April 30, 2009

Busy Busy

Pookie is keeping me SO busy these days. When she is feeling good she wants me to dance with her, take her outside, or play with her. Sometimes she will get quite involved in her kitchen and do that on her own, but other than that she needs me. When she isn't happy she is either having tantrums or is increadibly whiny. I am finding it really hard to find the time to even think straight let alone blog these days.

Her tantrums are getting to me. I feel so useless when she throws a one. Sometimes it will happen when I am trying to get ready so that I can take her outside, or to the park etc. It is so frustrating to be unable to do anything. She hasn't been eating much lately, and I am wondering if being hungry is making her more on edge. Yesterday she just had yogurt, avocado, a small piece of cheese, a bit of potato and some of Daddy's frozen yogurt. Normally she would eat much more. It has been this way for a few weeks. She will often only have a few bites of her dinner. Her nursing does seem to be up a bit, but not a lot. Has anyone else dealt with this?

My parents are increadibly supportive and they love Pookie so much. However I do feel... judged (not sure if that is the right word), when Pookie loses it. It feels like they think I am to blame. Like perhaps I am too permissive or something. Bleh. For the most part I don't let it get to me, but sometimes it is hard not to.

Depsite this being a challenging time it sure is a lot of fun. Pookie is talking more and more everyday. She is constantly trying to tell us things. More and more her little personality is being revealed and I just love getting to know her.

April 21, 2009

Slowing Down

So I am over half way through David Elkinds "Hurried Child" and I just love it. I love when I read a book and have new found clarity or have that enlightened feeling. I feel like I finally really get why I don't need to be drilling ABC's or pushing that kind of learning. That isn't to say we will stop singing the ABC's or counting things etc. but I feel like I now understand better why it makes sense to just slow down and let Pookie learn things in her own time. There really is no rush. I think one of the parts that really gave me clarity was when the author talked about a class of 4-5 year olds who had a teacher who really wanted to make a difference and get them reading. They did surprisingly well, but a few years later they read with no enjoyment. He went on to talk about how children who are pushed to read early often don't enjoy it the way children who read in their own time do.

Before starting this book I was planning on signing Pookie up for a creative movement class with an excellent teacher I teach with. Her class is wonderful and creative... but it is still a structured class. After reading and watching Pookie dance on her own I have started to think I should wait. I can foster her love of dancing at home, and not risk her getting put off by a structured class.

I am really looking forward to finishing this one and starting the other book I got on hurrying children - Under Pressure: Rescuing Childhood from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting- Carl Honore

Strong Emotions

Lately Pookie and I seem out of sync. I think this is because I have taken on a private lesson on Wednesday mornings which means one of our mornings is gone. Also DH is working away on our upstairs which means every weekend Pookie and I have to leave the house (usually to the Zoo). I am feeling increadibly stressed, Pooks is grouchy, taxes are due, student exams are coming up and Pookie's b-day is soon. I am so looking forward to May when things calm down and Pookie and I can try to get back in sync again.

Now that Pooks is getting older, her personality seems to becoming more and more clear. She seems to be a lot more active than other kids her age. Not hyperactive at all, just full of energy. She also seems to understand how to get a reaction out of people and how to ham it up. She has an arsenal of faces she makes and sometimes she will make one and you think she really is feeling sad or grouchy, and then she will look you in the eye and start laughing. When she is happy she glows, but when she is upset... watch out! She has been having more temper tantrums lately. Ones that I can't control at all. In the past I let them run their course, but usually I sense when she is almost done and an offer or a hug or to nurse will usually snap her out of it. Now the length of time she spends upset has increased. It is so hard to watch her so upset and I always feel increadibly guilty. I also access to see if it is something I could of prevented, and even if I can't come up with a way I still feel responsible.
Yesterday I took her to the Play Centre. We got there much later than usual so Pookie still really wanted to play when it was time to go. They do a circle time and I thought she would like it. In hindsight I should of just left immediately. I took her over and she saw the train set and wanted to pull it all out. All the toys had been put away and you are not supposed to take them out. Well I told her she could have one train and I thought that would be cool. Boy was I wrong. She LOST IT! She ran and threw herself down and started sobbing... while they were all singing songs. I stayed calm and tried to get all our stuff together as fast as possible. It felt like it took FOREVER! I picked her up screaming and kicking and took her to the car. Once in the car I decided to let her calm down until she was ready to either go home or go to the store. After 40 minutes of sitting in the car she just wanted to play in there and I had to put her in her seat forcibly. I felt so aweful & defeated I just wanted to cry.
We got home and had a nap together and she was much more pleasant when she woke up.
I am hoping that teething is playing apart in this. She is still cutting her eye teeth and last night she tossed and turned, and this morning she saw a teething ring in the freezer, grabbed it and chewed on it until it was room temperature.

