Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Month Forty-One. And Forty-Two.

Dearest Maddy,

I have heard "them" say with children the days are long but the years are short. Which kind of explains what happened these months... I have a LIST of things to write on about you. Each could be it's own post! Oh Maddy, I know I am going to regret not writing more and saving these moments.

You, right now, are forty-two and a half months old. And ill. You, my love, have a summer cold. And this weekend you have been whiny and grumpy and not eating much. With intermittent fevers. So I sent you to daycare today... and... Well. Yah. They sent you home. And you got to spend the day hanging out with Daddy! I am thinking tomorrow will be another day at home. This time with me. And we'll make it a magical day of videos and snuggling.

One fun thing we started doing is naming all the people you love. Mommy. Daddy. Baba. Dido. Walter. And Maddy. Maddy, you love Maddy.

And you LAUGHED.

And I realized how weird it is to think of loving yourself. I was in my mid-twenties before someone made me think to love yourself. And we're trying to teach you that now. Now, you can say with confidence that you love Maddy. For some reason I think that will matter...

Taking this somewhere else, last time I wrote it was about potty training. And you? Are POTTY TRAINED! It took 4 weeks. 4 looong weeks of washing panties. And then? You pooed on the potty. Of COURSE it was a Sunday night. After Target was closed. So we promised the next day, after daycare, we would go to Target. After buying the stroller. And cart. And other things we needed. $75 later. A $75 poo. And? WORTH EVERY PENNY. You have been so so so great since. Maddy, you have fears about your abilities in the beginning. You aren't sure you can do something... then you do it. And once you do it once, you have all the confidence in the world.

You are on the verge of reading. And then you get scared... and you say you can't. But you will. Once that happens you will be unstoppable. And then we're going to have to figure out a new way to secretly communicate, instead of spelling things out. Because Maddy. It's all we have. You are SMART. We used to use reverse psychology to get you to do things. Not anymore. And you see things, get things, understand things. A new book on the shelf? You notice. I hang the curtains again, after having windows replaced? You notice (your dad did not).

Although the other thing you started, that shows your smarts (and scares us) is...


Yes, at THREE you  have started lying. When you poo, you get a popsicle. It's one I make myself, made with yogurt. But a popsicle for every poo. And the other night, you went into the bathroom and second later announced a poo. And you deserved a popsicle. We questioned the speed of pooing. And lack of flush, wiping or... you know. TIME. And you asserted, you did poo. We looked. No poo. You caved. But it isn't going to take you long to get the subtlies of lying. Then we're screwed.

But you are still so eager to help. So happy to be part of it all. So wonderful... So amazing. So three and a half. So perfect. So everything to us. Maddy, I am not sure we will ever be able to make you understand how much we love you. But we do. Totally. Completely. Always. For exactly who you are. All bossy, lying, stubborn, whiny three you are. Everything.




Monday, May 27, 2013

Month Forty

Oh my love,

This month? This month we started potty training you. We got rid of the highchair. And this is also the month you started acting oh so perfectly three.

First? Potty training. We started on Saturday May 18th. This first day? 11 pair of wet panties. 3 pees on the potty. And even one poo! Sunday was better with the peeing. Monday was so great! We took you out, you peed on potties out in public. Tuesday at daycare was... not good. But since Wednesday you have been so good with peeing on the potty! Some leaking in the evenings, I think your pelvic floor is tiring by the end of the day. But so so so good! Notice I stopped mentioning poo? Oh Maddy. This is where the struggle started. You have not pooed on the potty since Saturday. You are deathly terrified on pooing on the potty.

"Luckily" you are willing to poo in your pants. Twice a day at home (not as often at daycare). Tonight we tried to intercept your pants activity. Now I am just convinced you are constipated. And a doctor's visit is in your future. We are trying to talk you through it. Bribe you. Model for you. Hold you, to comfort your fears. Anything to convince you to poo on the potty. ANYTHING.  It's been a struggle. Right now our big trump card is we'll buy you a stroller AND a shopping cart from Target IF you poo in the potty. Your face will contort in PURE JOY at the thought of these toys. But no poo on the potty.

