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Learn it. Do it right. Do it faster.

I’m an INTJ. Competency and efficiency are KPI’s for everything in my life. Did I do it the best way possible given the circumstances and resources available? And can I do it better and/or faster next time?

I’ve brought those concepts into teaching Nessness (2.75 yrs old) life skills…like how to feed herself (with spoon, fork or chopsticks). How to clean up her dropped/spilled food. How to clean up her toys and books. How to put on her boots/runners and take them off. How to floss and brush her teeth. How to go potty by herself (the wiping is sketch but she can do it.) How to sort clean cutlery from the dishwasher. She’s mostly at the “do it right and faster” stage.

The next learning items we’re working in the “learn it, do it right” stages on are dressing/undressing herself, dustbusting around the house, wiping her table, putting dirty clothes in hamper and making her bed.

Sometimes, okay most times, it’d be a lot faster if I just did it, but that robs her the opportunity to get hands on learning and to build confidence when she does it. That said, I need to work on not getting frustrated with her when she decides to get silly and totally not do it properly. I tell myself she’s not even three. But I’ve seen when she does it really well so I know she’s capable. And so I push.

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A couple minutes this NYE

It’s a rare moment that both are napping at the same time, giving me a chance to nap. Even rarer is when I wake and neither of them have woken yet. SCORE! For the few minutes I have before being pulled back into the fray of motherhood, I’m gathering my reflections as the last hours of 2016 count down.

I think living life well with children can be summarized with this one quote I read this year:

If it only takes five minutes to do, do it now.

Because….oh they’re both awake now. See? I need to get better at this. Gotta go! ha ha.

Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy and Memorable New Year!!

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I Love…

32 months old, Nessness

  • how she kisses Mommy’s owies no matter where. Once I stubbed my toe and she got down and kissed it.
  • watching her watch sports with Daddy. She mimics Daddy and says things like, “Let’s go! Hurry up, faster! Woohoo!”
  • the songs she makes up to tunes she already knows.
  • watching her watch Animal Planet/Blue Planet….the awe and amazement over the Creatures of this planet. “Look Mommy a penguin! Splash! Penguins swim! It’s catching fish!!”
  • how she’s so proud of learning to floss and brush her own teeth. She also takes extra care when putting face cream on too.
  • how she loves asking Mommy or Daddy to chase her. She loves getting caught even more…usually within two seconds of the chase. She also loves chasing us around the kitchen island…for at least 10 minutes nonstop.
  • watching her try to mimic me while doing the 7 minute workout.
  • how she can take her responsibilities seriously…she’s responsible for sorting cutlery into the appropriate slots in the kitchen drawer and gets really upset if I do it for her. She’s also responsible for using the dustbuster (a.k.a. baby vacuum) to clear hallway dust and hair. I plan to milk this as long as I can.
  • that she asks me to cradle and rock her while singing Braham’s Lullaby before she naps. I hope to do this as long as she and my back will let me.
  • that she likes kale salad, brussel sprouts, grape tomatoes, olives, fish, century egg and all types of noodles. She’s her mother’s daughter.
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A Story as told by Nessness

32 months old, Nessness

This is what I understand of her continually evolving story thus far. She likes to tell it at meal times. With actions and much excitement.

The chicken is in the barn. And a shark in the barn.

The octopus eat the chicken. Nom!

The dog went to the golden sun and the elephant eat a spider. Scary!

And then the squirrel went flying…wheee! And then the fox went home.

So then the chicken in the barn. And the shark eat the octopus. gulp gulp gulp. Oh no!

The spider is this big! Scary.

And then Big Bird pooed in the sink and peed in the toilet. Oh no.

And then the dinosaur said “roooaarrr!!” The dinosaur lives in the mall with the giraffe and elephant and hippo and tiger. It went to sleep. I don’t have to be scared.

So and then the squirrel is on the roof and fall down. boom. The roof fall down.

I’ll add more to her story as it gets clearer. It’s pretty cute to see where she gets some references from and to hear what she’s imagined and put together herself.

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Terrible Twos

31 months, Ness Ness

It’s real: Terrible Twos

They have big BIG emotions and not-yet-developed emo-muscles to deal. And have a short fuse. And become OCD over weird things. They try to exert their sovereignty over everything…pushing and testing parental boundaries/resolve.

