Monday, December 7, 2009

Gradpa's PG-13 Family Calendar

Grandpa comes out with a new calendar every year featuring major family events. Aiden loves looking at the pictures of his extended family and talking about what their doing, almost every day. Lately he's started asking more pointed questions about these pictures he's been looking at for years.

The most curious calendar is the first one which is dedicated to Mama and Dada's wedding and Uncle Rick and Auntie Elena's engagement. Aiden wants to know where he is....Where's Baba? There's a beautiful wedding picture, a close-up of Mama and Dada hugging during the wedding, and one of us (me? Dada?) told him that he was the twinkle in Dada's eye. Aiden loves being included and if you ask him, he'll point out which twinkle in Dada's eye he is.

Now for the scandalous part! In the calendar, Grandpa included pictures from Mama and Dada's super fun Bachelorette and Bachelor parties. At my party, I was led on a treasure hunt through Mission street bars with a list of tasks to accomplish. I was allowed to enlist the help of my fellow partiers and thank God. Did I mention I'm shy? Auntie Elena, my soon to be sister-in-law at the time, was happy to help. She's an East Coaster and doesn't have my shyness issues. There's a picture of Auntie Elena licking salt off the neck of a guy we found at one of the bars. As you can see, it's a great photo.


Who's that? Aiden wants to know. Luckily these questions have gone to Lac.....I think he said....Ummmm....that's a man. What's Auntie Elena doing? She's licking the salt on that man's neck.

Least you think Auntie Elena was frolicking by herself, I guess I should mention the other party picture that Aiden is curious about. The one where I'm torturing some guy. OK so I guess I'm not *that*shy.

Aiden asked Dada, What's Mama doing? And Dada told him very matter-of-factly, She's pulling out that man's chest hair. Aiden took this without any question, of course that's what she's doing.

So maybe this is the moment to admit that it's only now, in writing this, that I'm wondering if was a good decision to leave this calendar in places where Aiden could find it *and* to look through it with him with the same nonchalantness as Goodnight Moon. Maybe we should "lose" the calendar before the questions get even more probing or he understands what he's seeing. Or, maybe not. What do you think?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Beer: The good and the bad

Let's start with the bad, so we can get it out of the way and because the good of beer and toddlers seems improbable.

Dada has a beer iPhone game that allows you to pick your brew (Guiness, Lager, Hefeweizen etc). It then fills the screen up with a slow pour of your sparkling ale, bubbles included. The user tips the iPhone like a cup to pretend to drink. The liquid tilts and drains and at the end there's a large BURP. Geeze. Who thought of this game? A better question might be why does Dada like it so much?

You might be wondering what all this has to do with Aiden. I've been wondering that myself. Dada decided to play this game with Baba and he's now a toddling beer expert who has no problem talking about burping and calling out "Hefeweizen" at the playground at the top of his lungs when he's out with Mama. Way to make me look like a really responsible parent. Thanks Dada!

Here's the good, sort of.....This weekend we're nursing a sick little boy who can't keep much down. You'd think throwing up would be upsetting. But, Baba just thinks he's "burping" and that's cool, right? This morning when he couldn't handle breakfast he said "I burped it".

Get better soon little guy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All of them and a big soapbox which you might want to skip

Aiden still nurses and this is a post about nursing. If you don't want to read about a toddler nursing, this is a good place to stop.

So Baba still says "switch" when he wants to nurse. Tonight as I was getting ready, I asked him, "Baba, which side do you want" and he said, "all of them!". There was so much abundance in the way he said it, like I had 10 breasts.

*****My Soapbox Statement*****
If you have concerns about the fact that some toddlers nurse, you're not alone. I'm starting to get raised eyebrow comments from members of my own family. Here are some facts....

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends

Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child....There is no upper limit to the duration of breastfeeding and no evidence of psychologic or developmental harm from breastfeeding into the third year of life or longer."

