Parenting 2.0

Archive for June 2010

Oh those delightful first words. As parents you wonder: What will his first word be? Will it be
“mama” or “dada”? When will he say it? You get the idea.

We discovered earlier on that Niko’s first word was “Dada”, but I reckon that’s only because Daddy repeatedly says “Dada” to our little babe. And good on him, because “Dada” was indeed Niko’s first word/sound. (Truth be told, we don’t quite know if Niko is aware of what “Dada” means, but he sure does like to say it.) So then there was me, just sitting in wait for “Mama”. I tried Borys’ trick and put “Mama” on repeat in my daily vocabulary: thinking if he heard it enough he would be bound to say it sooner than later. Even Daddy joined in, and now says “Mama” over and over again to our little sweetheart. Buy before “Mama” other sounds stated showing up: va va and fa fa (I swear if he says “Frasier” before he’s says “Mama”, that’ll be something…).

Actually, months ago we thought Little N Bomb was saying “Mama”, and this was even in the pre “dada” days. It sort of sounded like “Mama” was being spewed from his vocal chords when we was wailing – say going to sleep or just not happy about something in general. But alas, that was only when the little tyke had worked himself into a tizzy, and he spouted it out only at the most inconsolable climax of his crying. So again, it’s me, waiting, just waiting.

For a while he dropped the angry “mama” and replaced it with just regular run of the mill sobbing. Then this week, his upset “mama” came back to life, in full force. The key to him saying it, is that he has to be upset about something, and then it is a clear “mama” or a short and curt series of “mum, mum, mum, mum”. So, despite the fact that he only seems to say it when he’s sad (and Borys thinks he’s saying it during those moments because he’s looking for comfort from his “mama”), I’m just glad I beat out Frasier in the line of Niko’s first words. Not that it’s a competition…

Yesterday I was forced to get my gender biases in check. Thank goodness.

Up until now most of Niko’s toys have been hand-me-downs from his cousin John Russell. He has so many toys that he doesn’t even play with all of them, but has taken to favouring a few: his box of blocks, a  little Tonka train set, Sophie (of course), and a few other randoms. Every once in a while I switch his toys so he can play with other ones, but his favourites remain the same. Actually one of his favourite things to play with is the remote for the TV or the cordless telephone. He just loves pressing the buttons and will reach for either item when Borys or I are using them.

Mostly for my own piece (or is it peace?) of mind, Niko doesn’t play with too many toys that make noise. You know the ones. They’re battery operated, and have sirens and buzzers, and other annoying sounds… I can’t really stand those types of toys: they make too much noise! So, Niko has been somewhat shielded.

This weekend we went to Marc and Mel’s house for lunch. Little Talia, who is about a year and a half old, has so many different toys and Niko had a great time playing, especially with the noisy ones (insert tiny feelings of guilt projecting from me, here.) He especially took a liking to a piano and a cell phone. Even I had to agree, this battery-operated cell phone was pretty cool: just big enough for his tiny hands, with lots of buttons to press. So after lunch Borys and I headed to the mall to get Niko his very own phone: seeing as he has a hankering for our cordless anyway, and he was having such a good time with Talia’s phone, we figured he might like to have a phone of his own.

When we got to Toys’R’Us the only phone I could find was hot pink and our conversation went something like this.

Me: Hmm…there has to be a blue one, or another colour. I don’t’ want to get him a pink phone.

Borys: Alli, it seems like a good phone, so why not?

Me: I don’t know. But I’m going to look around the store and see if I can find a different one.

10 minutes later…

Me (holding the hot pink cell and an alternative): So I found this other one.

Borys: Yah, but I don’t like it as much.

Me: Me neither.

B: So why don’t we just get him the pink one?

Me: Hmm…

B: Come on. It’s a nice bright vibrant colour and just because he’s a boy it doesn’t mean he can’t have a pink toy.

Me: You are totally right. Let’s get it.

So that’s the story of how Niko came to own a pink cell. And does he care that it’s pink? No. I’m just wondering why these colour biases are so deeply ingrained? I mean I think I’m a pretty open-minded person, but for some reason I was putting the brakes on getting a pink toy for the the Little N Man. But Daddy was right: it is a nice bright colour, and what’s wrong with that? Nothing.

I am trapped under moving boxes, packing tape and baby toys!

Once I dig my way out, I plan to blog again…

Please send muscles and a moving truck.

PS – At least Niko is napping! (Lucky little guy.) I would like a nap too, but have resigned myself to packing, organizing and cleaning the fridge at our new house, which I discovered yesterday is a two day jobbie.

When Niko was born my friend Danielle gave me a homemade keepsake of quotes that she found useful as a new mom. You know those days where things just don’t seem to be going quite right? Well, these quotes help to remind me about what’s really important. And you know what? It’s not the clutter that invades my table on a daily hourly basis.

One of the quotes suggests recording your baby’s laugh on video, and I love the idea. When I first started coaxing laughs from little Niko, they weren’t too powerful. But now that he’s getting older his laugh is adorable, contagious and such a wonderful sound to hear!

