Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Imagination Mover

When I was snapping these photos tonight there were so many titles for this post coming to mind but I ended up debating between "One Girl and a Chair" (after a moving company in the area called "Three Men and a Truck") and the one I chose (after a TV show on the Disney Channel called "Imagination Movers).

Grace is so creative and inventive. And she does the funniest things and doesn't even know it. They say, "necessity is the mother of invention" and I can see how she felt there was a need - having her own table and chair to put her snack - and tried a few different ways to solve the problem. I know this is dangerous. Here is a toddler who has figured out she can move the kitchen chair up to the counters to reach whatever she wants up there. It's not like she is ever unsupervised long enough to get into trouble, but someday she will be able to move the furniture much faster than she did tonight. And, as my mother pointed out, someday she will not even need the chair to reach the top of the counter.

As you can see, Grace started out innocently enough, using Daisy's crate as a table.Then she moved on to the trash can,and this counter,and this counter.Here is how she did it:I have hesitated buying her a toddler size table and chairs because of her propensity to climb things. I figured that it would be just one more thing she would use as a jungle gym in addition to the adult chairs, the step ladder, the couch, pillows, Daisy, etc. But it is inevitable...she is going to climb, move furniture, and do whatever she has to so she can get to the object of her desire at that moment.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dr. Jekell and Miss Hyde

How does my sweet 20-month old go from this....
to this....(poor Daisy)
and this....
and this... (notice the hand about to hit!)
in a matter of seconds?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"Ootz dat?"

This week Grace has been asking the same question over and over...."Ootz dat?" as she points to someone or something. I guess she is asking "What's that?" or "Who is that?" so I just answer by labeling whatever it is she is pointing to. Her teacher at school told me yesterday that all day she pointed to different kids in class and asked her question, "Ootz that?". The funniest day was when we left school on an unusually sunny day and she pointed to the sun in the sky saying, "Ootz dat?" I said, yes, this is Ohio and we don't get to see much of the sun all winter....even I was beginning to forget what it looked like!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pippi Longstockings

Do you remember her?That is what Grace reminded me of when I discovered today that her hair is long enough for pig tails! This is the best shot I could get and the best I could do with our first attempt. Grace allowed it, but she wouldn't stop moving to have her hair done!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hearts and angel wings

Kellie and Dawson met us for storytime at a local bookstore today and then we went out to lunch . It is always great to see Dawson and Grace together. They seem more comfortable with each other every time. Today, they were both fascinated with Elmo stuffed toys at the store and weren't always willing to share with each other. Typical toddlers! But they did hug each other and Dawson calls Grace by her name..."Race". Very cute!Grace wore her new Juicy Couture shirt with purple angel wings on the back. When we got home, after Grace took a nap, she helped me clean the sliding glass door windows.And we hung these beautiful heart-shaped window clings Kellie gave us.Grace looked so pleased with her work!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Uncle Chris

When Mommy was a kid, she really idolized her three boy cousins - Michael, Bobby, and Chris. They were older and cooler. When they lived in Brooklyn upstairs from Nanny and Poppy, Mommy and Uncle John stayed there when Nana and Big Daddy went on vacation without the kids. Michael, Bobby, and Chris are the reason why Mommy still always needs to sleep with lots of blankets....long story but it has to do with a horror movie they made her watch and she has never gotten over it!

Mommy loved going to their house in Staten Island where Fortune ran around the yard and they all went swimming in the pool. Bobby introduced Mommy to Bruce Springsteen(the music, not the man although Mommy did meet him in Banana Republic years later....ahhh, but that is another story). And, Uncle Chris was closest in age to Mommy so they had the most in common. Now, Uncle Chris is my Godfather and today is his birthday....Don't worry, we won't tell anyone how old you are. BUT...it is STILL older than Mommy!Oh, and, Uncle Chris is a smart man...he married Aunt Nancy, my Godmother. Isn't she beautiful?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Walking in a winter wonderland

We had a pretty big snowstorm on Friday night which left about 8 inches of fresh snow by Saturday afternoon. It was perfect for sledding! Kyle bought two new sleds - a really fast one and a cute, toddler sled with a seat and a strap that was perfect for Grace to ride alone. We all got bundled up in our snow gear (remind me how much "stuff" you need if I ever say I want to go on a ski vacation!) and headed out to a neighborhood park with a pretty good sledding hill.As you can see, it was a popular place! Some kids were even snowboarding!Grace seemed to like being pulled around like the princess and we even pushed her down part of the hill alone. (That picture came out really blurry, though. Sorry!)

There they go!

