Sunday, May 30, 2010

How we are preparing for a long flight with our toddler

I have read articles about traveling with small children. I have spoken to many other moms on Twitter who have traveled with their kids. There is plenty we can do to make our long 20 hour journey more pleasurable with our 18 month old. First, I think we just need to be very organized and plan things well. That's my department so like most of my projects, I research and make sure I have enough time to figure and plan everything out.

There are a few tips I am following from the article "Fly and cry: Babies divide air travelers." Specifically, I'm going to do the following:
  • Because of the change in cabin pressure, I'm going to make sure Tristan's water bottle is nearby so that I can let him drink when we take off or when we make our initial descent. In fact, we're going to offer him water constantly because the air is dry and he'll be thirsty.
  • We're not going to drug Tristan. I know a lot of people do but I don't feel good about it at all. I can understand how some parents would be tempted though. Maybe if we remember, we will ask our doctor about it on Tuesday to see what she thinks and what she can recommend that would be safe.
  • We're bringing along familiar toys and books from home, and we'll be taking shifts walking around the plane with him every so often. We'll do this even if he doesn't cry.
  • We're bringing along new toys he has never seen before. I will wrap a few of them so that he can enjoy opening them.
  • We'll both have our iPod and iPhones and all of Tristan's favorite music will be on it.
  • We will try our best to quiet Tristan when he is too loud or is crying. As the article points out, "if other people see you trying, even if you're not succeeding, they will feel at least you're ... doing your best to stop it. And they'll have some sympathy for you."
  • We have lots of snacks! Some are old favorites and others are fairly new. We have tested all the new snacks on him already but have only given them once or twice so he may not even remember. I may even wrap a box and put some snacks inside just for fun :)
  • In case of emergency, we'll have backup outfits for everyone. And of course, we will all be dressed comfortably and for Tristan it will be clothes we can remove easily.
Since we're not purchasing a separate seat for Tristan and he sits with us, he won't be receiving a meal. I'm going to pack him a couple of meals and he can eat some of our food as well. I'm still trying to figure out what the best food should be though. I'm going to ask if the airline will let us borrow their fridge. If not, we will feed Tristan earlier and then give him lots of snacks like bread and fruit. We're allowed to bring as much milk as we need as well but the problem is we may need quite a bit and I'm worried that it may go bad if we can't borrow a fridge. Freezing milk and his meal has crossed my mind but I'm still not sure. I'm definitely going to make him cream cheese and salmon sandwiches since I know he loves that and he can eat that at room temperature. Once I contact the airline with all my food questions, I'll have a better idea of what to do.

The airline we are flying with, Air Transat, has a Kids Club parents can join to register their kids. If you register, you get a traveling bag for your child that includes activity books, games, colorful headphones etc. Fill in the information online and they will mail you your welcome kit. However, the club is for 2-11 year olds so I don't think Tristan will qualify for it :( I think he is old enough to enjoy some of those things so I may ask about this too. It seems like they may also give out the bags at the check-in counter.

Once we leave the house for our trip, our entire routine will go out the window. Well, I hope not everything so I'm going to program multiple alarms on my iPod. With our iPhone and iPod Touch, we will be able to view the times in both Paris and Vancouver at the same time. In fact, we can add as many different cities as we would like so we can see the time differences. Based on Vancouver time, I'm going to program meal, nap, and diaper times for Tristan. This way I won't have to worry about that at all :)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tristan is finally talking (sort of)!

At 18 months, Tristan can finally refer to each of us by "mama" or "dada" or "papa." He points to us and he calls us quite often :) Last month, when we were at our Mother's day brunch on Grouse, Jean-Louis mentioned that when I left my seat to get more food, Tristan was calling "mama" after me. I still thought it was random back then since he was never consistent enough to show that he really understood what "mama" was.

I have heard of other babies who started talking earlier than Tristan and the Babycenter newsletters I receive gives me the impression that Tristan is a little late at talking compared to many other babies. I have also heard of late talkers, including Albert Einstein who didn't speak until he was 3 years old. I was never too worried about when Tristan was going to talk because we sign with him and I knew he would be a bit late since we speak two, sometimes three languages to him. Right now, as far as I can tell, he can only say a few words in English. I am not paying attention to the French side and Jean-Louis can't recall any time Tristan spoke French with him. That makes sense since I speak to Tristan mostly in English and so does daycare.

