Friday, December 21, 2012
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
He has gone to maybe 7 classes in Chinese. He will frequently ask me to read the Chinese book. Also he picked up some words from some swim class friends that speak mainly Chinese. Nothing beats putting language in context.
I love that he can not only converse with kids that speak another language, but that he understands the concept of different languages.
I actually speak to him exclusively in Spanish at home. It isn't easy since I didn't grow up speaking much Spanish, even though my parents were both Cuban (long story).
And I ask that he respond in Spanish, because I have this fear that he will be one of those "well he understands it perfectly, but can't speak it well" kids, like I was.
So this video is a typical practice session we might do before going to bed. Minus the running around. We practice with me talking only in Spanish, asking him for the words in Chinese.
Don't be fooled, he acts differently when he knows he is on camera. Shy at times, more likely to freeze up, or run away. Trust me, Language Stars is much better at keeping him focused on the task versus daddy with a camera in his face.
Written by Frank
Saturday, May 19, 2012
|My 23 month old naked baby playing at our beach in freezing water|
I don't want to forget. It is going by so fast. Slow down already!!
You are a month shy of turning 2. Two! Can you believe it!?! (you say that phrase... it is so cute... I am learning a lot about certain things I say because I hear them coming straight out of your mouth). Where were you before you were here? What was I doing? I can't seem to remember. It feels like ages ago and in a different world. Oh how my heart soars with so many things you do and say. I feel as though I could bust open at the seams and all that would pour out would be millions and trillions of tiny sparkly pieces that make up joyful mommy me.
Your list of words is no longer possible to keep. You are full up to the brim with language. You even say full sentences! Almost every other phrase is, "name that Mommy" meaning you want to know what something is called. Oh how I was never aware that there were so many things that had names before you toddled into my world. And I am perplexed and embarrassed at how there are so many things which I have no idea what the proper name is. You are not satisfied knowing that it is a plane, you want to know what all of the pieces of the plane are called. Not only do you want to know the name of foods but you want to know the names of different parts of foods. You are not satisfied that the shopping cart is just a shopping cart. You have this need to know the name of the handle bar and seat and wheels and the material from which it is made. In addition, you want to then know all of the names in Spanish... Chinese, French and don't forget German! But we are not done yet. You want to know every person's name - teachers, friends, family and people in the Starbucks and even in cars that pass us on the street, "Man name car Mommy?". Once you learn their name you want to know their last name. After all, you know your first, middle, and last name. You know your family member's whole names. Why not the barista at our coffee house?
You still demand and request and plead that we sing to you all the time. You especially need songs for when you get an owey or when you are about to go to sleep. But you also like to be sung to when you are on the potty, when you are about to eat, and for just about any activity. And now you sing. Oh man it is delicious and beyond adorable how cute it is when you sing! And mostly you know the words but occasionally you get stuck and man do you say, "no mommy sing!" with an air of authority if I jump in to "save you". Some of your favorite songs to sing are, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Ball Game, Rock uh bye baby, and your ABCs (below video Hartly is 22 months old).
One of Papi's and my favorite thing that happened recently is you created your 1st imaginary friend.
We were in your playroom (the one Mommy just converted from a guestroom to a PAHM room) and there are vehicle decals all over the walls. You particularly like the red school bus sticker by your desk. You point it out a lot. Well, one day, you were pointing to it and just staring for a bit when you turned to me and said, "bus driver mommy?". Through many back and forths it became clear that you were wondering where the bus driver was. You wanted to see him. After all, in order for the bus to work, it needs a driver. And you wanted your precious red bus on the wall to work. I told you that I couldn't see him. You said, "hiding?", and I smiled and agreed he must be hiding since we couldn't see him. Then, before you knew it, you said, "Jose see him Mommy!" in an excited voice. I said, "you see him?" and you excitedly shouted with glee, "YYYAHHH!!". You then reached your plump little toddler hand out and touched the red bus making a scooping motion with your hand and said, "got him!" as you grabbed gently at "nothing" on the wall. You brought him over in your little cupped hand and showed him to me. You then looked up into my eyes and said, "name? name bus driver mommy?" I told you that I didn't know his name. I asked you what you thought. This is a hard one. But you then said, "Captain". And for the rest of the evening you carefully carried Captain, the red school bus driver, everywhere with you.
