Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Big Girl Bed!

After Ember dismounted from her bed Sunday night less than gracefully, Andrew and I planned to convert her crib to the toddler bed configuration. We planned that as soon as Andrew walked through the door, we would grab Ember and throw and "big girl bed" party!!!

During the day, I pulled the necessary piece out of the closet and showed Ember how it would attach to the crib and talked a lot about her new bed. Very quickly, she got excited and would pull me into her room to show me the rail and ask me hold it up against her crib. Once Andrew got home, he grabbed the appropriate tools and the three of us rallied in Ember's room. The girl was bouncing with enthusiasm!

Ember was over the moon with the new set up, but we knew the real challenge was yet to come: bed time. Dun dun dunnnnn.

We kept the bedtime routine exactly the same: Andrew diapered and jammied Ember, read a story, we all hunted for the mice in Goodnight Moon and then lights went out and I nursed Ember to slumber. While nursing and rocking in her chair, I surveyed the new arrangement and got scared and weepy. How did we come to this so fast? And, it finally occurred to me that she was going to roll out of bed. Ember definitely squirms in her sleep and those crib rails kept her in place. Without them, she was going overboard.

But there was no going back.

A tumble out of bed was a much better alternative than Ember falling the several feet from the crib rails. Once asleep, I put Ember in her bed, kissed her forehead, and put pillows down around the landing zone. I lingered just long enough to watch her snuggle into her Kitty and then tiptoed out. Being that I'm such a sap, I made Andrew go in with me, and we peered at our big girl together, sound asleep. I managed to keep from sobbing uncontrollably and to not take a picture for fear of a flash waking her up.

The night went remarkably well. She cried once at 11:30 - I went in to find Ember lying on the pillows on the floor, asleep. Clearly, it couldn't have been all that been traumatic. We checked on her twice more over the course of the night and both times found Ember on the floor, sound asleep. Without issue, we moved her back to bed.

The hardest adjustment will be the mornings. Ember usually stirs around 6am but lulls herself back to sleep within the confines of her crib. She may not do that anymore. Instead, she may get up and play, prompting the start of my day. But really, I'm not complaining.

Scenes from a Big Girl Bed Party!!!

"Nigh, nigh."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Life is (once again) Over as I Know It

There are milestones in a child's life that are real game changers for parents.



And, climbing out of the crib.

Oh sweet parenting gods, give me strength.

I woke this morning to a thud that rattled through the monitor. Immediately, I took off knowing exactly what had happened: Ember had climbed out of her crib. When I opened the door to her room, there she was, lying like a plank on the floor. I got down beside her, lifted her to her feet and asked if she was okay. She looked at me, and then pointed to her stuffed kitty in the crib and said, "Kitty!"

Oh, good, you're alright. Good thing, because my blood pressure had already spiked.

I mean, Andrew and I both knew that it wasn't a matter of if Ember was going to climb out of her crib, but when. And I've always been grateful that she is on the tiny side of the scale because this day could have come much, much sooner.

Oh, but that is little comfort right now. What are we going to do!?

Well, we are going to convert the crib to the toddler bed set up. But that introduces a host of other issues ... like keeping her in bed. Hell. even her room! The kid can open doors so....

Sleepless nights are coming my way again, I'm sure of it. Just when my eye had stopped twitching...

Bravo Karma, you got us again.

Any thoughts on how to get a 17 month old excited about her new big girl bed? Duct tape or chicken wire? Just kidding. I think.

At least she's cute.
This is how Ember dresses when left to her own devices: dress, rubber boots, denim jacket and a a ball cap.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Me as a Mum

I believe I am the mother that other mothers roll their eyes about, and question why I'm being such a high maintenance freak. Seriously.

Here's the thing: I have expectations of my child. Yes, even at 17 months of age.

We taught her to sign a fair amount of words and she knows how to say please and thank you. With that, when Ember asks to be picked up, for some milk, et cetera I expect that she say "please" first. There was one evening after dinner that Ember declared herself "all done" and wanted down from her high chair. Well, Ember sat there until she said/signed "down please". It got to the point where Andrew and I were past the point of caring but assuming that she probably has the memory of an elephant, we stuck to her guns and waited for her to ask properly. We had company that evening and I believe she was being a bit of a smart aleck for their benefit but we got it out of her ... even though she spent a couple of minutes in her high chair in her bedroom. Since that night, manners haven't been too much of an issue and without prompting Ember is signing please in tandem with her requests. Things only go off the rails when she's cranky; that's when I'm really grateful for her ability to sign please. When she's jumping at my feet asking for something, reminding her "what do you say?" checks her and snaps her out of her mood. She smiles and signs please and we go on. And, we almost always get a thank you when you'd expect one. My heart melts when Ember walks through a door that a stranger is holding for her, and she looks up and waves saying "Tank ta" (thank you).

Another thing: I narrate Ember's day. I'm sure I'm nauseating to listen to.

