Thursday, December 27, 2007

top 3 reads for a harassed breastfeeding mom

no, not self-help bf manuals, but what "intellectual" stimulation i got while i bf the bean. these were my go-to reads because they were light volumes whose content didn't require massive amounts of concentration. so i give you my top 3 breastfeeding reads (come to think of it, they were the ONLY books/mags i read during all those bf hours*):

1. p.g. wodehouse is good, especially the collections of short stories. i found such light entertainment in slim tomes very suitable for the night feeds, and these were my bf companions when the bean was around 10-12 months. the only problem was trying to stifle the chortling at humorous passages.

2. no.1 ladies detective agency series. easy reads. good for constant putting downs and picking ups.

3. i have become quite hermit-like with regards to what goes on in the outside world and i rely on the economist magazine to keep me abreast of current affairs. but i have to admit that i really only read the letters column and the arts & books, technology/science and obituary sections! the economist obituaries are quite fascinating as it's usually about some obscure but, i guess, important (in some tangential way) personage. the only problem with the mag is the rustling of the pages which can sometimes stir an asleep-at-the-breast bub.

after coming up with this rather brief list, i realise that i have NOT done much with the time spent bf the bean when she was an infant. racking my memory, i think we did some bf while i watched the telly, while most times i think i just blanked out on a chair or the bed, probably listening to a cd of classical tunes for bubs.

hmmm...not very productive use of time. no wonder my brain is mush.

*these were during the bf stages of newborn to 1 year. past that the bean got too fidgety to make it easy for me to read anything while we bf.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

her longest sentence to date

dh decided to get the bean out of my hair and let me have some rest today as i had a frightful night, with the bean crawling over to me for "me meo" (that's "milk milk" to the uninitiated) seemingly every hour or else asking "hand hand" (i.e. to hold her hand) the whole night.

however, his invitations to "go out with daddy" was just met with "no no mai" as she knew i wasn't coming along. finally, the bean made her point by saying, "ma mee, dair ee, you, out, now, peeeese".
(read: mummy, daddy, me, go out now please)

after much cajoling and bribery though, she set off with dh in the end.

* * *

footnote to the above
the bean gave a new interpretation to the phrase "asleep at the wheel" when daddy and bub were returning from their outing - she fell asleep on her trike!

dh rang me when they were at the top of the drive to the house, and i walked out to see her head resting on the handlebars with arms hanging over it and feet hardly touching the pedals as dh trundled her along. dh said that she didn't even stir when they went over humps.

probably remembering the countlessly retold story of how dh as a little laddie liked to crawl into the basket under his younger sibling's pram to sleep, dh admitted that the bean is definitely her daddy's daughter.

Monday, December 24, 2007

milk now please

the bean reserves the use of the P word for really urgent matters: bf-ing! that's when she doesn't need to be prompted.

this morning she sidled up to me and said in an almost coquettish manner, "ma mak now peeese?"

her father was rather amused/impressed with her deployment of 'please' to achieve her aims.

if i follow through on child-led weaning, i really wonder when the bean would give up bf. when she is about to bf she sometimes says, "yum yum!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

peek-a-boo / dress with poo

some interesting achievements:

1) peek ah boo
this morning, whilst her daddy was at his ablutions, the bean decided to play a trick on him. first, she went up to say 'hi', then after a moment, she loudly called out, "bye!" before walking out the bathroom. almost immediately though she was back to say, "peek ah boo!"
dh thought it hilarious and he was, i suspect, rather proud of her.

2) dress in poo
since today was the hottest it's been for the past 1.5 weeks, i deliberately left the bean nappy-less for most of the day and placed her 2 potties (yes, there are 2) in plain view of her play area.

the whole morning she avoided the potties quite steadily until the moment i was engaged somewhere else. when i came back to the living area i was surprised (albeit delighted too) to find her sitting on her potty. unfortunately, her nice jersey dress was tucked under her!

i went over to pull out the back hem of the dress and as i did so, what i feared might happen did occur: out plopped a nugget onto the carpet. sigh.

i didn't lose my cool over this as the bean did what she was supposed to do afterall, i.e. to poo in her potty, and she filled it admirably. so it's mummy's lesson: i have to put her in t-shirts instead of dresses.

p/s. i can't remember when it started but the bean is now calling me "ma ee" instead of "ba", the latter having been her name for me for the longest time - probably since she started making specific sounds to mean things actually.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

gender-bending already?

at bathtime this evening i was bantering with the bean when she came up with something truly unexpected.

