Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prepping daycare lunches

At daycare, finger foods are the way to go. The babies are less willing or less tolerant of strangers feeding them mushy food for lunch. If they end up eating mushy food with their hands, it gets very, very messy. We tried this once and they had to striped him down to his diaper after he was finished. Luckily, daycare is used to messes and don't mind cleaning up after wards.

Babies are picky eaters. This makes it even more important to give them variety and new foods all the time. As adults, we may be fine eating the exact same meal for days but not babies! It's not easy to come up with creative finger foods all the time and preparing them also takes time. I'm not tied down to a full time job right now so I can spare the time to think about his meals and prepare them. I'm not sure how long I can keep this up but I'm trying to enjoy it while it lasts.

Our little Tristan eats pretty much everything. He knows what he likes though. Bread and cheese are a couple of his favorites. Jean-Louis thinks it's because he is French - yeah, right! Which baby doesn't like bread and cheese? We want Tristan to get used to a healthy balanced diet. If I can make it, I do. He's never had a jarred baby food yet. If we serve him bread, it can only be whole wheat. If we give him cheese, it has to be a mild cheese that has low sodium. We have always been careful not to give him anything that is very salty or sweet. The only sweets he gets is from fresh fruits. Chocolate, cake, candy and all that will have to wait until he is at least 2 years old. Yeah, we are pretty strict but so far, he seems to be eating everything. This week he has been eating lots of broccoli, cauliflower, tofu, salmon, chicken, and noodles. I actually feel a little bad for him since his past few lunches and dinner were more or less a mix of those same things. That's the problem with making too much of one thing. We usually do introduce something new on top of old food though.

Today's lunch for daycare is different. Well, sort of since I did use some of the leftover veggies. What can I say - I hate to waste food :) I made him an egg scramble of cauliflower, broccoli, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. I added no salt since cheddar cheese is quite salty. For his fruit, I packed him chunks of rambutan, white nectarine, and steamed apple. I also packed 1 slice of lightly toasted whole wheat bread, just in case he rejects the egg scramble. I would share a picture of this had I taken one but some times there is just no time. So as not to disappoint my readers, there are pictures of food below!

I want to share a few pictures of lunches I took from a week or so ago. The main dish is usually the tricky one to come up with. The fruit dish is fairly simple but needs to change every day or two. I usually pack him a variety of at least two different fruit, all sliced up. If I pack a sweet fruit, then I try to keep the other choice of fruit fairly sweet too, else he may just chuck it if it's too sour in comparison. Sweet grapes and ripe banana go well. Sweet and sour oranges and almost ripe kiwi go well. You get the idea :)

Here is one of the lunches I prepared for him at daycare:
  • Main dish: Finger wraps of broccoli, chicken breast, and mozzarella cheese
  • Fruit: Banana, persimmon
  • Other: Baby honey Mandarin orange

Some days they get fancier than other days but the following is more like a typical day's lunch:
  • Main dish: Udon noodles, carrots, broccoli, tofu
  • Fruit: Kiwi, orange

Tristan is a great eater. He wasn't always but right now he is. The daycare staff is amazed at how much he eats too because he is not a very big baby. My parents are always calling him skinny when they see him. When we bring him home, most of the time, there is no food to be brought back. But there are days where he just won't eat there. We usually feed him some of the what he will have for lunch the next day at dinner time. He may eat it but then refuse the same food at daycare. Babies can be like that!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Baby sign is a must-teach for all parents

Our baby loves to sign to us. He can't stop doing it and I'm thinking when he starts to talk, there will be no stopping him either :) When I stroll him to daycare, he will sign things that he sees. He points at the bus first and then he signs train. Yeah, I can see how the different kinds of vehicles can be hard to distinguish for babies. We'll walk a bit further and then he sees a small boy coming towards us and he'll sign baby. Instead of cradling and rocking, he puts his hands together and rocks. You can see this in the first photo here to the left. He sees the baby in the book so he signs baby :) He loves to sign baby! We arrive at daycare and babies are everywhere so he signs baby all the time.

