Monday, 29 March 2010

Crazy dog: Clicker Training #7

The dog trainer: “Come here, you little crazy dog! Are you a crazy dog?” Patting the dog on the head.


It is nearly the end of our clicker training sessions. We see her respond to our commands, or some of them... When we get her to focus... Sometimes...

But Petite Peu is still all over the place. If ever there was a dog that needed Ritalin, it is this one!

The teen was walking the dog at the training grounds when a lady with her dog from the previous session started to walk a circle around them: “Ooh, there’s that overexcited dog again!” Arnia felt offended... (I think it is the same with busy children. You somehow feel responsible for them being so excitable; even though it is an inborn genetic trait.)

Did I mention that our Petite Peu; which means Little Bit in French, is also not so little bit anymore. She is even bigger that a Dachshund.

Maybe we should call her our Little Mistake? It was a mistake to buy a dog at a pet shop, and we should have looked more closely at the type of breed we wanted. (But she is here to stay; do not worry. Smile!)

Mieka and the dog played with her wax crayons this afternoon. Mieka throws a crayon to the ground and Petite Peu grabs it and chows it. I caught her time and again feeding the dog the crayons, although I reminded her again and again not to give it to the dog. They are a naughty team together...

Small milestones: Potty training 1st and stairs

The toddler and potty training. No, we haven’t started with potty training for the 15-month old, but we caught her doing the right thing!


We have noticed that she regularly shivers and let’s go when we take off her nappy just before we put her into the bath. She loves sitting on the potty with her clothes on. Last night we put her directly on the potty after we took off the nappy, and she made her first pee. We applauded her, but I not sure that she made the link?

The things you get excited about when you are parents... A pee in a pot makes us go “Whoop de whoop!” (Smile)

Mieka also loves nowadays to sit on the first step of the stairs. She goes round in circles before she does a back-up with her bum to land it on the step. Sometimes she misses, and does it again. She then sits smugly on the step for a few seconds before she tries it again.

It progressed yesterday to her beginning to climb the steps. I know; it is very late for her to only now start climbing the stairs on her own. I have heard of babies who climb/crawl the stairs since they were six months old. She is a bit more reserved with regards to trying new things. Which I think is a bit of a blessing for us – we don’t have to check her the whole time. (She loves climbing the stairs when we hold her hands for month now, and she climbs it with one foot on one step, barely making the height of a step with her short legs.)

She started to climb by going up on her knees, and enjoyed it tremendously when we clapped hands. She was going up, and clapping hands for herself on each step. No we will have to close the security gate at the bottom of the stairs as well... (We have a gate at the top of the stairs already.)

Cute, very cute!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

The Hubby

I have said before: I am very lucky with the Hubby! He is my MM – my millennium man!


He WORKS! That scores big time with me! For some it would be unfathomable, but it happens that it is not a given in certain households. Years back, in a previous life, I had an X (the cancelled one) who did not think it was that important for a husband to work. As long as the wife is working...

Hubby helps with everything, and even more. We are getting treated with the most wonderful dishes that he instinctively conjures up. (I can’t do it- I have to use my same known recipes again and again, or I need guidance from a recipe book.) He just whips it up! No wonder we are struggling with the weight! (Smile)

He is also a wonderful partner with regards the two daughters. He drives the teen to school, and mostly picks her up again. He does not complain when she wants to go out, and have to pick her up at ten or later at night. He helps with changing nappies, and bathing and feeding of the toddler.

He was driving us three back from Pretoria last night, which is about an hour’s trip. It was after ten, and all of us were fast asleep. Hubby said he was really struggling to keep his eyes open. He was turning the air-conditioning up, and shaking his head to keep awake.

Thanks, Hubby, for looking so well after you precious cargo, not only when you are the driver!

(Photo: Hubby with the toddler on Saturday while we were busy with clicker training)

Friday, 26 March 2010

Attachment Parenting


I only heard about attachment parenting after Mieka was born. The Mommaliscious Mamma’s site was one of the places where I first became aware of the style of parenting.
We have been doing most of it instinctively.

