Micro blog: The walking dictionary (for beginners)

Aviana is coming along nicely with learning new words.  I have lost count of the number of words she knows but it is well over 50, may be even 100, and the other day she actually put two words together that she came up with herself, in context of the situation….”Daddy gone?”.  I was taken aback at her new found skill.   Her other new skill is knowing the names of colours – she hasn’t quite got the difference between pink and purple yet, but to be fair, I know a few guys who can’t tell the difference :-0 There is one word in particular she has trouble saying, but is the sweetest – Lizard – she basically says ‘Li-la-d’ and sticks out her tongue like a lizard as she says it.  Too cute.  She occasionally also says words backwards…like ‘Cup’ is ‘Puc’.  I find all this language development truly fascinating.  Every day it’s something new!!!

Micro Blog: Child’s Brain

Aviana seems to be growing into her skin a lot more.  Now that she is walking, running and galloping (her new skill this week!), she seems pretty content with her new found skills.  She spent a lot of her growing life constantly frustrated that she can’t physically do stuff she mentally wanted to do.  It felt like her brain was always two steps ahead of her body developmentally.  We have also ran out of ‘wonder weeks’.  Her final leap was actually earlier than expected, a couple of weeks early than the book suggested, but this was becoming the trend with the last few leaps.  Now that we have run out of leaps, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t ‘leap’ in her brain development anymore, it’s just that it’s less predictable.  The wonder weeks app has been a wonderful resource and comfort.  I highly recommend it to new parents.

I am now reading a new book called ‘Welcome to your child’s brain’ which is sort of an advance on the wonder weeks, and explains a child’s brain development in a whole lot more detail.  Like the wonder weeks, it provides guidance on when and how a kid’s brain develops, but towards teenage college years.  Everything from sight, smell, reading, mathematics, art, behavior, motor skills and emotions.  It’s thoroughly fascinating to learn about how, when and why children do certain things and its normalcy.  Read it.  You won’t regret learning about why your child does certain things and how to deal with them.

Where’s Dani?

I haven’t blogged in a while.  Mostly because I have been focusing on other things in my spare time, like learning how to use my sewing machine!!!  Work was a little crazy too and I have often come home feeling like the last thing I want to do is sit down in front of a computer to write.  It is also a sign that I haven’t felt the need to blog, my therapeutic tool.  And that’s kind of a good thing.

I’m feeling more comfortable in my parenting rhythm.  It goes something like this…

….Figure stuff out (books, facebook, family, friends and google – thank you) Two weeks later forget that and figure something else out.  Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

I have learned to be cool with the routine of the routine always changing.  That’s not to say we don’t have a routine, because we do and it’s a pretty good one Chris and I have figured out.  Rather, I mean, that Aviana is constantly changing and her needs are always changing.  Now I’ve gotten used to that reality.  Expect the unexpected is my new motto.

With that in mind, I haven’t felt like I have needed to blog!  Which is a shame because I love to capture the interesting things I have learned as a parent.

In any case, I thought I’d do a series of micro blog posts to catch up!!! No one wants to read my 3 months worth of an essay in one hit!

Aviana at 15 months

I should have written this a month ago because Aviana is now 16 months.  But I had a bit of a break from blogging and it’s been in draft whilst I focused my attention on National Infertility Awareness Week!  Whoops! Anyway, enough of the excuses…what do I have to say about 15 months?

I was led to believe tantrums were a 2-3 year old issue, but when Aviana turned 14 months they kind of came out of no where!  Aviana entered her 9th leap with an entrance.  Wow, she was touchy over seemingly small things.  Part of it I think was because she was still learning to walk, she knows what she wants and couldn’t physically quite do it all.  She was also starting to be ‘naughty’.  I say ‘naughty’ because actually she is just experimenting, it’s natural.  But it was definitely time to introduce some limits and apply diversion tactics.  Chris and I have spent several months reading up on discipline, agreeing our approaches in advance, discussing potential scenarios and planning how we might tackle toddler life with Aviana.  This has proven to be helpful because we are beginning to start to recognise situations where Aviana needs some help through the challenging times – ummm and of course ourselves dealing with those challenges!