Here is what he can say with full comprehension (however, the pronunciation is not perfect):
  • mama
  • dada (or papa)
  • hi
  • bye
  • ball
  • squirrel
  • over there
  • done

At the moment, these words are questionable:
  • fish
  • downstairs
  • door
  • what's that?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Countdown is 7 days until we fly to France

In exactly one week, the three of us will be boarding a plane and flying to France to visit family. The entire journey, which also includes a train ride, is going to take roughly 20 hours. Now, let's see. The longest journey Tristan has ever been on was to Victoria by car and ferry in 2 1/2 hours. Victoria trips are all family trips too. So here is the thing, we only travel because we have to in order to see family.

I have been reading a few articles lately about traveling with a small child and some of the articles made me nervous with sweat. In Fly and cry: Babies divide air travelers, some people disapprove of small children being on planes at all. If a child is unpleasant, it will be an unpleasant experience for everyone around them. People pay a lot of money to fly and on long flights like ours, it can be a complete nightmare. I don't blame them really. I was sort of one of those people. I used to silently curse whenever I saw babies go onboard a long flight with us. There are also others who are more understanding and are okay when a child screams and cries every so often. On our flight, we can expect to find people from both sides. I just hope we don't end up sitting close to one of those "baby haters" on the plane :( You know, those people that will yell at you whenever your baby fusses too much. I'm scared of them!

"You may be tired at the end of the trip, it may not be a great flight for you, but that's your job as a parent." Yes, I know. The article says that parents need to do everything possible to keep their child from disturbing others. We will have to walk Tristan a lot since he won't be sleeping until about 8 or 9 hours after we board. I can't really sleep on planes anyway so it's not a big deal. However, I do get super super tired by the time I arrive at my destination and jet lag usually hits me pretty hard. I'm so thankful Jean-Louis and I will be able to take shifts and share the parenting!

Another article that made me sweat was "Parents who shouldn't be allowed on planes." That article had a mean-tone to it. I had no idea someone could get kicked off the plane for their child's misbehavior. It was wrong of the airline to do that and they admitted it but it still happened. Luckily, we don't fit any of the descriptions they provided for parents who should not be allowed on planes. That's not to say Tristan will be an angel for the entire flight and we won't have to do much. There is a good chance he will act up because we will be taking him out of his comfort zone. Also, at 18 months, he is starting to show many signs of toddlerhood like throwing himself on the floor when we object to letting him have something. So oh yeah, we'll definitely have challenges on that flight. Will he scream and cry for an hour straight? I pray he doesn't. He has never done it before but we're going to pretty much brace ourselves for anything.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My first impression of Little Nest

Today, we visited Little Nest for lunch. I read about it from yoyomama and after visting Little Nest's website, I wanted to check it out for myself. Actually, our main goal today was to go to Granville Island to buy some maple syrup candied salmon but we had to feed Tristan lunch first. Since we were out anyway, I thought we could take this opportunity to try one of the parenting friendly restaurants in Vancouver. We invited my sister and her family along too. Her kids are 3 and 5 years old.

When we first walked inside, it was unclear whether or not we could seat ourselves or if we had to check in first. We ended up lining up to check in after what seemed like 10 minutes. It was a holiday Monday and very busy. I looked around and noticed a lot of parents with infants and children. Yes, I was definitely in the right place :) The restaurant itself was very casual looking. Near the back of the restaurant I saw many highchairs, all a little different in design. Some of the tables didn't match either, nor did the chairs. I walked with Tristan over to where there was a play area. He looked around but wasn't interested in playing at first. A lot of the toys I noticed were "older" toys so Jean-Louis or I would definitely have to supervise while he was there playing. The longer we waited for our table, the more babies and kids showed up. It was actually quite chaotic.

