shy Dillo

Apr. 17th, 2009 11:44 am
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Wednesday night while I was at work mr. flea took the kids out to a ribs place. The woman taking the order talked up Dillo, and of course he was shy. mr. flea asked him what he felt like when people said hello to him like that, and Dillo's response was, "I want to get in the car and drive home," and also, "I want to go in the bathroom and peep [i.e. melt] down the drain." Poor little shy guy! mr. flea tried to tell him that people were friendly and a lot of people like children, and it's okay if someone says "hi" to say hi back.

Dillo's been a lot more interested in art the last month or so, as the drawings on the couch, walls, floor, and his wagon as well as actual paper attest. He really likes to draw circles and spirals (and can name spirals) - round and round and round. Also, he has a train made up of the five letters of his name, connected by magnets. Last weekend he arranged it so the front magnet connected to the end magnet and said, "Look, a pentagon!" *Pentagon!*

Still NO potty action yet. We need to get more forceful, and actually ACT on the M&M bribery, not just talk about it.

Tomorrow we are going camping in Alabama to see friends. As of tomorrow, my kids will have set foot in AL, GA, SC, NC, VA, MD, OH, and MA (add PA for Casper, and NJ if you count airport layovers). Southern children! Gotta get these kids to, like, Maine and New York City.
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I feel like Dillo gets short shrift around here, being the second kid and all. And while he's a great talker, he is not as picturesque a talker as Casper was at his age. He says cute and funny things, but they are usually in the "you had to be there" vein (like when he said yesterday, to Owen's dad, "I don't like Owen.")

So, Dillo. He's 2 years and almost 9 months now. He went off to school in a pull-up this morning for the first time. We've been talking up the whole "peep in the potty" thing heavily lately, and bought the pull-ups yesterday, but he has yet to ever actually pee in the potty. He does sit on it at school; he mostly won't at home, though we haven't pushed. In related news (well, it's about his penis, anyway) I was able to retract his foreskin pretty much all the way last night (this occurred in the context of after bath, and him trying to do it, and complaining, "I can't open it!")

He mostly sleeps through the night and has been less often awake for the day at insane AM; often he's not up until 6:30 and Sunday morning he slept until 7:30! Getting him to go to sleep at night is a terrible battle though, which I have started handing off to mr. flea. He's simply not tired until past 9pm, because he gets a 2+ hour nap at daycare. I am very tired and impatient at 9pm, and mr. flea does a much better job of playing 'whose feet make a bigger shadow' with the flashlight and giggling until he falls asleep.

When I was doing bedtime more often, we had gotten into the habit of singing Little Bunny Foo-Foo and also telling the story of Casper's yellow balloon ("and the wind took it, and it went down the storm drain! Will you sing that one?") It's not a song, but a story that starts out true (Casper was SO SAD about the balloon) and ends with Dillo's inventions, regarding a space ship and a monster and the rescue of the balloon from the storm drain.

He remains a Beta Male - rough and tumble friends (like Owen, and some of his friends at school) are too much for him, and he's not aggressive in grabbing back a taken toy (unless he's tussling with his sister, in which case he's likely to give as good as he gets.) He still loves donuts (this morning in the car: "Can we go to the donuts?" No. "Will you take me to the coffee shop?") and en-dee-ems. He gets wild hairs and throws things, goes around the house dumping out bins of toys and sweeping magazines off the coffee table but in general is not deliberately destructive (he accidentally broke a DVD trying to get it out of the box). He hates having his hair combed and complains at clothing changes, wanting "soft pants". He mostly won't wear jeans and is silly picky about shirts - doesn't like tags.

He's not very interested in the new weaning bunny but is suddenly quite attached to his stuffed seal, Sealy, such that Sealy needs to be found before bedtime. This is a new phenomenon for me, as neither kid has much been into lovies before. He likes cars, and small rubber balls, and painting. He eats apples and yogurt tubes like they are going out of style. He can mostly sing the alphabet and recite numbers to 10, and recognizes the letters A and O. He's a little boy!
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Dillo is suddenly full of rambunctious, physical, boy energy. He's been a bit of a runner for a bit - not reliably, but occasionally just dashes off in public - so I worry a lot in parking lots and tend to carry him. He's also loved to run laps around the house. But suddenly he's doing a lot of punching and in-your-face physical stuff, and reacting to action scenes on TV or even in books (Curious George Rides a Bike, yesterday - not exactly a race car book) with boy-like Zooooom! and Whoooosh! and so forth. I hope he is getting enough outside time at school (not today, it is pouring rain) and we need to work at getting him not just outside but running.