Here's more from the American Academy of Family Physicians

"Breastfeeding beyond the first year offers considerable benefits to both mother and child, and should continue as long as mutually desired." They also note that "If the child is younger than two years of age, the child is at increased risk of illness if weaned."

If you're wondering why the AAP and AAFP are officially OK with extended nursing its because it's so gosh darn good for kids, regardless of their age. We all know there are immune properties in breastmilk. Some of these properties actually *increase* during the second year and during weaning. Considering that toddlers (and even children) don't have mature immune systems this is a very good thing. It's as if the mother's body is giving her child as many immuno-boosters as she can as her child enters toddlerhood and gets ready for increased independence.

Here's more research I found on-line.
Nursing toddlers between the ages of 16 and 30 months have been found to have fewer illnesses and illnesses of shorter duration than their non-nursing peers (Gulick 1986).

"Antibodies are abundant in human milk throughout lactation" (Nutrition During Lactation1991; p. 134). In fact, some of the immune factors in breastmilk increase in concentration during the second year and also during the weaning process. (Goldman 1983, Goldman & Goldblum 1983, Institute of Medicine 1991).

In this soapbox statement, I'm focusing on health benefits. There's more...all of the benefits of nursing for the mother and the baby (I won't list them all here) are *cumulative* so the longer you do it, the greater the benefit. That means extended nursing is good for me too. It protects me from several different types of cancer. It gives Baba great protection from allergies. The list goes on and on and it's amazing.

I haven't even touched on the emotional and social benefit of giving the child the freedom to decide when he or she is "old enough to stop". We all mature at different speeds and Baba is the only one who will know when he's done. However, nursing has to work for both mother and child. It's shouldn't be forced on a mother who's not game or is feeling resentful of that aspect of the relationship. Personally, I don't and can't know what my upper limit is. If Aiden is still going when I reach it, then we'll have to talk. Until then, I'll keep asking him "which side?".

Hair Up

Aiden is turning out to be....opinnionated....I could have said bossy, but I'm trying to be nice about all this. He has really strong feelings about how I wear my hair, glasses and more. You may have noticed a trend here, maybe we should just call him a fashionista. For the record, I wear my hair up 99.9 percent of the time. I usually sleep with it up. If Aiden happens to see my hair down say after a shower or God forbid if I take it down for a *second* to re-adjust my barrette he says "Hair up". Glasses are much worse because I wear them all the time. We have lots of talks about how Mama gets to decide what she wears on her body and how she wears her hair. I don't think I'm getting through to him. In fact I'm sure I'm not.

Today while skyping with his Auntie Gunush in Bangalore Aiden noticed a problem. "Hair up" he said. Auntie Gunush was surprised but complied (she's way more accommodating than Mama). After she put her hair up, Aiden said "That's nice". Geeze!

For the record here is a list of Aiden's fashion pet peeves:
Long hair down
Eye glasses
Jackets and big sweaters on Mama
Hats (on Mama, Aiden and sometimes Dada)

All is right in the world. Mama's hair is up and Aiden is pretending to be Rosie the hen.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Smiles

It hardly seems possible that someone so small could have such a big smile.


We did the whole shebang for Halloween this year: pumpkin patches, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seeds and trick-or-treating. Aiden loved most of it, except for maybe scooping goo out of the pumpkins which was way too yucky for him.

Carving pumpkins with BFF Hope.

