Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's called suction...

People often talk about the short attention span of kids and how it's extremely easy for them to lose focus. Lana is no exception in this regard, and whenever we go out for dinner, we always try to make sure that we bring our iPod "survival kit" loaded with games and movies! I recall a few months back when what I call the "TESLA" group (an acronym comprising the names of the kids in the group) met up for dinner during Mid-Autumn Festival. By the end of dinner, each kid was sitting with either an iPhone or Android device, completely absorbed in the game they were playing (with the exception of Shayne of course, who was sitting quietly and eating away - she was the smart one)!

Having said that, however, I am sometimes amazed at how Lana can be fixated and focused on a particular thing for a really long period of time. For example, one of her favourite toys lately is "Play-Doh". She'll be happy sitting in her chair for hours smooshing them into different shapes. (One time, Lana climbed out of her chair in the middle of playing Play-Doh and walked off - so I assumed she had finished playing with them and I packed it all up. I thought there was a lot of truth in the old adage of "out of sight, out of mind" - at least until Lana came back a few minutes later and, upon noticing that her Play-Doh had vanished, burst hysterically into tears and wailed "I want more Play-Doh"!)

Oh, and when I mentioned "different shapes" above, I actually only mean "balls". For some reason, Lana is content with just making balls. Every time I suggest making something different, she'll respond with "no daddy, you make a ball", then proceed to rip off the tiniest piece of Play-Doh for me to roll into a ball. And oftentimes my attempts at discreetly rolling the Play-Doh into a worm or sausage is met with "no daddy, you make a ball", upon which Lana will promptly deem me unworthy of making a Play-Doh ball and confiscate the piece I'm working on. :| It's all right though, because the short-attention-span mechanism kicks into gear shortly, and within half a minute, Lana will be asking me to make a ball for her again. ;) Once or twice, we've also let her mix a few Play-Doh colours together, resulting in what she calls "multi-balls" (multi-coloured balls) which can be a source of fun for hours and hours. (Warning: Making lots of "multi-balls" will eventually lead you to only have a Play-Doh set consisting of only one colour - brown.)

The other things that she loves of late is "swimming" in the bathtub. A few days ago while she was happily splashing away in the bathtub, I let out the water too soon (despite her protests) and suddenly found myself faced with a traumatized little girl, bawling as she watched her fun going down the drain along with her bathwater. So yesterday, I decided on a different tack - I asked her to pull the plug to let the water out instead. As the water started to drain out, I put Lana's hand over the drain and told her: "it's called suction". I eventually convinced her to put her foot over the drain as well just for fun. Lana was fascinated by this - and my little ruse had worked. ;)

So bedtime finally came along, we said our prayers together, and then we tucked our little girl into bed. Nicole and I were sitting outside in the living room just unwinding and relaxing - she was blogging away on the computer and I was playing my video games on the TV screen. A few minutes went by when suddenly Lana called out from her bedroom:

"'s called 'suction', daddy - it's called 'suction'..."

So much for the short-attention span theory.

I hope you all had as much fun for Christmas as we did, and may your New Year be filled with multi-balls and suction. :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Potty Training - or not...

For a long time now, Lana has been "ready" to be toilet trained. She knows when she is going to the toilet, she has a fair amount of control over it - BUT she seems to have absolutely no desire to go on the toilet!

We've tried a little kiddy chair on the regular toilet, and we've tried a little potty, but she's not very interested in either of them.

Lana does like to run around with no nappy on, and she does this on a semi regular basis - only to pee all over the floor and laugh, saying "Do we pee on the floor?? NOOOOO!!" like it's the greatest joke of the year. 

At school, the teachers do some very basic "toilet training", taking the little ones to the mini-sized toilets there. They encourage us to actively train our kids at home as well - but I'm at a loss.

Part of me thinks that if she's not interested, she's not interested. I don't really care personally if she's not toilet trained in the next six months (after that I would care a bit more, I think!). I know that eventually she will actually want to go in the toilet instead of in her nappy, and maybe it's best to wait until she's ready (a bit like my philosophy for taking away her dummy, but that's another story for another day) - but then I also know that sometimes a gentle push is needed as well. 

I'd appreciate any hints or tips about the situation, how can I get her to WANT to go in the toilet? And should I push it now, or wait six months?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

How Come?

The one thing that amazes me more than anything else about Lana is her language development. I think I've mentioned this to everyone I talk to about her - it's the proud mummy in me, I guess - but she keeps amazing me more and more all the time. 

For a long time, she's been asking a million "Who" and "What" and "Where" questions. 

"What's that over there?"
"Where's daddy going?"
"Who did we see today?" 

