Thursday, January 24, 2013

We Walked...

Today was day one of trailing a new strategy for outings with Sebby. I left very early (an hour and a half early!) in order to allow Sebby to walk all the way there.

I know leaving that early won't always be realistic but I wanted to give it a try. As I wrote about in my last post about Sebby, over the past two weeks, putting him in the stroller has become increasingly difficult. He really likes walking a lot of the time and so if I make him get in, he gets very upset. I don't mind him crying a bit but he cries, tries to get out and it takes him up to a half an hour after being let out upon arrival at our destination. 

I felt like I didn't want to continuing forcing the issue with the stroller if he would continue to be so upset about it, especially when being upset so long after arriving somewhere really put a damper on how much fun any of us were having.

I asked a friend who has a similar lifestyle to ours and a little boy around Sebby's age. They rarely use their stroller and her three year old walks, bikes or scoots to school and back every day, about a half hour walk from home. She said when he was smaller, as much as possible, she tried to allow her little guy to walk if he wanted to and brought the stroller along in case he got tired. She suggested we try leaving earlier.

Here's what we did today...

 We got up an hour earlier and left the house (messy!) an hour and a half before my Bible Read Through began. I had told Sebby that he could walk and we would take the stroller in case he got tried. It was a beautiful, crisp morning and Sebby was excited to be free to walk. He held my hand and only stopped a few times to watch construction sites, big trucks and very interesting pieces of litter.  He made it over half way there before stopping and asking to get into the stroller. 
I was amazed! He didn't whine or scream, he just happily got in himself and happily snacked on some crackers for the rest of the walk. We arrived early (yay! the past few weeks we were quite late) and we were all in a pleasant mood.

On the way home, I asked Sebby if he wanted to walk or get into the stroller. He asked to get into the stroller.


I was so surprised until I realized five minutes later that he was asleep. He must have been tired! We don't generally have Sebby nap anymore but I do let him have short naps in the stroller if he is falling asleep on our way home. I tried to wake him up when we got home but he was so tired that he wasn't waking up easily. I stood outside our door for ten minutes or so until he woke up on his own. Ophelia was sleeping in the carrier too. She slept for three hours, she was tired too!

We went inside and Sebby was pleasant and revived after his little nap. He played by himself pleasantly for an hour or so while I tidied up the flat.

I know that even if I continue this strategy of leaving earlier when ever possible and allowing Sebby to choose walking or the stroller, it won't always go so smoothly. However, I do want to try to be intentional to get up and leave the house earlier if possible.

Jumping in the puddles on Queen Margaret Drive

Running in the Botanics

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby Feet

Baby Feet are so adorable...

especially in these wee leggings! 

* Thanks to our amazingly talented and stylish friend, Andrea, for gifting them to us. 

PS: She designed these. 

PPS: She designs other great stuff for Toto Knits

Ophelia's favourie hat is another one of hers...

Our Two Year Old

Sebby is growing up to be such a big guy. He's talking more and more and every day he surprises us by coming out with new sentences and expressions. This week he's been talking about going to ride on a train in Spain. (He knows we're going to a conference there next week).

He's very observant and has a great memory. He can quote lines in many of his favourite books and points out interesting details in the pictures. His favourite thing to do is read books!

He is getting more creative in his play. 

For Christmas he got a tool set and he enjoys climbing the big ladder and working with his tools. He cooks in his kitchen, usually making eggs for us. He likes to sit on his wooden digger and scoot around the flat. Last week he was riding around saying he was going to visit our friends Amber and Aunty Joyce. He often pretends to go to the beach or to work. He fills a backpack with treasure then heads out but not without coming over to kiss Ophelia and I goodbye before leaving. 

Cooking Chinese food in "Bebby's kitchen".

Wearing sunglasses.

He's definitely TWO now!

We noticed a big change in him about a month before his second birthday. My mom was visiting and one day when she asked him to do something, he responded with a loud "no, no no!" It seemed totally out of the blue but I knew he was entering "the twos" and that this type of response might become typical for awhile. Indeed, he says "no" a lot now, even when he wants something.

Sitting with attitude at the Botanics.

