Saturday, August 26, 2006

Aug 26 - Visit with Aunt/Uncle & First Major Haircut

My Aunt and Uncle on my mom's side as well as my cousin and his wife (they have a 17 mos daughter, but she didn't come) were in NYC today for a wedding. Yoav and I met them for bagels at 10:30AM - we met at their hotel and then walked to the bagel place together. My cousin and his wife met friends first and then met us a bit later at the bagel place.

My Aunt thinks Yoav looks like Jeremy, with my coloring, which I've heard from many people. Everyone remarked that Yoav was very "good", sitting in his seat eating his bagel. I obviously am not raising Yoav to be "good" (rather, I want him to be happy, creative, caring, etc.), but I'm still happy that he is "good" and sits like an adult at the table and eats (practically speaking, it makes it easier for both him and I to get the necessary nourishment we need). Hearing comments like this gives me confidence in my Unconditional Parenting and NVC. Unlike most parents, I've never once TOLD Yoav to sit in his chair or to be a "good/big boy" or be quiet in a restaurant, etc. Parents do these things to get compliance and yet I'm getting the "good" boy with UP!

After bagels, my cousin and his wife split off, Yoav fell asleep in the Didy, and we (me, Yoav, Aunt and Uncle) walked down to the TKTS booth and then to a few theaters for Aunt and Uncle to get tix for a matinee. My uncle decided to wait for cancellations for "Jersey Boys" so my aunt and I sat in the lobby and talked. Yoav was asleep for part of the time and then woke up - we played a little with his cars - My aunt thought to turn my legs into a tunnel and they took turns pushing the cars through, which he enjoyed a lot. He also liked looking at the pictures in her wallet of her "doggies".

Once the show started, we went to Toy R Us to get a gift for a friend's 2yr bday party tomorrow. I made the mistake of going over to the train area and got stuck there for an hour and a half while Yoav played with the train set. Nearly all the kids were dragged away in tears. No one wanted to leave. Luckily, Yoav eventually said he needed to poop and wanted to go. Yoav really has no interest in sharing. At one point, he was holding two trains and another little boy about his age didn't have one and I was trying, with NVC, to convince Yoav to give one to the other boy, but I failed. And once he found the fire truck train, we were in trouble! He was playing with it for a long time and then put it down for some reason and I thought he was done playing so I left it on the table and of course, another kid took it. Then when Yoav regained his interest in the train set, he saw the fire truck train in the boy's hand and just took it out. I told him the boy was probably very sad that Yoav took it from him and Yoav said, "yea". He didn't want to give it back on his own, and the boy didn't care anymore, so I dropped it. Hopefully he'll eventually figure it out after having enough things taken from him plus my remarks about how others feel when Yoav takes things from them.

Then home.

Ate Chard Quesadillas (see recipes). We got this recipe from the CSA and we got to taste it there on Wed when we were helping out (someone did a cooking demo). Yoav loved it then and loved it today!!! He actually said "Tasty chard!" and "More chard!"!!!! I ended up giving him a bunch of the chard separate from the tortilla and rice first because I gave him a piece to try and he kept asking for more, so I didn't want to ruin the moment! Then I made him a tortilla and he scarfed that down as well!! I'm very proud to be among the small community of moms who's 22mos olds have said "More chard!" :)

In the evening, I cut Yoav's hair. It was his first real hair cut - it was looking way too shaggy. I did it myself while he stood on the stepstool in the bathroom and played in the sink. I was worried about taking him to a hair dresser. I think he would probably be pretty nervous and wouldn't want someone else to cut his hair. Plus hopefully I've got about 20 years left of kids needing haircuts, so it seems like a good skill to learn.

Here's a pic after the cut:

Played a bit w/ trains, books, etc. but Yoav was really tired and wasn't very focused on anything. He fell asleep at 8:30PM.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Aug 23

Woke up at 7:30. Mary called to say she was going to Ottendorfer Library for storytime so we decided to go to. We had to take the little stroller in order to get out of the house. That was a huge win for me, since he had initially wanted to take his big ride on car, his wooden Haba wagon and the stroller. I managed to explain that the other two were too big for me to carry and that we could just park them right near the door so we'd remember to play with them when we got back.

Yoav really enjoyed the storytime. He's enjoying it more and more recently. He does the hand motions for a lot of the songs. He seems to like Itsy Bitsy Spider a lot and also Wheels on the Bus.

Afterward, we walked up to a little park and talked some. Yoav pushed Katie at the end :( He occasionally pushes and says "push" when he does it. He pushed her about four times. Not very hard and with a smile on his face, so it's not out of any anger or frustration - he just thinks it's fun. He loves to push the toy stroller, the laundry cart, the wagon, etc, etc. He likes to push. I tried to talk to him about it, but I'm not sure it helped. I used NVC and asked him to push the ground, or his toy stroller or a tree if he feels like pushing instead of a person b/c a person could fall down and get hurt. Later, when I mentioned that we'd seen Mary and Katie, he just said "Katie - push" with a smile. Hopefully he's just testing and won't do it much.

A recent favorite game is "skateboarding" where he stands on a toy and says skateboard, or he puts one toy on another and says skateboard. In that case, if he puts a car on a truck, he'd say skateboard truck. He developed skateboard mommy and stakeboard tzi-tzi today. Although he got a little worried when I said my tzi-tzis were getting squished.

Got home around 1 I think and had lunch - leftover meat from yesterday and strawberries. Then my aunt called to confirm the time for breakfast on Saturday (she's coming to NY for a wedding). We talked a bit about dogs and kids.

Then we went to our CSA - we had to help today. It was REALLY hard to get out of the house for that. Again, he wanted to bring his big cars and his stroller. I tried all my usual dialogues and nothing was working. He was adamant on bringing the toy stroller (a loaner from Aunt N). He started crying when he saw that I really wasn't going to bring the stroller. Luckily I remembered that his sunglasses had been a perfect distraction another time and I pulled them out and used them again successfully - we engaged in a silly game of peekaboo with them - I'd say "Where's Yoavi?" when the sunglasses were on and then he'd pop them off and say "Peek-a-boo".