We were told it was a good idea to order before we got a table so we did. Everything on the menu sounded quite healthy and are all reasonably priced. I love how they use local, fresh, and organic products! We ordered a cafe latte, hot chocolate, roasted beets salad, and kids ham and cheese sandwich. We paid just under $20 for everything. When we finally got our table, we had to wait a long time for our meal. There was a lot of people and the service just couldn't keep up. I actually had a feeling it was going to be busy and wanted to make a reservation but they don't take any :(

At the prices we paid, I thought the food was good. They offer brown sugar at the table for your coffee, which I thought was cool. I'm so used to seeing white sugar all the time I wasn't sure what it was at first :) The kids ham and cheese sandwich for Tristan was only $3.50 and it came with a few slices of apple. He ate about half of it and we ate the rest. I thought it was quite tasty. Maybe a little too tasty for him with all the butter on it. The dishes we ordered were all great but I noticed that some of the bread was a little on the burnt side for the sandwiches my sister and family ordered. Again, I think the service just couldn't keep up with the demand today. Overall, Jean-Louis and I both give the restaurant a thumbs up :) We will have to go back to try the other things on their menu, but at a less insane time of the week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Habits are easy to adopt but hard to break

What am I talking about? What we view as bad habits and dependencies seem easy to acquire but are so hard to break. As you know, for the past few weeks we have been standing in Tristan's room until he pretty much falls asleep. We didn't think it was so bad since we didn't have to do anything but just stand there by the door. Sometimes we found ourselves standing for 20 minutes though. We thought it was going to be temporary but it's been going long enough that we feel he is developing a new dependency over it. We actually weren't going to do anything about it because we're going away soon and everything is going to be messed up anyway. After talking about it some more we decided we should since there still is a couple more weeks before we leave. This is so bad. We are usually very cautious about these things. It's completely our fault for allowing it to happen for this long. Now, to break the dependency we have to go back to some sleep training. Sadly, yes :( Tonight was the first night.

Some of you who may not be familiar with our sleep patterns in the past may wonder what is so terrible about just standing in the room. I mean we all sleep through the night still and get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Plus, when Tristan wakes up at night, he puts himself to sleep almost right away. It seems like just getting Tristan to sleep initially is the only problem, which is sort of strange. Am I annoying you yet? ;) As far as I know, he sleeps fine at daycare so nothing has changed there. It's worst there too because they all cry it out in the same room, whether you like it or not. Okay, so here is why we see it as a problem. It takes longer for Tristan to fall asleep because he is paranoid and checks on us every so often to make sure one of us is still there. We can't just go up, put him down, and walk away immediately, which is what we have been doing pretty much for the past year. I agree this is not a big dependency but compared to what we were used to it feels like it is and it could lead to something worst in the long term.

Still not convinced why we feel a need to solve this problem? Like I said earlier, we're very cautious people. We are also very strict. We were careful not to let Tristan suck on the pacifier too much and although we did depend on it for awhile, he just stopped using it without anyone noticing. We didn't have to wean him from it. We encourage him to play on his own and as a result, he doesn't constantly cling to us and want us to hold him all the time. He can also play happily on his own in the playpen. We allowed and helped him to eat on his own at an early age so now that is what he wants to do. We had him sleep in his crib since day 1 but we did let him sleep with us for an hour here and there when it got so frustrating in the first month or when he was sick. When we did sleep with him we felt tremendous guilt and was so scared that a bad habit was going to form. We don't have a TV and we won't allow him to watch it at daycare either until he is at least 2 years old. Same with sweets. He can't have cakes, cookies, candy etc. until his second birthday. The sweetest things he eats is fruit and vegetables. We will likely let him try cake at his next birthday but he will only have a thin sliver. When he tries chocolate for the first time, it will likely be dark chocolate with at least 72% cocoa. He doesn't drink anything but water and milk. Do you get the picture yet? We're very strict and independent ourselves.

So word of warning for those who have sleep trained their babies, don't cave into anything for too long and be consistent all the time. A few weeks of disturbance like this and we're back to sleep training.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tristan is 18 months old

At 18 months, Tristan is doing awesome. He is a normal size baby. I used to think he was a bit on the small size but he must have had a growth spurt because he looks normal compared to the other kids at daycare now. He still eats well, although it is getting harder and harder to feed him plain steamed vegetables. He is definitely picker with his food and is really starting to eat exactly what we eat now. He eats well with a soup and fork. He feeds himself dishes that are as thick as yogurt and he doesn't make a big mess. Anything less viscous gets quite messy. His face and tray is always messy but we haven't had to pick as much food off of the floor lately.