It has been interesting to watch Sebby enter this stage. He is beginning to develop boundaries and a more defined sense of self. He has even stronger opinions about what he wants to do and acts more determined and confident to do things himself. "Sebby do it" is something he says multiple times a day now, wanting to pour his own milk, carry his own bowl to the table or put on his shoes.

Roaring like a lion at the Botanics.

When we're out he wants to walk or be carried, he does not like the stroller one bit unless he is exhausted or needs a snack. Unfortunately, he is getting too heavy for me to carry on my back while Ophelia is on my front so he is learning to walk or scoot. He is still getting used to the scooter, though, so he gets tired out pretty quickly. Thankfully we bought a pull cord so we can drag him along behind us. Sometimes I bring the stroller if we're going more than a 20 minute walk away from home or I have a lot of things to carry. I feel bad because putting him in the stroller often results in a lot of screaming. I'm going to try to make an effort to leave earlier so he can have more time to walk.

Scooting makes him warm!

Sometimes his emotions get out of control.

At least once daily he can't decide what he wants and goes back and forth 50 times or even more before making a decision. For example, he'll ask for water then push it away and say no. Then as soon as I take it away, he'll start whining and asking for it back. Then as soon as I give it to him, he pushes it away, not wanting it. Over and over again he'll say, " water..." Sometimes he finally decides to take a drink of water but other times he just moves on to something else.

Cheeky smiles.

Sometimes he has big tantrums.

They are usually over something small and it's often hard to see them coming. Lat week he got realy upset because a friend who was over playing tried to touch his scooter. 45 minutes later he was still crying and screaming, swatting and generally upset. It wasn't until Darren came home that he calmed down.

VERY upset about something.

We love Sebby!

 He's tons of fun and makes us smile and laugh countless times a day. He's smart and has a soft, empathetic heart. A few weeks ago, Ophelia got her immunizations and when she started crying, he started crying too. He is interested in what she is doing and always points it out, "Obia talking. Obia smile. Obia eyes open...."

"Obia hold hands."

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Our Three Month Old

There were two new babies born last week at church and all of a sudden our three month old Ophelia is looking like a big girl. It's hard to believe how quickly they grow! 

Another significant difference I notice between Ophelia and the new babies is in terms of sleep. She is no longer in that tiny newborn stage where they can usually fall asleep easily and sleep almost all day even if you're out and about.

Although she is still a great little traveler, she does have more difficulty falling asleep when we are in noisy or new places because she is so curious and interested in seeing what is happening. 

Trying to stay awake to see the sights on our walk in Glenariff (Northern Ireland).

When we're at home, Ophelia's routine usually consists of 40 minute naps following one hour awake times throughout the day. She can stay up a bit longer if she has napped for 90 minutes, which is rare. She has gotten the hang of sucking her thumb while going to sleep and as soon as she pops it in her mouth, she calms right down and goes to sleep. 

She has been going to bed just after Sebby, at around 8:30pm most nights, and has been settling down really well. In fact, two nights ago she slept 12 hours!!! I'm amazed at what a good sleeper she has been and I hope she keeps it up.

And she's out! The fresh air and a Momma who is walking make sleep too difficult to resist.

Some of the things I love about this older, more aware stage are her chattiness and her big smiles for Momma, Daddy and Sebby.

 Smiles on Christmas Day.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sebby's Second Birthday Party!

A few weeks ago, we invited a few friends over to eat pizza and decorate Christmas cookies for Sebby's birthday party.

We decided to have the party ten days before his actual birthday (December 18th) since Ah Man and Ye Ye were visiting. 

I made him a big chocolate cake but he was most excited about the fire truck & helicopter I put on top to decorate it with!

Happy Birthday to our little two year old!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Grammies Meets Ophelia

My mom was able to get away for two weeks in November for a visit and we were so lucky to have her!

It was great to introduce he to Ophelia

...and give her lots of time to hang out with Sebby.

As a bonus, with her help we were able to get out of the house lots. She came to several play groups and immunisation appointments and helped us with grocery shopping while Darren was at work. In the evenings she helped clean and sew and decorate for Christmas. 

