Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's not merely a matter of perspective, but perspective matters


Not this past Sunday, but the Sunday before, I volunteered in our church's walkers' nursery; I was dealing with any walker up to but not including age three. Oh, and I was the only adult adult. I mean, there were two others, teenagers, helping. But, because I was the oldest, I was in charge. Some ten or twelve little ones; I was overwhelmed.

I quickly found out who the princesses and princes were, and my younger one was not one of them. I mean, there was plenty of drama and attitude. I wasn't about to let any of them smell or sense fear. No way.


That experience got me thinking. Whether a child is experiencing terrible twos behavior or attempting to express autonomy in some other way, we cannot readily jump to the conclusion that the parents of the child are simply spoiling the child or allowing the child to be wildly. Must understand the situation more thoroughly and properly; the context is crucial.


A case in point. My younger one is and has been for a little while now been demonstrating terrible twos behavior - shouting "no" or bu yao ('no' in Chinese), throwing fits or objects. I'm not saying that any of those activities is acceptable in itself. I do want to say that my older one went through that phase, came out of it, relived it (when we moved), and got past it again. Of course, guidance and direction are needed on behalf of the parents. But, we, as parents, shouldn't readily and quickly assume that the child is deliberately making people's lives miserable. How about understanding the child is trying to figure out how to assert and voice his or her own view? Pretty frustrating when your vocabulary and ability to communicate is limited but you have lots on your mind and loads of preferences. Practically speaking? Sometimes dealing with the behavior involves not giving it attention, letting the little one ride out the tantrum solo. Sometimes other, more direct guidance is needed.

I'm too tired to continue writing with any semblance of coherence. What do you think?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A girl thing or no?

Two little girls, I have.

I am not one of those people who are quick to say that (all) men are a certain way or that (all) women are a certain way. All women take care of matters within the home (house cleaning, dish washing, cooking) and all men do outdoor stuff (mow the lawn, trim, take care of the cars); something just really rubs me the wrong way to make those sorts of universal generalizations. All men are rational, and all women are emotional. Surely the problems with that are too obvious to necessitate any explanation. I have finally come to the point where I admit and believe that men and women come to the table with different things or gifts; I'm not willing to say that that looks the same in every situation, family, or what not.

What about differences between baby girls and baby boys and what they prefer? Age old nature vs. nurture debate, I know. I'm not looking to stir any trouble here or to provide any earth shattering answers. But, I am curious about input from those of you who have little boys. Do you have any that constantly want to wear different clothes, switch shoes, try various outfits?

My girls love to do those things. These lovely, lovely Dorothy (remember The Wizard of Oz?) shoes are from Grandma and Grandpa.

And I made these little bracelets, using Czech glass beads, for the girls, using elastic so they can take them on and off as they please.

The girls are interested in plenty of stuff that boys are interested in, too, like cars, trucks, and guns. But, they love to dress up.


Do little boys ever want to try on tutus?


Do they imagine or fashion articles of clothing out of blankets? Perhaps capes?


Especially those of you who have little boy(s), I would love to hear from you.

Finding that fine balance

These days, our schedules are so hectic, I take the girls on all my grocery runs, and figuring out how to do all the shopping between breakfast and lunch, whilst allowing them the freedom and autonomy they need to succeed in life can be rather tricky. Why not allow them to eat their meals on the go? Is that an option? How about when the girls are not tidy eaters (imagine hair, hands, eating surfaces as painting palates)? How about when "snack foods," like cheese or fruit are insufficient to satisfy their hunger for any meals?

My younger one, Victoria, has a mind of her own. Sure, sure, all little ones have minds of their own. But, she's slightly on the spirited (the not so neutral term that is age old is "strong willed") side. When she gets something in her head, no amount of distracting will change her mind from attaining what she wants. Add to the mix 'terrible twos' behavior? Get one challenging adventure.

No longer will she sit in the front of a shopping cart in a store where little shopping carts are available. She isn't about to idly sit and watch her sister push around a cart. Initially, when I let both girls push their own carts, I was quite terrified by the real possibility that they would go in opposite directions, and of course, I was also worried about getting any of the groceries I need.


How about the fact that everyone wants to get into their own seats and buckle their own seat belts? Great for easing up on my body. But, not so good for a terrible two's child who can't quite get herself up from the ground into the car seat in the car. Also not so good for the same child trying to figure on how to work the multiple buckles on a complicated car seat.

And, how about the preschooler, who's imagination has run rampant and who appears to be a girly girl and wants to change clothes and such multiple times in the day. Yes, this article may appear to be a blanket, but it is not. It is some kind of attire with a hood. What happens when the preschool age kiddo cannot keep that "article of clothing" on and it keeps falling off?


Sure, in some possible world, I have ample time to meet my own basic needs - eating and resting - without ten thousand requests for help. If I dream hard enough, I even have a chance to do other things - cook, clean, wash dishes, do laundry, pay bills - without any interruption.

Fat chance in this (possible) world, the actual world, but that is okay. A majority of the time. Um, most of the time. Alright, alright, some of the time. The challenge of giving children a healthy, stimulating, encouraging environment to grow whilst taking care of other needs can be a bit frustrating but also rewarding.

