Sunday, April 12, 2015

Miss Manners

A while back, Adam began to make it his mission to get Adly to start saying things like "please" and "thank you". I think that manners are SUPER important and I can tell you from experience that it is very easy to spot children who come from homes where politeness is considered important.

However I can't say I fully agreed with enforcing it so early. I'm not sure why, I guess I just didn't think it would stick yet, so why bother? Thankfully Adam is in charge over the winter, so he began enforcing it on his own while home with Adly. 

His biggies were to say "please" when asking for things-not just demanding. Say "thank you" when someone gives you something and say "bless you" when someone sneezes. Simple enough. 

Ironically, these small phrases began to stick pretty quickly. She especially took to saying "bless you!" after someone sneezes which, while polite, is also beyond adorable.

The other day as we were driving I sneezed a few times. When I was done I hear "Bless you mama!" from the backseat. I mean, come on. When I hand her things now, I usually get a "tank you mama" or when asking for things she usually adds on a "pleeeease". 

While she uses these phrases pretty regularly, I know that she still needs time to fully understand the meaning of being polite. Recently we had a dinner conversation that went like this:

Adly: Mama get a pancakes please.
Me: I don't have pancakes.
A: Mama get a pancakes please.
Me: Adly, I don't have pancakes.
A: Mama MAKE a pancakes please.
Me: I can't make you pancakes.
A: (growing frustrated, furrowing her brows, deep breath)
A: Mama make a pancakes! I SAID please!!

Here is where some more understanding of the word "please" might've helped out the situation. See, some days Adly decides to act like a finicky royal highness toddler at mealtimes and demands any other kind of food that isn't on her plate. This was one of those instances. Of course, I being the mean mom that I am, refuse to give her anything other than what is offered. But in this case, she was very frustrated and confused as to why she couldn't get the pancakes because, after all, she said please!

In an unintentional way, another use of "polite words" has entered Adly's vocabulary. These days I find that when she is annoyed by me touching her, or being in her way, she'll say, "I'm sorry mama". And move whatever is in her way. The other day we were on the couch next to each other, so naturally I put my tender loving arm around her. Apparently, this annoyed her and she immediately moved my arm off of her as she said, "I'm sorry, mama." Sometimes she'll move into my territory and decide she doesn't like something, only to move it saying, "I'm sorry, mama." Like when she came blasting through the house pushing her baby stroller and ran into my legs. She stated, "I'm sorry mama." But not because she was sorry she ran into me, because she was sorry I was in the way. So in other words, it was a "get out of my way!" type of sorry. This phrase always makes me laugh when she uses it in these situations. 

I love how people in the South use ma'am and sir to address adults, yet I don't think it fully fits in with our Northern nasally dialect. Therefore, using simple words like please and thank you have been our way to make sure we feel appreciated on some level throughout the day. And it's working! So I guess it never really is too early to try enforcing those small, yet very meaningful words. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ER Initiations

I think that every parent needs to be initiated into parenthood by some sort of emergency room visit. That, or some episode that scares the living shit out of you enough to remind you that these toddlers are still just babies and anything can happen in the blink of an eye. Until then, you really haven't lived as a "parent".

A few weeks ago, we received our initiation. After moving, things were everywhere. After moving, I also had some insane bouts of insomnia and a cold. Fun times. Before heading back to work on Sunday, I wanted to make sure I actually slept, so I put a bottle of Nyquil by my bed in the event I woke up in another coughing fit. Thankfully, I slept the entire night through just fine.

The next day I was at school teaching when Adam called. He's at home with Adly still and I thought it was weird that he was calling knowing I was at work. There was another teacher in my room at the time so I ran out into the hallway to answer. Adam didn't have good news.

Adly had gotten into the Nyquil on my nightstand in the matter of a minute Adam had walked around the corner. She had it in her mouth and down her shirt. To start, Adam called poison control. They recommended to immediately head to the ER, because any amount she drank could have serious consequences.

