Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Video of 17 month old signing

We've been meaning to capture a signing video for awhile but either it wasn't a good time or we didn't have a video camera nearby. It would be so awesome for Tristan to look back one day and see how smart he was before he started speaking to us :)

Last night we finally took a video of him signing. It's nothing new since he has been signing since he was 9 months old. Tristan is usually hyper after his dinner and will jump on the couch and play with his toys while we clean up. If you want to capture him being a goof or doing something entertaining, that would be the time to do it. When he grabbed for the Baby Einstein color book and sat down, Jean-Louis turned on his iPhone. And here we have it! Unfortunately, the original resolution is lost since Blogger automatically resizes it down so I had to manually resize it up again :(

Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting a passport for baby under 3 years old

We just submitted our passport application for Tristan, who is now 17 months old. Hooray! Unlike France, where parents only need to acquire passports for their children once they turn 15, here in Canada, we have to get one right away. I remember my brother in-law once told me that someone even tried to get a passport for their unborn child so that everything would be ready for them to travel once they had their baby. Unfortunately, it is not possible without a passport picture.

Last Saturday, we got Tristan's passport pictures. To our surprise, finding someone to take the pictures for us was the challenge. The closest people near us that do passport pictures was Shoppers Drug Mart but they messed up once for Jean-Louis and we vowed never to go there again for passport pictures. This time we went to London Drugs first but found out that they usually only take pictures for kids 6 years and up. They explained that the flash that they use is normally too bright for babies since their flesh is still quite transparent. We had a small trial just to see how it would turn out but it was a failure. They recommended we go to a portrait studio since they have special lighting for babies. I really wanted to get them done right away so I made a few calls. Apparently, Sears does them and there is no appointment necessary. Knowing Sears, it could be a bit of a wait though. I checked out Google Maps on our phone and found two portait studios close to where we were but they didn't do passport pictures. Luckily, one of the studios I called was very helpful and suggested Foto Fun to us. It was awesome! The guy that helped us got the picture on his first attempt. It took 2 seconds. It was so painless that he decided to just charge us $12.99 instead of $19.99, which is what they normally charge for baby photos. Yeah, Foto Fun rocks! Minutes later, we had our pictures. Tristan's mouth was a bit open still and his head could be straighter. The photographer at Foto Fun said that the passport guys are much more lenient on babies under 3 years. Good enough for me! It should be fine because Tristan will likely stare at the custom officer with his mouth open anyway :)

Filling out the child application was pretty straightforward. We got our application at our nearby post office at Shoppers Drug Mart. It was two pages long and quite painless to fill out. Since I was the applicant, Jean-Louis was able to be Tristan's guarantor. I thought that was totally awesome!

Today, I went down to the Surrey Passport Office at the Gateway skytrain station to submit Tristan's application. I ended up having to make two trips since I forgot to bring his birth certificate. I still can't believe that happened. Luckily, the office was only a 20 minute skytrain trip for me. It was around 11:10AM when I arrived the second time and I was done around 11:45AM. I was pleased it went so smoothly. The only ID I had to provide, as the applicant, was my driver's license. The passport will be mailed to us as a registered mail on May 7th. I thought I would have to pick it up since that was what Jean-Louis had to do for his but maybe they changed their rules or maybe it's different for baby applications? In any case, I was happy to hear that :)

The last time I was at a passport office, I went downtown and it took hours. I remembered arriving around opening time too. For those of you in Greater Vancouver, avoid downtown if possible and just go to Surrey. It's so much faster! The building at Gateway is quite new too, I think. Phew! I am so glad that is over and done with for us :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Baby plays with iPhone & iPod touch

We are on our iPhone and iPod Touch a lot throughout the day and so naturally, the baby is trying to imitate us. He has his own iPod Touch since we own a 1st generation iPod Touch and we each have better ones now. At 16 months, he is actually getting quite good at operating it. He knows how to unlock, how to tap on apps, scroll and flip pages in all directions, and likes to type. Now, he even plays Ramp Champ (well, sort of) :) He enjoys looking at pictures of himself as well.

