Thursday, January 31, 2008

Windshields & Toddler feedings

It snowed a bunch last night, kept me from going out for Moms night out with MOMS Club. Very disappointing. Today, I learned all about the de-icer stuff I'm supposed to have in my windshield wiper fluid. It snows, the snowplows roam about dropping de-icing stuff, most road snow melts, making muddy slush thrown up in car-wakes just like when it rains. Driving on the highway with a really dirty windshield, into the sun, the vehicles ahead only resemble shadows...I got off the highway. At every stop I hopped out, grabbed some snow and wiped the drivers' side of the windshield. When I found a gas station, a really pleasant humor-driven exchange between me and the classical gran'pa behind the counter took the edge off my ignorance. Alas, whatever remained of my original wiper fluid was frozen in the bowels of my car, clogging the intake for the wiper sprayers. Would that I had a $100k car that had the pipes wired with the defroster, I know they exist. By the way, can you guess what a snurd is?

Toddler feedings can be intense. This of course depends upon your level of involvement. If one has reasonable expectations then all will be well, damage is minimized. Otherwise, a giant mess, a toddler that hasn't eaten, and a terrible headache.
We recently revamped our strategy switching from separate all-inclusive high chair to table-side high chair (just like those in the restaurant) with a splat mat. The Peg-Perego we had been working with was just fine for the house on Maui, and the house in California...but it was just too cumbersome for this place. Splat mats are fantastic, everyone should have one, I might even slip one under Gary's chair. When something spills it's easier to clean up if it has fallen on a plasti-coated canvas mat, instead of our less-than-a-year-old-rug. Now, I just need to work on my spill reaction---meaning my reaction to the Toddleator's self-feeding antics. (Her latest is taking sips of milk only to spit them into her water cup.) I just haven't gotten comfortable with the notion that whatever she spills won't be too hard to clean up, 'cause it's on the splat mat! My reaction is still geared to "o-sh*t-there-she-goes-again-another-big-mess-I-have-to-clean" or the ever simpler "g'dammit!!" Which really isn't the best impression to give someone trying to learn how to feed themselves. I worry that I might instill some ridiculous fear in her of spilling things, or worse yet, teach her to think less of herself and worry too much about me. Along those same lines I try to react reasonably to other normal toddler antics, like tantrums, semi-messy explorations, and dangerous explorations. The fact is, I've done well enough so far that when she's exploring something she shouldn't be, and I react too harshly, the little girl just goes to pieces. Now that may be a phase, but I'm hoping that some of it sticks around. I think all children innately want to please their parents, looking for acceptance from the first humans they know and love. "Mother, is the word for God on the lips and hearts of all children."

I hope that we're able to show Fiona consistency with love and acceptance, and discipline (the teaching, guiding kind, not the spanking kind if we can help it). How would you feel if someone hit you just because you were having a bad day and needed to show it? (Now this refers to very young children who aren't developmentally capable of intentional misbehavior) *sigh*

An aside, if mother is the word for god, is it any wonder masses of people agree with vengeful god ideas when they were taught at such a young age to fear their personal gods, their parents?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


My first successful pair of pig tails! This whole "doing hair" thing is new to me.


The realm of the toddler is extreme. It seems that unless she happens to quietly sit and 'read' a book, she's thrown herself completely into a new task, but then I suppose the reason she's sitting so quietly is because she's absorbed in learning the book. There is no middle ground. It's no wonder when Fiona's attempts at a task are hindered simply by difficulty of that task, she sometimes has a melt down.
Periodically, I wish I could remember my toddler hood so I might better relate to her strife. For instance, if I could remember WHY soup was so great in my hair, then I might remember not to be upset at the mess it causes. The singleness of mind, the ability to be in and of the task, "in the zone" is the athlete's term--it can be considered meditative. No wonder Fiona gets bent outta shape when I disturb her passionate curiosity. When she recognizes that we are about to do something she enjoys, the reaction is a "Yah, YAH, YAH!!" accompanied by a lot of 'talking' and bouncing.

She's discovered a squeal...just over the weekend she found her upper octave. WOW. And she's been using it liberally. Her jargon, peppered with intelligible words, punctuated with the extreme pitch that only a toddler girl can produce. I'm surprised dogs haven't started flocking to our door. It's especially entertaining to be the observer of a toddler mom in a public place, attempting to 'work' with said toddler. My technique is simply to stand there while Fiona exhibits her dismay at leaving the market and her favorite thing lately--the carts with big unwieldy plastic cars on the front. If I match her intensity (within reason), name the emotion she's most likely feeling (i.e. Sad,sad, sad), then gently say "I think that's not a safe place to lay down, Fiona." She will generally get up and either walk or be carried to the car. She just wants to be understood and is learning to deal with emotion....would that we all learn, were allowed, to feel emotion instead of coping.

Yesterday we had a playgroup at our place. It was a great success I think, all the kids had a fun time, and I think the moms enjoyed it, too. Fiona was SO tired by the time everyone was leaving, she could barely keep her eyes open when I held her. She had a snack and crashed for a couple of hours. Today is music class and hopefully some training for mommy. Then of course there are errands and chores, never ceases to amaze me how busy I get when seemingly I've nothing to do!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

When Fiona Doesn't Nap

The world is imperiled when a toddler misses a nap. "But couldn't I have just a little peril?" you might think it's exciting, living on the edge. NO, it's too dangerous, don't even think it. Even though Fiona's cute in a somnambulist way, the degree of clumsiness slowly increasing, almost undetectable to the non-parent eye. Things that are normally small potatoes suddenly become monstrously dramatic. The normal means of making peace cease to have effect, distraction is unheeded, proffered milk or snack is ignored. The only goal that seems to matter is to KEEP MOVING, even if she's going in circles doing the same action over and over. ANY, and I do mean ANY attempt to dissuade Fiona from her manic repetitions can be, um, challenging. I wager that the occasions one sees a mom carrying flailing toddler to the car, those are the missed nap days.

So we went to the Children's Museum today and it was great fun, more so because Fiona recognized the place, and was loudly excited to be there. Would that I could document every neat thing that she does, record all of it so I might share it with everyone...but that's why life is so special, all those beautiful fleeting moments!

New Year, New Stuff to DO

Oh, well we've most definitely kicked off the new year. Didn't actually do much for the occasion itself, 'cause Gary was feelin' poorly. Not poorly enough to not eat cake, but poorly enough to stay home.
One of the first things we've done this year is visit the Denver Zoo, for "ZOO LIGHTS!" A holiday tradition where people bundle up kiddos, grab a flask, and head to the zoo where one must stand in line for a half hour before cruising the zoo lanes seeing animals rendered in light displays. It's a really clever means to keep zoo revenue for the winter. Fiona seemed to enjoy it, as did the group that we were with. I think she especially enjoyed seeing the elephants in the Pachyderm house, where it was oh so warm, crowded with humans, and odoriferous. I look forward to visiting the zoo when it's warm, daylight, and the actual animals are out & about.

more later...

My name is Lili...

My name is Lili, and I am a compulsive least that's my theory. It seems I can never remember how I end up face down under the table. The other day we were headed to the library, and the next thing I know I'm on sans clothing on the floor of the car! Maybe it's the schnapps?