it started out simple enough...
me: "are you a little girl?"
bean: "nooo" (she said, not really looking at me as she was playing in the bath)
me: "are you a baby?"
bean: "nooo"
me: "are you an aeroplane?" (she was playing with a toy plane then)
bean: "nooo"
me: "are you a bird?"
bean: "nooo"
me: "are you a butterfly?"
bean: "nooo"
me: "what are you then?"
bean: (turning to me) "boy!" and she beamed brightly.

hmmm, should i worry?
maybe it explains why she is so hooked on breastfeeding... n-aaahhhhh

awww...cute! cont'd

this morning, bean said, "aw, cute!" to a spider! ok, so it was a cutely drawn little spider in a children's book, but still...?!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


the bean hadn't seen her daddy for a couple of days as he was away on business, so when he rang this afternoon i called her over to speak to her father.

"dair Ee", she cried out as she took the receiver, beaming with joy. she answered a few questions from her daddy (whether she'd been a good girl for her mommy etc) to which she emphatically replied, "yessh" to all. i think he could've asked her if she'd been to the moon and she'd still have said "yessh".

then dh said, "i love you." so i asked her to say the same thing back. "i uh you" she said, which was immediately followed by her uttering, "aw, cute!" and trying to hug the phone.

she has been using this phrase ("aw, cute!") for a bit recently for anything worth cuddling and even some that aren't: pictures of bunny rabbits, teddy bears, dogs, cats, even butterflies, besides the 'real' teddy bears or other soft toys at home.

when she was being affectionate to me one time, she gave me a tight squeezy hug and said, "aw, cute!" too.

maybe she picked this up from when i read to her. if we see a picture of cute animals that would be what i tended to say...and perhaps i say it to her too. as in, "aw, sweetie, you're so cute!" before giving her a cuddle.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

toddlerific idiosyncracies

just a short list of some of the bean's toddlerrific idiosyncracies:

a) the toothbrush tussle - when the bean insists on clamping down on the toothbrush so that you can’t brush her teeth properly, or she might simply keep turning her head away each time a toothbrush is brought to her so that you get to shove the toothbrush into the air with each manoeuvre! i’ve ended up doing the carrot-stick approach (“you get milk later” or “mummy will get VERY angry” when the former fails).

b) potty pugnacity - these days if she gets too caught up with playing or the (i admit this guiltily) telly, then she would rather go in her nappy instead of telling me about it so I can whip out the potty.

c) the potty-mouth echo - there were a few times when dh and i were not as careful with our speech as we should have been and the bean repeated our more colourful language with extreme accuracy. admittedly, this is quite an achievement since she doesn’t usually enunciate well. e.g. “heemah hee” (can you guess she means ‘christmas tree’?), “dairh-ee” (daddy), “fwy” (butterfly) et al.

d) birthday suit preference - lately she has decided that she would rather not get dressed when i take her out of her nightwear. so i have the joy of running after this naked child who takes delight in calling out “nayk” “nayk” (naked, naked) then pointing to her chest to proclaim, “neep” (nipple)!

e) mad dancing - the bean's combines a bit of that 60’s dance move The Monkey (arms go up and down) with spinning around till she stumbles dizzily. she likes to groove in this manner first thing in the morning, once she’s out of the bedroom, and it doesn’t matter if it’s to bach or barney, mozart or mickey mouse, it’s still the same dance.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

our rare slinging moments

it's been a long time since i put the bean in a sling. i believe our previous experience was at the zoo nearly 2.5 months ago, when she refused to go into her stroller OR walk on her own. and that was with a beco.

but yesterday i had an opportunity to sling her again when we had cleaners come into the house. the bean is almost petrified of the korean couple - especially the man - and wanted to be held for at least the first 15 mins. they were here. so i popped her up into our trusty storch onto my back and she was quite happy, especially when i passed her knick knacks to play with back there. in fact she deposited a laundry ball down the back of my shirt.

coming out of her shell

after two terms and lots of dodging behind my legs, the bean is finally able to shake the directress's hand at our montessori playgroup...on the last day of term, of the year, no less.

the directress commented on how chatty the bean's become. and today, the bean was in top form.

she wouldn't shake the directress's hand at the start of our session but she looked at the other children, point to one and say the kid's name.

she really does like to point and say, or comment: "hair clip", "coin box", "put back chair", "mommy"...

btw, she now says "yessh" more than "yup", but it comes with a lisp, which i think is endearing.

