Parenting 2.0

Archive for the ‘Milestones’ Category

Little Stella is growing! As they all do I suppose…

New feets in her life?

  • smiling lots
  • starting to giggle
  • rolling onto her side
  • a solid(ish…) bedtime – that falls somewhere between 8 and 9 ish (Woot! Woot! We’ve got our evenings back!)
  • and last night she moved out of her bassinet.

Yes, she was three months and still sleeping in that tiny baby bed. But now that her head and toes were touching the ends we figured it was time to move her. But not into a crib just yet, for this little dear. Nope. It’s onward to the pack’n’play. And not because we don’t have a crib. Because we do. And a whole room for her that’s painted and ready to go. It’s just that Daddy’s insistent that she sleep beside us for at least four months.

Ah well, I enjoy our little roomie and it certainly makes those middle of the night feeds a little more convenient.

Note: Stella and Suzy: One Month Old

Stella and Suzy: Two Months Old

A slight exaggeration, but he is starting to “read” his books by making up stories! I noticed this the other day when I overheard him flipping through the books in his room. And his stories always start and end the same way:

“One morning…”

Flip flip flip flip flip to the end of the book…

“The End!”

Close book.

It’s so cute to hear his little voice making up and “reading” his One morning story!

The following day, after I’d read him a couple of stories, I asked him to read one to me. And again, it was a repeat of the above: “One morning…” Flip flip flip. Then an enthusiastic, “The End!”

I love it!

Well, I think it’s safe to say Operation Incubation can now be considered a success. Even though there have been a few bumps along the road, at 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I am now full term and just awaiting the arrival of our little bambino. Having had a membrane sweep on Tuesday I’ve had a few false alarms due to the cramping incurred from the sweep, but so far no little babe. Just time on my hands to do a few self-portraits…

Niko’s got a new job. He started feeding Frasier. I’ll fill up the scoop (an old sour cream container), and he walks it over and dumps it in the dish, never failing to make it there without a proud smile on his face. Even though it takes a little longer for him to do it, than it would if I just did it myself, his utter air of triumph from successfully completing the task makes it all worth it.

Each day he walks the length of the kitchen, scoop in one hand, other hand cautiously guarding the top, whispering “Careful. Careful.” to himself. Then he slowly crouches down and dumps the food in the dish. The first few times he did it, there was much, like let’s say half, of the food on the floor – but he picked it all up. Over the next few days I taught him to crouch and dump slowly and now he can do it, often without spilling a single bit of kibble. Way to go little man! And when he does succeed without spilling he congratulates himself with a “Niko, no spill! No spill!”. And when a few do hit the floor: “Niko, pickin’ up the Frasier food” and his little fingers go to work.

Hey, the more responsibility I can shirk off to this little minion guy, the better! It’s great to learn a sense of responsibility early, right?

Other ways he likes to help:

1) Packing Daddy’s lunch: getting the soda water and other various items from the cupboards and fridge and placing them on the counter. Not to mention sampling some of Daddy’s snacks along the way. (This morning I found him biting into the Saran Wrapped Oreos only once he had managed to glean a few crumbs from between the punctured plastic.)

2) Giving Frasier cookies: He’s grasping “Sit”, “Paw” and “Good Boy”, although at times he’s not interested in giving the dog a cookie and will willfully exclaim “No Frasier cookie! Niko, cookie?”

3) Making rice: He carries the rice and pots to the counter. And once I make the measurements he pours it all in the pot.

4) Putting his clothes in the laundry basket: Self-explanatory.

5) Cleaning his toys: Well, we’re still working on the “like” factor of that one…

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A baker I am not. While I AM honing my culinary skills, it’s more in the cooking department than the baking one. Anyway, seeing as it was Niko’s birthday I figured I might as well make a cake – or at least cupcakes. And seeing as my baking skills are not 100% reliable (Last year’s birthday cake broke in two when I took it out of the pan – and my baking confidence fell, with the crumbs, to the floor. Thank goodness for the mending powers of icing!), I figured I better make a trial batch. Yes, trial batch! (Even though the Duncan Hines box instructions are pretty clear, you just never know.)

So this year, Niko’s actual birthday fell before his party, giving me the perfect opportunity to test out my baking powers. Things I realized:

1) Cupcakes don’t break when taken out of the tray! Woot! Woot!

2) Box instructions, make for dang tasty cake!

3) Homemade icing is the way to go.

Post round one of baking and prior to round two, I had a conversation with my long-time (since Grade 4) friend Alison. She’s one of those Molly Homemaker types, that makes all housework, cooking, baking etc. seem like a snap. For her daughter’s second birthday she made Elmo cupcakes, fondant and all. So my cake box recipe is a stark contrast to her baking resume. Our conversation went sort of like this…

Alison: Are you making a cake for Niko’s birthday?

Me: Yup, cupcakes. And I made a trial batch today!

A: Trial batch? What? Is it homemade?

Me: No, but with the whole cake-breaking incident last year, I just want to be sure I know what I’m doing.

A: But you’re making your own icing right?

Me: No. Store bought baby!

A: Come on! Icing’s so easy and homemade tastes way better.

Me: Who are you my mother? (Note 1: If you’re reading this Mom, please know that this line was meant with the utmost love and affection. Plus there’s that joke about how everything really is –  just so easy!)

Anyway, lo and behold, after a quick search of Canadian Living’s Butter Icing recipe I rallied my confidence and in the infinite wisdom of that little train that could I said, “I think I can. I think I can.”

