27 June 2009

Alone

Cowboy is away from the house this Saturday morning, he is studying his masters and has class today. I was speaking to my Mum over the phone and when she realised that it was just for the morning (not all day like it is some weeks), she said something that made me laugh.

She said: Oh so you're not going to be alone all day, that's good.

It made me laugh because I just realised that I never feel alone when home with Champ anymore. I used to, when he was a baby. He is obviously so much of a big boy now that he counts as 'company'.

He is actually the best company ever!

26 June 2009

Kids will be kids

Kids hit, kick, push, punch, and even bite each other when young. It is a harsh fact.

If some other kid did this to your kid you would run to your child’s aid and offer immediate comfort. But what are you to do when it is your child (your precious little baby boy) who hits another little one when playing?

My darling little boy seems to be turning into a bully. Except that I can see that there is no maliciousness involved. He lashes out at other kids when he gets excited.

But it still must look like bully behaviour to other parents.

Our first incident happened over a month ago at music class. Champ has always loved one particular song in the class where all the parents kneel and hold over the heads of the kids a large blue sheet of blue cloth which has glittery stars on the underside. He gets so excited and runs around, laughing and squealing with joy. It is precious to watch.

Then, when he can no longer contain his excitement, he swipes another child (usually the smallest kid in the class – did I mention he was smart?) in the face. He doesn’t do this hard, but it frightens the child enough for him/her to cry. I feel terrible for the other child, and Champ gets told firmly that we are not happy with his behaviour. Champ then cries and the song is ruined for everyone.

This happens every week.

Cowboy and I now tailgate him through the entire song and usually avoid a major incident, but it is the fact that he would do it without our intervention which makes him look like a bully.

Three other ‘incidents’ expose Champ as a bully.

One little girl is Champ’s best friend. He adores her and is so excited to see her each time we meet. He says her name clearer than most of his words and is happy at the mere mention of her name. She is a dainty little thing and not yet walking confidently (16 months). We call her his ‘girlfriend’. They play together well most of the time. Champ likes to hug her, she like to kiss him. Champ also likes to pat her on the head or face. Gently at first. Then faster. Then harder. Until his gentle patting has turned frantic.

Another little boy is the son of one of my best friends. Again, he is a late developer and is just pulling up on chairs and only just starting to crawl properly (15 months). Champ has only had one incident with this little boy and his Mum saw it develop. She told me that Champ was gentle touching her son’s face and head, gentle, gentle patting. Then he started to get faster and her son moved his head backwards – into a chair. Her son cried and Champ got a bit upset as I pulled him away from the incident. My girlfriend and I both agreed that it was no one’s fault and we went back to our coffee. But it was too late, I don’t know if it was the attention he had received the first time (I wasn’t giving Champ too much attention as I had sever girlfriends over at the time), but each time he would see the little boy, he would swipe him. Once again, I found myself following his every move to ensure no further hitting ensued.

Finally, out of the 12 or so children at playgroup. Champ has decided to push over or swipe the face of one little boy each time he sees him. You guessed it, the littlest, weakest, least developed kid there. He knows how to pick them, that’s for sure. He never does it to any of the other kids, just this one little boy. The boy (14 months) is just learning to walk and still has a dummy. Champ (who never took a dummy) is always trying to steal it from the boy’s mouth or otherwise irritate him.

Apart from watching his every move and firmly telling him ‘no’ each time these things happen, I am at a loss of what to do. I realise that this is most likely a stage he will just grow out of and no maliciousness is intended. But meanwhile my relaxing get togethers with other parents are no longer relaxing.

25 June 2009

Silly (CD1)

Waiting is starting to seem silly.

I want to expand my family. I love children. I can’t wait to be pregnant. I tear up at the thought of bringing a new child into our lives. I adore being a mother. I get excited when I imagine Champ playing with his sibling in years to come. Cowboy wants to be a father again, ‘the sooner the better’.

Today is CD1, a little earlier than expected (26 days). I used to think that my cycles had shortened while I was breastfeeding. But now I have come to realise that I never knew my cycle length before having Champ. I was on the pill for 10 years prior to our wedding and then had only one ‘real’ cycle while on honeymoon before conceiving Champ. Maybe I would always have had 26/27 day cycles.

I haven’t yet decided if this cycle will be the one that I am brave enough to try to conceive again.

It has been 8 weeks since my miscarriage. And finally, putting it off for much longer is starting to seem silly.

19 June 2009

Colours

Cowboy is a great Dad.

Despite not growing up having very much interaction at all with children (his family moved from the Philippines when he was 2 leaving behind most of his extended family) Cowboy has improved his interaction with children to the point that most don’t run and hide behind their Mummy when he speaks to them (really, they did this).

We have solved a number of things where Cowboy was perhaps lacking in that particular skill set.

Cowboy has a great singing voice but didn’t know many children’s songs before Champ and him started music school on Saturdays (for both of their sakes). He used to say that children should enjoy whatever music their parents introduce them to; until he saw the light in Champ’s eyes when he listened to Wiggles rather than AC/DC (actually I don’t think I fully realised all the learning benefits of kid’s music and how it truly is tailor made for little ones to respond to until I got involved in this parenting gig).

