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Saturday, June 28, 2008

3 year check up with the Pediatrician

Astrid had her 3 year checkup earlier this month. We had to wait 3 months to get an appointment with her Pediatrician (who was recently voted best Pediatrician in Glendale). After all the required doctor's visits and shots that are required for an infant, U. just couldn't believe that after her 2 year visit, we wouldn't need to see her Pediatrician again until Astrid was 3. So it was utmost important for him, for us to get her checkup as soon as she turned 3 to make sure everything was okay. (Parents always worry right? Even though they know that everything is alright.)

Last time we were at the doctor's office, Astrid cried and cried - terrified of the office itself and the nurses, and the doctor. Even the door of the doctor's office reminded her getting shots.

This time around at 3 she was less scared but still anxious. I told her there wouldn't be any shots this time, just a checkup. But I don't think she fully believed me. She wanted to believe me of course but then how come we were going to the doctor's office where she always gets shots? She played with the toys in the waiting room and leafed through the children's books studying the pictures and words, and stared at the goldfish in the aquarium, but always kept real close to mama. Then when the nurse opened the door and called Astrid's name, she jumped onto my lap and clung to me.

I reassured her that everything would be alright and it would be a simple checkup to make sure she was perfectly healthy. First they measured her height - and that's when Astrid started crying. She thought the measuring stick was some sort of torture device. I stood underneath it and let the nurse measure me to show her it didn't hurt. But she still cried the entire time. With a lot of consoling and encouragement, and a bit of force - we were able to get her to stand against the wall with her feet touching the back of the wall for a correct height measurement.

Then we went into one of the small rooms - and the nurse weighed Astrid. She cried at being on the scale for the same reason - she was expecting the pain to come sure enough.

Then the doctor came in to look into her eyes, nose, ears - listen to her heart and lungs with his stethoscope, and talk about her development. Last time we were there Astrid was starting to potty train. Now I proudly told him that she's been potty trained for awhile now and hasn't worn a diaper at all (even at night) for a long time. I explained that it was easier than we thought, and she just did it on her own when she was ready. (He told me girls are faster/easier to potty train.) I also told him about her graduating from a crib to a big girl bed. (He asked if the bed has bed rails on the side to keep her from falling out and I said "yes it does and it has a canopy too.") He asked me if she can be understood by others. (And said, I know she's not going to tell me. As she was super quiet with the Pediatrician in the room.) I told him yes, and she has to because she's in preschool now. We also discussed how her vocabulary is just exploding and she can count and is starting to sound out letters of the alphabet - and she loves to sing and dance.

Astrid got a clean bill of health. Her Pediatrician told us that he wished all of his patients only came to see him once a year for a checkup. I told him that she just doesn't get sick (to which I attribute a lot of that to eating organic food). We thought once she started preschool she would come home with all these viruses, but nope - other than a minor cold - she's a healthy baby.

Astrid continues to be at the high end of the scale for height - 90th percentile, and her weight is proportional. We knew that would be the case as people always think she's older than she is because of her size.

A couple things that I brought up to ask her Pediatrician about:
1) her toenails being wavy and misshapen. We cut them back and I know other kids have the same issue - but wanted to be reassured this is normal and nothing to worry about - which the doctor did. Perfectly normal.
2) stuttering - When Astrid gets excited she starts stuttering. We discussed it and he said it's perfectly normal since it's at the beginning of words (and not in the middle or end, which would indicate a speech problem). It's like her brain is faster than her mouth and take awhile for the two to work together to get it out. We allow her to finish her sentences (thoughts) and then repeat the sentence to her to reinforce what she's trying to say.

And of course no shots this time. After the doctor's visit was over, Astrid got a sticker. She called U. who was catching a flight to Germany for his father's funeral (he was really disappointed that he couldn't be at the doctor's office with Astrid - but that's why "parents" are important - plural - when one can't make it the other one can.). She told her papa about how she didn't get a shot this time. Hahah. So you know what was on her mind the entire time we were there - when are the shots coming? 

She announced to her papa over the cell phone "Papa I go doctor's office.  No shot today.  I healthy!  They gimme sticker."  That about sums it up.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our bedtime routine

It used to be that a bath before bed was mandatory - now it's optional - as Astrid will take a bath with me in the morning before going to school (and work for me). But of course when she's exceptionally filthy after a day of playing on the playground, it's no longer an option. Sand on the scalp and in the bed does not a happy mom or slumbering child make.

And now that she's got a big girl bed - with a ladder and all - she wants me to climb up there with her and tell her stories about when she was a baby. Forget the books - she wants to hear about when she was born over and over again.

I've also changed up the songs a little bit. Just introducing new ones (wracking my brain to think of lyrics I know - tonight it was "A few of my favorite things" from the movie Sound of Music, and "Star Spangled Banner" and "She'll be coming around the mountain." Random I know but Astrid's face will light up when I sing new songs - and when there's a repeating chorus she will try to sing along.

She's finally gotten used to sleeping in the opposite direction as she was used to in her crib. Now her head faces the window, and she's gotten into the habit of crawling up there and putting her head down on the pillow. This is to ensure that she's safe when she's sleeping by the bed rails (and canopy), vs. sleeping on the other end and possibly falling out of the opening that leads to the ladder. That would not be pretty.

