Friday, March 27, 2009

Mihret's (Pseudo-) Big-Girl Bed

Mihret's been napping on a cot without side rails at day care "school" for awhile, so we decided to see what steps we could take at home to get her ready for a big-girl bed.
We don't think she's quite ready to be tucked into a bed without rails yet, because she would likely roam free. We have a gate at the top of our stairs and we could shut all the other doors to the upstairs hallway, but we'd still worry. I'd also heard a suggestion to try shutting her door, but she can escape - believe me. She loves figuring out how to open doors and she's very good at it.
Her crib turns into a toddler bed - take off the rails, and presto. Then, when she outgrows her toddler bed, apparently we go out and purchase a large mattress and reconfigure the crib parts in some way that makes sense, and presto - an "until-you-leave-the-nest" twin bed.
What we decided to do, you've probably already figured out from the photos. We made up a bed for her, with new big-girl pillow, pillowcase, comforter and sheets inside her crib, so it's basically a bed with rails. We figure maybe when she's about 2.5, it will be an easier transition from there to taking off the rails and tucking her in.
Josh usually puts Mihret to bed, after we finish our family reading and prayers routine, I give last kisses, sing a final lullaby and leave the room. He's reported that Mihret seems more willing to let him leave the room and fall asleep on her own now that she's in her pseudo-big-girl bed.
They'll start off sitting in her rocker and then Mihret will tell him when she wants to get into her big-girl bed. Then, Josh will rub her back for a bit, until she tells him, "Daddy, you can go potty now." (That's how he got her to let him leave the room, by telling her he had to go use the potty. :) )
She loves to put her babies, Grover, Elmo, etc., to bed, too. She hasn't jumped out of her crib at night, and this is comforting. Big-girl bed makes everyone happy!

Mihret, The Singing Dinosaur

In Mihret's day care "school" class (2-2.5 year olds), the teachers instruct children using theme weeks - weather, transportation, Dr. Seuss, to name a few examples. After one recent week, "Dinosaur Week," Mihret came home with a very cute little skit. Watch as she pretends to be a dino.

And because she likes to sing, watch for her to launch into her version of the "Numa Numa" song.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kiddo Conversations

Part I:

The Scene: Mihret is at day care. She is talking to Alex.

Mihret: Alex, you go home?

Alex: I'm going to my daddy's house!

Mihret: Okay. Bye, see you later!

I'm not going to say my kid is a brilliant conversationalist, but how often do you see two two-year-olds having a conversation that makes sense?

Part II: I had to fetch a paper for Kara to sign from out in my car. The only problem was, Mihret was up already and Kara was in the shower, and I'm still a little wary of leaving Mihret alone for two minutes.

So I picked her up, and we went outside, got the paper, and came back in.

Kara emerges from the shower:

Mihret: Mama! Daddy and Mihret go outside and get the papers!

Kara: Did you help daddy get the papers?

Mihret: Yes.

Note to self: Do not rob a bank with Mihret in tow...


Monday, March 23, 2009

"Mihret's Talking to Daddy Right Now..."

I am so happy that Mihret, like her Emaye and Abaye, seems to be falling in love with words.

She loves to choose lots of board books to read (we're waiting to let her hold the books with more delicate pages until she's a little gentler with them). She often tells us, or her "babies," or her bear, or her Grover, Elmo, etc., the stories on the pages. We like to read along and then pause so she can fill in the missing words or phrases.

She's got the "ABC Song" down pat - it's one of the songs she sings most frequently right now along with an eclectic mix of "Africa" by Toto, the "Numa Numa" song by that Romanian band, the "Way-O" song from the Wisconsin-based performers Colleen and Uncle Squaty's children's educational songs CD, and "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

She also can recognize four of the 26 letters by sight: A, B, C and "M for Mihret." She "read" us the first three letters off of her organic Sesame Street butter cookies box and we got all excited. As many of you know who are reading this post, Josh and I are avid readers - make that uber-bookworms - and we can't wait to share this world that is opening up to Mihret.

The sentences Mihret is saying these days are also becoming much more complex. She always speaks in full sentences now, although the grammar is a bit mixed up sometimes. She is learning about contractions ("No, I didn't!" "No I don't!") and compound sentences ("Mihret's blueberries all gone, and I need some more berries in my tummy!").

My latest favorite gem from Mihret, although I have to catalogue it under "a bit sassy"...