At home, when he hears water noises outside or on the stereo, he signs rain. We're in Vancouver so most of the time it is rain but some times it's a plane or thunder noises on the stereo. When we read a book with drawings of wolves in it, he will sign dog. There are definitely some confusions but most of the time he is correct when he signs. We just love that he is signing and learning so much! He understands way more than he can sign. Right now, his only way of communicating with us is through sign language. We're still waiting for his first word!

These signs he had already been doing from the last post on baby signing:
  • more (also used for "I want it")
  • milk
  • ball
  • clean
  • bed (sleep is harder so he signs bed when he is tired)
Here are some of the new ones since then:
  • baby
  • train
  • dog
  • fish
  • bird
  • rain
  • hat
  • down, downstairs
  • eat, food
  • book
  • cooking
  • bath
He is learning these and have used them a couple of times:
  • danger
  • hurt
  • banana
  • hug
  • music
  • outside
  • light
  • cold
  • toothbrush
He can also identify these body parts on his body when we ask where they are:
  • nose
  • mouth
  • ear
  • feet
  • hand
  • head
  • (sometimes eye)
The following is a list of ones we're teaching him but he hasn't sign any back yet. Some of them we have been doing since we started, when he was just 6 months old.
  • Mommy, Daddy
  • Grandma, Grandpa
  • friend
  • diaper
  • dirty
  • water
  • drinking
  • home
  • hear
  • see
  • all done
  • hot
  • car
  • monkey
  • bear
  • tiger
  • horse
  • cat
  • tree
  • wait
  • quiet
  • come here
  • up
  • sun
  • snow
  • work
  • toy
  • hooray
  • playing
  • red, blue, yellow, green, orange, white
  • apple
  • girl, boy
  • kiss
  • walking
  • spider
  • dancing
  • bread
  • sit
  • thank you
  • potty
Finally, to end this post, I would like to share a small video of Tristan signing taken a week ago. I would have preferred to place this video above but moving it seems a little hard right now in blogger so I'll just leave it at the bottom. In this video clip, Jean-Louis asks him what is outside, he looks, sees the bird, then signs it. Jean-Louis only speaks French to Tristan so if you don't understand, you will have to take my word for it :) Tristan is bilingual though and can sign bird in English too. Just thought I'd add that :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Baby is sick after 2 weeks of daycare

Actually, he was a little off late last week and then on Saturday, his nose started to run. I kept him home from daycare yesterday and today. It looks like I may do the same tomorrow too :( He won't be going anywhere until his nose stops running at least. When I first told daycare about his runny nose, they mentioned that it might be his teething. I'm not sure I ever heard of that but he has a nasty cough too so he has definitely got a cold. He's warm but no fever.

It's great to actually spend some more time with Tristan at home. I missed taking care of him when he was in daycare. It's good and it's bad too. I'm getting absolutely nothing done again and I'm starting to yell more because of the lack of baby-proofing we have here. Also with all of our close contact, it's not surprising I'm starting to feel under the weather. My throat started to hurt today. Man, I sure hope the early arrival of Spring will halt all the colds going around. Jean-Louis is also sick. He actually never fully recovered from his last cold and now he has gotten worst.

This is another cold so the seasonal flu shot we got was useless. I'm getting sick once a month it seems so next year, I think we're just going to skip the seasonal flu shot. It was our first and will be our last!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Jacadi Vancouver - a look inside

When we heard Jacadi opened in Vancouver last year, we were so excited. Jacadi was one of my favorite baby clothing stores in France. Sometimes it is hard to find cute boy clothes but everything Jacadi had was super adorable. It was one of the first stores I discovered in Paris with super cute boy clothes. The style is very European-like and carry soft innocent tones. They are a high end clothing line so if you can afford to splurge a little on your little one, then you would love this store too! Tristan already has a few Jacadi items because his grandparents from France likes to send him gifts all the time :)

We finally got a chance to visit the Jacadi store in Vancouver today. It's located just off of 41st on Dunbar. It's the only Jacadi store in the West Coast of Canada. Apparently, they do take orders over the phone and have done so for customers in Calgary. Every time I searched for the store in Vancouver, I couldn't find much information on it besides their directory listing. Now, that I have visited the store firsthand, I wanted to blog about it and show others pictures of the inside. The store itself is very small. In fact, I think it could be bigger because they have a bit more merchandise than what the store can display. Compared to Jacadi stores in France, this one looked a little cluttered. The store has a fitting room but no change room or bathroom. That's not surprising due to its size.