Aviana also became extremely picky over eating, perhaps its because her molars and her bottom fangs were coming through all at once!  Planning food was becoming a little bit stressful, making sure that there was at least one thing in her meal we knew she would eat.  Even then there were times she simply refused her favourites.  Teething molars? I say eughhhhh, hurry up and be done with it!

Along with the downsides there are equally the upsides to be a parent of a toddler.  Can I just say one word to sum up the upsides – ADORABLE!  I love seeing Aviana learn new things literally everyday, and it is adorable.  Her personality is wicked, she loves laughing, she is brave (on her own, not so much in groups of people).  She is super SMART and is quick to learn. Aviana LOVES the playground, and loves all push along toys.  She loves going to the free zoo and watching the fishes and meeting the cats.

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Aviana is learning a few handy trades.  Obviously doing the plumbing herself will save her a fortune later in life.

She can communicate really well through sign language and gesturing.  By the time she went for her 15mth wellness visit she could say more than ten words when the doctor only expects one or two. She was saying mummy, daddy, dog, cat, Diesel, Sush (our cats), tree, more, bath, mouse, cheese, porridge, snack, cheese and probably more I can’t remember.  The funniest word she has learned is lizard – which sounds more like “li-lar”.  Too cute. She also knows what comes after one. Clearly she doesn’t know what that really means, but the fact that she assumes two always comes after one is cute.

potato

You probably wouldn’t be able to guess what she is eating – it was a red new RAW potato.  She seemed to be enjoying it with her new found molars!!

Watching Aviana play pretend is awesome.  She makes a cup of tea, shows empathy towards cuddly toys, and plays with her smart go-go animals. She will happily sit and colour-in with crayons (although we are having fun trying to teach her to sit at her little table when she has crayons in her hand so she doesn’t draw all over the furniture and walls!).

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It’s always best to match your tea and hat!!

I am so excited for the next few months as she gets more confidence in her gross motor skills.  I can see it will get a bit more frustrating for her as she can’t say everything she wants to communicate to us, so we need to keep up our skills in baby sign, but as her needs and desires become more complex I feel there will be some times where we have no clue what she is asking for! Yeyy!

Sixth disease

You have probably heard of fifth disease? It causes a rash which is more well known for causing red cheeks? Did you know there is also the sixth disease? There are also the first, second, third and fourth diseases as well. Such catchy names. But apparently named so after they were studied as the 6 diseases a child would face that causes a rash to break out. 2 of them bacterial: second disease AKA scarlet fever and forth disease AKA Dukes disease, the other 4 of them are viral: first disease AKA measles, third disease AKA rubella or German measles, fifth disease, AKA fifth disease caused by the parovirus, and sixth disease AKA Roseola.

The sixth disease or Roseola is very common in children under age of two and Aviana got it at the prime age of 15 months. Except at the time we didn’t know it was Roseola.

It started when Aviana had a slight temperature 99.8F we thought was related to teething (those back top molars!!!) so we gave her some Tylenol and thought nothing more if it. But when I picked her up from daycare she was crying and apparently pretty much inconsolable since waking up from her nap that day. She was boiling hot to the touch I couldn’t believe the teachers hadn’t noticed! They apologized and tried to take her temp there and then, but the thermometer wasn’t working so I took her straight home – the poor love was burning up! She was 103F! Definitely not teething then. But what could it be? She had zero other symptoms, she had a slight runny nose, but nothing obvious. Considering her high temp, she seemed to be just fine. She ate her dinner and played some jokes! Weird.

With some Tylenol Aviana’s temp went down to 101F and she went to sleep with no problem – we prepared for a bad night but she slept very well!!! She woke up the next day with a temperature still so we couldn’t send her to daycare. We kept her home and she was in mixed sorts. One minute happy, the next freaking out over nothing.

That evening after her bath she turned blue grey at her hands feet and mouth. It was a bit scary, but turns out can happen when children have a fever. It’s the body’s normal reaction when they get cold and have a fever. Lesson learned there!!!

