Monthly Archives: October 2005

Who Am I?

This morning I had the closet door open, and Georgie started naming everything inside; shoes, sandals, slippers, pants, shirts, etc. When I asked him, “Whose pants are those?” He said, “Deanna’s.”

I was shocked, and asked him to repeat what he said.

“Deanna’s pants.”

How is it that a 21-month-old knows that I am both ‘Mommy’ and ‘Deanna’? From the psychology books I’ve read, children don’t tend to understand the difference until they’re much older. George usually calls me Mommy around the boys, and I know he hasn’t heard it all that much from his Aunties or Oma, but obviously he has put two and two together.

He’s (mostly) memorized his numbers 1-10, and knows 1, 2 and 3 by sight. He’s very good recognizing shapes. We’re working on the ABC song, more for enjoyment than anything else. He has most of his favorite books memorized (and there are a lot of them), so that when you’re reading and you stop, he will say the rest of the words on that page. I’m starting to point to the words as he says them, just to reinforce the idea that the word on the page corresponds with the word he’s saying.

All of this is just another reminder that I need to start researching curricula. From the minimal research I’ve done, I’m leaning towards Montessori, but need to find out more about the actual method (most people think Montessori indicates private schools with low teacher-to-student ratios, when in fact, it’s a system of learning).

Why am I attracted to Montessori? Things like this, from “The Joyful Child, Essential Montessori from Birth to Three”:

Three Areas of Family Life
The main areas of practical life activities are:

1. The care of the self: dressing, brushing teeth, cooking, and so on.

2. Grace and courtesy and concern for others: moving gracefully, using good manners, offering food, saying “please” and “thank you,” etc.

3. Care of the environment: dusting, sweeping, washing clothes, gardening.

Children have always shown us their interest in practical life by pretending to cook and clean, taking care of a doll, carrying out adult conversations, etc. But when given the chance, they would much rather be doing the real work of the family and community, instead of pretending. A child would prefer to remove real dust from a dusty shelf with a real child-sized duster, to help collect the dirty laundry, or to fold it, to take part in preparing real meals, rather than to pretend to do these things with toys.

imagine, education that stresses the importance of grace and courtesy in everyday life…

I’d like to find a Montessori homeschool curriculum for ages 3-4 so that I’m prepared, but I also don’t want to ‘overeducate’ George so that he’s bored if/when he starts attending school. (I have a friend who experienced this with her son, and it made for a difficult transition from his Montessori Kindergarten to public school in the first grade.)

Balance is the key, right?

Parenting and Boys

Whew, I thought I was busy just having one little boy… what did I ever complain about?!

Ethan is showing his personality; he’s definitely an assertive little person, who lets you know in no uncertain terms that he wants to be held, now. Just like Georgie was!

I don’t know if I’m going to get around to sending out a birth announcement, what with the holidays coming up (and hopefully, a finished house in which to have a party!). Here’s a picture of the boys… they were both bathed, with clean hair, faces and diapers — for 5 minutes, anyway:

I find that I’m struggling for patience… I keep forgetting that Georgie is only 21 months old, and he’s so smart, I sometimes expect too much from him. I don’t want to set a bad example of impatience and irritation. It’s so easy for kids to mistake your anger with their actions to be anger against them. It’s the worst feeling to think your parent hates you, and kids can’t always make that distinction.

Parenting is difficult stuff. I often regret the grief that I put my mother through, especially from the ages of 14-17. Looking back, I know that I was not an easy person to deal with — I used to push her buttons on purpose, do things for the sole purpose of irritating her. I’m amazed that she dealt with it as well as she did, considering what an independent person I was.

Mostly, I regret that I set such a poor example for my brother and sisters when I was younger by being so disobedient. I always felt, ‘they’re responsible for themselves, it’s not up to me to make them do what they should,’ but my perspective has changed; the oldest has a responsiblity to set a good example for their younger siblings. I hope that I can instill in George the importance of being a good example for his little brother (and any others that come along).

However, the juxtaposition is, my independence has made me who I am — I refuse to settle, read and research ad nauseum before making decisions, and look at situations from a logical standpoint, as opposed to becoming emotionally entangled. (Well, I try to, anyway.) So although I regret my disobedience and stubbornness, I also like the person that I’ve turned into.

I hope that George’s independent personality will allow him to say the same when he’s an adult.

Baby #2 is Here!

Ethan Michael was born on Tuesday, September 27 at 8:45 PM. He weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20 1/2 inches long.

My midwife appointment was Tuesday morning, and when she checked, I was 6cm dialated — she said she couldn’t believe I was still walking around! She asked if I wanted her to strip my membranes, but I was afraid I’d go into active labor immediately, and I didn’t have a babysitter for George, so… I went home and put George down for a nap (and took one myself).

At 2PM, I called George and told him that I was feeling pretty uncomfortable, and that maybe he should think about coming home a little early. So he took off an hour and came home, and we packed Georgie up and took him to Aunt Mary’s. Then we headed down towards the hospital and stopped for a light dinner, then took a walk around Lake Isaac. I called the midwife and told her that we were heading in, I wasn’t having regular hard-working contractions, but a constant pressure (along with lots of uterine contractions).

Georgie’s Last “Baby-in-the-belly” Smooch

George & I got to the hospital around 6:45 PM and I walked up to Maternity, chatted with the nurses, changed and settled in to the birthing room. The midwife came in and checked me and said, “Oh my gosh, you’re already 8 1/2cm! Do you want me to break your water?” I said “Yes — let’s get the show on the road!” Almost immediately I started having hard contractions that were 2 minutes long and 40 seconds apart… almost no break in between! Transition was really difficult, as George left at the most inopportune moment to find a restroom. I really believe that a laboring woman should never be left alone, even for a minute — the energy completely changes. She needs touch and encouragement, and a beeping fetal monitor can’t do that.

The feeling of pushing came on much more gradually this time, but I only pushed a few times — I’m not exactly sure how long, but I know it was over very quickly, since Ethan’s face was quite bruised from such a quick egress.

The midwife put him on my chest immediately, and he nursed right away, so the nurses couldn’t get ahold of him to ‘clean him up’ — as if I needed to have a squeaky clean baby. I got to hold him and nurse for a while before they did his Apgars (9 and 9). He was a howler, too — none too happy about being taken away! And he peed on the nurses before they could weigh him, so he was probably just under 8 lbs.

We hadn’t decided on a name, and while driving to the hospital, George said, out of the blue, “What do you think of Ethan?” I don’t know anyone with that name, and neither does he, so it kind of stuck in the back of my mind. So he was just “Baby” until the last day, when we had to fill out the birth certificate paperwork, and we agreed on Ethan Michael. (George pronounces it “EEE-fan”.)

George has adjusted very well, no real signs of jealousy. In fact, he wants to hold him (for one second, then he says “all done”) and always lets me know when the baby is crying. He’s been a very good big brother — only one or two instances of trying to play ball with Ethan, or throwing a book at his head.

Ethan’s two-week follow up pediatrician appointment was today, and he’s 8 lbs. 9 oz! So he’s obviously gaining well, no nursing problems. Initially, he was a little jaundiced, and I had to wake him up to nurse, but he’s doing better now, nursing about every 2 hours during the day and 4-5 times at night.