Wednesday, March 21, 2007

i'm a-walking, i'm a-walking, i'm a-walking to the bathroom

after a day of not doing a lot of walking, dd decided that she would remedy that late this afternoon after her dinner.

she was a bit restless and i guess she wanted a break from looking at her books (she does go through them prodigiously, tossing one aside if she's bored with it), so i sat myself a few feet away from her and asked her to walk towards me. she beamed with glee and a look of determination and immediately steadied herself before taking those few steps to me. with that initial success i moved away from her again and asked her to walk towards me again.

we did this a few more times (sometimes dd would cheat a little and hold onto a nearby object or reach out and grab my hand when she got near) before her daddy came home, when she FINALLY had a proper audience to show off.

she managed to toddle between dh and i a few times before it was time for her bath. when dh went to get the bath ready i asked dd to walk to daddy, thinking that she just might do it since she's been doing lots of small steps building up her confidence.

to my delight, she looked at him and slowly got up. then off she went, making a trajectory to a fan near a bookcase before she steadied herself again and headed directly for the bathroom. wow - this is definitely progress - she did a distance of about 20 ft! and it was continuous walking, i.e. she didn't squat down / stumble / trip / stop!

eta: dd has regained her pre-UK visit weight, which was 11.5 kg. yippee! i suspect that one of the reasons she's a slower walker is that she is that much heavier for her little feet (and proportionately her feet are small) to bear. plus, she also seems to be naturally more cautious, being supremely sensitive to pain. e.g. she'd immediately hold her hand and mouth an "ow" while she looks at me whenever she so much as bangs her hand a little too hard against something.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

justin the cat

i'd despaired of ever getting dd attached to a soft toy till recently. my big hope is that she will take to one particular toy and that will make it easier for her to transition to her own bed (instead of co-sleeping). 'justin' is an orange plush toy used by the bean's musikgarten teacher as a prop and helper who is highly sought after by most if not all the babies in class.
in the beginning, the bean would just sit with me or her daddy and watch the other kids try to grab justin from the teacher. then she would crawl over and as she s-l-o-w-l-y reached for justin, another kid would waddle up and grab it. finally, when she started walking, she became much bolder and would sometimes be able to grab justin first and thereby be able to hold onto her much longer.
i am now hunting for a justin clone in stores to see if she will be the bean's magic attachment object.

a giant step for leahkind

over the past week i could see that dd was progressing towards eventual independent walking.

it started with her crawling to the wagon-walker on her own, getting up and pushing it along. this was probably about 1.5 weeks ago. whenever she and the wagon became stuck (she doesn't know how to turn it around) she would squawk for me and i'd come along to face it another way, and then she'd be off again, on her little walk. during this period, i also saw that she was standing and squatting slowly without holding onto anything.

then about 6 days ago i noticed that dd was beginning to take a couple of tentative steps of her own, before she rushed to a nearby support (e.g. the couch or a chest of drawers). this didn't happen often - maybe once a day - but i guess she was slowly building up confidence and strength.

to help her along, whenever i led her on "finger" walks, i would only let her hold onto one hand instead of both hands. to my surprise i found her quite happy to do so. over a couple of days i began to see that she was a lot steadier on her feet and didn't falter as much, although there were times when she would stumble onto her knees. but she didn't seem to mind those 'falls' and always got up to continue her walks.

then a few days ago my parents came up. i think that the extra walking exercises she did with them and the fact that she now had a bigger audience to please, boosted her confidence a lot. in fact, she wasn't too pleased to be carried by them and insisted on walking (holding onto one of their hands).

it culminated yesterday in a real walk of 5-6 steps towards gonggong. unfortunately, i wasn't there to witness that momentous occasion, which was not repeated that day.

then today, after her dinner, i left her to her own devices while i chatted on the phone. suddenly i noticed that she was standing, one hand gripping a tv remote control, then she walked about 7 steps before she dropped the remote and stopped. she squatted, got up and took another 2 steps before squatting again to pick up the remote. then she walked another 8 steps to her step-n-play activity station!

her last 2 steps were a bit rushed and she grabbed the side of the toy for support, dropping the remote again. this time she didn't pick it up but she turned to me and did her funny face (at the moment she likes to 'twang' her lips and make a 'bunghbunghbunghbunghbungh' noise) before smiling cheekily. it was as if she was saying, see i did it!

