Posts Tagged ‘babydevelopment’

Transitioning

March 27, 2011

That’s a real American word for the title, nice.

Ella is definitely undergoing transition, from toddler to little child. There’s still plenty of proper toddler behaviour: the occasional tantrum or stubborn episode, weird application of logic, disregard for safety. I suspect, though, that some of those traits will continue long into childhood.

These days there aren’t a great many tasks that she needs help with. Her ablutions are one set, and eating is kind of another, with that she is mostly able to eat with cutlery but can be slow and so gets sped up by a grown-up stepping in. Therefore she has much more independence. She can even turn the television on!

Today contained a first, the sign of the developing school kid: she had her friend, Christabel, from school over for a play, and a trip to see a local amateur production of Alice in Wonderland. The girls had fun playing together and having lunch. I didn’t join them for Alice, and apparently is wasn’t much of a hit with them, so they had some milkshakes instead. For Hannah and I it was the weirdness of meeting other people who you have previously only known as ‘Christabel’s Mummy’ or ‘Christabel’s Daddy’. I’m sure all parents have to do that at some stage. It’s odd thinking of the people who your daughter is getting to know that you don’t. When I walk Ella to school she frequently points out other adults and says “that’s Eleanor’s Mummy” etc.

She makes the usual cute mistakes with some words or phrases, some of which stick. Examples of that include ‘water crystal’ for water pistol, and something else I meant to blog but neither Hannah nor I can remember. We’re working on trying to stop her saying ‘f’ instead of ‘th’ as well.

Also she has a lot more physicality now. There are her dancing lessons once a week, which help her with her balance etc. She will spontaneously break into dance at home, or when we’re out, such as Friday evening having dinner in The Pier View, a pub in Cowes, where she was dancing along to the music. She’s jumping across the sofas in the living room quite a lot, or doing frog jumps in her bedroom, and runs or skips quite a bit on the way to school. At one point she was trying to do somersaults.

So, as you’d expect (and I must have said in the past), changes continue.

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Half a Year

January 23, 2011

I’ve been very quiet on here, apart from the toilet story (Ella still won’t go back to The Anchor), since summer. I’d like to say there was a particular reason, but there hasn’t, just the usual reasons of work, more interesting leisure and less interesting chores. A lot has changed though, and I thought I’d run through the headlines. If you’re reading this, then thanks for that, but the primary motivation is a reference for Hannah and I (and Ella one day). With Hannah’s little sister, Miriam, having had a baby back in September (an event missing from this blog), we get the questions of ‘when did Ella do this?’, ‘when did Ella do that?’. If pushed, we can refer back to this tome and get a feeling for an answer. So I’m filling in the last six months for our benefit, as much as for my readers’.

School

Ella has now done a term and bit of the top year of pre-school. She’s going more than before last summer, two and a half days a week. Two of those days are ‘Rising Fours’, for the kids in the year before Reception, where they do some words and numbers and games more about learning. School, while Ella enjoys the time she’s there and is developing well, is a real trial. Really that means getting Ella to school is a pain. She says ‘I don’t like school’, she cries on the way there, needs to be peeled off when we arrive (I take her two of the three days a week). This was at its worst during November and December, and has improved in the past week or so. I hope it continues to. Earlier this week we had our first report from her key worker, Lissie, and she was very complimentary, and happy with Ella’s progress and confirmed she was quite okay during school, so it’s something of a mystery why she’s unhappy going up there of a morning.

At Christmas Ella had an important role in the nativity play. She sang Away in a Manger as a solo, having done it the night before with the Choir. It was a cute nativity, very traditional, and all the kids had impressive costumes. Ella was a chief angel. Both of her performances of Away in a Manger were very good, considering her age. I’m afraid, that inline with several other kids, that she got quite upset after the play, and had to come home early.

In terms of her reading she recognises quite a lot of letters, and she’ll spot her name when written down, or any of the letters from it in other words. She can count at least to twelve, and into the teens and recognise a lot of numbers, as exercised with the advent calendar.

