Toddler Years: Handling Tantrums

cleaningup

Putting her blocks away without being prompted.

Sixtine is a very bright, wild, energetic and strong-willed little girl. She loves her newly found independence but still needs a lot of attention. I think the hardest part of being 20 months (for my baby anyway) is that she is torn between wanting to be her own individual and needing us – just as much as her 3 months old sister does, but differently.

She has gone through moving out of the country twice, being away from her father half her life in total, changing homes, language, entourage, routine and last but not least, a difficult pregnancy (modified bed rest, hospitalization) and a new baby in the family. Sprinkle with a typical 20-month old attitude and you have a clear picture of what we are going through right now.

She is craving for stability, routine and order which is why the Montessori approach works so well for us. Look at her putting her blocks away at the exact same place! She seems so concentrated and content. I was actually extremely surprised to see that she knew to empty her dirty clothes basket in her sister’s hamper.

One thing though, she is amazing with her baby sister. She kisses her, holds her hand, tells her not to cry, tell her “go” when she wants her to nurse, pour water on her head during bath time (gently – she means to help), shares her toys, will pull my hand when “Coco” is up so I can attend to her right the second ( I think she hears her better than I do ;)…and the list goes on!

However, I have been finding it really hard to keep my cool lately. She whines and cries a lot more than usual, and can be defiant as well. I am not as patient either and I suppose she can feel it too. What I usually do is I will explain to her that I am not happy with her behaviour and will have her sit on a cushion. She knows she has to stay on it until I go get her (usually a couple minutes) and I tell her to think about what happened. She usually gets very offended and cries, eventually, when I come back, I ask her if she is sorry and she will answer: “Yeah” and give me a big cuddle and kisses. It usually works – but for big tantrums, I am totally at lost.

I know I should ignore them but it is easier said than done – raising two young children alone, I have very little time for myself, I get frustrated and tired, I get to miss my husband (and I know Sixtine misses her Daddy so much it breaks my heart) who goes away for work, and at the end of the day, we are all very tensed.

She has also been fighting against wearing diapers but also won’t sit on the toilets. I guess she just wants to say: I want to make decision for myself. And she can make some decisions; I offer choices when possible but it isn’t always.

It makes me very emotional just thinking of it – I love my baby so much and I wish things were smoother between the two of us…

I know that spending quality time together makes a difference – and I sincerely feel that I do that but maybe not as much as she would like – but I would really like to hear how you are going through the toddler stage or how you got through it.

ps: I need a serious plan for potty training. (I can’t let her run around naked anymore as we have mostly carpet in the house!)

Her Big Brown Eyes

Only child, two, three, or more? How do you know you are done having children?

My husband and I are first-time parents and we both come from a fairly large family; we both have 3 siblings. I always knew I wanted a baby girl – an only child. My pregnancy was really hard on both of us and I don’t think (as of now) that I could go through it again but I sometimes feel that it would be nice for Sixtine to have a sibling she could play with, confide in, and grow up with and I know my husband would love that too.
I did a silly quizz a couple days ago to find out how many children my husband and I would have – here is what the site came up with:

Congratulations

You’ve just calculated how many children will Deb and X have.

The number of children you’ll have:

2

The number of children in a family is a very personal, intimate and sometimes final decision and because I just had a baby, it is hard for me to picture being pregnant again anytime soon but I would like to ask: How do you know when you are done having children? What is your experience? Is it something that you decide, or something that you feel? Did you ever regret your decision? I would love to hear from you !

