About me and my blog

sábado, 24 de marzo de 2012

Walking, dressing up, and helping around

I always look forward to reading "what's new babe" post updates by Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings, and plan to link up with our latest news but up to now I have never done it for one reason or another.
As I've read Melissa's wonderful news today and the wise sentences sprinkled in whatever she writes, I've told myself I really had to sit down and write what's going on around here. As usually, I've found so much truth in something implied in her post: there are so many things a toddler learns/does that as mothers we might be terrified at the idea of forgetting them. This idea frightens me indeed. So, without any more time wasted. I am setting pen to paper (well, forgive my metaphor!).
In my next to last Joy Pocket's post two weeks ago, I mentioned M was already taking some steps and using the potty. Both actions have seen some improvement since then. She spends part of the day walking from one point of support to another one, taking up to a dozen steps sometimes. She is even able to stand while picking up objects such as an empty water carafe, which has surprised me a good deal. I love to see her stumbling as if she were on a tightrope or concentrating on getting up from squat position. Since she was able to stand for the first times, it has been clear that she is fully aware of the process and shows satisfaction at every little step further. It is truly delightful to watch. I am impressed by her (self-)awareness in this department but not only. She also signals awareness of other kinds. In the language department she recognizes some body parts, both on herself and on others. She points at her feet, for instance, and says "toes" and then is able to point at my toes or her teddy's toes demonstrating she can relate her toes or nose to those of others. She also tries on necklaces or hats and either uses her hand mirror or asks to be taken to the big mirror that hangs from the wall of the living room. At the sight of herself she happily grins and says "nena"(=girl).
She has entered an imitation stage and tries to repeat most of the actions we do -and most of the words we tell her. In my opinion this is a great opportunity for modeling behavior. It is something that has really become obvious in this brand-new 15th month. She copies me when arranging the couch or cleaning a spot. She tries to use her cutlery when eating, feeds the teddy before feeding herself, makes the teddy sit on the potty. This is something that melts my heart. Some mornings ago, as we were getting out of bed, she started saying her word for water. I thought she might be thirsty, so I gave her the bottle I always keep on my bedside stand and before I could say anything the very little water remaining in the bottle was spilled on the bed. The teddy was the one who was thirsty!! She had given the teddy the water but it had not opened its mouth... I couldn't help laughing. And she is like this all day.
When given two options for dressing, she sometimes chooses both, one for her and the other for the teddy. About dressing, in fact, there is much to be said. I've been trying to devise ways in which M could have her clothes on her sight level. Any suggestions will be appreciated, since up to now the solutions aren't satisfactory. In the lobby there is a clothes stand with a low rack and that's ok for the coats and jackets but I wanted to have a kind of dressing area and have not found the ideal set up yet. Anyway, M has no problems in making her mind up. When given options, she seems to have very clear ideas most of the time and even if the thing she wants is somewhere she can't reach she makes you get it for her. It was funny that yesterday afternoon, as we were preparing to go outside, I was showing her two dresses while sitting next to a laundry basket and she decidedly pointed to some jeans, which were not in question. It was clear to me that she would rather wear the jeans.
Something similar happens with potty learning. There are some times when she doesn't want to sit on the potty but she is communicating her needs or the fact that she has already gone -on the diaper- most of the time. I feel we have a long way to go yet, but I am happy about the fact that she is able to communicate that she has pooped or peed, mostly using the word "caca". Despite it is a pity I didn't hear about elimination communication before M was born, I am glad we've been trying to EC from the moment I learned about it and I plan to talk about it in a post soon.

And well, a bit hasty, for I must head for the bed now, but this is a bit about what it is going on around here. I will be very happy to link up to "what's new babe". Thanks for the opportunity, Melissa.

domingo, 18 de marzo de 2012

Joy Pockets # 7

There's been much to be grateful for/happy about this week. To honor it I am going to offer you a few glimpses of our daily life last week.
Like any other morning, M puts the laundry away.
Is this the same fruit? -Matching real lemons and apples to the photographed ones.
Practical life and nutritive activities: forking tomato bits.
Reading a magazine while on the potty...and brushing brand-new teeth!

I hope you like it! What are you up to?

