Sunday, 30 December 2012

Bringing up baby: 29 Dec 2012

Tilly has been requiring new shoes for the past few weeks. Thankfully it's been a bare feet kind of weather, or slippers at home sort of days.

Today was the best opportunity we had for getting him new shoes.

We made an expedition to Stomp in Howick, and was probably the first customer of the day. Tilly didn't want his foot measured. So we fooled around. He pushed me around for a bit. We eventually got him to try on a new pair of shoes, but he flip flopped in them like wearing oversized clown shoes.

He pushed me around a bit more. He tried on his second pair of shoes, and they were a good fit. He walked out of the shop with them.

When we got home, he didn't want to take them off at all. He protested strongly and emotionally.

Ah Ee's report (edited):
We went to Little Rangitoto Park for 2hours. He extended himself a fair bit... He had a big proud smile when he managed a climbing/walking thing by himself after following minor instructions from me on foot and hand placements cos he got stuck. We also went on flying fox, once. Then it was time for a drive till he snoozed.
 When he woke up, he found himself in Ah Ee's house. After a bit of animal watching and a nappy change and milk, we went to Bird Barn. He learnt 'big fish', 'tadpole', 'dove' and 'noisy birds'. He didn't like the rats. He liked the kittens, puppies, turtles, rabbits and water fountain.
 Then it was to the playground for nearly two hours - went on helix slide, tunnel slides and swing - including walking over to bike park to watch big boys do stunts on bikes and scooters.
 Then it was to Ah Ee's house for bath time and played 'Da-dum Da-dum' (Jaws theme) until he was ready to get out of bath.
 He learnt we don't play when having dinner. He learnt 'not that' means he doesn't touch-handle specified object. He learnt where he can sit for dinner and where he cannot sit during dinner (i.e. place where he plays up.)
 Then it was home time. As we're about to head down the stairs, he heard tv noise from our neighbours so he sticks his face up against their screen door, looking. A few mins later, he allows himself to be persuaded to depart. Next level down, he meets P- for 2nd time. Many encourage nets of bye bye P- and as we're about to walk down steps, he says several times 'bye bye P-' as we walk down steps and into garage and car.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Bringing up baby: Happy Birthday!!

* Tilly insistently toddling down the pathway to see giraffes and zebras.
* Tilly's supreme incoherent excitement when he sees a Real Live Elephant(tm) for the very first time! As Daddee tells it: Tilly gasped breathlessly, "-lf -lfa elpha-". He was awed.
* seeing the hippos have their morning tea; what large river horses they are.
* going through the meerkat tunnels with Tilly. He was very adventurous, and took charge of the direction half-way through. He's so small still, he could and did stand upright in the tunnels while everyone else was bent over. He climbed out of the tunnels all by himself.
* Tilly investigating the chicken.
* Tilly climbing the dragon.
* Tilly's fascination with the seals. We were in the underwater section, where one of the walls was glass. The seals continually swam towards the wall, and glided away again. The seals are so large! "Wow" says Tilly, impressed. "Wow".
* Everyone coming to Tilly's birthday celebration at the zoo.

The long awaited party was much anticipated, with carefully contained excitement kept well-away from the personage of high import.

Who knows what balls-up could happen?

People may not come. The event could be cancelled due to rain. Or excessive sunshine.

Guests were firmly told to meet at the zoo car park at 9.30am when the zoo opened, as we were going in a group and as hosts, we were paying.

As it transpired, the weather report was for cloud cover and some humidity, in between the few days of rain and wind.

On the morning, the grandparents mentioned it was raining on their side of the city. What was our contingency plan? Go to the zoo car park, and if it's still raining at 9.30am when it opens then we go to the aquarium.

On the morning, Ah Ee mentioned it was raining in her part of the city. She didn't want to walk in the rain, thank you very much. And Ah Ma didn't want to go to the aquarium but would settle for the third choice of the museum.

On our way to the zoo car park, it began to spot rain. Arriving at the car park at 9.15am, it stopped raining all together. The car park was quickly filling up. I called the guests to tell them to get here quickly; it was the zoo or nothing.