Ooh, speaking of which, little ones call. . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

23 months of darlingness

One of my friend's birthday was the day before yesterday. We originally met after we were partnered together as international friendship partners, she from China and me from the States. The idea behind having friendship partners isn't just so the international student can practice her English but also to make life a bit more pleasant for her. I first met her last August or September. I would take her grocery shopping every 2 to 4 weeks, and sometimes we would just hang out, too. Recently, she accepted Christ, which is so exciting. I'd like to think I played some role in that, but I'm not certain; she had so many other positive influences nudging her in that direction - a Chinese bible study she's been attending, a really good Christian friend. She invited me to her bible study Friday, and I thought that was a good opportunity to spend time with her on her birthday.

Friday was a special day for another reason. My youngest one turned 23 months old. In many cases, people stop counting age by months after the person hits the two year mark. Precious Victoria. Still nurses 1-2 times a day and loves it. This isn't something I would have predicted before having children. Considering how much she loves to be climbing, moving, getting into trouble, I appreciate this moments of closeness. She loves to sing, dance, twirl, look at books, talk (talk, talk, talk).


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

When seemingly small affairs are VICTORIOUS!

I am working hard on expecting age appropriate or child appropriate expectations and shedding any other expectations as unnecessary and superfluous. But this is much easier said than done.

Take for instance potty training and the period thereafter. Isabella's potty trained, but we've been dealing with more accidents lately. Easy to get discouraged when I expect her to have potty training completed and mastered and when I have loads of other responsibilities. The reality check is that it is easy for little ones to get caught up in what their doing and not realize that they need to go, until too late. So, I've had to revise and revise my attitude. Lately, I have been explaining to Isabella that accidents are okay but that she needs to pee and poop in the potty whenever possible. She also needs to let me know, as soon as she needs to go.

Isabella's still not entirely comfortable doing her thing outside the home, especially without her Elmo potty seat. Something about sitting on a huge toilet makes her nervous. I don't blame her; I wouldn't want to fall in (the toilet) or not be able to have my feet touch the ground (whilst sitting on the throne).

Anyways, whilst at Denver Seminary's playground, she told me she had to go to the potty. Thankfully, I was speaking with a gal I know from church, and her apartment was a stone's throw away. She didn't have any potty seats, but she had a step stool. Isabella was up for the adult toilet, without her potty seat. Her underpants were dry, and she peed into an adult potty. I was so proud of her; I made it a huge deal, praising her and hugging her. We called Daddy at work and told him, too.


So very proud of my big little girl.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Descending with proudness

I'm taking Life Span Human Development this semester. Before the semester started, I wasn't sure what stuff I'd learn about childhood development I didn't already know. This has nothing to do with believing I know loads of stuff. Rather, there's just so much information out there for new parents that there's no excuse for not being well informed.

I was wrong. I've learned loads of stuff about development at all ages, including childhood.

Repetition is common to infants and toddlers. My girls have taken their time in doing physical tasks, longer than perhaps average. But, for them, the delay has had to do with caution and care. Victoria built the confidence to go down the stairs by standing, instead of sitting and scooting down one step at a time. Once she completed this one time, she felt so good about it and accomplished, she would climb back up the stairs and repeat over and over again.


Friday, April 09, 2010

"Act like a woman"

I took the girls grocery shopping this morning, and one of our stops was Sunflower Farmer's Market. This guy who works there full time is diligently stocking every time we're there, but he makes a point to say 'hello' to the girls; kind of like an uncle, I guess. This morning, he made the comment that he has new found respect for women and moms. He'll often times see moms attempting to buy groceries or load a car with two children going in opposite directions, having minds of their own, wanting to do their own things. One day, he saw a mom in the parking lot, with one foot on a shopping cart, trying to get things loaded in the car, and two children throwing a tantrum. He went and helped her hold on to the cart.

On another occasion, a guy was shopping with one child in tow but found that overwhelming and asked a passerby to hold his child while he handled other stuff. The Sunflower Farmer's Market employee told the guy to "act like a woman." The employee was thinking back to the woman who was single-handedly preventing a cart from running away, loading the car with groceries, and dealing with two screaming children.


I've been there, in that woman's position. . . My children make up their own minds about what they want to do and how. I'm fortunate to walk out of any store with what I had intended on getting. Sunflower Farmer's Market provides pint sized grocery shopping carts, perfect for little ones like my children. Well, both of them insisted on each pushing their own cart. Made my trip that much more exhausting, but sometimes (oftentimes) allowing them to develop and grow, convenience isn't necessarily the name of the game. Each girl wants to push her own cart, to place certain groceries in her cart, to play with the pen at the checkout, to get into the car seat by herself, to buckle her own seat belt. These are not bad skills for them to master, but as I said, often this makes the trip not so much about convenience or expediency.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

The next tetris champion?

Little Isabella isn't so little anymore. As you can see these, if you're not personally familiar with these, Megablocks, come in different sizes and heights. Here's little Isabella figuring out how to form a building or tower out of them. I'm amazed. Truly.


