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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Astrid's 1st time at the movies

I took Astrid to see her first movie today.

There's a movie theater in Los Feliz (the Los Feliz 3), that has "Mommy & Me Matinee" on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM. (Kids under 4 are free.) I've known about it for awhile now, (and U is always telling me I should go), but I waited until I felt Astrid was ready and able to sit through a movie. Now she can (just barely) sit through an entire hour long episode of Sesame Street, so it was time to try out the mommy & me matinee. Here we are in front of the movie theater kiosk, having just purchased my ticket for a slim $4.50. Astrid was free.Astrid standing in front of the Cinema 1 room, ready to watch her first movie.

I kept trying to describe to her what it would be like to go to the movies, since she had no concept of what a movie is. She watches kid shows and cartoons, but never a movie, and this was her first time at the movie theater. To get her excited about going I told her we would be eating popcorn. So the entire way there she just kept asking about the popcorn.We had the entire row to ourselves at first. Then the parents with kids starting filing in. In total there were about 10 adults with about the same number of children.I toyed with the idea of just buying the popcorn there at the theater, but then I thought about how unhealthy it was and all that salt, so I opted to bring my own. I came prepared with organic popcorn that I brought from home (that doesn't contain any oil or salt and is shock full of fiber), grapes, animal crackers, graham crackers, and water. It was pretty cool to introduce my kid to the movie theater experience.Looking up at the big screen.

The kids present were newborns to about 4 years old. I saw parents trying to keep the younger kids distracted with iPods and such, and there were a few kids that cried, but the parents were pretty good about it. For me, with Astrid being almost 3 was the perfect time to go. She was really well behaved and I actually got to watch an entire movie in the theater.We saw the movie, "Juno". It was the perfect mommy & me movie - not too long, pace was slow, not a lot of action, and plot wasn't complicated. I didn't miss anything when a kid was crying, or when I needed to get something for Astrid.

Astrid sat through about half of the movie. Then she got up and walked in our aisle. There was another little kid at the end of our aisle that caught her attention and so she went over to investigate. I moved to the seat at the end of the aisle to be near her. The other kid was younger than Astrid and not a real playmate, but she would still watch her. She also kept herself busy with the aisle floor lights that fascinated her. She would put her foot over the lights to cover them up and then take her foot off to make it bright again.

It was also interesting to see how protective of me she is. When a little baby came too close (about to touch my leg) she shouted, "Mom!" and rushed over to protect me. And when she saw that I wasn't moving back to my seat she went and got the diaper bag and brought it over to me to make sure I didn't lose it. (Although I no longer need it to hold diapers, I still use it for all the other essentials, so it has become like a permanent fixture on me.)

Later on we moved back to our middle seats and while Astrid sat on my lap, I wrapped a blanket over her and she must have felt warm and cozy because she sat like that for about 20 minutes. After the movie was over and we were about to leave, Astrid bent down and started picking up popcorn off the floor. She said, "I cleaning up Mommy." It's kind of hard to explain to a 2 year old that you don't have to clean up at the movie theater since they hire people to sweep up, (and I didn't want to confuse her with why not here, when she has to clean up at home) - so I let her clean up.

It was a lot of fun for both of us and something I will definitely do again with her before I start working again full time in March.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kindergym Circuit Training

Astrid loves her new gymnastics class (she recently moved up to the next level kindergym class for ages 3-5), and although she's the youngest one in the class (she's not quite 3 years old yet), she continues to improve and wow her gymnastics coach.Here she is in one of her gymnastics outfits. Due to the cold weather, I put some leggings on underneath her leotard, and a long sleeved shirt on top as well. She got lots of compliments on these leggings, which are really tights without the feet. Everyone thought they were European, but they're actually Korean.Running and trying to catch Mommy.She's growing so fast, that I notice changes in her body. She's getting leaner (and stronger) and her muscles are elongating. That baby pot belly is going away too, and sometimes I see abs. I'm like "Where has my baby gone?" I think she's almost ready to move up to the next shoe size too - to a size 9. Gymnastics class has really helped with her coordination, strength and balance.
Astrid's turn on the rings.
In addition to just the physical part, it's also built up Astrid's confidence. She's willing to try anything and even practices on her own at home. I see her trying to hop on one foot, doing hand stands using the door, twirling in mid air, jumping off of things, etc. It's great to see that she's not afraid to push herself and she's so determined to get it down.The older kids in the class can swing and land on their own, but Astrid being so young (and doing it for the first time) needs a little assistance.
Twice a week Coach Carol sets up the gymnasium with different activities in an obstacle course fashion for the kids to rotate through like circuit training. It's great because the kids learn new skills each time and also keeps them on their toes.Listening to Coach Carol's directions. A little less assistance the second time around.Doing a back flip over a prop. Arms straight. Head off the floor.
Now over her legs go.
It was really amazing to see her tackle this new skill with such bravado. She absolutely loved it and did it better than most of the older kids in her class. She even kept doing it after class was over. Her coach commented that she had perfect form. (Now she likes to do it off the couch at home which isn't the safest.)
Coach Carol also said about Astrid, "Just wait until she starts school. She's sharp as a tack. Just amazing."
Walking out of class holding hands with her classmate Lindsay.
Don't the girls look sweet together?
When we have to part ways in the parking lot, Astrid always cries. Today Lindsay told her, "Don't cry when I leave okay?" A year makes a big difference. (Lindsay is 4 and Astrid will be 3 in a few months.)