My in-laws are wonderfully loving people. They do however have the typical Asian mentality of tough-love and being strict with Champ comes naturally to Cowboy. That makes sense; it was how he was raised. He isn’t all ‘children-should-be-seen-and-not-heard’ but is definitely is quicker to discipline Champ than I am (My Mum is of the loving-love-and-then-some-cuddles parenting mentality and I generally have followed in her footsteps). I think that while Cowboy has taught me that discipline is not a dirty word, I have taught him that sometimes kids act up because they need a hug or extra attention (preferably the positive kind) and that his own tantrums actually scare Champ as he feels out of control and it is our place to comfort him not to get cross.

Cowboy has taken on responsibility of bath time to the point that when I help him out for a little bit I often hear comments like ‘oooh, Mummy does that differently doesn’t she?’ which generally makes me feel like I am an impostor on the bathroom scene. None the less, I am very happy that he has taken responsibility for this and I think it build his confidence to be in-charge of at least one area of Champ’s parenting (even if I do have to subtly give Champ’s ears a thorough clean out occasionally).

One thing that perhaps Cowboy still needs help with was highlighted to me when I was eavesdropping on their wonderful bath time conversation this week. That is general stages of childhood development.

Forgive my mother-pride for a minute, but Champ is pretty sharp. He has always been very advanced in the gross motor skill department and of late it has become apparent that he is pretty good at fine motor and has above average linguistic and comprehension skills for his age. I say advanced, not a genius (thank goodness – imagine the pressure of raising a genius!). Cowboy, on the other hand, has the parental pride market covered. He truly believes that Champ could be reading at school level by the end of the year if we pushed him.

Add this superb father-pride with a lack of understanding of average ages children generally achieve certain milestones or skills and we sometime have issues. Some of Cowboy’s comments include:

* (15 month old Champ throwing tantrum) What do you want, Champ? Just tell me what you want and I’ll do it? (To me) Why won’t he tell me what he wants instead on just crying?
* He has been throwing tantrums since before he turned one, he is so advanced. I guess it means he’ll grow out of this stage soon, maybe even before he turns two!

And, the conversation that made me laugh which I overheard in the bath:

Cowboy: What colour is this scoop, Champ?
Champ: Geen
Cowboy: That’s right, it is green, well done. And what about this dolphin? What colour is the dolphin?
Champ: Geen
Cowboy: No the dolphin is blue, blue. What about this ring? What colour is the ring?
Champ: Buu
Cowboy: No it is red, the dolphin is blue, see, blue; the ring is red, red.

The poor kid was a bit confused by all of this and really just wanted to play in the bath. I quizzed Cowboy later and he said he has been trying to teach him colours for a while now. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that if he knew colours by the time he was three, let alone 18 months, that would be very impressive.

17 June 2009

Thriving

Champ and I are having some great times at home at the moment. It makes me even more excited to be home full-time soon. He is just at a fantastic age. His days are filled with extreme highs and then extreme lows (tantrums) and he is really teaching me to slow down and really be present in the moment. We both seem to thrive when I remember to do that.

A while ago I wrote about how hard it is to entertain Champ during winter. I have since been proactive and found some solutions to our boredom.

1. We joined the toy library
Who knew so much enjoyment could be had when we simply rotate toys! Champ plays with the 'new' toys we borrow compulsively for the first week of the hire, the next few days, he'll then play with it a couple of times, then is so 'over it' by the time the 2 week hire is up. Then we go and borrow 3 different toys and we are all happy again! It only costs $40 a year as it is sponsored by the local council. Cowboy and I also get enjoyment out of the novelty of the new toys. Here are some pics of Champ enjoying a few of our hires.


2. I bought some puddle pants
I haven't received these in the mail yet, but am hoping it will solve the wet park dilemma! We live in a pretty mild climate here, so really nothing but rain is keeping us from the park.

3. Cheap/free activities

We have found some indoor play centres near us that only cost a few dollars to visit (with coupons on the net). We have a ball at these places and one day I will drag myself away from the cool toys and have a cuppa while Champ plays solo. Swimming at the council pool, using our zoo pass and play dates with other kids also feature on our rotating itinerary.

I have also pulled our bikes out of the shed and we have had a few rides when the weather hasn't been too bad. We live along a bike path and Champ sits in a little car which is pulled along by my/Cowboy's bike. The car has a plastic waterproof window at the front which can be lowered if it is windy/cold/raining so that only I am exposed to the elements!

We had a little trouble on day 1 trying to get Champ to give it a go. I guess it sort of looked like a prison to him (plus Mummy and Daddy were wearing strange hats on their heads - way scary!). He screamed as I wrestled him into the harness and his ear piercing scream told me to 'forget about trying to put that helmet on me Mum'. As soon as we took off, he realised that this was a fun thing after all and was happy for the whole trip. He even let us put his helmet on after a few minutes of riding, and proudly showed off his his 'hat' to his Lolo (grandfather) when we got home.