Once again, it seems as though he is in between clothing sizes again. Some clothes go from 12-18mo, 18-24mo, or just 18mo and Tristan is wearing all of those. I think I may be in some kind of denial about his growth because I still dress him in a few things that are 6-12mo. I keep telling myself one more time before he grows out of it but after the one time, I still won't pack it away. Now, I'm just waiting for the weather to change so I can really pack it away :) In a way, it is sort of sad because it's the much smaller clothes that are really cute and he is starting to wear big boy clothes now :( Diaper size 3 still fits well and it's a good thing too because we still have plenty! At 18 months, this is starting to mark the end of counting months. 24 months is next and then I will only be buying clothes for 2 years and up :( Today he is exactly 1 1/2 years old! See, I'm already counting in years! Oh my.

Sleep is still going well. He naps for around 45 minutes around noon and then sleeps at 9PM. Lately, he tends to freak out if he is alone so we stand in the room until he falls asleep. He wakes up at around 7AM. If anything, he is sleeping more now than he used to. Must be a growth spurt!

He can sort of say a few words but it's unclear if he understands them. He says "mama" and I think he mostly understands what that is. He says "dada" and "papa" too. He can say "bye" and "hi" or at least that is what it sounds like. He also tries to mimic us when we speak but he can't pronounce properly. You can definitely see he is trying. Somehow in trying to make sense of all his baby talk, we missed his first word. To us, he really isn't speaking with full comprehension of any word so we sort of don't count any. However, he has been repeatedly saying words like dada and mama for awhile. He makes the "uh-oh" sound a lot too and he is using it in the correct way. For instance, when something drops on the floor. He uses a lot of body language and facial expressions too when he is trying to tell us something. Most of the time we just look at him blankly. We still sign to each other and he is picking up new signs faster now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Child Care Provider Appreciation Day

May is known as "Child Care Month" and May 20, 2010 is "Child Care Provider Appreciation Day." According to the province of BC, we should recognize our child care providers on this day. I can see why May is the child care month since it's also the month of Mother's Day (May 9, 2010) and some also celebrate National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day (May 7, 2010). I was a bit confused because for 11 years now we have been acknowledging National Provider Appreciation Day in Canada as well. To me, they seem the same. The two child care provider appreciation days this month are May 7th (the Friday before Mother's Day) and May 20th. I haven't dug into this much but maybe in BC, we only celebrate it once and that's on May 20th? Anyway, since I'm in BC and I obviously missed May 7th, I will recognize my child care providers tomorrow, May 20th.

What do you give the daycare staff to show that you appreciate them? Well, we're giving them a card, colored and prepared by Tristan and myself, and giving them home-baked goodies! The card is a printable colorable one I found online from Fisher Price. It's titled "Buzzing with appreciation," which is perfect! As for the baked goods, I chose to bake honey and chocolate Madeleines. I made them many times before and everyone loves them. Plus, we have all the ingredients at home so I don't even have to go out to shop. I just hope that they don't think that I'm THAT kind of mom. I don't mean to suck up, especially because I know they already love Tristan :) I just have more spare time than the other parents.

So from Jean-Louis, Tristan and I, thank you to all the staff at daycare for taking such great care of our little Tristan! He is one happy little boy :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

What daycare has given baby and me

Tristan has been in daycare full time for 4 1/2 months now. In that time, I have learned and done many things. The 2-3 months were quite bad because either he was sick, I was sick or Jean-Louis was sick. In fact, we were averaging about 5 missed days of daycare every month due to sickness. Those missed days do not count the weekends, many of which Tristan was also sick. Sick or not, I still got to relax and catch up on much needed sleep. Prior to daycare, I was home alone with Tristan for 13 months. We barely went out and we had pretty much no social interaction at all. I was tired and a bit insane. Now, everything has changed.

