Friday, January 29, 2010

Missing My Family

Today I am flying up to Minneapolis for three days to visit my brother and his family.  It’s the first time I’ve flown in a couple of years and the longest I’ve been away from home in years as well.  Last summer Mom took the kids to San Antonio to visit family while I was at home and after a few days I really started to miss them.  I figured this time around would be the same and after a few days I’d miss my family well I was wrong; I miss them already.

I probably would have been fine but as I was pulling out of the driveway this morning to go to work Mom and Alyce were standing in the doorway waving bye and blowing kisses to me.  It made me miss them because I knew that there were people in the world that already missed me even though I wasn’t even a block away from home.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Alyce's First Video Game

Yesterday Alyce played her first video game.  It was a game on my Xbox called Kissy Poo.  I saw a video about kid friendly games and Kissy Poo was one geared towards kids less than 5.  The plot for Kissy Poo is nonexistent.  You simply move a purple ball around the screen and run it into animals that are moving around the screen.  Every time they meet the animals go from black & white to color and you hear a kissing sound.  Sounds pretty boring right?  Well it is but Alyce just ate it up.  The first time I showed her the game she was all about it and wanted to play as she calls it the "Kissy Poo game".  Once you've kissed all of the animals for the level all the animals start dancing on the screen and this little song plays with the lyrics "do a little dance, cause it's dancin time".  Alyce, sitting in my chair, dances in place, and sings the song.  I have to admit the song is kind of catchy and Mom and I have both caught each other singing and dancing to the song.  Alyce isn't very good at the game; she hasn't quite figured out that moving the stick corresponds to movement on the screen but I'm sure the connection will be coming soon.

Kissy Poo technically isn't her first video game.  She has tried to play the Nintendo Wii before but hasn't had much success.  She starts off real good holding the controller the correct way and going through motions for whatever game we are playing.  After a few minutes her interest wains and she starts dancing around with the Wiimote in hand.  Not exactly the safest thing as Wiimotes are know to go through TV screens with alarming frequency.

I like the fact that Alyce is showing some interest in video games.  Most parents would probably frown upon kids wasting time in front of the TV in such a manner.  I've played video games for pretty much my whole life and can devote a lot of success I have at work to my gaming habit.  I would like video games to be something that Alyce and I can play together to have the parent child bonding experience.  If games like Rock Band are still big when she and Luke are grown up I would love for the whole family to rock out together to The Rolling Stones.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tea Party


Alyce is having a tea party with her Fisher-Price dog named, Jake. She got the tea party from her Godparents and Godsister for Christmas.


Last night the family traveled to visit my Mom (aka Onermark Grams) and to help take down the over sized Christmas decorations.  As we were leaving we crossed a bridge over the river that runs along the city.  I asked Alyce to look out the window at the river below us.  She looked out the window at the river and said "there are crocodiles down there!".  Mom and I, while struggling to contain our laughter asked Alyce about the crocodiles.  Alyce said that they were green, had tails growing out of their back, sharp teeth, and were happy. 

Kids say the funniest things.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First Ear Infection

When Alyce came downstairs after her nap on Monday she didn't seem 100% she wasn't very active and was a bit irritable.  Mom with her Mom intuition knew something was up and took her temperature.  Alyce was running a fever of 100 - 101.  We figured she just picked something up over the weekend and would let it run its course.  Through the night and the next day her fever persisted and even reached 102.  Alyce stayed home from school on Tuesday and laying on the couch, watching cartoons, and playing the part of the sick child.  That afternoon after a really long nap she seemed to turn a corner and her attitude really improved.  On a whim we asked her if anything hurt and she pointed to one of her ears.

So our daughter has her first ear infection.  At 3+ years I would say that we have done pretty good at keeping her ears healthy especially since I have a long history of ear problems.  Mom and I are going to try and let things run their course rather than hitting up the doctor for some antibiotics.  I'm not sure how long we will hold out before going; probably Monday if there isn't any improvement.

Today Alyce has been doing pretty good.  Mom says that her attitude during the day was pretty good, but by the time I got home she seemed to be pretty irritable.  Taking her temperature through her hear still yielded a fever, however, since her ears a swollen that reading isn't accurate.  Using a thermometer under her arm she registered 99 degrees.  Technically back to normal but to see her tonight you wouldn't believe it. Catching up to the present Alyce is upstairs in bed but isn't falling asleep.  We think that the ear pain is keeping her up.  We gave her some Tylenol a while ago so I hope that it will kick in and she will go to sleep.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Want the Purple One

This weekend Mom and I were doing our best to clean the basement while the kids were taking naps.  Our basement for the last nine months has been the repository for the craziness of our lives.  If we needed to clean up in a hurry and needed a place to put stuff; the basement was the first place that came to mind.  Now that Luke is older and the holidays are over we can devote the time to finding the floor in our basement. 