Grandparents were another 30mins away. Tilly and Daddee went in 10mins after zoo opened. Grandparents and I waited for auntie and uncle. In the end we went in without them, as they were another 30mins away.

In conclusion, we all saw as much of the zoo as we could withstand, and we had a very good day, and it was all worthwhile to have Tilly's breathless fascination with Burma the elephant, and the seals.

The day started off very well too, with Tilly and me spending the pre-morning together.

After the zoo, and his nap, he got cake once auntie and uncle arrived. He likes his cake very much, which I am very happy and pleased about. Daddee made the cake the night before, and I 'iced' it while Tilly napped.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Bringing up baby: late December 2012

I've been busy, and tired. So not many updates.

We've been having many pleasant days, where we all go to bed content with ourselves. We laugh a lot, and have fun playing with each other, go to the playground, sing, dance, and a nice bedtime routine.

Tilly has begun brushing his teeth again, after a hiatus. The solution was to start Brush Teeth routine before Mummee got too tired to put up with Tilly's faffing.

On Saturday, 22nd Dec, he woke up before his parents and decided he wanted to play with me. I was still asleep. That didn't deter him. My hand was made to hold my cellphone and to press buttons so the screen lit up.

Yesterday, 23rd Dec, he woke up before his parents and decided he wanted to play with me. I was still asleep. That didn't deter him. He sat and stared at me until I decided I ought to wake up. I opened my eyes, and received the nicest, biggest grin from the most sweetest face. I laughed, and hugged him.

This morning, 24th Dec, he woke up before his parents. He decided he'd play by himself. He muttered and talked and discovered the wonders of an undefended parental bedroom. He found a few bits and bobs - a discarded card holder - and explored in his idiosyncratic manner "Dadee" "found" "all gone" "finish".

He likes my singing. He has requested songs. He knows the classic Jingle Bell song. He will tell me when he wants to get into his own bed to sleep. He has a penchant for Daddee to help him sleep. But he'll settle for Mummee after a long episode of whining. We just got to get to the end.

Yesterday I established that when Tilly is wailing, he can hear me speak and understand the words I say. It's been a routine where he wails so loudly, I keep repeating myself in an effort to have him hear and understand me, to the point I lose my temper and lash out by shouting or absenting myself from the situation abruptly and ignore him, and he wails even louder which antagonises me even more.

Last night, before I felt myself reaching the lashing out apex, I decided I wasn't going to repeat myself four times (which is my trigger: I don't enjoy nagging people). As Tilly is wailing his utmost as usual, I spoke at my normal level of voice.

"Tilly, you aren't listening to me, so I'm not going to listen to your crying."

He looked disbelieving, and continued his performance.

"Tilly, you aren't listening to me so I'm not listening to your crying."

He came to an almost sudden halt, with a couple of hiccoughs.

He evaluated his options. He stopped wailing and chose something else to do.

Ever since I obtained the vocabulary list from this survey, and conversed with a few parents of toddlers around the same age as Tilly, I've decided to try to expand my repertoire of conversation with Tilly.

I've done my best to give him some grounding in languages other than English. My ability in the other languages have been reached. So now it's grammar time.

Admittedly, Tilly's 1- 2-word vocabulary is absolutely charming, and I am loth to not hear it for much longer. However his frustration tantrums is quite infuriating to everyone in the household.
On balance, I'll live with the sentimental loss.

The day I spent with Tilly at daycare, I learned more of Tilly's socialised tendencies.

He has been bullied. When other kids 'share' (aka take things away from him), he waits for authority to intervene, or becomes sad and finds another activity. This 'downtrodden' reaction is how I've been brought up, and I want better for my boy.

His teachers explain to Tilly he can tell the other kid to "stop". But without modelling of that new behaviour, or role play, Tilly is unable to internalise the new reaction.

My solution to Tilly's nice nature: it's okay not to Share; it's acceptable to hold on tight to the object and shout "Mine!"

He is a nice boy. He does know how to share. He often shares things he isn't possessive about with people he cares about.

