Raising a homebody

Fleur spoke her first sentence. She wanted to make sure that it was a day where we would all stay home. She has really been using “home” quite a bit whether we are there or not. Usually she will ask whether each person on the list of family members are going to be home. For the week that my mother stayed with us for Christmas, she was included in the list of people.

This repetition on “home” seems likely tied to the disruption daycare has played on her. She seems to have done well at daycare other than some frustration at dropoff and pickup. Her vocabulary has exploded. She has gone from being a passive listener of books to being an active participant wanting to turn the pages and point at interesting things on the pages. Still, she doesn’t like being left there.

I think home really means getting to stay with us. Even if it is just me. And she learned it from The Littlest Family’s Big Day where the big payoff page is a fold out with HOME on a banner. We read it loud and emphasize the word. And she loves it so much.

It seems like home is one of her first words because being there is so very important to her. She needs to hear that we are going there to be happy about being where we are. It has me thinking about language acquisition may be dependent on desire. The things that are most important to her are the words she is going to pick up earliest.

Boxing Day

photo of white and brown cardboard box toy figure

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This is a day traditionally for eating leftovers and giving to the poor. Supposedly the origin is possibly about the wealthy allowing their servants to take gifts to their family. Or churches collecting “alms boxes” during Christmas week. The day after Christmas is also the feast of St. Stephen who is known for his acts of charity.

It is British tradition, so growing up, I was not aware of it. I suspect bankers were too hungover from Christmas to want to return to work, so they created Boxing Day.

I guess it came about after the United States left, so it is not something in our consciousness. Canada and other parts of the Commonwealth have it.

Christmas Eve

brown bear plush toy

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My uncle shares a Christmas letter every year. About 20 years ago, it became a Christmas email. So, here is a Christmas blog roundup of the year for the kids.

Galahad

He has turned 18 and is now and adult. I think my wife is still in denial.

Fleur

Last Christmas saw the first serious attempt to crawl. My brother drove a BB-8 toy just within her reach and drove it outside the reach. We got a couple hand and knee placements. She basically stopped for a couple weeks, but recreating the situation got her seriously crawling. Today, she is a runner and navigates the baby gates better than the adults.

Also, she climbs, jumps, and routinely falls from getting out of her depth. She tries it again and again until she masters it.

Last Christmas she had a couple phonemes. Today, she has several words and applies them correctly to get the things she wants. My favorite is when she is hungry she yells, “Eat!”

She knows what belongs to which individuals. She will hand me my phone or bring my bottled tea. (One at a time until she brings me the entire 12 pack.) She also shares and wants others’ food.

Protect your back

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It is a good thing before having the toddler in my life, I spent time in the gym learning to squat. I find that I use the kettle bell squatting form in picking her up. Bend the knees down such my thighs are parallel to the ground, pull her into my chest, and push up with the legs. The goal is to keep the back straight and carry the load of the kid vertically along the spine as it was designed. Pulling the spine horizontally will cause back pain. Kettle bells do not squirm.

Of course, the day after Leg Day, it is silent pain to pick her up.

And, being older, I ought to make sure to protect my back.

Tryptophan, insulin, and melatonin

toddler lying on pink fleece pad

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A few times now, I have gotten Fleur to sleep right after eating lunch. I know the daycare times it this way. It seemed arbitrary until I tried it and found it easy to get her to sleep.

Then I remembered something I read a while ago: Meats contain tryptophan. Fruits and sweets contain carbohydrates. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, we eat feel drowsy because of eating both. The carbohydrates prompts the release of insulin to use the branched-chain amino acids in rebuilding muscle, but the tryptophan is left behind. The tryptophan is metabolized into serotonin which is metabolized into melatonin. The last is what gives us that drowsy feel.

So, I now suspect the trick to getting the little one to take that nap is to get her full and use the excess melatonin as another nudge to “Go the #$@! to sleep!” That may also mean supper needs to be right before the bath when the neurotransmitter is maxed out.

The cookie

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My father has a favorite story about me. Not sure when it happened, but it probably was around Christmas.

We were at my maternal grandmother’s house with extended family visiting. I ask my mother for a cookie. She says, “No.” So, I go into the kitchen looking upset. My grandmother asks why I look so upset. I tell her about not being able to get a cookie, so she gives me three. I walk back into the living room right in front of my mother to eat these cookies. She naturally reacts as any mother would about my having defied her and asks why. Taking my time by eating and talking at the same time, I tell her: Well, <munch-munch> Nannie gave them to me. <munch-munch> I have to do what you say. <munch-munch> And you have to do what Nannie says.

I totally expect my mother to exact her revenge by having Fleur do this to me.

Viruses might pass through the placenta

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Some researchers found the cold virus can infect two different cells that pass through the placenta and leveraging them as a Trojan horse of sorts. It had been though it blocked harmful things from passing through. Their work was done with a cold virus, but they think it applicable to RSV and Zika. In the case of RSV, it might explain some asthma cases if it were to attack the fetus’ lungs.