Sunday, March 29, 2009

La La La

I think one of my most favorite things to do is be in church during the singing part holding a small baby, probably 9-12 months old.  I dance with them, I pat them to the rhythm of the music, they look at me, they look around, they smile, they have a good time.  At least this has been my experience with both Rachel and Ben.

With the advent of iTunes, we play a lot more music around the house.  The computer's in the kitchen and much of my post-work time at night with Ben is in the kitchen.  If I'm feeding him, I'll often do it standing up, sometimes even dancing* a little bit to the music. 

Ben has taken to singing.   Not super-frequent (he's also only randomly trying to say actual words, mostly preferring grunts and hisses) but he has done some expressions of noise that have gone up and down in pitch, today even very closely mimicking a repetitive song after only hearing it run through a bit twice.

He's also, and I'm not sure if I should mention this or not, occasionally doing the "Night at the Roxburry" headnod after seeing (sorry, Lori) Lori and I and Rachel do it last week when "What is Love" by Haddaway played.  For him, though, it seems to be something he does mostly when he's done and wants to get out of his high chair.

*If you've stumbled across the blog and are not a regular reader, I should disclaim that I am white.  Not only am I white, but I dance worse than most white people.  In fact, were I to dance in public, people would push me to the ground and then get in an argument about whether or not you're supposed to shove a wallet in someone's mouth in situations like this.

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Tried to go kite flying today with Rachel.  She'd been cooped up week, sick.  She seemed pretty close to normal today, a little bit of a cough.  She had been asking for some time to go kite flying.  I got a kite for Christmas and I think she either also received one, or received one for her birthday almost a year ago.  Anyhow, it was one of those beautiful Pacific Northwest days so we headed off to Dash Point (city park not state park) to see if we could get the ladybug or the wicked 3D arrow kite aloft.

Sadly, there wasn't enough wind to get either kite to actually fly, but was probably just cold enough to slow her recovery.  She's upstairs right now coughing and wimpering in her sleep.  I feel bad for her and I feel bad for my part in it. 

About 10 minutes ago I heard her crying, but I went to ask her what was wrong and she was obviously still mostly asleep as she told me she was upset because she couldn't do what she wanted to do.

I asked her what she wanted to do.  Typically Rachel, she responded "What I wanted to do."


So that trick where you spell words that you don't want your child to hear you saying?  Doesn't work with Rachel.  Lori spelled "j-e-r-k" earlier and Rachel wanted to know what word she was spelling and would not let up.  We told her it was a word we didn't want her to hear, but she said she did.  We told her it was a word we didn't want her repeating.  Fine, she wouldn't say the word, but still, what word was it?  And she just kept pestering.  We didn't give in, but she was very insistent.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Father and Son

I've just had some really awesome moments with Ben recently. 

The other night, close to his bedtime, I was laying on my bed and he was standing, leaning against me, patting my stomach.  I pulled him onto me and just looked at him as he smiled and laughed at me.  It suddenly dawned on me that at some point in his 20s, dad probably did something similar with me.  It put everything in a whole new perspective.  I mean, I know my dad, obviously, was around me when I was a baby, but I never had one of those types of moments before and gave me a whole new level of appreciation/love for my own dad.

Tonight, I was sitting on the couch with Ben on my lap.  I was handing him goldfish one at a time and also eating them myself.  He leaned back and lifted his head to look at me.  Then he raised his arm with the golfdish towards me.  He eventually just leaned back until he was lying down so he could look at me.  He would repeat the almost-offer of the goldfish several times, one time even hitting my teeth with it.  Rachel was sharing just before she turned 1, but I remember her teasing even before that. 

Tonight I also had an opportunity to read three chapters of Exodus to Ben.  He played in Rachel's bed while I read.  (Rachel was downstairs having dinner.)  I have not been as consistent with reading to him (obvious by the fact that we're just now into Exodus) but I hope that as he becomes a little more aware of the routine that I'll be able to read more regularly, and maybe even read more per night on average than I did with Rachel.