Yoav fell asleep on the way, so most of the time we were there (3:15-5), he was asleep. They did a little cooking demo and made swiss chard quesadillas. They made us one w/out cheese that Yoav LOVED - it had chard, brown rice, onions, garlic and chili powder in a wheat tortilla. He ate almost the whole thing other than a few little bites that I had. When he was finished he kept saying and signing "tasty".

Then to Whole Foods for dinner food - Jer met us there unexpectedly! He surprised us in the veggie area! Yoav had just dropped a tomato and he's so OCDish that he was still saying "uh oh" about the tomato even after he had seen Jer. He needed Jer to pick up the tomato before he could even say hi to baba.

Did laundry when we got back. Yoav brought his big car down. Jer noticed that he pulled the car into the elevator so the driver would be facing the back wall of the elevator. While we were riding down, he turned the car around so it was facing the elevator door. Interesting that he was thinking ahead. I've never really watched for that sort of thing - I'll have to start keeping my eye out to see how much he does it.

Yoav had an allergic reaction to some carob covered almonds we got at Commodities. I think it was from soy lecithin, which was in the ingredients :( I stupidly thought it was just pure carob coating and didn't see the ingredient list until after the reaction. This confirms the soy allergy, though - we were 100% sure of that before this.

I found this about soy lecithin on Weston Price:
In theory, lecithin manufacture eliminates all soy proteins, making it hypoallergenic. In reality, minute amounts of soy protein always remain in lecithin as well as in soy oil. Three components of soy protein have been identified in soy lecithin, including the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor, which has a track record of triggering severe allergic reactions even in the most minuscule quantities. The presence of lecithin in so many food and cosmetic products poses a special danger for people with soy allergies.

This seemed to be his first allergic reaction that led to a clear behavioral change. He was really frustrated once it happened - he said he wanted Kombucha but then when we took it out, he started crying and said he didn't want it. Then he said he wanted it again, etc. He seemed to need relief from the reaction but didn't know what was wrong and didn't know what he wanted to make himself feel better. :(

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Aug 22 - Peek-a-boo

Just a comment - Yoav says peekaboo (he pronounces it "peeboo") when he finds something and it's really cute. Like we were just looking for a wheel for a car of his and when he found it he said "pee-boo".

Boring day today - stayed home most of the day.

One more really cute thing Yoav does that I don't want to forget. Sometimes he asks me to do something that, to say the least, I'm not thrilled to do. Like he'll jump from the side table next to the couch onto the couch and then he'll want me to do it. I'll say, "Ohhh, you want me to jump too?!?!" then I'll pause, probably trying to motivate myself to do it and I guess he's seen the look and he looks back at me with such an adorable sort of questioning/hopeful look and then, just before I say yes, I think he sees that I'm about to say ok and he says, "Oh taaay!!!" Or maybe he's prompting me with what to say b/c I'm being slow with my response and he wants to make sure I'm on board :) It's probably partly just excited anticipation - like when a baby laughs before you get to the wee-wee-wee part of the little piggies thing. I wish I could describe it better because I'll probably forget exactly what it's like later and it's so unbearably cute.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Aug 21 - Playground Politics

Quiet day again - we've been having a lot of Yoav naked days so that tends to lead us to stay home - he sleeps naked and then it's hard to motivate either of us to deal with putting clothes on him.

Lots of reading in the morning - read Little Bear several times. Yoav has favorite pages in each of his books that he likes me to read over and over (up to about 10 times midstory). His all-time favorite so far is a section in Little Bear's Friend where the friend (Emily)'s doll falls out of a tree and breaks her arm. Then Little Bear fixes it with tape. I think I already posted about this. I forget. Anyway, today he made me read that page over and over and over and over. There's a page in Johnny Lion's Rubber Boots where Johnny Lion knocks over his blocks and they go crash-crash-crash and Yoav likes that page too. He does the sign for crash each time I read it. He also likes the first page when the rain goes drip, drip, drip. He likes to say the word "drip".

No nap today - he said he needed to sleep but then we just read and played peek-a-boo in bed for about two hours. A little after I gave up, he said he had to poop and pooped right away on the big potty, so I think that's why he didn't nap.

Then we went to the playground b/c it was already 4PM and I don't like him to nap that late in the day or he stays up too late.

The playground was great - it was my first time there in about a month since it's been so hot. It seems to be the perfect place for learning about sharing for both me and Yoav. It's a great place for me to practice my sharing-related NVC talks with Yoav. In every single interaction we had today in which a toy was desired by two children and both parents were watching, the parent of the other child said that Yoav should get the toy. Not that we took it in every case, but it's certainly a relaxing environment. I can work on my dialogue with no pressure. If both kids want a toy and I think the other kid should get to keep it (like if Yoav already has a toy or if the other kid was playing with it first), I try my NVC and if Yoav gives it to the other kid, great, if not, then I can discuss the scenario w/ Yoav and we try again on the next interaction, but no tears for Yoav cuz he gets to keep the toy. I never feel embarrased if Yoav takes something that I think should have gone to the other child. Plus we brought a toy stroller that Aunt N lent us, so if there was ever a difficult situation where Yoav wanted something that the other child didn't want him to have, I could just remind him that we brought our stroller and ask if he wanted to play with that instead, and he was usually happy with that.

Pretty shocking how quick other parents are to be in favor of Yoav over their own children!!! Once, Yoav took a toy from someone else, the boy then took it back from Yoav and the mother of the other child scolded her son!! I told her (just in case she didn't realize) that her son had it first and she still said her boy shouldn't have grabbed it. OK, but neither should mine have. Worked out well, though. No tears for Yoav and I got to calmly discuss the scenario with him afterwards. I just told him (using NVC) that I know he wanted the toy, but it made me sad that he took the toy from the other boy, b/c the other boy was playing with it and he needs to have fun too. Would Yoav be willing to wait next time he wants a toy that someone else is playing with until the other child is done or would he try trading with the other child?

Yoav was exhausted and fell asleep in the wrap moments after I put him in when we got home, then we went to a vegan restaurant called "Caravan of Dreams" on 6th St and 1st Ave that's pretty good.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Aug 20

Yoavi said and signed cry today - we were at SIL's apartment and Cousin Y was crying and Yoav said and signed cry and then followed Y to see why he was crying.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Aug 19 - Hartford with In-Laws

Drove up to Hartford last night. Yoav didn't sleep until 11PM b/c we had just gotten to the Milikows' house and Cousin D was up and he was playing with new toys...