The next day we got her up after she had a mammoth sleep and she was boiling hot again! This time she was 103F again but lethargic. She wouldn’t eat. So Chris took her to the doctors as soon as it opened. She was a little lympet and just wouldn’t let go, so sorry for herself. They tested her for strep, came back negative and said it could have been flu, but was too late to treat with tamiflu. In typical fashion, Weirdly, Aviana’s fever broke later that day. It just suddenly dropped. Unfortunately her crankiness did not stop however.

And so we thought that was it…we sent her to daycare the next day, she was still a bit cranky, but nothing too unusual. Later that evening she broke out in a rash all over her back, chest, neck and arms…but not her legs or face. WTF???

Quick….google ‘rash in toddler’!

Oh. Roseola. fits everything. Apparently a rash appears after the fever breaks! It’s also called ‘Exanthem subitum’ – ‘sudden rash’. Not sure why the doctors didn’t think of it as a possibility. She even had the puffy eye thing going on, but at the time we didn’t think too much of it because she had been crying a lot regularly!

Her rash disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared.  It took her a few days to return to ‘normal’ Aviana after the rash appeared. In total it took about 8 days from start to finish.  It was tough on occasion because she was so fussy and needy, and times I questioned my ability to parent through it as my patience wore thin, even telling myself she is just ill and won’t be like this forever.  But then she was suddenly super cute and adorable as much as she was suddenly grumpy, fussy or clingy.  I also quietly admit that I did like the snuggles when she wasn’t crying.  A plus side of a toddler being ill! Snuggly cuddles.  I’ll treasure those and forget the rough moments!

Are Easter Baskets the New Christmas Stockings?

Did I not get the memo?  Or am I so oblivious to this tradition as a Brit living in the US? All over my facebook page yesterday were photos of beautiful Easter baskets full of goodies…and then some. Chocolates, candies, stickers, books, balls, cuddly toys, toys and more toys. I was beginning to wonder if Easter was the new Christmas. For example….

huge basket

A paddling pool filled with toys parading as an “Easter basket”


If Aviana could talk, she’d go into daycare today and tell her friends about her super fun Easter weekend….

“I had such a fun weekend! Mummy and Daddy took me to a free easter egg hunt organised by the city at our local park.  I took my little felt Easter basket and lined up with all the other kids who were 3 years old and under.  As soon as the horn was blown I raced to pick up as many little plastic eggs in the field in front of us as I could carry.  But everyone else was quicker 😦 Mummy and Daddy turned me around to the field where the bigger kids were because they hadn’t found all their eggs yet.  I got one!!! But suddenly a swarm of big kids came running towards me.  I was afraid they’d push me over to get my egg!  And then….all the eggs were gone.  Well, at least I found one!  As we were leaving Daddy was talking with another parent and mentioned I had only managed to find one.  A big boy who must have been about 7 years old shared some of his eggs with me.  What a lovely thing to do!  Other kids came away with huge buckets full of eggs!  But next year I’ll get my training shoes on and I’ll be bigger so I can race the other kids!  I’ve only just learned how to run, so I’m still a bit wobbly on my feet.

The next day I was so tired from running around in the park I slept in a bit later than usual (You are welcome mummy and daddy, my Easter gift to you) but when I woke up I was excited for “Daddy Pancakes”, something we have every Sunday.  Today was extra special because Daddy made me a bunny rabbit pancake with chocolate chips for eyes and a nose.

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After eating A LOT of pancakes Mummy and Daddy took me out to the garden because the Easter bunny had left some treats for me!  I learned how to hunt Easter eggs last week at daycare, so I was quite a pro at looking for the little bright coloured plastic eggs.  Some eggs had little plastic toys in them, others had nothing in them – tricky Easter bunny! and then the best ones had cheerios and raisins in them! I filled up the whole basket with eggs!

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It was so much fun!!!  Did you have a fun weekend too??”