At bedtime tonight, he was just furious.  It had been a really relaxed day and he had spent a lot of time with the family when he wasn't asleep and I think he was just unhappy that we were about to leave

Cross-posting on both dad2be and tvjames.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bullying Already? Really?

There's a little girl, Isabel, in Rachel's class at preschool. I don't know what her problem is, but back in January, Rachel told me that Isabel said "You're not funny" when Rachel was making goofy faces at her during circle time. After that, it became a regular thing for Isabel to say that to her, apparently.

I tried coaching Rachel on ways to respond and ignoring Isabel, but she persisted with the nastiness and, recently, got other kids to start saying it to Rachel, too. Rachel is a social girl and likes to be the center of attention, and she loves making people laugh. And much as she tries to pretend it doesn't bother her when someone is rude to her, it really does. So she's very bothered by this behavior.

Me? I'm pissed. When it was just Isabel involved and was obviously a problem that a nasty little girl had, I dealt with it between me and Rachel and hoped that it would blow over. Once I heard about the others, I talked with a friend who teaches the other preschool class at that school. She said she'd want to know about it if it were happening in her class, so I talked with Rachel's teacher.

The ironic thing is that, that very morning, she had caught two girls saying "You're not funny" to Rachel and assumed that the other girl was the instigator because she often does stuff like that to other kids. So it was good that she'd seen the behavior before I talked with her about it, since she knew exactly what I was talking about. She already spoken with the girls involved about treating others kindly and appropriate behavior.

A few class days passed and Rachel would tell me "Isabel didn't say anything not nice today." Well, now it sounds like it's starting back up again, and there's possibly another child involved with whom Rachel has been friends since she started at the school last January. Either they're being rude to that girl, or that girl is now also being rude to Rachel. There's some discrepancy in what Rachel's saying, so either she is not remembering correctly, or she didn't tell me that this other girl is now being rude to her, too.

I'm willing to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I've also been telling Rachel that it's okay to let her teachers know if people are saying mean things to her, since they aren't always saying them when a teacher is around to overhear and deal with it. But, frankly, I'm pissed that my child has become the target of bullies, and in preschool, no less. I just want to get in these kids' faces and tell them to back the crap off and leave my daughter alone. I know that Rachel needs to fight her own battles, but when it's 4 on 1 and it's ongoing behavior, how does a 4-year-old do that?

Some things that we wish we could tell Rachel to say in return:

  • "Isabel? More like Is-a-smell."
  • Isabutt
  • If they say "You're not funny," she could say "You are. Funny LOOKING."
Or some other rude, insulting comment. I know that returning rudeness for rudeness isn't the answer, much as the mother lion in me wants to just lash out and be hurtful to those who are hurting my child. I just really hope that the teacher is able to catch the behavior more often and deal with it seriously. If not and this continues, I think I'll have to ask for an official conference to discuss it and what can be done. I think Isabel's parents should be told about her behavior. I would hope they wouldn't condone it and would have conversations with her about how she needs to treat other kids.

So that's the sucky, frustrating situation we're in at the moment. It's upsetting to know that Rachel is being ostracized and insulted. I can't figure out why, unless it's because she tries too hard to get attention. It may get annoying, or other kids might be jealous of her social nature. Or maybe Isabel just decided one day "I'm going to pick on her because I feel like it/don't like her."

But it needs to stop. And it will, one way or another.

A Little More Conversation

Ben is becoming much more verbal lately. He's not saying much in identifiable words yet, but he's trying out so many sounds and just chattering away when he has something on his mind. It's fun to hear him making sounds with obvious meaning behind them, even if we can't figure out what he's saying. I think once the words begin to click with him, he's going to build a vocabulary pretty quickly.

At this age, Rachel was saying a few dozen words, I think. I'm not sure, but I do know that she was at well over a hundred words by the time she turned 1. I don't think we realized at the time how rare that is. Nor did we realize we'd experienced the last really quiet times in our life for a while :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rachel's Jokes

Rachel was in a joke-telling mood last night at dinner. These were three that she told, one after the other. Number 3 really made us crack up:

Why couldn't the bear fly?
Because he didn't have wings (flapping her arms as she answers).