When I first stepped inside, I felt like I was in Paris again. I was in cuteness heaven and I wanted to take my time and enjoy it :) Then the sales lady tells me that pretty much everything is on sale and that was when I quickly started to look and began doing some serious shopping! Clothing with the pink dots on them are 30% off, light blue dots are 40% off, and dark blue dots are 50% off. Hooray! Actually, this is the same Jacadi sale as the one going on in France right now. We spent at least an hour in the store but we made good progress in that time :) One of our friends, who lived in the neighborhood met us at the store so after wards, we all went for coffee and dessert. Yes, our Saturday afternoon was fabulous :)

Friday, January 15, 2010

End of the 1st full week of daycare

This week was a big week for Tristan. His first full day of daycare was just last Friday. Starting Monday of this week, he had been in daycare for around 6 hours each day. He is definitely getting used to it. Apparently, each day he seems to cling to a different staff member too. I was told they were all getting turns :)

As the days go by, he seems to cry less and less when I leave. Yesterday, he cried for just seconds. I was still putting on my coat when he stopped crying. Today, he only gave me a sad face. It's the first time he didn't cry at all when I left! He also wanted one of the staff to pick him up this morning. It's great to see he is definitely getting used to the people there :) When we pick him up, he doesn't whine much anymore either. Two days ago, he actually flashed us a big smile for the first time when he saw us! We are loving the progress :)

Tristan is making sleep progress too. Apparently, it doesn't take him long to fall asleep in the crib room anymore. However, the past two days, he only napped 15 minutes each time. Yeah, he sometimes does that at home too. As a result, we have to put him down to nap just before dinner time. He still goes to bed at 9PM.

This morning, I found out that the new girl went home sick soon after she was dropped off. Many of us know that daycare is home to all sorts of germs and it's just a matter of time before the baby falls ill. I remember one of the staff telling me that by the time they reach kindergarten, they will have a strong immunity and won't get sick much. Kindergarten! That's like 4 years away! So, the new girl took two weeks to become sick and I'm wondering when it will be Tristan's turn. I can't help but think he is already a bit off. He spit up for the first time in a long time last night when we got home. Then he did it again at night after his milk, and then again this morning after breakfast. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Or maybe I jinxed us by stocking up on baby Tylenol yesterday?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Daycare is a big transition for baby and me

This week, Tristan is going to daycare full time, although I am thinking about having him stay home on Friday with me. I'm hoping I can get myself to work enough so that I can take Friday off and be with him. He has been away from me so much already but he is making such great progress at daycare that I'm afraid of ruining it if I let him go less often. I do miss him though. Jean-Louis bugs me about it but it's obvious I would miss him since we basically spent 24 hours together for the past year. It's a big change for both of us. I'm also worried that daycare is not signing to him enough and he won't learn new signs from them. What he does learn from daycare is how to interact socially with other kids and that is something we can't teach him here. He is definitely at that age where he is interested in other kids and can get bored easily doing the same thing at home by himself or with me all the time. So far daycare is working out quite well for him.

As for myself, I am still adjusting to my new life. I didn't think it would take this long. I have proven over and over again in the past that I could self motivate myself so I'm sure it's just a matter of time before that happens again. Right? Seems kind of hard now. We have never been apart for this long before and it feels so strange. I definitely appreciate having some time off but it's almost too much time off. I have tons of things to do. I am tackling my to-do list one by one but I'm taking my time doing it. Somehow I feel like I am wasting time because I am not rushed anymore to do anything so therefore I get less done in the day. It's not to say that I enjoyed being rushed all the time in the past. I guess I just feel guilty taking my time and accomplishing less when poor Tristan is at daycare.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bad hair day

I've been meaning to put this photo up for quite awhile but I keep forgetting. We bought the bad hair day bodysuit from Gymboree and was waiting for Tristan to have a bad hair day so that he could wear it. Silly, I know but it just seemed appropriate :)