In the past, he would just steal our devices and press on the power button on and off for the fun of it. Somehow he would take numerous screenshots in the process and every time I plugged my device to my computer, iPhoto would open. That was annoying! Now that he knows how to unlock the device, sometimes he puts the screen in edit mode and moves applications around. He may have even deleted some but I have so many apps I wouldn't even know. Luckily, I have all my apps backed-up on iTunes :)

Word of warning: don't leave a 16 month old unsupervised with your mobile device for more than a few minutes at a time, unless you don't care:)

Speaking of apps and iPhones, this weekend we visited the Apple store at Oakridge Mall in Vancouver. Here is a photo we snapped of our little future app Developer:

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Baby loves his Karen Katz collection of books

My sister gave us the Karen Katz collection of books and our little guy loves them. We used to read the books to him when he was a newborn. The graphics are bright and colorful and the pages have easy to lift flaps (well, most are easy to lift). When he was old enough to turn the pages, we gave him one to interact with. We only gave him one because at the time, he would just rip out the flaps. He was at that stage where he just liked to tear things apart for the fun of it :) As he got older and when we felt that it was safe to do so, we gave him more Karen Katz books to read. So far, only one flap has gone missing :)

Now, at 16 months old, he has a much better understanding of what is in the books. Actually, he had a good understanding a few months ago. He would look in the "Toes, Ears, & Nose!" book and start pointing at those things on his own body. His favorite book at the moment is "What does baby say?" Why? Because he likes to imitate the cranky and sad baby! He does the cry sign with one finger. He strokes it down his eye. It's just a sign he learned less than a month ago. Lately, when he hears other babies or kids crying, he signs cry with a sad face. It's cute but also a bit disturbing since that is his favorite page in the book.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Baby loves to greet Daddy

No, Daddy is not here to pick you up. It's just Mommy :( What can I say? Tristan loves his Daddy. For the past 3 months when Tristan first started daycare, I would drop him off in the morning and then in the afternoon, I would walk there and meet Jean-Louis half way and then we would pick Tristan up together. We both love picking Tristan up, especially Jean-Louis. In fact, I caught him smiling one time when we were about 2 minutes away from the daycare. I bug him about it so it's funny :) Tristan's face just lights up when he sees his Daddy. I can't help but smile myself :)

When we arrive at the daycare, Tristan runs to Jean-Louis each time with a big huge smile and hugs him. Each time! I think I have only gotten that kind of reception a couple of times. Even when I step in the door first, Tristan looks past me and searches for Jean-Louis. We actually put this to the test a few times and I don't believe he ever went to me first. Crazy, eh? He just loves his Daddy!

It's wonderful to see the loving bond Tristan and Jean-Louis have right now. It certainly wasn't always like that. Now, we know Tristan adores Jean-Louis but how come he doesn't act all happy when I pick him up? It seems that when kids get older, they tend to favor the parent that would side with them and baby them more. We haven't even begun disciplining him so I don't think that is it. When I got thinking about it, Tristan does the same thing at home when he is home sick with me. When the key goes in the front door, he is already running to see if Daddy is home. When I stayed home with Tristan the first year, Tristan learned that Daddy goes to work during the day and then Daddy comes home in the evening. He is so used to greeting Daddy in the late afternoon.

Yesterday, Jean-Louis started to commute on his bike to work. That means he will no longer be picking Tristan up with me. Well, he could but that would mean I would have to leave Tristan at daycare longer and we would be late for dinner and everything else. I went to pick Tristan up by myself yesterday and I think he was disappointed that I was the only one walking through the door. Poor baby. He was clearly waiting for his Daddy. Sigh. Maybe in a few months, he will get used to me picking him up and give me the kind of reception he is giving his Daddy right now. I just love seeing him all smiley and happy. Or maybe I should adjust our schedule and bring back Daddy? If Tristan heard that, he would be like YEAH!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring time in Vancouver

Sometimes you forget how beautiful Vancouver is until the cherry blossoms take over the city. To me, it's the first sign of Spring. This year, Spring pretty much arrived the beginning of February. It was unusually warm this winter and a bit embarrassing for the city since we were hosting the 2010 Winter Olympics. Vancouver had to haul in snow from hundreds of miles away and then the standing area for spectators was closed on Cypress because it was too dangerous to stand on. Now, that the Olympics are over, I want the rest of the snow to melt so that we can clear the mountains and plan for some hiking trips :)

It's getting warmer and lighter outside each day. Right now the temperature is hovering around a high of 9C. To me, that is still fairly cold so I still dress myself and Tristan in winter coats. I have cold urticaria and I break out in hives quite easily. Tristan already gets sick a lot and I don't want him to be cold. Ok, I know I'm also paranoid.

