Saturday, December 23, 2006

Ellie has been saying "ite, ite" for christmas lights.

She's been pulling herself up on everything (including bathroom drawers which then close on her, trapping her arms). She stands up in her crib when I get her up after her sleeps. It's very adorable-- she seems so much more independent, being able to stand, even though she still has to hang on to something. My little girl is growing up!

She also seems much more connected; it's easy to slip into I'm smiling cause she's smiling, then she's smiling more cause I'm smiling cause she's smiling-- until we're both just laughing with each other. Lovely.

Went for a swim today, which was very nice. I've been putting it off, cause it just seemed like a hassle. But J went with me, so we could split up responsibilities-- which make it all easy. And now I know there's nothing too it, and what to take and what not to take when I go. And I know which pool is which, and how to get into them safely, etc, etc. So we'll go more when J's back at work.

She *loves* listening to music, especially the Wiggles-- and she likes watching the DVDs. She really likes following along with the actions. It surprised me when I was changing her the other day and she started clapping-- "if you're happy and you know it clap your hands" was playing. I'm pretty impressed that she can pick that out of the song-- and it's not isolated, there's another Wiggles song which has "everybody clap"; and she does it to that as well. She does the mashed banana movement for "Hot potato". Her latest is holding her arms in a cradle shape for "Rockabye your bear".

Friday, December 15, 2006

I think I'm thinking in terms of activities that are too extended; 40 minutes rather than 10. But I'm not sure whether short, varied activities just encourage tiny attention spans. On the other hand, longer activities might be beyond the attention span of what is a little child.

Of course, this is too simplistic. Cause when we play blocks, we're engaged with them for the duration, but it can be building and destroying, banging together (music), putting in and taking out of containers, putting up on a higher surface, giving and receiving, maybe driving them around on a little truck and so on. So it's really a group of activities with a theme, kind of following on from where her attention is. This is the benefit of it just being me and her, rather than 1 adult with 6 children. So the whole notion of activities and changing them is just an artifact of group "education".

Friends and family often ask "what did you do today". Really, what is the answer? "Nothing". Cause that's close enough; played with Ellie, maybe had a bath, walked in the park, did some shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning, tidying. Maybe got an hour to do things that interest me, maybe read a bit. Listened to music, the radio. Nothing that can really be considered an achievement, a self active in the world. No "projects". En soi rather than pour soi, if I remember my existentialism properly. Chiefly engaged in reproductive, rather than productive activity (feminist extension of Marx. Dorothy Smith, I think).

Unfortunately, all the projects that I can really get excited about involve me sitting for hours in front of the computer, with various books piled around and half a dozen windows open; documents, browsers, terminals, explorer. Reading, writing, thinking, developing. Not conducive to 20 minutes here and there.

For months now, we've been double spooning it in the morning-- I fill her spoon, and hand it to her, she mostly puts it in her mouth. Then I do another one, and she hands me back the spoon. And I feed her as well-- so she doesn't get too frustrated and dig her hands into the bowl. But try as I might, I haven't really been able to get her to dig the spoon into the bowl. She'll pick a full spoon off the side of the bowl. Today, for the first time, she took the spoon and repeatedly stuck it in the bowl, sometimes just throwing it on the high chair surface for the other hand to grab, but other times putting it in her mouth. I helped her a bit, turning the spoon round the right way. Gratifying.

I've also been bored with my activities choice, so I remembered some poster paints, and after breakie, with her still in the high chair, we did some art. 3 pieces of finger painting. She seemed excited by it, though she was getting annoyed at me trying to stop her from eating the paint.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Things I do with Ellie

  • Outside
    • go shopping
    • walk in the park
    • play on the swings
    • play in the sandbox
    • go to the library
    • go to early intervention
  • Inside
    • books
    • ball
    • blocks
    • play music
    • listen to music
    • bounce/climb
    • sort laundry
    • draw
    • paint
    • rocking horse
    • push tricycle
    • puppets
Apart from feeding, changing, rocking to sleep,bath

Other things I do
  • play games
  • laundry
  • dishes
  • sweeping
  • tidy
  • organise
  • veg
  • computer (lots of stuff)
    • watch videos
    • write
    • program
    • read/surf
  • photos
  • music
  • read
  • cook

With jo
  • chat
  • go for coffee
  • watch movies
  • go out for dinner/show
  • play games
  • go away
Some things I don't do, but could do
  • pool and water play (other side of the sandbox) (is this different from the bath?)
  • painting
  • drawing
  • bubbles
  • outside play (on grass-- but the sun is wicked, and she sticks everything in her mouth)
  • zoo
  • other outings? visiting friends?
But really, I like ellie to have floor time.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm bored by housework. And, sometimes, I'm bored by Ellie. Probably bored is the wrong word-- it's more that even when she's happily playing by herself, I can't get into anything interesting because she'll need something every few minutes. So it's more that she prevents flow. When I'm really playing with her, that's good time-- but I can't really do that all the time.

