Friday, February 29, 2008

The Witching Hour


What is it about that time? When Angelina was smaller - about 6-8weeks or so, she hit this patch where my sweet little baby turned into a Screaming Demon. Every day at 5:30 PM or so. It lasted a couple of hours. We did everything, nurse, sing, change her, nurse some more, sleep... didn't help. Eventually that passed and though she still had her Screaming Demon moments, they weren't so consistent.

Fast forward a year and a half. She's almost 20 months old, and the 5:30PM Witching Hour has returned. Everyday about 5:30 she goes ballistic...our poor neighbors, the screaming they have to hear! We thought it was something about us, as that was when we got home from daycare, but no. Twice this week we picked her up at 2pm and she was just fine until 5:30, and then SHRIEK!

Is she hungry? I try feeding her and she doesn't want anything.
Does she need to be changed? I check and she's dry.
Does she need another nap? Maybe...but fat chance getting her to lay down
Does she want to nurse? Probably - I'm trying the 'don't offer, don't refuse' technique, but really trying to avoid it at that hour. She was fine without for many months, just nursing before bed and in the morning, but she seems to want more lately. I have given in occasionally, but it doesn't really seem to help. She just enters into her Screaming Demon phase after nursing.

What else could it possibly be?!

But she is the cutest, sweetest, loveliest kid ever! Really! Once she gets past the Witching Hour, she cuddles and laughs and kisses and laughs some more and you can't resist her.

UPDATE: The last few days she hasn't done this, as she's been having so much fun playing outside. Cross your fingers

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hat Girl

This, from the kid who last summer and the few cold days this winter refused to wear any hat. It wasn't even cold! It was about 80F (~27C), but she found this wooly hat and would not be happy if it wasn't on her head.

Good thing she's so dang cute!

Friday, February 22, 2008

"What's your parenting style?"

Um, it's called trial and error?

Seriously, what a weird question. Not that anyone actually asks this in real life. The internet has been a wonderful resource, especially as a new mom, but you also get silly questions like "What is your parenting style?" What the heck does that mean?

I've been described as "All Earth Momma" or "La Leche Woman" by friends - childless friends. Yes we:
1. Breastfeed (still,at 19 months)
2. Co-sleep
3. Made our own baby food (no jarred stuff, Angelina was already a food snob and wouldn't eat it anyway)
4. Homebirth (or at least try to)
5. Didn't do Scream-It-Out (ahem, "self-soothe") - well, at least in the early days.... Ok so I did in desperation and it didn't work.
6. Cloth diaper (at least at home, we use 7th Generation disposables for daycare and travel)
7. Carry her in a sling (don't you dare call it 'babywearing' - she's not an accessory like earings! I figured the Karen women did it, I could too.)

Some would take all that and give us a label. No thank you. I don't do labels, and I'm pretty sure Angelina has made it clear she does not fit neatly into a box. We've done all that because it's what worked (or at least tried to) and felt right, not because it was part of some parenting checklist.

Does it make me a better mom? No. Just a mom trying to figure out what's best for my daughter (and the environment).

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Her first "grounding"

At home and at daycare. Do the Terrible Twos start at 19 months?!

Last weekend we were working outside - me in the garden and hanging laundry, Fredo in the garage re-doing wiring (i.e. dangerous!). Angelina would not stop going into the garage standing right under Papa, no matter how many times I shouted "Danger!" and told her to get out. She understands from our voices if not the actual words that she's to stop what she's doing, because she looks at us with her sly smile, but then she goes back to it....

I had no choice but to bring her inside (absolute torture for my daughter, the way she stood at the back screen you'd think she was in jail) for her own safety. Fredo said "Her first grounding!" I finally managed to distract her and she was ok.

On Monday (a holiday) she wouldn't stop trying to push buttons on the TV , despite all my best efforts, so I made her sit in the chair. Lord you would have though I made her sit on fire....she last 30 secs, max. I realize there's only so much a 19-month old can understand.

Today Fredo said she got in trouble at the babysitter's. She had to sit in a chair (which is blocked in like a high chair but lower) for throwing a toy across the room, despite being warned not to. Her daycare provider (DCP) was very apologetic, but Fredo wisely said "No, that's ok. Give us tips!" I confess when he told me I laughed...I should not. I am glad our DCP uses positive discipline as much as possible, and at the same time is not happy about having to use it at all. I know she loves Angelina almost as much as we do (because really, no one can love her as much as we do, it's not humanly possible!). But I can also picture her doing it, and then looking at you with this grin in her eyes that melts your heart at the same time drives you bonkers.

What's the most annoying? That whenever I share this character of hers with friends or family, they just laugh and say "hmmm, I wonder where she gets that from? Surely you're not surprised?!" And they don't mean Frederic!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Bottle Diaries

In the US, the powers that be (other mothers, pediatricians, dentists, grandmothers, busy-bodies...) all make a big fuss about how a child should be "Off the bottle by 12 months" because it's bad for tooth development and cavities.

