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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008 (holiday card)

More Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008 with Astrid's kid camera

I sprung for a deluxe kid camera for Astrid this Christmas.

She previously had a camera, and it was fun to see the world through her eyes, but the quality of the photos was so bad and it only held a dozen photos before getting full, so Astrid was constantly deleting. We also lost the USB cable for it, so I wasn't able to download any of the cute photos she took. (Some of her foot, her view from the backseat, Papa working on his computer, mama putting on her mascara.)

So here are some we took with her new camera today. The camera takes higher resolution photos, can hold up to 200 pics, has a built in flash and is kid proof (both water, and crash proof), and now I've got a USB camera to download them, to document her photography.
Fur up close.

Our pooch. Not bad for a kid camera.Astrid putting a sticker on Papa's shoulder.Giving Papa a great big hug & kiss.Astrid's photo of her Papa at the dinner table.Astrid's photo of our Christmas tree.Astrid's pic of Mama.Astrid showcasing her pink tights she received as a present from her nanny Maria - as a necktie.Astrid listening to her Clifford storybook CD while following along in her book. She loves repetition so this is perfect. She listens to this again and again and again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Astrid's birth is listed on Wikipedia

Type in April 19, 2005 and at the bottom you'll see Astrid's birth. It might get deleted soon, but I thought it was sweet of U. to add it as a historical event. =),_2005

April 19, 2005
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
See also: April 18, 2005 - April 2005 - April 20, 2005
George W. Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations receives a serious setback when Ohio senator George Voinovich announces in committee that he cannot vote to endorse Bolton for this important diplomatic position. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee agrees to postpone a vote for at least one month while allegations that Bolton abused subordinates is investigated. (Reuters) (NY Times)
Papal conclave, 2005: Ringing bells and white smoke at the Vatican indicate that, after four ballots, a new Pope, German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has been elected. He has taken the regnal name Pope Benedict XVI. (BBC)
MyPyramid is released by the United States Department of Agriculture. The new food guidance icon is an update of the 13-year old food guide pyramid, which was itself an update of charts expounding on the four basic food groups. (NY Times)
The United Iraqi Alliance, the leading coalition in the new Government of Iraq, demands the death penalty for Saddam Hussein, accused of genocide in Kurdistan as well as torture and other human rights violations in Baghdad. (Al Jazeera)
Victims and families observe 168 seconds of silence on the tenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing at 9:02 a.m. (local time). (Guardian)
Iran suspends operations of al Jazeera and accuses it of inflaming protests of the Iranian Arab minority. 220 people have been arrested during the unrest. (Al Jazeera), (IRNA), (Middle East Online), (Reuters), (BBC)
The inquiry into the murder of Rosemary Nelson, a Northern Ireland solicitor who was killed by a UDA bomb in 1999, begins. (Ireland On-Line), (BBC), (Scotsman)
Peruvian authorities submit a $130 million plan to UNESCO to preserve the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. (BBC)
The first part of the Obelisk of Axum, a 1700-year-old artefact of the Axumite Kingdom taken to Rome by Benito Mussolini's troops in 1937, arrives back in Ethiopia. (Reuters), (BBC)
Japanese researchers have reversed diabetes of a female patient with transplantation of pancreatic cells from her mother. (Medical News Today) (Reuters) (Forbes)
A high court in Spain sentences Adolfo Scilingo, former Argentinian navy captain, for 640 years in prison for crimes against humanity during the Dirty War. (Reuters AlertNet) (IHT) (CourtTV) (Pensa Latina)
The girlfriend of a Paris Opera Hotel employee admits that she might have accidentally started the fire that destroyed the hotel last Friday. Police later take her into custody. The death toll has risen to 24. (IHT) (Reuters AlertNet) (Scotsman)
Israel extends the travel ban of Mordechai Vanunu. (Ha'arets) (Jerusalem Post) (BBC)
In Syria, Jassem Alwan, who lead a failed military coup in 1963, returns from exile in the United Arab Emirates. (BBC)
The parliament of Kuwait gives initial backing to law that would allow women to vote. (Al Jazeera) (Middle east Online) (BBC)
Lebanese prime minister Najib Mikati forms a new government to lead the country until the May elections. (Daily Star) (Reuters) (Al Jazeera)
French police state that DNA tests confirm that the body found in the French Alps is Anthony Ashley-Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury. (Scotsman) (BBC)
Auction house Christie's withdraws an ancient Persian relic from sale when Iran states that it was smuggled out of the country illegally. (CHN) (Al Jazeera) (BBC)
The parliament of Greece ratifies the European Union Constitution. (MPA) (EUBusiness) (IHT)
President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf meets the president of the Philippines, Gloria Arroyo, in Manila. (Pakistan Times) (Manila Bulletin) (Sun Star) (BBC)
Zanzibar bars foreign workers. (IOL) (BBC)
Astrid Nora Hook was born.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Astrid decorating the Christmas tree