I'm ready to wean him, and we plan to sit him down and tell him so today. The Mall of Georgia has a Build a Bear Workshop store - which is where Casper picked out her purple pony the day she was weaned - so I think it will be nice to repeat the tradition and do the same with Dillo. I am hoping by telling the story of Casper's weaning we will be able to include her in the process and and also make him feel less like this is something happening to him and more like it is a family transition to be celebrated. We'll see. I'm not sure if we should set a date of this weekend (the mall is open Sunday afternoon; we have commitments already on Saturday) or wait another week. Kids (even Casper, still) seem really to have no sense of time passing, but would it help to talk about it for more than 4 days to prepare him?

Part of the reason I'm feeling some urgency to wean is he'll have to be potty-trained by this summer (for day care, to move to the 3-4 year old room), and we have not begun. I got him to sit on the little potty, but not pee, the other day; he refuses to sit on the toilet because he is scared (he told me I would flush him down the drain!) Once the weaning is done, we can pull out the books and start talking about potty in earnest. I hope warmer weather and no-pants will help too. Need some Daddy examples.

le weekend

Oct. 13th, 2008 12:21 pm
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We camped! Left (later than I wanted) about 10:45 on Saturday, and drove to Western NC via I-85 to Spartanburg and the cut off towards Hendersonville. We picked apples - a peck each of Stayman's Winesaps and Cortlands - at Sky Top Orchards in Flat Rock NC, on a sunny, cool, breezy hilltop afternoon. It made me very happy. We rolled in to our chosen campground, outside Asheville in the Pisgah National Forest at about 4:15, pitched the tent, and went around to the small lake and beach, where the kids cavorted in the water and got rather wet (I hadn't packed for swimming; the kids were supposed to be wading, but you know how that goes with enthusiastic children.) We had hot dogs and green beans for dinner, and I got smores but due to domestic issues to be described later, others did not.

The kids went down okay. Casper was having issues, and was more uncomfortable with the idea of sleeping in a tent than she wanted to admit. She was also tired, though, and after we read some books by the light of the lantern, fell asleep. Dillo was less wary but also more energetic, and woke me up a lot on the night by flailing around, wanting water, etc. I also pulled the short straw in terms of sleeping places, and was lying on only a folded wool blanket (on top of tent, on top of tarp, on top of gravel surface tent pitch.) Note for next trip: get a bigger tarp that fits our new-to-us tent, get kid sleeping bags (Christmas grandparents?), get geriatric adult sleeping mats for the geriatric adults among us.

Sunday we drove south along the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit, the kids very excited at the views and the tunnels. We stopped for lunch in Brevard NC and then took a scenic route though the woods and hills and land of tourist resorts and golf courses of far far Western NC, ending in the remarkably chi-chi town of Hillside (I think?). More designer stores per square foot of town per distance from a major metropolitan area than anywhere I've been in a long time! Then we trailed down out of the mountains onto GA 441, which took us all the way home. The kids slept for a couple of hours and Dillo, for one, did not want to be home - he wanted to keep camping.

So, next boring desk shift, I'll be looking into state parks near Savannah or Charleston; if mr. flea doesn't go to Belgium for Thanksgiving after all (due to budget issues, it is up in the air) we could go camping!

The only bad parts were Dillo's tendency to flee in all directions - he had to be chased down a couple of times, and is clearly feeling his oats - and Casper's pooping problems. She pooped in her pants Thursday at school, Friday night at the neighbor's, three times on Saturday, and at home Sunday night. (And actually pooped in the potty at least twice in between.) We've resorted to pull-ups for a little bit; whether it's something biological or something emotional, at least mr. flea will be spared washing out poopy panties.

good news

Oct. 10th, 2008 08:34 am
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There was a meeting at Dillo's day care last night about the future. I wasn't able to go, but mr. flea reports several positive things. Most important, the center is not going to close in December as previously announced; they will run out their existing contract, and close in July. This should allow enough time for the director and one of the parents, who is a real estate developer, to find a property and renovate it for the needs of the center.

mr. flea asked some good questions and got good answers. He was concerned about the financial viability of the center in a new incarnation, since currently it is subsidized heavily by the feds. They noted that because of the federal mandate that requires 50% federal employees, the center is actually not operating at full capacity (there aren't enough children of federal employees; mr. flea seems to be the only person of the 60 or so working at the EPA who has children under 5). If that mandate were removed, the center could serve more children at current staff and space levels, and there is certainly demand for high quality child care in the area. While prices would probably rise, they would be competitive with other local centers of similar quality (which would still make them 20%+ less than what we were used to in Durham). The director has also been running Athens Montessori for many years, and seems to be doing fine financially with very modest tuition rates for a private school, so it's not like he's a novice at this stuff.