He woke up at about 8AM when he heard Cousin D making noise. Got up and played w/ cars a bit and then had bagels and coffee. While in the kitchen, Yoav was playing with a ceramic salt and pepper shaker. I hate when he plays with them, but they're always right on the table and they're in the shape of a weird looking monkey/person boy and girl and Yoav wants to play with them as soon as he sees them. Today he had a car and was "skateboarding" them - putting one the shaker on the car and moving the car like a skateboard. I was watching and monitoring closely and had moved the girl shaker away when Yoav wasn't noticing. But then Safta handed me another toy that Cousin D had been playing with that belongs to Yoav and then she started talking about a kitchen set she saw on Oompa and I completely forgot about the shaker and it fell off the car (it was skateboarding at the time) and it broke. I felt so bad. I took Yoav upstairs because I just didn't know what to say and I just wanted to talk to him about it privately a little. I just told him how I was feeling - that I felt bad that it broke because it's Safta's and she likes it a lot but that baba would fix it with some glue just like Little Bear fixed Lucy (Emily's doll) in Little Bear's Friend when Lucy fell out of a tree and broke her arm.

Safta was very calm and nice about it - she said it had actually broken before (not sure if that's true or not) and not to worry - that she has far too many breakables in the house anyway (which is true!).

Lunch we had turkey and another bagel - Yoav mostly was eating the turkey. He loves turkey slices. This was natural and was not salty - I'm going to see if I can get some similar at Whole Foods - I got some there a long time ago but it was very salty.

Played in afternoon - Cousin D and Yoav were having fun playing together for the most part. Yoav took toys from Cousin T (8 mos) a few times and says "mine". I'm not really sure what to say. I tried responding w/ NVC:
Yoav I see that you want to play with that toy, but I feel sad when you take it from Talia because I need her to have fun too and she was playing with the toy. Can you let her keep playing with it? I also tried using - I feel nervous b/c I need her to be safe and I'm worried that her arm will get hurt if you pull a toy from her hand.

Saw Aunt J's new house. Afterward, Cousin D was crying b/c he was hot and Yoav said "sad" for the first time and used the sign - was the first time he's used a feeling word (except for hurt, which he uses in a physical context, not emotional).

Yoav fell alseep at 7:15PM on the potty! We were nursing to sleep and he said "poop" and was rolling around uncomfortably (he had tried unsucessfully to poop about four times today) so I said, "Do you want to poop in your diaper?" "No" "Do you want to poop on the potty?" "Yea." So we went to the potty and I put him on the seat and held him and after about 30 seconds, he went limp and I realized he was asleep! :) I brought him into our room and laid him on a blanket on the floor.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Aug 18 - More on Bringing Things

So this morning we went to LLL Toddler Meeting. Yoav took a few things as always, but this time, he took a roll of scotch tape, a magnet from the fridge and the quarter bagel he was eating. So now I'm thinking that maybe he just wants to bring things b/c I bring things, not because he has a particular attachment or interest in the actual things he brings.

Meeting was good. Yoav is really into saying "mine" lately - when he sees another kid coming close, he holds tight to his toy and says "mine, mine, mine..." He is very nervous that other kids will take what he has. Which is reasonable, as most kids do, in fact, just take toys from one another. So I can't very well tell him not to worry. One woman that I was talking to at LLL (who has a 3.5yo DD), said that the mine stage is very important in allowing a child to develop a sense of self, and once that stage passes, then the child is able to begin developing an interest in sharing... Haven't read that myself, but I want to do some searches, it certainly makes me feel better.

Yoav went in the wrap without a problem and we walked home and he fell asleep for nap on the way home and I was able to get him from wrap to bed!!!!!!!!! I untied the wrap almost all the way and just held him under his tush as I carefully laid him in bed.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Aug 17 - First Somersault & First Poop in big potty

Today was a day of firsts :)

Was a quiet day - stayed home all day - lots of playing with his little cars. He spent a lot of time playing with the cars between the back couch cushion and the back of the couch. He was also lining them up on the back of the couch from behind the cushion. It was great for me - I got to sit on the couch and read while he was playing!!!

Anyway, the firsts came in the evening:

With the somersault, Yoav has been prepping for this for the past week. He's been putting his head and feet on the bed with his tush in the air. Of course he thinks it's funny when I peek at him through his legs. Today he threw his legs over his head and did many partial somersaults and one full "perfect" one. Funny that this would be something instinctual to try. I'm 99% sure he's never seen anyone do a somersault. Fooey on those going to toddler gym classes!! :)

Regarding the poop, Yoav usually poops either in his little potty or diaper or floor. There is always a ridiculous amount of time between the time he first tells me he needs to poop and when he actually poops. Today, for instance, he first said he had to poop at 3:15PM (I was keeping track of all pees today and related discussions) and didn't poop until 7PM! One day last week he said he had to poop when he first woke up but didn't poop until the afternoon. Anyway, when it finally happened, he said he had to poop, we tried the little potty but he didn't seem comfortable - it's getting a pretty small for him so I put him on the big potty with the Baby Bjorn insert. After a few minutes of trying, he said he wanted to sleep - said "deep" and did the sign for sleep. I picked him up and peeked at his tush in the mirror and saw that a little poop was coming out. Poor thing, he was exhausted but still needed to poop. I felt bad not accomodating his sleep request, but... I just explained that the poop was already coming and I told him he could nurse while he sat on the potty and rest his head on my shoulder. Anyway, the poop came soon after. Then he hopped off to flush and then about a minute later he ran back into the bathroom and said he had to poop again, I put him on the potty and he pooped a little more. I was sitting on the stool next to the potty and kept my hands under his armpits to help him push - it seems to help him if I'm holding him in this way.