And what so amazed me was that you made him almost come alive in your hand for me. You didn't forget about him. When you put him down on the ground, you walked around him. When you placed him to the side to get a toy or turn the page of a book, you would return to the exact spot you put him down. In fact, once you put him in the book to get a closer look at a picture and then you turned the page but remembered right away, turned back, scooped him up and then continued forward in the book. You even put him back in his school bus when it was dinnertime. Half way out the door I told you Captain could come to dinner with you if you wanted and instead of just having him materialize in your hand, you stopped, went back into the room and scooped him out of the bus you had put him away in moments before. When you went to climb onto your chair you had trouble because your hand was curled up in a half fist holding Captain. I had to tell you to put him down so that you had two hands to climb. It was so sweet and so real.
It has been a few days since this all occurred. You have played with Captain a number of times since then. He does not go everywhere with you and he can be forgotten for many hours. But when you do decide to play with him, you continue to have that same careful and very real care of him. It is incredible to behold.
You are still an amazing sleeper. You go to bed at 8pm and, usually, wake up a little before 9am. An "early" day means you wake at 8am. When you are super lazy, like your mom and dad, you have been known to sleep till 10am (excluding the period of about 6-8 weeks after Puerto Rico from 18months-20 months when you were sleeping 8pm till noon the following day!!!). Your naps are spotty. Sometimes you crash out and sometimes you play nicely for a couple hours in your crib. Occasionally you complain and knock or do your fake cry calling my name (always my name). I go in and say, "What are you supposed to be doing?" You reply, "sleeping". I say, " you can play with toys or sleep but this is your time to be quiet by yourself in your room". You say, "play mommy?" or something of the sort. You try to get me to sing more. Most days you talk to your animals or play hiding or humpty dumpty with them if you are not sleeping.
Mommy has made up many different types of hugs and kisses to try and coerce more snuggles from you. We not only have regular pop kisses, eskimo kisses and butterfly kisses but we also have penguin kisses, fish kisses, choo-choo train kisses (you, much to my delight, made that one up recently) and doggy kisses. In addition to regular hugs we have hand hugs, forehead hugs and cheek hugs. I take all I can get.
You have not yet learned to jump, but that does not stop your desire or your continuing efforts. It used to be (around 16 months when you first took on this challenge) you would stand still and try to become as tall as you could with your neck stretched obscenely long and your shoulders pushed way down, which exaggerated the effect. You would strain, for many seconds, willing your head to pop right off... and that was your jump. It then progressed to the above combined with tippy toes. Now, at 23 months, you squat way low and then stand randomly and suddenly... all the while, your feet stay planted in the ground. Keep trying kid :) You will get it one of these days.
|23 months old|
"Buy it!" is another phrase you have learned. I suppose it occured because you always wanted to open things in the cart before we left the store. I had explained to you, a number of times, we had to finish shopping and buy it before we were allowed to open it. One day, in annoyance and frustration, after I said, "we can't open that yet", you said exasperatedly, "BUY IT!". Duh! :) Now when we try new foods at parties or see somebody else toy, you turn to me and request, "buy it mommy". Man how it starts young.