Aiden was a tiger this year and was finally old enough to go trick-or-treating. He had a blast but thought it was really odd that after ringing the doorbell and saying "Hi" he wasn't supposed to go *inside* and spend more time. We almost lost him the first few homes when the kindly grandparents answering the door seemed more than happy to let him come in and join their party.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just American

Aiden has always loved being read to. Either Mama or Dada usually read him a story before it's time to hit the sack. And we turn off the lights after reading a story or two. He tries all sorts of tricks to extend his uptime. One day after I had read him a couple of stories and turned off the lights, he asked for more stories. When I wouldn't turn on the lights again he threw a fit. So I decided to make up a story on my own. It went 'Once upon a time, there was a little boy.....' It would be a story about one of the more exciting things that happened in his life during that week. And it would end with 'Do you know the name of this boy?' And with all the excitement of a toddler, he'd say, 'BABA !!!'. He really took to it and now it's a regular feature of the night time routine. One day just to make it more interesting I decided to try it with different accents. First I tried a strong Indian accent. He didn't like that at all and said 'regular'. I said, you don't like Indian ? And he said 'No Indian, regular'. So then I tried my version of a British accent and he did the same thing. 'Regular'. I said 'Oh you mean American' and he said 'American'. And from then on everytime I try any other accents, he says 'No Indian, No British, Just American'.

Here's an illustration with 'Runaway Bunny'

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Band

Aiden's BFF Hope came over to the house the other day and the two of them decided to start a band. They're both accomplished singers but they're still working out the whole teamwork thing....

Here Hope has started singing and just needs a little cooperation from Aiden. I love the very slight look of frustration on her face as she tries to sing through Aiden's ruckus.

They are finally in agreement about the song but maybe not the tempo....

Artistic differences are such a drag. Aiden's feeling very Old McDonald and Hope is a little BaaBaa Blacksheep. What will they do?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Bear Wearing

Take away the crib (OK we never had one) and I would survive. Same goes for the changing table....our guest bedroom desk worked just fine. One day we had guests and moved it to our bedroom floor. We're still parked there. The beautiful bassinet that held all Stoddard babies as we slept and was painstakingly refurbished by Quita... we used it once. The stroller which was a bone of contention with Grandpa because on his first try he didn't get the exact one we had researched ....we barely used it. But, don't even think about taking away my Ergo baby carrier. I would flip. You might be able to raise a baby without one but I'm not in line to try that experiment. I love it that much. I used it when Aiden was 5 months and I'm still using it now that he's 2 years 3 months and 27.5 pounds. It's a dream. When I see the Bjorn, I cringe remembering all those sore shoulders even when Aiden was a lightweight. BTW, we still have our Bjorn and it needs a new home....anyone interested????

Aiden's jumped on the baby-carrying bandwagon and he's a very good Daddy to his bear Corduroy (pronounced "Corduroid"). Here you see him changing bear's diaper. Just how many diapers can a little bear wear? Then, my favorite.... taking Corduroy for a jaunt around the house. The bear-in-the-shirt idea is all his. Aiden loves carrying Corduroy as much as I love carrying him.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Our little Handful

Today during bath time I had an "oooh noooo" moment. First it was the art and then it was the teeth but I'll start with the art.

Art is Aiden's new obsession. He didn't get it from Mama and he didn't get it from Dada but Baba can spend hours drawing. We signed him up for an art class this summer and he didn't want to go. He was in the middle of a phase right after he had the chicken pox were he didn't want to leave the house or try anything new. I normally respect his limits but staying inside was driving me batty so I took him anyway, protesting the whole way. I told him we didn't have to stay, we were just going to have a look. We walked through the door, Baba trying to wiggle away; me with an iron grip when suddenly I spotted the letter "L" cookie cutter on the playdough table. Aiden loves letters and it was worth a try....

Baba, I see the letter "L" over there. He froze. He reconsidered. He never ever complained about art class again. Now he begs me to go. Art class has 6 tables each with a different project. The projects change every week but there's always a playdough table. We spent 5 consecutive weeks playing at the playdough table for a whole hour before he had the heart to explore.

Now our home is fully stocked with markers, crayons, playdough, a million cookie cutters, paint, stamps, and bathtub paint. So back to our story.

