Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kids telling lies

Lately it regularly happens where Stella would do something wrong and then lies about who had done it.  For example, she would be eating and make a mess and immediately would say "Mommy, Daddy messed" or "Nika messed".  Even if they are not even in the same room or at home.  At first I didn't give the matter too much attention as I didn't want to make it worse by making a big deal out of it, but her dad and I got very worried at some point about this.

A couple of days ago I received this article from Babycentre which shed some light on the matter:  http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1022317/how-should-i-respond-when-my-child-lies

I honestly feel much better now after reading this and think the best way to handle it is to remind her that it is safe to tell us the truth and that if she does spill some juice or drop some food on the floor, etc. she will not necessarily get into trouble.  I'm sure she is scared that she will get into trouble, so making sure that she knows it is safe to tell the truth would definitely help the matter.  We didn't want her to think it is okay to tell lies about small things and then in due course start telling fibs about more serious issues.

Nika had noticed at some point that she has a very loud voice which she loves hearing!  So very often she will have a 'pretend-tantrum'.  The reason I say it is a pretend-tantrum is because one moment she will be playing happily and next moment, without anything happening or anything being wrong she will fall on the floor, have a 'tantrum' and a few seconds later it will all be over and she will continue playing as if nothing had happened.  I think it is a way for her to test her boundaries as well.

We have been staying over at a friend's place on weekends for the past couple of weeks.  He at first was very concerned about her 'tantrums' especially because I didn't necessarily react to them as I could tell it wasn't a real cry, only for him to realize last weekend that there in fact was nothing wrong with her!  Hubby and I found his reaction very amusing.

I can only imagine what must have been going on in his head when I didn't react to her 'crying'!  He probably thought I was the worst mother he has ever met.  When he told me that he only realized then that she wasn't really crying and that nothing was really wrong with her I realized that just maybe I should have explained my lack of reaction to him sooner!

Nika is such a little character with the cutest facial expressions sometimes.  You can see when she is planning something naughty in that little head of hers.  It is written all over her face and how she walks, her body language, everything tells you that whatever she is going to do, you better keep a close eye on her because it most-probably is something you have told her a million times she is not allowed to do.  Even though it drives me crazy at times, I find her facial expressions so cute!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Sleeping Habits

We have a pretty set routine every night, or at least most nights.  We get home from work and school, make supper, spend some time together, give the kids a bath and get them ready for bed.  Nika is usually in bed and fast asleep between 7:30pm and 8pm.  Stella goes to bed at 8pm most nights.

However, last night was a different story altogether.  When we got home Nika fell asleep.  She slept for about an hour when we finally woke her up, realizing if we let her sleep longer she wouldn't sleep at night.  We gave the girls supper, then left to go to a friend's house to sleep over, and by that time both girls were wide awake and very energetic.

Needless to say it was such a mission getting both of them to go to sleep.  They eventually fell asleep around 10 o'clock last night.  I have hopefully learned my lesson and will not let Nika sleep that long in the late afternoon so soon before bedtime.

I came across this interesting article online about children's sleeping habits:  http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/habits.html

The comment in the section "Sleep and Toddlers (1 - 3 years) about 'their need for autonomy' made me smile especially after reading Wikipedia's explanation of this:  "Autonomy[1] means being able to rule without having to obey some other higher authority."  This is exactly what happened last night.  They were both pushing their boundaries... to the limit!  I could see Stella was still very sleepy this morning when I dropped her off at school which is understandable after her going to bed so late.  Luckily they have a nap during the day, but of course there is no such luck for Mommy or Daddy who was kept up as well last night.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Going to the Park

Yesterday was one of the hottest days so far this Summer and we decided to take the girls to a park in town.  We sat at the cafè having something to drink while they were able to run around and climb on the jungle gym and play on the swings.  It is a huge enclosed area with lots of space for them to play and they absolutely loved it.  There are so many beautiful old trees offering enough shade for the kids to play under.

It truly was a lovely, relaxing afternoon and something we would consider doing again soon.

Last night they obviously were exhausted, and so were we!  They literally slept like babies :)

We bought them each a little toy on Saturday at the Waterfront and Stella chose a barbie-doll lookalike and Nika chose a little creature that can fold into a ball, then when you put it on a magnetized strip (it is a little plastic tree with a magnetized button underneath it), the little ball unfolds into this little creature again while making some funny sounds.  Quite cute.

