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December 2007


December 3, 2007

Anastasia continues to have a "sock thing." I can get her to wear socks if she knows shoes will be going over them. And for the past several days, that's been easy, because one of her grandmas bought her some red sparkly shoes, and she wants to wear them all day long. Still, last night when my hubby undressed Miss A., she said "Yeah! Yeah! Off!" when he took her socks off...So...I just ordered some cute teddy bear slippers, thinking she'll be willing to wear those around the house.

Miss A.'s talking continues to progress nicely. She says so much now, and is even venturing into two word sentences. She saw an ad in a magazine featuring a dog in a Santa outfit, and she said, "Doggie Santa!" She also says "I'm sorry" pretty regularly.

Yesterday, her daddy said, "Give me your paws," when he wanted to wash her hands. Now, if I refer to her hands, she says, "No. Paws." (She knows certain animals have paws, and she really does know people have hands. But apparently, she likes calling her hands paws.)

Anastasia has a lamp in her room (given by one of her grandmas) that has four Disney princesses that dance to music when it's turned off or on. It also recites \ certain phrases. Yesterday, after the lamp said, "Don't you just love being a princess?" Anastasia said, quite enthusiastically: "Yeah!"

Tea is now a regular thing for Miss A. She asks for it by name. I do sometimes just give her what I'm drinking, which is black tea, but I try to give her green tea instead. It's a diuretic, ya know.

Speaking of diuretics, I am still giving Anastasia Benefiber and Miralax. Unfortunately, I haven't yet been able to diminish her Miralax very much. Part of the trouble may be the time of year. Miss A. tends to not have bowel movements on exciting days, and there have been a lot of those recently.

But our big news is that this weekend we traveled an hour and half to have our photograph taken with my in-laws. Over the course of another hour and a half, we did shots of our family (my hubby, Anastasia, and me) alone; our family with my sis-in-law's family, my mother- and father-in-law, and my hubby's grammy; just the women and little girls; just the men and little boys; just my mom- and dad-in-law; and just grammy. It was a whole lot of work to get everyone together...let alone keep all the kids happy for that length of time...but it will be worth it.

We arrived at the studio a half hour early, and while the photographer let us inside, he got a serious frown as soon as he saw Anastasia. "There's a cafe across the street, if you want to wait there," he said. We declined. He frowned some more. But by the time our photography session was over, he was praising Anastasia's behavior. "This little one was so good!" he proclaimed. "And did I hear her reciting her phonics???" LOL

It's nice to hear others praise Anastasia's behavior, but believe me, I do not much credit. Parenting does have a little something to do with it. After all, when Anastasia does something we feel is inappropriate, we do discipline her. But at least 90% of her good behavior is God-given. She's just (as my friends like to tell me) an "easy" child.

I also started putting up Christmas decorations this weekend. Actually, I got everything up except the Christmas tree. Anastasia has been very good about it all. Most things are out of her reach, but a few things (like the stockings on the mantel) are within easy reach. I explained to her that she wasn't allowed to touch them. She should just look at them with her eyes. I've only had to remind her of this a handful of times. Again, she's pretty "easy." But when I moved something in order to turn on the white lights that now surround the mirror above the mantel, she did scold me: "No! Eyes!"


December 3 (part II)

If you're squeamish, you may not want to read this post.

It happened again. Anastasia  was enjoying her bath, then leaned way over to grab her shampoo bottle. She let out an enormous toot. I looked up from my magazine and said, "Do you need to go poo-poo?" No answer. "Don't go poo-poo in the bathtub," I said. "Okay," Anastasia answered. I went back to my magazine.

About a minute later, Miss A. starts saying, with some tension in her voice: "All done. All done. All done!" This is very unusual, since she usually wants to stay in the bathtub long after I think she should get out. "You're all done with your bath?" I ask. "Yeees," she says. So I stand up and see...

"Oh! You went poo-poo!" I said, surprised.

Anastasia started crying. I stood her up and told her it was okay. "I know. It was an accident. All little boys and girls sometimes have accidents in the bathtub." She nodded and said "yeah," but I could tell she was totally humiliated. "Hugs?" she said sadly.

Poor dear. I sat her on her potty chair while I drained the tub, cleaned it, and disinfected it. Oddly, I gagged. Soiled diapers don't bother me, but those...chunks...did. (I can certainly see how slow her digestive system works by noticing what kind of food those chunks are...Sorry. Too much information.)

At one point, I dropped a small bit of poop on the floor and said, without thinking:     "Oh   c--p!" So naturally, poor Miss A., sitting humiliated on her potty chair started chanting:   "Oh    c--p! Oh c--p!"

