Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kindertune and more

Kylie had her last Kindertune class on Friday. This was a nine-week course offered by our Parks and Recs system. Kylie really enjoyed the class. We would start by coming together for "circle time" and the moms and teacher would sing a few familiar songs like, "Whenever we're together" and "Wheels on the Bus".

Here's my little drill sergeant at the start of class. "Excuse me folks. Our teacher says it is time to get started. Take your seats on the carpet please. Right here and just like me"

Then the Karolyn, the teacher, would read a few poems based on the theme of the day.

We would have a five-minute art project and then it was marching time.

Kylie LOVES to march. We would first march to music with pom pons.

And then march with musical instruments. Kylie did quite well with marching and drumming at the same time.

It was a wonderful class. I think I'll enroll her in something similar in the Fall.

Just a few other new things I want to capture and share.
  • Kylie's been asking for pepper on some of her vegetables. It took a whole day of her saying, "Paper, paper" during our meals for me to get that she wants Pepper. When I finally sprinkled some on her beans, she looked at me as if to say, "Finally!"
  • She likes to say "Vamanos! Let's go!" It cracks me up.
  • She's started the leg-clinging thing. If she doesn't want me to do something, like be in the kitchen, she'll cling to my leg to try to stop me.
  • I've started brushing her teeth with fluoride toothpaste. She's learned to spit and wants to brush her teeth more than twice a day just to see the "green spit".

    Here are a few more pictures:

  • Wednesday, May 27, 2009

    Zoo Trip May 26

    Would you like to take a walk with us through the Oregon Zoo? No matter how many times we go to the zoo, we see something new.

    Yesterday we saw this dude handling a tarantula.

    And saw ducks in the waterfall near the penguin exhibit.

    There was the wolf we had never seen before. Poor thing had to listen to Kylie howling.

    But the big news of the day was that Kylie got to go INTO the petting zoo for the first time. She was thrilled!

    She's saying Maaaa here. Kylie, not the goat. The goat just wanted Kylie to feed her or leave her the heck alone.

    Okay goat. You are my favorite. Between the two of us, we should be able to break you out of here. Oh. You are trying to get away from me? Oh. Sorry about that.

    Dearest Blog Readers, I can hear your collective shout in my head as I type this. Of COURSE, I washed her hands the moment we left the petting zoo. Twice.

    Kylie was so excited after the petting zoo. She couldn't stop hopping as she walked and waving her arms around. The polar bear exhibit was next.

    Kylie was already delighted from petting the goats. Seeing the polar bear walk right by her sent her over the top. Pure toddler insanity here. I thought they were going to come tranquilizer her. I had to scoop her up in my arms and hold her to contain the happy, hysterical shouts.

    By the time we had walked to the elephants, she had calmed down.

    But seeing the elephants made her so dang happy she had to pace around.

    At the end of the day, we took in a large bird show where I caught this blurry picture.

    But just before the show some music came on the zoo amphitheater's speakers to let people know the show would start shortly. So people were jumping up and dancing. Kylie included. I love the background action in this shot. The mom on her left would soon start spinning her daughter around. But check out the pregnant mom on the right! She's just dancing away with those elbows. I love it!

    Finally, girlfriend gave out and said she wanted to go home. What a great day at the zoo!

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Some new things

    Today Kylie and I created an artwork snake. It was fun to hear her say, "Sssssss" this morning. Before art time, we read "Hide and Snake" by Keith Baker that we got from the library.

    Last week we created a zoo animal collage which Kylie has utter disdain for and is now treating it like nuclear waste.
    Here Kylie is finding some buttons that I squished inside a ball of play-doh. She loves this new activity. She has asked for play-doh buttons for the past few days. It usually buys me around ten minutes--time to read few blogs or check my email.

    When we are at the park, Kylie has started flinging herself across the big swings and dangling there. Then she kicks at the ground as fast as she can to get herself swinging.

    She calls her viewfinder her camera and has insisted on taking it to the park (just like her Mommy). Yesterday, as I raised my camera to take pictures and then lowered my camera to talk with her, she was raising her camera and then lowering it to smile back at me. It was a sweet moment.

    Girlfriend is still working hard on walking up and down stairs rather than crawling.

    She loves the mulch wood chips that are found at all our parks. Lately, we've been working hard on learning that she can pick up the mulch and drop it but she CAN'T throw it. Usually after five or six times of me saying, "Don't throw the mulch" she decides she'll just eat it instead.

    Here's a fun picture I snapped this morning before Kylie's nap.

    Have a great day everyone!

    Monday, May 25, 2009

    Happy Memorial Day & Pages

    Happy Memorial Day

    Here are a few recent scrapbook pages:

    Chair Gymnastics


    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Potty Progress

    Yep. This post is all about Kylie's potty progress. Feel free to check out these pictures of Kylie playing with magnets and move on unless this topic interests you.

