Not wanting to repeat the frustration of having my toddler keep me up at night when my newborn was sleeping peacefully, I decided to see if I could night-wean Vivienne before our sweet #3 comes.  I tried my own creative methods, which usually ended in me losing my patience in the middle of the night and saying “my breasts hurt you cannot nurse anymore tonight!” which of course resulted in intense crying until I gave in because of feeling like a bad mother.  Looking for alternatives, I found this article on night weaning an older baby that has been in the family bed for the first year of his life.  It is written by a doctor who is a family bed proponent and I am SO glad I decided to give it a try.


It was much easier than I expected, despite some setbacks because Vivienne got sick so we couldn’t stick to the schedule.  Vivienne can fall asleep at night without being at the breast (she gets to nurse, but usually takes longer to fall asleep) and is satisfied with other comfort if she wakes up before 4am.  Often she makes it to 5am before needing to nurse.  This feels like a miracle, believe me!  I highly recommend reading the article if you’re starting to get run-down with the family bed, even if you strongly believe in it.  I love the family bed for the first year of life, but it was no picnic rolling from my infant to my toddler and back again all night because each needed to nurse several times in the night – and lets not even mention when they both wanted to nurse at the same time!


Thank you, Dr. Gordon!

Posted by harp on Friday, March 8, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Edit
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Feb.2: Joseph counts by 11’s to 132 on his own.


4: Vivienne imitates her brother by launching herself headfirst into the play pen from the edge of the bed.  We got it on video!


7: Vivienne’s bottom right molar makes it’s appearance.


8: Vivienne stands up on her own from a seated position on my knee (no hands).  Both kids get Pink Eye.


9: Vivienne takes her first steps!


11: Joseph “reads” “nee-naw” in the vehicle noise book as “nay-naw.”


12: Imitating the PP shows from Gma, Joseph spells “D A D high ‘n O spells Dad-o!”


13: Vivienne’s favorite chore is helping to open and shut the windows when we air our the place.  It’s extra work carrying her around, but she LOVES it!


14: In the night Joseph will sometimes wake up and tell Bappe he has a “vestopfi Nase” (a plugged nose).


15: Joseph reads the word “game” on the Blokus game box.  Nobody read the box to him before, but we have an “A is for Art” book where G is for game and it is written clearly in lower case letters.


For lunch we had homemade focaccia bread.  I used the name once when serving us.  Joseph is a slow eater, so I had already cleared the table when he said “four can chew.”  It took me a long time to figure out, but when I said “oh, focaccia!” he said in an exasperated and relieved tone “four cutchew” (as in “cut you”).  Life is hard for a 2 ½ year old – language is hard!  It’s amazing he doesn’t throw more fits than he does . . . and he just keeps trying because there is no other option!!


18: Joseph is on the brink of reading, we’re not sure how much.  He knows many numbers (spelled out), dog, game, bus, train, hop, etc.


19: Today we had a visit from Grossvater and great Tante A.  The took the kids for a walk and I got some much needed work done (must needed rest must come later) and I’m so thankful for their visits!  Joseph especially loves the attention (Vivienne is still clingy to mommy).  Joseph spelled out “Zug” with Bananagram tiles and Grossvater didn’t exclaim over him, but asked “Can you spell ‘Schnellzug’?”  Always stretching to the next step!!!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 4:26 pm | Edit
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I am so far behind in bullet updates, but here goes.


Dec. 3: Vivienne is communicating more and more, she says “ciao” (tsaw), “awww” when hugging a stuffed animal, person, or even a toy sometimes, waves goodbye (even to her poo when it’s flushed).


5: Stephan made a note that Joseph is obsessed with counting his . . . poo.  He’s made it well into the teens.  We’re not sure if we should worry that he is able to split it up into so many little pieces (he goes a little on the little potty, then dumps the contents and repeats for over 30 minutes!) or whether we shouldn’t mention this at all . . .


8: Both leak on the bed right after we washed the sheets (ahem, Stephan’s note . . .)


9: This Sunday we had a surprise visit from the cops.  The came right at the end of naptime when I was in very comfy clothing and my hair was a mess from snuggling with Joseph, but thankfully the place was picked up for the most part.  This was a surprise interview as part of the process of me becoming Swiss.  They don’t announce their visit so that they can see that your normal life is really what you claim it to be: husband, kids, etc.  (Still no word, but the process can take years).


10: Vivienne starts walking with help (but still shoes little interest).


11: Joseph lights a candle while Mommy and Daddy aren’t looking.  We’re not sure whether to be proud or scared to death that we left the matches out . . .  (I swear I’ve written this, sorry for duplication)


13: We had a lovely visit from cousin Gil and the grandfolks.  Joseph and Vivienne are not too hot on snow.  That’s what comes from having a Floridian as a mother!  I don’t know how to play in it myself and it seems too much of a bother . . . so sad.


14: Joseph sets the table correctly (I think it was luck, but he still likes to help out).


15: A lovely visit from VM.


17: Vivienne was actually helping Joseph put some blocks away (as opposed to just dumping them out again) and Joseph said “thank you sweetheart.”


A lovely visit from AW (Liestal).


Joseph started saying “Danke” and “Gärn gscheh” and very much loves the ritual. (Please and thank you.)


18: Joseph writes by 6’s from 6 to 54 correctly with pen and paper.


19: Joseph knows that 17+54=71 from the power point presentations that Grandma made him.  Today he translated the whole equation correctly into German, a feat that I find shows an impressive amount of mental capacity given that in German is goes someone like “17+ four and fifty = one and seventy.”

24: Vivienne takes a few steps holding onto one supporting hand. (But still shows little interest.)


