Posts Tagged ‘Alexis’

February 28, 2017

“Moo” and Other Things

Six-ish months ago we made the decision it was time to start weaning Alexis off of her binky. I fallowed our dental insurance advice to poke holes in her existing binkies which would break the suction and reduce the sucking satisfaction Alexis received from them, allowing her to break her binky habit more gradually.

The first time Alexis put the modified binky into her mouth it slid right out. It started slipping out of her mouth at night time as well. I’d sneak into her room to find Alexis holding her binky in her hand rather than keeping it in her mouth. Things were going according to plan. Until…

Alexis learned to bite down and chew on her binkies to keep them in her mouth. She ended up chewing through a few binkis. We ended up replacing them twice, before it became clear that we needed to take the next step. Enter the Binky Fairy.

For the uninitiated, the Binky fairy works by having the child gather up all his/her binkies. At some point when the child isn’t looking the binky fairy turns the binkies into toys.

The Binky fairy helped Nicole kick her binky habit, though there were a few rough nights. Nicole was more attached to the binky than Alexis when it was time to give it up, and there were a couple nights where she’d wake up in the middle of the night having forgotten about trading it for toys.

I had learned from my mistakes. We sang the “bye, bye, binky” song (or at least the refrain) while she gathered up the her binkies and put them on the ottoman for the binky fairy. The fairy replaced them with a new bath time toy, and new night time snuggle buddy, and owl she named “Moo”. That way when it night time approached we could easily keep reinforcing the idea that she traded her binkies for fun new toys.

Despite all that she didn’t 100% grasp what was happening. She asked for her binky during bed time story and cried “Alexis needs it!” when I reminded her that they were all gone. Fortunately the tears were short lived. I reminded her about Moo and she was content to hold him during story time instead. I was surprised that she did not ask for a binky when she awoke in the middle of the night!

The next day Alexis asked for her binky again, and again I reminded her about Moo. There were no tears, but she held Moo to her face, frowned, said “don’t like Moo” and tried to hand him back to me.

“Aww, Moo likes you!” I said, wrapping Moo’s wings around her in a big hug. That did it. She grabbed tightly and lied down with a huge grin on her f ace. So far she’s been asking about the Binky, but other than that first few minutes of that first night there have been no tears, only questions.

February 20, 2017

Mommy Naps

There are few things in life as perfect as a child sleeping in your arms. The way they snuggle into you as they find that perfect position, as though no matter how hard they try they can never be close enough. They way the go from squirmy to still as the sleepies take over and they drift of to sleep. The rhythmic breathing. The warmth of their little bodies. Tiny head resting in the crook of my neck. Fine baby hairs tickling my chin smelling of baby shampoo. Rocking a sleeping child is one of my favorite mommy moments.

This stage doesn’t last nearly long enough. Blink and it’s over.

I was caught off guard when it ended with Nicole. She was a feverish two and a half year old, used to napping in her bed but would take a “Mommy nap” whenever it was offered. This time she couldn’t get comfortable. I remember the way she cried when she couldn’t fall asleep until I lied her back down in her bed and sat next to her. I had had my last mommy nap with my first born, and never knew it.

So here we are with my youngest, two years and three months old. She’s not quite at the point of giving up naps, though she’s spent nap time in the crib waiting out the bunny clock before. Her nap days are numbered, as are her mommy naps. She’ll struggles to get comfortable in my lap, struggling to find a position where her feet don’t get squished against the cushions. But she still asks for Mommy naps, she still wants them, and I’m happy to oblidge. Who am I to say no?

I’m soaking in these moments while they last.

January 11, 2017

More Alexies

Despite this being my second go around, I’m still constantly amazed how quickly language developes. Just a few months after our last ‘Alexies’, we have a whole new round.

Goldfish for Dinner
A constent topic of conversation in the car on our drive to and from daycare is what’s for dinner. (It doesn’t help that there’s a McDonalds on our route, and Alexis recognizes their sign.) The other day we were driving and Nicole asks what’s for dinner.

Nicole: What’s for dinner mommy?
Me: Fish!
Alexis (hopeful): Gold fish?

Nice try kiddo.

Why?
I knew we’d hit the why phase with Alexis, but I kind of expected it to happen a little later when it was easier to understand her toddler-speak. Often she’ll say a long string of sentences of which I understand only a few words, and then ask “why?”. If I say I don’t understand, she’ll repeat the same syllable sequence, syllable for syllable of which I still only understand the same few words.