I stopped home briefly while on a dinner run during a weekend night shift at the paper the other day, and Mihret was eating her dinner at the kitchen table. She looked up when I came in the door, and said...
"Mama, Mihret's talking to Daddy right now. Go upstairs and read your book on Planet Bed." (our endearing term for our bed, which we pretend is a planet when we zoom Mihret to it in her laundry basket.)

Words... you never know which ones will come out next, and in what combination.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Toilet Paper, Please

(NOTE: For this posting, Josh was begging for an alternate title: Our Little Whiz Kid. :) We're all about the puns at the Patterson house.)

Mihret's been aware of the potty for quite a while now. We decided we didn't want to put any pressure on her to sit on it, but we've made sure that she knows it's there for the sitting at any time.

She's watched us use the potty plenty of times. She's fixated on the roll of toilet paper that hangs at a fairly low and accessible level for little peanuts. At first, she stood by the roll and handed the potty-ing parent piece after piece. ("Need paper? There you go, Mama!") Now, she favors shoving handfuls into the potty-er's hands and walking out the door, closing it behind her.

For the past month or so we've been taking out her potty seat (one that secures onto the toilet seat) and asking her before bathtime if she'd like to try sitting on the potty. She's been doing that most nights, except for when we've been running behind schedule and she's been overtired, or a few nights following the two times recently when she's been sick to her stomach (we had the unfortunate experience of having to introduce her to "getting her uckies into the potty." We figure having to hang over the potty head-first while doing a frightening thing like vomiting scared her away from it for a bit.)

In her new classroom at day care "school" - she moved up in early February, shortly after she turned two - she's been sitting on the potty about twice a day. Her teachers say she hasn't been initiating the bathroom visits, but when her older friends line up for the potty, she usually follows right along.

Lately at home, her before-bathtime potty time has gotten more and more involved. She's wanted to wipe with square after square of paper ("Toilet paper, please!" she asks, and we oblige in moderation, giving her a piece at a time for conservation's sake). She also started asking for reading material - the magazines we keep in a basket in the bathroom. Truly a child after our own hearts!

So tonight was the big splash (pun intended). I was actually in the computer room checking e-mail, and Josh was helping an enthroned Mihret leaf through a "Parenting" magazine. All of a sudden, I hear Josh saying, "Mihret _went_ potty!"

The funny thing? She was really more into looking at the magazine than she was in getting excited about her tinkle. But she did wipe all by herself and try to flush (Josh had to help; the lever's too heavy for her to push down on at this point.)

We're not going to rush the full-on and intense potty training, but I can't help but wonder how soon her potty time will become productive on a regular basis.

Next step: Checking into the Pull-Ups diapers. (We still use the ones with the tab fasteners.)


We try to make most of teachable time

March 4, 2009

Post-Crescent column: We try to make most of teachable time

Our 2-year-old daughter Mihret loves going to day care, which my husband, Josh, and I like to call "school."

At her Christian school, her creative and compassionate teachers help her learn to love God, care for others and explore the world around her with a healthily curious attitude.

We've accepted the fiscal fact that, in order for us to provide for her and also plan for a second adoption, we need to be a two-income household. That means Mihret sees more of her teachers in her waking hours during the workweek than she sees of us.

So as her first teachers, we've tried to make every minute with Mihret meaningful.

When she's eating her snacks, Josh plays piano. While we clean up, we sing together, following her lead. One favorite — a "Mihret medley" of the first verse of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" that leads right into the chorus of "Jingle Bells."

When we shop, she loves to help us unpack bags. It's fun to hear her identify groceries ("Pasta! Yogurt!") and it's also interesting to see what she'll call items that are a mystery to her. Lemonade has earned the affectionate term "Clamonato."

We play catch with her globe-patterned bouncy ball. She loves to point out Africa, the continent she recognizes. We use the game as an opener to talk about her Mama Delame, Grandpa Demesse and other birth family members who live in Ethiopia.

We read her favorite books, including "The Snuggliest Snuggle in the World," a book about a mommy leopard who goes hunting and leaves Little Leopard to play with jungle friends until she returns to give hugs only parents can give. We talk about how Mama and Daddy have to go to work, but always come back.

And every night before bed, we pray together about our busy day, and the day to come.

-By Kara Patterson, Post-Crescent staff writer