After I hung up, I went right back to teaching, convincing myself she'd be fine. She was in good hands. She wasn't at a daycare or with a sitter, she was with her dad. I went through the next 30 minutes until lunch as normal. When I got to lunch I kept texting Adam, who was at the ER already, for updates. He had no answers other than that it was definitely starting to effect Adly and that they were running a lot of tests.

All normal, considering the situation, I thought. Then came the news they'd need to keep her for another 3-4 hours to continue monitoring her. He didn't have her blankie or any bottle or food for her. I knew I had to get there. There was some sort of unnerving feeling as a mom that I just had to be there for her. My baby was in a hospital. How could I not? My boss was amazing and worked it out for me to leave within minutes. I ran home, got Adly's favorite things and headed to see them.

As I went to the hospital, my mind was racing with questions. I just couldn't figure out how she had gotten into the the bottle in the first place. Had I not screwed the cap on tight? Is she a superwoman? Maybe she's an extraordinarily talented toddler and has a super skill for opening bottles. It just didn't make sense to me how a toddler could get into a childproofed medicine bottle. Because, after zillions of lawsuits, aren't all medicine bottles childproofed these days?

When I got there, Adly was out of it, tired, with super red cheeks. They asked me how much was in the bottle before she got to it...but who ever pays attention to that? She doesn't know how to drink out of a cup, so that was a good thing. We just couldn't fathom she had actually swallowed that much. Shortly after I arrived to the hospital, Adly started coming around to her normal self again as the effects of the medicine began to wear off.

We thought we were home free and would be fine to take her home finally. This was when the doctor came in to deliver the news that the next step was to test for Tylenol poisoning. Tylenol, which can cause severe liver damage in small doses for little ones, is apparently in NyQuil. To test her levels, they had to run an IV. By now, we've seen plenty of shots be stabbed into our sweet little girl for her regular vaccinations. But nothing can prepare you for watching them be stuck with an IV needle. (Ok, I still have to turn my head when I get stuck for maybe needles are a little rough for me in general). They wrapped her up in a swaddle-burrito with just her arm hanging out. We kept telling her they were going to do tests on her. She kept looking at us with wide eyes saying, "Adly tests. Adly tests." I held my phone in front of her with her beloved Peppa Pig playing to distract her while they poked her. She didn't scream or cry. There were only big tears falling from her eyes as she looked at me like "why are they hurting me mama?" Of course, I was sobbing. Then within seconds she was totally fine, while I had to take some time to recollect myself. My toddler is way stronger than I.

As we waited, we also got the delivered the super embarrassing, yet mandatory, lecture on medicine and children. We do keep all medicine in a cabinet above the sink. This was obviously a fluke incident and a moment of absentmindedness from myself. Still, it's hard to hear someone remind you of these simple steps and not feel like you failed as a parent in some way. The ER doctor had asked me to bring in the bottle of medicine with me so she could examine it. As soon as she got it into her hands she twisted it off. Turns out, to my shock and utter disbelief, not all medicines are childproof. How on earth this is plausible still boggles my mind. I guess I had become accustomed to the notion that all were treated the same, and therefore had never even considered it a possibility that a cap might simply twist off. 

Thankfully, the tests came back low and so we were cleared for release soon after. It was a scary day and hopefully our last visit to the ER for a while. As parents, there is nothing worse than sitting helplessly next to your sick child. Clearly, I married Adam for a reason. He is the sanity to my insanity in these kinds of moments. Always looking at the positive outcomes, while I, ever the realist always think the worst. I'm so grateful it was him at home with Adly during all of this. He who had the clear mind to take responsible action calmly and quickly, whereas I would've been sobbing, panicking, and running around like a madwoman.

It is also not lost on me that we were the lucky ones. Our ER visit was short and ended fine. I've come to follow a few journeys of toddlers from my home state who are battling horrific cancers or terminal illnesses. How do those children deal with the pain every day? And their parents. The strength they have is inspirational. This job called parenting sometimes finds a way to show you just how weak you can be, or how strong you actually are, when you least expect it.

Snuggles with mama and her beloved nye-nye. 

Do you likey my dress?

When it smacked me in the face that my "big girl" is still such a small baby. Tear. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

20 months

Life has gotten in the way of a lot of things lately. We moved again to a bigger place which we didn't think would be that bad of a move, but oh it was.