Terrible Twos Threes

She has developed a much more stubborn streak, and we’ve deployed the naughty step and used it quite a bit. Usually counting to three does the trick, and we go a while without needing the step, but eventually it builds and Ella ends up there, remembers she really doesn’t like it, and then it’s a while before the step is needed again. We get the stamping of the feet when she doesn’t like something, thankfully usually dispelled with a stern word. There have been incidences of rolling on the floor, but not recently. Christmas Day was quite bad when she refused to come for the meal, and sulked first in the living room and then her bedroom, and eventually came down when she was promised some potatoes to eat. Overall eating can be the trickiest. She often doesn’t want to eat much, and this is a problem at school where she takes too long at lunchtime and gets chivved along, which she doesn’t like. Breakfast is the worst, as I don’t think she is a morning person, and sometimes she basically has two mouthfuls of cereal or toast and that’s it.

Growing Up

Before Christmas we ditched night-time pull-up nappies. We do have a bed liner in the bed, because she does have accidents occasionally (indeed I had to stop writing this post to go and change the bed as she’d had an accident, but she’s not very well at the moment). Mostly at night she’s dry and uses her potty if she wakes up and needs a wee. She’s getting big enough that she can get on and off a grown-up loo, so she can self-propel herself to the toilet without any help, which is a nice development to not have to be changing nappies, or emptying potties.

Her eating habits still have a way to go. She’s stubborn about using cutlery, not quite having the co-ordination yet to reliably scoop without dropping food between plate and mouth. Therefore she often resorts to picking up food with her hands, unless is messy food, when she does use her cutlery.

She’s fully mobile. Back in summer we didn’t take a buggy to France, so that’s been a while when she walks everywhere when out. When I take her to school we almost always walk, and it’s rare that she wants a carry at any point, and it’s been a while since that’s happened. She is a bit careless, often tripping up, but mostly because she doesn’t look where she’s going.

In September she started a ballet class in Shanklin on a Saturday. She loves it, and comes out skipping and showing off new moves. It’ll help her co-ordination somewhat. Usually I take here, as Hannah is teaching singing, and before the town shutdown for winter we had a couple of pleasant Saturdays enjoying the seaside facilities.

Her current favourite TV programme is Fireman Sam, and she’s just started to sing the theme tune to it. While last birthday she was really fixed on Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), her plans for this year’s birthday are a Fireman Sam cake with all the firefighters on there.

Family

As mentioned earlier, Ella got a new cousin, called Henry, back at the end of August (nearly September). She’s met him a couple of times, and was very good with him. He’s her first boy first cousin (confusingly my cousin has a son called Henry, who is older than Ella, who is also ‘cousin Henry’). Hannah’s older sister, Rachel, is expecting her first child later this year, so Ella will have five cousins soon. We had a weekend away with my folks and my younger brother, Douglas and his family, and Ella had great fun with her other three cousins. There was a disturbing point when we found Ella, Aliya and Lucy playing at ‘hanging’, which was quickly put a stop to. Other than that, they all played well together, and Ella is very much looking forward to seeing them again.

Granny (my Mum) still comes to visit often, and Ella stays with her Gan-gan (Hannah’s Mum) overnight once a week. Hannah and I went to Bath during the October week (part of Hannah’s birthday present), and Ella stayed in Granny’s campervan on the Island. There have been mixed tales from Ella about that, which is often the case with her, ranging from it being most fun and she wants to do it again, to it being boring.

I reckon that’s about enough for now. I’ll try to post more often to get Ella’s life story into more bite-sized chunks, and maybe add in some other topics too.

Progress

July 28, 2010

Since the last time I wrote about Ella, she’s come on very well. The two greatest areas of development are i) toilet training (now sorted completely); ii) behaving like a toddler (I don’t want to, no, I’m not tired, I don’t like you etc etc). I think she’s quite late to the latter, we really didn’t have a ‘terrible twos’, instead it’s the threes that are having their stroppy moments. Generally it’s short lived, but she can manage days when everything gets a ‘no’ or ‘I don’t want to’, which is most trying.