|You asked for this photo to be taken with Ba-Pa|
|wading in the cold April lake water with Jinky|
|One of your many outfits that you chose|
You are amazing at how you are so dependent and independent all at once. You want me close but you want to do it yourself. And you are a little climber. I have to remind myself, many times a day, to "spot" you but not interfere. You are extremely capable. Part of the reason why is because I try to step back and not rush to your side at every stumble, frustration or obstacle. I would never dream of putting you in harms way but I believe it can be just as dangerous to hover as it is for you to fall. I want you to trust yourself and your own judgement. I want these mistakes and steps taken now, when you are little and I am close by. How will you know how far to risk going if you don't, occasionally, go too far. I work very hard at not saying no often. When I do say no, there is a good reason for it. I find so many caretakers say no so often. It has almost become a knee-jerk reaction. All too often there is no good reason. People say no to certain things because that is what everybody does and always has. I try and stop and think of why I am about to say no before I say no. For instance, you may absolutely climb up the slide at the playground... as long as there is no child at the top. You want to be naked outside at the beach before there are lifeguards and clothing rules, yes you can. You are 23 months. Play in the lake and sand and get wet in your birthday suit. Absolutely. You want a braid in your hair like mommy, or a ponytail (contrary to earlier statements), yes you can. Who cares, when you are 23 months old, if people think you are a girl!? You want to take 2 baby dolls with you to the store, absolutely. Why not? You like to turn on light switches and push buttons and unlock doors - we bought you your own stepping stools to foster this. You are mostly diaper-free (you take long naps and sleep long nights so you will have sleeptime diapers for awhile) and if you have an accident, you have an accident...
Monday, March 26, 2012
|Hartly & David 2012|
|Having fun with Hart in ocean|
|Papi having fun in pool Hart|
|The Barnetts 1978 (L-R Mike, Abby, Baby Carrie, Mom Jinky, Tony, Cat Stella, Dog Shirley, Dad Robert)|
I can't speak as an expert for ISR, but I can speak as an expert for our experience with Hartly and with our experience with David. I truly believe in the ISR method but I think that the instructor is equally as important.
A little bit about our experience with ISR:
If you do not read about ISR or see any DVD or hear any explanations about the method it can be scary and seem quite horrible. Almost all the little babies cry during their lessons. Many of them cry the whole entire time. This is not a Mommy and me class. It is not about being held and bounced around and being sung to in the water. This is a 1:1 ten minute lesson everyday, 5 days a week, to teach your child what to do in case of an emergency. This is a class that could save your child's life if, God forbid, there is ever an accident. In a matter of months (depends on child and illnesses, teething etc), a small baby can and does learn how to roll over onto their back (in the majority of accidents where children fall into the water, they land face down) and they learn how to float for a number of minutes crying out (giving them time for an adult to come to their aid). In fact the crying in class can actually be good and helpful. The crying helps David know when they take a breath in to help in the teaching of them rolling/flipping onto their backs. The crying is also helpful because in case of a real emergency, you are going to want your child to scream or cry out so you are alerted to them and their situation.
Another word about crying. As a new mother or parent you learn within the first few weeks or months a lot about crying. There are many different cries. The cry that most babies do during ISR class is a complaining type cry. Babies can't yet talk so crying is their way of communicating. In class they are communicating that they really would rather not work their little bodies so hard. It is a lot of hard physical and mental work to learn how to roll over in the water and to learn how to balance and float. This is not easy. But they are very capable. And almost all of the children stop crying once David picks them up and gives them breaks snuggling in his arms... But that is about David...
|David and Baby Hartly ~ 7 months old|
A little bit about our experience with David:
|reaching for David for class|
David gives children a gift that many kids do not receive until they are much older, if ever. He gives them the gift of believing in them. David trusts them. He knows they can do it. Babies are very needy and very dependent on adults. We do everything for them. Mothers and Fathers stand watch and are often so nervous and fearful for their baby (quite normal). Some parents get to the point where David has to ask them to leave (because the parent getting upset causes more stress on the baby). I myself decided a couple times to excuse myself because I didn't want Hart to see me getting emotional (and David will tell you, Hart rarely cried and never too hard or for too long). But it is hard to watch your child upset. And we, as parents aren't even confident in what our wee little ones can do. David is, often I would guess, the first person that lets a child know that they are separate from us grown-ups and that they have skills to take care of themselves. This is a gift that far exceeds the physical life-saving lesson of rolling or floating (because, hopefully, none of these kids will ever need to actually use what they are taught as far as in an emergency situation).