I wanna go to school Mommy!

I've been hearing this a lot lately from Astrid, "I wanna go to school Mommy!" To her "school" is this place where all her friends go during the day and she feels she is missing out. She too wants to go to this enchanted place where she can spend hours playing with her friends.

But what she doesn't realize is:

a) She won't be going to the same preschool as her friends (they go to various schools, all of which are full).

b) When she goes to school she won't she Mommy all day. She will only see me in the early mornings when I'm getting her ready and driving her to school, and in the evening when I get off work and pick her up from school (and we'll have a couple hours together before it's her bedtime).

c) When she's at school, she will be there for the entire day. She can't just decide she wants to go to the zoo, park, library, swimming, beach, restaurant etc. I've been told by other mothers that the 1st month their kids were so excited about going to school because it was all new, but as soon as the novelty wore off they begged to stay home.

d) She will have to share 2 teachers with 18 other kids, so her needs won't be met immediately all the time like they are with Mommy at home. For example: If she wants to eat her string cheese, she will have to wait for the scheduled school snack time and wait her turn. That might be the biggest adjustment for her (other than just not having me around all the time doting on her.)

It makes me a little sad, because she'll be going to school soon enough. It feels a bit rushed for me (I don't know if I'm ready!) and is a pretty big transition that I'm just starting to digest. I don't know if I mentioned it on this blog, but I accepted a job offer with an official start date in March. This way I have some time to get Astrid acclimated to preschool before I go back to work full time. (Click here to read more about my new job.) So I'm going to start bringing Astrid to her preschool on a part time basis mid February, and then she'll be going to school full time starting in March.

In the meantime I've been telling Astrid that she will be starting school soon, so she should enjoy her time with Mommy.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

We're having duck, not feeding the ducks

Tonight we announced to Astrid that we were going to a German restaurant to have duck. Astrid thought we were going to feed the ducks. "Mama, we go feed the ducks at the park?" she asked. When U. realized what she was saying, he noticeably cringed.

It sucks to break it to your child that you eat cute, little animals. It's definitely nobler to be a vegetarian, and at these times I wish I were.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Drawing on her face with an ink pen

As I was getting ready in the bathroom, Astrid got a hold of an ink pen and went to town.When I walked back into the room, this is what I saw.

I thought I'd have a tough time getting it off (since it was a plain ole pen and not a Crayola washable). I was prepared to start scrubbing away, but luckily it came right off with a soapy wash towel. The ink was everywhere, including her eyelid, on her scalp, and the majority of it being on her forehead. Good grief. But amazingly even though she has tried to take the pen apart, it was still intact and there wasn't any ink spilt.

After I got her all cleaned up, we went to meet a friend and her baby for a play date. Even then I noticed I missed a small blue line on her nose, when I had thought I had gotten it all off.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Playing with my new webcam

U. and I got dual webcams for our laptops and we were playing with them tonight. (Geeking out with me upstairs, U. downstairs, and Astrid running back and forth between us.)

Now Astrid can talk to her Papa when he's away traveling on business, and I can also synch this up with our Skype phone to use when I'm working from home. Pretty nifty.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Big kids gymnastics class

Astrid has been in the gymnastics program at the YMCA since she was 10 months old. First she was in the mommy & me class, and then the Kindertot class, and now today she tried the Kindergym class (which is for ages 3-5) for the first time. Even though she isn't 3 yet, she's bored to tears (literally) with the class she was currently in. She would lie on the floor when we did exercises and whine and look away, and just did not want to do the same activities any longer. She was more interested in playing with the older kids once her class was over. Plus she was much more advanced than the toddlers in her class, and due to her size (she towers over the other kids in toddler class) the director of the program kept asking me how old Astrid was to see if she was ready to move from the toddler class to the move advanced class - and I decided it was time to try it out. I would rather her be challenged in the older, more advanced class, than stay bored in the class she was in.