Then we got in bed to nurse and he was asleep at 7:15PM.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Aug 16

Having a bit of trouble with my "solution" to bring a bag of Yoav's toys with us when we go out. It's helping to keep him from insisting on bringing his big ride-on car (I say his car is too big for me to carry, maybe he could bring some of his smaller toys). But then he wants to bring everything (including the cordless phone if it happens to be near other toys he wants)! I've been giving him a bag to fill up with toys if we're going on a quick trip - for instance, it's perfect if I just need to get out the door to do laundry downstairs. But today I had to go to NAET and then to pick up CSA food after (and I ended up stopping at Whole Foods for a few other things for dinner) so I really just physically couldn't bring his bag of toys. So after he packed it I lied and told him I put it in my backpack and I just threw a few of his favorite toys in there along with a book. As it happened, when we got to NAET, he asked for his fire truck. I was able to distract him with a book, but I need to come up with another solution before he catches me in a lie!!! Cindy said I could just say I forgot the bag and act surprised, which would work once, but I really feel bad lying to him. It's just so hard for him to choose what to bring, he's a lot more relaxed when he thinks he gets to bring a lot. He doesn't have to go through a decision process.

Not much else today - did a lot of reading of Little Bear - it's his new favorite. There's a scene with Little Bear's new friend Emily's doll drops out of a tree and breaks her arm and Little Bear fixes it with tape. That's Yoav's favorite part. He says "uh oh" on the page with the picture of the doll falling out of the tree and says "hurt" and "tape" and looks closely at the picture of the doll's arm with tape on it.

NAET was an emotional treatment for egg + saliva. Vitale will be out for two weeks and showed me how to do the treatment and gave me a vial to take home. Yoav was so excited to keep a vial. Vitale put it in an envelope and Yoav held it all the way to pick up our CSA food and only asked me to hold it when he wanted to eat an apricot from the CSA.

Yoav knows the sign now for stuck and I think it eases the frustration some when something gets stuck. Instead of getting frustrated, he does the sign and tells me about it being stuck. Somehow with this one, the signing delays the frustration just long enough for me to get involved to talk to him about it and to see if he wants my help.

He didn't nap and went to sleep at 7PM - he started saying he wanted to sleep at 5:30 but I kept him up with books and a final trip down to get our laundry.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Aug 14 - Yoav agrees to change activities!

Interesting day today -

Had sprouted bagels and tea for breakfast, then went to library for library reading. My meditation book was available (The Miracle of Mindfulness: A Manual on Meditation). I've been reading a bit about meditation and want to try to start practicing, if that's the right word for it. The woman who runs the AlwaysUnschooled group recommended a book by Thich Nhat Hanh for Yoav that I love and that got me reading about meditation. I've also discussed it a bit with a friend from my playgroup and also with my NAET practitioner. I really think it could help me to stay calm in the face of stress/anger with Yoav and anyone else I interact with. The book I'm reading now is amazing. I'll write more about it when I finish the book.

After library, played on playground a bit and then home to play and eat lunch. Yoav started playing at the sink (standing on a chair playing with some cups in the sink while the water was running, which is a favorite nowadays) about 20 minutes before we needed to leave for NAET. He didn't want to stop playing when we had to leave, so I used NVC successfully - I was able to find the yes in the no, which led to an interesting solution - the conversation went approximately like this:
Me: Yoav, I know you're having fun playing, but it's almost time to go see Dr. Vitale. I'm worried that you don't want to come because I need you to be healthy and to get over your allergies so I want to go see Dr. Vitale so he can make you better. Are you ready to go?
Him: No
Me: How about if we leave the chair and cups exactly where they are and then we'll go see Dr. Vitale and then when we come back everything will be ready for you to keep playing in the sink?
Him: Yea. OK.

And then, I turned off the sink, picked him up, and zipped out the door without a complaint!!! So the no was that he didn't want to stop playing in the sink indefinitely - the yes was that he wanted to play in the sink, but it didn't have to be right now.

I used the same technique in the afternoon when a Stuy Town AP mom called to see if I wanted to meet her and a few others for a spontaneous playdate. Yoav was playing with some cars at the time and when I initially asked if he wanted to go play with some friends on the playground, he said no. Then I said would you like to go to the playground if we leave your cars right where they are so you can continue playing with them when we get back? And he said "yea!"

I think the issue is that he doesn't have an understanding of time, so he seems to feel like this could be the last time ever he'll get to play in the sink or with his cars. Knowing that he can continue later allows him to open his mind up to suggestions for other things to do in the interim.

Actually I just remembered I used it also today to leave the playground. I was SO thirsty because I forgot my water bottle. I used NVC with this new idea in the request:
Me: Yoavi, I know you're having lots of fun playing with this toy stroller at the playground, but I'm feeling I'm really thirsty - I need to drink some water. Would you be willing to come home with me so I can drink some water and then if you want to come back to the playground, I'll come back with you.
Yoav: OK.
And then he let go of the stroller and turned to me to get picked up to go!!!!!

On the same lines, in the evening, I wanted to go get a snack at the local Organic store (Commodities). He was playing at the coffee table and said he didn't want to go. I went and got a little bag and said, "Do you want to bring your toys with you?" he said, "yea" and I said he should pick some things to put in the bag. Again, seems like the same concern that this is the last time for these toys if he doesn't bring them - he brought everything off the coffee table - a fork, knife, remote control, three books, his fire truck and a few small wooden cars. He wanted to bring a tea cup partially filled with tea, but I said it was wet and would get his toys wet if we put it in the bag and why don't we leave it here and he was fine with that.

Yoav fell asleep in the Didy wrap on the way back from the store.

One more interesting conversation we had today that I want to write up:
He was playing with a tea cup (with some cold tea in it) and said, "bag", but I didn't understand what he said. I said, "broke?", "rock?", "ball?". He started to get very frustrated and started stomping his feet and looked like he was about to cry. I held him and said, "Try to relax. I know we can figure this out. Let's start over. What does it have to do with?" Then I pointed to a few things on the table - first the table - he said "no", then the tea cup - he said "yea". Then I asked him to say what he wanted again. Now when he said "bag", I understood since I knew the subject. I said, "Oh, tea bag! You want another tea bag!" He said "YEA!" and was so excited!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Aug 13

Breakfast at Aroma - a new Israeli place on Houston and Greene, then walked around downtown a bit. Stopped at B&N - got Yoav "Little Bear's Friend" by Else Holmelund Minarik - it's a Step 1 of I Can Read Series (Frog & Toad, which he also likes is step 2). He really seemed to love the Little Bear book - I read it to him three times later in the day - it's about 60 pages of 1-4 sentences per page. It seems perfect for him - I only had to modify a few sentences, and by the third read, he talked about some of the scenes before they happened, so I think he was following the whole story.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Aug 12 - 1st Anti Extended BFing Comment

This morning we went for bagels and then walked to Banana Republic for Jeremy to get a few clothes.