Daycare has brought social interaction and play into Tristan's life. He is learning how to share and wait for attention. He paints, does craft, and receives lots of exercise. He is well liked at daycare and that makes us very proud. I also like to think that he is building some kind of immunity from being sick all the time from their germ-infested environment :) The most important thing is that he is happy and having fun. Farewell boredom at home!

For myself, I have been able to concentrate on work a bit more. I have increased my contracting hours a bit but I mostly work for myself creating iPhone applications. When I'm not working, I do fun things such as tweeting, blogging, assembling baby books, and organizing personal photo libraries and home videos. I also do not-so-fun things such as cleaning. I spend more time cooking too but I love to cook :)

In the past month or so, I have also been taking better care of my health. Actually, that was one of my initial goals when daycare started. I have reduced my sugar intake and am now running about three times a week. It's crazy to think that I used to eat chocolate, cake, or cookies every day for almost a year! But I kind of needed it back then :( In addition to running now, I bring Tristan to and from daycare during the day and that adds around 40 minutes of walking. I shouldn't really count that but compared to the past year, that bit of exercise is actually making a difference. As a result of my new found time since daycare, I feel physically stronger, am not tired anymore, less stressed, happier, and in control again. Thank you daycare!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Lil' guy dancing to Indian music

Tristan went from play cooking to dancing with his pots and pans when his favorite song from the Devdas soundtrack started to play. After he fell over, he cried so that was a good point to trim the video :)

Contraction Tracker USA is the result of patent infringement

As some of you may know, my husband and I build iPhone apps. Our first app in the iTunes store was the Contraction Tracker. Its one year anniversary in iTunes is actually coming up :) Recently, we released a version of the Contraction Tracker for the USA that is exactly the same as the original version, minus one feature. What I'm about to talk about is actually a common problem. If you are an iPhone Developer or any software Developer, you may benefit from hearing about our experience.

In the Fall of last year, we were contacted by someone who owned a patent for an alert system to be used in timing labor contractions. We have been discussing his patent and how it relates to our Contraction Tracker for something like 7 months. When he was finally clear at what exactly our application was infringing on, we decided to remove it so that we could both move on. This is the first time we have ever been in this position. We had no idea we would run into patent issues building something so simple such as a contraction timing application.

A guy that I contract for is recently applying for a US patent so I have been talking with him about some of these matters. Apparently, lawyers tell companies never to do patent searches. The reason is if you find a patent that you cannot avoid with technical workarounds, then you are stuck. You can't go ahead because that would then be willful infringement, which carries even more damages. You also can't license the patent for a reasonable price, because the other party knows they have you over a barrel. The very fact that you bothered to ask for a license gives away the fact that you do not have a technical workaround for the patent. If you never do a patent search, then by definition any infringement is not willful, so you are not liable to treble damages. These were his words and I am still very new at all this. The problem seems to be the patent system.

We removed the alert feature from our original Contraction Tracker and released the app as a separate new app just for the US store. We did this because there was no simple way of updating the app for one country. By releasing a new app, everyone who had already purchased the app in the US would not be affected. We also get to continue selling the original app everywhere else in the world. The alert feature is a minor feature but a nice one to have. It is actually disabled by default and from what I hear, a lot of people may not even know about it. It definitely does not define our app and removing this feature from all future sales in the US store should not affect things so much. Or will it?

Contraction Tracker USA has been out for a week and sales have dropped dramatically. The main reason we think is because we lost all of our previous ratings and reviews. We have a note saying that this is not a new app and if users click through to our website, they will be able to see a screenshot of the ratings and reviews before we submitted the US version. Again, this is the same app, minus a minor feature. What do we do now? Well, we just have to wait until more people purchase our app and submit new ratings and reviews.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day brunch on Grouse Mountain

Last year, we couldn't get in but this year I made sure to book us a month in advance. We go to Grouse Mountain fairly often but never to the Observatory, their fining dining restaurant. Their Mother's Day brunch is very popular and sells out every year. We also have never taken Tristan up the mountain yet so we were very excited!