Yesterday, she asked maybe her first "Why" question (although she said "How come" - that's a habit of mine passed down to the next generation - something that locals here in Hong Kong find hard to understand so I have to always "correct" myself).

"Mummy, how come the leaves are moving?"
(after I recovered from shock) "Because it's windy today!"

For her to ask that question, she would have first had to notice that the leaves were indeed moving. Then she would have had to think that sometimes the leaves move and other times they don't and there has so be some kind of reason to make that happen. And last of all, she had to know how to ask me what that reason was. Pretty complicated when you think about it!

I know that questions can be annoying to some parents, but as a kid who probably drove my own parents crazy with questions, I find it so fun and exciting :) I can't wait to answer even more of her (sometimes crazy) questions as she grows up :) :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Lana

I love it when I wake up in the morning and I find you snuggled up next to me, but I have no idea how or when you got there :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Favourite Things

Lana is at an age now where she has a lot of likes and dislikes. She has many favourite things - favourite songs to sing, favourite things to do, favourite toys to play with.

Among her favourite things to play with is Lego - the "Duplo" kind that is more suitable for two year olds than the itty bitty kind. She has a couple of sets of lego, including a "Bob the Builder" (formerly known as Bobby DooDah), a zoo set including a crocodile, a couple of lions, an elephant and a giraffe, and a farm set with a few farm animals. She can play lego for hours!

Lana also loves to play with play dough - although we insist on her sitting in her chair to play with it (I don't want it caked into every corner of the house!). For some reason, she always wants to play with the green colour and then she will tell me what she wants me to make. Sometimes it's a crocodile, or Mickey Mouse, or a ball. Lana mostly will squish it, or roll it, or poke it with her fingers - but her creative formation skills are not yet on the "Sculptor" level yet. It's quite therapeutic though just to mush it. No wonder Lana likes it! 

Lana's always been a big fan of playing with balls and she has a bunch of different types of balls. She has a couple of bouncy balls, an inflatable beach ball, soft balls that rattle, the list goes on and on. She loves to throw and "catch" (although her "catching" at the moment is just holding her arms out and hoping that Mummy can manage to make the ball land in her arms - but hey, that's a start!!)

One thing that Lana loves to do is to go out to the park. Nearly every afternoon when I'm at the hospital, our helper will take Lana downstairs to the park at our complex. Lana's met so many little friends there - and since I'm not going with her, I don't even know them all. But over the past couple of months, I've had many people - both adults and children - say to me in passing "Hi Lana's mummy!". I never have a clue who they are, but they all know Lana from the park. On the weekends, Bernard and I will often take Lana to one of the larger parks around our area. It's a bit more of a walk away, but there's a lot more to do there. Lana's a bit of a daredevil - she will attempt to climb things which are obviously too large for a two year old, giving Bernard and I a mini-heart attack! She is highly independent as well and often doesn't want any help with these climbs - but we always stand behind her (or under her) just in case. 

Lana has a favourite story - it's "The Gruffalo". It's a very fun book, it rhymes so it's a great read for kids this age. The story is about a mouse who takes a walk in the woods and these predators want to eat him - but he makes up a creature, the Gruffalo, to scare them away. After a while, he actually comes face to face with a REAL Gruffalo who wants to eat him! Lana can actually recite nearly the entire book - it's so cute. Sometimes I'll just hear her mumbling to herself, "A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good!"

When Lana is going to sleep, she often will ask for Bernard or I to sing to her. She has a few favourite songs that she always asks for. First of all is "Little Peter Rabbit had a fly upon his nose" (which also turns into Little Gruffalo had a fly upon his nose, or Little Elmo, or Little Tigger, or whoever else happened to have a fly upon their nose). Then she will ask for "Jesus Loves Me" too. Sometimes she will sing along, but often she just listens as she falls asleep.

One of Lana's latest little "quirks" is that she insists on picking which shoes Mummy will wear - and she has a favourite pair of Mummy's shoes too obviously, since every single day for the past month, she's insisted on me wearing my black Mary Jane crocs. I don't really mind - I don't care that much which shoes I have on anyway. But one day, I happened to put on a different pair of shoes and Lana didn't notice until we were already out of the house. When she DID notice, she had a mini-melt down. "Black croc shoes, Mummy!!" 

