Thanks to An Offering of Love, every month we have a photo project to take part in, each with a different color theme. January is: BLUE
Thanks to An Offering of Love, every month we have a photo project to take part in, each with a different color theme. January is: BLUE
Thanks for the support, everyone. At this time, Nutella is on the up-and-up and we’re all doing well. Of course, we lost power for 14 hours due to the heavy wet snowstorm, but it was mostly overnight and it didn’t get as cold as we thought it might. Luckily, Curly’s daycare was open the next morning and our work was closed. So we brought him in, went out for a cup of coffee, and by the time we got home, power was restored. With free hours ahead of us, we went to see The King’s Speech (wonderful by the way), and returned to the daycare early for our parent-teacher conference.
Curly’s’ main teacher thinks he’s doing great. He is average in most areas, behind in others, and advanced in just a couple. Apparently he has good rhythm for a kid his age which makes us happy since we’re both very musically-inclined people. He does great with gross motor skills and expressing himself physically, but his verbal communication is lacking. Sometimes boys take longer…and sometimes it just hasn’t clicked for the kid yet, regardless of sex. We’re not too worried (and neither is his teacher), although we have pondered intervention before, I won’t lie. But we’re going to give him more time. His receptive language is excellent and though his problem solving skills could be better, it’s mostly a lack of confidence in himself and lack of patience that frustrate him. She said he tends to be a bit quieter than the other kids, but joyous. He likes his own space but is getting better at interacting with his peers and sharing. He eats well, drinks well, takes pretty good naps, and enjoys being there. And he loves painting and sensory play, our artistic soul!
She spoke to us about The Biter as well. They have been shadowing her and working with her as best they can. They have meetings with her parents and the parents are very involved. Everyone is doing their best and it was reassuring to us to hear that. Overall, it was a nice meeting and we continue to be very happy with the set-up.
Here are some pics of Curly in the snow!
Things have not been pretty the past few days at chez Vermillion. It started when Curly got his billionth cold last week. That in itself is nothing new, but then he started getting low grade fevers (100) which turned into one high grade fever (102) which turned into unexplained gunk all over his crib sheet. It didn’t take long to figure out what that gunk was when I was cleaning his ears in the bath and one of his ear canals was filled with crusty stuff (I hope no one is eating while reading this). As it turns out, his ear drum had ruptured, but take heart that it is not as bad as it sounds. This is only his third ear infection so far, so he’s not prone to them and doesn’t really let us know when he has them (no ear pulling, no waking up crying, etc). Apparently, the pain subsides once the ear drum membrane has ruptured, passing the excess fluid. I brought him to the doctor the next morning and he was put on an antibiotic.
Then disaster struck in two ways. First, due to a root growing into our water main pipe, our kitchen began flooding (thank goodness we were home to catch it) and waste water backed up out of our sink so that we had to bail it out several times. Horrible! This was Sunday night, and we had our co-op guys out to assist us at around 7pm, and then after several utter freak-outs, had our water utility people come out around 10:30pm to fix it. Then, a few hours later, Nutella and I both came down with the stomach flu (or dysentery because of the waste water….who knows!) We were up running to and from the bathroom all. night. long. By morning, we could hardly move, and when we did, we felt really nauseous. Curly was doing ok, but we barely had the energy to take care of him or bring him to daycare (it was a toss up for who was less likely to puke on the way). The next day we were feeling better, but not 100%.
Today I’m feeling great and Curly is doing well, but Nutella is back to feeling awful again. Maybe she really does have dysentery. But the snow is beginning to come down in earnest now so we’re pretty much trapped. Oh well, at least we have lots of toilet paper in stock.
I went to pick up Curly from daycare yesterday. When I arrived, I signed him in and noticed the director speaking with the mom of the child who is ‘The Biter.’ Lots of people stop to talk to the director on the way out so I thought nothing of it. When I entered the Toddler room, Curly’s face was being washed as he whimpered and his other teacher approached me with a frown and said he was bitten, again, on his face. The children were simply sitting at their table when the same girl leaned over and bit him, breaking the skin this time. I was visibly upset and spoke some more with the teacher who said they are all frustrated at this behavior, especially since it comes out of the blue. There were no toys or food involved, or any physical activity. They were preparing to color together. I signed the incident report, hugged my poor boy, put on his coat and left. The mama bear in me was roaring.
Now, I know this is typical toddler behavior. I know the parents are not to blame and I would like to think they are trying to teach their daughter that biting is not acceptable. I am mad that the mom didn’t even look at me or apologize on behalf of her daughter when it is so obvious everyone knows by now who the biter is and it was clearly apparent that Curly was bitten because they were cleaning him up and he was crying when she arrived. So I feel it is cowardly of her not to have said anything.
It sucks to be on either side of this. I would be horrified if Curly were biting other children, and if I knew who they were, I would apologize to the parents on behalf of him and let them know we were doing our best to curtail it. Of course, it sucks to be the parent of the victim…to see your child bitten and bruised over and over. To hope they won’t pick up the same behavior or develop a fear.
Nutella dropped him off this morning and when he tried to sit in his usual place next to the biter, his teacher gently asked him to sit in a different place. We’re glad to know that the two will be somewhat physically separated from now on. And that the director apparently had a long talk with the parents. I don’t know what the daycare’s policy is on continual biting, but it seems that they’re being proactive about it. We have a parent-teacher conference next week where we can talk more about it as well.