Stella now has 2 of these barbie lookalike-dolls.  I get the impression that she actually gave one to Nika yesterday!  This is a huge step for her as she normally gets quite upset when Nika wants to play with her toys.  Twice yesterday she handed the doll to Nika saying to me that it is Nika's doll.

They had so much fun playing together this weekend.  Stella is really starting to look out for her little sister.  When she wandered off yesterday at the park, Stella would run to her and bring her back to us (of course we were keeping an eye on both of them), and when she wanted to go into the play park, she took Nika's hand and they walked hand-in-hand with her to the jungle gym.

I am still trying to get Stella to 'invite' Nika to move into the same bedroom as her, but it hasn't happened yet :)  I think if she feels it was her idea she would actually love sharing a room with her little sister... for now :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Orientation Day

Yesterday was orientation day at the school Stella will be going to from January.  It is the same school that Nika is in.  At first when we took her there she did not want to stay, but some of the staff kept her occupied and made her feel at home and she stayed without crying.  When she, together with the other kids, met the new teacher for next year, they had so much fun making Marie Biscuits with icing sugar, etc.  By the time we went back to pick her up about an hour and a half later, she was playing on the jungle gym outside and already made a friend and he was sharing his crisps with her.

She really seemed to be having lots of fun and I am feeling more confident that she would enjoy her new school.

Nowadays little Nika is a pro in having tantrums.  The latest is to throw herself down on the floor, have a little hissy fit and then grab the hair of one of the other kids in the class, whoever is closest!  It is shocking that at 1 year old they can already do this.  Her teacher has learned to act quickly when she has a tantrum and then moves the little friends out of Nika's reach.  A tantrum is followed with 'time-out'.  Her teacher simply says to her "Nika, go to time-out!" in a firm voice.  She will then walk over to the 'time-out chair', put her face on the seat (like a real little drama queen), have a little 'cry' or moan.  Stay like that for about 10 seconds and it is all over... until the next tantrum!

It is amazing how they really test their boundaries at such a young age.  We would love for Nika to move into Stella's room so they can share a room, but at the moment Stella is very possessive over her room and toys and doesn't like sharing any of it with Nika.  So I have tried using some psychology on her and tried to make it sound like it is HER idea to let Nika sleep in her room, but she wouldn't fall for my clever little trick.  So for the time being she is still in our room!  I don't mind too much though.  Stella still comes to us during the night and I love seeing them first thing in the morning.  They are usually so friendly and playful when they wake up.  I love my gorgeous little girls!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Building Up A Healthy Self-Esteem In Your Toddler

The newest trend at Stella's school is for the kids to arrive and then show off their new dress or shirt or toy, etc.  Lately Stella insists on wearing dresses because she wants to look pretty.  Although this in itself is cute, I often worry about whether we help her enough to have a healthy self-esteem and not to only look at her outside appearance to find self-worth.  I know she is only 3 years old, but I have already been told by her little 'friend' that she may not play with her because she is fat!  It is shocking that at such a young age children even think that way.

Of course we often tell her that she is pretty and she looks like a princess, etc., but I cannot help but worry about the effect other children's comments could have on a little girl's perception of her self-worth.  Of course to us she is the most gorgeous 3-year old on the face of the earth :)

I had a look online to see if I can find some information on the topic and came across this article:

http://www.enterprisepub.com/dakotacountystar/opinion/columns/child-beauty-pageants-give-young-girls-the-wrong-impression/article_4b70db0c-f497-11e2-9572-0019bb30f31a.html

Although I don't necessarily think that beauty pageants are always bad, I can see why it could have a terribly negative effect on young children.  As it is we live in such a competitive world and I don't think I would want either of my girls to be subjected to being criticized by judges who don't know them and who don't care to look at the beauty inside of them.

What is a concern to me is this the idea they create that your outside appearance is what makes you beautiful.  I have seen and heard for myself how children as young as three years old can say the cruelest things to their friends because of what they consider to be beautiful or not.

Stella's 'friend's' comment really came as a wake-up call for me to really make sure that our little princesses know how much they are worth and that yes, they are the most beautiful girls we have ever seen.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Time-Out

Hubby was working late yesterday so I picked both girls up from their different schools.  Stella was first and on our way home we stopped at Nika's school.  Stella cannot walk past the lavender bush at Nika's school's entrance without picking four lavender flowers.  Why it has to be four, I don't know.  This happens every time she goes with me to pick Nika up.