27: Vivienne got some addition and multiplication fact placemats for Christmas and Joseph loves them.  They show all the addition facts up to 12+12.  We were “quizzing” him at dinner since he learned to look up a problem in the appropriate place (they are organized by 1 + 1through12 then 2+ 1through12 etc.).  We were asking him 8+ questions when Stephan asked what 8+13 was.  He looked confused for a bit, and looked around the chart for a while but then said “21.”   Stephan then asked what 8+14 was and he said “22”.  How I wish I knew what was going on in that little brain!


30: Mommy “Joseph, come wipe off her hands.”  Joseph: “Bold I approach.”  I think it was coincidence.  He was just singing part of “And can it be” which Bappe sings a lot and Joseph loves and knows by heart.


31: “äinegisstüggsch” “’cent’ uff French” (Stephan, help me here!!!)



3: Stephan and I get to go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary because Stephan’s folks offered to watch the kids and put them to bed.  It all went very smoothly and both were asleep when we came home!  We enjoyed some time in a lounge where I felt very grown up (I don’t get out much) and a nice Thai dinner.  Yum!


4: Joseph writes  ‘i’ ‘ii’ ‘iii’ ‘iv’ ‘v’ and ‘vi’ on the blackboard (Roman numerals are part of the PP shows Grandma makes).


5: Joseph is heavy into doing things “sälber” – can you guess what that means in English?


9: Joseph counts by 2’s to 50 (I think using an abacus, but I don’t remember now).


13: Joseph and Vivienne’s dedication (written about elsewhere).


16: Vivienne places the stars on the tower by herself (rings on a peg, basically).


Joseph writes “O N e” on the blackboard and says “one” (see picture, sorry no direct link and I don’t know if it’s off the camera yet. I’m hoping to be able to put pictures on the blog again, but for now we don’t have a system and everything is just in “Stücklin Family Photos” to the right.


18: Vivienne has started calling Joseph “doo-deh” (the d is quite aspirated) consistently, and usually says it when she first sees him after sleeping.


19: In an attempt to make more room for the baby and make our home more functional, we have a rather serious furniture moving session.  Stephan’s desk goes into the living room and becomes a joint desk with a join computer (we have reached a new level of intimacy), my desk goes into the bedroom and becomes a craft table but currently holds a ton of junk we uncovered from the rearrange that we need to declutter, the office becomes a kids room with a decent size piece of floor to play on and a bigger nook for Joseph to play with stuff Vivienne can’t get into (he used to have a little nook in the living room).  The dining table moves to the middle of the living room which frees up wall space and now all the windows are free from furniture so it is easy to open and close the shudders and air out the house and I am LOVING the decluttered look of the two rooms.  We are far from done, but the feeling of space compared to what we had before is LOVELY and has inspired us to continue to get rid of stuff we don’t need.


21: Vivienne is one year old!  Poor thing is teething something awful!


Joseph flips through the hymnal and recognizes “Good Christian Men Rejoice” even though we haven’t sung it since Christmas AND it was in a different hymnal than we used at Christmas so he did NOT use the hymn number to identify it!


Joseph still doesn’t understand that you cannot see what he sees when he holds up a card (i.e. he doesn’t know he has to turn it so it’s in your field of vision).


25: Vivienne can make a decent sound on the penny whistle – this is much earlier than Joseph had any breath control.  I say it’s from all the candle lighting and blowing during Advent.  She gets her upper right molar.


28: Stephan’s finds the Michigan puzzles piece to the US map puzzle that has been missing for AGES.  Joseph is delighted.  We are no longer always “missing Missingagain again.”  (Missignagain is how he says Michigan.)  A few days later I think Joseph made a pun.  He looked at his number blocks and said “0,1,2,3,4,” naming one block and “5,6,7,8,9” naming the other.  Then he said “missing missingaTEN again.”  A play on “Michigan?”


29: Vivienne’s upper left molar arrives.


30: Joseph says “vorsichtig” in such a cute way “forstigi.” (be careful)


31: Joseph counts by 3’s to 102 on his own while putting away toys.


That’s it for now, folks! Thanks for hanging in there!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Edit
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On January 21st our sweet little baby girl turned one year old.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already and that she isn’t a little baby anymore.  She is a snuggle bug and a mommy’s girl, but she always greets her brother and father with enthusiasm and big smiles and hugs.  Despite the fact that being with Mommy is her favorite thing, she can play for periods of time on her own or with her brother.  Joseph loves to do silly things that make her laugh, and I treasure watching them enjoy each other.  Of course there are plenty of times when Joseph makes her cry as well, and my, is she a good crier.  From birth every cry brought tears and that hasn’t changed.  She looks so pitiful and cute I sometimes have to keep from laughing (if I know that she’s crying over something little).  The trouble is you can’t tell the difference between the I’m-really-hurt cry and the I’m-mad cry.  I’ve been told her mother was an equally bad judge of the true gravity of an upsetting situation . . .


But for all the drama, Vivienne is generally quite a happy baby.  She still prefers crawling, though she can walk with help.  Both my kids at this age found it a silly thing to try to walk when you could get everywhere you wanted to go faster by crawling.  She has four top teeth, two bottom (those since 6 months) and just got two top molars in (no doggy teeth yet).  Teething has been more traumatic for her than it was for Joseph.


We’ve been quite lax about EC (elimination communication), meaning I take her to the potty if it’s obvious she needs to go, but I keep her in diapers almost 100% of the time.  Diaper free time is hard in the winter!  Still, we catch most of her poos directly on the toilet, and she is now starting to tell me that she needs to pee.  She does this by saying something like “yes” and lifting up her shirt with her right hand.  If I noticed the sign and take her to the toilet in a timely fashion she’ll go on the toilet without complaint.  Her request to nurse is similar in that she uses the same (to my ears) “yes” sounds but lightly swipes her hand back and forth over my upper chest.  I find this an extremely polite way to ask to nurse – far better than pulling up my shirt or pitching my breasts!