You never realize how quickly you can collect ridiculous amounts of, to put it nicely, "stuff" until you have a kid. I can't even imagine if there were more than one what it would be like. The move took way longer than expected with way more trips up and down many flights of stairs carrying armful after armful of baby gear that is too big and awkward to box up. 

Then when it came to unpacking we suddenly realized it would be much harder with a little munchkin who's into everything and needs constant surveillance, especially in a new place. Thankfully we've become settled and have pretty much gotten unpacked over the last two weeks. 

Now for Adly. I skipped 19 months so that means there's been quite a bit of growth....sometimes these days a month just doesn't seem to have a lot of changes. 

Here's Adly at 20 months:

-She has begun saying phrases and small sentences. This has been really exciting to see happen, especially the first time she figures out a sentences. She kind of says it slowly as you're waiting on edge to hear what words going to come next. She loves the book I Went Walking where a kid takes a walk and a lot of animals join him. The longest sentence I've heard from her came repeated from that book "I see a lot of animals looking at me!" So cool. 

-Speaking of repeating, she does this A  LOT. Sometimes it's beyond adorable, like when she started saying "mmmm DELICIOUS" and "immmmmpossible!" Both from her favorite TV show. Pretty much anything you ask her to say these days she will say and usually quite clearly. However then there's the downside. Her other favorite word she's learned to repeat is "damnit". And the worse part is, she uses it appropriately. I tried scolding her and telling her that's a mama word not an Adly word. Now she says "Damnit!......(sits then nods her head knowingly)....mama word!" Oh well. At least I tried.

-Her favorite TV show is still Peppa Pig. I was always kind of against TV for toddlers (what soon-to-be-idealistic-head-in-the-clouds parent isn't?!). This was until I realized we could get an actual break for 20 minute periods. I won't admit how many episodes she watched while we packed and unpacked but I am so grateful for that show!!!

-She's an up and down eater these days. Some days she mows down what we offer, other days it's an awful battle. I hate those days. There really is nothing worse than whipping up a healthy balanced meal for your child only to have them refuse to take one damn bite. For the most part I like to think she's beginning to realize she either eats what's offered or she goes hungry, but I'm not going to say that's easy by any means. We usually end up trying to get something in her stomach, even if it's not the best choice.

-She still has no interest in the potty. I know this task is looming ahead and I also know none of us are looking forward to it. That's all we have to say about that.

-Our new place has two bathrooms which is amazing, however they are both with standup showers. There is a jacuzzi tub too, but that would take a quarter of Lake Michigan to fill a few inches so we've transitioned Adly to just using the stand up shower. This was not an easy task considering a month ago, my child was one of those screaming and crying if a drop of water touched her face. Every shampoo rinse was a teary-eyed battle. Before we moved, we randomly threw her in the shower with me, knowing we'd need to transition her. Over a few showers she became used to the water falling over her and actually started to enjoy it! What's even nicer is this has combined our shower times, saving me some time in the evening. However these toddlers are fickle beings, so of course I can't say she LOVES shower time every day and is just the easiest toddler ever. Some days she decides she hates the shower and we have a 10 minute coaxing and bribing session to get her in. Other days she walks right in no problem. One other thing I didn't realize would happen is she sees mama shaving her legs in the shower. Of course, even though she doesn't look like me, she is definitely my mini-me. So she has to do everything I do. Now every time we shower I hear "Mama shaves you!" She points her little leg out just like I do, rests on her big toe and I flip the razor around and "shave" her legs.

-Adly and I picked up a new "baby" while shopping a week ago and she has since become obsessed with her. She's exactly the same as her first baby but in a different outfit. Either way, she has completely taken to her, feeding her, changing her, carrying her everywhere she goes. It is so cute!! 

-My child is also a diva. She gets this from her dad. In the last few months she has grown to dislike having her picture taken. At least when mama does it. Now I get a straightfaced stare and a "Nooo! No picture!" almost every time I whip out the camera. I either do it deceptively or have to dance around like a raging idiot to get a small, distracted smile from her. However if SHE is messing with my camera (and turning it every wrong way of course) she'll smile and say "CHEESE!!" while happily clicking away and taking pictures of the ceiling. 