4. I sit down more
I used to spend our at home time rushing around trying to organise things for our next outing, doing as little housework as possible or 'cooking' dinner (Cowboy would argue that meat and 3 veg require very little real cooking). Now I try to sit down with Champ and follow his lead in what he wants to play with.

Balloons are always winners, as a bonus Champ has learnt to say 'up', 'down' and 'catch' through balloon play. The games he come up with now are funny too. He played with his toy library large, soft blocks for the first week of the hire (another great chance to demonstrate 'up' and 'down' - although he favours the 'down!'), as he was getting a bit bored of them I put the into a toy bag he seldom uses. Suddenly this was a new great game of taking out all the blocks (usually by tipping them over his head) and putting them back in one by one. Entertains him long enough for me to drink a whole cuppa!

So, yes, all is good in the Lemoncake household at the moment. Now, if only I could find someone to do the housework and cooking for me everything would be perfect...

12 June 2009

In control

Two pregnancies have resulted from our two 'tries' (albeit with only one baby actually being born). It is an interesting position to be in.

Today is CD15; and right on my military-style cycle schedule, I am ovulating.

I know that nothing in this life is certain, but I can hypothesise based on those odds that, should Cowboy and I 'try' again in any given month, another pregnancy will be the result (although I have no clue as to the odds of this one resulting in another actual baby being born).

There is no halfway in our thinking. I can not really rely on the 'not trying, not preventing' method; when we do that, two lines seem to appear on my pee stick.

I either try, or I do not. There is no maybe.

This month I will not try.

I am curious as to when I will be ready to try again. I just can't seem to put my hopes and dreams 'out there' again. It hurts too much. It is easier to be in control and know that I will not have a baby 9 months from now, and that it will have been my decision.

10 June 2009

I quit!

On Friday I quit my professional life so that I can be at home and raise my family. Wow, it feels good!

I have changed so much since having Champ. Or maybe it was before then, maybe it was since we got married and decided to start a family. Either way, my priorities have shifted in the last few years.

Once I completed my university degree in Business (Accounting), I started work as an accountant and promptly continued studying towards my post graduate degree. While I have never been one to put in crazy hours in the office or generally take work too seriously, there was a time when I was reasonably ambitious and moved my way up to legal consultant at the firm.

Since returning to work 9 months ago, I have have times where I thought things were going well, but mostly I have been trying to juggle everything and often dropping the ball.

I did mention in my last post that I have quite an addictive personality and I have always found that I perform better when I am really able to give something my all. When you are at home part time and at work part time, you just can't do that. You can never really specialise at anything.

So, I am swapping computers for crayons and embracing my new life as a SAHM.

It is daunting, on one hand I have visions of baking cookies and sitting for hours reading with Champ, on the other I have fears of long afternoons with a tantruming toddler, and me in old track pants waiting for Cowboy to get home so I can have a glass of red to clear my head. Wish me luck that we have more days like the former than the latter.

03 June 2009

Addict

Warning: Lots of talk about poo and bottoms (Champ's not mine).

It seems that Champ has inherited my addictive personality (that is I get addicted to things easily, people are rarely addicted to my personality). I am pretty all or nothing and it seems that he is too.

At the moment we have a fruit addiction on our hands. Every moment that he is not eating, he is asking me for an 'app' (apple). This is said which such hope and a touch of demand, so, decent mother that I am, I go and wash and core an apple for my darling little prince. He then eats the apple intermittently while playing over the course of the next hour or so.

No problem, right?

Wrong. If he could, this would happen 4 times a day. The downside is that Champ could be pooing for Australia right now. I am changing 4-5 dirty nappies a day. And my active 'lil 18 month old does not like to have his nappy changed!

I have been trying to encourage other things to eat at the moment and distracting him with games and outings when I can. Because of this, I have been able to keep him down to 1-2 apples a day (plus usually a banana, pack of sultanas and maybe a mandarin). The kid eats way too much fruit.

I know this 'app' craze won't last. Over the summer it was mandarins (and they are bad when they hit his bottom, it can be red raw for a week if he has a couple of days of mandarin fever). Still occasionally when we go outside and he notices our bare mandarin tree he asks for a 'min-a-min' and waves his hand in a little gesture he uses for mandarins which I have no idea where it came from. At least we don't have an apple tree to remind him of his addiction.

Champ's other current obsession is the moon. I have started teaching him shapes and the star shape has seem to struck a cord with him. He loves pointing out stars in books when we read. Of course what is often close to pictures of stars, pictures of the moon. He was pretty happy when he could point out any 'star!' (said with the exclamation point) and 'boon' (moon) in a book and I would praise him and cuddle my clever little boy.

So after his bath one night last week I thought I'd turn off the lights and show his the moon outside through the window. He loved it! He has since seen the moon a few times when getting in or out of the car in the early evening and gets very excited. The problem with this obsession is a lbit obvious. The poor little guy rushes to the window a few times each day to see the moon. Try explaining to an 18 month old where the moon is during the day.