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.

Crawling.

Walking.

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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Easter Reflections

Oops. I meant to document our Easter weekend within a timely fashion of the celebratory weekend but, alas here I am, a week and then some later.

We sent the Easter Bunny our forwarding address as the three of us escaped to BC's Peace Country to see Andrew's mom and stepdad. It's been months since we drove the 6+ hours northwest and I'm happy to report this was Ember's best drive yet. For four hours at a time, Ember contentedly sat rear facing in the backseat babbling to herself and participating in sing-a-longs but her most favourite activities, making animal sounds while Andrew and I called out the corresponding animals.

It was a fabulous weekend which included Ember's first (real) egg hunt and getting her first tricycle! Which came with the appropriate accessories of a bell and a hat ... or helmet to the rest of us.

Ember was happy to hang out in her new "hat".

Even while eating her miso soup? Yeah, why not?

What? Do I have something on my chin?

Aboard her swish new ride. If she were two inches taller she'd actually be able to pedal all by herself.

But she can ring the bell all by herself!

Studying the physics involved.

Post egg hunt.

Andrew first put a few cereal puffs in the plastic eggs and then hid them in plain sight. Ember grasped the concept of hunting for the coloured eggs quickly - it was awesome! After collecting the eggs and eating their contents as she went, she sat with Andrew and went through each egg again to ensure she hadn't missed a rogue puff.

She was very thorough.

Before Easter dinner, Andrew and Ember played on the deck. He showed her how to blow bubbles. Or "buh-bles" as Ember calls them.

Ember's Easter outfit is courtesy her Grauntie Nedra. The shoes were a gift for Christmas which despite being too big are Ember's favourites and asks to wear them all the time.

Nana had turned on Toy Story 3 prompting Ember to assume her TV position.
Has she ever looked more like Andrew?!


It was a great weekend, one that I actually spent the bulk of relaxing while other hands corralled Ember, it was a treat!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

BFFs

Ember and Isla. Isla and Ember.

These two gals melt my heart.

Their love for each other is so true and infectious. There is a seven month age difference that Isla doesn't want to acknowledge and she strives to keep up with Ember. On the other hand, Ember thinks she's much bigger and does this funny thing where she does an exaggerated squat when approaching for Isla a hug.

Conveniently, these two besties live down the hall from one another so their run ins are frequent and often times, loud. Between them a secret language is spoken as they greet each with squeals and cheers that fluctuate through several octaves.

"Isla" was among Ember's first words.
Ember will walk around with the phone pressed to her ear saying "Hi Isla" and carrying on a conversation.
And, when her sticky little hands get a hold of my camera, Ember tries to scroll through the photos calling Isla all in attempts to see her and her dear friend.

Isla's mummy, Cara and I marvel at the friendship that our girls have established and value it completely. It's amazing that at such a young age, true relationships can be formed.

Ladies who lunch ... and hold hands.

Love.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Her 16th Month

Ember got her first black eye.

She still hasn't learned her lesson about climbing on the furniture. One week later, she replaced this black eye with a bruised cheek after surfing on her chair caused her to bounce off the coffee table.
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Ember got her first pair of rubber boots.

video
Naturally, splashing followed.
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Ember was gifted a play table.

Breakfast has never been so fun. Thanks Nana!
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Ember loves to colour.

This will keep her quiet (and seated) for 15 minutes at a time. Hallelujah!
She put her doll in the opposing chair by herself.

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Sunny spring-like Sundays call for a popped collar.

Striped pants are good, too.

Happy Spring to all!!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Multiple Choice

Choose the best answer.

I am to Ember, as:

a) border collies are to sheep,
b) a traffic cop is to traffic,
c) a ringmaster is to a circus.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Breastfeeding Doll

There seems to be a lot of discussion in the media about a breastfeeding doll that teaches young girls to breastfeed. The doll comes with a floral halter top which has sensors that mimic a sucking noise when the doll is brought close to the chest. Currently the doll is only available in Spain, but the manufacturer intends on bringing it to America next year.



Many are calling the doll "gross" and very inappropriate citing that it will promote teenage pregnancy and force girls to grow up too fast. Some have even described the doll as "sick".

