Baby Steps

30 07 2006

My second daughter has been able to stand up with some help to keep her upright for sometime now. Today I decided that she should try to walk as it seems that is what she wanted to do. Today, she amazed us.

Deep Thought

29 07 2006

My mom came over yesterday and told me about Annabelle’s new pose. She puts her chin in her hand as if she is in deep thought. No sooner did my mom mention it to me did Annabelle show me her new pose herself. I was able to capture this image today of her ponderous ways.

Set Free

29 07 2006

When Eliana came down with Pink Eye a couple of weeks ago, she was unable to attend class.  Not that she was not able to, but we felt obligated to not continue the spread of the germs to the other kids. (Yeah, we were being nice). Since Eliana had all that time to spend with her mother, who managed to find a little time in her busy schedule, her mother decided to start toilet training Eliana. We were hoping this would come sooner than later, and as a matter of course.  I was hoping Eliana would want to use the toilet since me and her mother use them all the time.

At first, we tried to just teach Eliana about using the toilet. We would take her to the toilet when we thought she was ready. Her pull-down diapers would come down, and we would help her get to the kid-sized toilet seat inlay with Dora the Explorer images all over it. She would sit there, and stare at us like we were the dumbest parents in the world. She didn’t have to go.  She was just playing and we interrupted her and sent her to the toilet. There had to be a better way to get her to use the toilet when she had the urge. There was no way we could tell her, but we knew that she knew…

Her mom had heard from other sources (a friend of hers) that simply removing the diaper would make the child want to run to the toilet. It’s amazing that kids are actually somewhat considerate and don’t want to make a mess.  So, without a diaper, Eliana was running around the house half-naked.  She was set free. No more diapers. This also meant she couldn’t releave herself whenever and whereever she felt the urge to go. For this reason, her mother tried to stay home with Eliana as much as possible.  So, with a half-naked toddler running around the house, she started to realize rather quickly that should would make a little mess if she didn’t get to the bathroom.  Sometimes we didn’t hear her tell us that she needed to go, and as we raced to the toilet, she would let go.  Those aren’t messes I like to clean up.

Amazingly, after a week, she pretty much had the routine down pat.  It was also getting a little more obvious when she had to go; she holds her goin area, as most kids do because the pressure of the bladder is a little too much for a small kid to tolerate.

So, for now, Eliana has been set free from diapers for the most part. We still use them for her nap times and bed times because she doesn’t have complete control of her faculties just yet. This should help cut our diaper budget down to just one baby. Next, we need to load up on Elmo and Dora kids underwear.  At least those get washed…most of the time.

Summer Storm

25 07 2006

I took this picture from the back of my house. It is summer monsoon season here in Arizona, a welcome time of year for all Arizonans. This is the only time of year when we get a change of weather from the constant hot dry heat to some wet rain.

I remember when I was a kid, I was obviously freaked by the lightning, and moreso by the loud thunderclaps they caused. Whenever a loud one pronounced itself and was too close for comfort, I remember jumping up and running to my dad for safety. He almost seemed to laugh at the storm. I felt secure with him, and I felt the house we were in was also secure in that it would protect us for nearly anything that the desert could throw at us.

Now that I am some one’s dad, I play that role of security provider. Even now, Eliana just woke up, and all that was needed was for me to let her feel my presence by laying next to her for a minute. She called for me, and was secure in the fact that I was there. I am glad that I can provide this feeling of security for my family, but I will admit that sometimes I do put on a facade.

Perhaps it’s a combination of things from watching my current house being built to just being more aware of the dangers of the powerful storms that roll across the area, I have a sence of awe as well as fear from these storms. Houses these days don’t feel as well built as the original one in which I grew up. This may just be a matter of perception, but it just feels that the break-neck pace and the materials of which houses are built in this area leave that little window open that can allow for a critical failure when we least expect it.

These storms will still come and go, and I will always be in awe and respectful of their power and beauty. I will continue to stand between my kids and these storms as my fatherly duities require.