Once the tub was clean, I ran fresh water and popped her back inside. She cried. So sad, because she normally adores a bath. I washed her clean and let her daddy dress her while I cleaned and sterilized all the bath toys...and the floor.


And to totally change the subject...Here's Miss A. enjoying some tea.



December 6, 2007

Yesterday, Anastasia had her Early Intervention assessment. The physical therapist felt mostly good about Anastasia's progress, and left it up to me whether she would stop seeing Miss A. altogether, would continue to come once a month, or would start coming every other month. Although I have no worries about Anastasia's gross motor skills, I thought the middle-road approach was probably best...so from now on, she'll have PT every other month.

Our coordinator was delighted with Anastasia's progress. I pointed out that at this time last year, Miss A. couldn't even crawl. In fact, she'd only been sitting up for a couple of months! We watched as Anastasia concentrated for about a half hour on a Mr. Potato Head - putting on different arms and hats and feet. She loved it, and I don't think she had the fine motor skills to use the toy properly a month ago. The coordinator was also really impressed that she's using the possessive form: "Mommy's, Daddy's," etc.

"Do you think her vocabulary is 50 words yet?" our coordinator asked. "Oh, probably not quite," I answered. "But close to it." I honestly don't remember if this was a goal someone her age should have passed yet, or if it was a future goal. But today, I got to wondering about the extent of her vocabulary, so tonight I wrote down the words she correctly uses on a regular basis. (Not words that she will repeat if we say them, mind you. Words she freely uses on her own.) My list is undoubtedly incomplete, and she seems to add at least one new word every day, but I came up with over 100, not including variations of the same word!

  • toot

  • mess, messy

  • Santa (which sometimes comes out "Santie")

  • bath

  • glass

  • box

  • cup

  • juice

  • tea

  • nice

  • pink

  • purple

  • red

  • blue

  • orange

  • yellow

  • black

  • sleepy

  • help, helping, helper

  • cold

  • hot

  • soft

  • fluffy

  • monkey

  • doggie

  • hippo

  • bunny

  • duck

  • bee

  • pig

  • horse

  • froggie

  • goat

  • bird

  • donkey

  • mouse

  • nap

  • bed

  • bugs

  • bubbles

  • hat

  • rough

  • hay

  • stick

  • mouth

  • boo

  • sad

  • happy

  • baby

  • dolly

  • blankie

  • sticky (used correctly, but also sometimes used for "sticker")

  • hug

  • up

  • down

  • kiss

  • please

  • sorry

  • "all done"

  • touch

  • eyes

  • hi, hello

  • goodbye

  • fall

  • book

  • story

  • pray

  • amen

  • more

  • walk

  • look

  • poo-poo

  • icky, yucky

  • chocolate

  • turkey

  • piece

  • bow

  • "oh cool"

  • "uh-oh"

  • boy

  • okay

  • yes, yeah

  • no, nope

  • sleepy

  • night-night

  • off

  • ball

  • food

  • good

  • water

  • six

  • two

  • bell

  • beak

  • trunk (as in an elephant's)

  • tusks (as in an elephant's)

  • grass

  • Frosty (for all snowmen)

  • block

  • car

  • truck bus

  • paws

plus proper names (many of them!)

I think she's doing fine. (Praise God!)


December 8, 2007

As I suspected, my list was incomplete. Here are the other words Miss A. is using. The ones with asterisks (*) are new within the past day or two. The rest are long-timers I simply forgot to include last time:

  • mole

  • fox

  • work (*)

  • cry (*)

  • cut (*)

  • foot

  • puppy

  • fix, fixed (*)

  • cookies, cookie (*)

  • nose

  • fur

  • twinkle

  • hand

  • bra

  • tights (*)

  • hood

She's also increasingly using two word sentences. For example, yesterday Anastasia was wearing her puppy backpack. When I took it off so she could eat dinner, she said, "Help off. Puppy off." This morning, when I came into her room and her daddy wasn't around, she said, "Daddy work." (She was delighted when I said he was actually home.) And yesterday, when her grandma visited and Anastasia saw her long nails, she became very fixated with them. "Help," she kept saying. Then "Mommy help." Then finally, "Mommy cut." She thought grandma's nails needed cutting, and she wanted me to do the honors.

If I sound like I'm bragging a lot lately...well, maybe I am a little. :D  But mostly, I'm just in awe of how well Anastasia is doing. I really feel like I'm waking up from a two year nightmare. Things are starting to feel really normal, at last.