Then we met Jeremy's friend from Israel, N. (who is here for a week for business) and his sister-in-law S. (who lives here) for lunch at Caravan of Dreams, a great organic, vegan, kosher restaurant near us. I got a tempeh veggie burger. Yoav had fallen asleep in the wrap on the walk over and didn't wake up until we were almost done eating.

S. is officially the first person who made a very negative extended breastfeeding comment to me. BTW, she is fairly natural - she's vegetarian and does yoag three times a week. Conversation was:
Jer mentioned that I can't eat milk and eggs, etc.
S: "Why?"
Me: "Yoav is allergic and I'm still breastfeeding so I can't eat it either."
S: "How old is he?"
Me: "21 months."
S: "And you're still breastfeeding?!?!?!"
Me: "Yes."
S: A bunch of random annoying anti-extended breastfeeding remarks - I need separation, he needs independence, it looks so weird when kids WALK over to their moms to nurse.
Me: gave responses to each of her remarks and added, "The world average for breastfeeding is 4 years."
S: "What world is that?" -- implying that it's because of third world countries where there's not enough money for food.
UGH. Anyway, I just changed the subject. And once Yoav woke up, he nursed for about ten minutes until he was fully awake. I was slightly uncomfortable because of her comment, but tried not to let it bother me too much.

Then went up to Central Park to see Uncle D, Aunt N, Y & A. Yoav and Y played. Aunt N gave Yoav a water balloon which he LOVED and was quite upset when he threw it on the sidewalk and it broke. Cousin Y didn't want to get in his stroller (a double stroller) on the way home so we asked Yoav if he wanted to go in it to make it more fun for Cousin Y but Yoav wanted to get out after about a block. A lot of people have told me we need a stroller because Yoav doesn't like to go in slings/wraps/carriers/etc., but I don't think he'd like a stroller any better. He likes to be held by me with no wrap, although he was happy to get in the wrap today when he nursed to sleep at night (see below).

Then went down to meet my friend Jamie who's staying with friends for the night - she bought some Usborne books that I brought over. On way home, Yoav said he wanted to nurse and I put him in the Didy wrap, he nursed and was asleep by the time we got home (6 blocks).

Friday, August 11, 2006

Aug 11

Played at home for about two hours in morning - mostly with cars.

Then went to Museum of Natural History. Saw both big mammal exhibits (North American and African), birds, some dinosaurs and the new Snakes & Lizards Alive exhibit. Last time we went to the Lizards exhibit was with R. and N. and Yoav was really tired by the time we got to the exhibit and he pretty much broke down midway. Today he really enjoyed it. His favorite was the Water Monitor, which is a very large lizard type thing with an enormous tongue. Yoav was crawling around some around the Water Monitor's exhibit - I think he was imitating the Water Monitor...

As we were leaving the exhibit, I said I had to go pee. Yoav said, "yea." To clarify (since I was just saying I had to pee before), I asked if he needed to pee and he said yea. We had to walk through two exhibits and then wait in line for about three people in front of us, all which took at least five minutes. I stood Yoav up on the seat and he peed right away into the toilet. I think that was the first time he seemed to wait to use a outside toilet.

Then went to Home Depot to get some things including a new phone, since Yoav dropped ours one (or ten) too many times and it won't turn on at all anymore.

He napped for about 45 mins in the Gypsy Mama.

At home we made a message for the answering machine - it came out really cute. Yoav says "hi" and then I start talking (Hi, you've reached Jeremy, Emily and Yoav. Please leave a message. Bye.") While I'm talking he says hi again ;) When we were practicing, I told him to say hi when I waved. We had to try about ten times, because he was waiting too long before he said hi. He had fun doing it though. Each time we made a recording, he said "again." We had another one that was good, but he wanted to do it again so much I copied over it...

We read our new "Frog and Toad" book for a while. Yoav likes it more than I expected. Everytime I finish a story, he says "again". Today we read about five in a row and then I just couldn't take it anymore and we switched to another activity. I feel bad not being able to read to him forever because it seems like a good thing to be doing with him, but I get bored, uncomfortable, my mouth gets tired, etc. He likes to nurse while I read and his preference is to lie down nursing looking up at the book, which is extremely uncomfortable for me. It works better for us both to lean against the headboard of the bed, but it's still somewhat uncomfortable for me. Proably 50% of the time when we read he likes to nurse and 50% of the time he's happy to just sit in my lap.

Jer home around 7:30. Had almond butter/jelly sandwiches and leftover stuffed peppers. Yoav didn't go to sleep until 10 - somehow he seemed like he had more energy than usual even though he had a short nap. Oh, well.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Aug 10 - More on Unschooling

More key things for me regarding Unschooling: When I imagine 12-yr-old Yoav going to S-chool and envision us sitting at the kitchen table, me stressing about him getting his homework done on top of everything else I need to do, I cringe. This will not only take the joy out of learning for him, it will take the joy out of my watching him learn! I also want to avoid the competition that is inevitable with S-chool. Friends, family, asking about Yoav's grades. UGH. It would suck me back into the system and will slowly (or perhaps not so slowly) suck the love, connection, and peace, from our relationship. I want to stay as far away from the S-chool system as possible!!!!!!!!!

Quiet day today - just did laundry in the morning and continued to clean our mess of an apartment.

