Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"all by yourself"

That's her favorite expression lately, "all by yourself." Sometimes, it's "Charlotte do all by yourself." She wants to dress herself, walk up and down the stairs solo, push the stroller, make my coffee,... The strange thing isn't that she wants to do all these things, it's that she CAN. There are so many things she can suddenly do that I wonder how long she was able to do them before learning to express her desire to do them for herself. She puts on her pants, only needing help to pull up the back. She puts her socks on so expertly that when she awakens from a nap, I assume she kept her socks on the whole time. Then I notice later that they're on different feet (a design on only one side of each gave that away). She finds her sleeves herself while putting on a shirt, and unless the neck is really snug manages to pull it over her head too. She WALKS down stairs now without holding my hand- not that she's suddenly tall enough to fully use the railing, but she's figured out how to lower herself on one leg until the other foot reaches the stair below. And going up, which she's been doing on her own for a long time, she's no longer happy with herself if her knees touch the steps. She dances on her own when music is playing, no longer demanding to be in my arms as we both bounce around the room. She opens packages, puts her hats on, stacks blocks and knocks them down... "by yourself. No help Mommy." She even wipes her own nose.

A few other milestones have been hit in the last couple of weeks. She finally caught some air while jumping off a door mat at the paint store (she'll jump off anything... especially likes the thresholds between rooms in our house). She's on her way to potty training herself, requesting a trip to the potty on a few occasions when she really did have to go- entirely on her own, without any training or suggestions from us, and not only when we're trying to get her into bed. Her speech is incredible, not just in the number of words she uses, but how she uses them. Asking for something, she knows how to say please and how to be specific, or vague, when it's appropriate... "Please Mommy, watch Abby Flying Fairy School on TV?" "Please Mommy, watch something on TV?" She conjugates verbs, not always correctly, but logically... "Charlotte waked up from nap." She tells us what's polite or not-so-nice... "Somebody sneeze, say 'bless you.'" She says "Thank you" for just about everything... "Thank you babies!" after swim class every week, "Thank you, Uncle Dan" whenever she wears an outfit my brother gave to her. She thanks the mailman for stopping at our mailbox, the sun for shining, and trees for giving her pine cones to play with. She tells me what she loves (hot dogs, spaghetti sauce, Mommy, Daddy, Maggie, the cat) and all the things that other beings love ("Reilly loves Charlotte." "Mommy loves Charlotte sooooo much." "Daddy loves pizza."). She explains things to her babies (her dolls)- "Poopie diaper smell yucky." "No eat socks." "Mommy Charlotte go bye-bye, you sleep here." "Knuckle on cheek sign apple." And she still comes out with words that she learned from who-knows-where.

Sleep-wise, she's suddenly having a hard time with naps. Yesterday, she was demonstrably tired, but played in her crib for two hours before crying for a couple of minutes then falling asleep. For 25 minutes. I usually put her down around 12:30, and until recently she'd go right to sleep and wake at about 3:00. It was heavenly, having those hours in the middle of the day when I could get something done and take a nap myself.

Nighttimes are still a breeze, but we've changed our explanation of how to know when it's time for bed. We used to tell her she could read 3 stories, or build some number of towers, but she would find ways to stall- refusing to knock over a tower (so we couldn't build the next one) or select a book, sometimes requesting we read a different book when we were halfway through another one as if an incomplete book didn't count against the bedtime countdown. So, last week I introduced her to her clock. I told her that it would be time for bed when the slow hand was on the 3. Stall as she might, the clock kept on ticking and it was bedtime before we'd finished even a single book. I showed her the clock, and she didn't argue with me! For a week now, we've wrapped up our bedtime routine based on the clock and it's gone well. Some nights, she gets 5 or 6 stories, plust time to build towers. Tonight, she got one story and one song and that was it. And she went down without a fuss. It's fantastic! And it only works because she knows her numbers.

Speaking of which, she can consistently count things up to 3, sometimes as high as 5 but usually just to 3. She can recite numbers through 12. She recites the entire alphabet and can identify about 10 letters consistently. She knows her colors and her shapes (well, not octagon, hexagon, pentagon, etc. Those are really hard). Every week or two, we return books to the library and check out some new ones. She always picks one book as her favorite and wants to read only that one, over and over. She sings songs, currently including "Jingle Bells," "You are My Sunshine," "Twinkle Twinkle," "Itsy Bitsy (complete with hand gestures)," and "It's Raining, It's Pouring." She follows along with instructions within songs (i.e. "Feel the rhythm in your hands and go clap-clap-clap"- and she claps).

We can't help but compare what she does today with things she could do 6 months or a year ago. It's amazing how much she's grown as a person. She has an incredible confidence about her- not an arrogance, but the confidence in herself to walk into a room full of kids she doesn't know and to make herself at home there, to find a friend or a special toy to play with. I hope she never loses that.

Friday, January 27, 2012

still pregnant

Less than two weeks from the due date now. Yippee! I'm hoping this girl decides to be a little early. I'm learning that I got off remarkably easy with my frist pregnancy, as sciatica and carpal tunnel syndrome have settled in. I sleep with wrist braces on, but my fingers still manage to go numb, and it feels like there's a dagger beside my tailbone. But we're SOOOO close now. Maggie moves a lot. The weekly NSTs have been textbook, and I'm measuring perfectly on-target (no weight gain in the last 3 weeks- the promised plateau after rapid gain early-on). I had BH contractions last night for about 90 minutes, 7 minutes apart, and caught myself wishing they were the real thing. But the nursery still isn't painted (Charlotte helped picked a color- Sherwin Williams "Breathtaking"), so we're not really ready.