Santa Pic with NO Santa #2

I took Astrid to get her photo taken with Santa today. Unfortunately the fear of Santa is STILL in full force, so we ended up taking Christmas photos of Astrid WITHOUT Santa this year. That's two years in a row with Santa pics, missing a Santa. So this is her alone, sitting on the arm rest of Santa's chair, holding a candy cane.

Last year she was terrified of Santa, and all year we've been talking about how Santa isn't scary, over and over again. This year I thought for sure she had gotten over her fear of Santa, since she's told me many times, "I'm not scared of Santa Claus now. Santa Claus is nice. He says Ho Ho Ho and gives presents to children." I knew she was apprehensive about Santa Claus, but I thought that was a big development over last year's terror.

Today I was pondering taking her after the gym, but she was adamant about NOT wanting to get her picture taken with Santa Claus. I knew she needed a nap and she took a long one. Now in good spirits I thought "here's my chance." No mention of Santa Claus. I got her dressed in her pretty Christmas dress and sweater with her tights (she LOVES wearing tights) and patent leather black dress shoes. She likes dressing up so that was easy maneuvering. The hair was another story, but with a bit of cajoling, I was able to put a pretty red flower in her hair that matches her dress to a T. I told her we were going somewhere with a lot of kids and she was looking forward to it. Then I heard U. talking to Astrid about going with me to get her picture taken with Santa Claus. I about blew a gasket.

This was definitely a COVERT OPERATION. Not so much because he told her where we were going, but because now I knew I'd have to suffer through all the whining and tears, and pure DRAMA getting her there. And us moms know there's nothing worse than an unhappy camper sitting behind us in the car while we're driving.

So we get there and Astrid doesn't see Santa so she's really happy and announces, "There's no Santa Claus." But I could see the back of the Christmas photo shoot display and knew Santa was on the other side. As I'm talking to the photo development lady, Astrid is cool as a cucumber, by my side. Then as we walk around the counter and her eyes meet that big red suit and that beard she screamed out and literally ran away right out into the middle of the mall. I got her to come back by holding her and kept edging us closer by looking at the ornaments on the Christmas tree, etc. But once she was near Santa, she did not want to look at him and just buried her face in my shoulder.

I asked the photographer if it would be possible if Santa could leave for a bit so we could get a photo taken without him and her reply made me laugh, "We've done it before..."

U. asked me, "What's that big red thing?" That's Santa's chair. They had me sit Astrid up on the armrest to get a photo with her and the Christmas tree and presents.

The entire time Astrid was looking around for Santa, scared to death he'd come back. I told her he left and went to get something to eat, so she wouldn't be scared. I got her to smile briefly by pretending to cry. Boy what a mother will do to get her 3 1/2 year old to smile.

On the drive home Astrid wanted to talk about Santa Claus:
"Why he have hair on his face?"
When I explained that it's a beard and men grow hair on their faces, but Papa shaves it off every morning, she correctly deduced, "Girls don't grow hair on their face."
And then back to Santa she said, "I know he's coming to town. But I don't want him to come NOW."

Christmas Photos Past:

2007 - Santa Photos without Santa

2006 - I was so busy that I completely forgot to get photos done BEFORE Christmas.