    Kylie is doing great with her potty training in the house. She's going to the potty 6-7 times a day. She wears a diaper when we leave the house.

    One thing I've learned this week is that people LOVE to give you advice on potty training. I'm writing this to capture our progress not to advise.

    When I first read the "Bare Bottom 3 Day Potty Training Process", I thought it sounded insane. I mean, who wants to deal with all the mess of THAT?! I read other approaches. I listened to other people's stories and methods. And then I thought a lot about each of them and how they would work for our Kylie.

    But I knew in my gut that Kylie would need an intense approach to get kick-started into potty training so we went with the bare bottom method.

    We had been doing prep work by reading potty board books to Kylie and she's been coming with me to the potty ever since she could crawl. But I have to say that Elmo's Potty Time video had the most impact on Kylie. After seeing this video several time, she wanted to go to the potty like Elmo and wear underpants like Prairie Dawn.

    First three days
    As you might have read in my earlier blog post, on our first day of training, Kylie did well. Four successful trips to the potty. Our second day was a disaster. ELEVEN accidents in the house. It was so hard to stay upbeat and positive in front of Kylie. That night I did a lot of moaning and groaning to Karen. But the lessons of that day went in deep with Kylie. The third day she woke up and announced she wanted to go to the potty. And she continued to tell me she was ready to go potty throughout the day. By the third day, I could ask her, "Where does pee (or poop) go?" and Kylie would proudly say, "In the potty!" She started shouting "TA-DA" after she went. I'm convinced that the intensity of that second day has made our success on the following days.

    I use a chart on the wall and put a sticker on it every time Kylie puts something in the potty. She also gets stickers on her hands and her shirt but it is the chart sticker that has impressed her the most. She's great at the steps of wiping, flushing and washing her hands. And she likes the high-five we do right after she goes.

    She does NOT like to be asked. The most I can ask without making her irritated is about once an hour. It works better for me to say that I'm going and Kylie comes with me. Telling her that she needs to put some pee in the potty before we go outside to play works too.

    On the 3rd, 4th, and 5th days, we tried going to our nearby park to play. Kylie would use the potty before we left. I carried the potty with us in the car and asked her if she needed to go before we got out of the car. She would say "No" but then she would have an accident after playing outside for five minutes. I would clean her up at the car and put underpants and then pants back on her but within ten more minutes she would have another accident. I would change her again and we would drive home.

    This was frustrating for the both of us because we love playing outside. I think that she's too stimulated by the trees, sticks, swings, slides and everything that she wants to play with to think about walking to the car to potty. So I decided to back off a bit and let her wear a diaper when we go out to play. The good news (albeit a bit funny and slightly embarrassing) is that she still shouts, "Pee!" when she's going even though she's going in her diaper. I like that she has that body awareness now.

    If I plan to wake Kylie from her nap or I know that I can go get her the moment she wakes up then I put her down in just underpants. If I don't think I can get to her right away then I put her in a diaper for her nap or I wash her sheets. The good news is that even if her diaper is wet from her nap, she'll still pee a bit in the potty for me when I go get her from her nap.

    Good surprises
    We went to our Kindertune class on Friday (with a diaper). Kylie told me that she wanted to go potty at the end of class. Her diaper was a bit damp but she used the big-girl potty like a champ. I was so impressed that she knew to leave class to use the potty. She got tons of praises for that one.

    Some of you may think I'm crazy to have started potty training this way. But I have to say that I'm proud of my actions from this week and so very proud of Kylie's progress. She's one awesome kiddo.

    Wednesday, May 20, 2009

    Hats and harmonicas

    Kylie insisted that her tigger have a shirt, then a hat and then a purse. Then she put him on her bike, told him to buckle up and pushed him down the hall.
    Then it was Kylie's turn to wear a hat and her other favorite fashion accessory- her oven mitt.

    If Kylie's bangs and eyelashes look a little strange in the below photo, it is because she took a stick of chapstick and smeared big chunks of it over her face and hair. The funniest part of this picture was the action not seen in the frame. Our cat, Chloe, was very disturbed by all the noise Kylie was making with her harmonica. Kylie was bare-bottomed (we're potty training). The cat crept up on Kylie and goosed her with her cold, wet cat nose right on Kylie's bum. Kylie jumped a foot and then chased after the cat. The cat didn't mind. At least the infernal noise had stopped.

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009

    Potty training and more

    Well the big news is that we've started potty training. On Monday we had four successes and five accidents- all in all a good start. Here's a picture that I took of Kylie that I think sums it up. It's like she's thinking, "Wow, I'm wearing underpants. I'm growing up. Wow."