Other times our “Why” conversations usually go a little differently. I present to you an actual conversation with my two year old.

Alexis: Alexis wants Donalds (McDonalds)
Me: Not today. We had that yesterday.
Alexis: Why?
Me: Because you asked for it yesterday.
Alexis: Why?
Me: I assume because you like it.
Alexis: Why?
Me: Probably all the fat and sugar in it.
Alexis: Why?
Me: Fat and sugar is yummy.
Alexis: Why?
Me: … that’s a good question.
Alexis: Why?

Alexis Funny
Alexis is definitely a little goof, and she knows it. Sometimes she’ll start laughing for no apparent reason. I’ll ask her what’s so funny and she’ll respond “Alexis funny!”

Alexis do it
A very common phrase around here is “Alexis do it!” She’ll insist she be the one to request a new song from echo. Only Echo doesn’t quite understand that “echo, ay luv is open door-ah” translates to “Echo, play ‘Love is an Open Door'” in toddler-speak. I’ve gotten into the habit of making the request when Alexis’ request fails. She scream “no, Alexis do it!” and then repeat her request when echo is thinking. Then, when Echo starts playing the song she beams with pride saying “Alexis did it!”

Recently we had a meltdown over a band-aid coming off in the bath tub, including tears down the cheeks. Nicole tried to cheer her up by hugging her, when that didn’t work, Nicole pretended to sympathy cry. Alexis came to a dead stop, said, “No, Alexis do it!” and then resumed crying at the top of her lungs.

She did not understand why we all found it so funny.

November 27, 2016

Happy Birthday, Alexis!

In what I’m sure will be our yearly tradition, we celebrated Alexis’ birthday with Family the weekend after Thanksgiving. I cannot believe how fast time is flying.

two_balloon

This was the first year of including Alexis’ in our giant number foil balloon tradition. Nicole was very excited for the foil balloon, and wanted to be the one to give it to Alexis when she awoke in the morning. Alexis ended up rather indifferent to it, preferring the small latex helium balloons, but she was willing to pose for a few photos with it. That worked out well for Nicole who not so secretly wanted a turn with the balloon.

For the party itself we opted for the simple approach: balloons, cake and family. I’m all about the easy peasy at 2nd birthdays, apparently.

We made the mistake of opening presents first. Present #2, Scout was followed by #3, a giant cookie monster stuffed animal. Her arms were full and she was not giving up either for anything. Not even temporary so she could open more presents. We ended up setting the remaining presents aside for another day, much to big sister’s chagrin.

Alexis blew out the candle with help from big sister. She declined of piece of cake, however, pulling her bib off and hoping out of the chair before the first piece was cut. Somehow she managed to escape inheriting my sweet tooth, and there were new toys to be played with. I tell Domingo this after every party, but we really need to look into getting the girls angle cake or pound cake. Neither is a fan of frosting.

The party ended with our second “great balloon release” (released inside in the stairwell). The balloon release was a huge hit on Nicole’s birthday, and likely the girls’ favorite part of Alexis’ birthday. The each took turns cutting the strings on the helium balloons and sending them up to the ceiling.

And, in case anyone is under the mistaken impression my kids are always cooperators, I present our funniest out take. Our little goof.

outtake_flatline

October 6, 2016

The Bunny is Magic

Toddler sleep has historically been a bit of a challenge for us. Alexis was at the age where things all went to pot with Nicole, so we’ve been fearing another long bought of terrible sleeping.

Things weren’t horrible, but they weren’t great either. For the most part there where at least a few good nights a week, giving us hope to cling to. Then, Alexis was struck with a week long cold. We figured her sleep would return to normal after she kicked her cold. It didn’t. We thought maybe she just needed a few more days, than a week, maybe a couple of weeks. Alexis was now waking up 4-6 times a night for a week straight, and sometimes those ups would last for an hour. She was clearly trying to sleep, but when she didn’t fall right back asleep she’d call to us for another drink of water while she waited, followed by another call shortly later for a diaper change.

That lack of sleep is a killer. Because her night time sleep was so bad she was often tired and cranky during the day. Little things that usually didn’t bother her before would cause a crying fit. Being overtired affected her naps as well, and created a feedback loop of exhaustion. Of course mom and dad were frayed a little thin as well.

Recent experiences have lead us to believe that Alexis understands much more than she can communicate. We decided to give an OK to Wake Clock a try, even though she was sub 2. Let me tell you that OK to Wake clock is pure magic!