Once finally in Nika's class I've noticed that there are two new babies.  They are so small still, too gorgeous for words.  Nika is supposed to be in the toddler class already, but every time they try to move her she cries so much they have to go get her again.  However, yesterday she was given time-out for trying to climb on the cupboard every time the teacher turns her back to attend to another child.  Ok time-out sounds worse than it really was.  She simply took her over to the toddler class and 'put her in the corner' and walked back to the baby class.  I couldn't help finding this slightly amusing to think that she is only 16 months old and is already getting time-out!  Where previously she cried when she was taken to the toddler class, she didn't cry at all yesterday and was fine being there.  Maybe the time-out did her good!  She has got such a strong will.  No wonder she didn't give up on the idea of climbing onto the cupboard.

It is photo-day today at both schools and I'm really looking forward to seeing what their photos look like this year.  At Stella's school we've been disappointed with pictures taken in the past when Stella looked like she was crying and the cameraman couldn't be bothered to at least try to make her smile or at least not look like she was terrified.  The last photos they took came out good though.  I'm hoping now that she is a bit older she will smile for the camera again.  It always feel like such a long wait until we can finally see the end results.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Beginnings

We had a friend over last night who commented on how he keeps expecting little Nika to fall when she walks or rather runs around in the house.  It is amazing how mobile she is at 16 monhts!  She has perfected the art of walking and has decided that it isn't enough, she needs to run (with a couple of funny dance steps in-between) to where she wants to be.  Needless to say she falls often and also got a couple of bumps and bruises along the way!  In last month she tripped and bumped her forehead against a metal sliding door frame and had a huge egg on her forehead to show for it.  On Sunday we had a meeting and as we were about to get her and Stella ready to leave and her Dad just put her in her pram and turned his back for a second, she stood up and before anyone could react fell forward and onto her head.  Luckily there were no serious injuries, but we got a big fright.  What baffles me is that even if they fall and get hurt, they just do the same thing again.

She is such a happy and content little toddler.  She knows so well when she is being naughty, it is written all over her face!  She has a way of trying to hide a smile when being mischievous.  It is so cute!

This morning I wanted to walk past Stella as she was standing at the corner of our bed.  Space is a bit limited in our room with extra cupboards and Nika's cot in there, and I said to Stella "excuse me please" for her to move away.  So the cheeky monkey replied with "I'm sowwy mommy!".  It was too sweet for words!  I explained to her that she had nothing to be sorry for and that I just wanted to walk past her.  I'm not quite sure she knew what I was going on about.  In the car she spilled her Smurphy breakfast cereal and immediately replied in a very loud voice "I'm sowwy!".  Of course no-one can be upset after hearing such an earnest apology from a 3-year old!

The breakfast cereal is more like a treat for her than anything else.  She does get a proper breakfast at school.  Seeing that we drop her off quite early, it helps her not to be too hungry before breakfast is being served.

Stella is starting at her new school in January.  We have decided to move her to the same school her sister is attending.  We must still find a way to tell her without her being worried about it.  The school has an open-day later this month where the children could meet their new teachers for the next year.  I think this would help prepare her for the new school year.  It will be quite a big change for her as she has been with her current school since she was a baby.  Hopefully she will make friends in no time.  She is a very outgoing child, so I'm feeling positive that she would.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Love you Daddy!

Stella and I usually have quite a battle in the morning to get her ready for school.  She is a very headstrong child who knows what she wants and doesn't like being told otherwise.  Very seldom does a morning go by without us having to argue about her not brushing her teeth in time or not putting her shoes on when I ask her to and the list goes on.

Daddy's been working late in the evenings this week so she hasn't seen much of him.  She saw him lying in bed this morning and she sneaked up to him and whispered "Daddy, Daddy, wake up!".  He moved slightly and was greeted with a big kiss and hug from her followed with the words "love you Daddy!".  It was just so beautiful to see.  

Getting her to brush her teeth and not just sit with the toothbrush in her hand for 10 minutes was still a mission, but it was less stressful than usual.  She eventually did it without wasting too much time and without making us both late for school and work.  We usually brush our teeth together and she would sit on the side of the bath while busy.  This morning she patted next to her showing me that she wanted me to sit next to her.  I sat down and she leaned with her head against my arm and said "Mommy, you're my friend".  Such beautiful words to hear from your child.  It really warms my heart and I cannot imagine being able to love her more than I do!   She is such an amazing little girl.