But then, I'm one proud Mommy, and she's aware of that. Well done, daughter.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Excitement = peeing through the pants

Isabella's been huge into trying different containers for various purposes. She's been eating some meals out of yogurt cups I had saved to use as stacking cups. Those same cups have also been used during baths, making "meals" for Henry, etc. The intense fascination with containers includes drinking vessels.

It is this one with the intense fascination.


We moved from these cups. It was initially my older one that was so excited by the novelty of these cups that she drank so much water, leading to peeing in the pants.

I've had these cups for awhile. Perhaps two or three years. But, they've been stored away until yesterday, when Daddy pulled one out for the older one.

Of course the younger one followed suit. She HAD to drink out one, too. So excited was the younger one, she filled her entire diaper and her pants, too. This little monkey.

Moving on. I stuffed some Easter eggs with animal crackers. Here's part of what these little ones are enjoying for snack time.

I got these little Easter thingeys for the girls at the dollar aisle at Target. See whose on the cover? Snow White, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle - some of the girls' favorite figures these days.


Monday, April 05, 2010

My babywearing writing piece

I'm entering this little contest, by sharing my baby wearing experience, hoping to win a little something. Not my best writing, but here goes nothing. Here's what I wrote:

For the Appreciation and Love of Baby Wearing

With my first child,
life wasn't even remotely mild.
The start of her life was ever rough,
eight days in intensive care, with rules of no touch;
not having her close to my heart was just so tough.
After she came home, never again that sort of sick,
but three months or ninety plus days we had of colick.
Those days, seemingly every moment, every day,
she spent at my breast or bound to my chest;
the only things I could do to offer comfort, lessen dismay,
nothing else would have counted as second best.
What warmth, what care was the face to face contact,
nothing would have fared all the better.
Sure there were those days I wore her on my chest
where both of us were left in a big, huge mess;
often my shirts were decorated with drool and milky soup,
once my feet and shoes were filled with her poop.
Still I look to those days as precious and sweet
strapping her to my chest;
the comfort I could offer her was just so neat,
kind of like a little nest.

When baby number two came,
I wanted her to know that some things stayed the same.
She's still a beloved, precious one of mine,
early on, carrying and wearing her was a way to make her shine.
With baby number two, motherhood was easier on me,
including baby wearing, I felt so free.
Having that little heartbeat next to mine
little more seems precious and fine.
That sweet baby smell pressed against my chest
my arms free, a lovely warmth, all is at rest.
Thus, baby wearing is something I appreciate and love,
much sweeter and exquisite than a hand in a glove.

Lily Chang
Copyright 2010

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Role reversal

Oftentimes, well, most of the time, the younger one (Victoria) becomes interested in something just because her older sister (Isabella) is. Whether the sort of spoon Isabella's using, a toy or item she's holding, or a riding toy being ridden.

Case in point.


However, there was a reversal yesterday. I must say I had a strong hand in encouraging this.

You see, my older daughter takes after me in caution regarding physically challenging tasks. My dad talks about how I chose not to walk until I was two years old, not due to any muscle underdevelopment or lack of coordination, I was super careful and didn't want to fall. Well, Isabella seemed to do the same sort of thing where learning to walk was concerned and other physical activities.

Victoria doesn't totally throw caution to the wind, but she's certainly more adventurous. Yesterday afternoon, I showed her how she could climb this incline at the playground, and it wasn't long before she followed suit.

She found this fun, so she climbed this incline wall over and over and over again.

I took this opportunity to call Isabella over to watch her sister scale the wall, and moments later, Isabella was doing the same. Viola!

I was and am one proud mommy. And, from the looks of it, she's one proud child.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Writing already? Maybe . . .

NOT. But it was a nice thought while it lasted.

I love the dollar store; the hunt for treasure is always fun. Don't make it there often due to the hussle and bussle of life around the Changley household. I feel like I barely have time to buy groceries. Anyways, I took the girls there to see if there was any Easter stuff that had to be had.

We did end up picking up a few things, one completely unrelated to Easter. A workbook for learning to write the alphabet letters. Isabella's eyes glittered with excitement. Having a picture of Jasmine (one of the many princesses that have captured the eyes and hearts of my little monkeys) and Aladdin on the cover helped, I'm certain.

Isabella's been asking, asking, asking for the stuff in the "bag." "Okay. On Easter, which is Sunday." Not that she has any firm grasp of future time. Letting her know I've heard her and showing her I care about what she wants are important. How about practicing her letters, which she has enthusiastically asked to do?

Well, I've been running on rough and little sleep in the last few days, I've been working fast and furiously to clean house for company this evening, I've been cooking and washing dishes, I attempted to tinker on a paper due first thing in the morning - sure, I can put aside some time to help Isabella-bella-bella write.

Wow, look at the earnest concentration she seems to have going. This is the upper case A and lower case a page.

I'm thinking how did this girl of mine grow up so fast? She looks too far removed from toddlerhood here.

Well, can you tell we mastered writing the first letter of the alphabet? We've got red crayon expressing its full glory all over the paper.

Victoria was up not too much after that, and she, of course had to take her turn.