I'll post some about Charlotte at 22 months soon. She's developing more personality every day, and has begun quite an independent streak.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

training herself?

Charlotte's latest favorite stall tactic at nap and bedtimes is to announce, after she's in bed and covered in blankets, that her diaper is poopy and should be changed. She says it this way, as though it were my idea that she needs a fresh diaper- "Change diaper, please, Mommy? Poopy. Yes, OK!"

Well, one evening, I called her on it. The diaper was not only poop-less, it was completely dry, so I asked her if she wanted to try pooping on the potty. We've had a potty chair in the bathroom since she was 15 months old, or thereabouts, and she likes to sit on it when I use the bathroom (I'm not shy about it, and it seems like a good way to teach her that potty use is completely normal). She said she wanted to poop on the potty, so we went in and, for the first time ever, she sat on the potty with a bear bum (except for once or twice when I hastily pulled her out of the bathtub because she looked like she was trying to do something). She stood up every 30 seconds to see if anything had materialized. She grunted and pushed. Finally, she decided there would be no poopies that night and started to walk back to her room. I didn't notice at first, and I don't think she realized it either, but she did manage to pee in the potty. Woohoo!

So, now she knows that asking to have her diaper changed can buy her 2 or 3 minutes out of bed, but asking to use the potty gets her a LOT more time. That's good enough motivation for me... if that's what she wants to use as the impetus to potty train, I'm all for it. I wasn't planning to start anything until summer, but if she wants to start now, I'm on board. Time to get some potty books from the library!

On the baby front... three weeks left until the "due date." My doc has not mentioned induction, and I have not brought it up because I don't want to open the subject. Maybe she'd "let" me pass my due date this time since things went so well with Charlotte, but I'd prefer not to find out. I feel huge. Music classes with Charlotte wear me out, with all the standing up and sitting down and standing up again. My belly rests on my thighs when I sit, whether on the floor or on a chair. I've asked my mother to join Charlotte for waterbabies classes now that my bathing suit top isn't long enough to cover the underside of my belly, let alone tuck into the bottoms to keep it from floating up. I can sleep for about 2 hours at a stretch before something wakes me up- until a few nights ago, it was numb fingers from carpel tunnel; last night it was achey hips. Wrist braces are heaven-sent, but there's no cure (except delivery) for the hips. And if I manage to shift off the painful hip in my sleep, I wind up on my back and wake up because it's hard to breathe in that position. I remember now why I was so convinced we should buy a recliner if I managed to get pregnant again. We didn't buy one, and with just 3 weeks left of this, I'm not about to spend the money now.

I have had 4 NSTs now, and Maggie has been wonderfully reactive and cooperative at each one. BH contractions have been occuring more and more frequently, and I've enjoyed watching the scale of them on the monitor- comparing the relative intensity I feel with the numbers I see. Nothing painful, but they do command my attention when they strike. I don't know if I'm optimistic or naive, or naively optimistic, but I am hoping and planning for a delivery as smooth as Charlotte's this time around. I haven't attended any birth classes or spent much time practicing my self-hypnosis and breathing, but I did re-read the Hypnobirthing book. And I've been telling anyone who'll listen that my preferred labor position is ALONE and private.

The nesting impulse has struck, but in my case that means that I filled the freezer with healthy-ish convenient foods for after Maggie arrives. I'm doing laundry tonight so I can pack my bag and have it ready, just in case. Everyone has been reminding me that subsequent deliveries are usually much quicker than the first one. Only about 3 hours elapsed between my first real contraction and Charlotte's emergence (5 1/2 hours from when my water broke), so the consensus is that I'll have no time to dawdle once Maggie announces her intention to come out. Of course, that has no bearing on the early/late/on-time part of the equation, but once it starts I may not have time to shower, eat, and pack like I did last time.

So, huge, achey, and tired but feeling quite well otherwise. Charlotte is excited to meet her baby sister and made a teddy bear for her this week, complete with recorded message, "Happy Birthday, Maggie! I love you." She made one for herself too, and insisted on picking the identical bear for both herself and the baby. The nursery is not ready, and we still need to get the guest bed out of Charlotte's room so my mother has someplace to sleep. Therefore, I am confident that Maggie will not be more than a week early...maybe 10 days, giving us time to finish all the preparations. I'll do my best to post before heading off to the hospital, so if you don't see anything for a week or two, assume I'm still pregnant.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


New and remarkable development this week- Charlotte has begun spelling things. I think it started with one of her ST videos, in which she was introduced to the sign for refrigerator, which is spelled out as R - E - F. She's not so great at making the letters with her fingers; comes close, but misses some of the small details like the fingers being crossed for the letter R. But she recites the letters as she attempts to sign them, and she clearly knows that R - E - F means refrigerator. She also loves to spell S - T - O - P, sometimes forgetting the S, and R - U - G. While reading "Good night, Gorilla (her current fave)" tonight, she pointed to the word "zoo" and declared "Two Os!" In addition to her singing and general babble, she now strings together apparently-random letter sequences, then looks at me as if to ask if she spelled a real word. She came out with "red" and "wet" today and was very excited when I told her she had spelled words that I could understand.

I may focus on early-reader books on our next library visit. This is so exciting!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

making up for neglect

I think I've promised photos on many occasions, then neglected to ever go back and include them. So, here are a few of my favorites...

Knowing full-well that she'd gotten too big for her baby swing, she insisted on trying it out.
Halloween- we did not trick-or-treat. She just wanted to walk around the neighborhood in her costume.
Completely fearless on the BIG slide at the local playground.