Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Things She Knows

Warning:  Proud parent alert.  Some may view this post as bragging, which I find a very unattractive trait.  But I don't see it as bragging.  I see it as documenting Staley at this point in time so that I can look back and remember what my Staley was like at 13 1/2 months.  But if you find bragging unattractive and are worried that this post may mar your opinion of us, please skip this post and check back later when I'm writing about my daughter throwing food on the floor, telling me 'no', or being dramatic about diaper changes.

Each and every day with Staley brings us new insight into how her mind is constantly working.  She takes in so much of what is going on around her.  When Zach comes home from work, I always have my list of new things that Staley is doing/understanding/saying to share with him.  And Staley gets so excited about learning new things.  You can just see the pride in her smile when she understands something new.  I hope this joy in learning continues as she grows. 

So, just like I have my list to share with Zach each day, here is my list for you:

1.  Staley knows her body parts.  Head, hair, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, belly/tummy, arms, hands, legs, feet, toes, bottom.
2.  Staley knows her princesses.  She just has 2 books (each only 4 pages long) that have Disney princesses, but she knows (and says) Belle, Tiana, and Aurora.
3.  Staley knows farm implements.  Now when she watches her baby Einstein farm video, she points out  (and names) the tractor, barn, combine, and plow.
4.  Staley knows her animal sounds.  She makes the sounds (or her sounds, anyway) for dog (woof and bow wow), cats, cow, horse, sheep, chicken, rooster, duck, owl, lion, tiger, monkey, fish, snake, bunny (hop, hop), 3 singing pigs (la, la, la).
5.  Staley knows her animals.  She can name a wide assortment of animals in her books, including things like turtle, turkey, shark, llama, mole, hippo, and hyena.  Yes, hyena.
6.  Staley can count to 10.  True, sometimes she skips 5 and 7-9.  But really, I've always thought 5 was over-rated.
7.  Staley knows some of her letters.  She now knows S, O, A, H, L, R, E, C, T, B, although E, T, and B still get confusing sometimes.
8.  Staley knows random objects.  She asks for shampoo, deodorant, pictures, keys, backpack, piano, Bible, jeans, belt, glasses, camera (which she just calls 'cheese'), and phone (which she still calls 'hello, hello').  She labels things in her books like dump truck, fire truck, bus, yo-yo, sky, pumpkin, trophy, and Urlacher.
9.  Staley knows a few colors.  When she colors with her crayons, she always asks for black and brown.  These are the only two colors she consistently knows.  So if you get a drawing from Staley, please excuse the dark palate.
10.  Staley knows that we think she is amazing.  And it's not because she talks a lot or knows so much or brightens our days.  It's because she's Staley. She's God's answer to our prayers.  She's our daughter.  And that's all that really matters.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Just When You Think You're Out of the Woods...

...you end up with a double ear infection.

My poor Staley has been fighting illness since Thursday.  She's been sporting a low grade fever and a wet, hoarse, pack-a-day type cough.  Yesterday, I thought the worst was behind us.  Her fever was gone and she was back to her active, perky, playful self.  After a fitful night of sleep last night, Staley woke up...fussy.  She didn't want to read.  She didn't want to eat.  She didn't want to drink.  Her fever was back up.  We cuddled on the couch to watch her Baby Einstein video, and she didn't even have the energy to name the animals or get excited about the cow puppet.  She just sat there, dazed and lethargic.  I got a little breakfast into her (still sitting on my lap, since any prospect of setting her down brought on the waterworks), and then she fell asleep in my arms for about 2 hours (during which time I called her doctor to get an appointment as soon as possible.)  And the verdict:  on top of the virus that Staley has been fighting (for which there is nothing we can do), she now has a double ear infection.  So Staley is enjoying a steady cocktail of Motrin, Tylenol, and amoxicillin...along with multiple doses of nose wiping, video watching, book reading, vapor bath taking, and cuddling with mom and dad.  Hopefully this combination will have her back to emptying drawers, crawling up stairs, and throwing food on the floor in no time.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pese and Dankoo

Manners are important to Zach and I.  We want to raise polite, respectful, gracious children.  To that end, as Staley began talking, we wanted to make sure 'please' and 'thank you' were part of her early vocabulary.  She caught on pretty quickly and regularly peppers her conversations with 'pese' and 'dankoo.' 

