My Big Sister-To-Be Part II

Helena is a very helpful little girl. Whenever we are cleaning she tags along and wants to participate. As a matter of fact, assigning her a task is the only way to get things done, most times.

I wanted to take advantage of this. I wanted to both show her my appreciation for her help and stimulate her to continue to be this way. Right now, it is all fun and games to her, but eventually chores are going to be “lame”. So, I decided to start her on a chores chart. Yes, I do realize how young she is and that she will not “get” the concept right away, but my initial goal is not to make her understand. My initial goal is to get her familiar with participating and helping around the house so that, when she does begin to comprehend things, it will be natural to her.IMG_2305

I also decided to start her on a money/allowance jar. Once again, she is too young to understand what money is about, but that is not the goal. The goal is for her to associate money with work and contributing.  Long story short, I don’t want her to be spoiled like me hahaha

As of now, the money itself means nothing to her, but she LOVES throwing her dime in her piggy bank haha.  And that is good enough for me for now.

 

How did I select the chores that would go on her chart? I observed her. I noticed what sorts of things she was already doing and this is what went on to the chart. I don’t want to have her do more than she can. The goal is not to exploit her or to get her to actually  clean something. The goal is to lay a foundation, a mindset.

So, here is her current chores chart.

Helena' Chores Chart

Helena’ Chores Chart

In case you can’t read it on the photo, her chores are:

– To make her bed,

– To take her dishes to the sink or dishwasher,

– To feed the cats,

– To help bring groceries in ( light stuff, obviously),

– To put her toys away,

– To help unload the dishwasher ( her own dishes, which is plastic and light, therefore, safe)

– To throw her garbage in garbage can ( wrappings from her food and stuff)

– To dust ( she LOVES using the duster LOL)

Picking up Her toys

Picking up Her toys

She will make $0.10 a day for completing her chores which adds up to only $36.50 a year. So, really, it is not about the money.

So far, it has been going well. I help her whenever she is having a hard time completing her task, for whatever reason, but mostly she does it on her own.

It has actually been really fun!

Putting her toys away

Putting her toys away

 

My big sister-to-be Part I

My baby is growing too fast sniff sniff

My baby is growing too fast sniff sniff

A while back I read an article about getting your child ready to welcome a sibling. The article suggested all major changes to take place in your toddler’s life, in preparation for welcoming the newest family member, should happen up to 2 months before baby’s arrival. Well, we don’t know exactly when that is going to be. It could be in 16 weeks, or sooner. So, since we got back from Mexico, we have been working on all of the necessary transitions. My very first goal was to transition Helena from her crib, which Olivia will inherit, to a toddler bed. I was a bit nervous about it wondering if I were rushing things, if Helena was truly ready for it, if she could get hurt somehow. But, we decided to go ahead anyway. Worst case scenario she would be going back to her crib.

Looking for her bed at Ikea

Looking for her bed at Ikea

We made it a big event! We went to Ikea, had Helena test – drive some beds, had a nice meal there! We kept telling her how she is going to be a big sister and her sister will be inheriting her crib so now she got a brand new bed. We also got a small wardrobe because her room doesn’t have much storage. Unfortunately, we could not build her furniture right away because we had to wait until Dan was back home from work. The day arrived! Dan started to build Helena’s new furniture. She grabbed her tools and tagged along to help daddy haha She participated through the whole thing. She helped us organize her new closet, clean her room, put her mattress on the bed, put sheets and covers on the bed. At the end of the day, I just could not believe how excited she was with her new room. She was electric! She would go in and out bed, play with her toys.

