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Friday, October 28, 2011

Ellowyn is pulling up

In the last couple of weeks, Ellowyn has started pulling up to stand.  Lately she's gotten really good at it and loves to practice her new skill.  I have hopes that she'll be an early walker (babies get so much easier when they can walk).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mira went camping!

Last weekend, Mira went on her first camping trip.  Brian took her and met some friends out at a local camp ground.  They spent 3 days (and 2 nights), which was the longest Mira had ever been apart from me.  Apparently she did great!  She didn't sleep well (no napping, late to bed, early to rise) because she was so excited about sleeping in the tent with Daddy, but Brian says that it didn't make her cranky or unruly and that she behaved very well and really enjoyed herself.  There was some swimming, some hiking, some nature-watching, some star-gazing...  They couldn't have a camp fire because of the draught, but I'm told they still were able to make s'mores using a propane grill.

I told Brian to take pictures for me, and he did.... a whopping 6 photos.  Sigh.  Well here's the best of the slim pickings:

Brian sounds VERY enthusiastic in that video, doesn't he?  He assured me that he did actually enjoy himself quite a bit, despite the lack of evidence supporting that claim.

Meanwhile, Ellowyn and I got some one-on-one time.  I decided to keep her home with me because (1) I'm not a big fan of camping and (2) with Ellowyn being at that crawling-around-putting-everything-in-her-mouth phase, I was picturing a never-ending game of "chase the baby and pull things out of her mouth and then console her while she cries about having that delicious stink beetle taken away from her and then finally put her back down to chase her some more and repeat until dead".  It was a nice break to have only one child to care for, and it was nice to interact with Ellowyn in ways that are not possible when Mira is involved.  But I was still really happy to see Mira and Brian when they got home; I missed them so much!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mira is learning her letters.

Mira's been getting really good with letters.  She recognizes and can name any letter, upper or lower case.  And she's starting to work on the sounds the letters make.  There are a few letters that she knows the sounds of really well and can name multiple things that start with the letter, like B and D and M.

Playing with some letters.

She can spell her name.  Given a pile of letters, she can pick out the ones that go in her name and put them in the right order...  although that whole "left to right" concept is a little iffy.

And she's even starting to work on writing some letters.  If I draw a letter, she can do a pretty good job of replicating it in her own handwriting.  I'd say, for being 2 and a half, this is pretty impressive:

And all of this is not because I push this kind of learning onto her; SHE wants to learn it and asks me to draw letters so that she can do it too.  She'll start up a conversation out of the blue about the sounds different letters make.  It's information she genuinely wants to know and regularly asks about.  I think she may understand that this is the key to reading and that is why she wants to learn it.  She's just like her father that way... naturally inquisitive.  And like me in that she has a strong desire for understanding and craves explanations.  Needless to say, I am so proud of her.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A touch of sibling rivalry

Most of the time, Mira and Ellowyn play really well together.

Playing "Train"

Ellowyn tickling Mira's toes

Other times not so much.

It really wasn't a problem until Ellowyn started crawling.

Before Ellowyn was crawling, Mira went through a phase where she didn't want Ellowyn to have certain toys (or sometimes any toys).  But that was pretty easily handled by a combination of teaching Mira how to trade toys with Ellowyn and telling Mira that the rule is that she cannot grab toys out of Ellowyn's hands.  Things were under control.

Until Ellowyn started crawling.

Now Mira will be playing with something and (since Ellowyn thinks Mira is the bee's knees) Ellowyn will decide that she wants to play too.  But the way a baby plays is basically to mess things up and create chaos.  This really bothers Mira, as organized and orderly as she is.  So then Mira lashes out at Ellowyn, by pushing her away or snatching the toy away from her or yelling at her or something similar.  And Ellowyn doesn't understand what went wrong so she starts crying.

I've been reading various sources on the subject of sibling rivalry, and one common theme seems to be that the parents need to stay out of it as much as possible.  The reason for this makes sense to me: every time you intervene, you inevitably take sides (and taking sides only makes rivalry worse).  But I can't just stand by while Mira pushes Ellowyn over.  Having a baby in the mix complicates the "work it out yourselves" approach.  I've also read the tactic of putting a toy into time out if it is being fought over or having children take timed turns with a toy, but it seems to me like both of those tactics would have little bearing in my situation, since there is a baby involved.

My sister and I are 12 years apart, so I never experienced sibling rivalry first-hand.  I do have some experience with mitigating sibling rivalry from my years as a nanny, but all of those kids were older and there are lots of tactics that you can take with older kids.  I simply have no idea how to handle this when one of the kids is a baby with no concept of consequence or respect for others.

I know that, to some degree, sibling rivalry is just part of having children who are close in age.  And really, this is not that big a problem: as I said, most of the time the girls play great together.  I just hate feeling like I don't know if I'm taking the right approach on those occasions when they do have trouble playing happily together.

Mostly what I'm doing right now is using distractions with Ellowyn and giving Mira places to play where Ellowyn can't reach (up on the couch or at the table).  I also do use time outs with Mira as a consequence for physical violence, but that's rarely necessary.