Because I am an older mom, and also doing it a second time, I think I have gained some insights that I did not necessarily had when I was younger. I know we don’t have to enforce a strict code on a child to force her to confirm to certain behaviours. We are all individuals – why should we force our children into a certain mould?

Some points mentioned:
- Having a natural, peaceful childbirth and bonding with the baby through rooming-in at the hospital – I missed the opportunity for both of my babies, and I am sad to this day that I (and my babies) could not experience this. I blame our medical system for not allowing more freedom with regards to birth choices. In the end you are too scared (health wise for yourself and your babies) to demand or seek a different scenario.
- Breastfeeding the baby on demand as opposed to a schedule – This one I can tick off. I could only breastfeed the eldest until she was four months old. I was breastfeeding her on schedule every four hours, with safety pins on my blouse for the side on which to breastfeed first the next time around. I am still breastfeeding my 15 months old toddler. It was a bit difficult in the beginning, because it felt like she was breastfeeding the whole time, but it has passed already. She now comes and lays her head on my chest when she wants a feed. I am trying to go until she is two years of age. Very rewarding!!
- Answering baby's cries quickly (not letting baby "cry it out") – We don’t let Mieka cry, but try to see what the problem is. I had to let my eldest cry (her dad, my X’ rules), and I think it let to behaviour problems like bedwetting, attachment to a blanket and her thumb; and being scared at night. Crying is their only means of communicating, and what do we tell them when we don’t respond to that? That they are not important? I want Mieka to know that she can trust in people and in life!
- Wearing the baby as much as possible using a sling or baby carrier – We used a carrier sometimes, but Mieka was mostly in our arms. She loves sleeping in our arms – even to this day!
- Having baby with you as much as possible (avoiding baby sitters if possible) – I have to work, but I was fortunate to spend time with Mieka until she was nearly five months before I had to drop her off at day care. But we still don’t like leaving her for other reasons. We much rather take her with us where we are going, and put the movies and functions on the backburner for a while.
- Having baby sleep in your bedroom (either in your bed or in a crib next to your bed) so you can respond quickly to baby and he can adjust to your sleep cycle – We tried to sleep with Mieka in our room, but found that she could get a much better rest in her own room. But we could not have done it without Angelcare. Whenever she wakes up and she doesn’t want to be put down in her own cot, she lands up between me and her dad in our bed. This seems to happen more regularly now… Yawn! We are tired! Very, very tired! (This too will pass! This too will pass! Smile)
- Avoiding using material items sooth baby such as pacifiers, swings, strollers, etc. – “By offering yourself to comfort baby, baby learns to form strong human attachments” – We have done this instinctively. Interesting, because the Sleep books encourage parents to introduce pacifiers etc. …
- Balance – Sometimes it is difficult to find a balance, and we feel a bit overwhelmed. But, as an older parent, I KNOW that we will fondly reminiscence about times when our little ones were small and they shared our bed with us. It goes past in a blink, and there is nothing more fuzzy warm special than a small little hand lying across your shoulders when waking up in the morning!

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

More sleeping woes


We need some sleep! We had a terrible night the previous night! I posted the Wordless Wednesday today just to remind me of the angel she is when she is sleeping. (Smile)
I got the little toddler into bed at around eight, but she woke up every hour after that. At one stage she was walking around our bed, very high spirited! Nothing more depressing than a wide awake toddler after 12 at night! AARghh!
She spent most of the night in our bed, with our bums hanging off the bed. I finally put her back into her bed at 4:50. We are supposed to get up at 5...
She is sleeping now in our bed, and thumbs crossed that tonight will go much better... We are still not sure what is bothering her.
The things you do (tick off) at night to get the toddler to go back to sleep:
- Breastfeeding (works 99% of the time);
- Make sure baby is covered and not cold;
- Check/change the nappy – just in case (most of the times not a problem);
- Try the dummy (which the toddler is not very fond of);
- Make a bottle (just in case);
- Take her into bed with us;
- Turn on a light in the passage (maybe she gets a bit apprehensive of the dark?);
- Put on some cream against eczema (in case it itches);
- Anything...

Sleep! Goodnight!