Yesterday, we went and had an enjoyable day. Our brunch booking was for 11:30AM. The food was good but just good I think. I definitely had better brunches for much less the cost. However, if you factor in the price of a skyride ticket alone ($39.99/person), the meal really didn't cost much :) In terms of food, the Grouse brunch pales in comparison to our Father's Day brunch at the Laurel Point Inn in Victoria. Nevertheless, they had a good selection of dishes and lots that Tristan could eat so that was awesome!

It's funny the kids selection included what seemed like just junk food: chicken strips and fries, macaroni and cheese, and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. I think we gave Tristan some of the sandwich and chicken strip to try at the end of his meal but he was already full from all the other stuff. His meal consisted of mostly eggs, omelette, bread, pieces of chicken, and some pasta. Then we gave him fruit. Boy, did he make a mess! Now that I think about it, we probably shouldn't have unleashed him to eat on his own so much at a fine dining restaurant :)

After the brunch, we toured around on the top. We visited the bears and then just walked and sat around taking pictures and videos. For some reason, I thought we could do more but the top was mostly covered in snow still. The weather was perfect. It wasn't too cold at all and was sun and clouds the entire time. Would we brunch again on Grouse? Yeah, I think so :) The view of Vancouver was spectacular!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

17 month old is one cool toddler on his new Strider bike

Today, we bought Tristan his first bike. He's just 17 months old but the Strider running bikes are for toddlers 1-5 years old. Once a baby can walk, they can ride the Strider. I'm not so sure about that but ok. I can't believe it's his first bike. As first time parents and since he's our only child, I feel like we're totally spoiling him. I have never owned a bike in my life! His dad loves biking, maybe even more than running so I think it's great :)

Only minutes after we put him on the bike, he fell over and hit his chin on the handle. Oops! Now he has a bruise and tomorrow is Mother's Day and we're suppose to be taking lots of pictures. Terrific :( Anyhow, it was so cool to see him on his orange Strider but I can see that he still needs to grow a little bit taller to fit on it well. His feet barely touch the floor. It may be okay with his running shoes on though.

Seeing Tristan on the Strider makes me realize how big he is now. My baby is a big little boy! About to ride a bike, for crying out loud! How did he grow so fast?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A small reflection on motherhood just in time for Mother's day

Since I have a mommy blog and "mommying around" is a huge part of my life, I follow mostly mommies and daddies on Twitter. This past week, I noticed a lot of people blogging about being a mom and the question has been thrown around about how you know you are a mom. For me, I know that I am a mom when thought's about my baby constitute 95% of my day, every day. Nearly everything I do, think about doing, or want to do has to take Tristan into consideration. This is exactly why people say that once you have a baby, life changes forever!

Once upon a time, I wanted at least 3 children and all before I turned 30. Yeah, I was young and nuts apparently :) Once upon a time, I also thought I would grow old with my husband, just the two of us and enjoy life. Neither of those became reality and boy am I glad! Having Tristan and being a mother was a dream come true. The pregnancy, the experience caring for a newborn, a baby, and now a toddler, all feels like a huge accomplishment. In fact, I feel like mother is such an important title and so prestigious that it may even belong on a resume. No, I wouldn't put it but I'm just saying :) I know the world agrees with me about how important and great moms are though because there is a day in our calendar set aside to honor all moms. In Canada, Mother's day 2010 is this Sunday, May 9th. For all you celebrating Mother's day now, Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Part time daycare begins in June

Hooray! Today was a good day. We got the news that Tristan will be able to go from full time daycare to part time daycare. That is what we wanted all along but since full time was available in January, I had to take it so that he would get in. Tristan will remain in the infant room for the month of June but will then move into the toddler room in July.

I am so pleased about June because we actually go away so it's perfect. A mom of one of the boys in the infant room just had another baby at the end of April. When they told me their mom wanted him at daycare full time now, I offered the swap. Their boy is in there 3 days a week and that was exactly what I wanted. Yay!

Although I still get to spend lots of time with Tristan every day even when he goes to daycare now, I feel bad not spending more. The past few months has been great and relaxing for me but honestly, I didn't need that much of a break. I don't do enough contract work to justify having him there full time right now. I know that may change down the road but I figure I can work smarter rather than longer :) What I made from my work never covered the month's daycare bill. Sad, I know :( Now, that he will be in daycare 3 days a week we will only be paying $798 every month instead of $1143. I can still do the same amount of work I already do so we will indeed be saving money. I am so relieved because June will be a terrible month for us. Not only are we traveling but we have big strata levies to pay. Ugh, I hate big bills!

