Friday, May 30, 2008

Night lights and teeth

Well time for an update I think.

Kaitereo has been teething for the last 3 or 4 months, and still no teeth are poking through the gums. I can see the white dot of one just sitting under the surface, but they are stubbornly refusing to break through. This is causing my poor baby a nasty rash under her chin from all the dribble. I showed the rash to a friend of mine who looks after children, and she recommended an amber teething necklace. Now I consider myself to be an "open-minded sceptic" when it comes to things that my husband refers to as "ju-ju magic", in that I don't necessarily believe in them, but I'll give them a try if they have worked for someone I know. (I applied this logic to homeopathy and blow me, it worked on me and my cat!) I will let you know if they work! If they do, it will be well worth the money, as they work on both baby teeth and adult teeth coming through, and we are planning to have more children!

Mapera is coming on in leaps and bounds in her development. She is thoroughly into the "terrible twos" and I am pretty sure they will continue into the "troublesome threes". She IS getting much better at coming and asking for help when something frustrates her, rather than simply screaming incoherently and throwing her dolly at the wall, but she is so determined to do everything for herself.
Now she has got the hang of her light she is staying in her bed at night like a little angel, the only trouble is, we are trying to get her to go to the toilet at night now! It seems that the minute you get your child to understand and comply with one rule, then you have to go and break it to get them onto the next stage!! We are encouraging her to get up and go to the toilet if she needs a "mimi" or "teko" and she will get up now, but she was refusing to go into the dark bathroom, for fear of TROLLS (thank you, traditional fairytales!). SO, we got her a little night-light that sticks on the wall just where she can reach around the door, and press it on. This is now a delightful novelty, and she spent a happy hour last night getting up for a mimi then saying she didn't want to go and playing with the light.

How DO you explain to a 2year and 9month old that they are not allowed to get up at night unless they need the toilet, and that the light is just there for the toilet and not for playing and when they've finished they need to turn the light off and go back to bed and they don't need to shout for Mummy and Daddy unless they've done poos?
It's such a complicated concept, I am surprised I am even attempting it!


A friend of mine has bought a book off the internet on how to potty train your 22 month old in 3DAYS! She is spending this long weekend attempting to do it, and I have promised to buy her lunch if it works.
I'm not sure how good it is for a child to do such an intensive course, but I wish Mapera had trained in 3 days, rather than the 9 months it has taken. I consider her fully toilet trained, despite the odd accident, as she is capable of knowing when she needs the toilet and taking herself off. She tends to have accidents if she gets involved in playing and simply leaves it too late. I do try and take her to the loo if I think she needs to go (we call it "doing the mimi dance") and she usually complies if I reassure her that she can come straight back to playing when she's finished.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A note to all parents...

Today I left some dishes dirty,
The bed got made around 2:30,
The nappies soaked a little longer,
Their odour grew a little stronger,
The crumbs I spilt the day before,
Are staring at me from the floor.
The fingerprints there on the wall,
Will likely still be there next fall.
The dirty streaks on those window panes,
Will still be there next time it rains.
“For shame, oh lazy one” you say,
“And just what have you done today?”
I nursed a baby till she slept
I held a toddler while she wept
I played a game of hide and seek
I squeezed a toy so it would squeak
I pulled a wagon; sang a song,
Taught a child right from wrong.
What did I do this whole day through?
Not much that shows, I guess its true.
Unless you think that what I’ve done,
Might be important to someone,
With bright blue eyes and soft blond hair.
If that is true, I’ve done my share.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day in New Zealand, and America I think. I joked to Tareka that he could make me a card while he was on night shift. I half-expected him to make me a little card, but I NEVER expected what he did do.
Remember, he finished work around 2am and got in around 3am

Table set for breakfast for me and the girls

Little note letting me know where to find the food.

Hand made card

Enough pikelets to feed a small village!!

Yes he had come home from work at 3am and cooked me and my babies pikelets, then set the table and arranged everything so all I'd have to do when I got up was boil the kettle for my cup of coffee.

