Week 140 of motherhood with a two year eight month old and five month old:
- May 21: The week began with another EarlyON session! It was the baby’s fifth month birthday celebration and I had reserved a TGTG bag in Aurora from a bakery I had been meaning to try. Thus, I also found an EarlyON location for us to attend while we were there.
- The EarlyON location was called “Sensory Sensations” and focused on messy play and sensory play. We arrived right at 1:30pm. I stayed with the older girl there while DH took the little one with him to the local library for him to do some work.
- I was surprised that this EarlyON location didn’t require us to take off our shoes upon entering. I actually would have appreciated it because it would have been cleaner inside and especially later when we sat on the carpet for circle time.
- One of the two facilitators came over to chat with me as the toddler chose a giant bead toy to play. I appreciated her telling me about how EarlyON began and that it used to be called “early years”. They have programs on parenting topics like how to deal with tantrums as well. Other than that RSV we likely picked up from an EarlyON session in April, I have only good things to say about this free government-funded program. It’s so great for the infants and toddlers to see new environments, play with or alongside other children, and parents to see other parents and kids too. I can imagine how isolating it must be for stay-at-home parents. She told me their toys are aligned with the kindergarten curriculum as well. That was certainly one of the first things I noticed about EarlyON centres is that all of their toys are quality — open-ended or wooden or Montessori-aligned. So, so great.
- I was actually underwhelmed with the selection of sensory activities they had at this location. There was a sensory bin with pebbles, rocks, acorns, and plastic animals. There was some paint squeezed into a Ziplock bag for the child to push the paint around or draw letters with. There was some orange slime on a tray I found, which turned out to be the biggest draw for the toddler; she’s never played with it. Even then, she was hesitant to touch it. It looked all slimy and wet, and it was! I handed her some of the tools to press into the slime to make patterns with.
- But other than that, there was no water play or sand box to round out further aspects of what a sensory play focused centre could be. Maybe my expectations are too high 😅.
- We also read a book and the toddler initiated wanting to wash her hands, so we washed them at the kid-height sinks. Now that we survived the bout of RSV and cold, we make sure to wash our hands even more frequently at this high touch-point places.
- The centre was only open for 1.5 hours, and it zoomed by. There weren’t as many kids here at this location as compared to the Markham or Richmond Hill ones.
- We missed a bit of circle time because the toddler wanted her diaper changed. The facilitator also didn’t sing that many songs, disappointingly. She blew some bubbles for the kids to play with, but the toddler was more comfortable in my lap than standing up and going after the bubbles.
- The toddler also thought this EarlyON class was lackluster because when I asked her what she played with that day, she recalled the previous day’s EarlyON class instead. She said blueberries, which was what she made in the Creative Chefs class. There was nothing really outstanding for her.
- After this, DH picked us up and we headed to the Aurora Community Centre for him to finish his work day. (Before that though, I nursed the baby in the car.) We were so thankful to find yet another space with tables and chairs (and free wifi) for us to chill and hang out in. The toddler enjoyed her convenience snacks. We went to watch an ice skating class at the arena where skaters were practising spins and twirls. This was new to the toddler.
- I nursed the toddler one more time before we left to pick up the TGTG surprise bags 😄.
- On the Saturday, we visited the Richmond Green Library for the first time for a Stories, Rhymes, and Songs in Mandarin EarlyON class. This was a great well-planned 45 minutes of songs, rhymes, and storytelling in Mandarin. The toddler watched and paid rapt attention to her favourite songs like “Good morning train”, “If you’re happy and you know it”, and “Old MacDonald” being sung in Mandarin. It was our first time hearing those in Mandarin as well. The facilitators did such a great job at the interactive Big Hungry Caterpillar book too.
- I don’t understand why a parent didn’t think it was wrong for her daughter to go right up to the facilitators when they were telling the story and blocking everyone else in the room from seeing it. She looked so oblivious and like her daughter belonged there while everyone else sat nicely in a circle. The facilitator had to be the one to tell her to take her child away. And even then, it was too late. The girl kept thinking that was her place to sit and kept resuming her spot and blocking everyone else from seeing the book. So much entitlement!
- They did a parachute blanket activity with the kids too at the end. It was the toddler’s first time experiencing that.
- They gave out an apple to each family to round out the session (and a keychain too with the EarlyON logo, but I politely declined. We don’t need these free clutter items in our home).
- Also shockingly, the baby was alert and paid rapt attention to the stories and songs in Mandarin as well!! She was so attentive and watched the facilitators talk and sing. This girl is going to grow up to be quite involved and engaged in activities, it seems.