And we've already started trying to figure out what we'll have to do for poo number two...

Something easier! Highchair. We told you it went back home, to its mommy. You asked for it to come back a few times. We said it couldn't. And then you choose your spot. And have switched it around a few times... And now have taken your dad's former spot as your own. And it's awesome to have that space back!

And being three. I read a quote somewhere that all three year olds are assholes. This. THIS! You are willful and stubborn and have absolutely no attention span at all. Your little brain is always going in 100 different directions, 99 of them not what I need you to do. Of those 99, 75 of them are at least somewhat dangerous. And then when we ask you to stop walking backwards down the stairs while holding on to the rail like you are "pulling yourself down"? And then you lose your mind like we rammed bamboo under your fingernails when we ask you to stop? This. Or when you have to be physically restrained and carried into the bath, since you have developed an irrational fear of being sucked down the drain? And we cannot convince you that you are safe? And after potty training, and accidents and playing outside we HAVE to bathe you? This.


But then there are beautiful moments. Moments where you help with things around the house. Offer to help us clean up. Show your manners. Set up elaborate tea parties for us. Tell jokes. Hug with 100% of your being. Laugh from your toes at our bad jokes. This is what really matters, this is what being your mom means. This is everything good about more than outweighs your three-ness.

I see your inner self, Maddy. And she is amazing and wonderful and loving and sweet and kind. And I am so lucky to get to try find the patience for those moments when the three comes out. Because on the other side it is... amazing.

Love always,


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Month Thirty-Nine

Dearest Maddy,

Oh what to write! I am already days late...

You continue to be awesome. You are still doing well in preschool, love the activities there. Favourites right now are still going to the gym to kick a ball and "puzzleds". And making objects with these... shape magnets. Google to the rescue! Magformers. You LOVE them.

You have also started sounding out letters. You learned this from youtube, I think, but will go "P- P- P- PIG. Starts with P". You actually have yet to be stumped... And we taught you "SH" too (shampoo, shovel). You really are showing great interest in reading. I see you reading before kindergarten, for certain.

Things you have NO interest in. Potty training. And giving up your high chair. This weekend I think we're going to hide your high chair and get you at the table. I am not predicting it'll be smooth. And the long weekend in May we'll try potty training. Will it work? Um... If it isn't happening we won't push. But we'll try...

You are taking a dance class on Sundays. An unparented dance class. You, off by yourself. Listening to the instructor, interacting with other kids. While I watched (the first week). And now they shut the door... But the first week you were doing so well! You listened, sometimes. And followed along, sometimes. And then when you didn't want to listen, you were perfectly content to do your own thing. And we see that in preschool too. You are completely ok with wandering off to do your own thing. Many days I'll come by and all the other kids are happily doing a group activity. And then there is you, playing by yourself. Playing with toys, or Magformers, or books. Off doing your own thing.

This has also extended to you going downstairs to play by yourself, without supervision. You can turn on the TV by yourself and you have fun! Yesterday I asked you to come up from the basement to set the table. You came all the way to the kitchen to let me know that you were busy cooking downstairs and you couldn't set the table. Then you happily went back down. I think I should have insisted that you set the table. But I was just a little in shock... at how BIG you seemed. When dinner was ready I called to you, expecting a fight to get you up. But nope, you came upstairs with a plate, knife and fork. And plush grapes and banana, ready to eat.

Your independence. Your ability to be alone, play alone. You don't seem to be a follower (yet). Will this last? Are you just a little slower socially compared to your size and language. You have not yet made the switch from preferring to interact with adults to kids your age. When that happens, will you be more prone to peer pressure?

The future looms large... Who knows what time will bring. But who you are now? That person is awesome. We are so proud of you, so in love with who you are, so honoured to be your parents.