    Yesterday was horrendous. Eleven accidents and no successes. Puddles everywhere. Me, Kylie, the cats...everyone freaking the frak out. If I had any booze in my home, I probably would have drunk myself into a stupor. We managed to have a bit of fun at our park where I took these sweet photos before the dribbling mess drove us back home to the house of pee.

    Today was better. We are back to 50/50 which I can handle without crying, pulling out my hair or slamming too many doors. We had swim class today which is always a treat. Kylie did the funniest thing though. She got overwhelmed with all the dunking in the water and at one point at starting screeching, "Read a book, Read a book!" at the top of her lungs. I'm giggling now as I write this. It was so dang funny hearing her shout her own made-up"safety" phrase.

    The little munchkin is obsessed with going to the nearby water fountain which she calls "water mountain". These pics were taken with my Iphone which surprised and impressed me.

    She likes to hold her arms like so and her hands like some goofy, toddler claws and then back into the spray of the fountain. Girlfriend is a hoot to watch. She also likes to throw grass into the water and watch it swirl around. I must hear "water mountain" 100 times a day.
    I also hear lots of her songs throughout the day. Her current favorite is "Twinkle, twinkle". Although she knows the whole song, she sings the first two lines over and over. She'll sing the other lines if I prompt her. She knows "A-G" of the Alphabet Song and will sing the other letters correctly if I sing one and then let her sing one. We also sing duets of "Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, The Barney Love Song, and parts of Elmo's World".

    One of Kylie's new routines is to sit on the bathroom vanity and drink sips of water from this cup while practicing saying the letters of her name over and over. Today, her bouncing Tigger got to join in on the fun and have a few sips too.

    And here, we are ending our spelling session with high-fives for everyone.

    Monday, May 18, 2009

    Memories and bubbles

    While in Orlando, this was my view for 7 days.

    And when I wasn't lounging by the pool, I was in our lovely room.

    How can I sum up my Florida vacation? Sleep and rest. And more sleep and rest.

    For several months before our vacation, I felt drained and droopy. Like my energy reserve tank was completely empty. I felt so over-extended. It seemed that for the past two years, I had pushed all the energy out in front of my body and wrapped it around Kylie. This was a good thing because it heightened my intuition and told me how to take care of her. But it was hard and I was depleted.

    So on vacation, I rested and read and swam. And I concentrated on putting as much good energy into my body as I could. I drank more water than Diet Coke (shocker!) and ate lots of salads. I slept late and took naps. And I could feel my energy reserve fill back up. I kept telling myself that this vacation would have to last me at least a year or more, so I filled up on as much good vibes as I could. The biggest surprise to me was how I took a creative break as well as a vacation. I had all my digital scrapbook supplies and photos with me but I only scrapbooked one night. I disliked the scrapbook page I made and I didn't try again for the rest of the trip. Same with knitting. I took two projects with me. I worked a bit on one but ended up ripping it back twice and then putting it down as well. But the reading was awesome. I think I read seven books while I was there, including the new Sookie Stackhouse/Charlaine Harris book that I read in one day. I feel so lucky and incredibly grateful that we got to make this trip.

    Meanwhile, Kylie was playing with Karen's Mom in TN. I called in every day to hear how Kylie was doing and Karen's sister Amy treated us with daily photographs of Kylie. Kylie missed her Mommies and became deeply attached to her Nanna. She had this wonderful treehouse in the backyard where she spent a great deal of time.

    Kylie seemed so tall, so beautiful and so incredibly talkative when we returned to TN. She learned to pronounce the "l" in her name (she used to say "Ky-ee". She started eating potatoes (which she never had done for me). She is now fascinated with bugs (a lot more bugs in TN I think). She went through a brief bought of biting her nails. She learned the phrase, "You are so funny". Now we hear "Mommy is so funny" and "Kylie is so funny" at least once a day.

    Two other random things I want to capture before I forget: On our trip out and back, we were up at 3:00am. Kylie had never been out at night before and she was fascinated with the darkness, the moon and the stars. And she made us laugh by quite sincerely asking, "Where are all the cars?" I guess it's only funny at 3:00am in the morning. Also, Karen and I laugh at how, on the flight home, we started chewing up large ice cubes and sharing the small pieces with Kylie. Feeding her ice chips was an hour-long diversion on the the flight (which was good) but now that I think about it, we must have looked like some strange regurgitation/spitting freaks.

    But enough with the freakiness and remembrances and on with pictures of Kylie!

    She learned to blow bubbles on Saturday.

    She's quite proud of herself.

    She also learned that it is fun to rub the bubble fluid on her face.

    I think she does it just to see how many disapproving faces I can make before reaching for it all.

    Which makes her roar "Nooooo" to the heavens.

    I think my ears are still ringing.