- I nursed the baby in one of the armchairs in the library (my nursing location photos keeps on building 😄) before we left. I’ve been using the car seat cover which doubles as a nursing cover and it works so well. I am so glad I didn’t set out to buy an actual nursing cover from marketplace. 😄 Less clutter, reuse what I already have, save money.
- We successfully took the toddler and baby out for brunch for the first time. Yay! I expected the baby to pass out from all the storytelling and songs, but she was wide awake and liked to look at the bright lights in the restaurant lol. The toddler ate fine and didn’t want to sit in the high chair; she sat with DH in/near his lap instead. We did have to pull out the baby from the car seat and hold her during the last 10 minutes or so because she was fussy, but that was about it. A good meal out with the entire family 😄👌.
- Whenever we go to the grocery store and I’m there too, the toddler always requests me to push her in the cart and opposed to DH. Not sure why. She also flashes the biggest smile when I push her too.
- Grandma mentioned that when DH and I left the car to pickup a TGTG bag, the baby heard us close the car doors and was waiting for us to get her. (We didn’t because it was a quick pickup.) But it is cool that the baby is smart enough to recognize the sounds and knows that usually we get her after we close the car doors. Smart baby?
- I usually fall asleep with the baby when I side lie with her. It’s meant me drinking less water during the night and less screen/me time. So as comfortable as it is to just feed her in bed, it’s making me lazy and affecting my bowel movements and taking away my me time. 😂 Starting to nurse her more again in the armchair so I can blog more (like now) and post my backlogged IG photos.
- The toddler is specific about who can help her or what things can be done. Otherwise, she throws a fit and is upset.
- So I can’t believe we are already at the five-month mark with the baby. One more month before she can try solids! Since she is five months now, we retrieved the high chair that the toddler used previously and let the baby sit in it for the first time. She is sturdy now and her neck is strong, so she can sit in it. She looked bewildered when we put her in and she actually lasted a good while in it. So great for us to enjoy a dinner without having to hold or tend to the baby. The toddler was cute and wanted to sit next to her sister at the table. Haha, so cute.
- I put the table in too and the baby lasted even longer in the chair when there were toys on the table. Her grasp of objects isn’t very good; not as good as the toddler’s was at this age.
- When on the jungle gym play mat, the baby loves looking at the monkey toy and grabbing it if she can. She’s able to scoot down a lot too. She has started to stomp her legs on the ground really loudly too; practising her lower back and legs.
- The baby continues to sleep well during the day. She really is a chill baby still.
- We were the only participants in the virtual EarlyON circle time at 9am on the Friday. 🤣 That’s the first time it’s happened. The toddler enjoyed a one-on-one virtual class basically. The facilitators were sooo sweet and gentle and kind with her.
- May 24: The baby had her first 6-hour stretch of sleep ever!!! 😮😮😮😄😄😄🥳 She slept from 3 to 9am in the crib!!! So amazing and proud of her 😄. (She nursed at 10ish, 10:55, 11:45 [for that final nightly nightcap], then 3am.) I guess she’s growing older and my milk is mature enough to sustain her for longer stretches too. Hurrah! She has been having shorter stretches of nursing sessions as well (2 to 10 mins).
- The baby sits with us at the kitchen table now for meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). She sits and watches us eat until she gets agitated and we take her out.
- On Victoria Day holiday, we took everyone to the Kids Fest held at the Markham Fairgrounds this year. It was $30.26 per child (2 to 15 years old) and $18.39 per adult (16 and up). We aimed to be there at 10am when it opened to take advantage of fewer lineups and crowds, but the toddler decided to sleep in that day so plans shifted and we arrived at around 11am instead. There was plenty of parking (we had been here for the Markham Fair back in 2021 so the fairgrounds was familiar). It was such a beautiful and clear sunny day with a breeze, so it wasn’t too hot outside.
- The toddler loved one of the amusement park rides especially that day. It was a bucket/bathtub shaped ride for two to sit in. I could finally ride in it with her. Last time we were at these rides, I was pregnant so I couldn’t go on any of them. It was fun for me too to ride on it. The toddler is so funny and always has different expressions on her face. You almost can’t tell if she is enjoying it or not.
- DH, the toddler, and I went on one of those classic strawberry spinning turning rides too. It was so short. At one point because there were no seat belts inside, the toddler was thrown off balance and I had to catch her and hold her during the rest of the ride.