during the singalong session, the bean took centrestage for a short while and stood up next to or in front of the directress to do all the actions to the songs. but not before she tried to pre-empt the directress by posing in 'rocketship' mode. the directress had to tell her, "no, not time to do 'rocketship' yet." ('rocketship' is the second last song we do, right before the 'goodbye' song.)

during the colour song, the bean took it upon herself to call out the colour we should sing for another child who was too shy to pick a colour. then when it came to her turn, after the directress asked what colour we should sing for her, the bean loudly proclaimed, "blooo!" and tweaked at her blouse.

at the end of the session the bean said goodbye to a few of the children. i believe she is the ONLY child to do so, as sadly, no one reciprocated. the directress mollified her by saying, "i don't think they heard you."

but i think her sociability today at our montessori playgroup is kind of unique. it takes her a long time to get comfortable in any new environment to be able to be so expressive.

so i wonder how the holiday break would influence her behaviour: would she become all shy and self-conscious again after 2 months away from the montessori environment? would she remember the directress and the other children?

we shall see.

Friday, December 07, 2007

naughty ant/ reach/ run/ tiptoe/ big hugs

just to continue from yesterday's post about the bean's ant bite...

this morning she wandered into the bathroom where dh was in the midst of his morning ablutions. there she pointed to the bathtub, repeating the words, "nauh anh".

dh was a bit nonplussed at first but then he understood. the bean was saying "naughty ant", showing him where the ant bite had taken place.

it is remarkable how, in the last 10 days or so, the bean has started stringing together rudimentary sentences.

anyhoo, today she began this fixation on "reee", where she would almost get up on tiptoe and raise her arms high. i later figured out she meant "reach". i don't know where she got this action from - the wiggles? little einsteins maybe? i think there is one segment on little einsteins when the kids exhort the audience to "raise your arms" (before yelling blast off) and perhaps that's where the bean has copied this from.

also today, she nearly tried tiptoeing. first time really that i had seen this. or at least it's the first time she deliberately brought it to my attention, by treading more carefully across the floor and saying, "teeh toe".

'tiptoe' came after she did a series of runs (called "wuns" - she does speak like a chinese who can't roll 'r's ) - she likes to back up some distance then 'run' (more like speed walk) into my outstretched arms. occasionally, she would modify the runs by spreading her arms wide, fall into my arms, and exclaim, "beee hug!" (i.e. big hug.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I am You, You is Me

the bean hasn't quite gotten the hang of pronouns yet - she calls herself "you".

like when she sees a photo of herself, it's finger pointed and a loud, ecstatic "you!"

tonight, before falling asleep, she also tried her first three-word sentence: "ant (slight pause) bit (slight pause) you", and prodded the part of her neck where an ant had perhaps nibbled earlier in the evening.

she didn't seem particularly discomfited and she went to sleep after i put some ointment on the area. what was striking about the incident was her attempt to communicate. okay, so it was partly in imitation of me when i'd asked her, "did an ant bite you there?" but it does show her comprehension.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

our dancing queen is sure demanding

when the bean wants to dance and i am dancing with her then she will not tolerate it if i stop (even if i got tired). she would utter, "no-no!" and grab me to get up again.

this happened today when we were in the lull before mickey mouse clubhouse and listening to mummy's special compilation of baby-pop music.

but today was not the first instance of this imperious behaviour. during a visit to a girlfriend's, when the bean was dancing to a singing toy bear (don't ask), she forced us 2 adults to dance along with her. my friend was exhausted by the end of the afternoon - from the beginning-to-irritate christmas carol 'sung' by the bear and the non-stop boogieing the bean demanded.

walking up stairs & running (the beginning)

the bean is a very cautious little girl. it took her a long time to crawl and it took her a long time before she walked. it's the same with walking up and down stairs without the need to hold onto something or on hands and knees.

however, yesterday i noticed that she was walking up and down, unaided, the short steps to the front lawn. AS WELL AS the step to the front door. it was the first time she did this in a sustained fashion. i was very pleased. and so was she.

she still hasn't quite mastered running yet, though in her mind when she walks super fast with arms jogging, it's a "wun" (run). very funny.

the bean's love of order

perhaps maria montessori is correct.

last week at the end of the montessori playgroup the bean decided to take out the skittles that were packed in a wheelbarrow. each skittle she took out she carefully laid on its side on a table, so that they formed a row. i looked at the directress who said that it's evidence of children's love for order. when i put one of the skittles upright for fear that it might roll off the table, the directress advised me to lay it back on its side and to prop a chair up to the table instead, or i'd risk upsetting the pattern that the bean's created (and thence risk upsetting the bean too).