Because of the twice daily Bible readings we do her first word was “strength,” which is the end of one of the responses.  She makes a fists (imitating the sign language) and says “ting” or something like that.  She lights up all over when she knows that part is coming.  She loves participating!


She loves climbing up and down stairs, and is quite competent at it.  When she sits to play she often spreads her legs out in a split (this also seems more like a girl thing to me as Joseph never did that).  She’s a good eater, often trying whatever we give her and eating a decent variety of foods.  When she’s done she likes to throw the food on the floor and go “uh-oh” and look all innocent.  She is such a charmer I’m afraid of spoiling her.  I know that we were quite hard about training Joseph at this age to NOT through his food on the floor.  When she does that “uh-oh” thing I just laugh!  A third kid should help avoid us spoiling her too much . . .


Vivienne doesn’t like to be read to much – she won’t let you hold a book for long, but she likes to “read” them herself – especially cards.  She likes to imitate her brother at the chalkboard, passing the chalk back and forth and declaring monosyllabic “numbers” much as Joseph does when he announces what he’s written.


She is quite social and likes to participate.  She helps me close the windows after we’ve aired out the apartment.  She turns the bathroom light on and off.  When we get ready to go out we get all bundled up except for shoes, which are outside the door.  The moment the door is open she goes right for her shoes, takes them off the rack and sits down waiting for someone to help her put them on.


In December I started night weaning her according to a gentle method I found online, and it was going remarkably well when she got sick.  I haven’t started up again because both kids have been sick on and off, but I have hopes that she won’t be an all-night snacker for nearly as long as her brother was.  She still asks for milk constantly during the day, but that too I’m hoping is more the teeth and the illness.


Vivienne often takes a 30min morning nap and a 1 ½ hour afternoon nap.  Of course I shouldn’t forget to mention that she loves moving to music, either swaying back and forth or bouncing up and down.


She’s a trim gal with dirty-blond curls, blue eyes and a bright big smile!  We love you Vivienne.  It is so exciting to watching you learn and grow!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 2:53 pm | Edit
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Last Sunday we finally had a dedication for Joseph and Vivienne at our church in Emmen (Frei Evangelische Gemeinde Emmen).  Since it wasn’t a baptism and I haven’t seen many dedications, I was surprised at how moving the whole experience was and how Swiss (or at least Stücklin) it made me feel.  Firstly, it was lovely to have so many people who love us and our kids gathered in one place to celebrate their being and eternal souls and who are committed to helping us on our journey as a family to raise children of God.  The godparents and Grossvater stood up front with us (sadly, Grossmutti was ill and couldn’t join us) while the pastor reminded us of our duties and prayed for us and the children.  Gotte Da (to Vivienne) and Götti A (to Joseph) prayed for their godchildren, and it was surprisingly touching to have an English prayer in the middle of the German service.  It was like having my whole family with me in spirit, but even in a slightly physical way.  The pastor gave each child a specifically chosen verse and he gave a little spiel on how Joseph loves numbers and how he picked a verse with lots of numbers (Psalm 119: 160-162).  That he took the attention to detail for Joseph was quite touching.  Vivienne’s verse is Psalm 16:11.  We tried to take a video, so hopefully that will get posted sometime . . .


But the festivities didn’t stop there.  After a long coffee/play time at church, we all headed for a restaurant to celebrate.  Such an event is different here than in the States where you eat out often, especially after any type of event (even football games).  Here it’s much rarer, and with houses being smaller, often family gatherings take place at a restaurant because of lack of hosting space at home.  We had a large table in an almost empty restaurant (at Hotel Thorenberg), which allowed for a wonderful sense of community and freedom (especially for the kids who could run around and make some noise).  The list of attendees was the four of us, Grossvater, Stephan’s siblings and their immediate families (one of whom is a godparent, Götti T), our neighbor Miss T. and the three (technically) non-family godparents (Gotte Di and Götti A for Joseph, and Gotte Da for Vivienne).  I had been to a number of Stücklin family celebrations before but this was the first time the tables were turned and we were hosts rather than guests.  It felt wonderful!  I really enjoyed my time and was able to look around and thank God for each and every one of those people in our lives who take considerable pains and energy to stay connected with us and our children.  I certainly felt like a lunch was small payment for all they have done and will do for us, so I was happy to be able to celebrate like that.  This is what made me feel so Swiss: I wasn’t a guest, we were hosts of a traditional celebration in a tradition that isn’t my own yet it felt so natural.  There’s proof if ever there was one that I’ve put down some deep roots here.  This is what will be natural to our kids, this is how we’re raising our family, at least for now.  It’s strange to me, but it’s also okay.  It’s more than okay, it’s good.  The way things were for me might have been wonderful and worth replicating, but that doesn’t mean there aren't other and equally meaningful traditions and childhoods to be had.  I quickly feel I am rambling trying to express some deep and inexpressible stirrings in my soul.  The most important part of whatever it is is gratitude.  Gratitude for my family back in America (Aunts and Uncles and cousins and all!) and all they did to make my childhood special and memorable, and to my new family here and all they are doing to make me feel at home and give our children a childhood that is special and memorable.  I LOVE YOU ALL!


But the celebrations STILL aren’t over!  We came back to our place for dessert, where we all sang happy birthday to Vivienne and she tried to blow out the candle in her Graham Gem muffin.  It was ‘way past naptime at this point, but the kids did wonderfully.  Thanks in part the first year birthday tradition of asking each person present to take about 10 minutes out of the general socializing to spend some quality time with the birthday girl.  That not only gave us a little time off at the restaurant, but more importantly, let Vivienne know in a real way how many people love her.  The party ended around four and the kids dropped off to sleep right away.  It was a lovely day.  Thanks to everyone who could be there, and we missed everyone who couldn’t!