While Ember and I are at play, I'm constantly talking about the things she encounters, their colours, and if applicable the sound they make. Absolutely, she has play time alone, where I don't dream of interfering but when she calls to include me, or asks to be included - the narrative picks up. When we're cooking/baking together I talk of the ingredients; their colours and texture. When at play, I talk of the animals, their sounds, the colour. I call "open, closed" while she plays at the bedroom doors. I call "on, off" when she's playing with her rubber boots.

I don't even know how bad it is until I watch our family videos. From behind the camera I'm heard, "Can you find another egg Ember? Look to your left. Oh, you found the blue one!" Or, "What are those Ember? Do you hear frogs? What do froggies say? Ribbit, ribbit?" I can't be stopped!

It's even worse when we're in public. When Ember has free reign, usually in the library or a bookstore, she obviously has no sense of her surroundings yet and I'm always to bring about a sense of consciousness. "Ember say excuse me when walking through a crowd." "Ember don't push in front of the little girl, she was playing at the computer first." "Ember, share!, that's not yours." I'm right in there while other mothers watch from beyond the fray like I'm a mad woman.

Oh, another thing: I talk to Ember like she's 5 (15) years older than she is.

I can't be stopped. The best example I can think of right now was when Ember was playing on the computers in the kid's section of the library. Ember seized the opportunity when a seat opened up and grabbed the mouse like a seasoned techie. Of course I'm right in there trying to decipher the point of the game and what it is Ember is to do. Let me tell you, nothing makes you feel old like trying to navigate a kids game. Oh lordy! After tinkering with the mouse I figure that I need to be using the directional pad on the keyboard and Ember and I are off. "Okay Ember, you need to collect all the bananas. Move the monkey so that he gets them all using these arrow keys." As I'm offering these directions, Ember shouting "nana!" and making monkey noises. Once the level is cleared, Ember exclaims "All done!" and begins clapping. Okay, next level. "See Ember, that man there is holding up a letter and we have to move the monkey to the corresponding letter over here so the window can be cleaned." Ember nods like we're on the same page, we complete a few letters and she's off. "Bye bye" as she darts off to the next activity.

I fully realize that Ember can't follow such directions yet but I'm incapable of practising it.

One more thing: She is already a time out kid.

Ember has been spending 60 seconds at a time in time out since she was one year old. I realize that she doesn't fully grasp the concept yet but she will. Eventually. In starting out early, Andrew and I are getting stronger and are developing a few rules about time out as we go. Like, the parent who puts Ember in time out, gets her out of time out. This way neither looks like a hero. A bonus of time outs? It gives me a time out which is usually what's required in the moment.

Other random confessions:

- Sets of toys that are scattered all over the place really irritates me. I've been known to count pieces of Playmobil and puzzles to make sure they're all accounted for. The same goes for the ABC fridge magnets and crayons. A purple crayon has gone MIA and it's driving me CRAZY!

- When Ember is colouring, I really want her to colour within the lines. She doesn't of course and that's okay, I just really, really want her to.

- I started baking with Ember in a sling when she was itty bitty, 3 weeks old-ish. I would identify ingredients and measurements to her and I found it all very relaxing and enjoyable. Now, I can't do anything in the kitchen without Ember wanting to help. She carries the step stool over to where I am working, climbs up and reaches into my work zone. It isn't always relaxing but I love that we bake and cook together.

- Ember hears the word respect A LOT. Every time she hucks a piece of her meal on the floor, "Ember, you need to respect your food. People work hard to provide that for you." Wow, that sounds brutal when you type it out. I don't want to continue with this point anymore....

So, do you agree with any of my sentiments or practices? Or do you think I'm effing crazy? Be gentle if you fall into the latter category.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Technical difficulties! This should have been posted last night, but here it is ... 15 hours later.

To all the women who get their clean clothes out of the hamper while all other members of the household have their clothes neatly folded and put away,

To all the women who wear sweatpants for enough days in a row that it makes you feel like you've lost weight, only to realize that this may not be the case when you pull on your jeans,

To all the women who eat cold dinners, or have their meals interrupted 14 times while you hop and down fetching different accoutrements of necessity - a wet cloth, a spoon, the spoon off the floor, a fork, the fork off the floor, a wet towel to mop the quinoa off the floor .... ,

To all the women who have an open door policy with a person whose favourite author is Sandra Boynton (no disrespect to Ms Boynton!) and have hands reaching from beyond a curtain while they're showering,

To all the women who have lost the time to read for pleasure,

And to all the women who love wholly, unconditionally, and unselfishly: bravo to you.

I hope you had a wonderful day being loved and appreciated for the incredible job you do.

Friday, May 6, 2011

For the Grandmothers

I know all the grandmums (and aunts, and great aunts ...) will love Ember's little London Fog spring coat. Navy blue with dime sized white polka dots and a gorgeous magenta lining, it is swoon worthy to be sure. Hell, I'd wear it.

Between errands a couple of days ago, Ember wanted to stretch her legs and explore a quiet part of a parking lot. She's like that. I couldn't resist snapping some photos. I'm like that.

Insert thought bubble: "Mum, put down the camera. There's some bugs I want you to identify!"

Thank you Cara for such a beautiful coat!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

For the Uncles

Screens are still fun.

FYI: Yellow crayons are delicious.