Considering it's completely socially acceptable for children to carry around dolls that require diaper changing because they wet themselves and dolls that actually bottle feed, is this doll really offensive?

I question the necessity of the doll: I just don't feel that the halter and suckling noises are necessary. However I feel that way about all dolls that feature real life bodily functions. My thoughts are that children can imagine all those acts themselves. I know a few mothers that have given their first born children a doll when a new sibling has come into the family. When it comes time for the new baby to nurse, the older child has to feed their baby, too. Is that odd? Or is it teaching tool?

Thinking forward to if we were to have a sibling for Ember, I would absolutely give her a "baby" to help her ease into her new role as big sister. I expect that she would mimic nursing her doll as I would be nursing a baby, just as she would burp it, change its diaper and take it for a walk.

I'm dying to know - what are your thoughts?? Let's discuss.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Consumed

I'm overwhelmed with the preciousness of life and the cycle that is.

The perspective gained from the view parenthood is heavy at times. With my very best, I try to relish it all and never, ever take it for granted.

With all that's happening on the planet right now, driven by a bigger power or those who have power issues, and I look at my quiet life and I'm grateful.

My thoughts are with those I do not know.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mommy Milk

I've been thinking about nursing a lot lately. I am still breastfeeding my little meatloaf.

I didn't set out to breastfeed for this long. My original goal was to nurse until Ember was 12 months old and after that I'd address it. That milestone has come and gone and here I am, still milking it. Basically, Andrew and I felt that with a daily feeding, Ember was getting a great multi-vitamin that she wouldn't get anywhere else. I wasn't returning to work so it wasn't a hindrance in my life.

Ember began to wean herself in January so I thought I'd let her do the work; we were down to nursing for nap time only. And then she got sick and she reverted. She was nursing several times a day again. Considering she was dehydrated and wasn't interested in food, I was more than happy to oblige. I'm so grateful that I hadn't weaned because I believe it played a HUGE role in Ember recuperating so quickly from the RS virus. Since being sick, we've taken some time to get back to where we were but we're back to nap and bed time nursing only.
No more night time feedings at all!!

Now that Ember is 15 months old, my new goal is her second birthday. If Ember weans herself before then, great, I won't discourage it. However, I would continue to pump for her to have a sippy cup once a day.

Sometimes I'm surprised by myself and this decision. But for our situation, I feel it's the right one. I'm home, it's easy to pump. And, with Ember's allergies, I believe that breast milk can only serve as a benefit to her immune system and fat intake.

I'm curious to know your experiencing with breastfeeding. How long did you nurse? Did you have a goal? Mums to be - what are you thoughts, do you intend to nurse?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ember Went to Jasper - Pt. 2

Picking up from where we left off ...

Maligne Canyon is a spectacular spot. So much so, that my DSLR lens cap decided to jump ship and take up permanent residence there. I miss it dearly but I suppose, it really is in a good place. Andrew suggested that I may find it during the spring melt swirling among some rocks. While I appreciate the dream, I don't think it's likely to pan out.

Lens cap, can you hear me?
A view from the fifth bridge.

It was an incredible -6 degrees and Ember was happy to soak in some vitamin D and stretch her legs.

From the Canyon we decided to head over to Jasper Park Lodge.

A view of Pyramid Mountain en route. Note the doe enjoying some lunch.

The same shot while embracing negative space.

Originally, we were going to snowshoe around the JPL golf course but the simplicity of a stroll along Lac Beauvert won out. It really was for the best otherwise we wouldn't have experienced memory making moments like these:

Ember did her first snow angels on the lake; that's her little angel next to mine.


Ember's footprints in the snow. They slay me!

Ember hosts her first snow tasting party. Grana RSVP-ed 'yes!'.

Blazing her own trail.
At the main entrance to the lodge, stood a beautiful snow castle.

Over which, Ember quickly asserted her reign.

Only Daddy and a slide can still make a ruling monarch smile and giggle with such delight.

After our winter fun, we enjoyed a late lunch in the lodge and then began our drive back to reality. Before leaving the gates, the park offered us a couple more gifts though.

Bull (male) elk on one side of the road...

... cows and calves (women and children) on the other.

Ember slept all the way home and then all night - just another reason to love that Jasper air.

I hope you're all having a fabulous weekend.