They Grow Up So Fast

25 07 2006

The other day I was noticing how large and mature Eliana has become. She is only 2 years old. Her speech is not so eloquent yet, but she can communicate her needs far more effectively than her 6 month old sister.  She has slowly grown over the last 2 years; mentally and physically, especialy vertically. It was when she began to put her cups and dirty dishes into the sink that I realized, she’s not a baby anymore. Soon I realized that she can and wants to turn off the lights. It’s handy, as sometimes I encourage her to turn on the lights (obviously the on position is just that much higher).  Sometimes I still have to get up because she is still not sure which light switch turns on the light I want her to turn on.  These small things are great memories of a fun-loving child are some of the joys of being Eliana’s father.

As Eliana grows older, and taller, I think that perhaps I should do as many parents do and find a place in the house and start marking Eliana’s height on a regular basis.  Annabelle is also going to go from her rolling over, to crawling to walking very soon which means she should be measured as well.  It is such a small thing that has such a profound effect on kids. They see their own growth right in front of them, and while it can lead to comparisons, I believe it can lead to great converstaions that may at first be uncomfortable, but in the end, educational for me as a parent, and her as my child.

There is a growing chart at her school, although it’s done with an erasable marker.  It has every child in the class on the chart, so it is not as personal as one of her own.  Our current home will most likely not be that for very long, so in order for me to maintain and transfer such a keepsake to wherever our new home turns out to be, I need to make or find something that is seperate from the house. Hopefully, I can have something ready sooner than later.

Her New Outfit

23 07 2006

Everyone once in a while, we make it over to Gymboree at the local mall and find some good stuff on sale. This little number was perfect for those days when she needs to wear her swimsuits underneat her dress. The hat helps to protect her from the sun in the hot desert. Every time I take her to her school with this dress on (for her water play days), everyone sees her and loves her outfit. They all say the usual “she’s so cute/adorable/pretty (insert your word of choice)”.

Ok, Eliana, take your spin on the runway….vogue!

Too Stressful

16 07 2006

A day like today had been a long time coming. You put a 2 year old and 6 month old together for too long and you get a lot of crying. And lots of crying makes for unhappy and stressed out parents. So, while there was a lot of crying and yelling, I hope I made a good choice by simply putting Eliana to bed earlier than normal. This way, she could rest, and we could get some temporary sanity back in our lives.

I’m stressed out for many reasons at the moment. Recently, Intel annouced that it was getting rid of a layer of manangement in order to become more nimble again. This hit too close to home when my manager was included in that mix. While I am fairly confident that he will be our only casualty in Intel’s tough times, I still need to consider the worst. It is an outcome that I hate thinking about too because I actually enjoy my work so much, I would have a difficult time finding a job as perfectly suited to me and my talents as this one.

Another source of my stress comes from just being a parent of two kids. Two kids require nearly 100% attention. This leaves little room in my schedule for doing things that have been an important part of my life over the past several years. Right now, the biggest casualty has been my cycling. It used to be that I would go out every Saturday and Sunday with whatever local clubs I could find and get in some quality miles. Add that with some daily miles to and from work, and I was easily able to keep my fitness and health in check. Nowadays, I live in an area that is too hot to safely ride to work, and with the kids around, I cannot make it out the door by myself let alone make it out for several hours on end with only me and my bike.

And, perhaps a direct result of the kids is a messy house. We clean up the house nearly every day picking up toys and cleaning up the kids spilled food and drinks. It’s a never ending battle and we seem to be losing. By the time I or my wife cleans up the messes, we are too tired to do nearly anything else that requires our attention. We try to teach Eliana to put her toys away, but she only plays with things when we are in sight (that’s probably typical), and as soon as she looses interest, they get dropped. We understand that kids make messes, but it almost seems that we both need a break; a time without kids, just to remember what it was like.

I don’t blame the kids. Putting the blame sorely on them would be a huge error as all of us have a part in the stresses we are feeling now. The kids need me and their mother now; they are just not old enough to be able to do even the most basic things on their own. I help them clean themselves, feed themselves and clothe themselves. They love being around us, and we love being aroud them. We sacrifice our time and money for them, but when they repay us with lots of crying, it just makes it more stressful around here.

It is my hope that I find a way to relieve this stress. It used to be my bike was a great stress reliever. I killed several birds with one stone on my bike (save gas, lose wight, relieve stress!). But now that it is more and more difficult to ride, I need some other way. When I find it, perhaps I’ll post my solution here.