Nika seems to be over the worst with the teething at the moment.  She had no fever last night or the night before and during the day she seems more like her old self.  She eats better too which is great.  She had her Chicken Pox and MMR vaccines on Monday and she was very unhappy about it.  She wasn't feeling well to begin with and then got the two vaccines on top of it.  She's been walking for a couple of months now, but yesterday was the first day that she walked out of school with me holding one hand and her big sister the other.  So cute!  She was supposed to go to the toddler class from beginning of this month, but she refuses to go.  Whenever they try to take her from the baby class over to the toddler class she cries so much that they teacher from the baby class has to go and get her again.  So for now the plan is not to upset her too much and just keep her there a little longer until she feels more confident to go over to the other class.  We don't feel rushed into moving her over anyway.  They grow up so fast, it won't do any harm to keep her with her current teacher for now if she is happy there.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pre-Schools and Extramural Activities

I took a day's leave on Friday and hubby took the morning off so we could go school-hunting for next year.  We are planning on moving to a different area so it only makes sense to either find a Pre-Primary school in that area for Stella or alternatively find a school near where I work in town.

One thing I have noticed that the Pre-Primary / Nursery schools in town don't necessarily offer extramural activities which can be attended at school like we have at the schools in the suburb we are living in.  Probably due to a lack of space.  Stella LOVES her ballet class so once we find a school we both like, we will most probably start hunting for a dance class in the area as well.

Another thing I've noticed is that none of the schools near our office mentions an annual school concert like the schools do in the suburbs.  The kids love this so I will definitely be asking about it.  It is good to know whether they do have it.

There is a highly-recommended school in the area we want to move to (we were shocked by the costs of Pre-Primary schools in the area!), but they are full for the next year and have many kids on the waiting list already.  I was amazed that when we were at this school that has over a hundred kids, you didn't hear a sound coming from them while they were busy with their classes!  Discipline is a big factor for us at the moment seeing that Stella is at a age where she really pushes the boundaries and if she gets away with it too often at pre-school, she will think it is ok to do so and will then experience difficulty when she starts Primary School.  I visited another school near the office where I work and it seems lovely with a large play area with big oak trees, a child's dream!  It is small with maximum 50 kids in the school.  Now to get hubby to take time off from work to come an have a look!

Nika got a bump on her forehead on Saturday night falling over her dad's foot while we were out for supper.  She hit her head against a metal door frame and now have a huge egg on her forehead and a bruise to show for it.  The brave little munchkin was smiling again within 5 minutes!  It felt like my heart stopped when I saw the bump.

She's been unwell for two days now, but I've noticed one of her Canine teeth cut through and another is on it's way which might be to blame.

When picking her up from school yesterday I had Stella with me.  Stella being very active and outgoing was taking over the classroom as usual when we arrived.  I cannot remember exactly what caused it, but she had the slightest hissy fit which was hilarious for her baby sister to see (ok she is not a baby anymore, she is considered a toddler now, I know).  Anyway, Nika had a little hysterical outburst of laughter after seeing her big sister's little temper tantrum.  Her teacher and I both found the interaction between them very amusing!

It is amazing how Stella can completely ignore what we say or ask and then when you are so angry because she doesn't listen, she will in the sweetest little voice say "Mommy, you're my friend.  You mustn't fight!".  I mean really.... they know just what to say and when to say it to get themselves out of trouble!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

School Concert

On Monday while getting myself ready for work and getting Stella ready for school I told her to put on her shoes.  She simply replied with a 'firm' voice "not now!".  I, being very surprised as it was the first time she ever said that to me, asked hubby "did you hear that?".  So I asked her again to put her shoes on so we can go.  The little madam put her hands on her hips and said with a voice a teacher would use to tell a naughty child off "I said, not now!".  At the time I found it very funny and actually burst out laughing, but it might have been more out of shock than anything else.  In all honesty, the first time she said it was funny, but believe you me, it won't stay funny for very long!

Her school concert was at the beginning of this month and the dance group she is in was on stage first doing a little dance.  The girls came running out on stage.  It must have all happened a bit too fast for Stella's liking as she decided to stay stationary at the back of the stage, hiding behind a decorative board peaking around it to look at the crowd and the other girls dancing.  We were so disappointed that none of the staff members were at the back of the stage to see that all the kids actually go onto the stage.