See and hear Niko’s laugh by checking out this short video: Baby Niko’s Contagious Laughter – CUTE! (0:30)

The Little Niko Man is 9 months old. It’s crazy to think that nine months ago, today, we headed to the hospital for the birth of our son. By the time we got there I was in active labour and Niko was already on his way. I specifically remember a conversation with the resident doctor, that went something like this.

Dr. (while examining me and with surprise): Whoa. You are 6 cm dilated!

Me (wide eyed): Really?

Dr.: Yes. So you will be having this baby today.

Me: What? Today? But I’m not due for four more weeks. (And then looking at Borys.) We’re having our baby today!!! Oh my gosh!

Borys: Oh my goodness!

Dr.: Yup. By they way you’re going to have this baby within half an hour!

Me: Oh my goodness!

So that was nine months ago, and now we have this little beauty who keeps delighting our hearts and bringing us joy on a daily basis.

Now that he’s nine months he’s clapping all the time (all the while displaying a proud and curious look to boot), he’s laughing a lot and contagiously, he’s getting closer and closer to crawling  (I can just see him reaching his way forward, wanting to go, but not quite sure how to get going), and he’s got six teeth (that he won’t stop grindingshiver…). What a precious little monkey!

Note: This is part of a series of blog entries that were inspired when Niko wore the bear’s mini karate gi as a Halloween costume. Since then I have used the bear and the costume to document his growth at three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and now eleven months.

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As Niko and I go about our daily business, son and mother forging forward into the world and further and further down maternity leave lane, we are not left with much time to do anything other than sticking with our routines. Some of our routines are as follows: Niko making a daily event out of commandeering his spoon, me trying to keep up with the laundry that goes with cloth diapering (and being a housewife in general), Niko becoming more interactive and busy by the day, me trying my best to entertain a nine month old, all the while keeping up with my blog, surviving the daycare dilemma (we found one, and we like it!), surviving the real estate roller coaster (we’re moving this week!), and surviving the tribulations of making my own baby food (I sort of lost that battle), just to name a few.

Amidst these daily adventures, my aptitude for the outside world has virtually vanished. I think I needed a reminder that yes, a world does exist beyond my relationship with Niko, with Borys, and with Frasier. That beyond the confines of my condo, there is a world, and it is thriving (or diving, depending on your perspective). It has come to my attention (in my blitz of parenting) that I have almost completely put the outside world on hold, not giving much attention to what’s going on beyond my immediate life (and the lives of the celebrities that I love to read gossip about). Which, by the way, Speidi (not to be confused with the masked superhero, but rather a nickname for the infamous reality TV couple, Spencer Pratt and Plastic Barbi, I mean Heidi Montag), is apparently getting divorced. So while my celebrity prowess is not something I am necessarily proud of, I do realize that I need to extend my reach beyond the troubles faced weekly by the Kardashian sisters. (Who are these women anyway? And why are they famous? This I have yet to discover.) Anyway, I know there’s a newsy world out there, a world that my husband reads about daily, a world that the rest of the population hears about daily, a world that I indeed need to reenter. A world that doesn’t include tuning in to The Hills, The Bachelorette or the ultimate in guilty pleasures Pauly D and the Jersey Shore.

So, in an attempt to get reacquainted with things non-baby related, I have resigned myself (after a little coercion – which some may classify as teasing – from my husband) to read the daily headlines (and if interested, the accompanying stories) on the CBC website. And man, have I (re)discovered a whole new world. Crazy stuff is going on. Some of it I don’t read too much about (I mean time is still an issue), but others are just so pressing they can’t be ignored. And while I personally can’t do much to help these situations, I at least am (slowly) reeducating myself about the current events of our times. And you know what? It feels good.

So after this long spiel, you may be wondering what is at the forefront of news stories in June 2010. In the present it’s easy to list them off, but days, months, weeks, years?, heck, decades from now, when people look back on this amazing post, they may wonder: What was it she was viewing on the CBC website? What was it that was going on in June 2010? Here’s a brief list of some headlines from this month, and here’s hoping that I can continue to stay In Touch with more than celebrity gossip. I think I can. I think I can…

Gulf Clean Up Requires Billions, BP Told

BP Oil Spill Cap in Action: New Underwater Video of Gulf Leak

Harper’s Gaza Flotilla Response Riles Activists

Guatemala Sinkhole is Massive, Swallows Building

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It’s inevitable: when a baby’s born people immediately start making comments about who he looks like. Does he have his father’s colouring? Does he have his mother’s eyes? You get the picture, and the same thing was true for us. When Niko was born we heard all sorts of opinions about our little man’s looks, and by far most people were unanimous in their opinion that little Niko looked a lot like Daddy: a certain Eastern European je ne sais quois. (Who am I kidding? Even I had to agree. Once I saw Borys’ baby photos, the similarities were obvious.)