I think I'm falling in love all over again :)

Father Christmas

I've just read a post on a friend's blog that reminded me of something Mapera did recently.

We were in the bank, waiting to see someone about the mortgage, when an elderly gent with a white beard, and driving a motorised wheelchair came in. Mapera immediately spotted him and asked her current question de jour "what's his name?". I said I didn't know, and what did she think and she thought about it, took a good look at him and said "Father Christmas".

Now, baring in mind that when she met "Father Christmas" at a Christmas party last year, she howled and did not like him at all, this next bit made me very happy.

I said did she want to ask him if he was Father Christmas, and she said yes, so Tareka waited til he'd finished at the counter and asked the nice old man if our daughter could ask him a question. She asked "what's your name?" and he told her it was Robert, but that most people called him Bob, then Tareka prompted her to ask her other question and she did, very shyly ask if he was Father Christmas...he asked if she wanted a present and her little 2 year old eyes lit up. Bless the dear old fella but he reached into his pocket and gave my daughter a $2 coin. Tareka and I thanked him profusely and got Mapera to say thank you too. I said to her "he really was Father Christmas, wasn't he?".

The look of amazement on her face was priceless.

This is what I love about kids. She didn't even notice the wheelchair, she just wanted to know if he was Father Christmas, and you know, he never said he wasn't :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Doctor, doctor

Well this weekend Tareka and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, and a total of just under 9 years together. As he is working tonight (the 10th) we arranged to go out on the Friday for the day, leaving the girls with their Nana and Poppa.

We had a great day out, ate lunch where we felt like it without checking for highchairs or child-friendly food items, watched a film in a real cinema (rather than a DVD on the computer after the kids are asleep), came home to give the girls a goodnight kiss then back out again for a fantastic dinner out at a new Indian & Thai restaurant (a strange combination, but it worked beautifully).

The girls slept well (we all stayed over) apart from a 3am wake up by Mapera having done poos. This is very unusual for her, but I know she will have been holding onto it. She's not very good at going anywhere but at home at the moment. Fortunately, Mapera sleeps in Nana and Poppas room when we stay over, so darling Nana dealt with it.

I was planning a morning lie in, but the baby needed feeding and Tareka needed to sleep in as he's on nights, so I got up. I don't think I slept well as I woke up tired, sore and grumpy. All bad ingredients when it comes to tired toddlers and demanding, teething babies.
I got home in the new van, planning to have a bit of a sit down, then do some tidying while the girls had their afternoon sleep. I was then going to work after they went to bed and then have an early night myself in preparation for an early wake up on Sunday.

This Sunday is Mother's Day over here, but I was to be spending the day with one child staying at a friend's house while I attended a committee meeting 3 hours drive away. More about that another time. I didn't mind, I'd known about the meeting for months, and Tareka was working. Besides we'd just had a lovely day off for our anniversary.

Now, last Monday, Mapera cut her foot at Puna Reo Playgroup and I'd been trying to keep it clean and covered ever since, but since I live in a land where people go baref0ot all year round this had been proving difficult. I thought the cut had been healing until I took Mapera's plaster off tonight and was confronted with an evil looking, weeping blister-like sore, along with an ominous red line radiating from the wound across the bottom of her foot.

This caused me to do 2 things. The first thought was of a children's book I had read where a character had an infected thumb and the red lines started running up his arm, and his children were told that if the line reached his heart he would die. I even remember what the book was called "Emil and his clever pig". Strange the things we remember in times of stress.
Secondly I made a lot of phone calls - Tareka to tell him I was going to the emergency doctor and wasn't going anywhere tomorrow, the doctor to get the man to the clinic asap and the father-in-law to tell him to send my apologies to the committee (he's going too).