She's also friends with 3 of the kids in the Kindergym class, which helps. It makes it much more fun for her. So even though the kids in this class are between 4-5, and more developed, (Astrid's the youngest one in the class now at 2.5), she feels comfortable and excited and tries to do everything the older kids are doing.Coach Carol has Astrid watch what her classmates are doing first.Look mom - I'm with the big kids now!This move she tried so hard to do, but her head should be off the ground. (It's something we've since practiced at home so that her arms stay straight and she doesn't let her head touch the ground.) For her first time though, it was a good effort. They play this game where the kids all put their feet up on the wall and make an arch, and let one kid at a time crawl through. Here it was Astrid's turn, and she was quick. It helps the kids build up strength in their arms, as they need to hold this pose for good periods of time.Coach Carol tells Astrid she did a good job. I like Coach Carol - she's tough and doesn't treat the kids like babies. She knows what they're capable of doing at their age and really pushes them, but also acknowledges when they do something right, and/or they're improving.Astrid sitting next to Henry on the balance beam and waiting her turn.This class differs from the toddler class in that the kids really have to listen and pay attention to their coach. Doing flips in the donut.And back up she goes.

Although Astrid had no clue what was going on at first, she tried to copy the other kids and went with the flow. It was so cute to see. And her forward flips were even better than some of the other kids.

There were things that Astrid can't do yet at her age, like hop on one foot, and some of the skills that require more upper body strength, but she made an effort to try everything and would do her own modified version if necessary.

After class, Coach Carol said that Astrid did exceptionally well today. She said, "For a 2 year old it's amazing. I've had 3 1/2 year olds in my class that didn't listen as well as Astrid. You should feel very proud."

The things she says at 2 years and 8 months

Wanted to jot down some of the things Astrid is saying now (as it's constantly changing).

  • "I want to see Papa's peter!" (peter = computer)
  • "I have to go peep." (peep = short for pee pee)
  • "What ya doin'?" (She always asks this of the other person she's speaking to on the phone.)
  • "Icky mouth." (Said when I wet a tissue to wipe her face. Also "icky" in general when she gets kisses.)
  • "Sorry, sorry, sorry" (She's quick to apologize about some things and stubborn like a bull about others.)
  • "Let me kiss it." (We were in Target recently when Astrid ran the cart over my foot. She offered to kiss it, to make it better. Really sweet, but sorta embarrassing when you're standing in a store and your kid is down on the floor, repeatedly kissing your big toe.)
  • "I have to call Lindsay now." (She tells me that she has to make a phone call to her friend. She's so phone crazy now, that I cringe at the thought of her future teenage phone obsession.)
  • "I'm talking to Grandma." (Pretending to talk to Grandma on her cell phone.)
  • "Mama where are you? There you are!" (She wants to know where I am at all times. Even when I'm in the shower and her dad is watching her she cries because she wants to be with me. Recently she laid down on the bathroom rug in front of the tub/shower, in the fetal position and waited for me.)
  • "There it is! I got it!" (Whenever she finds something she's been looking for. All proud of herself.)
  • "I can't find it. You found it?" (As you can see, we're constantly looking for things she misplaced like pieces of a puzzle, her blanket, toys, etc.)
  • "Lemme do it. I'll do it. Lemme do it." (Said in rapid succession. She wants to be independent and put on her shoes, socks and clothes by herself.)
  • "Look at me! Look at me!" (I first heard this said by a German kid..."Guck mal! Guck mal!" and now my own kid is saying it too in English. Something about this age when they want attention. It's super cute when she shouts this out when she's riding her tricycle.)
  • "Sure." (I love it when I ask her to do something and she responds with "Sure" and promptly does it. It makes her sound so grown up and when we hear "Sure" we know there's no impending battle on our hands.)
  • "I can't do it!" (The word "can't" has unfortunately entered her vocabulary. I keep reassuring her that she can, or that she only needs a little help.)
  • "I need to go work." (We gave her the option of cooking or cleaning and she chose cooking.)
  • "I need to go school." (She can't wait to go to school so she can play with the other kids and make more friends.)
  • "Mama go work. Astrid go school." (We've been having a constant dialogue lately about me going back to work and Astrid going to school. I'm glad that she's showing that she understands what's going to happen once I start working again.)
  • "No, it's mine." (I dislike hearing her say this, but it's the age. She gets very protective about another kid taking whatever she's playing with or eating. But in other circumstances she can be very generous with her belongings - especially with her friends and in a play group - so it just depends. In preschool she'll be forced to share so it'll be interesting to see how this stage will develop.)
  • "Let's talk a little bit." (Every night at bedtime we talk about our day and what we did. She loves talking and she has the floor on this and 100% of my attention. If I let her she would talk all night. All I have to say to get her running towards her bedroom is, "Astrid don't you want to lay down and talk a little bit?")
  • "Papa, can you hear me? I need to go pee pee." (Astrid shouts this every morning from her crib as soon as she wakes up. It's U.'s alarm clock to get Astrid, and her diaper has been consistently dry every morning.)
  • "I want something else." (Not a picky eater, or picky in general, but she voices what she needs more and more, which is what I've been striving for. I keep telling her to use her words and not whine, so she can tell me what she wants.)
  • "Hmmmm....let me think." (Cute to see that she consciously "thinks". She will stop and roll her eyes up and really "think" about it.)
  • "I wanna see pictures Mom." (Still loves looking at photos of herself and her friends on my laptop.)
  • "First?" (She understands sequence now and confirms with me if we are going to do something "first" before we do the next thing. For example: I need to wash the dishes first before I can play with her. Or she needs to eat her lunch first before she can have the animal crackers. Or we will go here first before we go there. Makes life a lot easier now that she understands this so she doesn't cry when she doesn't get instant gratification.)
  • "Thanks!" (She started dropping "thank you", preferring to say "thanks" instead. Sounds so grown up.)
  • "Put the robe on Mommy! I freezing!" (A request she makes every time she gets out of the bathtub. Sometimes it's accompanied by a very dramatic shiver like she's suffering from hypothermia and not in a warm house, after a warm bath. As soon as her robe is on, she's a perfectly happy kid again.)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Birds and the Bees