lunes, 12 de marzo de 2012

Language acquisition

I am having a hard time keeping the pace with you in terms of language acquisition.
It is known that toddlers have a much wider understanding of language than they actually put into practice. I can't add words to the list of words you indeed voice fast enough, let alone the ones you understand without saying them. You understand words in two languages and don't seem to get confused. This is of course an adult's statement. An adult who has been teaching languages to other adults for too long... Hence my surprise. 
We are in awe with the fact that for your language seems to be a much more malleable thing than we usually think. This explains why when you started using the words "mama" and "papa", you would call "mama" or "papa" any face you'd see. Those seemed to be the words for people. Later on, when you learned "nena" (girl), you would call "nena" any thing with a face. Now, you seem to distinguish between "nena", used for kids or young women, and "yaya" (granma) used for other people.
Your pronunciation covers more phonemes than ours. You have both vowel and consonant sounds that seem to be somewhere in-between the ones we use. Thus the difference between "pa" and "pah", or "ta" and "tah". It is amazing to see your face light up every time you see our cat (or any cat, drawn, painted, or photographed) and say confidently: "pah".
What amazes me the most is the fact that whereas some concepts you name keep changing, there's always an inherent logic and I sometimes fear that this logic might escape my understanding.
It is a fact that you manage to mix Catalan and English in a way that highlights the similarities between the two languages. "Nose" for instance ("nas" in Catalan) is "na"; "cat" (gat in Catalan) is "pah".
My/your journal's lasts entries recording words you use date back to the 23rd of January and the 3rd of March, with 10 and 19 words, respectively. Today I might add at least 8 more.
I would now like to note down the words you've showed to know up to now. Just in case I forget.
To you, reader, feel free to skip the next section, since it might not be of your interest.
Words you had been using up to January, 23rd, 2012:
Ababa (water/aigua)
 ná (nose/nas)
nena (girl-kid-woman?)
pah (cat/gat)
ta (socks)
baba (banana)
Teddy (this is M's lovey)
nana (breast)
New words added on March, 3rd:
tah (jacket)
má (mouth)
pa (pa/bread)
uauau (dog/gos)
té (té/here you are)
mé (més/more)
mam (nyam/yummy)
tata (caca/poop)
apapa (apple)
yaya (granma and other people)
Words I've heard you voice more than a handful times as of now, March, 12th:
ptata (patata/potatoe)
shu (shoe)
tae (toes)
brbere (mandarina)
ai (eye)
peda (pera/pearl)
shi (si)
ha (hat)

There are a couple of anecdotes I would like to share. We usually listen to some old tapes every morning and do some dancing. I would have said the music was just a background but there you also took me by surprise. Some weeks ago, while chanting with The Beatles "and in her eyes, you see nothing", you pointed out to me: "eyes!". Days later it was old Bob Dylan singing out of tune "Mama’s in the fact’ry. She ain’t got no shoes". There you grinning widely and pointing to your brand-new shoes!
What about your babies/toddlers? I would love to hear what they are babbling!

domingo, 11 de marzo de 2012

Joy Pockets # 6

Sunday is nearing its end here in BCN and I haven't posted Friday's Joy pockets. No excuses. I was about to do it last Friday but it suddenly felt rather machine-like and dropped it. I really like the idea of acknowledging the moments that brightened our week and really consider it a good way of gaining insight into our lives. Bringing those moment unto the surface gives us, among other things, the opportunity of feeling grateful for what we are/do/get. However, when this beautiful action becomes a compulsory task, some of its magic seems to be taken away. This is my feeling, at least and this reminds me why I seldom join daily initiatives. I love them and really admire those of you who have the discipline to keep them up. It doesn't work for me, though. 
Having said that, I now feel a bit more in the mood for sharing those things that made my week beautiful. 
Lunch with friends
Picnic in Ciutadella Park
Interesting Book Club Session discussing Toni Morrison's Beloved
Amaranth, vegetables, and pumpkin
Spring around the corner
Flowers blooming and new words sprouting
My girl's first steps
Successful potty learning
Interesting outings: downtown, market, Gracia
Riso ioga with Zoe
Baked sesame bread and oatmeal banana cupcakes -yummy-
Successful no-pooing (both M and myself)
Walk in the woods: elfs' mini shacks made of branches, delightful trill of mockingbirds, and a horse!!
The expectation of friends coming to stay with us -from Australia.
Reflection day

jueves, 8 de marzo de 2012

Before Spring settles in

In my mind I have been wanting to write and post about so many things lately that thinking I had actually done something I have almost completely forgotten to mention what was going on around here. Preparing to welcome the spring I set up a new environment last night and realized I hadn't shared our last activities, not even the ones we had before those. I apologize for this lack of consistency.
We tried stickers again, using a black-and-white painting by J. Miró as the background, and this was the outcome:

I know it is too early for abstract concepts such as colors but since we are always seeing basic colors everywhere I decided to set up some color shelves for a couple of weeks. You can see the blue and red ones -yellow came later-. M didn't show much interest in them, only took some items to explore. And although I guess the blocks are likely to be used in the future, up to know they have been utterly ignored. Finally, I got to make a triangle, yellow block!

One of the boxes we have had around these pasts weeks contains toiletries; a tiny hand mirror, a hair brush, necklaces, and bracelets. Together with the clothes baskets, it has been a hit. There you can see M trying on some jewels, and checking their top quality with the help of the mirror:-)

We've been also doing some activities outside, playing with sand -oh, yeah, we finally set up a sandy area-, water, using the blackboards... The water involved a bit more of a mess, so I didn't take any pictures... sorry! I will next time.

