Monday, February 28, 2011

Snow day late February

When it snows inside the city in Vancouver, it's a big event. A big event for the kids, that is! It snows a lot on the mountains but you need to drive up there first to enjoy it. This year, it has only snowed three or four times in the city. Each time it snowed, the snow would stick around for half a day or less. I'm not talking about the yucky snow that may linger for days. It's the nice, soft snow that covers the ground that we want to play in. When it snows, we try to get outside as soon as enough snow accumulates.

Yesterday, we woke up to snow. There was around 5 centimeters of snow on the ground. Actually, we woke up to the sound of Tristan, followed by the sound of the telephone ringing :) My sister tried to call us to see if we wanted to go out and play in the snow. The forecast was calling for rain and she wanted to leave before all the snow washed away. Luckily, we got out before the rain started.

We walked to a nearby field with sloped hills. It was perfect for tobogganing. Too bad Tristan was not interested in doing it. We're not sure if he was scared or whether he was just not interested. He's probably scared, eh? Maybe next year when he is 3, he will be more excited. Too bad. I did go down with him once but right after, he said he didn't like it. Well, at least I had fun! :)

Tobogganing in late February from Mommying Around on Vimeo.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The mysteries about toddler tantrums

Tristan may appear like an angel to many but he's like any other toddler. When he was just an infant, tantrums from him were inconceivable to us. Everyone always told us how well behaved he was and we believed it too. The only time he would scream and get seriously mad was when he was super tired. Now, he can get mad at any time. Beware!

Tristan throws tantrums a couple times a day but they will only last a few minutes or less. The bad tantrums, which last 10 minutes or more happen once every couple of days or so. The frequency increases when he is under the weather or when he is lacking sleep. For instance, on days where he naps only 30 minutes, as opposed to 1 hour, he will likely lose his temper over the smallest and silliest things. Silly to us but a huge deal to him! When we are aware of this, we become extra careful in how we deal with him. If he doesn't eat all of his food, we're not going to insist as much. We have been pretty lucky in that Tristan has had most of his tantrums at home. He typically behaves well in the presence of other people and we stay home a lot too. So far, there has only been two embarrassing incidents of tantrums in public (knock on wood!). Here are some examples of situations that have resulted in tantrums:
  • The procedure every morning is for Tristan to sit on the potty, while I clean his face, undress him and put on his shirt. One morning, he didn't want me to take off his pajamas. He wanted to keep them on and said he still wanted to sleep, but I knew he didn't. I took them off anyway and put on his shirt.
  • The other day we were walking along the highway. There was a grass area that was on an upward incline and Tristan wanted to walk up. We allowed him to do it once but after that we said it was too dangerous and we had to go home. He refused to leave and kept trying to climb up. We had to carry him off. When he refused to walk with us, we gave him the option of walking or riding in the stroller. He was still in tantrum mode so we just put him in the stroller and walked away.
  • Tristan was eating his orange for dessert. When I saw that he was throwing some on the floor, I yelled and asked if he was done. He said yes so I took it away. Then he said no and that he still wanted it so I gave it back to him. He proceeded to throw it on the floor. I then picked up the orange and carried it off. He cried, screamed, and refused to get off the highchair for 10 minutes.
Toddler tantrums are a mystery because as adults, we don't do that. We think logically and our brains are fully developed to allow us to control our tempers. It turns out that the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating emotion and controlling social behavior, the prefrontal cortex, PFC, is the last part of the brain to develop. The PFC starts to mature around the age of 4.

How do Jean-Louis and I deal with tantrums? We have learned to ignore the bad ones most of the time. If Tristan starts to get upset, we first try to talk with him and sometimes that distracts him. If that doesn't work and he is still fixated on what upsetted him, we leave him. A couple minutes later, we ask him if he is done being mad. Often, he says yes and then it's over. If he doesn't respond, we wait until he is more quiet before looking or talking to him again. We're also very firm with him. We don't want him to know that he can get his way just by throwing a fit. At the same time, we have to be careful when to allow him to make a decision and when we need to make a decision. Enforcing discipline also triggers tantrums. It's definitely not easy.