Today Aiden asked me to paint a bulldozer on the side of the tub. Did I mention I'm not artistic? I can pick a bull dozer out in a line up...I think...but I'm not sure I know what one *really* looks like. Anyhow, I did my best. Baba admired my effort but then he started complaining. I drew wheels on my bulldozer and they have crawlers. He made me change the wheels to crawlers. Then there was no dirt in the bulldozer. I added dirt. Wait, the bulldozer should be dumping dirt into a dumptruck. I drew a dump truck. I was so relieved when Dada came in to take over. This was getting complicated.

Later I heard from Dada about the tooth brushing episode. The toothbrush was in and out of Baba's mouth in a flash. What happened to brushing your teeth Dada asked. Aiden answered....Baba fast!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chelsea's Wedding

We just got back from Spokane Washington where we celebrated Chelsea and Rob's beautiful wedding. Aiden has a blast and spent more time dancing at the rehearsal dinner than we did. It was there that Aiden found Chelsea, the bride, and proceeded to follow her around everywhere treating her to the splits and other dance moves. He was smitten.

When we finally turned in for the night he said "More party" softly between yawns. He was in luck, the wedding was right around the corner. I don't think Aiden had as much fun at the wedding....he had to wait way too long to see Chelsea. When he did, DadA said, "look there's Chelsea. She's wearing a beautiful white dress." "Take it off" Baba said.

OK, at this point I have to admit that my adorable little boy has a bit of a bossy side. I have no idea where he gets that. He's not fond of glasses, sweaters, hats and apparently wedding dresses....even on other people.

Back to our story. We explained that only Rob gets to take off Chelsea's wedding dress and whisked him away before the wedding got scandalized.

That was last weekend.

Today over dinner, Dada was reminiscing with Baba about the wedding and laughing about how Baba had wanted to take off Chelsea's dress. Baba came right back at him with "Rob do it".

I guess he got the message.

Over here Joy, dance with me!

Playing with Dada

Who taught Aiden to make that funny face?


Playing at the Spokane children's museum.


Quita got this mini guitar for Baba and he loves that its just his size. Now he and Dada can play together.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dump truck loves you.....What is Mama doing ?

Putting Aiden to sleep at night used to be quite a chore but now he's settled into a nice routine. Don't get me wrong, he still tries every trick in the book and sometimes invents his own to keep from going to bed. I usually get home from work around 6:30 p.m. at which time he's just finishing up his dinner. Around 7 p.m., I always ask him to same question 'Aiden, should we have a bath?' and I always get the same quick answer 'NO?'. I have slowly learnt that rather than force him to do something it's a lot easier to trick him into it. So I will say 'Aiden, what do you think needs a bath today, the Porsche or the big rig (or any other combination of his other gazillion toy vehicles)?' He suddenly feels this big surge of power that I just gave him and picks two toys that he wants to take into the tub. Well, he usually wants to take all of them, but he understands that the tub is only big enough for two. Anyhow, the point is that by now he's forgotten that it's him who's getting a bath and that his nap-time clock has just started to tick. Bath is usually over in 5 minutes but then he'll play in the tub for at least a half hour. He's only supposed to be there until the tub drains which usually takes 10 minutes but while I am playing with my iPhone, he slowly turns the drain off. Remember, this is the same dude who didn't want to get into the bath in the first place.

Then I take him to bed to change and even before I have put him down on the bed, he's say 'Shapes'. It's a game on the iPhone that he loves to play. He knows all kinds of shapes and today at the art class, he made his Mommy's jaw drop by saying 'Baby took my Pentagon' when some kid borrowed his plato creation. After that he runs out to show Mommy how cute he looks in his jammies. Next thing he will say is 'Pictures'. That means Mama has to show him pictures of his handsome self on her laptop. His favorite pictures are those of him playing with his hero, 'Uncle Jonathan'. Around 8pm, Mama takes him to bed to read some stories and nurse.