We also took her on a day trip to Edinburgh.

We had such fun and at the same time got so much done while she was here. It was sad saying goodbye.

Catching Up

 Last week someone asked me Ophelia's age and I said a month. Oops, time is flying and I haven't written anything down! Sebby is also changing and growing so much and I haven't been recording those things either. Time to catch up! I think I will do a general post on both kids and lots of pictures then go back and post about other happenings that I missed later.

Sebby (23 mths) holding Ophelia (1 month) in November.

Ophelia is growing quickly and she is so cute! She is wearing all 3-6 month onesies and some of her dresses are even bigger sizes. I noticed a first tooth starting to show but it hasn't popped out yet. She has been sucking her thumb and chewing on her hands a lot lately.

She is social and loves to smile, chat and read stories with Daddy and Sebby. Sebby is the one who gets the most smiles from her.

She is curious and never wants to miss anything it seems so she has a hard time napping sometimes because there is just so much of life to discover. In the evening, she loes here bath, which seems to relax her a lot. She prefers to be close to Momma after dark and sometimes gets fussy if we are out in the evenings, especially is noisy or busy places.

Ophelia. Late December, almost 3 months.

Sebby is growing leaps and bounds in stature as well as in his ability to communicate. He learns new words daily and puts together more and more sentences. Some of my favourites are "Momma hold hands" and "Momma come too." He is a sweet older bother and loves talking to and teaching Ophelia. The other day he was showing here how to share, passing his dog toy her then saying"Obia share" then taking it back.

Sebby is also learning boundaries and now says "no, no, no!" at times. 
Yes, he has lots of opinions already!

Since the Christmas holidays started, we have realized that Sebby is no longer able to nap and still go to bed at a decent hour. It was an abrupt change, almost like he suddenly went from napping 2 hours every afternoon to no nap at all! We probably just missed the cues because during November and December we went out lots, had a lot of guests come over and often let him stay up until 8:30 or even 9:30. He would do OK up to 10pm as long as he had napped a bit later in the day. When we attempted to put him to bed earlier, we noticed he wasn't even tied and would come out of him room, still ready to play.  He still gets a bit tired in the afternoon, around the time he used to nap. He still would like to nap most days but we can't let him or he will stay up half the night! Your days feel much longer when you don't have to be home every afternoon for a nap! 

Puddle splashing in the afternoon with Daddy.

These two keep us on our toes and we're loving it!

Vacationing in Belfast in December.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Ophelia Is Learning...

This week Ophelia has been learning how to nap in bed instead of the carrier.

I decided to begin teaching her on New Year's Day so that we could capitalize on the fact that Darren would be around for a few more days to hang out with Sebby while I spent hours in a dark, quiet room with Ophelia. Since I had noticed her sucking her thumb, I suspected that I wouldn't use the Baby Whispers strategy of shh pat or pick up/put down, although, I would help her find her thumb at naptime and loosely follow the Baby Whisperer approach and advice. (My take on her approach is that is all about having a consistent daily order or routine and to follow the child's cues, putting them to bed when they are sleepy).

Ophelia with her hand in her mouth when she was only a few days old. 
(Sorry for the poor quality picture taken on my phone).

I have really enjoyed getting to know Ophelia so well by carrying her all day every day, I knew that it would be better for her at this point to learn to sleep in bed so that she could have quality, restful sleep. Also, I knew that it would be great for me to have some solo time with Sebby and having a rest for my body would be a bonus too (since I've been carrying her almost all day every day since she was born).

 Ophelia & I in Glasgow (1 month).

I know that it won't be realistic for our family to have Ophelia have every nap in bed at home. At this point she still needs to be sleeping most of the day and night, she can only be awake about an hour before she is ready to go back to sleep again. If we had to stay in a day every day, Sebby and I would both become way too restless. Once Ophelia gets the hang of this, we will need to find a compromise to try to suit everyone in the family, it will certainly involve staying in for some of Ophelia's naps and having her sleep in the carrier at other times.

A day out in Edinburgh when Ophelia was a month old. 
She slept most of the day.