How it works schedule-wise:
A baby can begin learning the rolling and floating sequence as young as 6 months.
|learning how to float|
Hartly started ISR classes with David when he was 7 months old and he took about 4-5 months to graduate from phase one. I believe he was around 11 or 12 months when he graduated (I don't recall exactly). Hart was teething a lot during this time and when a baby is teething badly, swimming is halted (because ISR instructors are taught that teething takes a lot out of a child physically and that they need a lot of rest during this time and swim classes are counterproductive). Also, Hartly was a rare case in that, initially, he didn't cry at all. I think that this may have thrown David for a loop. It was hard to know when to roll him and it is also important for a child to cry some because while they can float a long time, they can't float indefinitely. The crying alerts people to a problem. Hartly never has never been a big cryer. He cries. He just doesn't cry a lot or often.
From Hart's 1st class at 7 months old until currently (he is 21 months), he has adored David.
Hart saw David everyday during the week from 7 months until almost a year, when he "graduated". Then Hart had 2 refresher sessions, spaced a few months apart, that lasted just a few weeks. Hart then went for almost 5 months without seeing David or being in the water at all.
In January we went to Puerto Rico to avoid the cold. Hartly was hesitant at first with the water. He was happy to wade in the baby pool but didn't want much to do with the big pool or ocean. He was a little timid and I did not push or encourage him but let him watch and observe. And I waited. It was so hard but I just talked about what people were doing and discussed that it looked like fun. I asked him if he wanted to try and when he said no I dropped it and didn't push him. I had fun in the water and we watched other kids and people splashing around. A few days in and Hartly decided he wanted to play in the water too. I was so glad I hadn't tried to talk him into it because he came around in his own time. I think if I had pushed it (which I was tempted because I love playing in the water), it would have only made him push back and he would not have had same internal pleasure and joy.
|enjoying the ocean|
NOTE: A few days into our trip in Puerto Rico, Hart fell face first while walking around in the baby pool. I was an arms length away. Before I could even react, his little arm shot up into the air and his whole big toddler self rolled over onto his back. It was the coolest thing and an amazing example of muscle memory and how ingrained David's and the ISR Method truly is. A few more times throughout our 5 weeks there, Hart tripped or went in the water over his head. Each time I was there but each time he also, automatically, shot his little arm up behind him and flipped his body over onto his back. I never tested if he was able to float. I always picked him up right away because I didn't want to scare him or discourage him if he had not been able to float. At any rate, while a couple of times this frightened him and he cried a little, a few other times he went right back to playing without missing a beat. What was crazy fascinating to me was that here is a 19 month old who has not been in the water or had a lesson in over 5 months!! (one fourth his life) and his body reacted and remembered what he had been taught months before. It was just so satisfying and cool to witness.
As soon as we returned from Puerto Rico we started right back in with the swimming. As I mentioned, it had been months and I was a little nervous because Hart could now walk and talk and I did not know how he was going to react to being forced to work hard in the water everyday. I braced myself the first day back...
|Hart and David|
|Getting a high-five from David|
Most recently Hart wanted to make a painting for David. He wanted it blue, like "blue pool" he swims in with David. After his painting had dried and glitter and fish stickers had been added, I suggested we write something to David. Hartly said, "Yes". I wish I had recorded the following, but I remember it pretty well:
Me: "What do you want to say to David?"
Me: "We should put his name on the picture?"
Me: "Ok. What else? Do you want to thank him for teaching you how to swim?"
Me: "Ok. Well, tell me what words I should write."
Hartly: "Thank you."
Me: "Ok. Anything else?"
Hartly: (thinking) Pause. Pause. Pause. "Love you!!!"
Me: "You want me to write Love you to David?"
Me: "Anything else?"
Hartly: "Read it."
Me: "You want me to read to you what I wrote?"
Me: "David - Thank you. Love you. Are you done or do you want to add more?
Hartly: "More Thank you."
Me: "You want me to write thank you again?"
Me: "Ok. Anything else?"
Me: "You want me to write swimming on it?"
Hartly: "Yes.(pause) Hartly."
Me: "I should put your name on it so he knows who it is from?"
Hartly: "Yes. (pause) Read it."
Me: "David - Thank you. Love you. Thank you. Swimming. Hartly."