There's not much I think important that can be worked on a few minutes at a time. It's all housework; or housework activities on the computer; importing photos, organising files. Sometimes scrapping a very quick journal entry. And housework is kind of repetitive; there's not much learning happening there. Sure I can learn to fold my t-shirts more quickly and cleverly, and I can certainly try some more interesting cooking things-- but the cooking happens when Ellie is asleep or J's looking after her; it's the time I could be using for more interesting things.

Yesterday I read a book, during independent play and sleep time, and just skipped housework. That was good.

Usually I stay awake after she's gone to bed (8:30 or so) and read-- but that often is more "surfing" than real reading, cause I'm too tired for much.

The solution is obvious, now that I've written this down -- wake up before the babe and do things that I want to do then.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Ellie is getting up on her hands and feet spinning, and collapsing back down. She's doing it alot.

Yesterday, she pulled herself up on the bath, on the big room coffee table drawer, me-- it's just becoming something she does all the time.

She's following along songs -- "If you're happy and you know it" came on the stereo while I was changing her, and she started clapping her hands-- i hadn't even noticed it.

She's getting more words. J says she says what's that (wasat?), hi, bye, and some other things. I think J is a bit optimistic, but Ellie is definitely understanding lots more.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Ellie's got some new sleep-resistant behaviours. When I'm rocking/bouncing/reading to her, she'll push away and try to get back to the floor. I let her get away with it the first few times, now I just hold her, and, sure enough, she goes to sleep. The other one is that, as soon as we put her down, she pops back up again, and wants to be picked up. We've usually thought that we had to pick her up, rock her some more, and try again-- but it hasn't been working. She's like a weeble. Today, she popped up and I just pushed her right back down and closed the door. Usually she cries for 10 minutes then sleeps-- this makes me sad, but oh well. Today though, not a peep. I had to check-- sure enough, she was sleeping. So she's not even really awake when she pops back up! How bizarre.

She gets very funny when she's tired; easily frustrated, but also quite loving and cuddly. She gives me these wonderful, sloppy smiles.

I find it hard to resist doing what she wants. I don't like forcing her to do what I want. On the one hand, I arguably know best what's good for her. On the other hand, I don't think she'll turn into a curious, independent, adventurous little girl if we quash independent exploration now. It just makes sense to me. But that just makes me one of the millions of parents who're winging child rearing, hoping it will turn out for the best. There's so much myth floating around, some of it passing for research. The sort of research that could actually tell us something isn't ethical. Besides, we rear our children in society as it is, not as it should be. Fabulous wonderfulness in the future lovely society would probably just be weird in this one.

Today at her play group, one of the teachers said that she's not very persevering. I disagreed (of course she's everything good), but she was right; Ellie does get frustrated easily. She usually throws things then. But she also throws things for fun, and because she's exuberant. She can focus on an activity for quite a while-- but she does give up quickly when frustrated. I'm not surprised really, I think perseverance is a learned behaviour. But it would be good for her to learn it. If she's going to have trouble learning things, she's going to need to stick at them despite being frustrated. But how do I teach it? The teacher set her a limit, and made her put all the pieces back in the jigsaw. Then, when she emptied it out again. the teacher did it again. Sort of a action-consequences thing. I guess this could be perseverance, if the notions of the internalised super-ego are correct. But it seems somewhat lacking in agency, in "I want". I think it's not so much about doing in spite of frustration, it's about not getting frustrated. I should talk, of course-- I haven't learned this myself. I get frustrated really quickly, and act up, swearing and throwing things. It's usually a computer thing.

So, do we nurture good people in our little children by making them do what we want them to? Or do we just encourage the good, and ignore the bad?

My partner and I play very differently with her. She tends to be much more directive than I do.