After "talking for a little bit" which involves talking about our day and what she's going to do tomorrow, etc. and the singing (and sometimes foot rubs), she will settle down to sleep. A new development - is that she will ask me, "Mama, you coming back later?" She wants me to come back and check on her later. This involves her agreeing to fall asleep, which she does without protest, and then when I come back later she's sound of asleep and doesn't even realize I'm there. But I guess it's just knowing that I'm not "leaving" for the night - but actually coming back that reassures her to fall asleep (vs. begging me to not leave).

She continues to be a good sleeper. Now that she's no longer in a crib, she can get out whenever she wants. U. is amazed that she stays in her bed after we leave. And in the mornings she'll come right into our room and lay down next to me and sleep for a little bit until we both get up to get ready for the day.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mommy's little helper

One of the great things about having a 3 year old is they always want to help. And it's just up to us parents to find things that they can do to help - without making more of a mess. Today I found the perfect project.

Astrid got new bedroom furniture, and we needed to move all her clothes from the old drawers to the new armoire. U. had moved the old drawers into the hallway, and while he was away, I really wanted to get this done and everything organized and moved back into Astrid's room. So Astrid was the runner and kept bringing clothes to me, and I'd put them away. We got the entire thing done in about an hour. She was such a great help.

Other things she does to help mommy
1) helps me bring in the groceries (even if that's just carrying the loaf of bread)
2) bringing her bowl of cereal and cup back to me in the kitchen after she's done so I can put them in the sink
3) throwing things away for me in the trash or in the recycling bin
4) tidying up (she puts all her toys and books away now - and cleans up the family room when asked)
5) putting her used clothes in the laundry hamper

Friday, June 13, 2008

Everyone's still talking about Astrid's performance yesterday

When I dropped Astrid off at preschool this morning the managing director asked me what I thought of the Spring Program performance last night. I told her it was "really cute." She commented, "Astrid was always always ready the entire time". I guess she was "on" and ready to go out and there and perform. Unlike many of the other kids who either forgot the words to the songs, didn't want to go out on stage, or were just dumbstruck as soon as the curtain opened. I'm still surprised she did so well - like an old pro (rather than her 1st performance).

When I picked her up from school the 2 afternoon teachers were just gushing about Astrid.

Ms. Angie: "Did you see her? She was singing at the top of her lungs "Brother John" and pointing like this. Oh my God. I couldn't believe it. All of the other parents are still talking about her."

Ms. Marguerite: "She was so good last night. Has she ever done that before? No? It was her first time? Wow. She was so natural up good. That's wonderful."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Astrid's 1st school performance

Tonight was Astrid's Spring Performance at her preschool. For months they've had the kids practicing singing and performing songs. This past weekend she gave U. and I a performance after dinner that involved her singing "Brother John" - "Are you sleeping" with palms pressed together at her cheek with her head tilted...."Brother John!" while pointing at what I assumed was Brother John..."Morning bells are ringing!" with her little fists clenched ringing those imaginary bells. Too cute. Our next door neighbor had some guests over and they were outside bbqing as well and must have heard her because they gave her a round of applause. Today I got to see the real thing and boy was I surprised.

First off because not only had Astrid learned the 2 songs her class performed, but she had memorized all the songs from the other classes as well. She's been singing them around the house and in the car, and I didn't think much of it until I saw the program and saw all the song titles listed for each performance by the each class. I know that song and that song and that song...I thought to myself....oh my gosh she could do a one woman show if needed.

Second because typically she's very shy around strangers. But here she was in front of a packed auditorium and she was the most confident, animated, loudest, and most entertaining kid in her class. And I'm not just saying that because I'm her mom. The audience absolutely loved her.

Third because although she wasn't at her school today (her preschool closed at noon today due to the Spring performance and I wasn't able to take a half day due to a client appointment, so she went to a sister preschool) and didn't get an opportunity to practice with her classmates - she was the best performer in terms of singing the songs (remembering the words to the songs), singing loudly, remembering the choreography, and also after the first song she was the only kid who remembered to bow. (After the second song 2 other kids in addition to Astrid bowed.)

Since her class was singing "Brother John" (which I guess could be interpreted as "Farmer John") the required costume was long overalls with a blue plaid or striped short sleeved shirt. I also put a big orange flower in her hair not only because it made her look extra cute, but I thought if I had to sit far away I'd be able to spot her easily. I needn't have worried. I got there an hour early - and could have sat in the 1st row if the first 3 rows weren't reserved for the graduating Kindergartners - so I sat in the middle of the 4th row in perfect view of the stage.

The second song her class sang was "The More We're Together". Towards the middle of the song Astrid starting calling out, "Mama!? Mama!?" So I put up my hand and started waving to her. At that point she spotted me in the crowd and she had the sweetest reaction - she smiled and laughed and started jumping up and down with joy and put her hands to her face and was a super excited 3 year old now that she knew where mommy was and she sang with even more fervor and excitement - that the whole audience was charmed by it.