Anyway, I would welcome any suggestions, if anyone has ideas that I've not thought of.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ellowyn is 9 months old

Two days ago, Ellowyn turned 9 months old.  

She's such a bright, happy, easy baby!  She sleeps well, eats well, entertains herself easily...  I really lucked out with her.

Here are her stats from her 9 month well-check:
Height: 27.5 inches (40th percentile)
Weight: 15 pounds, 2 ounces (3rd percentile)
Head: 45.5 centimeters (90th percentile)
The doctor is a little concerned about her weight being so low.  Mira was low too, but never this low.  He says it's probably because Ellowyn is so happy playing on the floor, crawling around almost constantly.  But it means that he wants to keep a closer eye on her, so rather than waiting till 12 months to see her again, he wants to see her back in 6 weeks.  He says it's just a precaution, he's sure she's fine, but he likes to keep closer tabs on the tiny babies.

She's still just got the two teeth, but I can see by looking at her gums that the top ones are on their way.
Flashing that toothy grin.

She's crawling very proficiently now.  She still sometimes prefers the army crawl, but certainly not because she isn't *awesome* at crawling on her hands and knees.
Crawling, crawling, crawling...

Just a couple days ago, I caught her attempting this new trick:

Gonna have to get out the gate pretty soon!

And she still LOVES to eat.  She mostly eats what we eat, with only a few exceptions.  I'm already having to plan larger meals to accomodate her; sometimes I think she eats more than I do.  After eating, her belly is always so distended, she looks like a tadpole.  So her low weight is certainly not for lack of trying.  In addition to 2-3 solid meals per day, she is still nursing about 6 times daily.  Girl loves her some noms.

We tried avocado again recently and got the same reaction as before: hives, this time on the chest.  So she really is allergic to avocado.  The only other food that she has shown a sensitivity for is egg white, which she throws up every time.  I'm hoping she'll grow out of that one.

And she can drink from a sippy cup all by herself now!  Watching her do this cracks me up.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Girl needs some dance classes

I think Mira has an innate love of dance.  She frequently asks me to turn on music so that she can dance and every time she hears music she starts dancing.  I can't tell if she is an especially talented dancer, but does it even matter when she loves it so much?

The place where she's taking her gymnastics class does offer dance classes too, but they don't start till age 3.  You better believe that she will be in those dance classes just as soon as she can be.

I recently got some photos of her doing what she calls a "dance clap" (she turns around in circles, picking her feet up high and clapping her hands).  Excuse the pajamas, this was first thing in the morning.  Also note the cute little ballet slippers (a gift from Aunt Kevan).

And after a dance, every good dancer knows to do your stretches.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The beginning of a long road...

My cousin, a mommy blogger like me, started tracking her weight loss on her blog a couple months ago.  I thought it was such a great way for her to hold herself accountable to her weight loss goals.  It also struck me as being very honest and vulnerable in a way that I admired.  So I guess you could say I've decided to follow her lead.

I'm going to start a weight loss journal here on my blog. 

I know a lot of you are probably thinking, "Wait a minute.  I signed up for cute baby pictures and videos of that adorable little girl singing her ABCs.  I don't give a flying flip about workout regimes and dietary goals and pounds lost and all that hoopla."  To those people, I have to apologize.  But this is something that I need to do for myself.  I don't pretend to imagine that this is a topic that all of my followers will think is fascinating.  But by putting myself out there in this way, I feel more pressure to succeed, and that's something I know I need: accountability.  So this is more for me than it is for you.  Feel free to skip the weight loss entries, if you're not interested.  

There will also continue to be cute photos/videos of both the girls, so DO NOT DESPAIR!  I know what your needs are and they will not go unfulfilled.  


Preamble complete.  

I've been working out routinely for about 5 weeks now.  I've lost 7 pounds in that time.  Which is better than I thought I'd do because I've not been serious about my diet.  But it's a start.  And I'm feeling like I have more energy and I'm actually WANTING to work out, which is a big step.  But since I've started working out, I've encountered a hurdle: plantar fasciitis.  So my workout regimen has had to change: I was doing a lot of walking/jogging and that's just not something that I can do right now.  So instead I'm doing the eliptical a lot, sometimes swimming.  Anyway, I'm hoping that this pain clears up quickly so that I can get back to the kind of workout that I'd like to do, but I've heard that it can take many months for plantar fasciitis to heal.

At first, I was just working out for the energy and to feel better.  But seeing that I'm losing weight, I'm thinking that maybe I should take this whole thing seriously.  I'm working out 3-5 times per week, for 30-60 minutes.  As far as my diet, what has worked for me in the past is to count calories.  I've successfully lost weight on a 1200 calorie/day diet.  But I'm not comfortable limiting my calories because I am breastfeeding.  It's hard to know how many calories you are burning in milk production, and the last thing I want is to lose my milk before Ellowyn is ready to wean.  So I'm not going to worry about quantity of food and instead focus on food quality (meaning I can eat as much as I want as long as the foods I eat are healthy and nutritious).

Anyway... the first goal that I'm setting is to lose 30 pounds.  I may have more to lose than that, but I'll reevaluate once I get there.  


30 pounds to go.