We love you, Maddoosh.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Who's in Preschool?!!

Last Tuesday, April 2, I took Maddy to daycare and as we were walking into the toddler room, staff let me know that Maddy? She's in preschool now, in the big kid room.



Sometimes Maddy doesn't deal with unexpected change well. She likes to KNOW something is coming, then deny it will happen, grump... then accept. And this was a surprise to us all.

I knelt down, and let Maddy know that she has been moved to the big kid room, and her cubby would be there. And the reaction?


She ran into the room, was shown her cubby and she stood there in front of it, guarding it. Then she looked around the room, HER NEW ROOM, and immediately was ready to play! I tried for some pictures, while a few tears filled my eyes. But she was having none of it. She raced to the puzzles, grabbed one, and was putting it together (and ignoring me) within seconds.

Blink. *tear* Blink.

I spoke to the staff about the change. She would be sent to the other room if there were any issues. She's be napping in the toddler room too. They would work with her to make the transition easier, but they expected it to be smooth.

And almost a week later? It's been amazing. Maddy is so proud of the her cubby in the big kid room. So proud of the arts and crafts she's doing. So HAPPY to be in preschool! And her language is blossoming. Her ideas and imagination are growing. But her poor little head is FULL. She's so much sleepier right now, needing full 2 hour naps plus early bedtimes. But, really, there is so much more to digest for her. So much more her brain needs to understand and sort and compartmentalize.

On Saturday we tried to wake her early from a nap to go do errands. She sat up in bed and looked still spent. We got her dressed and were talking and trying to wake her. She asked for a glass of water, then laid down again. I handed her the water and was giving her instructions to sit up when she threw half the glass of water on her face. Well, that should wake her! Nope. She drank the other half, laid down, sucked her thumb and closed her eyes. I headed off to do errands alone and one hour later she woke happy and ready to rumble again.

On top of loving preschool, Maddy is also apparently interested in writing letters. As in, I mean SHE WROTE REAL ACTUAL LEGIBLE LETTERS.


I still have such a hard time believing it was her. She has weaker fine motor skills and never draws anything more than random squiggles. But the staff swear she did these herself.

Blink. Blink.

The "A" and "L" are most legible. The other blue ones are a "V" and and "S" and the one right by the "A" is a "U". Um...

So there is our week in a nutshell.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Month Thirty-Eight

Dear Maddy,

I have spectacularly failed at blogging more. Although every single day you do something amazing, that I want to just capture and hold on to forever.

You still like to help set the table (and will have a fit if I do it without you). I plan on taking advantage of this while I can. Although yesterday when I asked your help you calmly responded "No, mommy". Um... yes, Maddy. Yes. And you did help. You went to the dentist for the first time ever, and did smashing. You were not impressed with the drills (you really hate all loud noises) but were great with everything else. You have 20 teeth, and they all look good. We also FINALLY can put you into more than 2 pairs of shoes. Although shoes have to be pink. Or purple. Because those is your favorite colours. Apparently, according to you, they are my favorite colours too (they are not, I don't really have a favorite but am quite partial to green). Although at the dentist you insisted on getting a blue and green tooth brush. I dunno...

This morning you were taking FOREVER to eat breakfast. And I did not want to be late for my new job (which I am LOVING SO HARD) so I rushed you. You wanted more milk. I said no. You lost your mind. Of course, you're three!

I carried you to your room and started changing you and you grumped and fought and were... three. I finally had enough, snapped and looked you in the face and said "Madeline. That is ENOUGH." And then you started crying in earnest. I broke your little fragile new heart.

"Oh Mommy, I don't know HOW to stop cwying..."

Grabbing you in my arms, I said sorry as your arms and legs clamped on to me tightly and you buried your head in my neck. We got you milk, we hugged and soon you were ok again. I got you dressed and we got your barrettes in. Then we started to make our way out the door, when you decided to lecture me...

"Mommy you awe VEWY GWUMPY. You said NO TO ME!"


