Category Archives: firsts

First month of preschool

Well, this was originally going to be the first day of preschool post, but suddenly it’s October. Not sure how that happened …

Several months ago I attended a mothering workshop (more on this in another post) which was really amazing. At one point, I was complaining talking about how much harder it is to meet other moms now that I have Cora. With Tristan, it was easy – we’d go to baby group, baby yoga, whatever. I was meeting moms all over the place. But now that I have a baby and a toddler, it’s not so easy. Most baby groups don’t allow older siblings, or they fall during his meal/nap times.

The host of the workshop (the wonderful, knowledgable, caring and helpful Joss) asked me if I’d considered co-op preschools. I admitted that I’d never heard of them. She explained that they were preschools that were run by the parents, and as such the parents all had a job within the preschool, and took turns doing duty days there. There was still a licensed ECE running the program, but everybody else was a parent. Her little one went to one, and she said it was a great way to network and meet other like-minded parents.

Sounded perfect! So I looked into the Vancouver Island Cooperative Preschool Association (VICPA), and discovered that Strawberry Vale Preschool is not too far from where we live. They had room, it sounded good, and suddenly Tristan was all signed up.

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I don’t know about Tristan, but I LOVE preschool! I got talked into taking the role of secretary on the executive board, and it’s been great. I’m meeting some amazing moms, and I get to be “in the know”, and already after only a month I feel like I’m actually starting to be part of a community here.

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Sorry, I don’t have great pics of preschool because most of the photos have other kids in them, and I don’t want to post them without permission.

Tristan, on the other hand, is having a bit of a rough go of it. He loves the idea of preschool, and he looks forward to going, but once we’re there he has some separation anxiety. Which is to be expected, poor little guy. But it’s already improving, and he knows the names of his friends there, and he likes Teacher Gail a lot. It helps that I have duty days, where I can be in there with him, but I think it’s also a little confusing at first. Sometimes mommy comes in, and sometimes she doesn’t. But I have faith that he’ll get it sorted out in short order.

And coming up this month we have crazy hair day, pyjama day, and a field trip to look forward to. So let’s hear three cheers for preschool!

Soother free since September three

So, after having to abort our first attempt at giving the soother to the soother fairy, it finally had to happen for good. Tristan spent a long sleepover at his Omi’s house, and when he came back his last remaining soother had holes in it. It was either commit to buying new soothers every week, risk a tragic soother-induced choking incident, or get rid of it once and for all.

Leaving it out for the soother fairy hadn’t worked, mainly, I think, because it was too hard for him to fall asleep knowing it was out there, in the next room, just sitting there. I decided to follow a friend’s advice and just take it while he slept, and leave the puzzle out for him. However, that plan backfired because every time I checked on him in the night, the thing was practically cemented to his face. So I did the next best thing – stole it just before his nap, and left the puzzle and letter from the fairy in it’s place.

The puzzle was a big hit, but napping without the soother wasn’t. There were lots of tears, and even laying down with him didn’t work. Eventually we gave up all together. I was very worried about that first night, and even more so as I had a preschool meeting to go to, so my mom would be putting him to bed. My fears were in vain, though. When I got home he was asleep, and mom reported that after lots of stories and songs and backrubbing, she eventually left him alone and he just dropped right off.

I’d been worried about the middle of the night, but it wasn’t too bad. A few times he woke up crying, and it took lots of laying down with him, songs and backrubs to get him back to sleep. But there was less freaking out than I’d feared.

Since then, naps have been non-existant. As soon as I leave the room he cries, but it’s a very fake, attention-getting cry that I have little sympathy for. However, as this is a major transition for him, I don’t want to come down too hard. So after some more stories and songs, I’ve been caving and letting him up. Right now, during nap 5, I can hear him goofing around in there, but at least he isn’t whining.

Bedtimes haven’t been too bad – he seems to be adjusting and falling asleep pretty easily. Part of that is exhaustion, I’m sure. This no nap thing is really starting to wear on him – he’s normally a 2.5 hour napper, so he’s down more than 10 hours of sleep this week. But, at least it helps him fall asleep at bedtime. He’s still up 1-2 times a night, and so far I’ve run into his room each time; maybe it will soon be time to just let him cry for a few minutes and see if he puts himself back to sleep.

At least I don’t have to worry about him choking to death on a detached soother in the night. But I’ll sure be happy when I can get more than 2-3 hours of uninterrupted sleep again.

So exhausted from missing naps that he actually fell asleep in the shopping cart! Did not look at all comfy, but he slept for almost 15 minutes that way.

So exhausted from missing naps that he actually fell asleep in the shopping cart! Did not look at all comfy, but he slept for almost 15 minutes that way.

Soother Fairy

When you talk about soothers with new moms, the subject can get very heated. Some believe that sucking is the best way to soothe a baby, and therefore a soother is the only thing that makes sense. Others believe it causes all sorts of problems, from dependence, insecurity to things like bad teeth.