2005 - 1st Santa pics

Friday, December 19, 2008

Astrid's Christmas Recital 2008

Astrid was still a bit sick the day of her Christmas recital, but she still did really well, especially her speaking part. U. took video which I need to edit and post.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Your three year old - friend or enemy

A coworker of U.'s gave him a book from 1976 about child development - one about 3 year olds and another about 4 year olds - since Astrid is now 3 1/2. The book is by Louise Bates Ames & Frances L. llg - from the Gesell Institute of Child Development.

Even though the book is over 30 years old - the same principals still apply. Wanted to share a couple that really spoke to me:

1) "It is important to keep in mind, at a time like this, that your child is not your enemy. Those times when a child is at his worst are often the times when he needs the most help from you. He is not behaving as he does just to be naughty. He is behaving as he does because that is the way his physical self functions at this time in his life. He really cannot help being the way he is, so it is you who have to help him."

2) "What can you do to help things go smoothly for both of you? First of all, accept the fact that at this age the child's big emotional struggle is with his mother. She is the one who matters supremely to him. She is the one he needs to conquer. Almost any young child is at his best but also at his worst with his own mother: Never more so than now."

I was repeating this mantra to myself as Astrid refused to wear socks and tennis shoes while dressing for school one morning. She's going through this stage where she only wants to wear tights and dress shoes everyday to school.

The book also notes that although 3 1/2 year olds appear outwardly to be very confident and secure - it's not so - at this age they're extremely insecure. This manifests itself in: 1) "Don't look at me!", 2) "Don't laugh at me!" , 3) nail biting etc. (I had to remind Astrid just now to stop biting her nails. She's home sick from school with a cold.)

They also reflect on their past. It was interesting that Astrid keeps retelling her baby story of how she was born, Papa cutting her umbilical chord, and also new insights such as "I was in your tummy when I was a baby right?" "When I was a baby I couldn't walk or talk right?" This is a way for them not only reflect but to also highlight their accomplishments (i.e., walking and talking and coloring, etc.).

Nothing earth shattering here, but interesting to be able to put this stage of development into context with the child's life development.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Astrid's love for mommy

U. and I were talking about how attached Astrid is to me. Tonight she returned home with the nanny and the first thing she said when she walked in the door was, "Where's mama?" U. equates it to - "When you enter the room she acts like Elvis just walked in." Haha.

It's so sweet when she tells me that she missed me. She wants me to pick her up from school instead of the nanny - who picks her up just twice a week. Before that U. would pick her up from school once a week and Astrid would need lots of encouragement from me to make sure she didn't freak out when she saw papa picking her up instead of mama. And forget about anyone giving her a bath or putting her to bed, or anything when I'm there. It's difficult for U. when he is trying to put her to bed and I get home - because she only wants to be with me.

U. told me that I should enjoy it while it lasts, because soon she'll be all about him. Believe me, I love all my hugs and kisses and I know it won't last forever, so I AM enjoying all the attention. Her world revolves around me and she knows that my world lights up when she's in it. So maybe that's why children loves their mothers so - because they feel that love right back.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Astrid's 1st ear infection

One morning about 2 months ago Astrid was complaining that her ear hurt. She was persistent about it and was holding her right ear, so I made an appointment to take her in to see her Pediatrician to get it checked out. Up to this point she'd NEVER complained about pain in her ears.

The earliest I could get her in to see her doctor was later that morning - and she seemed to be okay so I dropped her off at school telling the staff about her ear pain and that I would be back in a couple of hours to pick her up and take her to see her doctor. Before the two hours was up I got a call that Astrid was vomiting. Luckily she's right across the street from my office, so I hightailed it out of there and went to pick her up pronto. (My kid doesn't vomit. She just doesn't.)

When I got to the school I saw Astrid standing outside looking very guilty, and her teachers told me it was projectile vomit and she hadn't had another incident. Astrid told me she was doing an art project with other kids and "I spit all over Amy's paper." I had to explain to her that it was okay, that all of us get sick sometimes and Amy understands it was an accident, and she didn't mean to throw up on her paper.