My goal though this phase is to not lose ground from what good habits we’ve built in the first two years of her life. This includes:

  • Healthy meals and eating whatever is served. She’s pickier now but she MUST at least try something a couple times before saying she doesn’t want anymore. She can’t get any seconds of what she does like until she finishes her vegetables.
  • No snacking except at snack time or rare treat
  • Cleaning up after herself. If she can pull it off a shelf or throw something on the ground, she can pick it up and put it back. We’re working on her cleaning up without needing me to stand there watching her slowly do it.
  • Daily nap time. There was a period where she wasn’t napping so I made her stay on her bed to “rest”. We just call nap time “rest time” now but thankfully she’s returned to napping. Phew! Without that nap she gets whiny and dramatic at dinner.
  • Reasonable bed time. It’s supposed to be 8:30pm….but lately with the napping, she might not fall asleep until 9, 9:30pm. At least she stays in bed and is relatively quiet.
  • Obedience to Mommy and Daddy….75% of the time? I’m expecting more obedience as she gets older and understands more. I asked her if sometimes she just doesn’t want to obey and she said “yeah”. I told her I understand but some things require obedience for her safety. She said “okay”…though I don’t know how much she understood.

Needless to say, it’s hard to just hang onto what we’ve established. There’s a lot of “Do this or else…” in the house. I’m mindful that whatever I threaten I must be able to carry through. So if it’s “or else we’re not going out“, then we really aren’t going to go out. If it’s “or else I’m going to throw/give the toy that you won’t clean up away“, then I really do it. Sometimes I’ll put the toy away for a couple weeks before quietly slipping it back into her toy box. Always trying to find the motivator. Sometimes it’s a toy or activity. Sometimes is me. “Finish your dinner or Mommy isn’t going to sit with you anymore, it’s dish washing time.”

With all the testing however, she’s also becoming more independent. “Nessness can do it!!” and shoves Mommy/Daddy out of the way. And she’s surprising us with what she can do! Flossing for example. She actually enjoys it! Hopefully that means no cavities in the future. She also likes to help Mommy/Daddy bring things up or downstairs. Particularly if it’s not her things. The extra pair of hands developing for help around the house is nice!! I need to cultivate this further while she thinks it’s fun. 😉

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I Love…

22 weeks old, Obi-wan

  • The way he reaches out to hold my arm as I change his diaper
  • His hair…wondering when I should cut it though.
  • His still amazingly soft skin
  • His laugh
  • The “conversations” we’ll have…this little guy is a talker and very expressive even though he can only say la, ah, gu, lo, oh. If I make him wait before picking me up, he gives me an earful about it.
  • Watching him play in the exersaucer, discovering, learning and just having a grand time
  • Seeing him watch Nessness, smiling and reaching out to her, even though she totally gets in his face a lot of the time
  • The way he clutches onto my hair or clothes as he snuggles
  • His meaty hands and feet
  • The fact that he snuggles and likes to drap himself on my shoulder (Nessness didn’t)
  • That he’s as tough as Nessness and stops crying right after vaccinations are done
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How do I say that?

31 months, Nessness

We’re trying to speak to Nessness in Cantonese all the time. The hubs and I are both born to immigrant parents in Canada. While I needed a couple years of ESL in my early school years, it’s safe to say Cantonese is our second language now as we both think in English. My guess is that I can speak Cantonese at a grade 2 level compared to someone from Hong Kong. (Pardon moi, mais mon francais est terrible…pretty much wasted unfortunately.)

This past year we’ve had an English speaking nanny so Nessness hears English spoken to her most of the day, she hears Cantonese spoken to her by us, and she hears English spoken around her since that’s the language hubs and I speak. It’s a bit of a confusing blend so it’s amazing to see how she develops her language. She understands both and can interpret short phrases depending on the language the listener speaks to her in.

While we can speak Cantonese for the functional day to day activities, we’re starting to falter in conversations that are more emotions based. I don’t have the vocabulary for conversations about appropriate or inappropriate expressions of emotion…particularly as the Terrible Two Tantrums seem to be making a regular occurrence. Or vocabulary that speaks to her character, like “That was very kind/thoughtful/generous/etc of you.”

Nessness is also starting to share her preference for one language over another. When reading stories, she’ll specifically ask for some to be read in English, and others in Cantonese. She likes to pretend babble in “English” but when directly communicating with us she uses mostly Cantonese still. I hear once she enters preschool it’ll be really hard to retain the Cantonese. How are other dual language families handling this? Any tips or suggestions? TIA!