Smile for you?!? Hah! Yeah right.

I think that's about it for now. She's turning into such a big girl. I notice the way she now lays on me and wraps her legs around my waist has changed. Her body is so much bigger now, like a little girl, and definitely not a baby anymore. It's those moments when you stop and realize how fast they are growing and changing, that you just want time to slow down. 

Family selfies right before the move!
Playing and sharing with our friend Ava.
Taking care of baby. 
Helping mama build the bed.
Peppa Time!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Welcome to Toddlerhood

Being grouped into the category of "toddler" is a big scary world. It suddenly means you're not a "baby" anymore and you have to start doing all kinds of things like walking, talking with words, and going down to one nap a day. And that, my friends, is so stressful!

Additionally, becoming a toddler means you change from this sweet, innocent bundle to a force to be reckoned with. You want to be heard, understood, and listened to--and get responses (only ones you want to hear) immediately! All of which is a big change for us new parents. "Wait, I'm sorry, whats that? You want the toy? You want to see something on my phone? You are deciding you don't want to eat this delicious meal I cooked for you? Umm, no. I make those decisions. Right? Right?"

In preparation for this new venture, I've been doing a lot of reading up on these creatures called toddlers. Instead of feeling prepared with all the information possible, I find myself feeling like a new parent all over again. Figuring out this stage of life is a bit overwhelming. Toddlers are seriously so stinking cute. They toddle around on their little legs like a drunken sailor, babbling away with indiscernible languages. They act like little versions of big kids and they get to wear the cutest clothes yet since they can finally stand on two legs. They're like tiny little adults. Best of all, they are communicating! You can finally know (most of the time) what it is they are saying or what it is they want! They are taking in the world around them and every day you can catch an earth moving moment where their eyes light up as they learn or see something new. 

But then, there's the dark side of toddlerhood. The one which I see us heading towards at lightning speed. The one that involves tantrums and meltdowns. I'm just not ready for it. I see it starting. Its beginnings involve the limp noodle (where one suddenly becomes impossible to pick up). The sitting on the floor and kicking of feet. The breath holding until red in the face. The constant crying, whining, tears. And I know, this is just the beginning. 

Toddlers have so much thrown into one day. Their brains are working in overdrive, they don't sleep as much, they're burning a ton of energy moving those wobbly legs to and fro, and picking themselves up off the floor over and over again. I mean, can we blame them for being total jerks no matter where you are or how much of a rush you're in? Add on top of this, a new found language ability. They're able to say a handful of words to get what they want. But the thousands of other words out there all seem so jumbly and mumbly when they tumble out of their tiny mouths. And us parents, we don't dare ask them what it is they need more than once, because not understanding your child is just incomprehensible! Such an action will be met with an immediate wrath or all of the above happening. I picture my child to be screaming inside her head, "Whhhhhhyyyyy! Whhhhyyyyy is mama so dumb?! Whhhhyyy must I deal with this imbecile on a daily basis??!! Obviously, I'm asking her where my toy cow is!!"

A while back, I made the fatal mistake of taking Adly to a restaurant hungry. And then I upped the ante by forgetting to bring any snacks for her. She immediately began to lose it in the restaurant constantly grabbing at the diaper bag. I knew she thought there were snacks in there, but her imbecile mother had forgotten them. On the brink of a level 5 meltdown, the waitress thankfully saved the day with some crackers until her food arrived. Having learned my lesson, the next weekend, I blissfully packaged up some crackers as we headed out to run errands. Heading back to the fact that I'm an imbecile, this time I left my wallet at home. But, hey! I had the snacks! As we were shopping (before I realized I had no money to pay for such things), Adly started to get that twitch in her eye. I knew a tantrum was headed our way. I gleefully whipped out her favorite cracker snack in her favorite to-go container.