I walk in around 8:30 to put him to bed to see them happily playing games. This is when he suddenly develops all sorts of needs that will either delay Mommy's departure or necessitate him leaving the bedroom. He will feign pangs of hunger and ask for food, water or to nurse. And when he's exhausted everything, he'll bribe Mommy with all kinds of hugs & kisses. Then I take over and he starts his games all over again. I usually have to sing him a few songs and pretend to be one of his dump trucks. He will go through the entire list of cars that his family and neighbors have. Yes, he knows the car makes, it's a little surreal to hear him say 'Aunty Helena has a Volkswagen'. I eventually pretend to sleep but he will keep jumping all over me or telling me all sorts of stories. And when nothing works he will kiss me and tell me 'Love you Dada'. He knows that this trick of his always works. The other day he tried this and I told him 'Dada loves you, Mama loves you, Quita love you.....Nathan loves you'. I went through every single member of the extended family. After I was done he said 'Dump truck loves you' and I burst out laughing and his sleep got postponed by a few minutes.

Sometimes when I am trying to put him to sleep, he'll hear Mommy doing something outside and he'll say 'What is Mama doing' ? As if to imply 'Does she not know that the king is trying to sleep here ?' It happened again today when Mommy returned from a quick run to the grocery and hence this first post from me in a while :)

This video is of him going up and down the ramp of a church behind our house. It's his favorite thing to do during the day.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hair - part 2

We all knew the day would come when we'd have to cut Aiden's gorgeous head of hair. We put it off as long as possible and as you can see from the pics, it was getting a little out of hand.

The moment of truth came when Aiden got chicken pox last month and Dada started giving him oatmeal baths....great for his skin, not so great for the tangles in his hair. Dada left the bathroom one night and declared that was the moment. Not tomorrow, not the next day.....*now*. Over the next couple of days Dada trimmed Baba's hair leaving him with a cute shorter version for his 2nd birthday (on the 26th!).



Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Games Toddlers Play

One of the coolest things about the last couple of months has been pretend play. Aiden will "cook" with me and loves to fill his dump truck with "sugar and coffee" when we're in the sandbox. At night, during dinner, he wants us to pretend the food is a car that goes over the Golden Gate Bridge through the Rainbow Tunnel (his mouth). He takes his food along the same path even when he feeds himself.

Aiden invented another game called "Baby Tiger". He comes in, close enough to touch noses and says "Hi baby tiger". When he says that, it means that he's a baby tiger and I'm the mama tiger. I say "Hi baby tiger" back to him, really excited like I'm meeting him after a million years and then I get to hug him. The animal changes but he seems to like being a baby tiger more than any other.

"Minivan" is another popular game. When we're lying down he'll sit on us or have us curl around him, am arm is the car door and he like to open and close it. For some reason, I'm always the minivan in this game.

I keep asking him, Aiden, can I be the Beemer?
No Beemer....Minivan.
Aiden, today can I be the Porsche?
No Porsche.....Minivan.

How did I get to be the minivan? I'm not sure I like being the minivan. I think we've found a compromise. He does let me be a convertable and I can live with that.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Critiquing Toddler Art

Contrary to popular opinion, there is such a thing as good and bad toddler art.  

Here is an example of good toddler art.  The medium is water-soluble markers on white paper.

This is an example of bad toddler art.... The medium is permanent ball point pen on white duvet cover. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Singing with Baba

I can't think of many things that are cuter than having a toddler sing to you.  Aiden has a few songs in his repetoire and has been known to sing Baa Baa Black Sheep to me and Dada at night as we're trying to quiet him down.  

Here's a clip of him jamming the alphabet song with Uncle Jonathan. 

The second clip is of him singing his own version of "Old McDonald Had a Farm".  His version goes something like this.  "Old McDonald had a Farm.  On his farm he had a dump truck.  Honk honk here, everywhere, honk honk..."

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I've been wanting to post more pictures from our OC trip to cousin Monique's wedding back in May. Where did the time go? Not only was it the occasion of Aiden's big rig drive but it was also the first time he wore a suit. If there were a sound track to this post, it would be "What a difference a day makes".