We don’t typically share recipes here, but this one is too good to pass up. The recipe is from the Moose.wood Cook.book and is for Sweet Potato Quesadillas. Great things about this dish include 1. easy to make 2. healthy 3. contains a vegetable most kids like to eat and 4. can be eaten with one hand. (They’re also vegetarian if you swing that way)
Personally, I hate any sort of cooking so Nutella usually handles it, happily. With these quesadillas, the hardest part is simply grating the sweet potato. If I take care of that, which is no biggie, I can feel all proud that I’ve helped. Also, this is a favorite of ours to make for people who are expecting a baby (since they freeze well) or just had one (since all you have to do is heat them up and they can easily be eaten while holding a baby). So if you’re looking for something a little different, give ’em a whirl…
Sweet Potato Quesadillas
up to 8 servings
1 ½ c finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 c grated peeled sweet potato (about 3 potatoes)
½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chili power
2 tsp ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 tortillas (8 to 10 inch)
Mexican-style tomato salsa
Sour cream if desired
Sauté the onions and garlic in the vegetable oil until the onions are translucent. Add the grated sweet potatoes, oregano, chili power, cumin, and cayenne and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. When the sweet potato is tender, add salt and pepper to taste and remove the filling from the heat. Spread one-eighth of the filling smoothly on half a tortilla, cover with a light layer of cheese and fold over.
(You can also choose to make the filling ahead of time. Then simply put the quesadillas together later on and heat in a conventional oven, or as we prefer, in a George Foreman Grill.)
Top with salsa and sour cream.
After brushing teeth, getting a bath, changing into pajamas, and reading a book or two, Strawberry and I hold Curly and sing to him before laying him down for the night. It used to be that we took turns with the singing and laying down, but at some point a few months ago, when she left the room and I started to sing, he lifted his head from my shoulder and called out “mama!” pleadingly. From then on, if we are both home we do it together. One of us cradles him and the other hugs them both so that he’s all snuggled in to a mommy sandwich, and we sing. Most of the time, he closes his eyes and sucks his thumb, but sometimes he gazes up at us with a tender smile, or reaches up to touch our faces, lips, teeth. It’s pretty heart-meltingly sweet, and leaves us feeling all warm and fuzzy when we shut the door. But the other night, he took it a bit far. First he was sucking his thumb, eyes open, and we noticed his finger creeped its way into his nostril. We kept singing. Then he reached up and tried to stick that finger up my nose. Uh uh! No go, kid! I turned my head. Then he went for Strawberry’s nose and got the same reaction, with a bit more drama, since she knew it was coming. Luckily, by that time, the song was done and we kissed him and laid him down. Once his door was closed, we quietly laughed and rolled our eyes. And now it’s in writing so we’ll be able to tell him ALL about it when he’s grown up!
Disciplining a toddler is tough stuff and yet it must be done. We use a combination of approaches:
Verbal – This one’s obvious. If he’s doing something he shouldn’t do, we firmly tell him ‘No [insert action here].’ Most of the time, we find ourselves filling in the [insert action] part with hitting/standing on the couch/touch. About half the time he’ll listen, and half the time he won’t. But we are certain he understands, especially since these commands have been repeated over and over.
1-2-3 – We’re just beginning to start this. He gets 3 chances to improve his behavior or he gets a time out. Often times this one helps when he’s encroaching upon the dog’s space when the dog doesn’t want to play. So I’ll say ‘Leave the dog alone please…that’s ONE.’ If he does it again, ‘Leave the dog alone…that’s TWO.’ And should he make it to three, he gets a time out. It is not often I get to three.
Time Out – Since our house is small and the only good place we have to put him in time out is his crib, that’s where he goes. This has not effected him going to sleep at night or taking naps as the routine for those is very different. I will simply pick him up and march him to his crib, telling him he is in Time Out. We typically retrieve him after a minute or two, or if he’s very upset, when he’s calmed down (which is never more than a few minutes anyway). When I do the 1-2-3 method, I will ask him when I’m at 2, ‘Do you want a time out?’ at which point he realizes I mean business and tends to stop what he’s doing.
I’m not going to lie, it is really hard to calmly and rationally apply these methods on a daily basis, but we try our best. Different scenarios call for different measures. We don’t put him in Time Out for whining at this point- we just implore him to ‘Use your words or signs’ and try to help him out. Most of the time he is really good with our dog, but every now and then I’ll catch him giving her a smack or trying to toss a pillow on her and it gets me angry enough to yell at him. Toddlers are just so adept at pushing our buttons, and as much as I want him to act better, I have to focus on my own actions as well.
What about you all? Anyone have different approaches that they use?
Edited to add: I forgot something! We also consistently use positive reinforcement, which is rewarding good behavior (with praise). We make sure to tell him when he’s doing something well, like cleaning up his toys or even playing quietly. I think it’s just as important to do this as it is to correct bad behavior since it keeps the good behavior coming.
As Strawberry said, I’m insanely busy at work until January 22, so you get bullets written by her, and then posted by me. It’s cheating.
Not a whole lot different than 18 months really, but Curly is doing the following:
Biggest news of the week is, Curly was bitten ON THE CHEEK by a girl in his class on Friday. The staff can’t tell us who did it, but we know because she’s a repeat offender and when she bit R (the just now 2 year old kid in the class, who also happens to be our neighbor) he told his mom who it was. The bite looks more like a bruise today, and obviously he’s fine. The biter got a time out, but what else can they do? I mean, we know teaching him to slap her would be wrong, but would it be inappropriate of us to teach Curly to shout “BITCH” at her if she tries it again?
Nutella is soooo busy with work. I’m trying to get her to do a post on our boy at 20 months(!), but she’s got to stop drowning in work first. Hopefully soon. In the mean time, here’s the sort of thing that happens around our home that never gets old…