I love the side streets where all the trees blossom. It's so pretty. Once they blossom, they don't stay lovely very long before the rain and wind washes them on the ground. On our walk to and from daycare every day, we pass by some of these cherry blossom filled streets. We point at the trees and sign flower to Tristan. We take lots of pictures because we always have a camera with us now, thanks to the iPhone :) With a bit of sunshine or overcast skies, Spring time in Vancouver is stunning!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

What a 500 day old baby boy looks like :)

500 days old sounds way cooler than 16 months old. In the early afternoon, Jean-Louis accidentally checked in on an iPhone app we bought a long time ago when we were trying to countdown all of our important dates and discovered that Tristan was going to turn 500 days in 2 hours. Talk about nice accident and he caught it just before he turned 500 days too. I spent the rest of the day thinking how cool that was. If I knew sooner, I would have made a party out of it :) Happy 500th-day birthday little Tristan!

Babies don't hold grudges

A couple of evenings ago, on my way upstairs to go shower, I heard Jean-Louis curse and yell at Tristan in the bathroom. He was bathing Tristan. Like any toddler, Tristan likes to stand up, splash water, pull out the plug in the bathtub etc. and that makes it challenging to clean him properly. Jean-Louis didn't have a lot of patience that night and because Tristan wouldn't cooperate during the bath, he was mad. When I came back downstairs from my shower to fetch the milk for Tristan, I entered the office only to find a grumpy looking Daddy just sitting on the floor with Tristan. Tristan had drool all over his mouth and chin and a big runny nose. However Tristan was happily playing on the floor by himself. Following our nightly routine, I set Tristan up for his milk and Jean-Louis went to shower. I signed to Tristan that Daddy was going to shower (or more like bathe) and Tristan and I waved good-bye to him. For the first time, Daddy did not wave or say good-bye back. He just glared at us and then closed the door. Ooookay.

This whole event got me thinking how great it is that babies don't hold grudges against us. Tristan gets yelled at a lot and he sometimes struggles with us when we try to change or dress him. Sometimes he will even cry out of frustration. But unlike adults, he forgets and forgives quickly. One minute he may cry and if presented with the right stimuli, the next minute he could be giggling and hugging us. It's incredible really. I think we can all learn a bit more from babies.

Why do we act mad at people? So that they will feel guilty and say sorry? A 16 month old will not do that. So they will learn what makes you unhappy and behave better next time? Again, I don't think a 16 month old will do that. I have learned that no matter how frustrated and mad I may get from taking care of Tristan, I just can't be mad or act mad at him. It doesn't benefit everyone. I just try to brush it aside and move on. Sometimes it is very difficult though! Depending on the situation, I may try to explain to him that I am sad and that it would make me happy if he would act differently. He may not understand it but if I keep saying it, maybe he will learn one day. I also feel better because I tried to do something about it.

Jean-Louis has a harder time than me handling Tristan because he doesn't have as much patience. He gets mad when Tristan doesn't listen to him. This is beginning to happen more and more often now too. When he watches Tristan while I cook, he wants to just sit down and tweet, while Tristan plays in front of him. Unfortunately, watching Tristan means running after him a lot. If you are lucky, you do get to sit and relax for maybe five minutes. He gets annoyed every time Tristan starts to climb the stairs because he will have to go get Tristan and bring him back to the living room. Then Jean-Louis tries to explain no to Tristan and tells him the stairs are dangerous. What happens next? Tristan keeps climbing the stairs and Jean-Louis keeps going after him. I then tell Jean-Louis that Tristan is playing "catch me if you can" so just play with him.

Tristan is a toddler and he won't stay still so don't expect him to. I point out to Jean-Louis that he is actually using the same tactic to get Tristan to do something as Tristan is using when he wants something from us. What does he do when Tristan doesn't listen? He says it again louder and then repeatedly louder. It just doesn't work. How should we deal with disciplining Tristan and getting him to listen more? We don't really know. We have a book on this subject so maybe it's time to start reading it. But having said all that, Tristan does listen a lot too and we think he behaves quite well most of the time. I guess expecting him to always listen is unrealistic of us too.