She had something of a wobble at school, at least at drop-off time. This was most distressing for me, leaving her behind when she was bawling her head off, after having a walk to school with lots of ‘I don’t like school’ and ‘I don’t want to go to school’. Her key-worker, Gemma, always said that she was great at school and played really well with the other kids, so overally we weren’t too worried. The last couple of times she’s been much better, so the conclusion was it was a lot to do with toddler behaviour of ‘I’d rather be at home watching television than going to school’. Once there, she enjoys is. We’ve planned next term’s schools days, when she starts in the Rising Fours class, in preparation for reception at primary school, and she’ll be doing two and a half days there, so quite a step up in time spent.

She is much more grown-up, and usually is very lovely with people, which is great. In the next couple of days we’re off to France, first to stay with my folks and then for the great Medina High Community Choir tour, and this’ll give us a good comparison to what Ella did while away last year in terms of what she plays at, how much she walks around herself, when she asks to go to the loo etc. Should be fun!

Guilty

June 6, 2010

I feel bad because the last few posts have been about Twitter projects and I haven’t said anything about Ella for 6 weeks, so I feel a bit guilty about that. It’s been a busy six weeks in her life, and I’ll just talk about two things: potty training (yuk) and school.

I was probably a bit unsure about potty training last time I blogged, but we’ve come a long way since then. In terms of wee, we’re quite safe, and Ella will almost always request to go when she needs to wherever we are. Indeed she can even hold it for a while so it doesn’t have to be a completely mad dash for a toilet. Number 2s or poos are not so good. She’ll occasionally warn us, but it’s still far from reliable. This means she is still usually in pull-up nappies. Maybe we’ll only have to change them once or twice during the day, but it still lingers on. Ella is noticing she is getting too big for the changing table at home, so maybe she’ll finally take the hint from that. In the good weather we’ve had recently, we have taken the opportunity to just put pants on, but as a result a couple have gone straight in the bin to avoid disgusting cleaning up operations.

Since the last blog about Ella she has started at pre-school one day a week. I spent some of her first day at the school with her, and she settled right in and wasn’t all that bothered that I wasn’t around when I hid away for a bit having a cup of tea, so when I left halfway through the morning I wasn’t too worried that she’d be upset I was gone. It was weird watching her in that environment, independent of either of her parents, mostly especially when she was feeding herself her morning cereal snack. She looked just like a proper kid, all grown-up, not at all like a baby. A very poignant moment. Since then we think she’s settled in well. The school says she’s great and they are very happy with her. She can be a bit clingy/moody when I drop her off in the morning, but she isn’t actually that bothered when I leave. I am surprised that it doesn’t tire her out that much, ie she doesn’t need a nap when she comes home (naps generally having gone by the wayside now).

The other point of note is her story telling. She does make up some very strange but cracking stories these days. Birds pecking her nose, swings in the forest which go on fire and the firemen coming, all sorts. Obviously she’s got a good imagination, which is nice but sometimes you need to take what she says with a pinch of salt.

Retreat

March 12, 2010

The last posting on this site did rather speak too soon. I think the next day Ella stopped showing much interest in continuing the ‘game’ of going on the potty and winning her little treats and stickers. Indeed on the following Saturday, she completely ran me ragged and didn’t go to the toilet on three fairly major occasions with unfortunate consequences for the furniture. She continued to show no interest over the next couple of days, although we had retreated to pull-ups to avoid further disasters. Now we’ve backed off to a safe place and decided that she wasn’t ready for moving out of nappies. Perhaps that’s excuse-mongering, but at the moment there is no need to get into fights with Ella about sitting on the potty, as there isn’t an immediate need for her to be toilet trained. We’ll probably try again during the Easter holidays, which is a highly attractive prospect.

Meanwhile, our childminder’s daughter has come down with chickenpox, which means that Ella has not been there this week, and Hannah’s Mum and I have mostly covered (fortunately I’ve got some leave to use up before the end of the month). Ella hasn’t shown any signs of chickenpox, but she must have been in contact with the virus as it was the day after Ella’s last visit to Caroline that she rang up to say that her daughter had come down with it. Fingers crossed, though I’m not sure for what outcome.