For the most part, Jean-Louis and I deal with tantrums in much the same way. He tends to be less patient than me so he likes to count to three and if the action still hasn't taken place, he will do it himself. For instance, Tristan like to press the button to start the coffee machine. If after counting to three and Tristan still hasn't come to press it, Jean-Louis will do it himself. Lately, I have been counting to three as well. I don't do this all the time though. What we do do all the time is carry out what we tell Tristan. If we make him a deal or if we say no to something, we don't change our minds. Everyone has their own way of handling tantrums and we could probably do better but so far it has been manageable. "Kids from about 18 months to 4 years are simply hardwired to misbehave." It's unavoidable, perfectly normal, and nothing we are doing wrong. Knowing this, I can't wait until Tristan is 5 :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentines is all about eating here

Over the weekend, I baked Valentine cookies for daycare. We received a list of 14 kids, including Tristan, and 5 staff members. I know this list is much larger when the kids go to school so for now I didn't mind personalizing cookies for each child and staff in Tristan's toddler room. The designs and decorating were easy. The hardest part was writing each person's name since my icing was a bit too runny. Instead of fixing the icing, I just wrote as carefully as I could with the runny icing. It turned out alright anyway.

Today is Valentine's day and pajama day at daycare. Everyone in the toddler room were in PJs, including the staff. This is Tristan's first pajama day. I dressed him normally and then changed him into his PJs when we arrived. All the kids were still wearing their shoes though. I was wondering about that. I think they cranked up the heat too because I was sweating bullets when I arrived.

I suggested to Jean-Louis to take the day off work today but it really wasn't a big deal so he decided he would just go to work. He says that "every day is Valentines here." Okay, whatever you say! I don't think we have exchanged any Valentines gifts since we got married. We acknowledge the day with a nice meal and that is about it. We're totally fine about it too :) We've done this many times before, even before Tristan existed.

After a bit of work this morning, I spent a large part of my day cooking. I took a break when Jean-Louis and I walked to daycare to pick up Tristan. We brought his Valentine's bag home and was impressed he also received lots of gifts, on top of the cards. There were candy, pencils, markers, play doh, stickers etc. I can see why kids love Valentines! It might just be the third best holiday after Christmas and Halloween :)

We love lobster! Typically, we have lobster because it's special and usually on special at the stores during Valentines :) I made it Chinese-Hawaiian style with ginger and green onions this time. Here was our Valentines menu and it was delicious :)

  • Cream of broccoli soup (leftovers we had to finish *blush*)

  • Ginger lobster
  • Stir fry shitake mushrooms, zuchinni, and pressed tofu
  • Corn
  • Served with coconut rice, ginger tea

  • Reine de Saba (French chocolate/almond cake)
  • Valentine cookies
  • Strawberries
After Tristan went to bed, I wrote this blog and then Jean-Louis and I did something we normally don't ever do. He suggested it too so I was shocked. We looked at old photographs of us together. I know! When he suggested it, I told him "that's very feminine of you." It was great but I was also super sleepy.

So there you have it! Our third Valentine's day with Tristan was good. Not just good, it was yummy :) Happy Valentines everyone!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Accepting the Stylish Blogger Award

I'm embarrassed to say that I have never heard of this award before. Harriet from See Theo Run nominated me for the award and I totally thought it was a made up game. Well, I'm a blogger after all so I will play along the best I can :)

My Google research suggests that to accept the award, I must do the following things:
  1. Thank the person who gave me the award.
  2. Share seven things about myself.
  3. Pass the awards on to bloggers I have recently discovered who I think are cool.
  4. Contact the bloggers I picked and let them know about the award.
I already thanked Harriet for the honor on her blog post so that takes care of #1.

To check off #2, the following are seven things about myself. Since I'm listing them directly on my blog, I guess I can share a bit more :) I'm not too worried. By only listing seven, I still get to keep lots of secrets! Just kidding ;)
  1. I lived as a housewife in Paris for 2 years.
  2. My first Disneyland trip was when I was 23 years old.
  3. I spent several days at an altitude of 13,796 feet.
  4. On the day Jean-Louis and I returned from our honeymoon in Corsica, he drove to the wrong airport and we had to purchase new plane tickets. I was quite furious!
  5. The longest distance I have ever walked without stopping is 54km.
  6. Tristan was conceived on a leap day, February 29, 2008. (Am I sharing too much??)
  7. I discovered an asteroid.
Here are the cool bloggers I'm listing to check off #3. Jean-Louis had to help me with the last two since I really don't read that many blogs regularly.
As for #4, I did come across a site that did not do this for the stylish blog award so I think I will pass too. So my part of the award and acceptance will stop here, unless the above bloggers read this post by accident.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What it is like to raise a multilingual toddler

I speak English and a little bit of Chinese and French. I speak mainly English with Tristan. Jean-Louis speaks French and English and speaks only English with me and only French with Tristan. Tristan is 26 months old and is learning more and more language every day. His language consists mainly of English, some French, the odd Chinese and is accompanied by baby sign.