April 17, 2009


I guess this will be a vent more than anything.  Sometimes I get so frustrated when I try to explain myself and why I take the approach to parenting that I do.  Over at MDC you get so much support and are surrounded by mom's that have a similar philosophy when it comes to raising a child.  Sometimes I forget that some mom's are just on a different planet than me... or it feels that way anyways.  I feel this need to explain myself... but when I do I just know there is no way to get my point across without sounding standoffish or better than you.   I know this probably sounds silly but sometimes I feel like I have been enlightened from going to MDC and reading books that support those philosophies.  It is hard to not want to enlighten other people... but then again I am sure they just think I am nutso and want me to keep my theories to myself.

April 16, 2009

Value of True Play

I just found a great article on the value of true play. I really enjoyed it so I thought I would share.



Here is great another article suggested by Becca- Artistmama from Chocolate Eyes.

Better Bedtime

A few months ago I was gently working towards weaning Pookie from nursing to sleep. It was going well... then she got sick and we started nursing to sleep again. I thought all our "work" had gone out the window, but she started putting her head on her pillow after nursing a bit and then going to bed.

Then I started telling her to put her head on the pillow when we were done reading & nursing, and she would do it without any fuss. Then one night I had to leave the room after she put her head down. I left planning to go back but it was pretty clear she was fine. Since then I have started leaving her in the room awake. We read/ nurse, turn the lights off and I give her a kiss goodnight and leave. Most of the time she is fine and just goes to sleep.

I am SO pleased with this. It was one of my goals to have her able to fall asleep on her own before baby #2 comes into the picture. At this point that will be a year away at the very earliest, so I am very hopefully that we will reach that goal by then.

Now that said, she has been waking up again 1-1.5 hours after I put her to sleep. She had stopped but is back to doing this. Right now I think it might be partially because she is getting some new teeth. One of my other hopes is that she is mostly sleeping through the night by the time #2 comes along. I can handle one or even 2 night wakings but I would really like to be able to put her to bed and have mom/ dad time without interuptions. Who knows if it will happen? I figure it can't hurt to be optomistic, and to do everything I can to put odds in our favour of it happening.

April 14, 2009

Free Range Child

My mom is so sweet. Whenever she see's an article in the paper, or hears something on the radio that she thinks I will be interested in she lets me know.
Today I arrived at her house to drop Pookie off while I work and she told me about a show she had heard on the CBC called "Hurried Infant". Apparently it was about the negative effects of trying to get children to read before they are 5. I haven't listened to it yet, but it sounded like it was pretty interesting. Here is the link. I believe you can listen to the show

It really got me thinking about how I find myself constantly stuggling to find a balance between creating chances for Pookie to learn and experience the world, and allowing her to explore her world in her own time.

It is something that I often think about. Naturally I am a teacher. I have always wanted to teach children, and now with all the reading I have been doing I am finding I need to change what is ingrained in me. Teaching children to dance at the level I teach at is not something you can do in this new modern/ natural approach. Allowing myself to be in the background in terms of the learning process is still quite foreign.