Baby loves yogurt, no he doesn't, but yes he does

Let me tell you something about babies. They always change their minds about what they like to eat. One day they can't get enough of something and then the next, they don't want anything to do with it. Or the other way around where they are not interested in the food and then decide oh yeah, I like this!

If we let the baby try a new food, we introduce it over and over, even though he doesn't want to eat it. Depending on his reaction, we may try again the following week. Our rule is that he has to try it first before rejecting it, otherwise we won't really know if he likes it or not. As it turns out, even if they accept it, that doesn't mean they will want to eat it again the next time. If they reject it, that may just mean that they are not in the mood for it at the moment. It's so confusing sometimes!

Plain yogurt was one of Tristan's first foods and he absolutely loved it. It was right up there with bread and cheese as one of his favorites. We fed him a lot of yogurt and for awhile it was actually a daily or every other day treat. A month or so ago, he decided he didn't like yogurt. He would spit it out every time it was in his mouth. Daycare was even surprised because he never does that. We buy different brands all the time and he liked them all. After he rejected it for a few days, I tried switching up the brand but I still got the same reaction. It was so weird. It's as though waking up one day and claiming, I don't like ice cream - yuck! Imagine adults doing that.

A week ago, we decided to try the yogurt again. It has been awhile so we figured why not? We know that sometimes when we bring back old food that he didn't like much, he would be all over it. I call it the novelty effect :) We gave him some Olympic Krema plain yogurt and at first he sort of spat it out. Seconds later, he wanted more. Success! It has been a week now and yes, yogurt is back on the diet :)

Actually, it's not just yogurt. He will sometimes eat lots of something and then decide he doesn't like it anymore, only to rediscover he actually does like it another week. This happened with cauliflower, potatos, strawberries, and blueberries. All the moms reading this are probably nodding their heads in agreement. Most little toddlers are like this, right? I wonder when they grow out of it.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mommy and Daddy go on a date day

We did it once and got away with it so why not do it again? What is the devious act I'm talking about? Going on a date while Tristan is enjoying daycare - that's what! Last time, we went and saw Avatar 3D and I spend the afternoon preparing hot pot for Jean-Louis' birthday dinner. Today, we did a movie and lunch :)

Jean-Louis took a vacation day off work so that he could have a 4 day long weekend, since tomorrow is Good Friday. To celebrate the early weekend, we went and saw "How to Train Your Dragon" in 2D. 2D because it was free with our General Mills cereal coupon! We bought two boxes of Cheerios for Tristan and got two movie tickets inside for us. The cereal was just $3.99 each. The general admission ticket was $11.75. I can't help but brag since I just love deals like this :)

The movie was good. It had a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and Jean-Louis is a huge animation fanatic. I think we were just one of two adult parties there besides a classroom of Kindergarten children. When the pack of kids walked in, we were like CRAP but it turns out they were very well behaved audience members. They were a bit chatty and noisy before the show started but we didn't even know they were there while the film played. When Tristan is older, I think he will like the show. It is such a little boy kind of movie. Now that I think about it, it was ironic that I chose to wear my dragon necklace today. I wasn't even aware of what I was doing :)

After the movie, we drove to Mirch Masala and had lunch. They had excellent reviews on dinehere.ca and we both felt like Indian food. It's not something Tristan can eat so this was the perfect chance to have some without him. We hear that the best Indian food in Greater Vancouver is in North Surrey. It's like little India in the Scott Road area. We already tried Mahek two years ago, when I was still pregnant and that was very good. Mirch Masala was delicious and definitely a place I would recommend. Prices are reasonable and we even have food for tomorrow. They have a good selection on their menu but since we were there before 3PM, we wanted to take advantage of their lunch specials. We ordered lamb korma and butter chicken lunch plates. I also ordered the mutter paneer since a lot of people raved about that and extra naan bread. All the dishes were fantastic. Their naan bread was perfect. They looked great; there were barely any oil on it. Our waiter must have forgotten to ask us how spicy we wanted our food but when he brought them to us, nothing was spicy at all. There was just a hint of spice, I guess. If anything, everything could have used a bit more spice. Sometimes, it's annoying when they just assume that we don't eat very spicy food just because Jean-Louis is a "white" guy. Sadly, it's mostly true for him though.
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