(You already seen this one but its cute enough to post again...) Here's Aiden working hard for his money.

But he cleans up real nice!

The trip was a great opportunity to meet new family and bond with some favorites. Here's Aiden with Aunty Helena and Uncle Rick.

With Quita

Our family. We may spend each day together but the family portraits are few and of questionable quality so I love this one.

Once we finished taking pictures and actually got to the wedding, Aiden partied like a rock star, entertaining guest late into the night - and way past his bedtime. He created new tricks (like the splits) which have since come in handy and showed off the old faithful - crawling around on the floor.

Aiden with cousin Yvette and Aunt Alma.

This was also the occasion of our first "dangerously honest moment". You know when a child says something about how he or she sees the world and its something the rest of us would probably censor. Aiden pointed to and commented on Aunt Alma's "beard". Luckily she didn't hear or understand what he said. I don't think anyone else did either. She's not a blog reader so let's just keep this one to ourselves. For the record, Aunt Alma, we think you are beautiful just the way you are.

And....I saved my favorite picture for last. Aiden and Uncle Rick sharing a moment before we headed off to the wedding.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Golden Gate Bridge

On a recent trip to Grandma's house, Aiden discovered the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only is it beautiful, but you have to go through a tunnel to get to it and then you go through *another* tunnel coming off it, a rainbow tunnel no less. Who could have conceived of such a wonderful route?

Aiden then requested that Mama build the Golden Gate Bridge at home. I was pretty proud of the result.
Enter Dada and things got competitive. The bridge was reinforced. The towers made taller with a dinosaur at the top. Ramps were added (I take credit for the ramp structural design but Dada perfected the technique of smoothing the surface so the cars didn't have such a bumpy ride.) Not unlike the real thing if you ask us.
PS: Look closely at the picture you'll see Dada (in helmet and blue sweatshirt) and Aiden on the bridge. After we had so much fun building it, we decided to ride our bikes across it.


While we all agree Aiden's hair is fabulous.  Lac and I are finally in agreement that it needs a little trim.  We'll wait until after his second birthday and then...big sigh...I'll do the honors while he's asleep.  At least that's plan A.  We may have to come up with something else if that doesn't work.  I'm trying to start forgiving myself now.  Please wish me luck.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Big Rig

Have we mentioned that Aiden is into cars and trucks? I find myself telling people this and they nod in a "but of course...he's a boy" kind of way. When they do that, I know they just don't get it. He's obsessed. Aiden can spend the afternoon walking around the neighborhood trying to open the door to any vehicle he can reach and call it a good day. On his rounds, he'll touch the tires and the lights of each car and identify them. He knows the difference between a police car, a mail truck, a fire truck, a van, a mini- van, a pick-up truck, an SUV, a car transporter, an excavator, I could go on but I can't keep them straight myself. Beemer and Thunderbird are the new additions to his car vocabulary. Each new place we visit is sized up based on it's qualifications as a race course for whatever 4 wheeler happens to be in his pocket.

On our recent trip to OC for cousin Monique's wedding there were a couple of big rigs parked outside our hotel. Ask Aiden and he'll tell you that was the coolest part of the trip. He wanted to drive those big rigs the moment he saw them. When no one was looking we let Aiden climb all over the trucks. Here we are "sneaking" the big rigs.

It wasn't good enough though. He wanted to DRIVE them. The next day, when we saw big burly men working on the trucks, fixing them up for their next journey. Dada and I looked at each other as if to ask the question.....Your son dreams of driving a big rig. Do you have the cajones to ask them if he can? Neither of us did.

Enter Aiden's super hot Auntie Helena. We didn't hesitate to send our precious little one down with her to ask those men if he could drive a big rig. We watched from the safety of our 4th floor window to see what happened. There was talking, laughing, and then there was DRIVING!