So, somewhat to my chagrin, the comments kept coming in. Chagrin only because I carried this little babe for nine (well, eight), months and I’m the one who popped him out of my belly (hello C-section). I mean I must be in there somewhere, right? So for months and months the opinions have been coming in, and still the jury thinks he looks like Daddy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I mean I for one, quite fancy Daddy’s looks. But we’re both the parents, and it is nice when the odd person tells me they can see me in him.

But lately, yes lately, things have been changing. Babies always change and Niko’s no exception (just take a look at his monthly growth next to the karate build-a-bear), and recently people have been commenting more often (still not as often), but more often, that Niko looks like me too. Here’s the gist of a conversation that went on in our house the other day.

Borys: Your genes are like the marathon genes and mine are like the sprint ones.

Me: Huh?

B: I mean at first Niko looked a lot like me, but slowly and over time (like a marathon) your genes are coming to the forefront and Niko is looking more and more like you all the time.

Me: Really? Go on… 🙂

PS – I didn’t know that running a marathon would have this type of affect on my baby. Har har har…

Note: The accompanying self-portraits were taken this week when my entourage and I headed out for a walk. It’s so much easier to get Niko into the Baby Bjorn now that Summer’s here, and he doesn’t need all the bundling that was required in the winter. But now that Summer is here, it looks like Niko will outgrow this handy baby carrier sooner than later.

Have you ever tried and tried and tried to teach your dog a trick only to have him repeatedly do it the wrong way? Or not even a trick necessarily, but just basic commands: sit, stay, come, fetch, etc. I’ve always wanted a dog who would fetch a ball and bring it back. With Frasier we are pretty lucky: he can be off leash, stays pretty close by and (usually) comes when we call him. And, he loves to chase balls; it’s bringing them back, that’s not down to perfection. More often than not, he’ll chase the ball like crazy, pick it up when he gets to it and then just drop it where he is and continue on, which ultimately turns me into the fetcher.

But today, yes today, today something magical happened. He returned the ball, very close to me. Well, three times very close to me and twice in the bush near by. But still, this is a big improvement on his track record. And what was the secret to our success? Dog biscuits? No. My command of the dog? No. Pure luck? I don’t think so. It was the Little Niko Man! Yup, the three of us headed to the park and I lay out a blanket in the shade, for Niko with some toys for him to play with. Seeing as Little N was on the ground, I really couldn’t go after the dog to get the ball back, so I just stayed put and this is how it worked. Picture Frasier running full blast toward the ball and then running (almost) full blast back with it. And oh oh, heading straight for the baby! Hope this turns out OK. But then he just dropped the ball at the edge of the blanket and waited for me to throw it again. It was one of those times I wished I had my camera but didn’t. Maybe I’ll stage the shot again later, and insert the picture after the fact. I was so impressed with Frasier, and with Niko, who turned out to be the dark horse, my very own miniature Dog Whisperer.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about baby food. Whereas once, it was all consuming, as of late the real estate deals and daycare dilemmas have been at the forefront of my mind and keeping me distracted. And, seeing as we’ve switched mainly to the Heinz variety, Niko’s eating issues seam to have dissipated. Even though my freezer still carries memories of my attempts at making baby food: those memories coming in the form of tiny little ice cube sized, homemade varieties, double sealed and aptly labeled and dated inside Ziploc freezer bags. Yes, every time I open my freezer I am haunted by the issues I used to face with making baby food, and getting Niko to eat. One thing hasn’t changed though: Niko still loves squash, whether it’s the homemade or store bought kind. Squash has become a go to food of sorts and is usually the first one he tries at lunch and dinner, my thinking being if he starts with a flavour he likes he is more likely to try (albeit perhaps unknowingly) any other Heinz delicacies (even meat) that I place in front him.

Niko has also developed a way to tell me when he’s had enough. I am still pretty much following the serving guidelines set out by the public health nurse when she came to visit last October, but sometimes if he’s got too much on his plate he becomes adamant that he does not want anymore. Even this morning as I tried to feed him his last bite of cereal – and it literally was the last bite: a spoonful I had scraped off the sides and bottom of the bowl -, he adamantly refused, and I caught it on video (Baby Niko Refuses his Last Bite of Cereal [0:25]). Yes, he seems to know how to say “No more. I’m full.” quite well: envision whining and head turning from side to side. He’s got it down.

Note: Please take note of my perfect manicure in the picture of me and Niko below. That’s just how I roll: dishwater and baby wipes ain’t got nothin’ on my nails.

When I was a kid I used to love that Richard Scarry story called Good Night, Little Bear. It’s about a family trying to put their baby (cub) to bed and they pretend they can’t find him. Meanwhile, the baby is knowingly sitting on his dad’s shoulders while the search goes on.

Every time that story was read to me, I remember admirably thinking what a tricky little bear cub he was, and enjoyed how much fun he was having secretly on his dad’s shoulders. I mean geesh, what a great way to get out of going to bed on time.

Well, it appears that our little man loves being up on Daddy’s shoulders too.

Niko: This is the greatest thing ever! Whee…whee…

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Alli & Baby Niko

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