Hartly said it better than I ever could!
|Hart with painting, David coaching background|
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
|Hartly a couple weeks old|
|Hartly, 20 months, planting seeds|
|Naked in the Ocean!|
Is he completely Diaper-Free? No.
Does he understand when he needs to go to the bathroom? Absolutely.
Does he always make it on time? Does he always tell me when he has to go? No.
Does he often not want to stop playing to use the bathroom? Does traveling make it harder? Is it sometimes confusing (I can pee in the shower and in the ocean but not in the pool or on the floor?)? Yes.
|Hartly in undies in our tent with ballpit balls|
Whenever I have to use the bathroom I tell him he needs to try too, so I am reminding him. And he, occasionally, tells me, "potty" too when he has to go. But more often than not he tells me he has to go by saying, "Hhhooollllddd it!" and that means he has to go but is holding it. I then ask if he needs the potty and he says, " Yes" and proceeds to tell me if he wants the big potty or little potty.
But, as I mentioned, he is not completely Diaper-Free. And he has had "accidents".
I have been feeling slightly guilty because, when we are out and about, I put him in a diaper. He will sometimes tell me when we are out, "pee pee" and if it is not convenient or easy to find or we are in the car or I am in a rush... I say, "It's okay. Just go in your diaper." UGH! Bad Mommy!
And there have been 3 times over the past 5 days that he has been playing all day, dry, in his underwear when, toward evening, he stood right next to me and said, "peeing" and he was right. He was standing there looking down and peeing...
|We brought our own potty to PR|
The goal is:
1.) for the baby to have body awareness from an early age - Hart has been pooing on a potty since he was 4 months old! We have changed VERY few poopy diapers since birth. Only if he is teething, sick or if he goes during nap or sleeptime has he had BMs in his diaper and not on the potty. Hart, for many, many months has told us, when he is in a diaper, "peeing". Even when we travel he uses the potty!
|In Spain Hart used adult toilets|
He has signed for the potty since he was under a year. He definitely has body awareness!
2.) for the baby to be healthy and clean - Hartly has never had a diaper rash. Never.
3.) To use less diapers and be better to our environment - We do GDiapers AND disposable. And, on average, Hartly only uses 2-3 diapers per day (including nap and bedtime). So, we have, at least a little, lessened our carbon print on the world. AND he is still just a baby!
|Painting in his Baby Gs|
|Hartly helping keep hotel room tidy|
|Happy Boy in PR|
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Little Man was going through a rough patch with his teething. He was just not his usually self and his hand was in his mouth pressing up on his gums one morning with silent tears rolling down his face. Our boy rarely cries so this was a rare and such a sad sight to see. I tried giving him teething toys and every trick I knew. I even put baby homeremedy medicine on his gum but he was not feeling any better. I finally, in desperation more than actually expecting and answer, said, "Hart, what do you need? What will make you feel better?" Without missing a beat, he signed, "bath!"
It was not our usually bath time but who am I to argue with a sad baby in pain asking for a bath. I didn't know if it would help but I decided to try. As I started filling the tub he become more frantic, madly signing "bath" over and over as his quiet tears now became sobs.
I hurried up and we climbed in. His sobs started to subside. He snuggled close to me and sunk low in the warm water. Minutes later he was smiling again.
It was amazing!
As I was sitting in the tub with my sweet teething baby a conversation with his pediatrician (Dr. Razi - she is the BEST!) came rushing back to me!! At around 6 months when Hart got his first (and so far only) fever and was crying nonstop, I (new mother here) called his Doctor in a panic, wondering if I needed to bring him to see her. She told me a bunch of different things to do for him. She said, if those didn't work, to climb into the tub with him. She said that it helps with aches and pains and can soothe a miserable baby. I only now, as we sat in the bath, was reminded of this conversation. How Hartly knew that this is what he needed to help make him feel better, I will never know.
What I do know is this: Without sign language I don't know how long he would have been in pain and sad and crying. He was able to communicate his needs to me - a need that had not even crossed my mind as helping his teething. This alone makes me grateful we sign. But, as I stated before, on a daily bases I communicate and talk with my son and we all three (husband is definitely on board too) have so much fun and joy talking together!!