Alexis has a thing for bunnies right now. Her favorite stuffed animal is the bunny from Pets. She loved having her own bunny clock, just like big sister Nicole. We made a big deal out of saying good night to the bunny every night. (Alexis still says goodnight to it and not to me!) Every time she’d wake up in the middle of the night I’d gently remind her that the bunny was sleeping when I went in to check in on her, and we’d say goodnight to it again when I left the room.

It took a bit over a week before the number of night time wakings started to decrease. For two or three weeks she’d just wake up once a night. Then sometimes never. The past week she’s slept through the night in it’s entirety. This morning I heard her on the monitor calling “Bunny sleep, Bunny sleep!” which is her way of saying “Look at the bunny clock!” (It had just woken up.) With her night time sleep finally in a good state, she’s also napping better than she has in a long time. She’s back to her happier, more carefree self. She’s even eating her vegetables better.

Of course, this could just be confirmation bias again, but I’m optimistic.

September 17, 2016

Camera Ready

alexis_posing

Who is this child, and what did they do with my Alexis?!

Alexis has long been my child who merely tolerates the camera. She’ll cooperate for me, provided I don’t over do it. But others? Nope. Her last round of school photos were a complete bust. She started crying the minute the she was brought into the room, so the photographer had her sent back to class without attempting a single frame. I admit I was more than a little bummed about that. This is the same studio that did the vintage style photo for the playroom, and I was looking forward to an updated version.

Rather than just be bummed, I decided to reach out to the JCPenney’s photographer we had success with. I called up and asked if they could do a similar vintage shoot. I also needed an updated family photo for our living room. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

That was last Friday.

The beginning of the session wasn’t promising. Alexis clung to me and cried when I tried to have her just stand by my side. But by the end of the session a transformation had taken place. Alexis was eating up all the praise she was getting for holding a pose and smiling, and the photographer kept doting on her for being so cooperative. It created a bit of a feedback loop and my camera shy little girl was behaving much more like her camera loving big sister than I ever remember her being. It was especially amazing because the photographer was giving her complicated directions I wouldn’t expect a two year old to be able to understand, but she did and happily obliged! She not only posed as requested, but held the pose for the photographer.

Today I got out my camera and asked Alexis to sit in the chair so I could take a picture. She posed herself (though this is one of the poses the JCPenney photographer had asked for), and held it long enough for several snaps. I shot Nicole next. Once Nicole was done, Alexis climbed back up into the chair with her teddy bear, ready for found two.

Before today it’s been four weeks since I last picked up my camera. I had been feeling rather uninspired. Now that I have two eager models I will have to make up for lost time!

September 5, 2016

Alexies

I enjoyed sharing some fun stories of Nicole, which I dubbed Nicolies. Now that Alexis is stringing words together in simple sentences and phrases, we can share some Alexies as well.

“No, Fries!”

At meal time we give the girls a little of everything. They have to eat the request amount of everything before they can recieve more of their favorites. This works, even for Alexis, although she does sometimes try to barter. We’ll point to the vegetable and say “first!” and she’ll stuff a piece of fish in her mouth instead before repeating her request for her favorite foods.

The other day we were trying to get Alexis to eat more green beans before she could have a sip of water from the big girl cup. (She can have as much as she wants from the sippy.) Domingo said “first!” point to her green beans. Alexis glanced down at the plate, looked up and said “No, Fries!” holding up her last french fry offering to eat it instead.

“Daddy, Down!”

Little siblings tend to learn quite early to blame their older siblings on owies. Alexis will run up to us, point somewhere on her body and say “Owie, Nicole!” to indicate big sister did it. She’ll do it even when big sister isn’t around and could not possibly be the culprit.

This weekend I was coming downstairs and I noticed Domingo scolding Alexis for being on the landing. She came running up to me with all the same urgency that she says “Owie Nicole!” only this time it was “Daddy, Down!”.

“Did Daddy take you down from the step?” I ask.
“Yeah!” she says emphatically.
“Because we aren’t allowed on the step?”

She gave me that look she gives when she doesn’t want to answer the question. Despite knowing she wasn’t allowed on the stair, she seemed genuinely perplexed Daddy wasn’t scolded. I guess she views me as the one in charge around here.

“Owie, Owie, Get Down!”

Most of our little monkey’s sayings these days revolve around owies (real, phantom, and pending) and getting down.

Last weekend we took the girls to the circus. The opening act was the acrobats. When the lights turned on and Alexis saw them up on the apparatus she pointed and shouted “Owie, Owie, Get Down!”