I think at the moment my thoughts on this are to offer toys and experiences which allow her to learn and explore, but to omit any pressure or praise. For example I do point out letters, and have lots of them around but we don't do drills. I try my best to follow her lead in terms of what she enjoys doing, and offer suggestions occasionally without any pressure. I heard a new term today "free-range children" - click on the link to read more.

I have ordered two books which I hope will help me solidify some of my thoughts on this.

April 12, 2009

Muffin Tray Meals

I had read about using a muffin tray for meals in one of Dr. Sears' books, and then a little while ago someone on MDC posted a link to pictures of muffin tray meals.  As soon as I saw them I just had to get my own muffin tray.

I got her a blue silicone tray and we have used it everyday since.  She really enjoys eating out of it and I really like that it forces me to give her 6 different food items.  Usually she eats what we eat plus we offer her some additional things - like berries, yogurt etc..  I use it for dinner every night and most lunches.  For breakfast she usually just has oatmeal so we don't bother then.

Now she will often say "dip dip dip" at meal time since there is usually yogurt, applesauce or hummus for her to dip her food into.

April 9, 2009

Fill in the blank & Signing ABCs

Pooks is doing great with her words. I think she must have about 150-200 now. I lost track after 120. She is by no means to the point where she can make a sentance. She is starting to put 2 words together more and more. Like "Bye Daddy", "I don't know" and "Help me".

Since she can't sing songs with the correct words we do fill in the blanks. I will sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little _____" and she will say "star". We have been doing this for lots of songs, the ABC's and 123's. I couldn't believe how many she would get right. Of course when I tried to get her to show my mom she didn't get any right. :P

We are also working on signing the ABC's. I think I might of mentioned this before. We are up to H now. I just do it with her once in a while when I remember, and occasionally let her watch the signing on Starfall. For some reason that is her favourite.

April 3, 2009

Neat Toddler

Since Pooks was able to play with toys I have included her in the tidying up process.  Sometimes I will give her a toy and she will take it to it's place.  All of our toys have a special home which I think helps.  

Lately she has started to clean up without me reminding her.  The other day we were playing with her train set.  She went and brought a bin with a Zoo set in it.  She put it down and indicated that we needed to clean the train up first.  She did most of it by herself, and then set to playing with the zoo.

Once I told my husband to tell her to clean up with him and he thought I was nuts.  Like I was punishing her.  I encouraged him to do it and see that she actually enjoys it.  To his surprise I was right!  To her cleaning up is just part of the game.

Now I can't say we always clean up like this.  Sometimes we get distracted, or she gets upset and we leave things out and I clean them up on my own later.  I am hoping if we keep this up, cleaning up will just be something we always do and won't be a big deal. 

Matching Game & Letter Awareness

Pooks has been obsessed with "Bof" (both) lately.  So I thought it would make sense to get one of those memory card games and just use it for matching.  Mastermind didn't have any!!  So I ended up getting two decks of "Go Fish" animal/ letter cards for $6.  She get so excited to play this.  The challenge for her is to stick with it.  She can match them up no problem but gets distracted.  This is how she has been with most of her new games/ activities.   As she gets more into it I will add more of the cards.  For now 10 is enough.  I love that as she gets older these cards can grow with her.  There are also lower case letters with baby animals in each deck.

I got these cards because I liked that they had animals which we have been talking a lot about since we have been to the Zoo 6 times in 5 weeks!  Also she is very aware of letters now.  She is always pointing them out excitedly when we are out.  

Mixed Feelings

As the time to possibly start TTC gets closer I find I am less enthusiastic than I thought.  Last night I climbed into bed with Pookie and we were snuggling each other and I just felt so much love for her.  I was thinking how much I am enjoying being a mom to her and how nice our life is now.  Not that is wasn't nice when she was a little baby, but it is much more relaxed and free now.  

I keep thinking how another baby will disrupt this and I just can't imagine giving up any of "our" time.  At the same time I really do want a second child and I really want to be able to give her a little brother or sister.

I never thought I would feel this way.  I know it is normal... but I didn't think it would happen to me.