I could tell from day one that she was going to catch on quickly although she cried a lot of frustrated tears. I spent most of the day in her room, holding her while she tried to find her thumb, lying her down when she was calm and then watching her sleep.

By day two, she was taking about fifteen minutes at each naptime to find her thumb and settle down to sleep. Yesterday was the first day since Ophelia was born that I didn't use a baby carrier at all!! 

Today is day three and we are hoping to begin to see some patterns emerging. As is common according to the Baby Whisperer book, it seems that today has been a bit more challenging than yesterday so far, as if she forgot all of what she learned yesterday. For her first nap she took 15 minutes to settle but for her second there was 25 minutes of crying only to settle for 5 then cry for another 5  before finally settling down to sleep for real). We had to go out in the afternoon so she had the rest of her naps in the carrier.

I am hoping that by day four, she will have really caught on. It's hard work for both Ophelia and I but I know it will pay off in the long run.

Ophelia wide awake in the carrier in Belfast. 
 She probably finds it hard to sleep in there sometimes because she really likes seeing what's going on.

Sebby & Ophelia

When you have more than one kid, it's impossible not to compare them. With Ophelia being three months, it's hard to see too many differences and similarities but one of the biggest differences that we have noticed so far is their abilities to sleep.

Sebby wasn't a great sleeper as a baby. He had a very difficult time self soothing and didn't sleep through the night until well over a year old. For months he would wake up three or more times a night and want to nurse. Some nights he was awake every hour. Until Darren discovered he could sing him to sleep while in Italy last Easter (he was 16 months!), I was the only one who could get him to fall asleep at night. Thankfully, he learned to be a pretty good napper was great at sleeping in the carrier when we were out and about. (At 2 he still sleeps great in the carrier! He fell asleep this afternoon as soon as we left the house and slept for about an hour). Nighttime sleep, however, was a huge challenge.

Sebby napping in the pod on Darren's back in Cannes.

Ophelia has been totally different. She has been an amazing sleeper, a bad night for her is waking up twice. She often sleeps through the night until 5 or 6am!  Ophelia isn't really into nursing to sleep. If she's hungry, she wants to nurse and when she has had enough, she's done. When she is crying because she is tired, offering milk often makes her even more upset. She is a going to be amazing at self soothing once her coordination improves because she is a thumb sucker! She started putting her hand in her mouth a lot the first few days after she was born then seemed to forget about it for a few weeks. Again recently, she's gotten really into sucking her hands, fingers and thumb, whatever she can stick in her mouth. She sleeps alright in the carrier at naptime but can get quite fussy before falling asleep and wakes at sudden or loud noises.

Ophelia napping in the wrap at Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

It will be interesting to see what other similarities and differences they will have as they grow older.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

Darren has been encouraging me to get back to blogging so I decided this morning that I would make it a new years resolution. Darren and I had previously decided upon a new years resolution, at least for the month of January,  to eat four vegetarian meals a week. It is something we have wanted to do for awhile but haven't gotten around to prioritizing. I felt the same way about blogging, life with two kiddies has been rich and I want to make sure to remember all of these wonderful blessings in our lives but it has been a challenge for me to take initiative to record them.

Today Darren kicked off our vegetarian resolution with a great vegan and wheat free Asian meal for us and some friends. It was a delicious effort and a great time,especially because Sebby and their three year old boy played so well together. We aren't used to such uninterrupted chatter and it was a really big treat.

Today also marked the beginning of us helping Ophelia learn to sleep on her own. Since she was born, she has been taking all her naps with me in the carrier and sleeping in bed with us at night. I have really enjoyed having her so close and getting to know her so well over the past three months but I began to sense that she would get better quality daytime sleep if she could learn to nap in bed. I know that selfishly, I could continue to have her take all her naps in the carrier but I want to be considerate of her needs and I think she is capable of mastering the art of self soothing with a bit of practice. Today she seemed to really get the hang of thumb sucking, something she has been working on for awhile, and as a result was able to fall asleep several times while sucking her thumbs. She was frustrated at times and very tired by the end of the day but I am confident that she will catch on quickly.

It has been a great start to 2013 and I am so excited for the adventures that this new year has in store for us.