Note 2: Please don’t get me wrong. Alison and I are very good friends and her berating of my baking was all in good fun. Plus it motivated me to up the ante on little Niko’s cupcakes. And in the end, it was all worth it!

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Niko’s almost two. And thanks to an amazing gift from Gramma and Grandad we now hear the daily requests for “Bike.” or “Bike!” or “Biiike, biiike. biiike.” (with that accentuation on the “i”s in a certain whiny tone which has been mastered by our little guy).  Or simply, politely and matter of factly he just looks up at you or stands at the front door and says “Bike pees.”  (Translated: Bike please.)

At first it took a little while for Niko to get used to the self-propelling wheels – you know the ones that automatically move as soon as the bike goes forward. His feet just couldn’t find the rhythm. But now he happily puts his feet in place or drags them along the sidewalk as he is pushed from behind on his new trike. And luckily for us, he willingly wears his helmet too! Watch out Lance Armstrong.

As I mentioned before, Little Niko celebrated his first full journey around the sun this past week, and last weekend he had a birthday party. I was torn about what sort of cake to make and had been inspired by my friend’s sister-in-law’s monkey cake, but when I looked at the cake molds at Bulk Barn I was too overwhelmed by all the icing that would lie ahead if I chose that route. In the end I took a version of my mom’s suggestion and baked a cake, iced it, added sprinkles, plastic farm animals, a single candle, and *voila* birthday cake numero uno was complete.

On Niko’s big day we celebrated with friends and family and when it came time for the singing Niko showed signs of worry as he seemed to wonder why everyone was singing and looking at him. His eyes welled up, although he didn’t cry, just maintained a concerned look right up until he sunk his tiny hand into the sprinkly icy rectangle that was placed in front of him. Basically he had no clue what was going on, but seemed to enjoy getting a handful of icing. At one point during the festivities we tried to organize a kid shot – the oldest being almost three and the youngest just six months. It was a challenge to get everyone sitting and looking at the camera, but we did get a few somewhat passable versions. Actually they quite clearly document the reality of the moment. Capturing eight little monkeys in one picture is no easy task.

One day last week Little N-Bomb’s had his first birthday, and on that particular morning I found myself reflecting on what a year of transition it’s been. Can you blame me for the reflecting? I mean what else is a gal to do when stuck in a standstill of traffic and enveloped by exhaust fumes at only 8 am in the morning? Seriously, the radio can only get me so far and then I am left to my own entertainment devices, which when behind the wheel of my car are basically just the thoughts in my head.

Anyway on Niko’s birthday, I couldn’t help but think about how exactly one year before I had gone in to labour, ended up with a C-section and Little Niko had been born pretty much right around 8 am. Only for him to be taken by the nurse, poked, prodded, weighed, and swaddled and then brought back to me by a woman wearing a face mask and concern in her eyes. Yup, I only got to hold the little tike, all 5 lbs 15 ounces of him, for about two minutes before he was whisked away to the NICU. Such is life. But those two minutes were glorious. He just felt so light and cuddly my arms and of course we have a few pics to prove it, courtesy of our lovely anesthesiologist.

So Niko is one. And for that matter we’re all a year older, but one seems somehow more significant than thirty-something (yes, that’s thirty-something because I often forget just how old I am, which again leads to the insignificance of the age…). I actually do forget though. Sometimes I have to think of my year of birth, and then count out from there to get my exact age. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I do know my age, but other times I just really can’t recall it (too quickly). But I digress. Little Niko is one now and there will be pics to follow. After all, you can’t turn one without a round of Happy Birthday and some cake (even if you don’t like the singing or the cake, as Niko quite visibly demonstrated at his party…).

As it turns out, our little guy loves to dance, and has taken to showing off his three signature dance moves any chance he gets, which is basically any time he hears music coming from the radio or TV. (Yes, he even grooves to commercials.) When he hears music from the radio, he crawls up to the chest it’s sitting on, stands up, braces himself with one hand, all the while increasing the volume with the other, and just boogies down, with a huge grin to boot.

His three signature moves consist of the following:

  • bouncing up and down (anywhere from bouncing just an inch or two, to crouching all the way down and standing back up) with alternating speeds
  • swiveling his head (and not necessarily in time to the music) from side to side, turning it a complete 180 degrees, at times super quickly and at times taking a more leisurely approach
  • standing in spot with one foot, while tapping the other foot back and forth between the centre and side.

What a little dance machine. And like I said, as of last week this has become a daily occurrence. Maybe it’s a reflection of all the dancing I’ve done with him since he was born. You know, when you hear a song on the radio that you can’t help but groove too? Well he’s been my constant dance partner since last September and now he seems to have developed his own style and some dancing independence.

Dance on little one, dance on.

So here we are, just one month shy of Niko’s first birthday and I’ve almost got a year’s worth of monthly Niko vs. Karate Bear photos. Our little guy, who’s not so little anymore is almost one. Wow.

As you can see, he is celebrating this 11th monthiversary in style, by doing what I can only describe as his first fake smile. When I took these pics I rapidly snapped a series of about 20 or so and then narrowed it down to my fav three. When I started shooting, Niko made this silly smile and squinted his eyes tight each time I clicked the camera. Hello fake smile. But where would he have picked this up? Who can tell for sure? Although, now that I think of it, Niko was hanging out with his two-year-old pal Ruby last week and she often hams it up for the camera…

I particularly like the last pic below; he’s showing his ultimate domination over the bear: “Little black belt, you are no match for Sir Niko! Hiya. Take that! You’re pinned.”

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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