Why couldn't the bear swim?
Because he didn't have floaty things (flapping her arms again).

Why didn't the Abominable Snow Monster eat snow?
Because he liked people better!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rachel's First Dance Routine

Okay, we finished off the tape in the video camera and James uploaded it. I hope this works - if so, here's Rachel's first dance routine, done at the recital in December for all the classes of her current teacher:

P.S. - She's the shortest one, to the far right.

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Last night, I was on the phone with James as he was driving home (yes, he was using his Bluetooth headset), when Ben let go of his little LeapFrog musical table (which is awesome, by the way, for helping kids to practice standing and cruising). He turned away from the table, took 4 steps, wobbled just a second, then plopped down on his behind.

He's taken a step here and a step there, but we were still waiting for something we could truly call "walking." There's no doubt about it this time, the little guy walked. So that means on Sunday he had his first tooth break through, and the next day he walked. Perhaps today he'll begin speaking in full sentences. Or playing a piano concerto on the keyboard.

I grabbed the video camera last night and tried to catch him walking again, but he didn't repeat the feat before he got tired and fussy. It probably won't take long before I capture it, because I'm sure he'll be doing a lot more of that now that he knows he can.

It's incredible how quickly they start to do things at this age!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Photographic Proof of Said Tooth

Okay, it may not be the easiest to see yet, but if you look at this photo, you'll see a little white line above Ben's bottom lip, just to the right of center. That's the tooth - hallelujah!

Here's a closer view:

Today was somewhat miserable. He didn't want to take his morning nap, then cried his way (loudly) through the afternoon nap. He just was upset and seemed like he didn't feel good. I think it was more teething pain and feel so bad for him, but it's so frustrating when I try things and he still just screams at me. I know that this time will pass, though, and am glad that teething doesn't last forever.

And I love Ben's sweet little smile and how he lights up when he sees one of his family members, and his chuckle when Rachel does goofy stuff or when I'm kissing his tummy or tickling him. I think he's going to be a little boy who's full of laughter and fun, and I'm having such a good time seeing the changes he's already gone through and how interactive he is.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

Rachel has discovered the world of lying. In the past, she's told us things that weren't true, but it seemed more that she didn't understand the line between truth and fiction and was pretty much just making up stories that were interesting or reasons that, while false, were a good use of her imagination.

A few weeks ago, I realized she had just told me a baldfaced lie. I don't remember what it was about, but since then, she's lied at least another half-dozen times. When I catch her lying, I talk with her about the importance of being honest and tell her that, if she keeps lying to us, we won't know when she's telling the truth and won't be able to trust her. It's a hard concept to teach to a young child, but hopefully with repetition it will start to sink in.

My friend Jenny asked if she's ever heard the story "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." She actually hasn't, and I think that's a great idea, so I'll be looking for that one at the library. I think a story like that can help her to grasp the concept since it shows a boy's lies and their consequences. It's obviously more extreme than any experience she would have, but I think it will do a good job of helping her to relate to what we're trying to teach.

Rachel certainly keeps us on our toes. I'm not sure what will come next or how we'll deal with it, but we just keep praying to God for wisdom in how we're raising her, and that she'll always know that we love her and that He loves her.

Forsooth, A Tooth!*

*TM James

Ben's been going through some miserable teething for a good 5 months or so, and drooling for even longer than that. The process has seemed much more painful for him than for Rachel, and more protracted, too. Rachel cut her first tooth at 7 1/2 months, and Ben is a little over 9 1/2 now.

But last night as I was feeding him, he started to bite a little, and I put my finger in his mouth to open it. As I did that, I could feel something rough in there. I felt around a little more and, sure enough, there was a tooth! It's just peeking above the surface, but I was so happy to finally have one break through.

I told him "You have a tooth! What a big boy!" and he got such a proud little smile on his face. I have to believe he knew just what I was talking about and was feeling pretty big himself.

So we're finally on our way into the world of teeth, and we're hoping future arrivals are heralded with much less fanfare. No pictures yet (good luck trying to get a photo with him sticking in his fingers constantly or pushing his tongue forward), but we'll post some when we can get them.