she hasn't repeated this walking feat as it was bathtime immediately afterwards and bedtime followed.

i doubt that she would be walking on her own immediately tomorrow, as i am sure that she is still working on her balance (anyone who sees her stubby, chubby little legs will admit that her tiny feet have a lot of weight to bear and her baby fat must be a factor in why she's not walking early) and confidence. nonetheless, i am so very proud of her. (tears in eyes)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

barney is a cult: tv "reviews"

i don't claim to know all the shows on our astro default channel (playhouse disney), but there are a couple that creep me out a little: barney & friends and out of the box.

the content of the barney show is actually not too bad and can be educational, however, the stepford children on the programme are just too artificial for my taste. barney, himself, also looks a bit creepy: helloooo, he's meant to be a t-rex; his arms are like rubber foetus arms and his plateau-ed head and high-set eyes could be those of a psychopath. well, ok, maybe that's a little exaggerated. but the moolah the show makes from parents when it goes on tour is just disgusting. a ticket to the barney show in kl costs more than a rock concert!

the other kids' show that has good intentions but stepford people is out of the box. every person has to end his/her line with a little giggle. all the forced jollity makes me grind my teeth, it's so painful.

needless to say the above are 2 shows on our "ban list".

fortunately, the playhouse disney (phdc) channel has other programmes, including updates on old faves, e.g. noddy, although this new version has been vulgarised! no longer is policeman plod called constable or pc plod, he's plain ole mister plod now. plus noddy has an american accent! is nothing sacred?!

but 2 other programmes on the phdc channel aren't so offensive (to me): little einsteins and pocoyo. the latter gets big bonus points for having stephen fry as the narrator. the clean crisp animation: the plain white background, having the characters take on one main hue, all help to minimise the kineticism of children's cartoons, and make it less disturbing on my aging retinas.

little einsteins is (unfortunately) a product of the baby einstein company, the latter of which i find a bit manipulative. but it gets high marks for incorporating classical music and good artworks into an interesting programme, for me anyways, since dd doesn't really follow the show. (in fact, she doesn't watch any of the programmes in full!)

an amusing part of each little einsteins episode is that as the four little einsteins prepare for take-off they need to help their rocket ship gain power by patting their laps/knees and then shout "blast off!" it's very music+movement for tots a la musikgarten/kindermusik/gymboree et al.

then yesterday, i found dd actually saying "pat, pat, pat" as the little einsteins run to their rocket ship...all in anticipation of what they have to do next! i find it amazing that she has picked this up. most of the time she looks at the tv and then ignores it, as if most of the animation bores her after a while. that is, unless she sees balloons on the screen! on the few occasions balloons show up in a programme dd would point to the telly and go, "buh?", look anxiously at me and repeat, "buh?" i had to tell her that mummy can't get her the balloons and show her that by tapping the screen.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

she's not walking yet but she's fine, thanks very much!!!

...had to wait a day to cool down from an unpleasant experience yesterday.

it was dd's baby gym yesterday and it's usually a large mixed group of babies at different development stages (the group has a range of 11 to 16 months!). but that day it was mainly walkers who showed up and dd was the only one still crawling there.

both of us were sort of enjoying ourselves as we had missed quite a few classes. that was until one of the mothers, who had never said a word to me before, turned to me with a frown and asked, "how old is leah?" guilelessly i answered with a smile, "13 months." she didn't reply and in the awkward silence i thought i would be friendly and asked, "and how old is ___?" the woman retorted, "same!" with another frown and nod towards her daughter (as in, and look at her, she's walking and standing so well).

i was stung. instead of being just a friendly mom i then realised that she was criticising dd and i for dd not yet walking! what a bitch! i was seething and for the rest of the class i debated whether to confront her about her attitude and tone. in the end i decided to ignore her....and as one of my brother-in-laws would say, 'to rise above it.'

but boy, that really made my mood sour...coming on top of finding out that my parents think it was my cooking that had caused dd's gastroenteritis! they decided not to send us back to kl with some fresh fish fry as they thought i would make a mess of cooking it and poison their granddaughter.

anyway, needless to say, yesterday was a bad bad day with nasty vibes from people i had least expected.