I think it still makes sense to get on a couple of other wait lists just in case, especially McPhaul which is conveniently on the route to mr. flea's work and cheap to get on the list of. But I am MUCH relieved.

In not so good news, Casper apparently pooped in her pants at recess yesterday at school, and didn't tell anybody, and nobody noticed until I got to after school to pick her up, when I crouched down next to her and IMMEDIATELY noticed she was poopy. I can't figure out what's up with her on this topic; she doesn't seem to be ashamed about it, rather coming across kind of blank or apathetic. I'm not sure if that is good or not. I'm not sure what to do. It definitely happens when we have breaks in routine (if she doesn't poop at home between 5:30 and 7, the odds of an accident the next day are high) and also in the past has been linked to stress. Skid marks I could handle, but actual shit in the underpants at 5 is a little more than I want to be dealing with.

Milestones

Mar. 20th, 2008 08:25 am
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We had our first experience with Youth Sports last night; Casper is starting soccer at the YMCA, with one-hour practices once a week and "games" on Saturday mornings. Her team is 3-PreK, about 12 kids, about evenly divided by gender. (Though, sadly, there were a couple of 2nd-3rd grade teams playing nearby, and both were about 85% male, so it looks like it doesn't stick.) Her coach seems good; he's a father of 4 and has been coaching for 10 years, and his youngest daughter is on the team. They did some dribbling - chasing the coach while dribbling, then chasing one of the kids in turn. They alternated with practicing taking shots on goal (with the coach defending). They also spend some time cheering and creating team spirit. Their color will be green, so they decided to name themselves the Monsters; when it started raining lightly they decided they would be the Rain Monsters.

Casper was adorable. She was shy at first and also trying to eat some dinner, since there was no time between when we picked her up from after school and the start of soccer. She got freaked out when the team yelled "Hello Casper!". She tended to get frustrated and discouraged when "her" ball got taken by someone else (after a shot on goal, or in the mixup of dribbling) and would put her hands on her hips and pout. She runs like a girl and isn't very coordinated, but then, she's my kid, the tallest on the team and hency gawky looking, and we have never done any sports with her. She kept up okay. Other kids had issues too, and came to sit with parents on the benches at various points, and the coach was good at noticing who needed encouragement and letting them score on him. He gave out lots of stickers, too.

So, we will be shopping for shin guards (the built in to socks kind are recommended, and are $4 at Target) and a size 3 soccer ball.

Dillo loved soccer more than Casper, if anything. He sometimes got into the mix but held his own. I cleverly brought ball-ball, so he'd have a ball of his own to play with.

In other milestones, Casper brought home a Junie B. Jones book from the school library, and mr. flea has been reading it to her. It seems to be providing a good opportunity to discuss social issues at school, and how to be a good friend and classroom citizen. mr. flea also finds it hilarious at times.

Dillo has been so consistently interested in watching us use the toilet that I have encouraged him to start playing with and "using" the potty we have. He sits on it fully clothed, with the lid down only. Opening the lid scares him a bit, and when he is naked and I suggest he sit on it, he is not interested. But he says poo-poo and pee-pee when we talk about the potty, and I tell him that when he is a big boy he will do these things on the potty. I am hoping to avoid the mistake we made with Casper, which I think was waiting too late and turning potty-training into somewhat of a battle of wills.
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Dillo has, perhaps a little belatedly, hit the 18 month old cling and whine phase. He cries a lot when I leave for work; this afternoon I could hear him halfway across the Kroger when I took off after some rice cakes. (Incidentally, it is our week to provide snack (fruit/veg plus carb/protein) for 20 kids daily at Casper's (public) school. It's kind of expensive to provide fig newtons, rice cakes, apples and such for 20 kids.) The last two nights, if he'd had his druthers, he would have spent the entire night with my breast in his mouth. As it was he was up every 2 hours (which did lead to the amusing "Up mama dada!" comment he made at 5:30 am. We wrangled him back down.)