Other Kid:

“Yes!!!! But I got a huuuuuuuuuuge Easter basket with new books and toys in it!  In fact, there wasn’t enough room for all the toys so the Easter bunny had to pile them up AROUND the basket!  Didn’t you get any new toys?

Aviana:

“Hmmm.  No I didn’t”

Other Kid:

“Wow, unlucky.  Haha. May be the Easter bunny thought you were naughty so didn’t give you any toys.”

Aviana starts to cry……”But I’m a good girl!! Mummy and Daddy always tell me I’m a good girl, they never tell me I’m naughty….”


Ahh Aviana….you will learn some lessons from this….

1. You can’t have everything.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others…Comparison is the thief of joy.

3. The Easter bunny only poops out little eggs.  How can it poop out toys to give to children?  That’s just silly.

4.  Restraint….from not punching other kids that taunt you.

Cats and toddlers

We always agreed that we would never get rid of our cats for a baby. We would have to get rid of the baby first. (Just kidding!) Only if the baby had severe allergies would we consider getting rid of our cats.

Why do I bring this up? Well, Our cat, sushi, is a bit of a feisty one and occasionally grumpy one. Not too soon before Aviana arrived, sushi scratched our friend’s daughter quite badly. Admittedly, she had cornered sushi and was waving her hands and had been chasing her. Sushi swiped and scratched our friend’s daughter right on the eye. We felt awful. It actually happened again when one time we lost track of the toddler, you know doing toddler stuff…and it happened in a split second. Sushi sent a message loud and clear-I don’t like you, leave me alone- SWIPE! We wondered whether sushi would ever get on with a baby, or if she would turn into a grumpy cat for ever.

Diesel, our feral cat we rescued from near certain death, is a scaredy-cat. The complete opposite of sushi. We didn’t need to worry about diesel hurting a baby. In fact, the chances are a baby would be more likely to accidentally hurt him first.

Guess who is Aviana’s favourite cat? Yes, you guessed it, it’s diesel. Diesel has always fascinated Aviana, perhaps it’s because he is so elusive Or maybe it’s because he eats all the food she throws on the floor (he is a bit of a dog). Sushi on the other hand loves to hang around Aviana and sleeps in her room for her morning nap. She will happily flop down in front of Aviana with her ‘please stroke me’ face on. Now, Aviana has learned to be gentle with sushi, we have instilled it into her since day….but recently Aviana has been a little hard with the strokes with Sushi. One time in particular she grabbed sushi and fur went flying, sushi was very good and did not retaliate or defend herself. I am afraid though as Aviana gets bigger and stronger that she might hurt Sushi and Sushi will fall out of love with Aviana forever or worse, retaliate.

Now that Aviana is walking we have to watch her like a hawk around the cats. Hopefully it will get easier, but for now toddler + cats = potential danger!

Karma

It is clearly Karma.  I decided to take my day off in lieu for Martin Luther King Day when I was working in Paris tomorrow.  I had grand plans of doing some serious self teaching of my not so new sewing machine.  I was going to pick up Aviana early and get some mummy daughter time. But……here comes the but…..Aviana got ill again.  Well kind of.

Daycare called today at lunch time to say Aviana had a fever and needed to be picked up.  When I got there she had woken up from a nice 2 hour nap and seemed her normal self.  But hey.  She has been teething, got a runny nose and has a bit of a sore nappy rash.  I am not convinced she is seriously ill.  Her fever was 100 at daycare, when I got home it was hovering around 99.5 and with some tylenol/paracetamol it came down to 97.9. I am thinking a cold and teething and hoping not the start of something more serious.

Of course, she is not allowed back to daycare for 24hrs after a fever….so there goes my day off!  Well at least it is still a day off, and hopefully Aviana will actually be well enough that we can still have a bit of fun together.

This poor girl can’t catch a break! BUT at least if she is ill it is more likely she will be better just in time for our girl’s holiday in Orlando in a week’s time, I’m sure some sunshine is just what the doctor ordered 🙂

Textbook baby

Why is everything a competition when it comes to baby milestones??!!! Aviana is pretty much textbook in hitting all her milestones (except for crawling which she avoided, but that’s not a real milestone anyway), but today at Aviana’s gym class someone made out like Aviana was LATE in her development.

