Thursday, June 28, 2012

Status report: Chloë, month 35, and Maia, month 14


Now on to Maia...

Okay, I suppose I have more to say about Chloë than that. But oh the all-encompassing relief of the potty-training! She did it! She finally stepped over that threshold, out of the Pull-Ups wasteland and into the promised land of underwear and some $50 a month that doesn't go straight into the diaper pail! I would say it took her about three days after I put her bodily on the potty while she was peeing. That was a Saturday. The first few times, she wanted to be put on it and held. Then, she'd sit by herself and wanted to be held. Then she wanted somebody's hand to hold. Then she stopped being reluctant to go, and so the messes lessened (we also attached the pee guard meant for boys; now that she's not holding herself to bursting, we've taken it off again). She had her last accident, right after naptime, that Monday. She's been dry ever since. She used the portable potty in Target Tuesday, for the first time, with no argument; her only stipulation was that she didn't want to flush the toilet because it was loud.

Having her potty-trained is more work, at least at the moment, than having her in Pull-Ups was. She dawdles at the seat now until we ask if she's done. Then she wipes, but needs to be checked. Then she needs help stepping into her underwear and shorts/skirt (this will be the next thing we work on, I think). Then she needs to flush the toilet after we've dumped the results. Then she needs to wash her hands and be cajoled into actually doing it rather than just playing in the water. Then she needs a sticker. And if it's bedtime, or just after, in ten minutes it starts all over again. She's definitely discovered the advantages of being potty-trained.

But we're still definitely happier than before. And she's so pleased with herself, and with our praise and attention. When we got home Tuesday night she was so excited to tell Eric all about peeing in the red potty in the Target. It's so fun being able to converse, really converse, with her now. She doesn't just talk (though she still does plenty of that); she describes something, and listens to our questions, and answers them, and asks questions of her own, and proves she understands the anwers by talking further about the subject. Being verbal is so neat!

We've been talking about what kind of birthday cake she wants. She's settled on a moon design, but every time I ask her about flavor it changes. First she wanted chocolate. Then peanut butter. Then blueberry and strawberry (together). Then melon. Today it was Craisin. I love that she's got diverse tastes, but man, I should have quit asking.

Maia is also being quite verbal these days. She says "Mama" and "Dada" and "More" pretty reliably. Last night at bedtime she said them on command--only when it was just the two of us, of course, not when Dada was around; but she was all grinning and pleased with herself. So was I. She says "buh! buh!" whenever she sees a bird, either in real life or in the That's Not My Pirate book, and "da!" when she sees the stars in the latter. She whispered "bah-bah," waving, when Memaw left the other day after a day at the zoo. Dogs are still pant-pant, and cheese and shoes are "tzche" and "tzchu" respectively. Balls are "ba," and she's starting to get the hang of, if not exactly throwing them, then at least picking them up and letting them drop to roll. There are no words for bottle, because she doesn't take bottles anymore. Overachiever.

And of course she's still communicating quite competently nonverbally: stretching a hand to the crib when she's sleepy, poking at my chest when she wants a drink, flinging away the new diaper when she doesn't want a change. I get her to lie down by bribing her with a wipe, which she then applies to her bits (whether or not I've gotten her pants and diaper off yet) and "wipes" solemnly, watching me watching her.

She adores her shoes--or, more specifically, she adores having shoes on and walking around in them. When we get ready to leave she pulls down her shoes (and often Chloë's) and plops on the floor, and if we're too slow starts trying to insert her feet into them herself. Chloë likes to go out on the porch when she's ready, and now Maia follows her, taking slow, careful steps over the bumpy threshold until she's out on the porch and can poke around at the bubble wands, or point at a bird or the water table. She loves the water table. I foresee many summer hours getting soaked by it.

Now that she's walking, she can play on the playground independently (sort of), and loves to. She loves swings and slides much more than Chloë does; the past couple of months she's delighted in going down either with one of us or by herself, caught at the end and swung upward in the air. Chloë had been going through a phase of refusing to do pretty much anything on the playground other than climb up and down some steps, but now she slides some. Maia loves to climb stairs, and to toddle around in the store, pulling things off the shelves. But she doesn't seem to mind the cart, either, and when we place her in the seat she reaches for the straps and pulls them around herself.