 

 

10 things that make me cringe as a new parent

  1. Touch my baby without asking. I am not talking about family, friends and acquaintances. I am talking about strangers in the street.
  2. Stranger assuming baby is a boy because she’s wearing neutral colors. Do girls have to wear pink?
  3. Tell me to “enjoy it while it lasts”. I can’t help it if my baby sleeps. She might not be a good sleeper forever but let me enjoy it without sarcasm.
  4. Mention a second baby (or third, or fourth in your case). Mum, I love you dearly but please, she is only four months old. Give me a break.
  5. Look at me like I have three heads when I answer that my baby’s name is Sixtine. I know you didn’t ask for her age in weeks. And I know it sounds like the number. And although English is my second language, “What’s her name?” is a very basic question.
  6. Unwanted advice from a person who doesn’t have children.
  7. Wish me good luck with cloth diapering. We didn’t make the decision to cloth diaper overnight. We thought it through. Thank you.
  8. “She is/must be hungry.”Oh, thank you. I never thought.
  9. Expect my daughter to greet you with aahhs and oohhs after a nap and tell me that “she is so serious” if she doesn’t warm up to you right away. She is actually a pretty sociable baby.
  10. Sick strangers caughing around my baby. It makes me shiver.

I don’t mean to offend anyone. I am guilty of a couple of those, and sometimes, these are just innocent “making conversation” mistakes. Some of them are more or less annoying. I just wanted to share a few of them with you and most importantly, I would love for you to share your own cringe list with me !

Milestones: 4 month-old

Today is Sixtine’s month-day. She turned four months. To celebrate the occasion, I decided to open her handprint/footprint kit and mark the occasion. It was very easy to use and I am very happy with the result. It will take a couple days to dry but you can see how cute it looks on this picture. Her foot looks really big on this but it is only tiny, really.

Milestones and everyday life accomplishments:

  • She drinks 5 to 6oz/per bottle.
  • She sleeps from about 8.30pm to 7am.
  • She smiles and laughs a lot.
  • She pushes or pulls Mama or Papa’s finger when being fed to say no more or ask for more.
  • She babbles a lot.
  • She enjoys playing with bright-colored toys.
  • She pays attention to very small objects.
  • She puts everything in her mouth.
  • She has fun pulling her own socks and generally playing with her feet.
  • She can move her legs enough to rotate on her playmat.
  • She pulls her soother out of her mouth and tries (sometimes manages) to put it back.
  • She loves pulling Mama’s hair.
  • She doesn’t enjoy being on her stomach much so she will put herself back on her back.
  • She recognizes Mama and Papa’s faces.
  • She enjoys other children.
  • She loves music.

She’s grown so much ! I can’t believe my baby girl is already four months old…!

My Daughter Is A Drama Queen

Bringing up a Bilingual Baby

I am Parisian French. When I was 8, I had to choose a second language (it was mandatory). I wanted to learn English but my dad highly recommended I take German. Let’s say I had to. I never liked it. In fact, I hated it. So when, aged 13, I was asked to take a third language between English and Spanish, I took English.

It was instant love.

For those of you who know German, you may know how much easier it is to learn English after battling against “der, die, den, das” and others singularities of the German language…

English, on the other hand, was melody to my ears. And I was very good at it. I pretty much averaged 18 out of 20 at every exam (French marking – equivalent of an A minus maybe?) on my first year.

My husband is Canadian English. He learned French in high school but doesn’t remember much. He is trying really hard however to learn with the baby. But it is obviously harder to learn as an adult !

We were excited at the thought of raising a bilingual individual long before I got pregnant. It would be such a rich heritage to pass on to our child !

I did some research when I was pregnant as I wanted to find out what would be the best way to introduce both languages and finally agreed with my husband that we would do : one parent, one language.

This is pretty much what we have been doing although I do speak English at times. Usually, it goes like this: Did you tell Papa what we did today? So that, Papa in fact, knows what we’re talking about.

I have here on the island very few opportunities to speak French and if it wasn’t for my family and friends from France, I would probably not talk French at all anymore.

But there came our little one ! How I love speaking and singing in French to her ! I am so looking forward to hearing her first French word !

And to give her more opportunity to hear and speak the language, we would like to send her to a French daycare ( if we get a spot – she is on the waiting list ! ) and French school until junior high. Then we will give her the choice: stay in French school or go to an English one.

I would also like to add the basics of a third language (Spanish or Italian). And make sure she has good world awareness: I want her to know about different cultures, languages, and customs.

Please share your experience raising a bilingual child because you and your partner speak different languages or because it is a choice of yours. How does it work for you? Thank you !