In the afternoon, when I was trying to get us out the door to go to B&N to get another "Frog & Toad" book (they're 50% off right now) and to Whole Foods, Yoav said he wanted to bring:
1. His Haba wooden wagon
2. His Hess fire truck
3. His Gorilla pull toy
4. His duck push toy
He said this as if it was completely reasonable. Our conversation:
Me: "You want to bring this, this, this, this?"
Him: "Yea"
Me: "This is a lot for us to bring all the way to the grocery store. It will be hard for us to carry it all. Do you think you could pick a few smaller toys to bring?"
Him: starts crying
After much attempt at NVC and reasoning, I finally managed to distract him. We started playing with his sunglasses, which turned into a game of peek-a-boo and when I saw that he was relaxed and engaged in the game, I grabbed him and ran out the door!

Jer met us at Whole Foods to help with the shopping.

Made the stuffed peppers from the Nourishing Traditions book and they were great. Last time we made them, Yoav ate more - this time he didn't want to eat the meat - hopefully he was just tired and he'll eat some tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Aug 9 - Reasons for Radical Unschooling

In the morning, Jeremy came with us for bagels, which is always fun. We've been eating manna bread for breakfast but they haven't had the one I like in a few days so we've been going for bagels.

After breakfast I coordinated with Mary and Laura for everyone to come to the 11:15am library reading. After the library sprogram, we all went to Mud for lunch - Yoav and I shared a salad. We talked a bit about unschooling during and after lunch. Mary isn't 100% committed to unschooling because she feels a pull to get back to work at least part-time.

So I was thought I'd post about my current thoughts on unschooling:
I'm 100% committed to unschooling. I don't have the nagging fears that some early unschoolers have - fear that some subjects (like math for example) need to be taught. I've read most of John Holt's books and I feel that the key is that the child is always learning and always ENJOYING learning. Math that is taught to most kids through high school is very basic and can be learned by an interested student in a very short period of time. Once an unschooled child is the age of a high schooler and has an interest in attending college, he/she will choose to learn necessary subjects in order to get into college. Most unschooled kids who choose to go to college are very motivated, because, unlike their schooled counterparts, they have strong feelings about what they want to study and do with their life because they've had years to explore naturally and unfettered and have found their true interests already. The key is that unschooled kids maintain their love of learning - nothing is worth destroying this and I believe, as set forth by John Holt, that every day in a School chips away at this love. Children are born with a true love of learning but it is generally much diminished already by 1st grade and nearly gone by 6th grade.

My personal education history is:
Gifted & Talented (GT) program -- through 8th grade
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Tech -- 9th-12th grade
MIT, Electrical Engineering -- B.S. and M.Eng. Degrees

I was driven to excel in school from an early age - I'm sure it was some combination of parental and self pressure/motivation. Math and Science were considered the *harder* subjects, so my nature pushed me toward those. In high school, I was in several advanced classes, but I was most advanced in Math and Physics (took Differential Equations, Linear Equations and AP Physics in 12th grade). In college, I majored in Electrical Engineering, primarily because my father thought that was the best undergrad degree - the degree that would allow me the most options once I graduated.

He could very well have been correct, but given that I ended up hating Electrical Engineering and being very unsure of who I was and what interested me, I don't think it was worth it.

The pressure to do EE though, certainly didn't come only from my father. The problem with the whole system is that it takes people like me and destroys them - I was motivated to get 'Pluses' starting in FIRST GRADE. I remember pressure already in fourth grade with a report on the Black Capped Chickadee I did. I remember the 3x5 cards with bits of information on each sprawled out across the basement. I worked so hard on that report, got a 'Plus' of course, but today I know absolutely nothing about this bird. My guess is that I knew nothing about the bird the day after I turned in the report. In my opinion, that is the one of the biggest problems with school. There is no emphasis on LEARNING, only an emphasis on PROVING that you've "learned" by succeeding at tests. In high school, I never had time to read any of the books we had to read - I learned to skim them well so that I could do well on the exams. Even in college, when I was studying for finals, I always felt like I was reviewing material that I had never learned before. Because really, I hadn't learned it, I had only remembered it briefly around the time I was tested on it.

I think that the biggest problem with school (at least the highly academic ones that I went to) is that there is no time for self-led learning and exploration. Therefore, there is no way to figure out one's interests. You can't be truly successful with something that you find only mildly interesting. To be truly successful, either in academics, business, or home life, it's important to find and explore your passions. For me, I was very unhappy for years starting in college, trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do with my life.

Now some people, when dismissing the idea of unschooling, talk about their own personal experience in school as a reason for which shool is not a bad place for children. Today, Laura said her husband is opposed to unschooling because he had a "great" experience in school. I think it's important for people to realize that their particular experience is not what is relevant - a person's great school experience in no way guarantees the same for a child.

Mary also brought up a posting on the AlwaysUnschooled list by a woman who said that she and her kids had spent some time shucking corn and Mary thought there wasn't much learning going on during this activity. As I think more about it, I bet this was a great activity - the woman and her kids were sharing a connectedness in this activity that is hard to beat. In addition, they got practice perfecting their shucking skills, not that they need to be good shuckers, but being involved in an activity such as this with no adult telling you how to do it, is very rare for most children. These kids got to learn how to shuck on their own, I'm sure, and were able to perfect their skill ON THEIR OWN. They were also building confidence - seeing that they were capable of becoming good at shucking without an adult telling them how to do it. Even though shucking seems very simple at first glance, shucking a lot of corn would certainly give a child ample opportunity to improve his technique and speed. They are learning to learn - in this case learning to figure out how to improve their shucking, later in life perhaps one of the children could be an engineer improving the design of a machine designed to shuck corn or make bags or anything. And, of course, there could have been some conversation that led to non-corn-related learning.

Also I was trying to remember the word strewing, which is defined as "leaving material of interest around for our children to discover." More info here: Strewing

Yoav fell asleep on way to NAET and did NAET with him sleeping - turns out Yoav is not completely clear of egg allergy so Vitale did Egg + Base today.

Then picked up CSA food - got 2 tomatoes, 8 potatoes, 1 garlic, 1 cucumber, 2 onions, 1 head of cabbage, 1 eggplant, 2 green peppers.

Went to dinner at Chickpea and then Jeremy went to visit a friend and I went to Whole Foods and then walked home with Yoav and he fell asleep at 9:15PM after reading Danny and the Dinosaur a few times, Freight Train about 10 times and telling him the Seven Little Rabbits story about 20 times.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Aug 8 - Current signing and favorite books

Yoav woke up at 7am this morning and said he needed to pee but when I put him on the little potty (LP), he couldn't go. Then I got up to go pee and he came in the bathroom and peed with me (on his LP in there). By then he was no longer tired. ugh. Luckily Jeremy took him into his playroom and played a bit while I rested a little more.

