Monday, February 18, 2008

Favorite Video

All of the videos that we've posted on the blog have been clips taken with our digital camera - they're very easy to upload. Our video camera, on the other hand, is another story. It records straight to DVD, so I need to convert the file type on the dvd to an .mpeg file, which - at least for me - is easier said than done.

I know, FASCINATING STUFF. Point is, I don't usually get around to converting the files, which means we rarely post video camera clips. This one is pretty good. Fiona had just finished a clementine, so she starts out asking for "more oranges." Watch how she gets cranky at first, but quickly changes her mood. The secret? I turned around the viewing screen so she could see herself. From that point on, Fiona performs for herself! Dancing, playing peek-a-boo, clapping and singing. She is quite the performer.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So precious

Fiona has been using sentences a lot lately to express her feelings, needs, dislikes. I like this sudden ability of hers to communicate with me. There is nothing like the newborn stage where you feel like screaming "Tell me what you want!!!!!". With the sentences has come pure emotion--good or bad.

We were out to brunch with some friends on Sunday and Fiona was sitting between Jim and I in a booster seat. She was very close to me and leaned in to put her head on my arm. I held my breath hoping the moment wouldn't end. Fiona is not a very affectionate child, so I crave these little moments.

The next minute she got my attention and I leaned in to hear what she was saying. She put her hand gently on my face and said "So happy. So happy, Momma, be near you". I melted. I was stunned. I kissed her forehead and thanked God for that moment. For our little girl. So sweet.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Our little ham!

Here are some pictures of Fiona entertaining us on a cold Sunday afternoon. I swear, we could watch the "Fiona Show" for hours. Where does she get the engery from???

Casey is not left out of the fun:

Look at this!

Mommy gets her energy from java, clearly:

After all that playing, Daddy gets a cuddle:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Art of Negotiating

There are lots of books out there on how to successfully negotiate. Most, if not all, address the business world, real estate, self-help, etc. I don't think any cover the art of negotiating with a toddler.

If there is such a book out there, I'd like to buy it.

We're in this phase with Fiona where she's doing a lot of things, or asking for a lot of things, that we don't want her to do or to have. I believe this phase is called "Childhood," and it lasts for the next 16 years. So, she tends to ask for things that, as responsible parents, we should not give her, like:

- eating graham crackers for every meal instead of real food.
- sitting in the shopping cart at Target instead of the seat.
- playing with cutlery. Yes, she has asked me to play with our knife set.

Similarly, she has begun refusing simple things that, a couple of months ago, were not even questioned, such as:

- getting her diaper changed
- washing her hair in the tub
- wearing a bib

As you can imagine, we are often left standing at an impasse. One option is to impose our Parental Will and force her to either DO what we want (change her diaper) or force her to NOT get what she wants (become a knife thrower). Fiona's typical rebuttal is a brilliant one: She has a temper tantrum. Crying, flailing, running and dramatically collapsing on the floor - overall, an impressive performance. She has recently improved this repertoire by saying in between cries, "Don't like it!"

An alternative to imposing our will is to negotiate. We have read in various parenting magazines that this is the "right" thing to do with toddlers, but as always, they make it sound so damn easy: "Give your toddler two choices. This will make them feel empowered, and as a result they will not grow up to hate you. They will also have a better likelihood of attending an Ivy League school."

So, I've been trying to negotiate with Fiona this weekend while Wendy has been at work. It has worked well a few times, but I have to be careful to not make a negotiation become a bribe. During lunch, for example, she asked for one of my potato chips. I told her no (but without saying "no", instead I said "These chips are Daddy's, since those same parenting magazines have taught me that saying "No" too many times could drive my toddler to become a drug addict), and she started to fuss. I told her if she ate some of her turkey, I would give her a chip. That worked, but it quickly escalated into me giving her 4 potato chips in exchange for her eating 4 bits of turkey. I don't think that was a nutritional push.

I've also found that the way I phrase things can impact how well a negotiation goes. As we prepared to go upstairs for her nap, Fiona had a little coughing fit. I offered her cup for a drink, but she refused. I said, "If you want to go upstairs, first you have to take a drink." She still refused and whined, "No! No! No!" So I re-phrased: "If you take a drink, then we can go upstairs." That clicked for her - she took a sip, and up we went.

And so I continue attempting to negotiate with a 22 month old. Come to think of it, maybe I should write that book for negotiating with toddlers. I could even make it a memoir. Here's what I have in mind for the book cover - whaddya think?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Warm escape

I was down in Miami for a business trip last week, and Wendy flew down on Sunday to join me. It was a welcome escape from a cold January. We spent our time in Miami NOT doing the following things:

- setting alarm clocks
- changing diapers
- going to work
- driving
- making meals
It was very nice. Lots of strange folks down in South Beach, though.

Here are a few photos. Be prepared - there are none of Fiona in this posting!

The Beach. Ahh...

Ate every meal outside. Here's our view during lunch one day.

We didn't get a good picture of us together, so here are two pictures of us - by ourselves!
Wendy almost left me for this guy. Can't blame her - he must work out!