It can wait until later to learn about sharing things you care about with people you don't care about. 5yo. Or 6yo. When he's cognitively strong enough to process the strong emotions that will entail. Many adults haven't surpassed that stage yet, and get quite selfish with such things as public access across their land to public beaches, forests, shared ancestral land, rubbish bins, stationery. Toothbrushes.

So, I praise him when he stands up for himself against Daddee or Mummee.
"Hey, that's good Atilla. Good standing up for yourself."

I may regret this. He is itenaried to start the Terrible Twos.

He saw our Christmas tree. He stood, and he looked.

"Christmas tree!" He stood, and looked.
"Christmas tree!"
He stood, and he saw. "Santa" (puppet Santa)

He really has been a lot of fun.

I wish the same joy for everybody.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, 17 December 2012

Bringing up baby: 12 December 2012 immemorable

This morning Tilly had to poop.

He was also quite -gruntled. Nothing was good enough. Everything was worthy of discussion and counter-thrust.

It had to be Daddee helping him poop. Mummee had to be in the same room. Elephant tissue box had to be played with, to help him relax enough to poop.

And he just had to muck about with Elephant's trunk. And pull it in half. And dissolve into tears. And work himself up to a right state of anxiety.

Assertions that we would fix up Elephant after daycare only prompted more passionate wails.

Daddee stayed with Tilly through all this. Mummee piked out for the last 5-10mins.

I came back in time to help the Clean Butt routine, and subsequent processes.

"Now, Tilly," I said as I held him in my lap, "You're feeling sad. Are you sad because Elephant's trunk is broken?"

He is unable to verbally answer, but his crying decreases in decibels.

"We can fix Elephant after daycare."

He starts to tremble and shake.

"You want us to fix Elephant now?"

His crying lessens further.

"Okay, we'll fix Elephant now." I give instruction to long suffering Daddee to bring the operation materials: tape.

Daddee brings the tape. I carefully and dedicatedly peer and prod and manipulate the two pieces of Elephant's cardboard trunk together; Daddee gives me a piece of tape; I tape the trunk; Daddee gives me a second piece of tape; I tape the trunk.

Tilly's tears have stopped.

Tilly asks for Elephant's company in the car. "大 象 [da xiang]?"

"No Tilly, Elephant has to rest now. Lion will look after the bathroom."

He allows this.

An hour after Tilly had to poop, we leave the house.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Bringing up baby: Early December 2012

We've had several good days in a row with Tilly. We all got along, with reduced whining.

I've still been quite tired, and unable to write up our wonderful times together for posterity. Too busy ticking off the Bucket List with playing and living.

We have a new dishwasher, bought with a discount, so we can have less moaning of dish washing duty and more enjoying family.

10 December 2012

This morning was interesting.

Tilly was peckish at daycare and determined to have his lunch for early morning tea. He was persuaded to have his blueberries instead.

His younger friend, Milly, was paying close and interested attention to the proceedings. I'm a natural sharer. I like to share my nice things. I think other people like to share too. I ask Tilly if he wanted to share some blueberries with Milly.

He became simultaneously alarmed, and mulish. He refused to open his container of blueberries. I repeat my question in two other ways, thinking he didn't understand me. The reality was I hadn't  understood his reply.

His non-response I interpret thus: I want to have my berries. I don't want to share my berries. I would rather keep my berries without eating than have to share them. Please don't make me share my berries.

I reassure him that he didn't have to share if he didn't want to. I reassured him thrice.

He believed me. He settled down into his chair and allowed me to open his container of berries. He kept a wary eye on Milly, just in case, and carefully ate one blueberry at a time.

They also did cookie baking today. Delicious.

We got home, and Daddee and Tilly went to pick the new season plums from the tree. I helped what I could.

Daddee got dinner, while Tilly and I went to the playground. He and I had a disagreement on the conditions for Swing. I insisted he had to have his hands free to grasp the swing and he had to be not eating. He insisted he would like to hold his plum and be swinging.

We each got our way. I didn't swing him, and he and the strong-ish wind moved him enough to satisfy his 'swing' quota while he picked and licked and peeled his plum.