- She threw a fit when we went on another ride. It turned out to be one where she had to ride alone. After I fastened her seatbelt, the attendant came by to fasten the last part of it. The toddler, upon realizing this, immediately started crying and saying she didn’t want the attendant to do it but she wanted me to. So I quickly took over and tried to do it. But then the other more senior attendant saw the toddler was crying hysterically and said she couldn’t go on the ride if she was crying like that. She tried to unfasten her, at which point the toddler started crying all over again because she didn’t want the other attendant unfastening her. They were in a lose-lose position. I quickly unfastened her and took her away since the other children were waiting for the ride to start. Ah, what a memory. It reminds me of seeing other parents wrangle their tantrumming toddler and needing to leave the scene immediately.
- The baby slept 2-hour long stretches the whole day and I nursed her after we watched the Superdogs show (she was attentive and watched during the entire 30 minutes), after lunch when I pulled up some chairs, and at the buffet restaurant dinner table. I’m so comfortable with nursing in public now. It’s not a big deal. My nursing cover really helps too. I just sling it around my neck like a scarf and it covers everything for the most part.
- The toddler wasn’t even into the Superdogs show as much. She seemed to get bored of it after 20 minutes.
- The toddler finished an entire corn on the cob by herself. She ate it so cleanly too.
- Milestone: I used a regular nail trimmer this week on the baby and I was able to successfully trim her nails! Grandma has been using the baby trimmer on her, but I find the baby still gets ragged and sharp nails. Using an actual nail trimmer is much more efficient. The baby lets me too.
- Milestone: The toddler has been asking to get her hair cut for a while (not her bangs but her actual hair in the back). I had been waiting for the special occasions to be over before I cut her hair, and we finally got around to it this week. It was so bittersweet/sentimental because I was actually cutting off her baby hairs from the back! So precious. The hairs are so fine and small because they’re the first hairs she ever grew. Her hair in the back has been untouched for 2 years and 8 months until now. I felt sad cutting them off and almost took a picture of her strands in the garbage — so fine and curly — but it is what it is and everyone has to grow up and move on.
- The toddler only gave me time to cut a few strands, so not her whole head is cut yet. It works this way because her hair is not even anyway; I can cut a few strands each time gradually.
- Milestone: The baby flipped onto her back by herself for the first time today!!!! Five months old and she can do it. I need to look back on previous blog posts to know when the toddler first did this skill. The baby has been arching her back and turning yesterday already, so we kinda knew this was on the horizon, but seeing it happen still shocked me. I didn’t catch the actual flip because she was already on her belly when I saw her. She did it four more times afterwards too! She doesn’t yet have mobility on her arms or legs yet, so we don’t have a crawler just yet. But oh geez, time is flying!
- We attended the second class of the Creative Chefs EarlyON session today at the Thornhill location. The toddler loved the class as well as the free play time before and after.
- The kids made pizzas today! How fun. I liked the energy and friendliness of the two facilitators today. I liked how they prefaced the activity with a book about pizzas as well as showed the kids the toppings/ingredients that were going to be on the pizzas later.
- During circle time today, the toddler appropriately replied with her name when she was asked. She didn’t say “W” again or “K-four”, another new name she recently made up for herself 🤦🏻♀️. She said her own name oh-so quietly in a tiny voice, but I’m glad she said her real name finally.
- The toddler followed my instructions in making the pizza and enjoyed watching it being made in the microwave (one of her first foods being prepped this way as we don’t own a microwave at home). She enjoyed eating her creation too and said it was “ho mei” (yummy).
- The children were given tangerines to peel by themselves and to count the sections of too. The toddler did a great job at peeling the small tangerine by herself and separating the sections to eat by herself. She can do this independently in a classroom session but can’t do it at home. She is reliant upon us at home… She finished the entire tangerine by herself. Yay! The pizza, we brought home to eat later.
- The toddler played with pulling out silk scarves of a container, lock boxes, fitting puzzle shapes onto a tray, and dinosaur fittings on blocks. She didn’t want to leave.
- We spent some time in the library next door after I nursed the baby. The toddler also didn’t want to leave the play section of the library either. She stacked the large blocks in a tower, identified the farm animals, learned to use a brush and sweeper. There was a small boy playing nearby who handed her a lemon toy. The toddler actually received it and didn’t decline it. To my surprise, the toddler then found a small boy toy and wanted to gift it to the boy. She wanted me to go with her. She then gifted a plastic octopus and then a yellow block too. How generous! That’s the first time I’ve seen her exchange or give something to another kid in public. She usually is more reserved and reluctant and actually more reserved about her play things. This was a very interesting development.
- What a week this has been! Lots of EarlyONs, the baby turning five months old, sitting in the high chair, sleeping a record stretch of 6 hours, turning over, using a nail trimmer, the toddler getting a haircut, attending amusement parks, etc. So crazy to me how each week I consistently have soo many things to blog about and the things to write about never ends.
How adorable and fascinating to see a toddler show generosity. Watching kids grow is fascinating.