Posted by harp on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Edit
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I’m quite behind, so I thought I’d share this rather than just add it to my long list of things to type up.  Often we count as we put away toys to help get the job done.  Sometimes it backfires, like when Joseph had put away half the blocks then decided he wanted to count by 2’s instead of 3’s so he dumped the whole thing out and started over again . . .


Today at the end of his naptime he was putting away his blocks and I heard this monologue.


“After 21 comes 24. 24 (block in box) After 24 comes 27. 27 (another block in box), after 27 comes 33. 33 (block). After 33 comes 36. 36 (block). After 36 comes 42. No, 41. No 41 is not divisible by three. 42 (block). After 42 comes 45 . . .”

At that point I walked away to record what I’d heard.  When I came back as he was nearly finished I heard: “318(block), 321(block)”


Sometimes I wonder if it’s all for real, but the mistakes help prove that I’m not making it all up . . .

Posted by harp on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Edit
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Well overdue I present to you a snapshot of Joseph at about 2 ½, which age he turned on December 28th.  (I hit my deadline for this post, so it is rather stream-of-conscious, sorry!)


Joseph is blessing to our family in so many ways, from his bright smile, love of learning, eagerness to help, and love for his sister.  He has longish curly hair (we haven’t cut it since early summer!) and rosy cheeks.  He is quite independent, able to play by himself for long periods of time (though not without a frustrated whine every now and then when something doesn’t work), but he still needs to check in with Mommy or Bappe for a quick hug or snuggle, but then he’s off again!  He is nearly potty trained, which we never forced but just used the ideas of Elimination Communication throughout his life until he could dress and undress himself, climb on the toilet and take care of business.  When life is exciting (which it often is) he’ll have an accident, which is why I say he is nearly (day) potty trained.


His first love is still numbers.  He loves writing them on the blackboard or with pencil or marker and paper.  He knows many addition facts and the odd multiplication fact along with liking to count by 2’s, 6’s, 10’s, 11’s etc.  In the evening when he gets ready for bed he sings the toothbrush song with Bappe and then gets to brush his teeth while Bappe counts by X’s where X is chosen by Joseph and can be as large as 10,000, but usually not that easy!  He’s long been able to count to 100 in French, Japanese and Russian and counts beyond 1 million in English and German.  He has no trouble switching, even though 65 is said “five and 60” in German.  He makes mistake sometime, but I’ve never heard him make a mistake with this transposition (except ages ago when he was just learning the German).  He’s more likely to say “17 times 54 is 71” instead of plus.  He knows facts like that because Grandma made power point presentation bits with math facts as well as many other shows.  He loves the math of course, but also the music, the paintings, the Roman numerals, Greek alphabet, and shapes.  He can use the mouse to navigate the screene and switch between menus to pick the show he wants (the buttons for navigating are quite big on the screen, so it works).


Joseph loves being with other people, especially those he knows and loves.  He is consistent about speaking the language of the person he is talking to and seems to have no trouble switching.  He speaks more and more in sentences, though his grammar still has a long way to go.  For example, he still mixes up “me” and “you” and says “you like a cracker” and “like to get down” because I ask him “would you like a cracker?” and “Would you like to get down?”  He’s taught himself to write some letters and enjoys writing the names of family members.  He can read selected words, but I’m not sure which ones and where he learned them!  He’s memorized whole books (The Lorax and Barenstein Bears and the In-Crowd being two favorites), and enjoys reciting them with or without the books in hand.


Joseph loves running in the house, jumping on the bed and couches, spinning around, riding his bike and kickboard, and generally moving around and having a good time.  Though he doesn’t dance to music like his sister, he is getting better at singing and following melody contour and well as pronouncing the words.  He knows some hymns (It is Well with my Soul, and Be Still my Soul) and plenty of tracks from Sounds Like Fun, Sing the Word from A to Z, and Nursery Rhymes.


Joseph likes to call our family “Father, Mother, Sister, Brother” and is always very happy when we are all together – like it should be!


At church he often sits well for the first half of the service and then goes to play during the sermon.  Given how much he loves to play with the other kids, it’s great he’s willing to sit quietly for half of the service.  He always likes it when church comes around.  In fact, he likes order and consistency very much.  He loves our twice-daily Bible readings and knows all the repeated parts by heart, often joining us.  Heaven forbid that we make a mistake – we surely hear about it!


He loves his sister, always exclaiming “sister’s awake!” when she wakes up and loving her with hugs and kisses.  He often likes playing with her, but often detests when she interrupts a puzzle or train play.  He’s getting better at controlling himself, but he is not free from having tempers, though thankfully they are never long.


Joseph loves helping whether at the grocery store, by setting the table, cooking, laundry, or pouring his milk.  He’ll happily fetch something for me, but cleaning up after himself is still a chore, though he can do it well when reminded.  His nook is the hardest to clean up because there are all manner of papers, writing utensils, stickers, scissors, and other little things that get all mixed up.  He spend much of his self-play in the nook, and I think that’s part of why he plays so well most of the time with his sister when he’s out of it – he knows he can go someplace and be undisturbed.


He likes doing puzzles, as large as 24 pieces, and has started entertaining himself by putting it together wrong-side-up, flipping the pieces of a finished puzzle over piece by piece.


He is a fairly good eater, trying everything before him with sometimes some coaxing.  He likes to sleep in the play pen and to be tucked in with pillow and comforter.  During his two-hour quiet time in the afternoon he still often naps, though it goes in phases.



Joseph is so able that we often forget he is only 2 ½ years old!  He gets most of our experimenting as parents, but he seems to be holding up strong.  We clearly see some of the advantages and disadvantages of being the first born.  We pray that despite everything he will continue to grow strong, healthy, kind, and intelligent.  We are so thankful that God let us be your parents, Joseph!