“Fwee, Four, Ive!”

The thing that amazes me the most is that Alexis can count! If you start her by saying “One, Two” she’ll reliably go to five, and occasionally six. I’m sure at this point it’s just like singing the alphabet song, all rote memorization with no real understanding, but it’s still adorable to watch. I need to get it on video.

June 11, 2016

Alexis’ Baby Book

I’m very delighted with how Alexis’ baby book turned out. The additional two and a half years of camera experience made an incrible difference, and the concept was easier to execute this time. Like last time we decided to go with a 24 page book and 12 images, one for each month. Rather than spell her age in the baby blocks, which proved challenging, I wrote her age on the blank left page.

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

Second Time Leasons Learned

  1. Solid color onesies are the way to go if you’re going to shoot against a white background. I was worried about colored onesies clashing against the blocks, but the white onesies fadded into the background a bit too much. I liked doing a different colored onesie much better. A tan colored bear would have probably been better too.
  2. The bear is easier than the blocks, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. I’m sure any style of photos gets difficult beyond a certain age. I figured going into this project that I’d be able to at least get cute photos of Alexis interacting with her bear even if she wasn’t doing quite what I was hoping for. It turns out if your under one knocking the bear off set is hilarious, especially right after mommy just put it back.

Now all that’s left to do is wait for a coupon from MyPublisher. I have no idea what we’ll do if we decide to have a third child. I feel compelled to keep changing it up.

—-

Material Costs:
Bear – $20.

March 27, 2016

Sixth Anniversary

7thanniversary
My happy, crazy, amazing family

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since the anniversary of our wedding vows. In those six years we’ve had three homes (three cities and three different daycares), two amazing girls, and one incredible do-it-yourself career adventure.

I am constantly amazed at the compassion and considerate my not-yet-four-year-old shows. She is so loving with her little sister, offering her hugs and toys when she cries. Her teachers tell me she is the first to start cleaning up, and the first to the table at activity time. A few months ago Ms. T, her favorite teacher, was cutting with scissors and somehow managed to cut herself. Concerned, Nicole fetched her a wet paper towel, all on her on.

Alexis is our vampire kisses and tackle hug champion. She is incredibly clever, just like big sister. Before she found words she was amazingly good at inventing gestures to indicate what she wanted, whether it be the way she tapped on the trey to indicate the type of food she wanted, or the way she’d throw her head down to indicate she wanted to be picked up upside down. She’s our happy little ball of energy

And Domingo. Boy, did I hit the jackpot with him. He’s amazingly supportive of my desire to start my own company, even though it’s taking longer to get it off the ground than I would like.

We’re loving our new home, and our new community. The change of pace from silicon valley (and the reduction in commute time) has done us a world of good.

March 7, 2016

Practically Synonyms

When I awoke this morning I checked the baby monitor to find Alexis standing in her crib. She often awakes around six and waits thirty minutes or so for us to go fetch her before becoming inpatient. When I entered her room she extended her arms to be picked up and called out “Owie!” Odd, I thought. She wasn’t hurt. She hadn’t been crying, or even calling out before I went into her room. She was just standing in her crib, waiting. She probably said “Mommy” and I just misheard.

We were in a bit of a rush this morning. Well, every morning lately seems a bit rushed these days. Domingo was downstairs with the girls getting their shoes on while I was upstairs gathering more spare clothes for the girls’ cubbies at schools. When I came down stairs she saw me and again called out with her arms extended, “Owie! Owie!” This time Domingo noticed it too, and could attest both to the spoken word and the lack of injury.

Actually, we’re pretty sure this isn’t the first time she called me owie now that we think about, but with “owie” being phonetically close to “mommy” we kept doubting ourselves. As always with kids and first words there’s a lot of guessing what was actually said. It takes a few iterations before words become clear.

When you think about it “owie” is a pretty good substitute word for “mommy.” It’s nearly guaranteed to get Mommy’s attention, more so than “mommy” ironically, since it indicates a level of distress. We think she picked it up from Nicole. Three year olds are pretty excellent at detecting owies as well as inventing them. She probably noticed Nicole using it to get attention and is mimicking her favorite big sister.

So now we’re up to “ball”, “here”, “more”, “bucket”, “shoe”, “daddy”, “mommy”, “hi”, “bye” & “owie” in total words, with “mommy”, “daddy” and “owie” all being used to referencing me. (In her mind “daddy” seems to mean “Generic Parent” as she uses it to refer to both Domingo and I. No Idea where it came from.)

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