Tristan has so few hair on his head that most days are perfect hair days. He has never had a haircut. On the rare bad hair days, it's just a matter of wetting your fingers a little and stroking his hair into perfection!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Daycare: Week #1

On Thursday, we left Tristan at daycare for around 4 1/2 hours. He was calm lying on one of the staff's lap when I arrived to pick him up. At least he wasn't crying for a change. I was told that he had a preference for one of the staff there and had been clinging to her the whole time. She would only pick him up if he stopped crying and after a few times, he understood. He cried on and off that day and fell asleep on the comfy cozy area early that day for 40 minutes. It's good that he actually slept this time even though it was not in the crib room. He didn't eat any of his main food and only ate some fruit and baby cookies. He didn't even drink all of his milk. He was pretty much starving when we got home that day. I fed him a bunch of different things when we got home and he had no problem eating them.

On Friday, Tristan had a much better day. We left him there all day for the first time and Jean-Louis and I both went to pick him up. I expected another bad day since he was screaming, crying, and kicking when I left him that morning. That was partly my fault though since I lingered around way too long talking to one of the staff members about his food and sleep. I packed him yummy food because I wanted him to eat well. I made salmon and cream cheese sandwich bites for him so it's not surprising he ate everything! He also ate all of his fruit and all of his pasta. He drank all of his milk too. The staff there told us that he played more and would wonder around and look outside a lot. He apparently likes to help with laundry since he did it both Thursday and Friday. They even made him laugh playing peekaboo :) If that wasn't good enough, they finally got him to sleep in the crib room at the scheduled nap time with all the other babies. He slept around 35 minutes. What an excellent report! Yes, Thursday seemed horrible but Friday sounded great. What an amazing difference.

It's been three days now since he has been at daycare without us and we're already seeing the impact of it at home. He is definitely going through separation anxiety with me. When I am out of sight, he flips out. He never used to do that. I guess he is scared that I may not come back since I am the one that leaves him at daycare. It's definitely hard to see. When he is really distressed, like when he is tired, he doesn't even want to be with Jean-Louis. When I left the room to go shower last night, he reacted the exact same way when I left him at daycare: stomping his feet in terror and crying. Jean-Louis said it didn't last long though.

Other changes since introducing daycare:
  • His bedtime is now moved down to 8:30 or 8:45PM, instead of 9PM
  • We now bathe him every day, instead of every other day
  • His dinner is now given 30 minutes or 1 hour earlier than usual
  • We change his clothes every day now
  • He signs baby all the time (because there are so many babies at daycare!)
  • He snacks more on puffs, and cookies (only the baby ones that we provide)
  • He waves goodbye now

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Baby cried at daycare

It's no surprise, Tristan cried at daycare the first time I left him. Apparently, him and the other new girl was setting each other off today when they cried. I imagine it was a tough day for everyone there. I think I took it pretty well on his first day without me but I did constantly think about how he was doing. For the two hours I got to spend at home alone, I was very busy cooking, cleaning, and having lunch. I was hoping to get other things done too but time was up.

Shortly after we arrived at daycare today, there were about three babies crying. Tristan was perfectly content playing and then he had this scared look on his face. Minutes after the crying fest started, he came towards me and started to fuss. Babies crying sure does scare him. It was just a big crying day. When I left him, he cried. When I was on the phone with one of the staff, I heard him cry in the background. When I arrived to pick him up, he was fussing and crying while clinging onto one of the staff's leg. The staff lady was on the phone and Tristan just clung onto her leg. He does that to me quite a bit at home too. When I asked, one of the staff said that he cried on and off while I was gone. So sounds to me he wasn't quite as easy as they expected.

Overall, Tristan had a tough day so I have been feeding him more of his favorite foods like bread and cheese. He eats his main food too, which is good. I am amazed at how much he is eating now. Either he is making up for the lack of food when he was sick the past two weeks or he is going through a growth spurt. I'm allowing myself to baby him a bit more too because of daycare. Of course, Jean-Louis doesn't think I should.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Transitioning into daycare

This month, Tristan starts daycare. It has been two weeks since we did our gradual entry week so yesterday, I decided to do another gradual entry day. It went alright but he was a bit fussier than usual. We stayed for 2 1/2 hours. Today, we did another gradual entry day but this time we tried a nap after lunch. It was a fail so we left after that :( We stayed 3 hours.