News from the Loo

March 3, 2010

Well, we’re more than two weeks into the ‘potty training’ episode of Ella’s life, thankfully something I don’t think any of us remember from our own lives (mostly due to the embarrassement it would cause). How is it going? Not having potty trained a child before, I’m not sure, but I believe the progress is good. At least, that’s what Caroline, Ella’s childminder, says. Basically, if she needs a pee, she’ll ask to go to the toilet or if there is a handy potty she’ll go on that. It’s rare that she has an accident involving pee. They have happened, and apart from the incident previously blogged about, those haven’t been mucky. Poo is a bit more troublesome. According to Hannah’s sister, Rachel, this is not unusual for girls. Unfortunately this has led to us deciding to regress a little and use the pull-up nappies for when Ella is out, or with Caroline (one can’t afford to affront a childminder with a child that messes up their house in that way). This does dilute the ‘when you need the loo, you must go to the toilet’ message. Nonetheless, she’ll still ask to go to the toilet with the pull-ups on. She does still run to the loo with enthusiasm, and still treats it as something of a game. She usually requests her treat, although the sticker chart we had going for about a week hasn’t continued to create interest.

Too Much to Bare

February 20, 2010

Regular readers must be wondering how on Earth the potty training is going. Yes, you must. Until today, I’d have said it was going very well. We’ve had a few dry days this week, ie days when Ella has only gone to the loo in the potty or toilet and not hit the floor or her clothes. We haven’t gone for leaving the nappy off overnight, as described before; and on nervous days, she’s had the nappy on during naps too. A quick word on naps: they are beginning to disappear, as Ella becomes more lively, less interested in the nap and not falling asleep early enough at night (sometimes she’s still awake at 10).

I’ve been off work since Wednesday, so I’ve been fairly involved and up-to-date on latest potty techniques with Ella, so I didn’t go into today as ‘first day of weekend, not spent much time with the kid during the week, fumbling-Dad’. I did decide to try and break the boundaries a bit and go for an outing to the library, followed by the park; a common excursion for Ella and I on a Saturday while Hannah is teaching singing. We left just after Ella had used the potty, to minimise likelihood of immediate need, and I went out armed with a change of clothes for Ella’s bottom half, wipes, potty, and kitchen roll. Almost immediately after arriving at the library, almost all of that was needed, and sadly it was the potty which was redundant, as Ella had peed. As discretely as I could (thankfully she was in a deserted part of the library, and on a rug in an area with kids toys, so fair game for children’s accidents, in my view), I cleaned her up and changed her and mopped up what I could with the kitchen roll. I then hurriedly chose some books (I’ve not checked to see whether they are any good yet), and decided that I’d take Ella home, and not risk the park. When we got home, I spotted a large lump in her tights, and oops, she’d pooed in them. I’ll give no further detail, but it could have been worse.

Unfortunately this form of mental torture didn’t end there, and some future potty uses were not 100% secure and further clothes changes were needed as a result of imperfect pooing. All-in-all, not a pleasant afternoon, and I was quite happy to let Hannah look after Ella while I took on the relatively restful, safe and secure task of cooking up some chicken and turning it into curry (nothing complicated there). I don’t think any of today was particularly down to schoolboy or naive errors, just that Ella isn’t quite ready for going out and warning of toilet need. I’m sure she’ll work it out soon, as she’s very quickly got the hang of it at home, and it’s not like we’re having to remind her frequently of the existence and purpose of the potty. She knows and uses it when she needs to. Of course, as scary as it is as a parent to go out with your nerves on a knife-edge, in fear of a toilet accident, one still needs to do so, otherwise one’s child won’t learn, so there is likely to be more trips like today’s.

Why did I choose that title? It represents my state of mind after we got back from the library, and of course Ella pushed those boundaries further when I thought I couldn’t face more cleaning up after her. Not that she acted in any malicious way, mind you, just the natural learning and development process.

Ho-hum.