And now that I've been around other babies a lot more, I can really see why so many people were worried about Anastasia's abilities for so long. For example, I look at my littlest niece, who is about 9 months old. She babbles constantly, moves around a lot (even if she's just kicking her legs and arms), and plays with lots of toys. Anastasia didn't really do those things as a baby. It wasn't that she had a blank stare, mind you. But she wasn't active in any way. I guess she was just observing more than participating. But whatever it was she was doing, it wasn't typical.

No wonder my mother-in-law recently confessed relief that Anastasia is talking and socializing so well!

It's just another reminder of what a miracle Miss A. really is.


December 13, 2007

Christmastime must be torture for toddlers. Think about it. Your parents put up all kinds of shiny, colorful things - many look like toys...but you're not allowed to touch them. Then they bring a tree indoors (!) and put more toy-like things on it, plus sparkling lights...and again, you get in trouble if you touch them. Finally, they put colorful packages under the tree with curling ribbons and shiny bows...And yep! You get in trouble if you touch them. Until Christmas, that is, when you are suddenly encouraged to tear them open.

The first two days with the tree up weren't much fun. I hated scolding Anastasia for touching. But then she got much better. I only have to remind her once or twice a day now. She still loves coming out every morning and pointing to specific ornaments: "Bear tutu!" (yes, it's a bear in a tutu) "Pooh Santa!" (Winnie the Pooh in a Santa costume), etc.

I also bought a DVD collection of all those old kid's Christmas Classics, including Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman, and The Little Drummer Boy. Oh my goodness. Now everything is about Frosty. All snowmen are Frosty. If Miss A. likes you but doesn't know your name, you are Frosty. If the song comes on, everything must stop so she can dance and sing to it. And whenever she gets a chance, she asks to watch the movie.

Oh, and her latest new word is "Christmas." :)

Our Early Intervention coordinator visited today, this time bringing preschool toys. Anastasia especially liked a lacing kit that had a plastic stick on the end (which is easier to thread through beads and buttons than just an ordinary string).

As I told our coordinator about Anastasia's latest words and sentences, I explained that she's really figured out our cat's body language. When he gets fed up and wants to be alone, Miss A. instantly knows it, and often she'll grab a blanket or a pillow and put it near him saying,   "Grumpy. Nap!"

Our coordinator seemed blown away by this and said, "She's brilliant!" She meant it, too. I'm not sure I'd go that far, but there's no doubt she's a smart cookie :)

Have I mentioned that Anastasia can now feed herself entirely on her own with a bowl and a spoon?

She's also fixated with wearing this bunny coat. (She calls it "buddy.") It's not seasonal, but it sure is cute!


December 13 (part II)

Anastasia used her potty chair!

She was in the bathtub, and I heard her making grunting noises. "Do you need to go poo-poo?" I asked. "Yeah," she answered. So I picked her up and put her on the potty chair. At first, it was obvious she didn't want to use it, so I gently encouraged her to go "like a big girl." Soon she was going...and then she didn't want to get off the chair. I think maybe she was embarrassed, or thought she shouldn't have gone. So I gently helped her off, saying, "You're supposed to go poo-poo on the potty. That's what big girl's do." I wiped her bottom, then showed her the potty. "See? Wow! What a great job! I'm so proud of you! You went poo-poo in your potty! Wait 'til daddy hears!"

I put her back in the tub, and after a while, she said, "Poo-poo. Potty." I praised her, and she beamed.

I must confess, though. I gagged again. What's the deal with that??? It doesn't bother me at all if it's in a diaper!


December 17, 2007

Anastasia has been constipated, which doesn't really work out well when you're potty training. Cutting back her Miralax just isn't working, so she's back on her full dose.  She simply needs to drink more fluids. (The Miralax works by bringing fluid into the bowels.) She absolutely refuses to drink orange juice any more. (It used to be the only thing she'd drink.) Now she's on an apple juice kick. Apple juice is a natural diuretic...but it isn't fortified with calcium, the way the O.J. was.

She's also going through a period where she doesn't want to each much except cookies. I don't give in to this, mind you, so it makes for some interesting meal times. I bought Miss A. some clementines, but I couldn't get her to touch them. Then last night, as I ate one, I told her it was a "baby orange." Suddenly, it was desirable, and she ate about 2 1/2, asking for them by name: "Baby orange?"

She continues to be obsessed with Frosty the Snowman. The first thing she says most mornings is: "Frosty?" She spots every snowman everywhere we go. We read the book a lot, and she wants to watch the movies (the original, and the sequel) every single day. On Saturday, I decided she needed to watch something a little less fluffy, so I stuck her Brainy Baby Art DVD in the player. She enjoyed it, but about three times during the 45 minute movie she gave me a sideways look: "Frosty?"