She literally looked at me like I was the biggest idiot for even thinking of offering her such a thing then swatted the cup away, scowling at me. WTF? I tried acting like I didn't care, muttering, "whatever then, don't eat your crackers". However inside, I was panicking, sweat starting to bead on my forehead. "Please don't have a meltdown in public, please don't!" But I was also all like, "COME ON. I actually remembered the crackers and now you don't want them!?! What do you want from me?!?" It is SO frustrating to not be appreciated or get a round of applause once in a while. I mean, seriously.

The other day we had a meltdown over "peel-it's". Adly is obsessed with the fact she knows how to "peel" (or peel and eat the skin) of clementines now. So anytime I open the fridge it's a mad dash for her to squeeze between my legs and dive into the bottom drawer where her little golden nuggets are stored, all for the pure joy of peeling. After her snack of two clementines I told her she was done. Mistake #23,455: never tell a toddler they are done when they want something. This turned into the dramatic whining and following me to the living room shouting "peel-it!!....peeeel it!!!!" My God, child. You'd think I hadn't fed her for days. I ignored her and sat on the couch where we began a Western-style stand-off. Who would give in first? She refused to move from her spot in the living room and I refused to move from the couch despite her cries and streaming tears all for "peel-it's". I tried every tactic I've read or heard about, with nothing working. Finally, I had to give in. I rationalized it by the fact that all she wanted was an orange. I mean, it wasn't candy or chips or a knife. So was it THAT bad? I don't know. The war on toddlerism is a never ending battle of the mind. Did I set the wrong precedent? Will she expect me to give in next time? Should I have stood my ground? Who knows. 

However dark and scary these moments are, I realize life certainly wouldn't be the same, (nor would the amount I sweat on outings) without these little beings. I've also changed. I've gone from that mom who gives a knowing glance and nod to new mommies with screaming infants, to the mom who runs away in terror when I hear another toddler screaming in a store. I can't have those little devils following me on my peaceful monthly 20-minute outing to the store without my own toddler!   

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Whole New World...

A few weeks ago, Adly and I were out walking at dusk when she saw the moon in the sky. It was her first connection from everyone's favorite childhood book Goodnight Moon to the real world. She has been obsessed ever since.

We were headed to up north Wisconsin the day after she discovered the moon, so she had plenty of opportunities to see the moon in the clear northern sky while we were there. Since then, at random times throughout the day she'll say "moon! moon!" and run to the window to see if she can see it. We've come up with some inventive ways to explain why the moon isn't always there. Some are: it's taking a nap, it went to work, it went to get the point.

While fostering her love of the moon and peering out our windows, she has also discovered she can see and hear planes flying by, heading to O'hare. This is something all of us had taken for granted and I was shocked when I heard her at the window with her dad saying "plaaaane! plane!" I thought for sure there was no way she could see and/or hear a plane. I mean, we had never noticed. Sure enough, there are planes buzzing by throughout the day. Some near and very large, others far away and smaller. Either way, she has been obsessed with sitting at the window looking for the planes in the daytime and the lights on the planes in the dark. She'll sit at the dinner table and whisper, "Listen (yeeesen). Plaaanes. Listen. Heed it. (hear it)". And then with big eyes she stares out the window for a glimpse of a plane.

How incredible it is, to see the realization happening that there are so many bigger things out there in this world of ours.

Friday, January 9, 2015

18 months!

Oh my. We're a year and a half into this parenting business and couldn't be happier. Guess what. I get it now. I'm in on the secret. Now I know why parents choose to do this all over again. Because at this point, you just forget. You forget all the sleepless nights and the crying and the stress and the anxiety. Suddenly you're more on top of things more than you aren't. Suddenly things make sense day after day and you have a grasp on who these little beings are. This is by far the best stage we've been through together. She's a little human being! She's so fun! She's funny!

At 18 months, Adly has begun speaking in phrases. Some are completely understandable, others need mom or dad to translate, and others are just plain babble. But either way, it has propelled our conversations and understanding of each other big time. Some of the most common phrases are: "I like it", "I don't like it", "Ohhhh boy!", "That's awesome",  and "I'm done now". Adly is also starting to understand using "I" as herself. She's trying out how to use it in sentences when I say things like, "you go get it" she'll respond with "I go get it" instead of mimicking what I said.