Today we went to The Container Store to grab some plastic bins and drawers to put some order to the chaos.  The entire trip was just fine up until we were getting ready to leave.  Mom choosing four plastic drawers that were made of clear plastic.  While we were deliberating over those Alyce was playing with an identical piece that was made of purple plastic instead of clear.  We started loading up the clear ones into the car with Alyce saying to us "I want the purple ones".  We told her that this was Mom's project and she got to pick what she wanted.  Well Alyce didn't care much for that explanation and continued saying "I want the purple ones".  We tried explaining again but by this time Alyce was beyond reason and began saying "I want the purple ones" between sobs.  This sobbing, crying, and throwing of herself on the floor continued on through checkout.  I knew this day would come and I wasn't really sure how I would handle the situation.  Mom and I were surprisingly calm.  We didn't raise our voice, get mad, or drag her through the store.  We for the most part ignored her outburst and walked toward the front of the store.  Alyce after a few seconds followed but wasn't happy about it.

Once in the car we did our best to get Alyce's mind off the purple boxes.  We presented her with a lot of choices that she could make so she could feel more in control of the situation.  One question we posed to her was whether or not she wanted to go shopping at Target.  This surprisingly seemed to resonate with her.  She calmed down a bit and quietly said "I want to go to Target".  So we were off to Target.  We had a few things to pick up and I left Mom to go handle that while I walked with Alyce through the toy aisles.  In hindsight I probably should have avoided that section of the store as it could have proved a catalyst to another outburst.  Alyce managed to keep herself together while in the toys.  She became fixated on big pink box of Legos and said she wanted them.  On any other day I probably would have picked them up for her because she is such a great kid but today I thought it might send the wrong message.  I managed to get her out of the toy section without too much fuss and we completed the shopping trip without any more tears.

Reflecting back on the past few weeks I think that Alyce is smack dab in her 3s.  I've heard from a lot of parents that the 3s are worse than the terrible twos.  I would agree with them.  When Alyce was in her 2s she would say no just to say no and wouldn't accept our help at times but in general she behaved and minded us without too much fuss.  There were periods of months when we didn't need the naughty corner at all.  Now Alyce is spreading her wings, testing her boundaries, and our patience.  When she doesn't comply with what we ask such as standing still to change her clothes or sitting at dinner.  I don't get the impression that she does it to be mean but that she is more focused on what she wants to do than our wishes.  Redirection still works for most things however as time moves on we encounter situations where her wants directly counter ours.  The purple box from this afternoon is a perfect example.  There was no way to compromise and much to Alyce's dismay her opinion was not the chosen course.

To close, the entire point of the clear vs purple boxes is moot.  Mom tried to install them in the coat closet where she wanted only to find that they didn't fit the way she needed them to.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teddy Bear Cookies

Tonight the family was sitting around the kitchen table enjoying a chicken caesar salad.  The conversation moved towards me asking Alyce how her day went.  As usual she was pretty mum on the whole thing.  Mom asked Alyce what snack they had today?  Alyce responded with "cookies".  Mom inquired further asking "what kind of cookies?"  Alyce responded with "teddy bear cookies".  I then asked Alyce what teddy bear cookies tasted like?  Her reply..... "teddy bears".

What a riot.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome Abby


Mom, Alyce, Luke, and myself would like to welcome to the world our neighbor's Jeff and Liz's new baby Abigail.  Liz announced she was pregnant just about the same time we brought Luke home from the hospital.  Here we are 9 months later and they have their own bundle of joy.

Abigail was born 6 lbs. 7 oz. with a length of 18 in.

Seeing how much they enjoyed taking care of Alyce and Luke we know that they will be great parents to their child

Alyce and Luke haven't seen her yet.  We didn't want to bring our germ infested children into a clean environment and we wanted to have uninterrupted time holding such a cute little girl.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Where am I?

Last night I was sitting on our big blue chair with Alyce sitting on my lap.  Mom and I were watching something on tv and Alyce was looking at our digital picture frame.  Coming up in the rotation was a picture of Mom and I that was snapped on a kids free trip to Six Flags.  Alyce looked at the screen, furrowed her brow, and said "where am I in that picture?".  We replied with "Mom and I were at Six Flags and you and Luke were with Grams and Papa".  She mulled that over for a few seconds and said matter of factly "I want to be in that picture".