They had a fashion parade instead of an actual concert.  So when Stella's class went on and it was her turn she walked onto the walkway, grabbed her teacher's leg and hid behind her...  She normally LOVES being in the limelight and walking on the stage, so I assume that the start to the evening and her not even doing her dance with the dance group made her feel insecure.  Anyway, she still looked beautiful in her little pink, Spring outfit with a picture of Spongebob-Squarepants on it!

Nika who is not as outgoing as Stella decided she was going to explore so kept walking off while we were trying to stay seated.  She suddenly decided it is not so bad to interact with strangers and would walk to them as if she wanted them to interact with her, but then suddenly gets shy and hides behind the back of her hand and often while rolling her eyes at them (while hiding behind her hands of course! LOL!).  I never new that a one-year old knows how to roll their eyes at someone but I'm getting that quite frequently lately...  Once again, it is funny now, but I'm 100 % convinced it will not be funny if she tries that a few years from now!

Spring is in the air, well not today exactly, but I'm being positive here, and I absolutely love dressing my girls in dresses!  It is so cute after them having to wear tracksuits and long-sleeved tops for months.  Stella is so excited to be able to wear pretty dresses and she makes sure that we tell her she looks pretty, like a princess!  Of course at the end of the day she refuses to take off her dress because she won't look like a princess anymore.  Luckily she is easily convinced to take it off if we promise to replace it with another 'princess dress'.  I'm so looking forward to being able to do outdoor activities with them,  like taking them to the beach or a park and since Stella loves being on the back of a horse, I will be looking around to see if I can find somewhere where toddlers can actually go horse-back riding.  Of course with someone leading the horse!  There is an enormous indoor/outdoor playpark a couple of kilometers from where we live where they can ride on horseback.  I will definitely be looking into that.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Embarrassing Moments

It often happens that the little ones will do (or in Stella's case 'say') something that could be quite embarrassing as I'm sure many parents go through.  Well tonight was no different!

We went out to a local restaurant where they often throughout the meal would play some loud country-like song (cannot remember the name of the song now) and all the waiters will start doing a dance and the kids will join them.  Stella LOVES this!  She was in the play are when the song started playing.  I was standing with her at the time and danced with her.  I was holding her hands waving it up in the air while she was standing in front of me.  Next moment she pulled me forward while stepping on my right foot!  Yup, you've guessed it, I nearly ended up on my face!  Luckily I could stop myself from hitting my face on the floor with my hands so ended up on my knees...  Needless to say, I retreated to our table when I thought it was safe to try and give a few steps forward.  Of course I could win an Emmy Award for pretending that I was completely fine.  Well, I will be ok, but my ego is definitely down the drain!

For the rest of the evening I have tried to 'blend in' to my surroundings hoping that not too many people noticed what had happened earlier...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Moving Classes

This year Stella started in a class at her nursery school that was exceptionally big and the age difference of the kids ranged between 2 years old and 4 years old.  Even though the age gap was big and Stella was one of the younger kids when starting out in this class, she did really well especially in her art work.  In September a new teacher joined the school and the speech therapist who is seeing Stella suggested that Stella be moved to that class as there will be a small amount of kids in the class and Stella might calm down a bit if the class is not as "busy" as the one she was at.  I knew it would be younger kids in the class, but assumed it would be the younger ones from the class she was at.  Clearly I was mistaken as I only realized afterwards that it was actually the older kids from the toddler class that went to this new teacher's class.  In other words Stella is much older than them.

In Stella's previous class her art work was outstanding.  She loved building puzzles, anything between 24 and 40 pieces.  About two weeks ago I asked to see her art work to see if the change to the new class affected her schoolwork.  I was shocked when I saw the way she was colouring in!  From being one of the best in her class, it now looked like the pictures were coloured in by a 2 year old who just started to learn to hold a crayon.  We realized that she was copying what the younger kids were doing.  After a long meeting with the school principal and manager we decided to keep her in that class a little longer, but not let her sit with the smaller kids when they do art work.

Last week I overheard the old and new teacher discussing Stella's report for the term.  Apparently she refused to build a puzzle bigger than 8 pieces!  That is when I realized that not only is her art work falling behind, but so is everything else.  So I requested that from today she be moved back to the older class.  What does it help her being calmer, but her school work is falling behind?

I'm so nervous about her getting confused and feeling left out if she keeps moving from one class to another so I'm just hoping that it wouldn't upset her too much.  At least I know that she loves this teacher and it hopefully won't take too long before she adapts to being in the older class again.  Most of her friends are there so hopefully that would help too.