In at the Deep End

February 14, 2010

That’s probably about the best cliche I can think of to term the feeling of kicking off potty training for real. Anything we’ve encountered so far in Ella’s development can be allowed to happen gradually: the walking, talking, eating etc etc. None of that requires a step to be taken all of a sudden. Potty training appears to be rather different, at least based on the advice we have. It’s a real case of ‘nappies off, use the potty’. Of course, the nappy is a safety net for the parents as much as the toddler, so both Hannah and I admitted to some relief at the end of today when we put a night nappy on Ella, and I certainly felt an increased level of security.

So how did it go? It didn’t start great, with her overnight nappy, and last of continuous ones, being full of poo, and like a true amateur, I stuck my finger in it while wrapping it up for the bin, Yuck. It didn’t get much better when after breakfast she soaked her pyjama trousers, only a couple of minutes after having been put on the potty. This was all before Hannah got up, and after than happened, we were on something of a roll. Maybe Hannah brought rather less tension to the situation, and Ella was more relaxed. Whatever it was, apart from one incident where Ella started to wee away from the potty, and then dashed onto it, the ‘Happy Panda’ biscuit reward seems to have worked very successfully. From mid-morning onwards Ella earnt her biscuits execllently well. Progress rather faultered around dinner time when she peed first before the meal because she was busy playing with my phone, and then in her chair during the meal, which wasn’t pleasant to witness. She did use the potty afterwards in the run-up to bed, so I think those were more due to lapses in concentration, rather than a breakdown in the regime.

With a final score of hits to misses of about 12-4, I think progress can be summed up as very solid, and maybe an A- grade. It was great to see her dash into the living room from the hall to plonk herself on the potty, that seemed like very grown-up progress. 🙂

So saying, we haven’t been confident enough, as suggested by the health visitor, to go the complete hog and keep the nappies off at night. Maybe someone can comment with a success story of just dumping all nappies in one go, but I doubt that can succeed without horror stories.

To Toilet or Not to Toilet?

January 25, 2010

Over the past week Ella has shown some inclination towards using the loo. She has had some productive visits to the toilet, and been rewarded with some Milky Way Stars as a result, but she is still very inconsistent. Our plan is to go for a thorough toilet training week over half term in the middle of next month, so anything now is really just a bonus. At Caroline’s, her childminder, she was asked, to give an example, if she wanted to use the potty and said no, and Caroline was quite sure that Ella was in need of the loo, and changed her nappy shortly after, which was, indeed, used. So Ella is quite happy to ignore using the loo when she doesn’t want to.

She continues to produce amusing phrases, though.While playing at going to bed yesterday, she wished me ‘sweet dreams’ as she headed off to bed. Today, when her Auntie Rachel was visiting, she got Rachel in stiches by saying things like ‘okay, guys’, ‘are you ready, guys?’, ‘let’s go, guys’ over lunch.

Hissy Fits

January 16, 2010

Ella has certainly taken on some of the traits of toddlerdom, and one of those is having hissy fits for very small things. Right now, at nap time, she spent the last 5 minutes pretending to cry because I wouldn’t get her changed and put her pyjama top on. It’s not that she does get changed into her pyjamas for her nap, rather that she wants to exert some control and delay on the process. This morning she had brief disgruntlements when I turned the lights off in the living room (because it was light outside) and then when I took a pile of her clothes away that was waiting to go into the wash pile. I may have mentioned this before, but she loves to tell tales on people, especially on me, and often it’s for the most minor misdemenours. One example was ‘Mummy, Daddy just chopped up my dinner’, which is hardly the greatest crime in the world. Usually it is things she’s not happy with, like taking her dummy away or trying to get her to do something. Overall, she certainly hasn’t turned into a terrible toddler, and in the main is very lovely and chatty and polite (when her Gan-gan dropped her off the other day, without prompting she said ‘Thank you for having me’). One ploy that works well when she isn’t doing something we want her to, like eating or going to bed, it to introduce a competitive element. So we can get her to eat more of her dinner by pretending that one of us is going to take a mouthful, and Ella will swoop in and bite the food off the spoon before we have it. That might be something that comes back to haunt us in some way, though.