A conversation the little one and I had today:

Me: "You don't need to wear diapers anymore at nap time, only when you go to sleep at night, because you're a big girl now."

Astrid: "I no big girl. I just girl."

Me: (laughing) "Yeah I know you're just a girl. Mommy's just a girl too."

Astrid: "Mommy no girl. Mommy woman."

Me: (shocked that she knows the difference) "That's right Mommy's a woman."

Astrid: "Papa man?"

Me: "Yep, Papa's a man."

Astrid: "No, Papa no man. He just Papa."

Me: (laughing) "Yes, Papa is Papa and he is a man."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Play date at Montrose Community Park

Montrose Community Park
3529 Clifton Place
Glendale, CA 91208

Nearest Cross Street: Broadview
Acres: 14.5
Amenities: 2 Ball fields, Basketball Court, Children’s Play Area, Picnic Areas, and 2 Tennis Courts.
Gloria in the GAP sweatshirt, (a nanny to 3 kids in the gymnastics program at the YMCA) invited us to Montrose Community Park this morning for a play date. This was our first time at this park and what a hidden gem! Located parallel to Honolulu Ave/Verdugo, two blocks behind Kids Funtown (with Mervyn's on the opposite side of the street.)

If you go to this park in the morning, make sure to bring some towels, as the slides get pretty wet.
Here Astrid is riding Maisie's scooter (or trying to) for the first time.Both girls offering advice and encouragement.Determination.Getting the hang of it.The kids went off collecting pine cones, sticks, and berries.I was astonished by how well the kids got along with one another.

As you can see, Astrid was thrilled to be playing with other kids (her "friends").They all decided to pool their loot together to make something collectively.Picking berries.Bringing her loot back to the collective.The kids came up with an idea to make a "potion". They needed something to put the berries in, and so I gave them this empty Altoids tin to play with, and to hold all their berries.Group shot #1.

From left to right: Pilar, Astrid, Dylan (standing behind Astrid), Diego, Maisie (fraternal twins), and Lindsay.Group shot #2.

It's not hard to pick out the kid whose mom took the photo. (Just look for the biggest smile, and the biggest ham for the camera.)Playing with a found pine cone.Having a picnic!Play dates are fun. Definitely more in store in the future.A game of chase, tag, touch a tree, and a lot of running and frolicking.Kids can make games out of anything. Here they made up a game using the metal bike racks.

We had such a lovely morning. Who knew play dates were so much fun?

The play date ended when the older kids left for preschool. Astrid cried and was so sad to see them go. She cried, "I want to go to school too." Yep, she's ready for school.