then 2 days ago, when the bean was eating a banana (she doesn't like the banana to be chopped into pieces, she wants to hold it as it is peeled) i saw that one part of it had gone mushy brown. so i cut that piece off, but immediately she howled and wailed with hot tears of anger and frustration. when i showed her the piece i had cut off, she tried to put it back on the rest of the banana, but it was no use: the banana was no longer the same. fresh wails of anger ensued......well, i have certainly learnt my lesson!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

excruciating shyness?

looking at the posts in the blog, it may appear as if the bean is some sainted cherub. far from it.

but actually, i don't think her behaviour differs much from most toddlers her age, save for one thing: her excruciating shyness in a group setting.

she's usually fine when she meets new people on a one on one basis (in my arms), but she seems frightened of group situations. e.g. when we enter her music class or her montessori playgroup she is always hiding behind my legs (or dh's), or tugging at my hand and dragging her feet, reluctant to go in. it takes nearly 1.5 hours of the montessori playgroup before she warms up and is ready to respond to people, so that by the end of the session she is then capable of waving goodbye, going up to other children with gestures of affection, and saying "bye".

i have found that she is most uncomfortable around strange adults. e.g. our new cleaners (whom we will only see once a fortnight), the postman...strangers on the street who want to comment on her cuteness etc. i guess this is also a good thing as we don't want her to be too trusting of strangers!

the bean needs to be toughened

we had a friend over recently who brought her 2 kids so that our children can play together. but this adult idea of happily playing kids turned out to be quite impossible.

my friend's 3 year old son, who had been quite sweet if very high spirited before, was very aggressive with the bean that day.

when he wasn't tearing around on the bean's little red car, he was skim reading books and throwing toys and books on the far that's normal little boy antics...but in between all that he kept going over to glower at the bean, arms akimbo, muttering threats: "you are NOT riding the car", "you can't have the book", "you can't have the biscuit", "you can't have my water"...even when she wasn't anywhere near the items.

meanwhile, every book or toy that dd picked up would be snatched from her and he would shove and use his superior height and size to intimidate. the bean would then frown and run and sit on my lap. no complaints or whines from her AT ALL mind you, which made me both proud of her and also sad; whatever overtures she made to the 2 children were misinterpreted as encroachment on their turf (even though it was her house, her books and her toys). so she became quite silent during their entire visit. (the only time she was very vocal was when they were leaving, and her goodbyes were decidedly loud.)

finally towards the end of their visit, and almost predictably, the boy shoved the bean who fell on her back, hit her head on the floor and bawled. she's very unused to other children being so physical and it took a while for her to calm down. my friend got her son to apologise to the bean, twice, because the first time he was quite perfunctory.

but all this aggression resulted in the bean vomitting. i was a bit worried at first, wondering if it was from her fall, but my friend said it was probably stress induced.

i wonder what made that little boy behave in this manner. it was all unprovoked as well, since the bean was very accommodating, being quite happy for the company and wanting to share her toys. in fact, when they first arrived, she picked up a soft toy and brought it to them. i did notice that as the visit progressed the bean stopped doing that and began to imitate their 'snatching' manner.

my friend told me that her son had been behaving this way since he joined a playgroup where there were older, bullying boys. if there are no other underlying reasons for her son's behaviour, then it certainly proves how like sponges are children this age, with very little idea of the consequences of their actions.

here's another case for the kids-as-sponges simile: my friend's daughter, who's a few months younger than the bean, copies almost everything her big brother does and says. so after he tried to kick the bean, his sister did too.

if the bean had suffered any psychological or emotional damage from this encounter, the proof was when i asked the bean if she likes the 2 children, to which her reply was, "Yea!"

it's truly amazing how children bounce back.

dh was very nonchalant about it, saying that the bean will have forgotten about this incident on the morrow. i know he's right...but for me it was really hard to see the bean bullied. and i have at least another 18 years of such heartbreak. i guess i just need to get her (and me) toughened up.

"ah yea!"

one of my worst fears has just been realised. the bean has got a bad case of oz-ilitis.

our little neanderthal doesn't know how to enunciate properly yet, and some of her speech sounds decidedly aussie.

to wit: "ah yeaaa!" (deployed e.g. whenever she finds something she's been asked about), "yea" (instead of 'yes'), "nah" (instead of 'no').