Wordless Wednesday #17


(Photo by Debbie Rogers)

Monday, 22 March 2010

The toddler is 15 months


It sneaks up on you! She is 15 months. What happened to 14 months? Gone! Oi!
Our little girl is getting more independent by the day! How I love watching her; exploring and walking and making her little demands. The pointy finger is still getting the job done! (Smile)
Eating is a bit more difficult now. I am still buying some Purity for times when we haven’t finished preparing a meal. I get her to eat about three or four spoons before she shuts her mouth. But she loves playing with it (See photo). She loves eating with us, but we are not exactly sure that’s she gets a substantial amount to eat. Because most of it lands on the floor...
She enjoys Barney very much. We have a Barney DVD, but it does not keep her occupied for long. The little Barney book or Barney doll gets her excited every time. I know three lines of a Barney song:
“I love you
You love me
We are one big family...”
When I start singing it, she starts dancing and nodding with the head. She doesn’t get tired at all of hearing it! I have to repeat and repeat... (Who knows the rest of the song?)
She repeats most of her words. When she starts with “Mama-mama-mama”, or “Papa-papa-papa”, we say “Mieka-Mieka-Mieka” to her. Not really sure what she wants... But I think it is some sort of verbal love expression. (My heart melts every time! Sweet!) I will do anything for her, for sure!
When we call to Arnia, her sister, she also calls her name. It is a difficult name to learn to speak. Arnia took a very long time to say her own name.
Mieka enjoys playing with the cube with blocks and numbers that fits into their specific places. Her dad has taught her to clap hands, and now she claps and smiles every time she gets it in (with help, of course!)
She uses the remotes to phone her grandmothers, and we giggle every time she walks around holding it to her ear... 15X cute at 15 months!
(I am glad I am able to pin down these cute little milestones and things that she does. Thanks, Blogger!)

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Weekends of gratitude

Love, love, love weekends with the family. Especially during these long summer months. (It feels as if our summer is never going to end his year. No complaints from me!)

Tomorrow we have an extra public holiday. (Something we always wish for after a busy weekend)!

Grateful for time spent with friends! Friday and Saturday visiting friends, and celebrating a first birthday!

Grateful for time spent with the children! Especially because we are working, and don’t get enough time during the week.
· Mieka has been speaking non-stop this weekend. The mermaid-speak is very serious business now! (Smile)
· She is much better now. Only struggling a little bit with a slimy chest.
· Arnia played hockey again on Friday evening, and was totally exhausted. Luckily she could sleep in both days.

I finally had time to spend my Poetry gift voucher. They have such beautiful clothes... I can walk into their stores at any time, and make a different choice every time. I feel very spoilt! Thank you, Hubby, for the beautiful gift! (No wonder Shayne raves so much about it.)
The card included with the purchase comes with the following quote:

“She walks in beauty, like the night
OF cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes”
- Lord Byron

(Photo: Arnia with Petite Peu on Saturday with clicker training #6)

Friday, 19 March 2010

Medicine and the toddler = mission


It is a mission to give the toddler any medicine. When she sees the medicine or the medicine “injection-type” of feeder (forget about using a spoon), she starts to complain. When I pick her up, she starts kicking, throwing back the head and shutting her mouth with a mean conviction.
It feels/looks like we are doing something incredible horrible to our loved one. I have her in a vice grip, with a cotton nappy draped over my shoulder and near her chin, with dad or sister holding her head. I then have to force the medicine into the side of her mouth, sometimes blowing on her face to get her to swallow. She tries to get it out of her mouth again by trying to spit it out again. Very traumatic – for her and for us! There must be a better way?
Luckily the toddler is much better. She had the last antibiotics last night. (Phew – sigh of relief!)
My parents looked after her on Tuesday. My child illness leave for the year has been used up – we get five days (which is a big bonus already). At one stage when I phoned them my father was sitting with her sleeping in his arms. They were getting worried because she was sleeping for quite a long time... worried about not getting enough hydration or food. She kept them busy with her demanding pointy finger for the whole day! Thanks Mom and Dad for looking after her and being there when needed!
Now, we must try to find a way of giving medicine without having to feel like the meanest parents every time!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The teen and preparations for the year ahead (for her life)