IMG_7701When I was pregnant with Tristan, I swore up and down that he’d never have a soother. I wasn’t going to have one of those kids who had a soother in his mouth all the time. Then, just before he was born, my mom bought me a couple, “just in case”. I was actually pretty angry, as I’d made my anti-soother stance clear. However, I put them in a drawer, determined never to use them.

When Tristan was two weeks old, the colic began. My angel was replaced by a non-stop screaming demon. We tried everything to get him to stop crying. I read books, blogs, watched helpful DVDs. All the experts said that sucking helped to soothe babies. And he was too little to suck his thumb.

BEFORE

BEFORE

I think he was about 4 weeks old the first time I put a soother in his mouth, and I actually cried a little. I felt like I had failed him already. But it worked. When he was upset, sleepy, angry, whatever – just pop that baby in his mouth and he’d suck on it happily.

AFTER

AFTER

 

He was just over a year old when we made the soother-only-at-bedtime rule, and that worked pretty well. Occasionally if he was very upset he’d get it during the day, but mostly it stayed in the crib.

The main trouble was that sometimes he’d lose it in the night. We had to put up bumpers in his crib to keep the soother from falling on the floor. Even that wasn’t good enough – invariably it would fall down the edge of the mattress. Soon we had two soothers in the crib, then three. Anything to keep from having to get up in the night and hunt them down.

0R4A3611-001Then came the switch to the big boy bed. That brought a whole new level of  problems, because now the soother could fall down between the headboard and the mattress, and the only way to retrieve it was to move the whole bed. We needed a bevy of emergency backup soothers on the bookshelf, so if he lost one in the night we could grab a spare, pop it in his mouth, and go back to bed.

pod_4That worked okay until the last few months. Tristan has become not so much of a soother-sucker as a soother-chewer. When it’s in his mouth, he’s holding onto it and chewing on the rubber piece. Which turns the sanity-saving pacifier into a sanity-degrading choking hazard. We’ve had to buy 4 new soothers in the last 3 months; he chews holes in them faster than I can keep track of them.

A few days ago I had to throw out two of the remaining three soothers, leaving only one. Which means when he loses it in the night, I have to turn on the light and hunt that sucker down. This on top of getting up 3-4 times a night with a sick Cora. So I decided enough is enough. Enter the soother fairy.

fairyThis magical creature is related to the tooth fairy, but instead of taking teeth she takes soothers. In exchange, she leaves a toy. I got the idea from a friend, and it worked well for her little guy. So Tristan and I have been talking about the soother fairy for a while, and finally he decided he was old enough to leave his soother out for her.

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The note, the soother, and a cookie for the fairy.

After talking about it, telling stories about it, and making a plan, it was decided we’d write her a note today, and ask for a puzzle in exchange. So it should have come as no surprise that today Tristan came down with a head cold. Surely not the best time to attempt soother removal. However, he was keen to get the new puzzle. (“Maybe the yoother fairy will bring a BIG puzzle!”)  We wrote the note, but by the time I put him to bed he was pretty miserable. I lay down with him, but he just tossed and turned and kept bringing his hand to his mouth, as if to tug on the missing soother. After a full hour of this he started to whimper, murmuring that he wasn’t a big boy yet. Finally he broke down and asked for it, and I gave in. I guess we’ll try for the puzzle another day,  when he’s feeling better. In the mean time, I guess I just have to be resigned to a few soother-retrieval trips every night. Sigh…

To be continued, hopefully soon.

Tristan at two

(Can we just pretend this was posted before Christmas, when I wrote it? Somehow the posting got missed in the pre-Christmas madness.)

IMG_1345On November 21st, Tristan turned two. It was a low-key affair, as we had just got home from Texas, and it was the middle of the week. I had intended to write this post and get it out on his birthday, before the chaos of his party. You know how it is, somehow things kept cropping up.

It’s amazing that my sweet baby is so very far from being a baby now. Two short years, two long years – so much has happened. I started to write that he’s becoming a real little person, but that’s not accurate. He’s been a real little person since day one, and his personality, while developing, hasn’t undergone any radical changes. He’s still a deep thinker, a watcher, a careful observer of the world around him. He’s quicker to laugh now, and is generally sunny and cheerful most of the time. His easygoing nature is one of the reasons he charms everybody around him.

IMG_1325Big changes lately include – talking! The rate this kid is picking up words in incredible. In the last 3 months, he’s gone from having a vocabulary of about 15 words, to having several hundred, and picking up new words and phrases daily. Pronunciation is still a bit of a struggle – often we have to interpret for him – but it beats the heck of out sign language. It’s so interesting to hear him talk quietly while playing – we’re finally getting a hint of what his inner world is like.

Tristan is still an animal lover, and enjoys his stuffies immensely. They have conversations with him, with us, and each other, mostly consisting of hi and bye bye. He is so empathetic with his animals that he won’t eat animal crackers, because biting them gives the animals boo boos. Nor would he eat his halloween donut with the cat on it. We had to make his cake a train, rather than an owl or cat, for fear he wouldn’t eat it!

