The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 97 reflects back on a year of Jack, his many developments in recent weeks and our struggles to get our daughter to sleep in her own bed.
This week’s episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast recaps a recent visit from my parents, awards the Pop Poppa Of The Week to a person I actually know and compares raising a toddler to Enemy Mine. Enjoy!
If you’re interested in a little more information on our sign language process, check out this post I wrote a while back.
Here’s the Monkeying Around The Kitchen post I wrote about Barnaby’s.
I also wrote about Enemy Mine over on UnitedMonkee three whole years ago.
If you’re interested in learning more about this week’s Pop Poppa Of The Week Justin Aclin, check out his blog, but also be sure to buy his books Hero House and Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Defenders Of The Lost Temple. If that’s not enough, listen to his recent interview over on Matt and Brett Love Comics where, yes, he does in fact mention me.
And, finally, the drumming video:
One of these days, I’ll get the hang of coming up with posts on a regular basis for Pop Poppa. One of the problems I have in coming up with topics is that parenting a child who’s not even two yet is both the same every day and always changing, which means while a topic might sound interesting one day, it’s changed a few days later or I’ve become so used to it, it doesn’t seem worth writing about. Anyway, I figured now was as good a time as any to update readers on where Lu’s at with a few things here and there, many of the topics I’ve written about previously or talked about in various Photo Diary posts.
We’re still working with the cloth diapers and wipes and my wife does that laundry every other day. As I mentioned in a somewhat recent post, we’ve been trying elimination communication which is still a little tricky. Lu doesn’t mind using her potty and sometimes we can get into a good rhythm where I get her on the potty every hour or so and she holds it until then, but sometimes my timing’s off. She’s also not really doing the sign to let us know when she has to use the bathroom which makes the whole process more difficult. Still, she’s doing well and I think she’ll catch on to the sign soon.
Speaking of signs, we’ve actually had some pretty impressive leaps in that department lately. Lu’s had the ones for “eat” and “all done” down for a while and we do our best to accomodate her when she uses them so she knows that we’re listening. She’s also got “hot,” “cold” and a few others down. The biggest surprise was when she started using the sign for “cat.” She’s been able to actually say “kitty” for a while now, so we figured there wasn’t much point continuing to use the sign, but out of the blue a few weeks back she started using her version of “cat” and does it while saying “kitty” which is pretty neat. She’s also talking pretty well and learning new words all the time, my personal favorite so far is “touchdown” which she says while raising both arms straight up in the air.
The kid walks like a champ. She’s getting pretty good at going up and down hills and is even learning how to use steps while either holding a railing or our hands. For a while, she had no interest in hand holding and would yank hers away if we tried, but she’s getting better at that too. She still gets a little antsy when we’re out running errands or at the grocery store, but even that’s getting a little better, though I’m also getting faster at the latter.
Lu still breastfeeds, but only in the morning, to go to bed and when she wakes up in the early morning. Though our freezer is packed with homemade baby food, these days Lu either eats what we’re eating or gets her own meal when we eat out. I’m been surprised to find that she’s more interested in spicy foods than my wife or I would have thought and only seems sensitive to temperature (which is why we taught her the signs for “hot” and “cold”). She tries just about everything, but isn’t the biggest fan of leafy greens and some other vegetables, but I think she makes up for it nutrition-wise thanks to her intense fruit addiction, I can barely keep the stuff in the house and even had to move our fruit bowl up high because she was taking bites out of everything from plums to oranges.
Naps have never been an exact science with us, though I have gotten her into a pretty regular schedule of going down for about an hour between 10 and 11AM. If I’m lucky, I get some work done and a shower in in that time. If I’m even luckier, when she wakes up crying, I can pick her back up and get her to fall back asleep. She usually wakes up crying if I try to put her back in her crib, so I’ve been placing her on a blanket on the floor in the living room and going about my business. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. At night, she’s going down between 8 and 9PM and sleeps through to about 5:30AM. At that point I bring her into bed and she nurses until she falls back asleep. Just when I think she’s starting to sleep in more or switch things up, it turns out to be a fluke, but I still hope to get to the day where she’ll let her fall asleep for naps and the like on her own instead of fighting like crazy to stay awake.
One of my favorite things Lu seems to be learning is an appreciation of music. When it’s on she dances around and really seems to enjoy herself. She likes when I play guitar and is even starting to learn the rhythms to the songs a few of her toys play. My wife even signed up for a weekly class that the two of them are going to take that revolves around different music and instruments. It’s becoming pretty evident that the kid has good timing.
I try to limit the amount of TV watching in a day and have been doing an okay job of it, though some days are better than others. Our morning TV routine includes Sesame Street, The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Jake And The Neverland Pirates and Doc McStuffins. None of those shows are too annoying, though I am starting to notice reruns, something I’m not too happy with considering we’ve only been watching these shows for a few months. After that I get her down for a nap and then have the TV off for most of the middle of the day while I get work done. In the afternoon, I usually turn it back on to distract her a bit while I cook, but it rarely works. Maybe I need to just start blasting tunes!