My little mini-me also continues to mimic and copy just about everything I do. She sweeps the floor after I do, she picks up around the house behind me, and she cooks like I do. Adlys aunt Nora and uncle Steve got Adly a kitchen for Christmas. Her papa Dan and Tata got her some plastic foods and I picked up a metal cooking set. All of these combined have helped to advance her love of imaginative cooking play. She cooks around the house or in the kitchen as I do. Anytime she can, she's up working next to me as I cook. It's the cutest thing ever.  

She's demonstrating her independence more and more by saying "no" when she doesn't want to do or eat something. However, at this point in time it's really just cute. She says it really demurely in a high pitched voice but also matter of factly, just a quick "no." 

Her love of playing hide and seek has come through this month as well. She had a blast in Door County with her aunt Ra Ra chasing her saying "I'm gonna get you!" Adly giggled non-stop at being chased and being the chaser for this game yelling "I getchuuuu". Around the house, she loves to "hide" (stand out in the open around the corner) and for you to come get her. She also calls out for you if you don't find her fast enough, so clearly we're still developing the concept of hiding. 

We traveled a TON during the month of November and December. While it's definitely getting harder to do with Adly, technology, mama in the backseat, and books helped to make it more bearable. I'm hoping as she gets older, the sleeping in the car thing gets easier. 

Lastly, Adly continues to grow height-wise and is back in the 98th percentile for height. She is a champion teether and pushed through her two top canines this month without us knowing. I hope the bottom two are just as easy. After that we're done with teeth until her last four two-year old molars come in.

I swear it feels like I blinked and suddenly this little lady was in front of me. What an amazing winter break we had together! Here are some pics from our NYE vacation up in Door County, WI.

 Giggles with dada. 
 The newly engaged. 
 You just can't beat this view. 
 Breakfast with uncle Seve!
 Piggy braids thanks to Aunt Ra Ra!
 Soooo big!
 Trying so hard for a smile. 
 Look at those teefers!
 Playing with slinky. 
 Sweatpants NYE party!
 With the hubs. 
Uncle Steve and Aunt Ra Ra!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

This year, Adam and I decided to change things up when it came to holiday travel. Typically, we spend Christmas Eve in Chicago with Adam's family and then on Christmas Day, we wake up bright and early to hike 6 hours to my hometown in Michigan. It has been our tradition for the last 4 years.

Because of the timing of Christmas, we found that we could flip our visit and go to Michigan first, allowing us to then have a good chunk of time to be at home and relax after the holiday. Additionally, Adly would be able to have her first Christmas at home, with Santa visiting. She knows who Santa is (he says "Ho-ho-hoooo") and we knew this would be the first year it would be really exciting to have her open gifts the morning of. Therefore we made the trip on the Friday before Christmas and stayed there for five days, coming back to Chicago on Christmas Eve. It was also our turn to host Christmas Eve, because you know, we like to make sure our schedules are always packed to the brim.

In Michigan, we celebrated Christmas on Saturday and Sunday with the grandparents. It was a little weird celebrating so early, while most people were still finishing up their shopping. However I'm glad we still got to celebrate with all of them. While we were home, we had an extra treat of visiting with my child hood best friends family and all the kids that have joined their family over the years. Adly loved the chance to get to run around outside with all the kiddos.

We then headed back on Christmas Eve to host Adam's family Christmas, which was also a blast. Having Christmas Eve with the siblings on Adam's side is a new tradition we started last year, and has been so much fun to carry on. All we need now are some new cousins to add to the mix. Hint, hint!

Adly had a truly wonderful Christmas, she LOVED opening "pesents" and playing with all of her new goodies. Being the only grandchild on both sides has made her Christmas very plenitful. We had so much fun seeing all of our family and enjoying this truly special holiday with our number one lady.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

Excited to see Braelyn!
Cooking with Tata and Papa.
Reading with papa. 
More books! Thanks Gaga Karen!
Checking out her calendar. 
More pesents!
Sitting atop the remnants of her haul. 
Cousins cruising, Michigan Style. 

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