Tilly has been happy to brush his teeth lately. It makes me happy. He prefers to chew the brush. D'oh.

Last Monday Tilly got some helium balloons. Daddee transformed one into a contraption to help Tilly's finger puppet dragon to fly. And we are all very happy with the flying dragon. It gives the family great joy to see it floating between rooms, and up the stairs.

drawing of flying dragon, helium balloon
Flying dragon (c) ^_^ 2012

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Bringing up baby: 3 December 2012

Drawing 03dec12 (c) Tilly 2012
Medium: Paint, toy car/s, hands, paper.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bringing up baby: Western Springs 2012

Bird spotting 2012 (c) ^_^ 2012
Orthinologically speaking, they were ducks, pukekos, geese.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Bringing up baby: Michaels Park

Another day, another park. (c) ^_^ 2012

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Bringing up baby: Dual-wielding Atilla

Be very afraid. (c) ^_^ 2012
On this day, Tilly decided he needed two spoons to eat his morning cereal.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Bringing up baby: 3 December 2012

Day at daycare with Tilly,
Tilly's Celebration party.

Tilly was born in the lull period between Christmas Day and New Year. We begin to face the implications for his life-long tribulations.

1. It may be difficult to have people come to his birthday party. Potential guests would have made long-term holiday plans not involving coming to his party. For instance, this year his overseas cousins and aunty and uncle are not coming. His daycare is closed and his friends will not be available.

Partial solution: have a party for him and his friends before daycare closes for the year and before all his friends leave. That means a party on 3 December 2012.

I got permission from daycare, and agreement from Daddee. Aunty joined in and provided assistance on the day.

We had 5 foil helium balloons - stars, and farmyard theme. We had homemade cake, and fruit jelly.

We had fun.

I'm still Tilly's possession. I can't play with any other kid without his permission. He got quite unhappy. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Bringing up baby: 2 Dec 2012

First Santa parade,
Helping Tilly to accepting his bath,
Bedtime routine with Tillly including Brush Teeth, and lights out.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Bringing up baby: 1 December 2012

I should have remembered the first rule of Parenting.

1) Expect to have your plans upstaged.

Our plan for today: be relaxed; receive delivery of new dishwasher; I go to work for two or four hours; I come back and play with Tilly for the afternoon.


What happened today: woke up early, relaxed and watched Tilly asleep. Relaxed, and looked after Tilly until 0820.

0820: Tilly inserted a pomegranate seed up his left nostril.
0825: Dadee came to our rescue and calmed things down a bit.
0830: we received the new dishwasher.
0855: Dadee tried the Remove Pomegranate Seed technique he learned from the Internet - close other nostril, and blow hard into kid's mouth until object comes out of nostril.
0855-0915: Tilly fights us off.
0915-0930: Dadee and me battle to get Tilly into the car and carseat.
0940: we get to local A&E.
0940-1000: Tilly is calm and discovering new territory. "Digger!"
1000-1020: Tilly fights off forcep-wielding doctor.
1040-1150: Tilly is calm and re-discovering new territory of Starship Children's hospital out-clinic A&E section.
1150-1220: Tilly and Mummee finds the kid's play area previously mentioned by receptionist 30mins ago, and plays there happily.
1220-1225: 3 medical staff wrap Tilly up firmly in a sheet and distract him, while Daddee closes Tiily's right nostril, and blows hard into his mouth until pomegranate seed pops out and hits Daddee on the cheek and bounces onto the floor; Mummee claps delightedly and cheers for Tilly and Daddee, praising both indiscriminately.
1230-1240: try to pay to get out of car park.
1245: got out of car park.
1250: arrive at work.
1300: start work.
1820: finish work.
1824: play with Tilly as he discovers the beauty of my work place and shows them to me.

Tilly had great fun with the shallow steps which led zig-zag up the slope. He invited me to pretend-jump (like he does with his friends at daycare). I did. We laughed with pleasure. We walked, handholding. We ran, handholding.

He is so much fun.

Tonight after his bath we had a lot of fun too. He and I hid beneath a pile of pillows.

Daddee is very tired from his exertions today. He's my hero.