A theme. You said no to me. Of COURSE we say no to you, Maddy. And I know sometimes you WAAANT to (or don't want to). I understand! However? You cannot always get your way.

It's such a tenuous dance, life with a three year old. What is a battle worth fighting? What habits are we creating by saying yes? Or no? How much control over their life does a three year old need? When is it ok to back down? When is it not?

This is also that time when the details of parenting styles start to matter. In the start, when you were young your dad and I had to agree when to feed you, change you... Pretty macro stuff. Now it's 2 people who have the same general goals and ideas (with slightly different implementation plans) trying to always appear as a unified front. Much more micro, much easier to play one against the other. And you already try...

But one thing we know for sure, we both love you so so so very much. SO much.



Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Month Thirty-Seven

My Maddy,

You are 37 months old today! Although, really, I always just say 3. You are so very very three.

On Saturdays baba bought you a "music" class. It's a class with about 6 other kids from 18 months to you, all singing and playing with "drums" in the form of upside down bowls and tambourines and, well, anything that moves or makes sounds. And you love your class! Now that you have the routine down. Last Saturday teacher Stephanie asked you to collect something from the class. And... you did. You went around to all the kids, all younger and smaller than you, and gently held out the box. They (often with the help of their parents) placed their toys eggs in the box. And I sat there with moist eyes and glowed. My BIG girl!

You really are getting to be so "helpful" now. You insist on getting your vitamins every morning. And you often get the milk. You help carry things to the table and back again. You have even taken to helping me cook dinner, by mixing and tasting things. I am trying to remember patience, that even though it's LONGER for you to do something, you are LEARNING as you do. I know very well how to hang my coat and set the table and open the milk. And now it's your turn.

Yesterday, when we got home, I started making dinner. You were not interested in helping and wandered off to your room. And shut the door. I am trying to already respect your space, and lightly knocked before opening the door. And you were happily playing. I kept checking back, and the last time I found you nestled into your big pink bear, happily playing on your tablet. So much like a teenager... I just shut the door and stood there. Then? Went and got my phone because I all I could think of doing was getting a picture.

This weekend we tried for a no-nap weekend. Saturday instead of a nap we went off and did errands. And you were reasonably well behaved. Then we got in the car to drive home and you crashed. I can't remember the last time you napped in your car seat... but you were out. Holding on to your Kinder Egg, the toy that brings you the most joy EVAR. As your dad and I sat in the garage, eating a burger, surfing on our phones. 

Then, that evening, we went to Aunty Kaff-leen's. And we let go of the reins just a little more. You, Hannagh, Liam and James went downstairs and played together. As we sat upstairs and drank wine and talked and laughed. And went down to check on you every once in awhile. Because we are loosening the reins, not letting go completely! We didn't leave until 9:10pm. You weren't in bed until 10pm. You were up at 7:20am. We did NOT have no-nap Sunday. You were a complete grump all morning, had a 2 hour nap and then woke up your usual self. 

We are learning. We are learning that the strict routine you once needed is outgrowing you. We are learning that you are ready to take on more challenges. More independence. Later (occasional) bedtimes. We are learning to let go just a little. We are all learning the new challenges associated with three. Three years old. Three people who are part of this crazy family. 


One month of three and it's awesome. 

I love you Maddy! 


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why this started in the first place...

This weekend I was cleaning out our bedroom. We have SO MUCH STUFF. And I don't want to have so much stuff. So I was trying to get rid of... stuff. Instead of adding to the "get rid of" pile, I took a few things out. Oops. But I did find a very very old journal. And read a few (horribly embarrassing) pages. And then I remembered why I started this blog in the first place.

My memory SUCKS.

As I read the words in this journal, I had absolutely no recollection at ALL of the things I said I did. I mean, there wasn't even a glimmer of "oh yah!". Just.... REALLY?! I did WHAT? When?