I packed the two kids into the new van (I am now eternally grateful for my husband's need to get this new van bought immediately) and raced down to the doctors. He reassured me in his delightfully calm and Dutch manner that the red lines were nothing to worry about, and even told me to look up lymphangitis on the internet to reassure myself further. He also gave me a course of antibiotics for Mapera there and then (no going to the all night pharmacy in the next town YAY!). So I bundled them both back into the car (amid much tantrumming from Mapera who wanted to "go and see the doctor" "you've just seen him darling" "no I haven't" "yes you have now sit down in your car seat before I count to 3" ARGH) and went home again.

I started trying to tidy up and get back to normal, so I popped the nappy bucket under the hot tap to fill ready for the nappies from today, then phoned Tareka and the Father-in-law to update them, then started looking up lymphangitis on the internet.

About 4o minutes later the baby woke up so I went to her room to check up and OH NO! I'd left the tap running into the nappy bucket and the water was now cold and brown. I had emptied the hot water cylinder completely.

So. Now I am here, having tried to clean up while listening to a soothing Radio 4 play and failing. I am overwhelmed by tiredness; the amount of cleaning and tidying I need to do just to get the house to "normal" standard; the work I haven't done; and the underlying feeling of terror that my child will get very sick in the night and I might not hear her...

...and when people ask me if I work, I say no.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Light of my life

Life is toddling along at a normal pace now. School holidays are over, so I now have regular activities to occupy my perpetual-motion toddler. Seriously, how is it that she can literally never stop moving? If I jumped around and ran and skipped and hopped and rolled and danced and wobbled and joggled and wriggled and squirmed half as much as Mapera does, I'd be stick-thin!! Maybe that's the secret to losing the baby weight - losing weight the toddler way...hmmm.

She is definitely improving with her behaviour, and I put it down to better sleep. Up til recently Mapera has been waking every night (without fail) at around 2 or 3 am (just when you're getting your high quality REM sleep) and standing at her door shouting for us to let her out. She has a gate on the door after I nearly suffered a nervous breakdown following a full week of getting up 5 or 6 times a night to put Mapera back in her own bed.

We were racking our brains as to how to break this habit with her, and we found an answer one day when she was playing dens. She sleeps in the bottom of a set of bunks, and Daddy hung a sheet all around the top bunk so her bed was completely enclosed. She wanted the den up when she went to bed, so we happily left it in place. The next morning we were awoken to the usual "Mummy! Please you take my gate off?!" but I didn't feel like it was the middle of the night. When I looked at the clock it was 5am! Although this was still to early for me to even consider getting up, it was a marked improvement on the previous wake up time. Fortunately, Mapera went back to bed without much fuss and woke up again at the normal time of 6.30.

So, we had moved the initial wake up to a slightly more civilised hour, but I really want Mapera to learn to stay in her room until it's time to get up, even if she is awake. She was coming in to our bed for a morning snooze, but recently, she's not been going back to sleep, and it's not easy to relax with a 2 1/2 year old poking their fingers into your ears.
She has all her toys and bears and dollies, so she could theoretically play happily in her bed til it was time to get up for breakfast.

Tareka hit upon a plan to put a light on a timer in her room. We got an old bedside lamp, a plug in timer and rigged it up well out of reach. We sat Mapera down and explained to her that the light would come on when it was time to get up. If she woke up and the light was off, she had to stay in her bed, if it was on she could call out to us that it was time to get up.
She was really keen on the whole plan and happily repeated the instructions back to us (especially the bit about getting up and calling "Mummy, the light is on!"). So we crossed our fingers and went to bed.

At ar0und 3am a little voice called out in the darkness "Mummy, the light is on!"


I got up, checked that it wasn't actually on and pointed this out to Mapera, who agreed that it was off and that she should get back into bed.

Then at 7am, just as the news came on the radio alarm in our room, our little voice piped up again "Mummy, the light is on!". Looks like we may have got it after all.

We've now been using the light trick for about a week, and apart from that first night, Mapera has not called us before 7am ONCE!! I'm going to give her another week with the gate on the door and if she's still waiting til the light comes on, I may be able to take it off at last!