We're having incredible wind now, but before it got bad we spent a couple hours yesterday afternoon and this morning outside, enjoying what is basically spring weather. It will freeze tonight, but we've got blooming daffodils in the early spots. I have started my ineffectual shrub-pruning. Maybe this year I will buy a ladder; my mother sent me $100 for no reason this week...

Casper has been full of good energy with all this outside-ness; in inside news, we borrowed a disc of Looney Tunes, all Bugs Bunny, from the library and she thinks it is very silly. In not very pleasant news, she pooped in her underpants Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after school, while with Beth the after-school care person, playing outside. And Saturday morning started the day by peeing in an upholstered chair for no apparent reason, probably ruining it. I think we're going to take her in to see Dr. Betty; although I suppose it's possible there's some physiological reason for all of this, I kind of doubt it. In any case Dr. Betty may be helpful. I would attribute some of it to Beth giving notice, but it's been building up for a while. (For after school care, it's looking like the Y, which seems good and is a good deal financially, though the transportation is an issue.)

And they fight a lot. Squabbling right now. She pushed and yells, he whaps. We separate them. Repeat. I'm tired after this weekend, but I so wanted to stay up to watch the Jennifer Ehle Pride & Prejudice...
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Dillo peed on the floor. Well, I was letting him run around with no pants on; you'll have that.

I picked up a skirt from the dry cleaner's yesterday, wore it today, and got macaroni and cheese on it at the office Christmas party.

Casper peed on the floor, making this the first day ever when BOTH children peed on the floor. In her defense, she was in the bathroom pulling down her tights when it happened.

That kind of a day. But, I now have 7 days off in a row! Hoping to sleep in tomorrow.
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Casper got up this morning and had a dry diaper, mr. flea reports, and did a big pee on the potty. AND we got her to poop in the potty last night. It's so fun to watch your kid master a skill so quickly. I'm glad we didn't push this earlier when she was completely not interested; it would have been maddening for us and her.

(Of course, there are still accidents; I forgot to have her sit on the potty before we left school yesterday, and she promptly peed before the bus came, and so we were both soaked, but not by rain. And she peed on our bed last night, too. Given we've been doing this a week now, I'm still really impressed.)

Slightly less peppy now. It's hard being so freaking peppy - so distractable. A nice change from exhausted, however.

so proud!

May. 10th, 2006 01:51 pm
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To get this out of the way - I am itching like a mofo right now. Somehow the afternoons are the worst; maybe because I've been taking the steroids at night, so they've worn off by mid-day? Dunno. Must. Distract. I am much less swollen, though I seem to be a little flushed in the face today. My oozing is better; the ointment helps although I feel sticky everywhere.

So proud is because Casper is really taking to potty training. Yesterday she wore panties at school all day with no accidents, even through her nap! Miss Rosa is being very encouraging. When we got home we had a "celebration" - 10 en-dee-ems! And then successfully pottied througout the evening, until we put a diaper on her before bed and she finally pooped. We've got to work on the pooping thing. She had that going spontaneously a couple of weeks ago, but right now is only pooping in a diaper. However, anecdotal evidence suggests this is fairly common - Ellen did exactly the same thing.

I am now thinking of changing my maternity leave plan to take the full FMLA 12 weeks; original plan was to take the 6 weeks I have paid and then come back 20 hours for a couple of weeks and ramp up to full. mr. flea just can't give up much work time at this point to care for the armadillo, if I want him to finish in a reasonable time (and, oh, do I!), and I am worried about finding reliable in-home care for a 6 week old. Six weeks is very very tiny still, compared to 3 months. I know a lot of people have to go back that soon, but how? So now must face breaking this stressful-for-her change to my boss (fortunately we haven't had any formal talk about maternity leave plans yet), and we're considering taking out some student loans to help ease the financial situation. The former scares me, but must be done (yes, I can learn to put my needs before those of my not-well-paying-or-satisfying-job!), and the latter depresses me, but I'm thinking of it more as a safety net rather than real debt. When mr. flea gets a job, we'll be able to pay them off very quickly indeed. Right?