In July, Tristan will be going into the toddler room, along with most of the other babies. They are all about the same age and during the summer, there is a big migration of kids at the daycare. The daycare only supports kids up to 5 years old so all of those kids will leave and everybody shifts up. I was told about 50 kids were getting moved between July and August. Basically, if I wanted full time, part time 2 days, or part time 3 days, I would likely get it right away. My preference was 3 days a weeks so that's what I got. That also means that any chance of me trying to find a full time job goes out the window. I'm okay with that as long as I can work on more contracts and get more iPhone app work out there. The future is still a big unknown for me.

Baby's 1st year iPhoto books

I love taking pictures. I always have. Now, that I have a baby, I take a lot of pictures. I was actually taking pictures daily until the baby was about 10 months old. Since then, I take pictures about every week. When it came time to putting together a baby book, it was a huge task. I only wanted to do the baby's first year book but I had 1603 good pictures flagged for that. It turns out that iPhoto books can only include 100 pages max so we were in a bit of trouble. It took me hours at night over days and weeks to put Tristan's first year photo book together. I ended up trimming it down to three books: Volume 1, 2, and 3. That's 300 pages and exactly 960 pictures inside. Phew!

When it came time to order them, I was a bit hesitant. I wanted to get two of each, one copy for us and one for my parents-in-law. Then I realized how much they would cost. Each book would cost over $100 so 6 books would be something like $650 with the taxes and shipping costs. I looked into other options such as and but they are expensive too and I trust the quality of iPhoto since we have ordered from them in the past. I just wished Apple would have more printing specials :( So since we were not in a hurry to get our copy, we decided to just order one of each. If we ordered them together we would only save around $18 worth of shipping but considering how much we were already paying, we weren't interested in the savings. By ordering just a copy of each, we were actually able to translate the books into French so that was nice. The three books, 11x8.5 inches hardcover came to a whopping $351.54. Yikes!

A week after ordering, the books all arrived today at the same time in separate packing. Apple really should get a cart system working so that we can include multiple print purchases in the same shipment. It would avoid the separate shipping costs too. Come on Apple!

The books are nice. I wouldn't have expected anything less. Some of the pictures look a bit dim but I suppose it's not fair to compare them to what I see on my bright iMac. I think my parents-in-law are going to love them! Now, that the first year book is done, I have to do the "after" first year books. Oh boy! Time to procrastinate again :)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Just the beginning of toddlerhood

Tristan is your typical active toddler. The only time you can expect to see him fairly still is when he is drinking milk or when he sleeps. When he first started daycare in January, I remembered one of the staff there saying that when the babies start to push the highchair around the room, that is a sign that they are ready to leave the Infant room and go into the Toddler room. I thought that was strange because Tristan was already pushing the highchair at home way before he started daycare.

He has been in the infant room for four months now and I am actually quite anxious for him to leave soon. I think after about 2 months, when he was 15 months old, he must have been pretty bored. The infant room is very small and if the kids don't go outside, I can see how it could be very boring for them to be there all day. I think the main entertainment is the staff and other babies. The toddler room is so much more exciting and once they go into that program, the staff puts them on the potty right away. That is something I'm looking forward to :)

Tristan loves to imitate what people do. Big people and small people. Tristan likes to do what we do and copy us, which is nothing new. Apparently, he does this at daycare too. One of the boys at daycare and Tristan imitate each other. One of them would throw their hands in the air and the other would too. Then they would both laugh. Something like that. Also, one of the girls likes to hug and kiss Tristan. When I first saw her do it, I was a bit uncomfortable. Tristan just stood still the first time but then started to push her away and run away when she tried it again, the second time and the third time. The little girl had a runny nose and she was trying to kiss him on the mouth. I actually took kleenex out of my pocket to wipe his mouth afterwards. Then, when I went to pick him up that same day, I saw the little girl do it again and this time Tristan did it back. Oh my goodness! Tristan is making out with the little blond girl from daycare! At just 17 months? Anyway, when they tried to hug and kiss each other, they ending up knocking each other over. I went to catch them but the little girl hit herself on my knee a bit and cried. Yup. That was a quick end to that make-out session. I wonder how often this goes on at daycare. Or maybe I don't want to know. What kind of surprises me is that the staff don't intervene at all. Should we be encouraging this sort of behavior towards strangers? I don't know.

