don't define myself solely as a mother either. Working as an architect helped to 'fill my cup'. It gave me pride, great adult interaction, interesting stories, purpose, challenges and something tangible to accomplish for others. Obviously, there are other things that can fill one's cup in the same categories, but I haven't found substitutes for them yet. And I would prefer to substitute them with a new job over anything else.

2 - Todd's needs are pretty substantial at the moment. Actually, his daytime mommy neediness seems to be abating a little or it is just a manifestation of having daddy, nana and bapa around so much over the holidays. We will see for sure on Tuesday. But the real draining issue is bedtime and overnight. He needs a lot of mommy/nursing time at bedtime as well as overnight. The lack of regularity makes me think that his brain is waking him up and once he's up he wants to nurse back to sleep. It is still clear that he *can* sleep well in his crib, he just isn't. And he really has to be passed out at bedtime, which sometimes takes a couple of hours. Which is hard especially because it takes away most or all of our couple time as well as my 'me' time and chore time.

I'm doing my best to remind myself that both of these issues are just phases. They might be longer phases than I would like...but in the grand scheme of my career and Todd's life, they are really pretty short. So I will remind myself the importance of filling up my own cup, even when that means ordering pizza instead of making it or letting the kids watch one more episode of Bob the Builder.

In my head I know all this, but I think the metaphor is giving me a good framework for dealing with it on a daily basis.