The Victim

May. 7th, 2006 09:32 am
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I look horrible this morning. Don't click unless you're not squeamish about poison ivy. I'm seriously wondering if I can go to work looking like this.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/141950020/

On a much nicer note, here is my cute girl: singing and wearing panties (panties all day yesterday, no accidents!) Nothing to be afraid of here
http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/141950017/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/141950021/
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This is how sweet our little girl is:

She is currently taking very good care of her bears in the hallway. Cuddling them when they are sick, asking where it hurts, changing their stinky diapers. Brushing their fur.

When told about my poison ivy, she said, "Poor mommy!" with such a concerned face, and was eager to help make it better. She also told me "don't touch that plant again!"

After my cold tecnu shower I had two ponytails in, and she said, "You have two pretty ponytails. You look so cute."

My mother sent me an old (vintage 1988 agnes b) skirt of hers on Thursday, and Casper said, "Put it on! It will look so nice with your shirt. You look so cute! Now dance! [after my twirl - it is a very full skirt] Now bow!"

She loves on my belly sometimes (most amusingly though the entire church service on Easter), and will put her head there and sing to her baby brother. She tells us she is "growing up to be a skinny big sister."

We've had FIVE pee-pees in the potty today, after an end-of-week lull. Has worn panties all day except for a requested hour break to play outside in a pull-up.

assorted

May. 2nd, 2006 10:35 am
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1. Have just successfully placed order from Target for Liz Lange unoffensive black maternity tankini. Thank god. Also got a black v-neck t-shirt. Seems sad that 2 cheap & temporary items comes to $50, but damn I need a bathing suit.

2. In other 'attempt to rejoin the human race' news I am expecting an old friend and her 2 kids for pizza tonight; her babies are Casper's age (2.5) and 10.5 months, and as she said, "I finally feel like I'm coming out from under." I said, "I feel like I'm going under." Of course, she works 3 12-hour night shifts a week as a labor and delivery nurse, so I'd feel like I was "under" if I were her even if I didn't have 2 babies. She is also bringing baby loot (she's had her last & got her tubes tied, so is sure she will never again need a baby bjorn!)

3. Must make To Do list for impending baby. Less than 3 months now, and lots to do. Have done, essentially, nothing yet.

4. Mother is coming to visit May 18! I really want someone to go shopping and play with. Maybe she'll even be roped into paying for things!

5. Have started bribery method of potty training with Casper. mr. flea is in charge and the possibility of en-dee-ems for pee-pees is VERY exciting to Casper. Since we started at 7pm yesterday we've had 100% success. This morning after a couple of unproductive minutes on the potty, I suggested that maybe she just didn't need to go and we should take a break, and Casper said, "NO! I want to go pee-pee and get en-dee-ems!" And indeed, a big morning pee-pee followed shortly.

6. Made my grandmother's hamburger zucchini last night for dinner. It's good and nostalgic. Casper slurps noodles and doesn't chew them, like me. mr. flea thinks we are aliens.

7. More lengthy and thoughtful posts that are fulminating: Casper and the belly; Casper and her mommy.
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In new and exciting sleep (or lack thereof) developments, Casper now gets out of bed to come find us sometimes. This can occur at 7:30 am on a Sunday, when I am in the kitchen reading and have been there an hour already, or it can happen at 2:30 am on a Monday, when it is less welcome. I mean, if she stayed in bed and just cried, it would still wake us (well, me) up, but somehow the mobility effect is especially worriesome.

When Casper is in a good mood and playing well by herself, I really enjoy watching her. She will take two Little People or two animal figurines and have little stories with them or enact them talking to each other. "Let's do blahblah!" "Okay!"

She also talks to, especially, Funky Bear. When we were in Boston at Xmas and driving home from the airport, she was showing him the sights out the car window. Yesterday she told him "It's okay" during a scary part in A Bug's Life. This wouldn't surprise me so much if her were her contant companion, but he isn't - she'll abandon him in the corner for 2 weeks at a stretch. But then she picks him up again and he is her best buddy for a little while. (Poor guy - it's hard to deal with inconstant affection. I love you *all* the time, Funky Bear!)

In potty news, we put her in Pull-ups during the day sometimes. She can get them on (sort of) and off herself, although she basically has to be unclothed from the waist down to bother. I thought they felt wetter to the wearer than modern diapers, and were thus supposed to encourage potty use, but either they don't feel wetter or Casper doesn't give a damn. They are, of course, rather more expensive than regular diapers, for no apparent reason except that they can be.

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