She got a lot of snow in her face when Kyle took her on the big sled, so we cut the adventure short because we were afraid she was cold and upset. But, it turns out she wanted to keep going and we realized he has a pretty good hill in his backyard so we made our own sledding run right there! It is really nice to be able to go back into the house if we are cold or to just jump into coats and snowpants to go out for just a few minutes...sort of like our own ski chalet!

Special note to Connor - Nana said you told her you haven't had any snow in New Jersey this year. You and Ryan can come play with us any time you want!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A new beginning

This week Grace started attending a new daycare. It is really like a preschool with a schedule and curriculum geared to toddlers. The school takes infants all the way through kindergarten-age students. Different ages are grouped together with two teachers in each room.

This is what Grace's classroom looks like:And this is the room for the next age group (starting at 3-years old): I love that they keep the children active and engaged throughout the day. Grace arrives at about 6:45AM since I have to be at work by 7:00. (I know...that is EARLY! My day begins at 5:00!) From arrival until about 8:00 they have "free play" where the kids can explore anything in the room. As you can tell from the picture, there is a lot to look at and touch, so Grace is fine with that. Then, they have breakfast, do "circle time" and music and movement, and (weather permitting) go outside to play in a fenced playground. They come in around 11:30 for a hot lunch cooked right at the school and at about 12:15 lie down for naps or "quiet time". Each student is assigned a cot with their own blanket from home. Surprisingly, Grace has been doing pretty well with napping on the cot. I thought it would not work since she is able to get up. But the teachers say she has been sleeping and playing quietly on the cot during these 2+ hours. When they wake up they have a snack and then afternoon is filled with a craft activity and outdoor play. It is great that there is real instruction and they have a theme for every week.

This whole month the theme is "Winter Wonderland". Yesterday they went outside and stomped in the snow and they have projects planned like making snowflakes and cottonball snowmen. Miss Diana, the teacher, is actually hoping for snow and sunny skies (what does she think this is, Colorado, Aunt Suze?) so they can explore outside for some of the things she has planned! I packed a snowsuit for Grace, though, just in case.

I will admit, it hasn't been an easy two days. Grace is struggling a bit getting back into the early morning routine and having me leave her after two weeks of being together 24/7. She seems to do fine 10-15 minutes after I am gone, but those minutes when I have to say goodbye are not fun. And, she is quickly going through her extra clothes. Yesterday (in a new outfit) she found the muddiest place on the playground and today she was pretty messy at lunch. The teachers are very sweet and apologize when I pick her up because they hand me a child dressed in something different from the morning with a bag of dirty clothes. But, I figure that just means she had a really full, really active day. And that is great!

Friday, January 2, 2009

This is NOT good

It is certainly not all butterflies and pink flowers in our house. Yesterday, after a frustrating "session" with Grace I turned to the What to Expect: The Toddler Years book to find out what to do about hitting. Ahhh, yes. My sweet, adorable, smart, child has been hitting me for a couple of weeks now. It isn't all the time...just when she is angry or frustrated. For example, if I tell her to put something down (like the cord to connect my camera to the computer) or if she has to do something she doesn't want to do (like have her diaper changed). I have seen her hit things - the floor after she has fallen on it, the chair if she bumps into it, or a toy when she can't make it do what she wants. I have been firmly telling her, "No, we don't hit" or "It hurts Mommy when you hit her", and "Hands are not for hitting" (did you know there is a book with that as a title?), but it hasn't seemed to have any affect on her. So, I have started to get a little firmer, blocking or holding her hand mid-swing. Smarty pants that she is, when I have held one hand, she swings with the other. And, when I hold the second hand, she head-butts me! Yes, the joys of toddlerhood.

So, I went to the book yesterday, to see what to do. To look on the bright side, right there in the chapter entitled "The Twentieth Month" (which we are right in the middle of now) was a huge section on aggressive behavior - mostly hitting. Okay... the good news?.... this is normal. Toddlers hit for many reasons - a drive for independence and identity (yep!), frustration (yep!), egocentricity and lack of empathy (ahhh, interesting), interest in cause and effect (I hit Ryan and he cried, I wonder what will happen if I hit Josh), and lack of language (oh, yeah!) to express their feelings, wants, etc.

So, that helps but what am I supposed to do about it to make her stop? I suppose just what I have been doing. They say to try to keep my cool, redirect her, remind her (a million times if necessary) that we don't hit, try to minimize frustrations, and praise good behavior.

No one said this was going to be easy.....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kick it!

Grace received many wonderful presents for Christmas and I am sure you will see most of them in coming blogs. Today, Kyle set up the soccer net he bought her and we all went down to the basement to try it out. Here's Grace trying to kick it into the net!It took a lot of encouragement and modeling to get her to understand what to do but when she managed to get the ball into the net, she was thrilled when we yelled "GOAL"!

Happy New Year

From our house to your house!