Then we all went to eat bagels. Yoav brought his Hess fire truck and another little car and played with them as he ate.

I tried to clean up with him in the morning. We rearranged things a bit in the living/family room. Then Yoav wanted to play in the kitchen sink, so I pulled a chair up and gave him a bunch of plastic bowls and cups to play with while I cleaned the kitchen. We also ate a bunch of apricots and plums from the CSA. Yoav was fairly successfully eating the plums on his own - I explained that they have pits and that he should just take small bites around the edges so he didn't bite the pit. I was, of course, watching carefully during all this, but he managed surprisingly well, although he left a lot of fruit because he was being cautious.

I also rearranged the bedroom so the headboard of the bed is against the windowsill to hopefully keep Yoav from getting distracted by the windowsill when he's falling asleep - he LOVES to stand up there and look the the cars or play peekaboo with the windowshade. Not that I want to take away something he enjoys, but he can still stand on the windowsill in the playroom, I just can't take it when he's almost asleep and he hears a truck and then wants to "jump up" there!

After at bit more cleaning (and jumping on the couch and playing with the "big car" again from the dishwasher), Yoav was tired and we read in bed. I just got him a great new book called "Each Breathe a Smile" based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen teacher and poet. It was recommended by the leader of the AlwaysUnschooled group and it's GREAT!! Yoav and I both love it. It's a great book for winding down. One page says:
"Let us put our hand on our tummy and feel our breathing.
Our tummy goes out and then it goes in.
Breathing in and breathing out.
Our tummy goes out and then it goes in.
Breathing in and breathing out."
Yoav lifts up his shirt when we get to this page and puts his hand on his tummy and does big breathes in and out :)

Actually I'm going to do a signing update of Yoav's signs - I've been learning more and more and he's slowly increasing his vocabulary:
backpack (Yoav thinks ALL of his toys are ALWAYS in my backpack - whenever he sends me to get one of his toys, he tells me it's in the backpack)
bagel (I made up - a circle in front of mouth)
carrot (couldn't find real one - we just do a fist next to mouth and move teeth up and down)
ceiling fan
milk (we use for nurse, but usually he just says tzi tzi unless i'm not paying attention and then he signs)
-- These are words that he has signed (some semblance of the sign) at least once. Some he does perfectly, like more, apple, again. Others are similar - like bus he just touches the palm of his right hand to his right cheek - I think to him it looks like this is what I'm doing, since the sign is to put both hands together palm to palm and then bring the right one to the face - I think he doesn't notice the part when the hands are together at the beginning. Some of the signs he does odd because I'm usually attempting to do them while I'm holding him, so I'll do a two handed sign one handed. Some of them he just does quite differently because he hasn't seen me do it enough to figure out quite what I'm doing - like sandwich he puts his hands on either side of his face when they're supposed to be palm to palm w/ fingers pointing to the mouth like you're eating a sandwich - I'm still counting this one b/c I recognize it when he does it.

While I'm at it, here's an update with current favorite books:
"Danny and the Dinosaur" by Syd Hoff
"Each Breath a Smile" by Sister Thuc Nghiem and Thich Nhat Hanh
"Babar and the Runaway Egg"
"Little Cloud" by Eric Carle
plus he still loves all of his Usborne Beginner books - his favorites are "Trucks", "Horses and Ponies" and "Under the Sea"

Yoav has also started lining up his cars (see above pic) in the past week or so. He goes around the house collecting cars/trucks/etc., and then brings them to a table and arranges them in a sort of line, although sometimes, like in the pic, there can be two next to eachother or he may even stack some on top of eachother. Posted by Picasa

One more thing: Yoav was playing a form of hide and seek with Jeremy this evening for the first time. First Jeremy hid behind the door of the playroom. When Yoav found him, he got so excited he was shaking and ran into my arms. Then he "hid" behind the door but while he was there he kept saying "peeboo" (peek-a-boo), then popped out and said "peeboo" louder and we pretended to be surprised to see him. He was having so much fun!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Aug 6

Went to my cousin B's in-laws this morning - subway to train and then B and her husband picked us up. Stayed for about 1 1/2 hours. It was fun - we didn't get to talk as much as I would have liked because Yoav wanted me to play with him most of the time.

Had a brief discussion on one subject that is important to me in terms of unschooling - B said she's looking for a new nanny and the woman she likes best is from Peru and would teach Cousin A Spanish, which B defined as pointing to an object in a book, saying the English word, and then saying the Spanish word. I said that personally I think that the best way to learn a language is from hearing it spoken naturally - this is from "How Children Learn" by John Holt as well as from much reading about raising a bilingual child, as Jeremy speaks exclusively in Hebrew to Yoav. B said the method she described was also recommended by a speech therapist friend. She also said that this is how adults learn languages. I was thinking about this later, and yes, a lot of adults do learn languages from books, but very few, if any, of the adults I know who "learned" a language in high school can speak that language fluently. On the other hand, there are many children who can speak several languages who learned them simply by hearing them in the home. Yoav is also learning sign language now as a third language simply by watching me use it. I've never "taught" him a sign. I am very careful to only use signs as I say the word in regular speech.

On a related note, I noticed that Yoav didn't sign at all. It must be because I didn't do any signing, which could make a lot of sense. Yoav is just starting to use some Hebrew words with Jeremy but not with me - this is how it is in bilingual families - the child knows which language to speak with which parent.

This language discussion also reminds me that Yoav has recently said his first few words of Hebrew - he said "mayim" to Jeremy when asking for water a few days ago and then when Jeremy didn't know what he was talking about, he came and asked me for "water". I only realized that he was saying "mayim" after he came and asked me for "water". He has also said "bayit" (home), "toda" (thank you) and I think there's been a few others, but I forget now.

Yoav fell asleep on the train home and then I met Jeremy's parents, and his brother D and his family at the restaurant where they were having lunch and then after we went to the Stuy Town lawn and relaxed and played. Yoav had fun playing with Cousin Y.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

Aug 3 - Egg Cleared!