They say only the parents understand what their child is saying when they start to speak. It's not until around age 3 that they can be understood by other people. I can understand Tristan more than Jean-Louis since I am with him more. Some times neither of us can understand him. We would be asking each other "what did he say?" When Tristan speaks, he may be speaking with a mix of languages in his short sentences. We would then wonder if he is speaking English and just pronouncing it wrong or is he speaking French and pronouncing it wrong. Some times when we don't understand, he tries to say it differently and ends up saying the same word in both English and French. Ah ha! For instance, one day I was peeling eggs in the kitchen and Tristan was on the couch saying something like Tristan eat oeuf but he didn't pronounce "oeuf" right so he kept saying it. I asked you want to eat what? When he saw my confusion and I still didn't acknowledge him with an okay, he said "egg."

In fact, we have many examples of confusion over what Tristan is trying to say. The other day when I put Tristan in his stroller, he said big boosette. I repeated big boots? He said no and then kept repeating big boosette. Then it dawned on me that he was saying big poussette, where poussette is French for stroller. There are some sentences he will say which will be composed of English, French, and Chinese. Yeah, if we're having problems some times, an outsider would have no chance!

Tristan knows his construction vehicles in French since the books are in French. He also knows some of his insects in French. I'm learning these myself! He knows some of the English equivalents too but he refers to most of them in French. For everything else, it just depends. He may say it in French one time and then the next time he will say it in English. Or he may say it in French and English at the same time. Also, Tristan now knows how to curse in English (damn it) and French (zut). Watch out!

I would like to take advantage of this language spurt by teaching Tristan more Chinese words. He's interested in learning so why not, right? Sadly, I don't speak much anymore but if he knows some words, he will be able to understand my parents more. Although Tristan speaks mainly English, I would say his understanding of both English and French is probably the same. Here are some of the phrases he would say now:
  • Today, prend le skytrain again.
  • Papa prend le bus go working.
  • Tristan cry. Tristan miss daddy.
  • Tristan prend un bain. Papa prend un douche. Tristan grand, Tristan prend un douche.
  • Mama cook. Papa do dishes.
  • Coco at home. Eat du pain. (Coco is Tristan's friend at daycare)
  • Tristan eat nouille. Coupe nouille.
  • Papa carry petit Tristan. Mama owie arm.
  • Peoples get on, peoples get off chou chou train.
  • Tristan wear veste. Tristan put on gant.
  • Hand main dirty. Mommy clean.
  • Maman, what you doing?
  • Mama happy Tristan eat all.
  • Tristan wait mama downstairs.
  • Banana muffin no caca.
  • Caca in potty, not in couche.
  • Doggie no eat Tristan.
  • When Tristan grand, drive to Mexico.
  • When Papa small, Tristan put vaseline on Papa.
  • When big, Tristan drink coffee, go work, prend le cars.
  • Carrot go home eat.
  • Tristan wear pajama to sleep.
  • Tristan wake up, Tristan play play-dough.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Papa!

For Jean-Louis' birthday on Friday, we celebrated with a special home cooked meal and invited a friend over to join us. That is as much celebrating we'll ever do for our birthday party.

Despite being all sick with a cold, it was enjoyable. Good company makes it enjoyable too :) I cooked one of Jean-Louis' favorite dishes. It's something I don't particularly like but I know he does and he has always wanted me to cook it but I was never interested. That made it the perfect surprise :) The dish was chicken pie! I used my silicone pie shell for it and it was actually a good fit. I didn't think I was going to get much filling into it but it was plenty. The pie turned out as good as chicken pie gets. I wouldn't want to eat it all the time but it was quite good. Jean-Louis liked it, our friend raved about it and Tristan picked at it. Tristan was under the weather too so he was not too interested in eating anything anyway. The pie was served with a French style spinach salad and that went very well with it. The best compliment of the night came when our friend said that "it might actually be the best pie he has ever eaten" :) Don't you just love it when people appreciate food that you make and give you great compliments? I love that our friend is so easy to please too:)

For dessert, I made sugar cookies. They weren't just any sugar cookies though, they were Star Wars themed! That alone would make a great gift for Jean-Louis since he is a big Star Wars fan :) Decorating the cookies were alright although there is a lot of room for improvement. For those who plan to decorate Star Wars sugar cookies, use the #1 tip for piping on the icing. You'll need several of those. The cookie cutters are actually quite small, which makes decorating more difficult. With all the cooking I had to do Friday, I actually ran out of time and didn't fully decorate Boba Fett. Darth Vader, Yoda, and Stormtrooper were all complete. Frankly, after doing pretty Christmas cookies, I found these Star Wars cookies kind of boring. I love colors and there was definitely a lack of them here. I do love Star Wars though and was happy the cookies turned out decent :)
Related Posts with Thumbnails