I'm sure that if I thought about it, I could name another hundred or so of Lana's favourite things - she is that opinionated!! But these are some of the main things that come to mind :) 

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
- My Favourite Things, from Sound of Music

Monday, November 1, 2010

School time

Today, Lana started preschool. She's been going there for playgroup for the past month, but it's been accompanied. Today was her first day of going alone. And she did fabulously, just as I knew she would. No tears, not even a glance back at me when she went in. And when she got to the class, instead of asking "Where's Mummy?", she was asking "Where's Miss Emma?" (Miss Emma was her teacher in the playgroup class). I think it helps that one of her good buddies, Shayne, is in the class with her. She's still a little shy with the teachers but I know she'll warm up.

She has a little school uniform (no pics yet though, I'm so slack!!) and a little pink Dora school bag. She looks so big all dressed up! The past two years have flown by so quickly... I can't believe I'm sending her to school by herself so young - I never intended to. But I think it's good for her, she's definitely got the right personality for it, and with me being up at the hospital afternoon, it's probably better for her to be at school rather than just stuck at home with our helper all the time.

Lana will be going to school every afternoon from 2-4. And she has her first field trip on Wednesday! Her daddy is taking the day off work and all three of us are going. We'll be going to the Hong Kong Wetland Park to visit one of Lana's favourite animals, the crocodile.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

From your Daddy

Dear Lana,

Your daddy wrote this letter to you as a comment - but I think it's too good not to write as a post of its own. Here's what your daddy had to say:

To my baby girl,

I can still remember a time when your daddy was a big "strong" man who could emotionally handle anything. It wasn't particularly healthy for him, but over the last few years of being married to your mummy, he's slowly been able to come out of his shell and to share and express his emotions in a healthy way.

Then came the day when you were born, and all those facades of emotional manliness and bravado crumbled and gave way in the face of your girlish giggles, your squeals of excitement as I chased you through the house, and those beautiful eyes that disappeared when you smiled your cheeky little smile.

Life is no longer the same - I would give anything to be able to hang on to these moments forever. The other night on your birthday, after you had exhausted yourself from a day's worth of frolicking and fun, I lay on our bed and thought about how quickly time just seemed to fly right by. It seemed like only yesterday when you were born - and now it seems like the years are flying right now. And as I lay there on the bed, I started to cry because I knew that one day, I'm going to wake up and my little girl will be all grown up and married. I knew that that day was going to come sooner that I expect or want it to. As I cried, your mummy reminded me to cherish the moments that we have together - so even though you won't always be my little two-year old girl, you will, in my eyes, forever and always be my little girl.

May I never be too busy to spend time with you, may I always be there when you call for me, to protect you when you feel scared, to pick you up when you fall. May I never forget just how important you, Maddy and mummy are to me, and to never lose sight of that.

Happy 2nd birthday, my little bundle of joy. I hope you have fun being two. And I hope I will be there with you to share and to cherish each step that you take.

With love always,
Your father

Monday, October 25, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday Lana

To my darling girl on your second birthday,

The other night, I was holding you while you were falling asleep. You don't let me do that much any more - you're far too independent for snuggles. But thanks to your molars coming in (right on time), you were a bit more cuddly than usual. As I looked down on your face, I remembered all those times when you were younger and I used to hold you as you fell asleep. I miss the little you - but I love the "you" that you are growing into as well.

Your first year was full of physical milestones. You sat up. You started crawling. You started walking. Your second year has been full of different kinds of milestones. You can now play with your friends. You talk - non stop. And sing non stop as well. You have likes and dislikes. You have strong emotions - you get exuberantly happy, cheeky, defiant, shy, scared, stubborn, silly... you can express these emotions so well too.

The one thing that I love most about you at the moment is your little voice - so high pitched. It's the music of my day. I love the things you say, the songs you sing, the songs you make up. I don't always understand what you're saying but I love to hear you talking. 

I'm so proud of the beautiful little girl that you are becoming. You have an amazing vocabulary - you say words that I didn't even know that you'd heard before. And you can recite entire pages of your favourite book, "The Gruffalo". You can be so sweet at times, telling me and your daddy that you love us without being prompted. And you still have that beautiful temperament that you were born with. 

Tonight, you needed a bit of attention going to sleep again. I thought it might help you to go to sleep if I tickled your back. I know that it would put me right to sleep! I started tickling your back, and you demanded that I tickle your feet. Fair enough, that would put me to sleep as well. Then you wanted a square on your back. Ok, why not. Then a square on your mouth? You're a silly little thing, but I did it anyway ;)

I know that this past year has been a difficult one for our family, but you have coped so well with all our stress, doctors appointments and with me being away at the hospital with your sister every afternoon. I know that you will also adapt just as well when Maddy comes home from the hospital. You will be a wonderful big sister :)

I love you, my girl - you are special to me. You are and always will be that beautiful child who made me a mother.

Love always and forever,

Your Mum.