So that’s a pretty general idea of where we’re at. If you have any more specific questions, drop me a comment and I’ll either respond there, or do another post answering them.
Wow, I can’t believe you’re one today. Depending on the day, it either seems like the time has flown by or like you’re been part of our lives for far more than 365 days. Truthfully, you were part of us for the nine months before that, of course, but as much as I would look at the black and white ultrasound photo that still sits on a shelf directly across from where I sit every day, I could not have imagined what you’d really be like. I could see your nose, but that’s about it. I had no idea you’d have such bright, blue, sparkly eyes or that your cheeks would be so popular that strangers would come out of nowhere and say they wanted to eat them. Don’t worry, I didn’t let them. A few copped a quick cheek feel, but I kept an eye on them.
No, I really could not have known what being your dad would be like, how amazing it would be, how impressive you are and how completely my happiness has been connected to yours. I doubt you will remember this down the line, but when you have a bad day, so do I. When you’re popping out teeth and just not feeling well, I can’t help but feel out of sorts myself (and not just because those are the days where you seem dead set on clearing everything off of every shelf and table in the condo). I could not have known how warm my heart would get when you look at me and said “dada” or when you finally started laughing. I can’t really explain how mad I get when people cut us off in the car or when those strangers try to touch you. Mom calls it my “daddy bear” coming out and that just about explains it perfectly. How dare they, don’t they know I’m carrying precious cargo?
Something that most parents say to their kids is that they just want their kids to be safe and happy. Oftentimes, parents will go overboard on the former and wind up inhibiting the latter. I know I’ve probably done this already and will most likely do it as you grow up, but I want you to know that it all comes from a place of love and caring. I do my best to let you run around and do your own thing and hope you know I’ll always be there to scoop you up when you fall down (both literally and figuratively).
Looking back, it’s been a heckuva year. Remember when I used to carry you through the whole grocery store because you were too small for the cart and I didn’t want to use those gross ones with built in baby seats? Or how about when you were so little, we’d have to wrap you up in a blanket so you wouldn’t bonk yourself in the face and wake up? Or how your tiny hands and inquisitive nature have lead to an early exploration of the guitar? No, you probably won’t, but that’s okay. I’ve taken plenty of pictures and done a fair amount of writing her on the blog and over on my photo diary about your exploits, so we’ll hopefully be able to strolls together down memory lane.
You won’t understand this — or maybe any of this — until you have kids of your own, but I want you to know how proud I am of you and how much I love you. It’s such a complete and honest and true feeling that comes from deep inside. Like just about everything else about being a parent, it’s hard to explain, but instantly recognizable when you feel it. I hope my own issues and problems don’t seep down to do you too much and I apologize for my bad days, but want you to know without a shadow of a doubt that I love and support you and want you to have everything the world has to offer. Happy birthday chickadee.
In addition to making sure Lucy can see our mouths when we talk to her as much as possible, my wife and I have also been trying to teach her some sign language. One of the things about babies is that they can comprehend well before they can physically replicate sounds. So, essentially, they can understand the idea behind something like “eat” before they can actually say it, but that doesn’t mean they can’t communicate in other ways.
We’ve got a few books and a flashcard set, plus my wife has an app, but we’ve been sticking to a few basic signs so far. The first one we started doing months and months ago was eat. You bring all your fingers together and then touch those fingers to your mouth. It’s pretty simple and was also the first one Lu started doing back to us. But, we’ve noticed that she kind of does it all the time, so it has lost a bit of it’s communicative nature, but it’s still nice to see that she’s been able to copy the motion.
Another early one we started doing was “more” which is taking the “eat” sign and tapping it to the palm of your other hand. This is another one that we’ve seen Lucy mimic, but not necessarily master the concept behind. She has gotten the hang of “diaper” which is tapping both open hands around the waste area. Of course, you want them to learn this one so they can tell you when their diaper is wet or poopy, but she tends to do it after getting changed.
All of which brings me to one of the things I realized you have to keep in mind when trying to teach sign language to a baby: these are fairly difficult concepts for a baby to grasp. Also, it’s important to note that many people hypothesize that the very way in which we think is based on language. That means a few things. First, babies might think completely differently than we do because our relationship to language is so different. Second, you’re not just teaching the baby something simple like a noun, but a whole way of thinking. It’s not just “diaper” it’s, “when you do this sign that means you are wet or dirty and need a change.” But that requires a concept of what “wet” or “dirty” is. How do you convey that to a child?
Another important aspect of sign language is not to overthink it too much, which I clearly can do. Mostly, it’s just important to do the signs very consistently, do them right in front of the baby’s face and say the word as well. In addition to the signs I’ve mentioned, we’re trying to do some more basic ones, but we’ll see how they take. I’ll keep you guys posted. Oh, also, if you just say “clap” to her, she does it, which is kind of the reverse, but still pretty awesome.