Posted by harp on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 11:21 am | Edit
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I finally decided to wean Joseph since he was showing no signs of stopping.  We’d been down to nursing once a day for a good long time, but with my sister’s suggestion I made a little countdown so we could count the days of mommy milk left.  Unfortunately, he ripped all the numbers off on the first day, so we got to “zero day of mommy milk” on day two.  I decided to stick with it and he’s survived just fine.  He still remembers, though, but I tell him he can have lots of snuggles whenever he wants, and he doesn’t whine too much any more.


Nov. 27th Stephan watched the kids in the evening so I could go to a lady’s craft evening at church.  (It sounds better in German)  Poor Vivienne came down with a cold that evening, so she wasn’t so happy without me, but I didn’t know that until I came home, so I had a lovely time making an advent wreath and sharing with the other women.  It was great to have someone else do all the prep and clean up and show me what to do.  I don’t make things with my hands much, so I felt a bit weird, but in the end I was happy with what I did and now we have an advent wreath to go with our Advent celebrations.


Nov. 29: Vivienne learned to back off the bed on purpose and did so several times. Now she knows to back down stairs, too, though of course she still needs constant attention.


Nov. 30th Stephan writes “Joseph wants yogurt, but has to put on clothes first. Bappe helps him with his pyjama shirt. He is distressed and has to put it on again so he can take it off himself.”


Dec. 1st Joseph helped me make an apple pie for Diana’s Thanksgiving feast.  We manage to make it and the biscuits and get to the dinner only 15 minutes late.  We had a lovely time as usual, and thanks to many willing hands who played with the kids.


Dec. 2nd I sang in church, so it was a full morning, then in the play time afterwards Joseph fell over backwards in his chair somehow.  Neither of us saw it, and we’re not exactly sure what happened from the description, but in any case, he split open his head (okay, it was just surface) and it bleed and looked awful.  After some crying Joseph carried on like nothing had happened, which made preparations for going to the hospital much easier.  Our upstairs neighbor watched Vivienne, who was due for a nap, while Stephan got a car and we drove Joseph to the children’s hospital.  The people who came in after us also had a fall and they were shown in right away while Joseph was left running around the play area. He even tried to do a somersault, but I stopped that . . .


We had a wait a bit, but I wasn’t scared at that point because I figured if the doctors weren’t in a hurry it couldn’t be bad.  Sure enough, when it was our turn, Joseph had to lie on his tummy while the doctor cleaned up the wound and glued it back together.  It was a clean split and easy to glue.  We are so thankful for God’s provision.  I failed to mention that all of this happened during a decent amount of snow fall, which of course did not make driving easier.  I’m so thankful Stephan was there, but I also managed to stay rather calm.  Still, I would NOT have wanted to drive Joseph to the hospital myself.


So, what do I do? Joseph has been standing on chairs to work at tables for well over a year now.  Do I stop him now because he’s fallen once?  Our kitchen floors are much harder than where he fell today.  I don’t know if he was too far away from the table and nobody noticed, or if another kid pushed past and made him loose balance.  I don’t know because we weren’t there (there’s always someone watching the kids in this play area, but you can’t have a hand on each kid all the time!).  He’s always been in such good control when I’ve seen him, though.  Well, I’ll be careful for two weeks so this wound can heal, but I think in the end, I still won’t become a helicopter parent.  Some people, would say I should, though!

Posted by harp on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Edit
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Nov. 10: Joseph figures out how to write “2” finally and is so happy.  It has a hat like his 3’s – pictures coming soon on Stephan’s blog.


Joseph goes on a date with Bappe to the shopping center with the balls.  He goes without a diaper, successfully uses the public toilet there, and comes home dry.  Bappe can’t stop talking about what a good boy he was in the grocery store and how helpful he was.


During our evening reading Stephan and I often misspeak because we’re so tired.  Tonight Stephan misses an “amen” and Joseph flips out.  He was bouncing around paying no attention at all, or so it seemed, when he suddenly stopped and cried out in the most distressed voice ever “amen amen amen!!!” until we backed up, put the amen where it belonged and continued.  All is well with the world.


11: Joseph writes “V” on the blackboard and says “Vee is for Vivienne” then he continues writing “vivi.”


12: Stephan gives Vivienne a hot piece of eggplant and upon touching it she pulls her hand back and says “hot.”  She learned the word with me while touching the radiator, and came up with it on her own this time as I was away from the table and Stephan speaks German with her.


That same meal I tried to make yogurt at the same time we were eating, which meant of course that the milk boiled over.  Stephan went to the kitchen to save it, but being too slow for my hasty temperament, I shouted “take off the lid!” and ran in there myself.  Thankfully I said nothing worse because the event so impressed Joseph that he reenacted it several times, complete with shouting and running into the kitchen.


16: Vivienne can stand a few seconds on her own if she isn’t aware of it.  She has discovered that if she doesn’t put the chalk into her mouth she is allowed to have it, and she knows it is meant for use on the board.  Sometimes she’ll take on in each hand and draw with both, which means that sometimes she’ll stand with no support.  If you try to stand her up at another point, however, she’ll just buckle her knees to get to crawling or sitting.


17:  Joseph looks at Grandpa Wightman’s pictures and says “Grandpa Wightman. Grandpa Wightman. Grandpa white pants.”


18: Joseph wears underwear to church and comes home dry.  (Today, Nov. 25 he does the same only this time we forgot to prompt a bathroom stop. He went 3 hours without going!).  He’s dry again for a longish evening bikeride.  He’s getting good!


19: Joseph likes to call the prayer book the “cadets book” (an interesting pronunciation of the German “Gebetsbuch”)


20: Joseph has learned to use the computer mouse to navigate the buttons on the power point presentations that Grandma made for him.  There are twelve big buttons on the screen, each representing a slide show of bit material.  He loves watching them and repeating the words as they are presented.  He also parrots the material when he’s not at the computer.  He’ll say things like “B major and C-flat major” and imitate the sounds of the percussion instruments, or list Swiss cantons.  I was surprised how easily he developed the skill of using the mouse once he got the idea, but isn’t that how it is with kids. You think they’re getting nowhere, then the figure it out and then bam, they know what to practice so they good at it very fast!