With regards to her speech coming along, she is doing very well and has improved so much over the past three months.   From not understanding much of what she was saying in July, we can have a conversation with her and actually understand her.  She gets less frustrated because she doesn't have to keep trying to make us understand what she is saying.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Injuries at school

When do you decide that enough is enough?  Three weeks in a row our little one came home badly bruised from incidents that happened at school and most of them unnoticed by those supposed to supervise.  Now, nearing end of the year, it seems that timing wouldn't be ideal to move schools.  So once again it was brought to the school's management's attention that it is completely unacceptable that these things literally happen weekly.

The school's concert is coming up soon and excitement is in the air.  This is one of the reasons making it difficult to move schools now.  We are nearing the end of the year and have therefore decided not to make a change until then.  Also, it is a big move for a little one to go from one school to another, so it might be easier on her if it happens after a school holiday.

I am not a paranoid person who thinks that children will never get hurt at school, especially if you have a 'busy' child, but surely at one point one realizes that the amount of injuries they get at school is not 'normal' nor acceptable.

In the meantime the hunt for a new school is on.  I have realized once again how important it is to get as much information about schools as possible before enrolling your child.  Although we had done this each time with different schools for our two little ones, it seems like it would be best to maybe get opinions from professional people dealing with these schools i.e. dance teachers, therapists, etc.  Although they might not say anything bad about specific schools, they might just tell you about schools that are good options to consider in their opinion.  Other parents who have kids in schools one might consider is also a valuable source of information.

For your own peace of mind it definitely makes sense to ask around as much as possible so you can make an informed decision.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Signing Cues and Speech Therapy for Toddlers

Every week Stella, aged 3½, has a session with her speech therapist helping her to improve her speech.  Yesterday I was invited to sit in with them to see what exactly it is she does every week in order to know what exercises we can do at home to help her.  I was so impressed with what I have seen... amazed actually.  I have noticed at home on a couple of occasions that Stella does something with her hands when saying certain words.  We didn't know why she was doing it.  Yesterday I saw that she is actually learning 'signing cues' in her speech therapy class.  For example if she says a word and leaves out certain letters i.e. she might leave out the 's' in the word 'school', there is a certain sign the speech therapist shows her to let her know that she left the 's' out and Stella will repeat the word, saying it perfectly.  I am so proud of how far she had come in a month's time.

I have googled speech therapy and signing to find out a little more about it and came across this link:  http://special-ism.com/interested-in-american-sign-language-for-communication/#sthash.WFrPJpuM.UOVD50da.dpbs

I will definitely try and read more about it.  It is so interesting and amazing how much it helps little Stella to say words correctly.

Stella has to do exercises improving her muscles in her face in order to help her form her words better as it is underdeveloped.  It is simple exercises, but she enjoys it.  After the session yesterday I bought her a couple of items needed to be able to do these at home as well.  Can't wait to start!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Things Threenagers Say

Two afternoons ago I picked Stella up from school.  What our conversation was about I don't remember.  After a few moments of silence in the car Stella says "That's great!".  What exactly she was referring to I am not sure.  I got the impression she just suddenly thought of something she heard that day and decided to say it out loud.  The other thing she came up with happened yesterday morning on our way to school.  She usually pretends that dinosaurs are chasing us and when I played along and suggested that there was another dinosaur in the street she simply said "that's just sssstupid!".  Last night she finished Nika's last little bit of milk.  Nika took the bottle back and played with it and Stella, not impressed with the idea that Nika took it said to her sister "Nika, thats not funny!".  It might sound like just normal things 3-year-olds say, but to us it is quite a big thing every time she says a new sentence after her operation in July.  The fact that she is now learning new words and sentences shows that the operation did in fact improve her hearing and she is making good progress in learning to talk properly.  Less than 2 months ago it was very difficult to understand much of what she was saying and she has made real good progress to a point where our friends are also commenting on how they can now actually have a conversation with her and understand what she is saying to them.  It is truly amazing to see.

Nika is teething again and every late afternoon when she gets home from school her cheeks are red as if it is a hot summer's day and it is winter still.  We are lucky that her temperature did not go above 40 degrees again like with the previous tooth, but she is still quite warm and grumpy.  I'm hoping that the molar would cut through soon so she can feel better again.  There are so many products on the market for teething, but when Stella was small we were told by the clinic nurse that not all products for teething actually soothes the pain.  Some products only helps with the effects teething might have on their tummies for example.  I realized soon enough that when purchasing something to help ease the pain for her, it is best to check with the pharmacist whether the product indeed helps with that.

