Friday, July 25, 2008

Month 17: Gramma Lovin'

Daniel had a special visitor this month - his Gramma! My mom came to stay with us for almost two weeks. I have just accepted the fact that coming to see "us" means "Daniel". :)

It was a special trip in many ways. They had lots of one on one time, which was wonderful. Watching their relationship solidify was amazing - they really fell in love with each other. When Mom arrived, I gave her the run down - the list of food dislikes and likes, the "translation" guide to his budding vocabulary, the latest songs and games he loved. But by the time she left, she was giving ME the scoop - they had spent so much time together that new games and jokes had emerged - new words, new habits, new everything. It really was a case study in how much a toddler can change in ten days.

I love that Daniel is surrounded by so much love and family. I was spoiled by four amazing grandparents that peppered my childhood with precious memories - magical Summer trips and constant encouragement and affection. Daniel has the same blessing - four incredible grandparents, each completely different and completely wonderful.

After Mom left, Daniel kept looking for her - running into the guest room, thinking she'd pop out from behind a door to surprise him. And Mom had a rough transition back home - I can't even imagine what it feels like to leave Daniel and know you won't see him for a few months.

They'll see each other again at Thanksgiving, and while it feels far off, I know time will fly by as quickly as it has since Daniel's birth. We'll pass the time with lots of phone calls and a few strategically placed photos on the refrigerator. (When Daniel is older and feels compelled to say "Hi Gramma" every time he wants a glass of milk, you'll know why!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Month 17: Our Son the Parrot

Our son is a parrot. He will mimic just about anything that comes out of our mouth, and he seems to delight himself in doing so! He'll recite the alphabet, letter by letter, following our lead. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't entertaining to get him to say all kinds of funny things ... what up ... peace out ... dude ... and whatever else comes to mind.

This week has been full of daycare adventures. Daniel experienced his first allergic reaction during snack time. The culprit? Cinnamon! Everywhere cinnamon touched his face, he turned BRIGHT red. That was the only symptom, so we're just keeping an eye on him now. (Although yesterday at Costco, we almost gave him a bite of our cinnamon churro before we realized the error of our ways...!)

Also at daycare, the biting has started back up. This time, it's a different kid. I happen to know which one it is (a mother knows!) and it's hard not to back that pipsqueak into a corner and show him what a real bite feels like!

Ok, so I'm not quite THAT aggressive... but it was definitely fun to role play there for a minute. The biter is changing rooms on Monday, so Daniel will be temporarily safe. This whole world of toddler-biting makes me wonder if teaching Daniel to be gentle is really the best philosophy ... he is big, so we work hard to teach him not to use his size aggressively. But I hate to think that it' might be turning him into a victim, or at least a target.

Daniel's budding vocabulary now includes "movie" "music" and "tv" ... can you tell what his favorite hobby is?! He now says all the body part names (I can't remember if I already wrote this!) ... ear, nose, teeth, eye, etc.

We did buy him a training toilet for fun ... I know it's early, but our theory is that he should be comfortable with it before we ask him to bear all for this little plastic seat! We are toilet readers (TMI, I know) so while we are camped out reading the latest "Entertainment Weekly", Daniel gets one of his books and camps out on his kiddie toilet. Priceless! (Fernando won't let me get a picture though! Can't imagine why not!)

Something I'm noticing more and more is how our parenting style is constantly adjusting. Our original approach to Daniel's tantrums or mini fits of frustration was to discipline, or at least reprimand him. Best to teach him not to act out, right?

Well, now I'm not so sure. After way too much reading on the subject, I'm thinking that we should tone down the discipline a little ... when he does act out with us, at this age anyway, it's usually out of frustration in not being able to communicate, or express a need. He's trusting us in expressing his feelings. Sounds hokey, but as soon as we started letting him vent instead of cutting off the drama, things improved. Fits were shorter. We're still working it out, but it seems like the slower we are to discipline, the better.

Additionally, we are discovering that typically he isn't TRYING to do something wrong. If we catch him with cat food in his hand, better to observe for a minute before scolding - 9 times out of 10, he's "cleaning up" and moving it from the floor to the cat bowl. (My heart broke the first time I scolded prematurely - his little face just crumbled in tears!)

As always, it's a never ending lesson. We'll get it right. Probably just about a week before he moves out of the house!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Month 16: Lady Love

It's official ... Daniel is in love. He's probably been in love for a while, but it's always so hard to differentiate between love and an innocent crush.

This is definitely love. And I think it's because of swimming lessons.

He, along with his best buddy Ava, enrolled in toddler swimming classes with a local program. For 4 weeks (8 lessons), they are learning to kick, paddle, float, roll over in the water, go under water, "choo-choo" along the edge of the pool, climb out and jump in. Pretty impressive for one-year-olds. Daniel adores the back float (as long as we're singing the "ABCs") and does great with jumping in. Ava is a the splash queen, and specializes in drinking as much water as possible. Their dads specialize in singing the "this is the way we wash our ears" song, and the "choo-choo" pool exits.

But I digress. Back to our love story.

As it turns out, they are the only two kiddos enrolled in their particular class. That much "alone" time (in bathing suits!) has pushed their friendship over the edge into full on romance. They run around after each other, giggling and batting those long lashes. They hold hands whenever possible, refusing to let go even when we pull them in opposite directions. They even kiss on command (and just for fun, according to their preschool teachers). If one is in preschool but the other isn't, they mope and have a bad day. They ask for each other by name constantly, and verge on tantrum if they don't see the other.

The other day at swimming lessons, we were taking some fun pictures and I asked the guys to hold the babies together so I could take a picture of a kiss. As you can see, it was a photo op for the books ... the perfect timing.

(As Ava's mom said, "How can something so innocent look so wrong?!) Ava's dad's first reaction was "Ava, you're grounded!" Ava just giggled and Daniel looked entirely too happy about the whole situation.

Daniel and Ava will be going on their first vacation together in August (along with their parents, of course) to the beautiful costal city of San Diego. Depending on how the room situation works out, they may be allowed to stay in the same room. (Different cribs, however. Sorry kids!)

In other non-romantic news, Daniel is obsessed with jumping. He's getting really good at it - almost has both feet off the ground at the same time! His standard "one... twooooooooooo... three" is now followed by an adorable attempt to lift both legs at the same time. He loves attempting, and loves falling down in the attempt.

His book craze continues, and his vocabulary just keeps growing. The latest favorite word: "eesh" for shoe. He loves helping us put shoes on, wearing around our shoes, and putting shoes away in the closet. He also associates shoes with leaving the house, and as soon as shoes are on, he takes off towards the garage, pointing and yelling "car! car!"

His Gramma (my mom) is visiting for almost two weeks - stay tuned for "Adventures with Gramma!"