This isn't a new lesson. I guess I just... forgot... how bad my memory is. And why I wanted this online journal to capture everything that I see in you, everything that I want you to know about you growing up. So, I am going to re-commit to writing. Hopefully.

If I remember.

This week we had the 3 year check up. And, Maddy, you were an old PRO at the doctor's office. You said "aaaah!" and let him look in your ears and listen to your heart and breathing. You were awesome. And in the waiting room you behaved (although you commented on everything around you). But you are pretty tall and still quite heavy. And you are perfectly, wonderfully, BEAUTIFULLY healthy.

About me? I am in a state of flux. I was in a job I loved, that I gave everything I had (including my health) to. And when the job was posted in a more permanent capacity, I applied. Didn't get the job. And this broke my heart. Now I am watching the work I did... change. The things I set in place, change. So much change. And none of those hours of effort, sleepless nights, stress, evenings and weekend are even there anymore. Which has helped my put it all into perspective. What matters is Maddy. And Neil. And Walter. And family and friends. And taking care of me. Work is just what happens to pay the bills for the things that matter. So now I am waiting to see what happens next. In a strange holding pattern.

Although as I write these words I am reminded that while I wait, life still happens. So instead of participating in, I am opting out. And that also is a lesson I have learned before - that life happens as I wait, and I miss so much. Still, I feel powerless to move.

Or maybe it's just the head cold. Such a nasty cold!

Time will tell. I just hope I remember to write it down.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Months thirty-five and the big ole thirty-six

Dearest Maddy,

Or, as you prefer to be called now, Diego. Pronounced DJE-go (like Charlotte says). Oh, and this letter will need to be signed by Alicia. Because I am not mommy anymore. And Odg? Baby jaguar. Daddy? Daddy Jaguar. At least his is close. You, my love ("I AM NOT MY LOVE! I AM DJE-GO!!). Yes, yes... Djego. You are amazing!

Oh how to capture you now?

You are a very determined little girl. You know who you are (Djego), what you like, what you expect, what you want. And you are still completely unafraid to scream bloody murder if you don't get your way. But in this determination is such strength and confidence! You are using that determination to try to read (your first word read was raft, then tag). Then you got a little shy about sounding out words. But have no problem informing us that the numbers on our garage? They spell "Maddy's house". Or often "Djego's house". You also use this determination to resist potty training. And we have stopped pushing it. I am pretty sure you won't be in diapers forever. Pretty sure...

This weekend we held your third birthday party, on Saturday. It was exhausting to plan it all and make it all happen. But the look on your face when you walked out of your room to a house decorated for your birthday? Worth every single second of effort!

And then the guests started coming! And the PRESENTS!! And friends and family and cousins... And you were loving every second of it! Until you saw something we did not prepare you for.

Someone else was playing with YOUR TOYS!

And you lost it. Screamed and screamed (even adults covered their ears). We went into your room, calmed you done and tried to explain it all. And then slowly integrated you back into the party. With kids playing with your toys. But then you and a friend? You played TANGLE (which was beating on the helium balloons until the bunch... tangled. While I held them. And got hit in the head, repeatedly. Until I had a headache.) But oh the JOY in both your screams and laughs! So worth the minor brain damage. Really.

But you got to blow out the candle on your ice cream cone cupcake (most amazingest way to serve cupcakes to toddlers ever).

And everyone ate (too much) candy and sweets - the theme was candy! What did you expect me to serve?

You will be moving to the playschool room as soon as there is space. Which is crazy to me. That you are almost in PLAYSCHOOL. Next thing you will be in grade 1, then driving, then in university, then married with kids... In a blink it'll fly by. Which is why I am trying everything I can to live in the moment with you. Just enjoy the awesome that you are (even when it isn't going well).

Because Maddy, no matter what anyone says, society says, those insecurities deep inside say to you as you age? You. Are. Awesome. Period. Listen to your mother. Er, you Alicia...

I looking forward to chronicling the adventures of three (and four and five until infinity!).

I love you so much my Maddy,