We had dinner with a good friend on Monday evening whom we only see once a month.  She commented on the little character Nika has become.  Even though she and her sister do look alike in some ways, they each have their own personalities and they are complete opposites.  Stella is a very outgoing and happy child, happy to talk to anyone willing to listen where Nika is shy around strangers, but also very friendly like her sister.  She will make sure you know about it if she is not happy.  When she feels comfortable around people and becomes playful she loves pulling funny faces and then laughs at herself.

I'm so amazed at the best of times to see these two beautiful children grow and develop new skills and become their own persons.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tantrums from a threenager

Stella is the queen of tantrums, I'm sure.  I have never seen another child having a tantrum quite like her.  As mentioned in my previous post, we do have a discipline issue, so every time we do have to discipline her i.e. send her to her room, not allow her to watch a movie, etc. because she is being naughty, a gigantic tantrum will follow.

I've tried telling her why she is being punished by for example being sent to her room, but she screams so loud that she couldn't possibly hear me talking.  Sometimes it is the slightest thing that triggers a tantrum.  The other night she woke up at 12 o'clock and mumbled something.  I couldn't hear what she was saying and thought she was half asleep still.  I told her to go back to sleep and she got so upset, rolled over to her tummy and had a proper tantrum.  Turned out that all she wanted was water to drink.  You would thought they would just say so!

I know some people believe that one year old's are too young to have tantrums, but Nika surely does something that resembles a proper temper tantrum.  When I pick her up from school and I don't take her into my arms immediately or if I have to put her down to check something in her bag, she throws herself on her face on the floor and just lies there and cry until I convince her to get up and come to me.  Also, when her teacher gives attention to another child or picks another child up at a time that Nika thought it was her turn for attention, she does the same.  I'm amazed sometimes that she doesn't get hurt when she falls on the floor like that.  She probably had a lot of practise at school already and knows exactly how to land on her tummy without hurting herself.  It gives me a fright every time I see it though.

Neither Nika nor Stella becomes aggressive and punch or bite, etc. when having tantrums and for that I'm very grateful.  I had a look online to see if I could find some good advise on how to deal with it and came across this article:  http://children.webmd.com/tc/temper-tantrums-topic-overview

To be honest, I'm not sure whether time-out works with Stella and Nika is still too small to get time-out, but it might be worth a try with Stella again.  I have read before that you should give time out according to their age, i.e. if they are 2 years old = 2 minutes time out; 3 years old = 3 minutes time out.

The thing is with Stella that she will scream louder and louder while having time out and she only calms down once the 3 minutes are up.  Maybe we should try a naughty chair somewhere else in the house and not in her room.  I know that her room should be a safe place for her and not somewhere where she gets sent to for time out, but our space is very limited so we don't have that many options available.  A naughty chair in the corner of the lounge might be the answer.

I guess the answer is to just try different options until you find what works for you and your child.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Improved Hearing and Toddling Along

We had a busy long weekend, visiting with different friends.  On Sunday we made a fire to make a green bean and lamb pot.  My friend and I quickly popped out to the shop while the little ones stayed with daddy and our friend's husband.  While we were away a piece of wood fell from the barbecue and before anyone could stop her, Stella picked it up to put it back into the fire.  She burnt her hand with the hot piece of wood and now has three blisters to show for it.  One blister is nearly the size of her thumb.  It was very sore on Sunday, but by yesterday her hand was feeling much better again.  She still doesn't want to use it, but at least it is not throbbing anymore.

After months of realizing that Stella doesn't talk as fluently as her classmates and two months ago getting the impression that she might be getting teased as school, we called in the help of a speech therapist to do an analysis on her.  To make a long story short, after being referred to ENT and the paediatrician, we realized that she had enlarged tonsils and adenoids which were infected and had to be removed.  There was a build-up of fluid behind her ear drums because of it which caused hearing loss.  So they also inserted grommets to drain the fluid from her ears.  Ever since the operation her hearing has improved, but seeing that for who-knows-how-long, she couldn't hear properly she taught herself to ignore people talking as she could not control the volume as she could do with a Television for example.  So now we have a discipline problem as she doesn't listen even though she can hear.  Some days are better than others though.  It is amazing how one day she can be as good as gold and the next day you cannot get anything out of her.

