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Mar 24, 2011

Preparing for college

I didn't think I would be writing the word "college" in my blog for a long time. We are still years away from even applying to college.
But somehow, Daniel is starting to understand the fact that he is going to grow up, go to bigger and bigger schools, until he leaves for college. He has definitely been asking a lot about the different schools he is going to attend (asking to see the elementary school he will probably go to in 2 years), and wondering about college. The concept of leaving home and having to live far from mom and dad is currently very scary to him. Because he also has no concept of time yet, he is concerned that his turn is coming soon. So this topic is coming up a lot in our discussions.
Honestly, I don't mind that he is so attached to us for now. One of our discussions led Daniel to make this touching comment that "I love you and Papa so much, I don't ever want to leave". I have probably had to explain 4-5 times what it means to leave home for college and why he won't need mom and dad when he is ready for college.

By coincidence, Daniel has fallen in love with the Blue's Clues TV programs and he has been watching them once a day lately. Right when this discussion about college started, we saw an episode where the main character explains that he is going to college and his little brother is taking over the show. This transition led to a lot of questions, both regarding the future of the show and his favorite character, but also regarding Daniel's future path as well.

I guess it's never too early to prepare for college, right?

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Mar 22, 2011

Transition to toddlerhood

36 more days... until Charlotte turns one. Interestingly, I have been eagerly counting the days until she turns one for the last month or so. I just can't wait! Since she started crawling she has become a different baby, slowly transitioning to becoming a toddler. She is now able to race through the house, following us wherever we go. She pulls up everywhere and is getting pretty good at cruising or walking holding just one hand. We expect that she will be walking pretty soon now.
She is very active and exploring things. For instance, she loved the water plays at the Discovery Museum over the weekend. she loves water in general. Bath times are a big party for her!

Also she has been doing a lot of talking lately. The first official word was about 2 weeks ago when she pointed at a picture of her brother and clearly said "Da". Since then, she has said words like "bye bye", "go" (which sounds more like "ga", but is clearly correlated with her trying to walk), "all done". She is starting to show interest in books, points at objects and babbles constantly.

I know that with Daniel, his first birthday was a turning point, where he clearly started communicating better and showed a better attention span. I am seeing Charlotte slowly but surely enter that toddler age that I enjoyed so much.

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Mar 21, 2011

Fun with Hats

A few weeks ago, Daniel made a "cat in the hat" hat at school and brought it home. Last weekend, he decided to make a fashion statement with it.

Everyone laughed a lot, even Charlotte who had to have her own hat fun too.

Sometimes, you really don't need much to make the kids happy. A little silliness goes a long way!

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Mar 5, 2011

Crawling baby!

We made it! Rather, she made it! Charlotte started crawling last week and it had changed her life. She had been so frustrated lately, trying to move but not being able to. Asking us to pick her up more than ever. Crawling started slow, initially jut one or 2 tentative steps, just enough to reach toys that were barely out of reach. These were not even real crawling moves: one of her legs kept staying straight. Then, she managed to master a couple of steps at a time. She was still very slow and would need to take a break regularly. After 3 or 4 days, she took off, and she is now zooming through the house, following us everywhere and choosing the toys she wants to play with (or anything else for that matter.. Time for us to set aside non-baby things!) She is so happy.

Interestingly Charlotte learned to sit up a few days before she started crawling. Then, within a few days she learned to stand up. The teachers seemed to find her quick progress impressive. Daniel had the exact same pattern too. It must be that all coordination reflexes kick in at he same time.

Charlotte has already been practicing walking for a while. And now that she can pull up, she started cruising around a lot. She is already pretty good. She barely needs one hand to walk. I think it's a matter of her taking a chance, and she will -hopefully- be walking pretty soon.

Then, another phase, with its ups and downs, will start!

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Mar 1, 2011

Dealing with Mama's planning mistakes

I pride myself to be a pretty good planner. I plan things in advance, I put them in a calendar, and in most cases I really remember appointments and dates in my head. So I rarely miss things. Well, I made 2 planning mistakes within 2 weeks of each other... With a full-time job, 2 kids and lack of sleep, I think I have reached the point where my planning process isn't robust enough. I need another back-up strategy. And both mistakes were for really exciting events for Daniel, so disappointing for him. Bad mommy!
It was interesting to see how he responded, though. In both cases, I think I was the most upset of us 2, hating myself for missing something. Daniel handled his disappointment very well, and I have to say I was very impressed by it.

The first mistake happened when scheduling a playdate with one of Daniel's best friends. I completely missed the "detail" of the mom writing "next" weekend and not "this" weekend. So, there we went, at the playground a week too early... and the friend never showed up. Daniel was so eager to see his friend, running in anticipation. For the first 10 minutes, he was running around the park, checking to the side where his friend might be coming from. After 10 minutes, we suggested him to start playing instead of just checking, and he reluctantly started using the slides, etc... As time went by (and for us adults it was clear that the friend wasn't going to come), it was interesting that Daniel remained optimistic that his friend would show up. He came up with all kinds of excuses why he might be late, but on his way soon: maybe he took a longer nap, maybe his car needs gas, etc... Daniel didn't want to give up, but I knew he would eventually need to face the reality. I was so heart-broken.
Fortunately, over time, Daniel got more and more involved with the playground structures, so he still had some fun by himself. And when we faced him with the fact that we would need to go home without seeing his friend, he accepted it pretty well. He still kept asking when we would see his friend again, and the week-long wait was almost unbearable. Thankfully the playdate really happened a week later, and I think this was the most important for Daniel.

My second mistake happened the following weekend after I noticed that there was still a lot of snow on the mountains around us. Daniel had been asking to go see the snow all winter and I thought that there might be a way for us to get close to the snow without having to drive 5 hours, maybe just one. We didn't need much snow. Maybe just a few inches to walk in it and build a snowman. I checked the webcams at the top of the mountains and they all showed enough snow. So we got ready: I fought with Daniel to take an early nap, we packed things to build a snowman, we got all our winter gear ready (Daniel insisted on wearing his gloved in the car), and we started driving. A long drive: over an hour, and at the end, many curves that made the kids dizzy. And then, right when we got to the last 10 miles, we were told that the road to the top was closed: too much snow at the top (no snow where the sign was, though). Oh no!!!!! I hadn't even thought to check the road conditions. I knew the snow had to have been there for a few days at least. I didn't even consider the fact that the road could be closed.

As we turned around, I felt so bad about making such a big deal out of it, just to get nothing. We might have as well stayed home and gone to the playground instead. I kept apologizing to the kids (I don't think they understood, though). I quickly tried to salvage the situation and redirected us to the nearby kids park Happy Hollow, which we ended up visiting for the rest of the afternoon. The kids had fun after all, and Daniel actually didn't complain too much about not seeing the snow. It looks like he was more confused than anything. He kept asking why the road was closed, and why it's difficult to drive on the snow. This seemed to be a bigger concern than not being able to build a snowman. He never really expressed any frustration about not being able to see the snow. Still, it took me a couple of days to stop being angry at myself for this.
Then, the weather forecast showed a slight chance of snow right in our backyard and I hoped that it would turn out to be true. A good way to redeem myself, I thought. Well, not surprisingly, the snow didn't come. But the road to the snow-covered summit is still closed. I guess we won't be able to see the snow this year. Hopefully next year, our quest for snow will be more successful. I think we will take less chances and go to the real mountains

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