In Switzerland, kids have bottles (with milk, with juice, with tea, with sirop) until 4 or 5 at least. No one seems to think twice.

Who's right? Does it matter? The dental theory does have some scientific basis, but it doesn't seem like all Swiss kids have mouths full of bad teeth and cavities (and those that do, I'd blame it more on the chocolate which often starts at 6 months!).

As you can see, Angelina has a bottle. The funny thing is this is the kid who absolutely refused a bottle at first, so much so I was in a panic starting daycare that she'd starve. She eventually learned to take one, but took the bare minimum - no more than 8oz/day on a good day. Somewhere around 12-13 months she flat out refused any more bottles, which is just as well as I was keen to stop pumping (she also refused cow's milk - and goat's milk, rice milk, soy milk...she wanted mommy's milk or nothing). Lack of cow's milk wasn't a big deal since she ate tons of yoghurt and cheese. Fast forward to 16.5 months, she gets croup, stops eating/drinking anything and only nurses. As she was finally recovering, for some reason I gave her a bottle with cow's milk. She took it, and wanted more. I figured if it was a way to get milk into her (and maybe nurse a bit less) I wasn't going to complain.

Now, at 19.5 months, Papa will give her a bottle of cow's milk in the middle of the night if she refuses to go back to sleep, and occasionally I've give her one in the morning if she hasn't nursed all night. Probably averages out to about 2-3x per week. She's not particularly attached to it, but the way some people talk you'd think I was destroying her development.

As you can also see, she likes her sippy cup just fine and drinking from a regular cup or with a straw she can do very well. I've no worried about her development in that regard. It's just another container to drink liquid, one she prefers on occasion.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ready to work!

Just give her a hammer and she's ready...

It was yucky out today so we didn't do any work on the house, but Angelina sure wanted to. She found my hat and gloves, put them on and proceeded to strut around the house looking for projects to do. Alas, with the big gloves she couldn't pick anything up and got rather furious about that...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

She thinks it's summer

Sure, it's warmer here than in most of the northern hemisphere, but it's not like it's that warm at 70F (21C) in the sun. That doesn't make any difference to Angelina. Lately she runs for the hose so when we water the trees, she has to run into the spray. Today she was SOAKED! And shivering, but she was having so much fun.

Then I dried her off (after fighting with her a bit, she wanted to stay wet!) and put on a dry top...couldn't get as far as changing the pants. Then stupidly I went to the front to turn on the sprinkler a bit....well, Angelina didn't think it was dumb, she thought it was an invitation!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

A Mind of Her Own

She's an Independent little thing. I know one day that will be a good thing, but right now, well.....let's just say it's a challenge.

She loves, LOVES being outdoors. These days when we get home she refuses to go inside. She wants to walk around the yard, over and over again. But our yard doesn't have grass, it's dirt and leaves and nails and roofing material and wood and assorted not so safe things. So that means Mommy and Papa are following her around like a hawk hoping she doesn't fall on a nail or pick up something that will hurt her. (Yes, I know, we need to get it picked up, but we've either been away or sick every weekend since we worked on the garage).

Tonight when we were outside she heard the kids next door inside, so she walked over to the fence and babbled on til they came out to say hi.

Friday, February 01, 2008

It Takes a Village....

In my family's view, we live 'all alone.' Yes, we're far from blood relatives who would love to see Angelina daily. No, we don't have grandparents nearby who would happily take Angelina for a few hours while Fredo and I have a date, or whom we wouldn't hesitate to call at 3am if we needed help.

But we do have our village.

When I needed to call someone at 3am to come take care of Angelina while I went to the ER, I had a list of people I knew wouldn't hesitate to come over in an instant.

When I needed someone to pick her up from daycare, and then keep her overnight while I had emergency surgery, I immediately called our great neighbors, but I had my list handy if they weren't available. In fact, afterwards I had so many friends say "You should have called us. Don't hesitate to call if there's ever a next time!" I hope there never is, but I know we have plenty of options.

Yes, I miss her during the day, but I don't think she misses me one bit! She walks in to her daycare and runs over to the kids and toys. She laughs and plays all day. Her daycare provider, Mrs. Lopez, spends the day teaching her things - and teaching us first time parents a lot too. When I worried Angelina wasn't developing at the right pace, Mrs. Lopez assured me she was well within normal range. Having 'helped raise' kids in daycare for 20+ years, she knew what she was talking about. When Angelina finally did start walking, Mrs. Lopez worked with her to get it right. We do all those things too, but we don't have 20+ years of child-raising experience behind us. When we had to take Angelina to the ER because we thought she hurt her arm, Mrs. Lopez was up all night worrying about her.

We do miss our family, and we make as much effort as possible to see them and for Angelina to grow up "knowing" her cousins, if mainly via in pictures, email and phone.

But yes, it does take a village to raise a child. I want my child part of that village. I want her to learn from the villagers, not just from Mommy and Papa.

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