21: Joseph writes 0 -10 on the blackboard, all by himself, and I got a picture of the proud student and his work.


22-23: We visit new friends in Lausanne (we met via blogs) and Stephan goes to a Swiss-Japan meeting while the kids play and the mommy talk.  It was a fun and inspiring visit and I came home refreshed since I didn’t fix a meal or wash a dish for over 24 hours.  Our host needs to learn how to put her guests to work and accept their offers of help. ;)

Posted by harp on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Edit
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Oct. 20: We went on a hike with Joseph’s Swiss-side cousin and his parents along a beautiful like that we couldn’t see because the fog was so thick.  It was sunny on the inside, though, as we enjoyed the company of family.  At the very end we did see some of the view and the rest of the afternoon was crisp and beautiful.  The boy cousins had fun throwing stones and drinking water from the fountain and just enjoying life.  Joseph rode his bike for much of the time and Vivienne was happy in the backpack with Stephan.  She fell asleep so when Joseph got tired he had to go on my back!  The wrap works well, be he sure is heavier than his sister!


Joseph teaches himself how to write 7.  The down stroke is vertical and it MUST have a cross.


22: Together we write 12-100 on the blackboard.  This time Joseph does all the 0’s, 1’s, 4’s, and 6-9’s by himself.  He does a number of 5’s in his own way until I try to help him (read: correct him).  Then she shuts down and insists that he can’t write 5 and that Mommy has to.  It’s another clear lesson of why there is so much to the idea of unschooling.  Joseph has taught himself so much but he is so fragile.  He learns most when I’m there as a resource for his self-directed learning.  Any brilliant idea of mine on how to gently teach is more often than not a disaster.  (Note that in the pictures that are up there is one photo that is labeled “Joseph writes 95-100”.  The 5 of the 95 is mine, the rest is all his.)


23: Joseph demonstrates that he knows most of the US capitals as he puts his US puzzle together.


Looking at a board book with the animals names in bold lower-case, Joseph says “c-a-t spells cat” and reads each of the animals names in that way.


Joseph starts to color inside the lines in his coloring book – not perfect but he has the idea (I never told him to, but I did color inside the lines a few times when I was playing with him).


24: At Vivienne’s 9 month doctor appointment Joseph remembered and asked for a 15-piece jigsaw puzzle that was in the waiting room.  We did it together once then he did it himself almost without help.  We have no such puzzles at home (hint, hint).


26: We visit Joseph’s birthday buddy and have a great time playing.


Soon after I asked Joseph to put away his number puzzle I heard him say “I put away my number puzzle just for you.” Which is a modification of the lines in the book “Just for You” where the child character does things just for his mom.


27:  Joseph reads all of “Hop on Pop” on his own.


Vivienne knows the hand motions we use during our Bible reading times.  I still guide her hands, but she anticipates a little.  It’s so fun!  Joseph has most of the repeated parts of these readings memorized even though most of the words surely don’t make sense to him.  A child’s memory is amazing.


30:  Vivienne back down 5-6 steps of stairs.


November 2: Joseph is getting pretty good at going to the toilet when he needs to go (at least during the day).  Today he was watching a Pimsleur French DVD when he realized he had to go and said so while climbing off the chair.  I paused the DVD and he went to the toilet without complaining.  I find that impressive, because TV - even educational TV - is mesmerizing.


Nov. 5: Joseph has been trying to teach himself to write “2” and is very frustrated.  I see it as a good illustration that a child’s play is really WORK.  Joseph doesn’t imitate and ask for repetition, and practice writing just because he doesn’t know what else to do.  He is desperate to be able to DO and SAY the things adults can.  He is thirsty for knowledge and is deeply upset when he can’t learn what he wants to learn.  If we patronize and say “how cute” or in other ways belittle his work, we can easily crush his spirit.  It’s a bit scary.  He is so capable of learning so much, but all that can fall apart if we don’t take care to respect his work as serious and not just child’s play.  Parenting is fun, but it’s scary!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Edit
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On the 21st Vivienne turned nine months.  It is at once hard to believe it has been that short and that long since we welcomed her!  She is now the age Joseph was when we moved to Emmen.  Having kids messes with my sense of time.  But the fact that I have no sense of time and I still can’t believe I’m really a mother is not that important.  What’s important is that when I wasn’t looking, someone took my sweet baby and gave us a delightful little girl.


Vivienne creeps (hands and knees crawling) everywhere and at lightning speed.  So often goes so fast that she ‘steps’ on her hands with her knees and takes a dive into the floor.  She is quick to burst into big, pitiful tears, but Mama can cure most of her woes.  She hugs and kisses and loves to be with her family and snuggle.  She doesn’t like to be cooped up for long, though, so it’s a wonderful balance of snuggles and exploration.  She is tough despite her dramatic explosions.  Joseph likes to move whatever object she’s holding on to for standing and she either keeps holding on or drops off in a controlled way.  She is expert at going from hands-and-knees to sitting or standing (with a hand on something) and back down again, so she has had very little need to learn to cruise.  She’s been pulling herself up since 6 months but still hasn’t taken more than a step or two while holding on.  If you try to hold her hands so she can walk, she buckles her knees so she can get down and creep.  She is very stable, though, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she started standing and walking in the not-too-distant future.


She has four upper teeth and two lower teeth and a great big smile that she showers on everybody, especially Mom, Dad and big brother.  She is delighted to see Joseph whenever she wakes up, and though she can play on her own for a bit, she is definitely happier when big brother is there to pick on her love her.  Joseph adores Vivienne, but he doesn’t know his strength or how something might hurt, so like I said, she’s learning to be tough.