 M is currently 14 months old and she has started to stand on her own and cruise taking one or two steps. It is so exciting and the nicest thing is that she shows excitement when she realizes she is there all by herself. Before she decided to give cruising a try though, she tried to climb the stairs step by step on  her legs... This is something that has indeed surprised me, she could crawl up this flight of iron stairs before crawling on the floor and started standing up on each step before standing on the floor! Isn't that amazing?
Hey world, here I come!!

martes, 6 de marzo de 2012


My dear girl,
Some time ago, which feels like ages now, when I wasn't your mother yet but had been wishing to become it for a while, when I still used to write every day, I couldn't figure out how life would be with you. While pregnant, I of course cherished the baby I was carrying inside and the seed of that love that is now ever present and luminous already shined in me/us. I couldn't know how it would be like to have you outside and that's why I planned I would continue to work as much as I had before you. I am amazed now at how wrong and short-sighted I was and it strikes me as impossible that I couldn't see it before. Once you were in this outside world, it didn't take long for me to realize that full-time -or even part-time freelance self-employment (which always means working far more hours than what full-time usually means) was highly incompatible with parenting you in the way I so deeply felt I wanted to.
Due to our household economy and the impossibility of turning down my small projects such as book clubs and classes, I haven't had the chance to stay at home with you full time but nearly 3/4 of it, for which I feel really grateful. Now, I find it impossible to imagine how this could have been otherwise.
I cherish every moment we spend together and really empathize with your anxiety when I am about to leave for a class or meeting. Those hours we are apart are not many and never more than 1,75 h in a row. During them it is nearly always your father who stays with you, with very few exceptions when it was your cousin 18 years your senior. And yet, we both feel separation anxiety.
Despite the time when I used to attempt creative writing daily has been gone for a long time, some intimate feeling tells me all this time without setting pen to paper in the mood for writing in a "room of my own" with non-limited time will someday become fruitful, more fruitful maybe than the time I used to spend hours trying and discarding. As every spring, the bloom of almond trees seems to turn on a light for me. Their blossoms whisper the same old song, proof that whatever inspiration is it may wait for the right moment to come. Unlike T.S Eliot, I feel Spring is a season full of hope.

domingo, 4 de marzo de 2012

Of socks and smiles

Up to now there were many times when you would do something and I would be amazed at what a clever action you were doing but I felt I couldn't say it aloud or I would be teased for how a proud, silly mother I was. I remember once when you were around 7,5 months I saw you removing the inside circle of a foam letter from a playing mat and then trying to put it in place again. It was way too early for even knobbed puzzles and I was taken aback by the action but didn't say anything, just in case you had done that randomly.
Today it was clear as day that your actions were not the fruit of random. We had just gotten up and I was barefoot, having just dumped yesterday's soiled socks into the laundry basket. You were playing in the bathroom while I was getting dressed and then you've come to me with my pink socks -rescued from the pile of soiled clothes- and with a wide grin you have offered me the socks saying -tah (your own word for "socks"-. It was so obvious that you were helping me get dressed that I haven't been able to deny your offer and with an even broader smile than yours I have put the dirty socks on again. (Don't you worry, I have changed them the next time you weren't looking:-)

viernes, 2 de marzo de 2012

Joy Pockets # 5

This week we have been blessed with lots of unexpected, and truly useful presents, gifts, and surprises.

One of my daughter's two great-grannies gave me a SEWING MACHINE! Phew, am I not lucky?
Lots of goodies from my husband's village; whole peeled home-bottled tomatoes and tomato sauce, fruit preserves, organic apples, potatoes, and onions.
Hand-made toys made by my mum following my crazy Montessori-inspired ideas.
Two beautiful, inspiring artwork books full of ideas!!
A well-made, handcrafted, wooden bed for M.
Lavender and vanilla essential oils given by Pranarôm.*
Two sacks full of second-hand but practically new fashionable clothes ... my size!!
M's brand-new 'see kai run' shoes, which she has loved since the very moment she tried them on.* 
Delightful moments with my beloved M.
A recovered health, for which I feel grateful.

I wonder how much we are given by relatives, friends, acquaintances... Some years ago I might have undervalued material objects but since I am a mother I have become aware of how much given things save me. It is not only money but time, and not only the time to buy them but to organize, schedule, get to the store, bother M with car rides, which she dislikes so much. All in all this is a great amount of time I save, specially since living far from the store implies rides all the time. I find multiple joy in being the recipient of gifts; among other reasons there's the element of surprise, the fact that someone has been thinking of you, the time and money you are spared, the nice feeling of reusing and recycling.

* Disclaimer: I am not getting paid by any of these brands. I happen to mention them because I like and use them but this is by no means intended as a piece of advertisement. I felt it would be forced to omit the brands just because it could seem advertising. I like giving details -hence I often use more than one adjective- and mentioning brands is just a part of that.

How has your week been? May the weekend brighten it!