Whilst Aviana clambered over some low lying parallel bars, a mother of a little boy who was new to the class commented on how she is glad her son isn’t climbing yet, I laughed and agreed ‘I can’t take my eyes away for a minute’, then she asked ‘awww, how old is she?’, without much thought I said ’13 months-she just started walking really in the last week so she is off exploring everywhere’. The mother looked surprised, probably because Aviana looked pretty confident, so I added, ‘she has been almost walking for a few months but finally figured out it was more efficient than scooting’. And then the mother asked if Aviana was my first, I replied yes, and she said it….’ohhh first borns are always late at walking’.

Wait. What? Aviana isn’t a late walker!

Yes some kids walk earlier, and some kids walk much later!!! In fact the average is 12 months. Aviana is pretty much text book and started walking solo aged 12 months 1 week.

So this conversation got me thinking how much pressure as parents we put ourselves under for our babies to hit their milestones at any given time. It is seemingly never ending! Of course it’s important to track them, but it also helps to know what the range for developmentally normal actually is. This mother’s perspective was clearly from a limited experience and luckily I knew better so as to not be offended or become worried!

This is one of the reasons why I hate the question ‘how old is she?’ from random strangers. I always feel like the only reason they are asking is to judge their kid against mine.

The sickiness

It just HAD to happen the two weeks I was away on work travels.  Before I left Chris got really ill with some kind of respiratory infection…and of course it had to happen when snowmageddon happened.  Chris was due to travel, but he was too ill and then we had 9” of snow!  This meant I had to look after Aviana whilst daycare was shut and Chris was a poorly bunny tucked up in bed.  We have some wonderful friends who came to our rescue who walked through the snow to our house and helped clear our driveway so I could get out and drive Chris to Urgent Care.  The day after Chris’s trip to urgent care I was due to fly to California.  With all the snow I was mostly expecting for my flight to be cancelled/delayed.  But in the end my flights went smoothly, despite the snow, and so off I went to California leaving sick Chris to look after Aviana.  Chris had some extra help from our sitter on a couple of evenings.  They survived, but Chris was exhausted, still recovering from his respiratory infection.

I came home for 24 hours at the weekend and then I was off again,  but this time to Paris.  After I made it to my hotel I received a sitrep that Aviana was not acting her usual self.  Either she was acting strange because I had left or she was getting ill.  It turned out she was getting ill.  Chris was sending me pictures and videos of Aviana looking incredibly sorry for herself.  She couldn’t sleep lying down or on her own and just cried and cried.  Poor Chris stayed up most of the night with her sleeping upright on him.  Worried about her labored breathing he took her to urgent care.  She had Bronchiolitis and sores in her mouth, it was viral so there was very little that could be done to help her recover quicker except for rest, cuddles and fluids.  The sores in her mouth meant she wouldn’t eat any food except for yoghurt, blueberries and chocolate ice cream.  Haha, yes we resorted to the ice cream (my idea ice cream, chocolate was Chris’s idea!!!).   Poor love, she was in so much pain.

Chris was due to travel for a couple of days for work, but the doctor said Aviana couldn’t come in contact with other children until 48hrs after her fever had gone….which wouldn’t have been a problem except our sitter works with other children so that meant she couldn’t have Aviana.  I offered to come home, but that would have been too late for Chris to travel, so he cancelled his work trip and stayed home with her for the rest of the week.  Of course, it was impossible for him to work at home with a sick baby and he doesn’t get much leave as it is.  It was just so typical – I have 8 days of leave I carried over from last year…I’m the one with all the leave and I wasn’t there to help!

By the time I got back from Paris Aviana was feeling better and almost back to her normal self; she still has a bit of a chesty wheeze and a runny nose, but she’s a million times better than she was.  Then of course I woke up with some weird chesty cough, I haven’t had a cold so it came out of nowhere.

I think we are done with January and the sickiness.  Can we just start the new year again please?!