Vivienne has only just begun exploring drawers and is actually quite good about listening to ‘no’ though of course there’s a long way yet to go.  She likes flipping through books, ‘singing’ loudly, throwing things (food, dominos, balls) and when she gets excited (which is often) she pumps up and down and up at down with great amplitude and frequency.  She loves music and when she hears it she sways back and forth with remarkable accuracy.


Vivienne is a good sleeper.  She still wakes up often in the night (actually, last night she only woke up at 2:30am and 5am so I hope that trend continues) and will not infrequently settled down to sleep on her own or with minimal coaching.  Sometimes she’ll even settle back down without nursing when she’s woken up upset.  If she does need to nurse, it’s briefly and then she pops off, rolls over and goes back to sleep.  It is quite a blessing for this mama to have such an easy sleeper!  She’s also fairly regular, taking a short morning nap between 9 and 10, a longer afternoon nap after lunch, and going to bed at 8 and getting up around 7.  I’m positively spoiled (though of course frequent wake-ups mean I’m still not getting normal sleep, so don’t think I have it too easy!).


As for EC, most of Vivienne’s poo goes directly in the toilet and sometimes a pee, but we’re not working that hard at it.  She’s clear about when she has to poo, and that’s good enough EC for me.


Her favorite foods are paper and dirt, so she keeps me busy whether inside or out.  She’s a pretty good eater, too - happily eating whatever we’re eating that’s appropriate for her.  Today she downed pumpkin and potatoes like it was candy.


I’m working on getting caught up with videos so you can see her yourself!  With her smile and curls she is absolutely charming!  We love you, Vivienne!

Posted by harp on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Edit
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The last weekend in September we visited the Stücklins while they were on vacation in the Ticino.  We had a grand time despite some drizzly weather.  One night the kids had a special date with their grandparents (including baths!) while Stephan and I had a special date just the two of us.  As we drove away from the house I realized it was the first time I’d been away for something fun since Vivienne was born.  I think the longest I’d been away from them both at once was for a church worship team meeting that I went to directly after my post-birth exercise class for a total of about 4.5 hours.  Anyway, it was strange to think I hadn’t gone out for fun on my own for eight months!  Of course I’ve been having plenty of fun, but it sure felt strange to only have my own two arms and legs to walk around with.  I soon stopped worrying (thanks to cell phones), which was good because we were headed for quite an adventure of our own!


We checked out a restaurant that was in the restaurant guide we gave the Stücklins and we almost didn’t stay because they were booked and only had room in the event room, which was past the kitchen, up a narrow staircase and decidedly less atmospheric than the main room with its fireplace and homey feel.  A friendly neighbor translated for us (Italian to German) as a plump Italian grandma gave us our options.  Dinner is at 7pm and there’s no menu.  You can pick between pasta and sliced meat and a veggie pâté for a starter, and roast beef and rabbit for entrée.  Until then you can take a walk in the rain or order a drink and wait inside.  We opt for the rain after Stephan convinces me we’re better off here than finding another place to eat.  And boy, am I glad I submitted this time.  The kids survived the late evening (though we were back by 10) and we had an absolute blast.  We walked through the beautiful Italian-style little town (name?) and covered it all in a matter of minutes.  The wet and cold didn’t keep us from enjoying the romance of the moment.  Hard to believe so much cuteness can be packed into so little space.  Back at the restaurant, I still wasn’t convinced of the ambiance.  We were located near the restrooms and we heard a man doing his business loud and clear.  Shortly after, he entered the room we were in with not a small amount of embarrassment (all expressed in Italian, of course).  As it turns out, he was a musician and we were in the musicians green room of sorts.  We shared our first course with the two musicians – the other one being the owner of the restaurant – before they went downstairs to entertain the guests.  I had the freshly homemade pasta and Stephan had the huge plate of meat and the vegetable pâté.  Both were delicious.  I was thrilled with my roast beef and Stephan quite pleased with his rabbit.  I’m not such a bit fan of dining out in Switzerland (nothing can compare to the dining experience in Japan), but this was a real treat.  During breaks the musicians would join us again and we got to talking.  It turns out that the bass player is a Canadian who first came to Geneva with a job in theater and now teaches English privately to the Italian-speaking Swiss, and the owner/mandolin player is a former banker who got sick of the dirty end of the business started the restaurant with his wife.  He’s an avid amateur mandolin player and absolutely adores entertaining his guests with song and passionate playing on weekends when he’s not chatting with guests or filling their orders.  During one break Stephan asked him if mandolin playing was different in different music traditions, which lead to a passionate impromptu lecture on mandolin styles complete with musical examples from bluegrass to Peruvian.  When I asked “And what about Italian?” he beamed saying it was the most beautiful of all and launched into a soulful and passionate ballad.  As for my doubts about ambiance, how romantic can you get?


After our desert we were invited downstairs as there was now room.  We enjoyed the music and couldn’t have escaped if we’d wanted to.  The only space for the musicians to play in the tiny room is right in front of the door!  If Dad didn’t worry so much about fire-safety violations I’d insists on taking my parents there someday.


It’s a good thing we don’t have too many adventures like this because it surely does take a long time to write about!  We returned home happy and not as poor as we thought we might after the feast we were served.  The kids had had a great time with Stephan’s folks and we had another memory to last a lifetime.  Every year Father Tom’s words take on deeper meaning.  His wedding address to us included the advice that the answer to “How long have you been married?” is always “Not long enough.”  The longer we’re married the more it’s not long enough.  Who knew life would be this hard but this good?


Now on to the biggest reasons why life is so hard and so good: the kid’s adventures!


Sept 29: Vivienne’s next upper right tooth appears.  She climbs up a whole flight of stairs.


Oct. 2: Joseph sees some soy sauce in a bowl and calls it “pink ink” (from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish)


Oct. 6: Vivienne’s next upper left tooth appears.  Now she has four on top and two on bottom.