She was named Arnia Kiara. She has been calling herself Kiara since she started with High School. (They never like the first names they were given. Sigh – I still think Arnia is a name that is special!)
It is crazy that she has grown up so quickly. I have firsthand experience! (Yes, I am the older mom grrrr...!) It has made me realise to savour the toddler and her developmental stages even more. But I do remember that a friend of mine, Yvonne (fellow-blogger) whose daughter is five days older than Arnia, and me used to say that we did not want the two girls to grow older than they were at any of their growing up phases. But it went by in lightning speed, even if we tried to put on the brakes. Arnia was a cute cutie, and now she is a beautiful lady. ALREADY!
She is busy starting to spread her wings; with talk of university and of her own life. It feels too soon, but I know we must start preparing ourselves.
The following needs to be done:
- Get a passport for the French tour in 2011;
- Get a learner’s license this year;
- Get a driver’s license;
- Gather info about studies, and different higher educational institutions;
- Talk to people involved in careers she is interested in: communication, journalism, diplomats, public relations...
- Get her a part-time job (she has already dished out her own ad for child-minding and house-sitting in our complex)

I enjoy her so much, and hope that she would be able to make the most of her life. The ultimate which every parents could wish for – to be happy with what you are doing with your life!

(Photo: the teen posing with hockey clothes – she has been exercising this year with great conviction – she is part of the B-Team at the school)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Clicker training #5


I was waiting for the dog trainer on Saturday to call our dog “pycho dog” again. I wanted to question her about it. Maybe she thought about it as well, because she did not do it again...
Petite Peu really did well with her commands on Saturday. I felt that she and I were getting on very well. She is getting used to me being the Alfa dog as well, and not only the teen. (The teen is occupied with hockey on Saturdays.)
The dogs were taught to go through a tunnel. It is not that difficult when food is thrown through the tunnel, and they are being called to the other end of the tunnel. The dog trainer made the tunnel longer and longer, and the dogs had to run through. It is a bit scary, because you have to let go of the leash. I am still not sure that I will be able to get Petite Peu coming back to me when she gets a free reign in the park. She wants to take on all the big dogs that are in the class with her. Very cheeky!
Dries is still threatening the dog’s survival when she barks her very loud barks in the house, or when she starts barking at the neighbours outside, or when she makes a dash for the gate. Translated: he threatens every day to get rid of her...
The toddler enjoys the dog the most. We sometimes catch her feeding the dog some of her food through the gate. She laughs when the dog bumps into her, and she laughs when the dog licks her face and hands. She also finds it irresistibly funny to kick at the dog when she is underneath the chairs; which makes the dog bites at her feet. She is not at all bothered by the liveliness of the dog’s nature. She gets the dog more than we do!


Related post:

Monday, 15 March 2010

The toddler is sick! Again!


This time it is upper respiratory tract infection. With a runny nose, a cough, infected ears and a throat. She has been a miserable baby since Friday night 12 o’clock. The fever struck our house with a vengeance. AGAIN! AAAARGHH! I must add: It feels the same as the poop disease, because we are constantly changing nappies, and the slime makes her vomit as well. The coughing also makes her back-fire every time... (Smile)
It is getting a bit boring. Not to mention very tiresome. Today I have decided I take my hat off to all single moms out there. Dries and me have been going at it for the whole weekend, doing nothing else but cater to Mieka’s most precious needs. Because she doesn’t feel well, she is demanding 24/24, and the pointy finger is going in all directions. As soon as we try to give her what the pointy finger demands, the pointy finger wants something else.
Today I am staying at home with her. (She is sleeping right now.) And I am exhausted! Hat off to all you single moms who don’t have a back-up to quickly hand the baby to. I am impressed!
The GP says that she is worried this year. The children are sick already, and the winter hasn’t started yet. She says she gets a lot of upper respiratory tract infections. Is our environment getting more poisonous for the allergies to be increasing like it is? Or is it the exceptionally warm weather for this time of the year that is causing the diseases? It would be interesting to know...
She’s crying. I must go...