We didn't want to suddenly drop Tristan off all day long and scare him. I'm lucky to be in the position where I am not working full time right now and I can spend my time transitioning him into daycare. Tomorrow, I will actually leave him there without me for a few hours and see how it goes. If all goes well, the day after that, I'll leave him there even longer and hopefully by Friday, we will be able to leave him there almost a full day. A full day right now would probably be from 10AM to 4PM.

Tristan and another girl are the two new babies starting daycare this month. The new girl's mom was there yesterday just like I was. Today, the new girl was left alone so it was a tough time for her. I couldn't help but observe her while I was there. She cried on and off the whole time. Her eyes were constantly red and the staff had to take turns carrying her pretty much the whole time too. Tristan will probably be like that when I leave him for the first time. I kind of hope not though. Some of the staff there thinks Tristan will be easy but I just don't know about that. The new girl at least was able to fall asleep during nap time today. Tristan was the only one having trouble so we had to take him out. I did hear that the new girl had been up since 5:30AM though.

Today when we arrived, the kids were doing crafts so Tristan joined in. He has never drawn with paper and crayons or paint. He didn't show much interest and actually fussed since he was confined to the highchair. I think that will take some getting used to. He doesn't know what to do really and ended up getting most of the paint on his fingers. He was more fascinated with the paint on his fingers than painting on the paper.

Nap time didn't go so well at all. I'm used to the crying-it-out method but Tristan is probably scared since he doesn't know where he is. Today, I also think he wasn't quite that tired yet. The problem is, if enough of the kids are tired, they all have to go down together. If he doesn't take the 12:30PM nap, he has to wait for the 3:30PM. All the kids are placed in the same room, each with their own crib. The sound machine is on playing wave sounds while they sleep. They all go down crying (in most cases) and eventually drift off to sleep. As they wake up, they are taken out one by one. I imagine that is pretty much standard for the infant room daycare. All the babies crying in their cribs must have scared Tristan today, which could explain why he couldn't sleep. He didn't show any signs of tiredness so it may have been too early too. I have a feeling he won't be able to take naps at daycare this week. Maybe they will need to save his nap time for 3:30PM when he is super tired. The problem is he normally sleeps just 20 minutes and that won't be enough. One of the staff members suggest I bring him something familiar like a cuddly. He's not attached to any of his stuff toys so I guess I will bring him a pillow. He likes the pillow and the purpose of it is simply to bring a familiar smell to the room. I'm crossing my fingers it will help soothe him.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year 2010! Happy New Decade.

2009 was a good year because all three of us are still here safe and healthy. Tristan is thriving and like Jean-Louis puts it, his comprehension of the world is exploding right now. It's so exciting to see!

2009 was a bad year because we lost two family members on Jean-Louis' side. However, we did gain one on his side as well. Also, I may still have great health but I did catch a cold many times this year, including during our anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve, and now my birthday. I'm tired of being sick as a stay-at-home mom. When Tristan starts daycare next week, I will only catch more sickness and that totally scares me. How can I possibly become sick more than I already do?

Today, is the first day of 2010 and therefore also my birthday. To mark the occasion, I made us a nice French meal and Jean-Louis bought me a chestnut cake. That is about as much as we celebrate these days. The nice thing is that in the past it used to be just the two of us and now it is the three of us. I love it :)

It's not just a new year, it's a new decade. One year seems to go by fairly quickly when you think about it but 10 years - now that's a long time! 10 years ago, I already met Jean-Louis. I was an undergraduate student working towards my degree in Physics and Astronomy. I said I would not become a stay-at-home wife and mom and that I was looking for stay-at-home man. Jean-Louis knew that but it turns out I am way better at being the stay-at-home parent :)

What we are looking forward to in 2010
  • Tristan finally talking
  • Having Tristan potty trained
  • Running and racing with Tristan in the jogging stroller
  • Our trip to France in the Spring to see family
  • Decorating for Christmas
Happy New Year!
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