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May 25, 2011

Tantrums: Phase 1 and phase 2

Ah, the toddler phase. We are just starting it with Charlotte, and wow, it promises to be hard. I can't believe she used to be such an easy baby before. I guess she saved all her energy for her tantrum phase. From what I understand (and I am still learning a lot about this parenting thing, so don't hold me to this), tantrums happen when a toddler is trying to do or communicate something, and they are not able to get to what they want, and they can't manage the frustration any other way.

Poor Charlotte is trying to much to do like her big brother, but she is not able do (either physically or because we don't let her play with toys that are not for her). She gets so frustrated so easily these days, and she really does the whole rolling on the floor thing... Fun times! I can't remember Daniel's tantrums to start that early and to be that dramatic. Maybe the fact that Charlotte gets a lot more inspiration for things she would want (from looking at Daniel), and less attention from us contributes to a more intense phase. Or maybe it's just character, the same way she started as an easy baby. Anyways, hopefully just a phase.

Sadly, Daniel is on his own tantrum phase 2.
I don't know if it would still be called tantrums at this age, but they have the same effect on me: exhausting. Daniel's phase involves trying to push the limits with words. If he wants something, he will repeat "I want it, I want it" forever. He isn't interested in listening why this particular wish might not be possible, and what alternatives we might be able to find. No, he just keeps on, not accepting our arguments. For instance: "no, mama, it's not a school day today, I want to stay home... I want to stay home. No, mama, we don't need to go to the car. I want to stay home..." One night, he cried for one hour for not being able to go to his friend's house right that minute, just repeating arguments along these lines, over and over.

Why did I brag about his maturity a few months ago? Was I talking about the same person?

I am amazed how the kids are able to coordinate their tantrums... Did they plan it all along? It makes for exhausting evenings. I was by myself with the 2 kids last night, and I couldn't wait for them to be in bed again. I needed the quiet after hearing cries and complaints from both of them for 3 hours. I know this will pass. But wow, this is challenging right now. Daniel's first tantrum phase went by very fast. Hopefully, Charlotte will follow the same pattern. Fingers crossed!

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May 19, 2011

Long road to walking

I have been excited to see Charlotte develop and transition from the baby phase to the toddler phase. It started about 2 months ago, and in a lot of instances, she has really changed. She has a few words, starts being interested in books, wants to climb everywhere. Fun to watch. There is one area where she is not advancing very well, though. It's walking. She has been practicing walking for 6 months now, and she has all the technique she needs. But she is just too scared to try by herself. She doesn't even want to stand by herself. She drops as soon as we let go (although she is strong enough to hold by herself). It's starting to wear on me.

I feel that I can never let her go. When I pick her up from daycare, I have the choice of caring a 28-pound baby, or have her hold my hand to walk (which I usually do). But then, it means that I have only one arm free to carry bags, Daniel's art project of the day and any other random thing I need to carry. Also, I have no chance to run after Daniel should anything happen, since I am stuck with this toddler who threatens to fall down the second I let go. It's fine for a while, but it's been 2 months since we started this routine. I am tired. In general, she is really hanging to me for anything. And while I like the attention, I feel that I constantly have a bullet to slow me down.

I know it's just a phase, and within the next 3-6 months, it should become a non-issue. But I am just getting impatient. And I am not seeing a lot of progress to signal that the end is in sight. True, she started taking first steps by herself 2 weeks ago (they looked like she was throwing herself at me). At the time, it was a relief, and we thought that it would be quick from there. Once she overcame her fear, she would realize she can do it. Sadly, since then, Charlotte still hasn't made a lot of progress. Her appetite to take steps by herself is very limited and she needs a lot of encouragement to just to it a couple of times a day. One evening, she seemed to be past that phase, walking 3-4 feet between couches for 10 times with high self-confidence. Our hopes were up. This hasn't happened again since then. Back to square 1!

I know I need to be patient. There are a lot of other great things to enjoy about Charlotte right now. But the walking would make such a difference, I think! I know it will happen eventually and I will laugh at this post in a few months. Until then, please wish me a lot of patience.

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May 4, 2011

Today, I held a princess! Or How stereotype gender roles start...

The other day, on the way back from school, Daniel mentioned very proudly that he held a princess at school. I was very intrigued about what it could really be about. A princess, at school, what? As it turns out, one of the girls in Daniel's classroom had come to school with a nice, princess-like dress and a tiara. She wanted to pretend being a princess all day. And when she tried to climb on the school's climbing structure, she had difficulties. The dress was less than convenient for climbing. But no problem, here came the helping prince (aka Daniel) to the rescue. He helped her and held her when she made it to the top. He wanted to make sure she wouldn't fall. And this strong boy was later very proud of his actions!
Is this how gender stereotypes start? Will my little girl also want to wear princess dresses to school in a few years? Will she also need help from a strong and devoted young boy?
We never read fairy tales with Daniel, so I know this isn't the inspiration that drove him to "save a princess". I guess there is something in nature that drives girls and boys to their respective behaviors. I am currently not planing on buying Charlotte princess dresses, and i wouldnt have told her of the recent royal wedding even if she had been old enough. So we will see if she still ends up twisting my arm once she gets to the age of wanting to become a princess? Or if not having the option will mae her less interested in princesses?

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