Helping daddy build her furniture

Helping daddy build her furniture

When it was bedtime, we talked to her and explained that now she was going to sleep in her bed and no longer in the crib. I could tell she was a little nervous about sleeping in a new environment so I stayed with her until she fell asleep. The first night was great! She slept through it and didn’t fall off or anything. It has been this great since, the only problem was that she now expected us to stay in her room until she would fall asleep, and I did not want her to be dependent on that to sleep. It was hard to break this habit – amazing how it took only one time to get her hooked on it – but we finally managed. Dan noticed that leaving her door a bit open was enough to comfort her. Now, we leave it open and then she gets up and closes it on her own, goes back to bed and sleeps haha What I have loved the most about all this is how much she adores her room. As a parent, it is really gratifying to see your kid this happy with something you envisioned for them. She loves hanging out in her room during the day and that has even facilitated nap time. There were times we would put her in her crib for her nap and she would just cry. Now, we take her to her room and she plays a bit then goes to bed for her nap on her own! I can’t begin to explain how much time it saves us not having to deal with nap time tantrums anymore. At the same day we bought her bed and wardrobe, we also got her a toddler table with a couple of chairs. The idea was to use it for crafts and what not, but she decided she wanted to have her meals there too. It has been another blessing! She has been eating so much better since we got her this table. She enjoys eating like we, adults, do. She enjoys taking her plate to the table and eating with the freedom to get up and not be stuck like she would be in her high chair.  She takes us by the hand and invites us to sit with her. She loves eating with us at her table. When she is done, she dumps her garbage in the can and takes her dishes to the sink. She is so proud of herself she starts to clap haha I am so glad this has been a smooth transition!!! IMG_2313This whole experience has been bittersweet! It is so nice to see your kid growing and reaching milestones, but it is bitter to see how fast time goes by. I cant believe she will be 2 in about 2 months. I really miss her newborn self sometimes. When you have a newborn it is so exhausting and demanding that it feels like it will never end, but now I can realize how quick the newborn stage is. I will certainly try and enjoy Olivia’s newborn stage as much as possible especially because we don’t intend to have anymore kids!

Eating at her big girl table

Eating at her big girl table

22 weeks and counting

I am 22 weeks as of last Thursday. I have been meaning to post for a while, but could not find the inspiration haha

This picture is back from 21 weeks. Looking and feeling huge.10468678_10203598978355315_6428922823578420618_n

Nothing new with pregnancy. My appetite had improved for a bit and it is still better than it was during the first trimester, but it is still not as great as I wish It were. I haven’t been eating as well as I wish I were, both quantity and quality wise, which is something that causes me great concern. I always worry I am harming my baby even though my doctor says she is perfect. I find some peace of mind in the fact that I have been taking my prenatal vitamins religiously even before I got pregnant. I also drink Similac Mom whenever I don’t feed myself as great as I should. I love Similac Mom. It is tasty and it satisfies my hunger. Unknown

Actually, there is something new. And it is most likely pregnancy related. On our second to last day in Mexico, I felt like I was coming down with a cold. You know, the same old symptoms: sore throat, sneezing, coughing, runny nose and so on. During our last sleep in Los Cabos, during the night, I felt really worse all of a sudden. I just felt like there was a freaking elephant sitting on my chest. I was having a really hard time breathing. We all attributed it to my cold – it is just congestion. But the feeling kept getting worse and, by the time we were flying back home, I was sure I was dying.

At times, I could not breathe at all. What an awful feeling. I felt desperate and started to cry thinking I was going to die and kill Olivia and Helena would be an orphan. My mom helped me calm down. I also did not want to freak out too much not to get Helena worried about me. But I wasn’t ok. When we got to Edmonton I thought I should go to the hospital. Dan said it was going to be a waste of time to go there – thanks hubby lol . I called health link and told them what was going on and asked what they think I should do and they said “call 911”. I thought, this is serious. But I did not want to just go straight to the hospital. I wanted to make sure Helena was ok first. So, breathlessly, I fed her and got her in bed before going to the E.R. Once we got there, it did not take long before they took me in. Not breathing is something they do not want to gamble with for sure.

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Long story short, I have asthma. Yes, at this point and age, 27 years old, I have developed asthma. It could have been triggered by my pregnancy, or not. I guess we will find out in June. Right away, they made sure Olivia was ok. From there, they started to medicate me. I felt better right away, but they only let me go home once I improved my lungs capacity. When I first got there, it was at 64%.  They sent me home with puffers and told me to see my family doctor to get some more tests done.

Other than that, I am still losing weight. I have lost 10lbs so far.  Olivia has been kicking like crazy lately which is awesome, makes me feel so much more connected to her. My mom and Dan have started to be able to feel the kicks too. Also, we have started to work on the nursery. YAY. This part is fun.

Family Trip to Mexico < Part II: The Trip

Medano Beach in San Lucas

Medano Beach in San Lucas

I still miss the warmth of the sun on my skin and the ability to wear nothing but a dress before going outside.