Chloë's been doing a lot of building with Legos and playing with her train set, and has constructed some really very interesting structures with the Legos--no more simple towers; now they're complex skyscrapers or bridges (she's got a thing for bridges) or rocketships, or they're a two-stack tower with matching colors, or she's decided to use all the yellow. She doesn't color as much as she used to, but when she does she can make circles and suns, snakes, flower stems, and what she calls maps.

Chloë's slimmed down in the last several months as she's put on more inches; there's still a bit of a belly there, but she's not looking very babylike anymore. (And getting rid of the diaper padding helps her silhouette, I'm sure.) Maia's comfortably in 18 months clothes (except for dresses), still nicely chubby, but she, too, is growing and growing.

Chloë's still having sleep troubles, though switching back to a morning nap seems to have helped some. She clings to me (physically and verbally) whenever I leave, which is making me want to cancel the nightly bedtime story, but that's probably not a good idea. Bedtime is a bit fraught most of the time, especially now that she has the excellent excuse of needing to potty to get out of bed. But she's sleeping a little more, at least when Maia doesn't keep her up. Maia's mostly sleeping through the night, though now she's started getting me up at six, which I don't appreciate. I remember this phase. Ugh. She's also getting very unreliable about her second nap. It's too soon! Why don't my children like sleep? Sleep is great!

They're both still very keenly into books. Maia will happily sit and listen to a recitation of her entire bookshelf, as long as she doesn't decide to veto a book because she can. Chloë's getting into the longer books, the Dr. Seusses and Olivias and Berenstain Bears and such, though she still enjoys listening along during Maia's story time and is still fond of the touch-and-feel ones. We've got to work on her lower-case letters and start working on sounds. She'll be so happy when she can read for herself.

Maia is working on her seventh and eighth teeth, and is a total pasta hound, like her sister. Also pizza. Also strawberries and raspberries. When we go out to the backyard both girls always gravitate toward the fruit bushes, Maia saying "uh! uh!" and Chloë saying what they both mean, "Are there any strawberries/raspberries to eat?" I pick them and give them to her and she shares them with Maia, unprompted. What a sweet girl. She likes to kiss Maia good night, or hug her, saying, "Good night little sister." Sometimes Maia kisses and hugs her back. Sometimes she pushes her angrily away. Chloë doesn't seem to get offended, which is pretty big-minded of her.

They had a sleepover with their cousins Addie and Raegan last week, and it worked out very well, other than Rae apparently biting Chloë's toe when they were in bed (not very hard, but enough to get her banished to another room). They're both getting to be sociable girls, in their own ways, and everyone had fun together.  They do seem to have fun together. I hope it lasts.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A brief update

And after two and a half days the extra-special sparkly moon sticker count is: 13 (plus three sparkly stars--the stars are extra; two for #2).


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Potty boot camp redux

So we ran out of Easy-Ups today and put Chloë back in underwear.


Ohmigod this day has gone so much better than I thought it would.

She hated the idea, of course. The last Easy-Up was a dirty one right after she got home from a sleepover at Memaw's, and after that she was eventually persuaded to put on some underwear. She woke up from her nap calling "I have to pee! I need a diaper on!" but we refused, and after a period of wrangling she said "The pee is coming right now!" I pulled off her underwear and transferred her bodily to the potty, over her crying, and held her while she finished peeing. There was a mess on the floor, but she'd gotten some into the potty, and so we celebrated and cleaned up the mess for her and awarded her a sparkly moon sticker, which she was very pleased to get.

She got wiped up and into new clothes and underwear. The next time she needed to pee she said, "I need you to help me," which turned out to mean putting her on the potty and holding her. She was too agitated to go, then and later (which was in the middle of a session with the new arch sprinkler, during which she slid down the slide through the arch and onto a towel I put on the ground to prevent big bumps, to her delight). But after that she again said she needed to go, and I helped her sit on the potty and held her tight, and we were both rewarded by the sound of tinkling.

She finished, and wiped herself, and washed her hands, and grinned ear to ear as we praised and hugged her and got her another sticker and the promise of some gummy bears. She was by no means cured; she refused to sit on the potty to try to pee before bedtime, and chanted after dinner "I don't like underwear I only like Pull-Ups I don't want underwear today or tomorrow or the day after that or the day after that or the day after that or the day after that or the day after that or the day after that," and said plaintively on the way to bath, "I really wish we had more diapers." She's currently asleep in underwear, and we'll see whether she wakes up in the night to pee, as she sometimes does, or if I'll have to deal with a wet bed in the morning. I told her that if she does wake up she needs to go right to the bathroom when she calls me, and I'll meet her there.

