Wednesday, March 28, 2007

NJ Children's "Museum" - a review

We had gone to the NJ Children's Museum because I had found out that there was a kiddie carnival. As winter finally melts into spring, the weather has gotten better but I still had a touch of cabin fever. I was really excited to go since the flyer seems to promise games and lots of activities for the kids.

It is an ok place for kids since most kids especially of g's age would just be glad with being to get out and run around. However the place looks worn, REALLY WORN. I think we have read in one of the brochures that the place was founded in 1988 and it seems like no improvements have been done since then. I put the word "museum" in quotation marks because there really isn't anything that makes it a museum. Well, maybe the display about animals and different parts of the animals might qualify. However even that display is not kid-friendly. The buttons on the panel that would light up pictures of the animals are really too stiff for the kid to press.

The rest of the place was an assembly of mismatched toys, a castle with a toy dragon, a cowboy theme area with stuffed horses and a mechanised horse, a "grocery" store, a music corner with a piano and drums and a small coral for little kids to toddle around in. There were "costumes" for kids to play dress-up in. The black duct tape abounds. Wear and tear is very obvious in some parts.

We had read some previous reviews that the bathroom was horrible. The bathroom was ok, not the worst I have seen definitely. The changing area though is another matter. This might have been just that day but the sink was backed up and there were all sorts of floaties in the water. I didn't want to find out what they were.

I would have been able to look beyond all of this had this been a cheap experience. If I only paid, let's say $5 for adults and free for the kids, I could say that it was a good place for the kids to blow off steam. However we paid $10 a person. The only one who got in for free was s. So $30 had really raised my expectations.

This place is definitely a PASS from my point of view.

Our friends, theFamilyM might have some other perspective. So if you are still interested, you should drop them a note.

s mug shot

Now this is a mug shot if there ever is one. The official passport photo. s is going places soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A little progress

It is slow going at the FamilyC Institute for Better Sleeping. We have started this process 2 weeks ago and have not been as consistent as we should have been. It has been getting a little better. There has been less crying from both baby and mommy. It has been really stressful for me the past few weeks as evidence by the lack of postings to the site. Work has really ramped up. This is the worst possible time. I am trying to get s settled, trying to get g potty trained and trying to keep my job all in the same breath. G's work has also ramped up that he is staying later and later.

I hate doing this training on my own. when we did training with g, even my mom and dad were present. Of course, my dad still registers his opposition to the whole process. We were all pacing in our own individual little circles as g was screaming her brains out. With some luck, she has kept most of her brains and is doing really well with sleeping today. She goes down easily at night after her bath, story and songs. Sometimes she sleeps immediately. Sometimes she talks to herself, recounting her many "adventures" to her entourage of stuffed animals and imaginary friends.

Now it's s' turn. Her crying has definitely been shorter in length but it seems a little more pathetic to me. While g's was loud and angry, s seems to be wondering why we are doing this to her. That is partially why I hate doing this alone. My resolve to go through with it gets tested every night. Having someone else there makes the decision easier. Hence the inconsistencies persist. I have resolved though that there will be no more deviation, because that just prolongs this process needlessly.

Her sleep has gotten a lot better since I have been a little more consistent. More needs to be done though in that regard. I only wish that the next I report on this will be a post to say that s has slept easily and quietly through the night.

(By the way, technically s does sleep through the night because the technical definition of sleeping through the night for babies is 5 hours straight. Personally I would like to gather up all the moms and dads of kids who only sleep 5 hours to collectively paddle the one who came up with this definition.)

Monday, March 19, 2007

And the Oscar goes to....

I am amazed at the g's development in the last few weeks. She has gone from monosyllabic responses to full sentences to full stories. She is beginning to synthesize information in her head and not just regurgitate what she has heard. Her verbal skills are great despite having multiple languages to keep up with. There is one development that has come up in recent weeks that I am not exactly thrilled about.

She has developed a flair for drama. Sadly this does not refer to creative play, but rather her ability to cry ... no, WAIL at the drop of a hat. She has enormous physical control of her tear ducts as well. She can be activated by a tap on the head or a word that displeases her. She is now the one that must not be tangled with. I know that this is probably still a reaction to her new baby sister and how she is often shushed when S is sleeping, but WOW I didn't quite expect this reaction.

Often I have become so attuned to her that I can see it coming and when it does show up, it is hard for me to keep a straight face because it is ridiculous in a way. However a straight face is what I keep. Quite often though I would be saying this in my head, "and the Oscar goes to..."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sleep training #6

It is day #6 of the sleep training and all is quiet in the house. Well, not all. s made a few peeps every hour but nothing compared to the earth shattering screams of the first few days. I think it is a form of torture to have a mother listen to her baby cry incessantly and not do anything to appease her.

For the last few days, I have looked at her many times during the day searching for psychological damage like I would diaper rash. As if it would somehow surface on her cheek and I could rub some ointment on it.

There is no way to really know what is really right because there is no way to raise the same child twice. So in this case, I will just have to suffer this uncertainty.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The setup

These are the setup shots before we got the s' first sitting pose.

First sit

Ok...although this lasted only a few seconds before she did a face plant, it was a bona fide sit.

Friday, March 09, 2007

S at 4 months


The day has arrived. A day I was hoping I didn't have to go through with s. When s was but a wee little peapod, she was a big sleepy head. I was so thoroughly concerned. Rightly so, she slept through all her feedings landing us in the hospital for dehydration. So I fussed and worried and wondered. Is everything ok with my little one? Well, she taught me a thing or two since then. In a matter of one month, she went from eating 5-7 ounces during the daytime to 15. This jump happened in a day or 2. That was great because I was this close to buying a scale on eBay so I could weigh her accurately daily.

She finally woke up. Yes, indeed, many of you have heard of my many woes about her sleeplessness. Just when I thought a little co-sleeping would do the trick, she changed the rules of the game. She went from sleeping 5 hours to 4 to 3, and finally we got to waking up every hour. For the last 10 days, she has been waking within minutes of being put down. So after a few false starts, tonight we will begin our sleep training which will consist of her crying it out. She is finally settled now after almost an hour and a half of on-and-off crying. It is sad to hear her begging to be carried. I know that I could nurse her and she would peacefully drop off in my arms, but she would wake within a few minutes and the cycle will once again begin. She's not hungry though. She nurses for comfort.

We sleep trained g in the same way and despite the success that proved to be, I can't shake the feeling that somehow crying shouldn't be part of how a baby needs to sleep. I feel guilty. I wonder if I did the right thing or if I am doing the right thing. I wonder what I could have done differently. Did I try to wake her a little too much when she was a sleepy head?

For those somehow thinking that I am taking a "shortcut", far from it. Those who have done this will very quickly attest that this can be a long journey. In actual calendar days, it can take a while, days at the very least and sometimes weeks, for all this to take. Through all this, I sit outside her door pulling whatever remains of my mane out, thinking that there might be some other way, maybe there is still that one other thing that I haven't done that could have possibly made this all unnecessary. The doubt about the right-ness of this decision will persist in my mind.
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g in a duet

I love this new video of g. She is doing a duet with her nanny. g is the only one who seems to know all the languages spoken in our house and here she is doing a mandarin song (sounds like a commie marching song to me). The song has to do with a friend, saluting a friend and shaking hand...something like that. The poem during the second half of the video has something to do with a rabbit.