Sunday, 14 March 2010

BDay weekend in pictures

Birthday breakfast at Fashion TV in Ceder Square

Braai (barbeque) with my family

Dog training: picnic with the toddler
The toddler is sick again... (we started Sunday with a vist to the doctor). She left her first marks on the kitchen cupboards!
Braai with the extended family, again!
It was a great weekend! :D
It is really hot here. Strange for this time of the year. Usually it starts getting colder when my birtday comes around.
(We won't mention the sleep deprivation because of the sick toddler. ;-) )

Friday, 12 March 2010

BDAY


It is my birthday today! Happy me!
Woop, woop! No traffic today because hubby and me have taken a day’s leave, and we are going to do a breakfast. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day!
I realise it is the last year that I can swop the numbers to get nearly a decade less than I am now. 34 is a great number to be! (Evil smile!)

Thursday, 11 March 2010

About me: Powerwoman

That’s me! The better version of me! ;-)

Powerwoman is a go-getter in life.
She is able to juggle work and home with ease.
Powerwoman is a wonderful mother, and a great wife!
She is an activist and a feminist!

Whenever I need a bit of extra Powerwoman, I revert back to her!
Powerwoman always do the right things!
Powerwoman is also very opinionated, and always speaks her mind!
(I do love Powerwoman!)

This blog is about becoming a parent after the age of 40, the second time after 15 years. It’s all about new beginnings. Being a working mom and married for a second time. Mieka came 21 December 2008. The meaning of her name is “new fountain” in Japanese.

My life has been about new beginnings; coming from a bad emotional manipulative first marriage, but doing it again with a wonderful husband this time.
The teen keep us very busy, but we enjoy her with all her excitement about her life unfolding.
And of course: we are in awe of the new miracle of life. Baby keeps us very busy, but we are enjoying her going through all of the developmental milestones. Her dad thinks she is the most beautiful baby on the planet, ever!

I (Powerwoman) try to smile at some of the daily grind and rat race that we found ourselves in here at the south point of Africa. Very interesting times…

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The toddler and instructions


A great milestone has been reached. The toddler understands enough to be able to perform relatively simple instructions or tasks.
A favourite is throwing things into the dustbin. (I can just imagine we are going to search for our things from now on in the dustbin...)
The best is the fact that she is willing to do it over and over again.
“Give the dog a snack.” (Also a favourite activity)
“Take this to your dad.”
“Bring the book/toy/bottle.”
I am amazed at how much she understands, even though the communication depends on the pointy finger and grunts...
The more we are able to keep her occupied (read HAPPY), the more we are able to get in a bit of rest. (I love this phase – hope it will last for while? Before they notice that it is not that cool to do what your parents instruct you to do? (Smile)
Now, if we can only give an instruction with regards the sleeping...
We went out of our way last Saturday to go and buy a duvet at Tree House, a wonderful baby room decoration shop. I saw the same type of duvet at a friend’s house. Mieka has been sleeping very well since Saturday night. The duvet is light, but also warm. It helps because she seems to keep it over her during the night, where the rest of her blankets invariable landed up at the bottom of her feet.
(Thumbs crossed!)
(The toddler is fourteen and a half months)
(Photo: Mieka with the dog last night)
Related posts:

Monday, 8 March 2010

Psycho dog


Clicker training #4: I had to take the dog through her training on Saturday, because the teen was busy with hockey. The dog is doing “sit” and “paw” and “lie down” very good by now, but I struggled to get her to learn the new stuff. The teen gets more out of the dog...
The “look” command was not too difficult, but the “stay” command did not really make an impact. Petite Peu was tired after half an hour, and the treats not that inviting any more. She was lying in the shade, panting, and I struggled to get her to get up again. In the end the trainer said I could practise the “stay” command by letting her be, showing her the hand, and rewarding her for staying where she was. (I am not sure she made the connection?)
Walking with her in an eight-figure circle proved to be impossible. I got tangled in her leash, and could not get her to walk the desired way. We will have to practise more...
Petite Peu also barked at all the other dogs, and at one stage we got tangled with another dog (cross-breed fluffy dog), and fluffy dog yelped in distress. Fluffy dog got so traumatized that her owner had to walk her up and down for the rest of the class...
I got a ball on a stick to show to Petite Peu. She had to sniff it for me to treat her. Petite Peu was scared of the stick-ball. In the end I had to reward her for looking in the direction of the ball. The goal is to get the dogs to follow the stick with their noses (without the use of a leash). Apparently it is going to take a bit longer to get Petite Peu to learn this trick...
I was a bit taken aback by the trainer calling our little bit of a dog “psycho dog”. Does she know something that we don’t?