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Potty Training: Update

Mom and I decided that we are going to postpone potty training for a while.  The reason is that we don't think Alyce is ready for yet.  Physically she is capable of controlling herself to stay dry for hours on end however, she isn't telling us when she needs to go.  This presents the situation where Mom and I have to ask her if needs to go where the response is always "no".  If we think that in fact she does we can cajole her into sitting on the toilet and hopefully something will happen.  If it does she was very proud of herself and would get a prize but that success never would carry on to the next time she had to go.

We are suspending the training because cajoling seemed to be losing its effectiveness and we were resorting to having to force Alyce to sit on the potty.  It came to a head a few days ago when Mom was getting Alyce into her underwear in the morning and Alyce said she didn't want to wear them anymore.  I took it as a sign that forcing toilet training was stressing her out.  From all that we've read forcing this process is counterproductive and her resisting is a sign she isn't ready.  That being said we can't continue to keep her in diapers because why would she want to leave them?  If she wears those she can play for as long as she wants and it only take 30 seconds to switch her out vs the 3 minutes it takes in the bathroom.  So we are going to look for some form of training pants solution that will make her uncomfortable in diapers but not run through to her clothing.  We are hoping that eventually she will say she has to go before she does and we can get her to the toilet in time.

I can't place all of the blame on Alyce though.  Mom and I don't really have much of a clue on what we are doing.  Most of the things we've read include throwing parties and the like to get kids excited about ditching diapers or using dolls to explain the process.  But what happens when the party is over and your child knows how to use a potty but refuses to do so?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Potty Training

Last weekend Mom, Alyce, and I started on the path to potty training.  This is something we've meant to do for months and months but kept finding reasons for putting it off.  We thought about it as early as last March but with the birth of her brother Luke Alyce would probably regress and we wouldn't have the time to reinforce the training.  This fall would have been a great time to attempt it coinciding with her 3rd birthday, however I started my massive retaining wall project and didn't have the time to devote.  That brings us Christmas break.  We decided to wait until the new year so that all of the Christmas festivities had passed and we could focus 100% our attention on getting Alyce out of diapers.

Our plan of attack isn't grand on complicated.  Alyce has been going for long periods staying dry in her diapers and on occasion has used the potty repeatedly through a day.  When that would happen we thought we were on to something however, the next day all interest would disappear.  We decided that on Jan 1 we would take off the daytime diapers for good and put her in underwear.  We thought a quick switch would eliminate confusion and get her to focus on the new task at hand.

The experience so far has been good but not great.  Alyce has been using the potty fairly regularly and in the past three days has only had two accidents.  The biggest problem is that even though she is holding it in very well she either doesn't recognize that it is time to go or doesn't want to tell us she has to.  This ended up with Mom and I having to ask her on regular intervals if she has to go with her saying no 90% of the time even though she really did need to.  This lead Mom and I to change tactics by saying it was time to use the potty at regular intervals rather than asking repeatedly.  We are hoping that eventually this will change and she will take some ownership of her bodily functions.  If it doesn't we might have to revert to one final measure.

Before we started training, Alyce had the most success at recognizing when she had to go when she wasn't wearing any diaper and her bottom was bare.  Clothing changes and going to bed at night being the most common times.  If we were to change her clothes and her diaper was still dry if we left her half naked for a minute she would run into the bathroom and hop right on.  Yesterday Mom and I were both home all day and we decided to give the same thing a shot.  We were going to keep Alyce naked from the waist down to see if she would do things on her own.  Things didn't work out as planned.  Alyce went 4 hours without doing anything and when we wanted to get some pants on her (she was getting chapped cheeks) she didn't want to wear anything underwear or otherwise.

Sunday night we did have one great success.  Before we were heading out to Grams's and Papa's for dinner Alyce was upstairs with Mom on the potty.  Luke woke up during the process and Mom left Alyce to her own devices to handle Luke.  While alone Alyce eliminated all bodily wastes and was ecstatic about it.  She stood up when finished, looked at what she had done, and exclaimed "there are rocks in the potty!".  Mom and I heaped tons of praise on her and she was beaming.  She started running around the upstairs saying out loud that she went pee and poop on the potty!  She even ran into Luke's room where Luke was on the floor and told him what she had just done.  When that died down Alyce said to me that she was proud of herself.  I told her that I was proud of her too and gave her a big hug.

I'm pretty sure we've laid the groundwork necessary to potty train.  I'm interested to see how she does at school tomorrow where she won't have Mom or myself there to get her to pause for a few minutes to do her business.  They've taught kids of potty training age there for a long time and I bet they have a process that works for them.

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