U. had to fly to Germany to attend his father's funeral and he was so disappointed that he wasn't able to see his little girl perform on stage for the first time. So I brought our video camera and have it all recorded for him - which we'll watch together on Sunday as a family. (I've already watched it twice on tape.)

It was entertaining to watch and also such a treat to see my daughter up there on stage shining bright and holding her own.

Afterward Astrid asked me, "Mama? Why you sit in the chair?" Obviously she didn't get the concept of why she was on stage and I wasn't up there with her. So I had to explain to her that I was in the audience so I could watch her like all of the other parents.

Since U. was away he wanted me to tell Astrid how proud we were of her for him. And at bedtime tonight I heard her tell her doll, "I so proud of you baby."

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Things she does at 3 years, 1 month, 2 weeks and 3 days old

Astrid counts to 20 on her own. When prompted she'll count to her mid 30's.
One day at the YMCA a teenager heard Astrid counting and commented, "She skipped 16."
I responded, "Yeah, she's 3."
To which she said, "Oh. Well than that's really good."

She sings the "do re me" song from The Sound of Music (jumbling up the lyrics like a 3 year old - but I'm fascinated that she memorized the song so quickly):
Doe a deer a female deer
Ray a drop of golden sun
Me a name I call myself
Fa a long long way to run
Sew a needle pulling thread
La a note to follow sew
Tea a drink with jam and bread
That will bring us back to Doe Doe Doe Doe

She loves to sing.

There's a song that one of her teachers at school taught her that goes,
"We say goodbye to our friends. Sayonara!"
She just butchers Sayonara to death - but it's so cute.

She demands watching an episode of Cailou (U. describes it as a dumb cartoon with a kid in it which is really lame.) or Dragon Tales before going to bed at night.

She knows the days of the week - and can say them on her own (with just a couple mistakes)
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday
This comes straight from preschool. However, I reinforce it when I tell her that she has gymnastics class and music class on Tuesdays and dance class on Saturday. And everyday I remind her what day it is.

Everything is "yesterday" - but she's getting better with understanding the concept of time.
"My birthday yesterday right?"
"I go to Gymnastics class yesterday."
"We go to nesteraunt (restaurant) yesterday."

Yesterday she asked me, "Mama we go yesterday or last night?"

She's screaming in her room when U. puts her to bed tonight and I hear her yell, "No! Mama puts me to bed!" (Yes, still very much super attached to me. She wants me to brush her teeth, change her clothes, etc. It can only be done by me and not by papa.)

She snapped "No!" at me and afterwards we had a discussion about how she can't say that to mama. (It wasn't just a "no" I don't want to do that which I wouldn't have minded. But this was a bad behavior shouting of "No!" that was unacceptable.) I made her apologize to me and then gave her a hug. Another time she was right about to shout "No!" when she stopped after the "n" sound catching herself and instead said, "I no say NO to mama. I don't do that." and gave me a big smile.

I have no problems with her saying "No" to peer pressure though. Friends of ours have a 6 year old and he was trying to get her to do stuff and she would just say "no" and walk away. I love that she's independent like that at 3.

If you would have told me I'd be talking like this with a straight face one day, I would have thought you were nuts:
Today's conversation in the restroom at Whole Foods:
Astrid: Mama go pee pee too?
Me: Yes, mama has to go pee pee too.
Astrid: No poo poo? Just pee pee?
Me: That's right. Just pee pee.
Astrid: You go pee pee already?
Me: Yes, I'm going pee pee. I'm almost done.
(This from the woman who when I first talked to Astrid's Pediatrician about potty training I used the word "urinate".)

When I pick Astrid up from preschool now she'll tell both afternoon teachers good-bye:
"Bye Miss Angie!"
"Bye Miss Marguerite!"
And say good-bye to her friends:
"Bye everybody!"
And sometimes hugs her friends before leaving. Very sweet to watch.

She's been singing "Brother John" a lot lately and one morning she stood at the front of our bed and told us to hush and showed us how she was ringing the bells "ding ding dong". I had a eureka moment - that must the song she's singing and performing at her Spring Program at school, which is why her costume will be overalls and a plaid shirt underneath - they're going as farmers!

The next morning on the drive to school on Monday, (after an evening with the babysitter on Sunday so I could go watch a movie), Astrid told me:
Astrid: "Mama? I miss you yesterday."
Me: "You missed me?"
Astrid: "Yeah. So much! I miss mama so much! I cry for mama."
Happy to see her expressing her feelings. Tugged a bit on my heart strings, but not a lot of guilt, because it was great to see a movie shot in China, about a true life story (and our babysitter is great - Astrid told me how she danced with her and read books to her).

Astrid can now hold up 3 fingers to show three. (holding up the ring finger is a feat for a 3 year old).

We have this puzzle map of the 50 states of the United States. It's not easy, especially since the pieces are free floating which makes some of the smaller cluster states especially challenging. Astrid used to always plead for help to finish the puzzle. (U. and I can't even count the number of times we've put that puzzle together.) One day I looked up and she had completed it all on her own without any assistance.

Astrid's current fav sayings


"Oh my gosh!"

"There's a monster in dare (there)!"

"It's so beautiful!"