Related posts:

Friday, 5 March 2010

Checking the hubby’s shirt

A friend told us that she was very disgusted with her sister-in-law. The sister-in-law did not check on her husband (the friend’s brother) before he went to see his mother in hospital. He had chocolate hands (from his children) on his shirt.
“What if my mother had died and the minister came to the hospital?”
WTF!
Apparently it is the wife’s job to keep the husband neat and tidy.
(As if it would matter what the minister would think. Or that he would notice such mundane things as dirty shirts during traumatic experiences.)
Powerwoman is indignantly shaking her head: “No, no, and no!”
If hubby wants to look like a dustbin, that is his problem. I will not take responsibility for somebody else’s cleanliness. (Children not included.)
Luckily I have a husband who can do it all by himself. And I have never been ashamed of him, quite the opposite!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Mermaid-speak


The toddler has been speaking to us in recent times in a rounded vowel–type of language. It sounds as if she is speaking underneath the water. She looks at you, very seriously, and rolls beautiful sounding “words” out of her mouth. (I am struggling to describe it.) I am calling it mermaid-speak. We do not recognise any words in this mermaid language of hers.
It is SOOO cute; we starts smiling as soon as she starts a conversation, and sometimes we find ourselves bursting out with laughter. It is too difficult not to smile, at least.
I hope it won’t impact her negatively; the fact that we are not able to hold a straight face/s.
I hope that she understands that we think she is adorable when she speaks in her mermaid language?

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Things to consider when shopping with a toddler


Arnia and I set off with the toddler last Friday evening to do a bit of sale shopping. Bad idea!
Things to consider when shopping with a toddler:
- The toddler is not happy strapped in a stroller;
- The toddler wants to walk around, not necessarily in your vicinity;
- You can’t look at sale things when you have to check where the toddler is;
- The toddler love to unpack sale things. It takes you much longer to put it back again;
- The toddler gets hungry and thirsty within half an hour after arriving at the shops;
- The toddler picks up things, and if you don’t spot it immediately, it finds its way into her mouth;
- The toddler is not eye level height, and other sale shoppers tend to fall over her;
- You get the “Oh, cute” comments, but also frowns from other shoppers;
- Bags can’t be hooked on the stroller when the toddler is not in it – it topples and breaks and spills (bath oil in our case) all over the floor;
- You have to take turns to look at the sale and to go and fit clothes;
- The toddler does not want to stand/sit in the queue with you;
- You can’t take your time looking at the sale.

Next time we will take her dad with us to keep an eye on her, or better, leave her with her dad!
The things you learn the hard way... (Grin!)

Monday, 1 March 2010

What is this hugging all the time?


The teens were banned from hugging at school last week. A hug gets a yellow card, and three yellow cards lead to detention. I said to the teen that I am impressed with the teachers, and that they get my vote. All this hugging, especially with the boys at school, freaks me out! (The teen is not impressed! Her mother is not cool at all!)

It starts from day care already. The children are hugging each other and their teachers. When they see their teachers they run towards them and hug them, even outside the school premises.
In our Calvinistic upbringing it was not an option. We used to greet each other at school with a hello, staying at least 2 meters apart. But it changed between this generation (60-70s babies) and the next (80s babies and on). Or did I miss some important notes in my upbringing? (It’s possible! Smile)

The teens started a Facebook event about the hugging on Friday. They were supposed to hug a lot! I was expecting a call from a teacher, but the teens were not that rebellious as they planned to be... (Smile)
Phew!

I know; I need to learn something from this generation. Hugging is a good thing. The teen reminded me that 28 hugs a day keeps you very healthy. I have not checked the fact, but it can’t be bad! Powerwoman will practice her hugging skills more…