IMG_2548Favorite toys at the moment are: his new trainset, all his stuffed animals, his mini-carnival tent (hide, hide!), and books. Gracious, how this kid loves to read. One of his first phrases was munmoretory! (One more story.) He wants stories first thing in the morning, after snack, before nap, after nap, before bed, and any time in between. Going to the library is one of his favorite outings. Though that may have something to do with the puppet theatre they have.

IMG_1361Hot wheels are also still in the top five, as is his fire engine. He’s also really gotten into puzzles, and has way more patience for them than I do. He also loves to bake and cook, and loves making cookies, cakes, muffins and helping out with cooking dinner. Also, a great way to get him to eat – if he knows he helped cook it, he’s way more likely to eat it. Which, I think, is not a newsflash as far as toddlers are concerned.

IMG_1327He’s also very intrigued with the baby in mummy’s tummy, and often comes over to point it out, say hello, give it a kiss, or even a toy. Several times a week I’m walking around with a hot wheels shoved under my shirt, or a stuffed penguin, so the baby can play with it. I’m very curious to see how he handles the actual arrival of little sis to the family.

I wish I could do him justice in a blog post, but it’s impossible to catch his sunny smile, his cute turn of phrase, and his daily changes in something as mundane as words on a screen. I just hope he knows how much he’s loved, and how much we’re enjoying watching him develop into the terrific toddler he’s becoming.

 

 

Friday Fives: Old baby, new tricks

Tristan is 11 months old today. How the heck did this happen? He’s getting so big, so funny, so mobile! I have big plans for a proper post about him being 11 months old, but don’t hold your breath. In the mean time, here are his top 5 newest tricks.

  1. Grinding his teeth. He sucks his top lip in (not sure why this helps), and then grates, grinds and grunches his top teeth against his bottom ones. He still only has four in total, but they make the most god-awful noise. Not a fan.
  2. Throwing things. He’s getting a big kick out of trying to toss balls, blocks, rubber ducks, basically anything he can get his hands on. Occasionally he throws one forward, but just as often they go behind him, straight up in the air, or stay in his hand and get pounded into the floor instead.
  3. Emptying the tub. His favorite tub toy is a crushed water bottle, which he loves to splash and poor with. Lately his favorite trick is to fill it with water, then hold it over the edge of the tub and dump it on the floor. He’s like a water bottle ninja – even if Nathan and I are hovering over him, waiting to bat his hand away, he still manages to get a litre or two on the floor.
  4. Staying overnight with daddy. Okay, this was a one-off, not a trick, but it was a first. I went down to Seattle for a whirlwind overnight tour with my friend Yi, and Nathan and Tristan had a boy’s night. Tristan was great, and showed no signs of missing me at all.
  5. Walking! Saved the best for last. He still crawls most of the time as it’s faster, but he’s definitely taken a few steps to get from A to B. We have yet to catch it on film, though.

No new photos at the moment, but I’ll put some up soon.

Saskatoon 2011

After a long bout of cold/’flu for all three of us (which I’ll be blogging about soon), we decided to celebrate our almost-healthy-states by going off to visit the Stewart clan in Saskatoon. My main purpose was to visit with one of my besty’s – Shelley – and her family. Nathan’s main purpose was to track down Whooping Cranes. And Tristan’s main purpose was, as ever, to be cute.

I had lots of time with Shelley, and Shari even came out too, Nathan saw his birds, and Tristan was cute.He even learned to climb stairs. Now we need to work on backing down them, as he seems to think throwing himself down head-first is the best way. Fortunately, we were always there to catch him, but unless he learns to fear gravity, the inevitable will happen. He also had lots of fun playing with the twins, tormenting the cat, pulling DVDs off the shelf, cruising around the automan, and getting tangled in his tie chair.

We were sad to go, but at least we have some good memories. Here are a few pics to commemorate that trip.

Saskatoon hoses are FUN

Chillin' in the yard with the twins

Showing dad who's in charge here

This is what happens when Aunt Shelley gets a hold of my hair

Nothing dangerous here...

Me and mommy

Saskazoom!

Me and mommy's bestys

A day at the races

A few weeks ago, the racetrack was hosting a weekend of wiener dog races. Apparently, anybody who owns a wiener dog can register, they put them in the horse gates, and race them a short way down the track. As you can imagine, it’s pandemonium. We thought it would be pretty funny to go watch. So, of course, Tristan had a record-breaking long nap, ensuring that we missed most of the day.

Why do people keep staring at my hat?

We decided to run down there when he woke up, in hopes of catching the end of it. We made it just in time to see the championship dog race, but we were so high up in the bleachers that we didn’t see much. So we took Tristan down to the fence, so he could at least see the horses go by. As usual, he was more interested in the people.

Horses? What horses? I don't see anything.

Maybe we’ll catch them next year…