Our once sweet baby is showing signs of throwing tantrums such as stomping his feet and crying when we don't let him have something. Sometimes he rolls on the floor and has a fit too. We ignore him for the most part. I think we're getting a preview of what people call the "terrible twos." It doesn't happen a lot but we would prefer not to see it at all :)

For the past week or so, he has been picky with his food. I hear this is a toddler phase as well. He wasn't sick or anything else so we can only conclude that he was just picky. We fed him how we had always fed him but some times he would refuse to even try the food. This is all stuff that he has eaten and loved before like broccoli, carrots, peas, noodles, and even some fruit. Actually, there was a day where he basically only wanted to eat cereal, fruit, and milk. What did we do? Well, we just kept trying and if he wouldn't eat, we would just skip that course and move onto fruit. We didn't give him any more fruit than we would normally give him because we didn't want him full on just fruit. We figured once he was hungry, he would want to eat. We packed him the same food again to daycare and he refused to eat it there too. It's the first time he has ever refused to eat his main dish at daycare. They were somewhat shocked too. Anyhow, this went on for 2 days and then he decided to eat again. And then he decided not to. It seemed like almost every other day he would eat a bit more of the main dish. That was Friday.

On the weekend, Tristan ate everything we offered him. Not a lot but he ate some of everything, which was good enough for us. I think new food and alternating between two main dishes helped. Things were even better today. Tonight, I made French veal stew with green olives, mushrooms, onions and served it with rice. It has been awhile since I made that. Tristan ate so much we thought he was starving. His daycare report said that he ate most of his food too. He must have really liked the dish and he is probably still hungry too from not eating too much last week. I don't know if we have our old Tristan back yet but we'll give it a week before introducing plain steamed vegetables to him again. If this week goes well, maybe we'll steam a little something green next week or at the end of this week.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sudden sleep changes at night

For the past week, it has been a bit more difficult to get Tristan to sleep at night. He still sleeps around 9PM every night and sleeps through the night. The problem is that he relies on us more in putting him to sleep now. In the past, Jean-Louis would take him upstairs and put him down and leave right away. Tristan doesn't fuss at all and if he doesn't sleep right away, he will minutes after. It really has been more or less that easy for us since he was sleep trained at 6 months old. Lately, when Jean-Louis steps away to leave, he freaks out. Jean-Louis has to come back and stay for him to calm down and lie back down. He doesn't pick Tristan up, he just stands at the end of the crib. That is enough to make Tristan happy.

Tonight, it was my turn to put Tristan down and watch him sleep. Yeah, we take turns now too. We want Tristan to get used to us both putting him down at night. We have both learned quickly in the past week that Tristan will not cry at all if we just put him down and stand nearby for a few minutes until he is super sleepy or asleep. It's a bit of a dependency but it's not too demanding on us and it sure beats him crying hysterically. I have forgotten how much his crying bothered me :(

When I put him down earlier tonight, I slowly walked away just to see what would happen. He sat up and started to protest so I stopped and turned back. He then laid back down and tried to sleep. After a few minutes, I tried again and got to the door and out of view. There was no response for a few minutes but when I was about to leave, he whined a bit so I walked a bit closer. He then tried to sleep again. I made another attempt to leave and he actually stood up and tried to peak around the corner to find me so I made myself visible. He didn't fuss at all. He just wanted to know that I was still there. He laid himself back down right away and tried to sleep. Then I started to hear him breathe. There was actually the sound of him breathing and I took that as a sign that he was finally asleep. I was right :)

I was in the room with him for 7-8 minutes. He didn't cry at all but I had to be there. He's obviously scared if I'm not. One night, Jean-Louis stood in the room for around 15 minutes. Another night, it was just 1-2 minutes for me. It all depends on how tired he is too.
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