I confess it: I can't wait to tuck Frosty away after Christmas. But I think I should get used to this sort of preschool obsession, because Winnie the Pooh is a very close second to Frosty right now. Miss A. carries around her Pooh bear, often saying, "Hug Pooh," as she does so. We read lots of Pooh books, and before she was so crazy over Frosty, she wanted to watch her Pooh movie daily.

Do I really want to bring an Elmo DVD into the house???


December 19, 2007

We had a scare yesterday afternoon. Since Anastasia became mobile, we've tried to teach her not to play with, pull, or hang on our vertical blinds. We knew they could fall relatively easily...and they are heavy enough they could cause serious injury. Well, yesterday Anastasia was looking out the window and was rustling the blinds. I told her "no" and started toward her. She must have been practically hanging on them, because suddenly they came crashing down. An angel must have been watching over her, because - amazingly -  nothing hit her. The rod, the blinds, and all the pieces were scattered in the space all around her.

Fortunately, it scared Miss A., and she's been more cautious today. She's also been saying the first three word sentence she's composed by herself: "Blinds fall down!"

It's fun to see her reason now. For example, I bought a copy of Corduroy Goes to the Doctor, because I want to make doctor visits less traumatic for Miss A. No where in the book does the fuzzy little Corduroy bear cry, but when he gets weighed, gets a shot, and leaves the doctor's office, Anastasia points to him and says mournfully, "Cry!" In another book, filled with photos of babies, she'll point to a crying baby and say, "Food," or "up," or sometimes "nap." And last night, when I asked her if she wanted to wear her pink jammies, she said, "No. Poopy!" She remembered that the night before she'd gotten poo-poo on them...so I had to explain that mommy washed them and they were all clean now.

Some of you have asked if the cute little animal cups I bought Miss A. are working. I'm sorry to say she lost interest with them a while back. I even bought her a snowman cup with a straw, knowing how fixated she is with Frosty. But while she loves the cup, she rarely sips from it.

Speaking of Frosty, Anastasia is trying to sing his song. She gets the first two notes right, singing Frosty's name, then interjects a word here and there that she knows: "Soul!" "Coal!"


December 22, 2007

Yesterday, Anastasia said her longest sentence ever: "Frosty likes hugs, Mommy." (I was hugging her at the time.) She also said, "Blinds fall down. Daddy fixed."

Today, we had Christmas with my mother (who will be out of state on December 25th). Anastasia did really well. She gave her daddy presents to open, and was very excited for him. And she didn't get cranky or bratty at all. She even said, "Thank you, grandpa" a few times. (She hasn't quite figured out the difference between the names grandma and grandpa.) She seems to think today is Christmas, though, because she keeps saying bye-bye to Frosty. You see, I told her that Frosty goes away after Christmas...but that he'll be back next year. She's taking it so well, I feel a little guilty...


Although she sits on the couch for most of the DVD, occasionally, Miss A. gets up and dances with Frosty. She is getting better at singing the song, and even recites certain simple phrases from the movie.

For the first time in several months, I took Anastasia outside to play. (The rain finally let up!) All she wanted to do was dig in her sandbox.

P.S. Anastasia is really starting to pick up the lyrics - and some of the notes - to a lot of songs. Today, for example, when I sang "Jesus Loves Me" to her, she sang along with the last line: "The Bible tells me so!"


December 27, 2007

We had a wonderful Christmas. On Christmas Eve, we traveled to my in-laws, and that evening, we took Anastasia to a park with magnificent Christmas lights. The carolers just happened to begin singing as we entered the park, and their first song was "Frosty the Snowman." Miss A. cried "Yea!" The rest of the time, she pointed to lights and said either "Yea!" or "Oh, cool!"

We spent Christmas with my hubby's entire family, and I was so proud of Anastasia. Even though she was already really tired, she did none of the things parents' dread . She didn't covet the other kids' gifts. She wasn't grumpy or whiny. And she didn't throw any temper tantrums. She even managed to say "thank you" a couple of times (with prompting from me).

Two cute "Miss A.isms" that happened over Christmas:

* Anastasia has become an intense hugger. If she loves a child, she will put her arms around the child's neck and hug them until they manage to escape her grasp. She did this with her six year old cousin, knocking him to the ground and laying on top of him. She must have done this for a full minute before her cousin finally (and gently) peeled her off.

* Anastasia is pretty good about saying "please," but at one point, she asked for something without saying it. I said, "What's the magic word?" Her reply: "Chocolate!"