But I see hope. It's good to think that maybe my oldest girl will be potty-trained before my youngest.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Maia got her first pair of shoes today. Her feet were much too small for the smallest shoes we had for Chloë, toddler 6s, so when we went to Stride Rite today to get Chloë some sandals Maia got sized too. She's in 4.5s wides. The first shoes we tried on, white with little flowers on top, were mediums by mistake, so the salesperson went to the back to get the correct size and I removed the shoes from Maia's feet. She wailed. I could just see her thinking: Finally, after weeks of vainly yearning after my sister's shoes, I have my very own! and then, when they were gone: Nooooooo!

But the salesperson came back quickly--with a different style because the other ones didn't come in wide; these were plain white with flower holes cut out, still very cute--and she was reshod. I helped her up and she extended her foot tentatively, a curious look on her face. She took a few steps and tumbled, but she was happy to try again. She wore the shoes out of the store (though she didn't walk across the street in them); I didn't see any need to trifle with her happiness by taking them off her.

In the meantime Chloë got some Teva sandals in size 10. She says her beloved size 8 sparkly shoes (Skechers Twinkle Toes) fit fine, and they seem to, and even her size 7.5 sneakers go on fine...but she measured at 9.5 and these sandals don't seem as huge as all that. Whew. She had Teva sandals last year, broad and sturdy and waterproof, and they were great, so we got the same style this year but blue with green flowers. (Last year's were pink.) The choice was between these and a hot-pink, narrower style with thinner straps. At first Chloë voted for the pink ones, but I gently steered her toward the blue ones. These are her first pair of non-pink shoes. We looked for green but as far as I can tell, kid shoes don't come in that color. (Except for Crocs, but I wanted real shoes for her since she'll be running around all summer in these.)

With two kids in shoes we need to add another level to the back-door shoe rack. Also I'm so glad that Maia will be able to step into Chloë's old shoes in a size and a half because man, those tiny shoes were expensive. Darn Eric's family's wide feet.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mama's number one

We have achieved word two (or maybe three): Mama! Or at least "mamamama." Maia's been able to point to Mama, Daddy, and Chloe (and slide) for some time, but yesterday she would say "mamama" when I prompted her, and today she said it spontaneously while reaching for me. I win! (This time. Chloë said "dada" first.)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Gerber Grow-Up

Two invitations to the Gerber Grow-Up life insurance plan arrived last week, one for Eric, one for me. Since the envelopes looked different, I thought I'd do a comparison and see if they were different when aimed at the father rather than the mother.

Mine was pink paper with purple accents. The first paragraph ran, "Caring mothers like you know how important it is to start planning for their little one's future. That's why thousands of moms trust Gerber Life to help give their children a valuable head start. Wouldn't it feel good to know that your child is protected with the lasting financial security of a Grow-Up Plan?" Translation: you want to be a good mother and you want to be part of a community, so buy our product.

Eric's was gray paper with blue accents. The first paragraph ran, "You've been personally selected to receive this special offer...Right now, while your baby is young, you have the opportunity to help provide lifelong protection and a financial head start - for just pennies a day!" Translation: you're special and you want to have a good head for money, so buy our product.

Mine offered rates for "as little as $1 as week." Eric's said "Starting at $3.52 a month." The rates inside were the same, with the "$1 a week" actually being a little high. The terms and application inside were the same, but the website to apply to was different. Mine was, and his was We figured out this was because mine offered--prominenty on the front--a free gift of a "certificate of welcome." His offered, in small type in one of the secondary fliers, a free gift of a "picture holder."

Mine was a lot longer, and included testimonials and a section on "you can trust Gerber Life." Eric's was very short, almost entirely consisting of a list of financial benefits (which was also present on mine, there was just more fluff around it).

Eric says he's insulted by both of them, but really I think that's just because we saw them side by side. Eric's was a pretty decent, short business letter. Mine was a pretty letter. I'm vaguely interested in knowing what actual market research went into the crafting of these and what is just assumptions about mothers versus fathers.