GYN appt today - Yoav was asleep in Didy when we arrived but woke up after about 30 mins. I was taken 45 mins after my appt time. In the first room (Dr.'s office for a brief interview) while we were waiting, first I made the mistake of telling Yoav I thought I had his taxi in the backpack. Then I looked and it turned out it wasn't there, but he was convinced it was. He kept saying, "Taxi Backpack" and was pulling things out of my backpack looking for it. :( Then once I got him to look at his book instead, he said he needed to poop (he just said "poop"). I stupidly asked him if he wanted to poop in the potty, since that's what I usually say. He said yes ("dah"). woops. So I just told him it really wasn't a good time to use the potty since we were just called into the doctor's office and could he just poop in his diaper. He was ok with that and ended up pooping after my exam when I was getting dressed.

During exam he was very quiet, just watched...

In evening, we did egg challenge:
1. Egg (scrambled) on stomach, waited 30 mins - no reaction
2. Tiny piece in mouth, waited 30 mins - no reaction
3. Bigger piece in mouth, waited 30 mins - no reaction
4. Bigger piece in mouth, waited 30 mins - no reaction
Then I gave him a little more just because he liked it - he ended up eating about 1/3 of the egg with no reaction so it looks like Vitale cleared the egg allergy!!!!

Two very creative things Yoav did in evening:
1. He was helping me make muffins and I was using a spoon to put mix from mixing bowl into little muffin tins. I gave him a little spoon to do the same thing. The first time he did it, he spilled some mix en route from the bowl to the tin. So he picked up the tin and moved it over the bowl and put mix in that way so it wouldn't spill!!! (Turns out it wasn't a better idea since the tins were actually paper and sort of fell apart once the mix was put in, but it was incredible to see that he would come up with his own idea about something that I was already doing a different way and then try it!!!)
2. He was playing with the dishwasher and noticed that the lower rack could come off the rail. He said "car", took it all the way out of the dishwasher and proceeded to push it around the house and call it a "big car".

Playing with "Big Car"

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Aug 2 - NAET

Slept at in-laws. Bagels for breakfast. When I was packing, Jeremy was watching Yoav and Cousin D tried to grab a taxi that Yoav was holding. Yoav cried and cried and I ran down. Jeremy said that when Cousin D grabbed it away, he grabbed it back, which sets a really bad example, but he said he just got so frustrated he didn't really think it through.

Drove back from CT around noon - Yoav slept a little over an hour of the trip.

NAET today was:
Egg Mix + Deoxyribo -- Emotional treatment - Yoav and me
Vitale said we should do another test.

Picked up CSA food - lots of good food - eggplant, heirloom tomato, garlic, cucumber, lettuce, broccoli, plums and apricots.

Jul 28 - Aug 1 - Camping in NH

We went camping for several days in Lake Umbagog, NH, at the northern tip of the state. We went with Jeremy's brothers - Uncle D (and his wife N and kids Y (3.5 yrs) and A (11 mos)) and Uncle D and two other families - A, R and O (5yrs) and E, A, R (3.5 yrs) and A (6mos ish).

Cousin Y, Omer and Yoav on canoe at campsite on Lake Umbagog, NH. Posted by Picasa

Jul 28:
We left on Friday afternoon and drove first to CT (Jeremy's parents). We rented an SUV for the trip. We stayed for a few hours and then we all left to drive some at night with the kids sleeping. We drove about two hours and then stopped at a hotel for the night.

Jul 29:
This morning we had a bite to eat at the hotel - Yoav ate a banana and some Manna bread I had bought. Then we continued driving for a few hours. We stopped at a small diner and everyone got breakfast - Yoav and I shared oatmeal.

We continued driving and arrived at the campsite at around 3PM. The campsite was beautiful - right on the lake! The men spent some time setting up the tents.

For dinner we had salads - hummus (A. made me and Yoav hummus without tahini and it was great!!!), matbucha that Jer made, tabouli that Ronit made and a vegetable salad.

We relaxed in the evening around the campfire.

It was quite cold in the evening (despite a heat wave throughout most of the country). Tomorrow we will go to town to pick up some warmer clothes.

Jul 30:
When Yoav woke up this morning, after he peed in his little potty, I laid him down to put on a diaper and he suddenly threw up! This was the first time he's thrown up! I know that Cousin Y. had been sick and had supposedly passed it to Cousin D. so maybe Yoav got the same thing but in a weaker form. Yoav didn't seem to have any other symptoms of being sick except throwing up this once. My other theory is that we ate a lot of hummus late last night and Yoav went right to sleep on a full stomach, so maybe he had an upset stomach from that?

Uncle D. rented a motorboat and people took turns going out in that a bit. Yoav and I just played at the campsite with Tulu and Omer. Yoav was calling Omer "Nomi" - he really loved playing with Omer.

The kids' favorite activity was throwing bread to the ducks.

Lots of grilled meat for dinner and relaxation around the grill again.

Jul 31:
Played for awhile in the lake. Yoav had a surprisingly good time. His favorite thing was when Jer held his hands and spun in circles. We also did some splashing w/ Omer and Tulu which was fun for all. Yoav got wet up to his neck.

In Lake Umbagog Posted by Picasa

On the beach, I heard R. say to her father, "I made a sand castle." E. said, "That doesn't look like a sand castle. A sand castle needs windows and a moat etc, etc, etc." UGH. How could he say that to her!?!?! It must have been so deflating for her. He said it in a nice voice, so I'm sure he didn't realize how awful it was but Romy is only 3.5 yrs old and needs to have freedom to play without being told that she's not doing it right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aug 1:
Packed up and left campsite around noon. Didn't stop until dinner - ate at a Pickfield's or something Family restaurant. It was fine - we had oatmeal again - seems to be about the only safe food for us. Yoav mostly played with his water glass - putting salt/pepper/toys in it.

Arrived in Hartford a little after 9PM - Yoav had just fallen asleep in the car and I got him upstairs to bed.

Relaxed a bit in the evening. Aunt J. got upset with me because I told the sand castle story and I commented that I don't understand why some people have children. I guess in hindsight it was a bit harsh.