This trip to Mexico reinforced the feeling that I have had since last summer. I don’t want to live in this cold a place forever. Especially after having a kid, it is so much easier for all of us when it is warm outside. The ability to go to a spray-park or to the backyard and have the kids just play and have a good time. It is boring to do that indoors for so many long moths during the year.

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Having fun at the pool with vovó

Our resort was packed with Canadians, lots of them from Alberta. There must have been a targeted promotion or something. It felt like an elderly home though, to be honest, because there were so many people over 60 there. This means the resort was pretty quiet which was good. Helena had a blast, seriously, from the 4 of us she is the one who had the most fun. We would wake up and go to the restaurant to have breakfast. From there, we would go back to our rooms to change and what not. Helena would grab her float or life vest and run to the door. She wanted to go to the pool. Later in the day, we would have lunch and little lady would go for a nap. Then we would get ready to have dinner. During dinner time, there would always be something going on like karaoke or live music. Helena would dance and dance and dance. She was devastated every time we would go back to our rooms. She’d keep asking to go back downstairs to dance haha.

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Enjoying the outdoors with daddy

Los Cabos is absolutely beautiful,  blessed with a breathtaking landscape. A few months ago they were hit by a hurricane and they were still working on the damage left behind. Many resorts were still closed. Many establishments were still undergoing renovations. There is something else interesting about that place, something we did not know before we booked our trip. Many beaches are closed to swimming. Yes, they tide at those locations is just too strong, so people are told not to go in. That was the case of the beach right in front of our resort. Beautiful, but useless. This fact doesn’t bother many people as they don’t really care about going in, but I care about that. I love water activities. So, we had to look for swimmable beaches. Everybody made it sound like it was so easy to get there. It is not that it was hard, but it took us forever to find the first one we went to. This time, I did not actually go in. Dan and Helena did. I just chilled under the sun and had some yummy food. The next time we went to the beach, I got in. It a different beach. This one, unlike the first one, had no restaurants or chairs, no businesses. It was just the water and the sand which was great. Dan and I snorkelled a bit. I tried to get my mom to do it too, but she got to scared so she was done in like 2 minutes. I could not believe how many beautiful fishes were right there, not too far from the shore. It is absolutely addicting. I wish I could do that everyday. The water was freaking cold, but it was still wonderful. That was another interesting thing about Los Cabos to me. I have been to Cancun before and it was absolutely hot. Los Cabos, on the other hand, had a desert-like weather. At night it would get chilly, and during the day it was nice and warm. But not too hot tho. I don’t remember feeling overly hot there which is great. During the morning, it was a bit cold to go straight to the pool. We’d wait a bit, until around 10 am, to finally have the guts to go in. And even then, we would go to the hot tub first.

McDonald's destroyed by hurricane

McDonald’s destroyed by hurricane

This trip was different from our trip to Jamaica. We were newlyweds, we had time and energy to do so much. We went on a different excursion everyday. This time around we were very limited – being with a toddler and me being pregnant. We couldn’t many of the excursions offered. One thing I really wanted to do, but could not this time around was to dive. I love it.

So, basically we spent lots of time at the resort, did some sight-seeing of our own as we rented a car, went on a whale watching excursion which was amazing btw, ate lots of food. Next time, we intend to leave Helena and Olivia with grandma.

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Our little family at the Marina in San Lucas

Family Trip to Mexico > Part I: FLYING

So, we are back from Mexico. Time flies when we are having a good time, indeed!

It was a fun trip, but far from relaxing. All I know is we won’t be doing much flying and travelling like that with 2 toddlers.

I had been dreading the idea of having to fly with Helena for 5 hours especially now that she is this super hyper toddler. I knew that no matter how prepared I would be with games and snacks, she would not be able to not run around for so many hours. My mom told me it would be easier this time because we were three adults watching only one kid. I knew in my heart it wasn’t that simple. I had talked to a friend about my concern with flying with Helena and she told me another mom she knows had recently got back from a trip to Mexico and used melatonin to get her kid to relax during the flight. This kid is Helena’s age. My mom and I did not feel good about the idea of using medication, but I read about it anyway. I found out it is a natural medication that does not require prescription. Also, it does not cause any harm if used sporadically. The continuous use could cause some harm and dependency. We were obviously not planning to use that every day, so I was relaxed about the idea of using it as a back up plan in case she would freak right out during the flight.