So I took her to the doctor and sure enough Astrid has an ear infection in her right ear. The pediatrician was quite shocked that this was her first ear infection and she's 3 1/2 years old. I guess they're quite common in kids. The left ear is perfectly fine. We caught it in the early stages and the pediatrician recommended waiting 4 weeks to see if it wouldn't just clear up on it's own. Only thing she recommended was that Astrid not go swimming (which at the time was a Friday evening event at the YMCA with her babysitter).

So we tried that. I got Astrid some ear drops and we all thought her ear infection had cleared up since she said her ears felt better and never complained about any pain. But I scheduled another appointment 4 weeks later just to make sure, and get a clean bill of health - only to find that her ear infection had gotten worse. On a scale of 1 to 10, the pediatrician said it was a 7 and prescribed an antibiotic - Omoxycillan - twice a day for 10 days.

U. and I felt awful. All this time she had an ear infection and was in great spirits and never complained about the pain. We started to think maybe she was like us - with a high threshold for pain. And after 4 weeks the doctor said it should have cleared up on it's own if the body was going to heal itself.

Today I went back again, just to make sure, and sure enough the ear infection is STILL there. It hasn't gotten worse, but it hasn't gotten better either. This is Astrid's FIRST ear infection, and FIRST time taking any antibiotics, but the infection appears to not be responding to the antibiotics. So now our pediatrician has prescribed a stronger antibiotic to be taken for another 10 months.

At this point it doesn't appear that pain is a problem, but I'm more concerned about it affecting her hearing in her right ear. The left ear is still free and clear. But 2 months of an ear infection in the right ear does worry me. Each time we go back Astrid always reassures me that her ear is fine and the infection went away and she can go swimming again. I hope that in 3 weeks, at our follow up visit, that will be the prognosis.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Astrid memorized her lines & has them down pat!

At Astrid's preschool, they've got all the kids rehearsing for the Christmas recital which is going to take place in a couple weeks. They're singing a bunch of Christmas songs as is expected and they've got some choreography - Astrid has shown me the hand and arm movements.

One day when I was signing Astrid out of school, I saw a note was placed inside for me to take. It contained the lyrics to songs and 4 lines of dialogue - and asked that parents practice with their children at home. I thought "wow 4 lines for a 3 year old" but knowing that she loves this kind of stuff I was all for it.

We practiced that night and she just wanted to keep going. I would say, "Okay that's enough it's getting late. It's time to sleep now. We'll practice more tomorrow." And Astrid would protest, "No mama! Again! Let's do it again!" What a perfectionist! The fact that she has 100% of my attention also helps I'm sure. She loves that.

Last week the school coordinator approached me and asked if it was okay for Astrid to have a speaking part and if I thought Astrid could handle the 4 lines of dialogue. I explained to her that at first I thought it was a lot, but Astrid loves to sing and dance and perform and she was a star at her last recital that had the parents talking about her for weeks afterwards, so I didn't think it would be a problem. She said, "Oh good good. I saw that in her, which is why I chose her as one of three kids to have a speaking part. I thought she could handle it." Wow - kudos to Astrid for shining in that space.

Here are the lines:
"On Christmas Eve, we stay up late.
We cannot sleep. We just can't wait
for Christmas morning to arrive.
It's oh so hard to close our eyes!"

And tonight I was so happy for her when she finally memorized her lines and got them down pat! She would even take the piece of paper and pretend to be reading it. Of course she can't read yet, but the fact that she was able to say all 4 lines smoothly really looked like she was reading for the part. I clapped. I cheered. I gave her a one woman standing ovation, and lots of hugs and kisses.

In return she wanted to repeat her lines another 10 times, and was so proud of herself and overjoyed that she had done it. She was so motivated to learn her part and that sheer determination of hers at 3 years old is awe inspiring.

I'm one proud Mama.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Astrid at the nail salon

Astrid comes with me to the nail salon. I only allow her to put a neutral shade of pink on her toenails that is barely noticeable. But they give her a mini pedicure and manicure - wash her feet, cut & file & clean under her nails, and massage her hands & feet with lotion. She loves it. I look up and see her laughing and giggling with the nail salon lady.

It's more to keep her occupied while I'm getting my nails done, and it keeps her nails clean and trimmed. Plus it gives U. a couple hours of kid-free time to work or sleep - so everyone is happy.