I feel so guilty for not realizing sooner that she might have a hearing problem, but the possibility never even crossed our minds.  We also had to change our home language to English as she got confused with our actual home language and English and spoke it as one language, using more English words.  Most of her/our friends are English and most of the kids in the school she goes to are English.  So she basically decided for herself that English is her language and for her sake we had to make the change.  Within the first two days of switching over to English the change in her vocabulary was astonishing.  It was a hard decision to make, but we are glad that we did, because it definitely benefited her.

For the first time since the 1st of April, Nika has been well, not having flue or tonsillitis, etc. for longer than a week.  She must have been to the GP at least eight times since April.  It is such a relief that she is feeling better.  Maybe because we had a warm week last week and Spring is approaching.

Nika had her 12months vaccination this month (about 2/3 weeks after turning 1), and weighs 12.25kg (27lb).  She weighed nearly 4.2kg (9.25lb) at birth so is a big baby.  I was so surprised that she didn't even cry when she was given her vaccination.  Babies are so brave.  She started walking at 11 months and is running around like a pro!  Almost every Mom hopes that her child's first word would be "Mama", but thanks to Stella constantly pretending that she is a puppy and 'barking' at us, Nika's first word was "Woof"!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Becoming Mom

After 8 years of marriage and having a miscarriage two years before, we finally held our beautiful baby girl in our arms in the beginning of 2010.  What an amazing feeling it was and still is to hold her and look into those beautiful innocent eyes and face.  For the best part of the past 3½ years she has been a very healthy and happy child and still is.  We hardly ever knew when she was teething as there were no signs really, next thing we knew she had one or two or at one stage 4 more teeth coming out at once.  My Mom and Granny came to stay for two months to take care of her when I needed to go back to work after my maternity leave.  She started going to nursery at 4 months old and absolutely loves school.  She loves being around people and is not a shy child.  I'm sure she got that from her father because when I was a child I couldn't even say a word if there was a stranger in the room.  I didn't make friends easily and our daughter is the total opposite.

In the Winter of 2012 our second daughter was born.  She is a bit more shy than her older sister and I was terrified about sending her to nursery school.  For the 1st two months of her life she would not go to anyone else and only wanted to be in my arms.  She struggled with bad colic and was treated for it.  It improved after two months old.  She also started sleeping through the night then.  Our first daughter still doesn't sleep through every night.  My Mom and Granny came to stay with us again to help out and went back home when she was 7 months old and she started nursery school then.  I was so stressed out by the idea that she had to go to school that I could hardly sleep.  I couldn't focus on anything, being worried sick if she would be crying all day.  So the 1st day of school finally arrived and I phoned halfway through the day to find out how things were going with her.  Apparently she was a bit moody in the morning, but after having a nap she was absolutely fine, loved her teacher from the word go and never had a problem going to school after that!  What a relieve.

Ok,  lets go back a few months... before our 2nd daughter, Nika, was born, I was so worried about how our eldest daughter, Stella, would react to her, not being the center of attention all the time anymore.  When Nika finally arrived, Stella was a bit clingy in the first few weeks after we got home.  The week I spend in hospital with Nika after giving birth was the first time I had been away from Stella for so long and I, as usual, was worried sick about her and how she was coping not having me around.  She was still on nappies at the time and by the time I got home, she was basically off the nappies.  I, until this day, still don't know how my dear husband managed to get her to potty train so fast!  She was definitely showing signs of wanting to potty train and at school they really have done their part, but I didn't expect it to happen so fast.  I remember still thinking about the financial side of things with both of them still on nappies.  So that was sorted!

So after the few weeks of being very clingy and wanting to get onto my lap every time I consider sitting down, things started going back to normal slowly, but surely.  I can still remember the first time Stella and Nika really connected.  Nika was on my lap and Stella came over to us and she looked into Nika's eyes and Nika returned a favor by giving Stella the most-beautiful, gummy smile that I have ever seen her give anyone.  Stella was completely taken by surprise and burst out laughing and I could see in her face how much that smile had meant to her.  They love each other, yet don't play together too often yet.   I'm not worried as Stella obviously sees her sister as a baby still, and probably thinks she is too big to play with babies.  Nika just turned 1 and I am sure they will be playing along fine soon enough.