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So, here is how I prepared to flying with a 21- month-old toddler:

a) Downloaded some toddler apps to the ipad.

I did a little research, first, on the best apps for someone her age. I got a couple of apps for drawing, a couple of educational apps that teach the little one to spell and to count and a couple of other games.

b) Downloaded some cartoons to the ipad. She loves Dora and Sponge Bob, her new passion, so I downloaded about 12 episodes of each.

c) Bought a colouring book and some crayons

d) Packed her favourite snacks

The plan was to get her as tired as possible prior to flying.  Our flight to Mexico would leave at around 10 a.m, a time of the day in which is she is far from being tired. We got her to bed really late the night before hoping she would be tired the next morning. She was somewhat tired when she woke up, but she napped on our way to the airport which means her batteries were fully recharged ! As it was an international flight, we got to the airport extra early which allowed us enough time to get her tired again. We walked around the airport with her and got her to play at the kid’s play area. By the time we had to board, she was super tired so she was really fussy – which was not good. I kept wondering if I should give her the melatonin, but I was hesitant.

When we finally boarded, she was hyper again, but as a consequence of being overtired, I suppose. We tried to calm her down, but the hurt in her ears from take-off did not help much. That was it, she blew up! Tantrum full force was unleashed. Nothing could calm her down, and we couldn’t walk with her because they were already serving foods and drinks. She did not want to be with anyone else but Dan which did not help much. We decided it was time to give her the melatonin. I broke the pill in 3 pieces and gave her 1/3 of it. Actually, it was less than that as I was not able to break it evenly. After that, I suggested that Dan should try and go to the back of the plane with her to both keep us from getting the nasty looks and also because the back of the plane is loud and I thought it could work as white noise. Dan managed to squeeze through the food carts and got to the back of the plane. I could still hear her crying faintly, so I could not sit back and relax. I managed to squeeze through too. When I got to them Helena threw herself at me, and I comforted her in my arms and she fell asleep right away. We waited until they could make room for us to walk to our seats again. Helena slept for about 2 hours to 2 hours and a half.  She slept on me the whole time so I could not move at all which was uncomfortable, but it was a price I was willing to pay. When she woke up we still had about an hour and a half to go. She wasn’t hyper tho, she was fairly relaxed which worked out great because the games, tv shows and snacks were enough to keep her busy until the end of the flight.

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Overall, it was a good flight. Even though the beginning was rocky, it was good to have those 2 hours of break. I wondered how much the melatonin had helped because I had given her so little of it.

The flight back home was booked for 4 p.m so I was a bit more hopeful it would be a better flight. We tried to get Helena as busy as possible during the day at the resort. We took her to the pool and played with her.  Once again we got to the airport super early and Dan and my mom played with her up to the point we had to board. Our flight was almost an hour late which sucked big time. She was super tired, but not grumpy this time. We decided to give her the melatonin before she would get too distressed. It is hard on every one when she gets to the point, especially on herself. So, we wanted to avoid it as much as possible. We gave her 1/3 of melatonin again as soon as we got to settle in our seats. She watched the plane’s tv for a bit then she fell asleep.  Once again, she slept for about 2 hours and a half. Once again she slept on me. I wasn’t feeling well at all though, but this will be the topic of another post . I tried to get her to sleep on my mom and dan for a bit too, but it didn’t really work so she woke up. But, once again, the games and tv shows were enough to keep her busy until we got home. I thought the long nap would keep her from going to sleep once we’d get home, but we had no problems getting her to sleep. She was exhausted.

I don’t know how much effect the melatonin had on her, and I know some people are against using medication on kids during flights – I know I was this person before. But, I don’t regret using it. I believe something natural like melatonin could only become a problem and a harm if used frequently which is definitely not our case. Like everything else in life, excess is the problem.  I am glad she had a relaxing flight because it must be really hard on a little one to feel that stressed and constrained.

Above all, I am glad she did fine during our flight back home because I thought I was freaking dying. Imagine if on top of that she was freaking out too.