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.