Staley has learned that 'please' is a powerful word.  When she wants something, she almost always uses 'please' to make her request known.  And if she REALLY wants something, she uses multiple 'pleases' along with the sign for 'please' to make sure her request is not missed.  Since Staley has had her first true illness over the past few days and was much less active and perky than usual, we've spent a little time cuddling on the couch watching Baby Einstein videos.  Staley never gets to watch TV at home, so this has been a special treat.  On Thursday night (the beginning of her sickness), we watched a Baby Einstein farm video.  It had a sock puppet cow that caught Staley's fancy.  Since then, Staley will ask to watch this video multiple times throughout the day.  'Pese. Cow.  Boo (Moo).  On (Turn the TV on).'  Over and over.  'Pese.  Cow.'  'Pese.  Pese.  Cow.  On.'  'Cow.  Boo.  On.  Pese.'  Please is always a part of this reqeust.  And although we haven't given in each time she's asked (because otherwise we'd have done nothing else), we have watched this video more than a few times these past several days.

Staley has mastered the art of using 'please.'  Thank you, however, is a little trickier.  She will always use 'thank you' when we prompt her, but using it on her own has taken a little more time.  When Staley hands us things (her toys, food she's done eating, items she's not supposed to have), we always say 'thank you.'  Staley has picked up on this.  When we hand her things, however, she doesn't say 'thank you.'  But she always says 'dankoo' when she hands us things.  When I'm folding laundry, she will take each item out of the basket, hand it to me, and say 'dankoo' as she's handing it to me.  Like 'thank you for taking this item from me.'  And although it's not quite the right use of the word, it's so very cute.  And at least she's gracious about giving things away.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Knowing Too Much

There are things that I know because of my job that, I feel, make me a better (or at least more informed) parent.  I have a firm grasp of typical and atypical motor development.  I've tried out numerous toys and play activities with kids of all ages.  Working with kids for the past 10 years has given me LOTS of practice in setting limits and curbing negative behaviors.  I have learned the power of positive reinforcement.  And I have a vast arsenal of speech/feeding therapists and physical therapists at my disposal who can share their expertise (like how to teach my daughter to drink through a straw), answer my questions (should I be concerned that my daughter stands with her feet pointing out?), and do informal play-date evaluations (so that I can relax about my infant preferring to keep her head tilted to the right.)

However, sometimes working with kids in the hospital setting can be a negative.  When I was pregnant, I had the typical first-mother worries, but I also added my own know-too-much list.  Am I unknowingly working with a child with CMV, exposing my unborn baby to this virus that can cause devastating developmental problems?  Will my child be born with hydrocephalus?  A severe cardiac defect?  Spina bifida?  Will she suffer an in utero stroke or be born with any number of genetic disorders?  I looked for early signs of interaction and language development to determine whether or not my healthy infant would have autism.  I have my know-too-much list for Staley as she grows up:  Helmets.  Carseats.  Pool safety.  Absolutely no 4-wheelers. 

And now Staley is sick.  She has a fever and a wet, barking cough.  And I can't help but think about the kids I've seen in the hospital--normal developing, healthy kids who have a fever or a cough and then BAM!  Seizures.  Respiratory failure.  An unassuming virus that, for unknown reasons, attacks the brain.  (See.  I'm freaking you out now too, right?)  I know that what I see at work is the worst-case scenario, not the norm.  But it doesn't stop me from worrying.  From having a movement monitor.  From consistently making sure that my daughter is still breathing while she sleeps.  From watching for signs of seizures or altered mental status or breathing difficulties or cyanosis.  From thanking God every single day for her health and for her development.  I hate that Staley doesn't feel well.  It's hard for me to hear her hoarse cry or see her flushed cheeks and glassy eyes.  I just want to make it all better.  And if I can't, I want to at least think rationally and know that childhood illness is normal and that she will be fine in a day or two.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Well Hydrated

