Saturday, September 15, 2012

Manners, Manners

It has been a while since I have mentioned anything about Amelia's development. Mostly, I've been griping about work and failed weekend getaways. Never fear, Amelia is healthy and happy and well.... a talker. We saw early signs that this was going to be her strength, but it still amazes me daily that she can say so much and speak so clearly. I'm not sure that I can claim much responsibility for this. I have always talked to Amelia a lot and never really did much baby talk with her even when she was an infant. However, it often seems like my reading to her is infrequent and that she watches entirely too much TV since I work from home. The only thing that saves me from feeling guilty about the amount of TV she views is that she has probably gained a fair amount of vocabulary from it.

And, I doubt she learned the phrase "Oh, shit" from the TV. I will take the blame for that one.

In any case, her most notable speech development recently has been learning manner words. I have tried hard to model this from the beginning. My parents and family are big on manners. I rarely recall getting away with asking for something at home without saying "please". If I forgot to use that word, I either didn't get what I wanted or I got the evil eye and quickly rephrased my request. While I found it terribly annoying as a teen, it is certainly something that I'm grateful for as an adult, particularly when I am speaking with students (or parents) that are lacking in the manners department.

We started first with Amelia saying please when she asked for something. This started out as "PEEEESSSEEE?????", then went to signing please when she refused to say the word. This sign is supposed to be rubbing the middle of your chest in a circular motion. Usually she looks like she is rubbing both of her nipples, which I find to be fairly hilarious. We went on for a few months with her saying only this phrase, but me continuing to tell her to say thank you, you're welcome, I'm sorry, and excuse me.

I should note here that this sometimes gets me some odd looks. Amelia is rather petite, so although she will be two in November, she is still wearing mostly 18 month clothing. And, I think that people have this perception that if a child can't say something, then you shouldn't ask them to. I think they forget, though, that one day she will say those words because I've been telling her for months to do just that.

And now she is. Although not always correctly placed.

This became apparent last week when I sneezed and Amelia quickly said "Sorry, Mommy!" This was particularly funny because Amelia has had an increase in some mildly aggressive behavior-- towards me only-- since my husband started working a different shift. I have a variety of ways that I handle this, but my approach always includes telling her to say "I'm sorry"-- which she never does because she doesn't really understand those words yet. But since I view it as planting the seed to grow good manners and respect, I keep telling her to say it. And she is. When I sneeze. And also when she runs into the dog. But never to me when she hits me.

It's a work in progress.

Another phrase that we've been working on is "thank you". Growing up as an only child, I have heard the false belief that I must be spoiled, and therefore do not appreciate what I have. I'm sure people have realized from some of my posts that this is not the case, and it is of course important to me that Amelia be grateful as well. And she seems to be, as evidenced by her saying "thank-you-you're-welcome" when I hand her a cup of milk.

Finally, we have the words 'excuse me', which she says as "excuse you" because that's what I've been telling her. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to tell her "Say excuse me" instead, just as I have with all of the other phrases, but it does make me laugh when I sneeze and she says "EXCUUUUUSSEE YOU!!".

We are still working on 'bless you'. Parenthood. Always something to improve upon :)
Learning good manners is exhausting



Sunday, September 9, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

The last time I posted, I mentioned that I was getting the hell out of here. While I continue to LOVE my job, I am discovering that the first few weeks of school are insanity. Last week I worked about six to eight hours more than I had to (no, I don't get overtime) and had the persistent feeling that I was drowning. Add to that a husband that has just changed shifts at work, leaving me feeling like I'm a single mom with a grumpy, unavailable roommate, and let's just say that things in our house have been stressful. Even Amelia seems to be impacted, as she has been starting some minor aggressive behavior-- towards Mommy only. Good. Times.

So clearly, life has been challenging lately. I know we will get past it and things will improve. My initial coping mechanism was to escape, so as I said, Amelia and I went on a little getaway a couple weeks ago. We went to a local waterpark/hotel with my friend, Anna, and her daughter, Bela. Amelia adores Bela, and will often follow in her footsteps (for better or worse-- let's just hope Bela doesn't rob a liquor store some day. I guarantee Amelia would be her co-conspirator.) I thought that if Bela enjoyed the water areas, Amelia surely would to.

Nope.

Amelia spent most of the time either sitting in my lap in the shallow end, uninterested in playing with any water toys, crying, or sitting next to Anna on the ledge of the pool. Much like an old lady. It was still fun in that we were able to spend time with good friends, but I wish that Amelia had enjoyed the main reason that we were there rather than having to work up courage to get within feet of the water.
Our lovely ladies, ready to head back home.

Last weekend, we packed up and attempted camping a second time. While it was fun overall and less anxiety producing for Amelia, the campground that we chose did not have nice boundaries like the first time we went camping. This led to a lot of me telling Amelia "No, don't go over there. No, don't get close to the road. Come back here, I can't see you when you are over there." Top that with some rain our first day, which made the majority of our site muddy (did I mention that we also have a large dog to watch and minimize the muddiness of?), and it just was not the grand picture of relaxation that I had painted in my head. As a result, we headed home after two days rather than staying the full three days that we had reserved.

Morning cartoons, camping style.


Molly enjoyed the camper-- please note that is MY bed, she was supposed to be sleeping on the lower section.


My little buckeye fan exploring a playground near the park.

This is not to say that I didn't enjoy the last two weekends, but I definitely have gained an appreciation for relaxing at home, where there are DVR'd cartoons for Amelia and boundaries that she is already familiar with. With working from home, I often think I need to physically get away to diffuse some stress, but clearly there are times where I am more at ease within the confines of our country home.

With that said, I have to say that this has been a nice weekend so far. We have enjoyed spending a lot of time at a local art festival, I made some treats for my husband's police department, and was able to make a nice dinner for him last night before his twelve hour shift. Apparently, all of this down time is making Amelia rather sleepy.
Zonked out at the art festival.

Here's hoping that all of my readers are having an equally relaxing weekend :)

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