Staley learned to drink through a straw today.  And the result--that's all she wants to do.  I finally had to hide her straw and cup behind the Cheerios box at breakfast this morning so that she would finish eating her meal.  She drank about twice as much at lunchtime as she usually does.  I'm assuming that we'll be changing some wet clothes when she wakes up from her nap.  But Staley is so proud of herself.  Drinking through a straw made her very happy.  And at least we know she is well hydrated.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Action Verbs

As the daughter of an English major and the sister of an English teacher, I feel it's my duty to include some grammar lessons as a service to my blog followers.  Now you may be wondering why, with the rich heritage of English teachers in my life, I still find it necessary to write with sentence fragments, hanging prepositions, and (my worst grammar vice) starting sentences with a conjuction.  And I have no excuse.  None at all.  But hopefully this little lesson in action verbs will negate some of my past (and future) grammar sins.

Lounge

Climb

Stand

Sit

Read

Drive

Walk

My life with Staley is full of action verbs.  Next week, maybe I'll continue our grammar lesson with adjectives.  Because Staley makes all my days happy, all our moments fun, and my heart so very full.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

If at First You Don't Succeed...

Over the past several months of eating solid foods, Staley has demonstrated some specific food preferences.  Eggs, most plain vegetables, pastas, and bananas have all been spit out or found their way onto the floor on multiple occasions.  I had read (somewhere) that it can sometimes take kids up to 10-15 times of trying something before they like it, so we have continued to expose Staley to her non-preferred foods, hoping for her to turn the corner.  And this week must have marked the 10th (or 15th) time we've offered Staley some of these foods, because turn the corner we have.  This week, Staley ate (plain) corn, green beans, carrots, and mashed potatoes.  Before this, she would eat plain peas--any other vegetable had to either be in a soup or mixed with applesauce.  Hooray for expanding vegetable horizons!  But the vegetables were just the beginning.  She also ate eggs, tortillini, and bananas.  And not just a few bites.  She ate, asked for more, and  polished off leftovers.  I'm not sure if she was getting tired of her old stand-bys or if we just wore her down, but whatever the reason, I'm glad.  I was tired of picking pasta and vegetables up off the floor.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things a Mother Can't Do

I believe that in Staley's eyes, a mother can do anything.  When she asks for a cracker, I can make it appear.  I can reach the toys on high shelves, turn on and off the lights, read books, lift her out of her crib.  When she says 'please' or 'help', I can usually deliver.

Today, however, Staley realized something that a mother can't do.  We were driving to Washington for some swimming fun.  Staley was sitting up in her carseat, looking out the window when we saw a train going along the tracks.  It was in sight for about 10 seconds or so, and then she could no longer see it.  When the train was out of sight, Staley said 'please.'  I replied 'please what?' To which she answered 'train.'  I explained that the train was all done.  Staley cried for a few seconds and then tried a different tactic.  'Help.  Train.'  Over and over.  'Please.  Train.'  'Help.  Train.'  I tried my best to explain in 1 year old terms.  'The train is all done.  Bye train.'  After we went through this scenario about 15-20 times, Staley finally seemed to get it.  'Train.  Done.'

So it has happened.  At 13 months and 4 days, Staley has realized that there are things that her mother just can't do.  Or at least one thing.  I can't make a train reappear along a driving route upon request.  Hopefully she has not lost all faith in me... because supplying crackers and reaching high shelves is important too.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Growing Up

Signs that my baby girl is growing up:

1.  Staley has moved from her infant carrier into her convertible carseat.  Although still rear-facing, she loves sitting up higher and looking out the window.
2.  Staley is now putting 2-3 words together when talking.  She says things like 'hat off' or 'daddy please' (translation: I want to see daddy) or 'box in please' (translation: I want to play in my new carseat box) or 'go bears' (no translation needed).  Although most of her conversations are still in single words, she is finding new ways to get her ideas across.
3.  Staley can count to 6 by herself.  She loves to count and she will hold up her fingers (just the index ones) to indicate that she wants to start counting.  It's so cute!!
4.  Staley's understanding of ideas and words continues to grow exponentially.  She knows that on and off applies to clothing, as well as to electronic toys, lights, and appliances.  When anyone sneezes, she always says 'bear, ah-choo' because one of her favorite books ('Bear Snores On') has a part where the bear sneezes. 
5.  Staley's imagination and pretend play is emerging.  When playing in her carseat box (a new favorite past-time), she loves when I knock on the box and say 'little pig, little pig, let me come in' so that she can say 'no, no' and then (contrary to the story) she likes to be the one that huffs and puffs and blows.  And when playing with her Little People house, she not only activates all the sounds, but now she will put the people in bed or in the bathtub or in their chairs.  Last night, she was trying to put the Little People baby in the refrigerator (indicating that she is not yet ready for the responsibility of baby-sitting.)

I can't stop my baby from growing up.  All I can do is sit back and enjoy all the fun moments that fill our days.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

One Smart Cookie

Staley has recently learned one of life's most important lessons.  When we ask her, "What do we say about the Bears?", she answers 'GO!'  And when we ask "What do we say about the Packers?", she answers 'Boooo!'  Smart girl!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

First Steps

My baby is 13 months old today, and I am making it official.  Staley has taken her first independent steps!!  Over the past week or so, Staley has been working hard on walking.  She loves to walk around holding onto just one finger.  If she falls, she insists on getting right back up.  (I love the perserverance.)  Staley likes to practice standing without holding onto anything.  She will take 3-4 steps from Zach to me and back again (over and over), but we help her get stable and get started.  This evening, Staley pulled up to standing at the wall in her playroom.  She let go of the wall and took 2 unassisted steps to get to her Little Tykes car.  Zach and I were both there to witness her feat of balance, stability, and coordination, and it was exciting.  By far the best part, though, was the huge, proud grin that Staley wore after arriving (vertically) at her destination.  So look out world--she's on the move!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Scrabble

S, O, A, L, H, R, E

If I were good at scrabble, I could take these 7 letters and come up with words better than horse or real or solar.  (And I'll be honest--it took me a few minutes to come up with those.)  Staley is not yet rearranging letters to form various words, but these are the 7 letters that she currently knows.  (She also knows 'C', but only when it is in the form of the Bear's logo.)  Staley can identify these letters and name them.  She loves when we are wearing shirts with words so she can point out the letters she knows.  (Lucky for her, BEARS has 4 of her known letters and happens to be plastered across a good portion of our t-shirsts and sweatshirts.)  So although not quite ready to compete in a rousing game of scrabble, she could at least look over my competitor's shoulder and give me an idea of a few of the letters they might be holding.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lessons

I always thought that one of my primary roles as a parent would be to teach my children.  And it is.  But over the past year, I've realized that I do way more learning than teaching.  Simply observing Staley as she goes through her day has taught me some valuable life lessons. 

1.  Get excited about the simple things in life.  Joy can be found in almost anything.  (Like socks, for example.)
2.  Wake up happy.  It starts the day off right.
3.  If it doesn't taste good, don't eat it.
4.  A round belly and pinchable cheeks are cute.
5.  Clap for yourself.  It's healthy to be proud of your accomplishments.
6.  Feel free to show excitement about seeing someone you love.  It will make them feel good.
7.  Take off your shoes and socks.  Being barefoot feels better.
8.  Talk about what you love.  Excitement is contagious.
9.  Expensive toys aren't necessary.  There is more fun to be found in an empty box and some tissue paper.
10.  If you are not happy about something, let people know.
11.  A hug and a smile can turn someone's day around. 
12.  It's fun to make a mess.
13.  You never know unless you try.  How else will you learn that putting your face in the water lets you drink and bathe at the same time?
14.  If you want to break the rules, just do it with a cute smile.  Maybe you'll get away with it.
15.  You don't need to use a lot of words to get your point across.
16.  When things aren't going your way, it's okay to cry.
17.  Take time to smell the roses...and pet the cat and touch the balloons and empty the drawers and...
18.  Nothing feels quite as good as cuddling on the couch with someone and reading a book.
19.  Sometimes it's about the journey, not the destination.  If you just fold the clothes, you'll miss out on the joy of playing with them first.
20.  People will love you for just being you!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Touching

Touch.  Touch.  Touch.  If there is one word that I hear more than any other in a given day, it is 'touch.'  Why?  Because touching is one of Staley's favorite activities.  The touching 'game' started with the Christmas tree.  We did not want to deprive Staley of experiencing the wonder of the Christmas tree, but we also did not want it to end up as a mangled mess of branches, ornaments, and lights sprawled out in the middle of the living room.  So we taught Staley to touch.  No grabbing. No pulling.  Just touch.  Staley took to this immediately.  One finger extended, gently poking, and pulling away.  Touch.  Every time she saw the tree, she would ask to 'touch' the branches, the ornaments, the lights.  So much excitement in that one little request.  The Christmas tree went away after Christmas, but touching remained.  Staley loves to touch her bows hanging on ribbons, my necklaces dangling in the closet, the hats on the hat rack, pictures in frames.  At the mall, she asks to touch the clothes hanging on racks.  Touching the rows and rows of books at the library or the shelves of canned goods at the grocery store make those outings a little more special.  I love the gentle way Staley has found to enjoy her surroundings.  There may be a day in the future where racks of clothes end up on the store floor, canned goods are rolling down the aisle, and all our glass knick knacks have to be packed away as I'm trying to rein in my little girl.  But not today.  Today we just touch.  And I love it.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Next Picasso?

Picasso.  Van Gogh.  Walles.  Monet.  Meares.  What do all these individuals have in common with my daughter?  The ability to create beautiful art.  Staley spent about 20 minutes (which, I believe, is the typical time it requires most artists to complete a piece) sitting at her little table this morning, working to create her very first masterpiece.  She trialed a variety of artistic techniques:  the horizontal scribble, the dot-dot-dot, the double-fisted crayon technique, the draw-on-the-table-instead-of-the-paper plan, the exchange-my-crayon-for-a-different-color experiment.

The right hand eagerly waiting for the left hand to get tired.

Pretty pleased about having a red crayon AND a green crayon.

The end result.

I think we can all agree that the use of color and movement, the presssure differences in the crayon strokes, and the empty white space on the bottom right-hand side of the paper all provide an emotional abstract experience that leaves the viewer feeling the essence of joy that Staley brings to her art.  Or at least feeling mildly pleased that she didn't try to eat the crayons.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Discoveries

Staley and I went to the Children's Discovery Museum in Bloomington with Melissa and Liam on Wednesday.  Here is what we discovered.

1.  Getting a picture of two one-year-olds where they are both looking at the camera is virtually impossible.

2.  In theory, cute blue smocks to keep the water off clothes in the water play area is a great idea.  In theory.  In reality, they annoy the wearer whose clothes continue to get very wet.

3.  Hiding behind curtains and watching construction out the window are fascinating 'exhibits'.

4.  Even when surrounded by a vast array of new, fun, exciting activities, books still require some quality time.

5.  Realizing that a wedge of plastic cheese in the grocery store section is not, in fact, yummy and edible does not stop my daughter from tasting 4 more wedges.

6.  Plastic cows are AWESOME, and making repeat visits back to touch them is a necessity.

7.  Chess is child's play.

8.  Just because a toothbrush is as big as she is does not keep Staley from trying to brush her teeth with it.

9.  The Children's Discovery Museum is fun, fun, fun!!!

10. And so is spending the morning with cousin Liam.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tutus and Books and Cake, Oh My!

Staley's one year pictures are here.  Enjoy this sampling of a few of my favorites.