Oct. 7: Vivienne can reach my desk.


Oct. 9: I overhear Joseph say “J-O-S-E-P-H Joseph!”  He can now write I, J, H, O, and L and enjoys doing so greatly.  J is for Joseph, H is for Aunt Heather, L is for Lorax, and after writing I he says “that a very very nice I”


Oct. 10: Once a week a friend visits so he can practice English.  His mother tongue is French.  Sometimes we read Dr. Seuss books.  Today I overheard Joseph reading Fox in Sox.  He read the first page the way he always does, then he read it again with a French accent.


Oct. 12: Joseph still loves writing numbers on the chalkboard.  He can write one and zero and something that sometimes looks like a 9 (but it always is a 9 to him).  I write down the parts to a number he can’t and he fills them out for me, usually placing the numbers in the correct place (like adding 1 before the 3 for 13).  Today he asked for “count by 6’s.”   I stopped at 102 but said “108” so I wrote it to, then he said “114” then “120”!  I don’t know what’s going on up there.  He says crazy stuff like “4+5=1!” but then he knows stuff like how to count by six to 120!!  Motherhood surely is an exciting ride!


Oct. 13: Joseph loses his socks in the indoor playground with balls at the shopping center nearby.  When the time comes to put his shoes on without socks for the trip home he is distressed.  Who knew socks were that important to a two-year-old?


This afternoon both kids wake-up shortly into their naps within 5 minutes of each other.  That’s not too unusual, but what’s noteworthy is that they both went back to sleep and slept for a good while before waking up again (also within 5 minutes of each other).  A double double nap!  It doesn’t make up for the times when they don’t nap together at all . . .


Joseph is starting to not need an afternoon nap.  He still sleeps several times a week, but it is not uncommon for him to stay awake for the whole two-hour quiet time.  I am grateful that I started the quiet time rule just in time!


Joseph is also getting very good at wearing underwear and using the toilet for his needs.  We’ve taken a few short outings in underwear but haven’t tried any naptime or overnights yet.  We haven’t been pushing it.  He asks for his underwear most of the time.  When he is in a diaper then he can’t be bothered to use the toilet, though.  So I wonder if he would do well during a nap if I let him wear underwear to bed.


Oct. 14: We take a Mobility car up to our old Basel church BCF and enjoy a Sunday service in English and then the harvest lunch afterwards.  It’s lovely to see old friends and to see how much all the children have grown.  It had been over a year since we visited!


Oct. 15:  Joseph can write “6” as well as “9, 1, and 0.”  On the 19th he adds “4” to his list of skills.  He is very proud of himself.  He wrote something that looked like a 5 without the cross and I said “That looks like a five!”  He looked at it and then added a cross in the right place and said excitedly “five!”  It’s still hard for him to reproduce, though.


Oct. 16: Together Joseph and I write 0 to 100 on the blackboard.  Joseph writes all the 0’s, 1’s, 6’s and 9’s, adding them in the right places.  Often he’ll first put them in the wrong place then correct himself saying “that’s 41” then putting the ‘1’ in front to make the number he meant to in the first place.


Oct. 17:  I get frustrated easily, and though I’m much better, I still yell at my kids in exasperation.  Today I heard Joseph in the other room saying “no, not the CD’s” over and over in a calm voice.  I went to check it out and he was patiently trying put back the CD’s Vivienne had pulled out.  One can question the effectiveness of such calm correction, but I am grateful at least that he has picked up some kind discipline from us despite the times when we fail to be calm.  So far the only “yelling” he has picked up is when he pees in his pants.  He goes “grrr Joseph!” (or something like that) when he pees, which I can only assume is the grunt of dismay I utter when I’ve noticed he’s soiled something . . . but like I said, he doesn’t pee in his pants that much anymore and can even stop it in time to run to the bathroom and finish.


That is plenty for now.  Don’t forget to post a comment to my Mind Oranization for Moms post!

Posted by harp on Friday, October 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Edit
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I hope I don’t keep this once-a-month schedule for bullet updates, but better late than never.


Sept. 1: Vivienne’s upper left tooth appears.

We all head to Argau for a homeschool sports day put on by the Swiss homeschool association “Bildungzuhause.”  They’re more the unschooling type, so it was a little disorganized, but Joseph did get some time before we had to go to run around in the gym that they had set up with all kinds of fun physical activities.  A lot of them I found cool and Stephan said they are standard for Swiss schools.  I don’t think everyone in America gets to play with rings and parallel bars, but I never took P.E. after 2nd grade, so maybe I’m mistaken.  Somehow I doubt it, though.  Gyms in the states have basketball hoops, not rings and bars.  Mommy and Daddy got their sport in too.  We had to run to catch the train both ways . . .


Sept. 3: Joseph walks a mile (to the apple farm and back).

4: Joseph says “I love you” while doing the ASL sign as well.

7: Joseph looks at the alphabet and says “A (is for) Aunt Heather, B (for) Bappe.”  He likes to say equations to himself, though he is often wrong.  Today he said with full enthusiasm “three plus one ekiacles two!”  He says equals in that cute way that’s hard to write(ee-kee-ah-kls).

Vivienne sits well on her own.


8: We go to a friend’s (KB) first birthday party in the Zurich area.  Joseph wants to open all her toys, but we all have a good time.  Both kids love playing with a whole new set of toys.

Joseph rides his birthday bike outside for the first time.  He heads down the same steep ramp that he fell on while he was a beginning walker.  Bappe caught him, but it was a scary ride nonetheless.


9: “mit links, links, links, links, links” (Stephan will have to decipher this note for us)


10: Joseph uses the full sentence “Jophe want to swing.”


11: Joseph counts to 100 in Japanese looking at the dots book.

Vivienne’s upper right tooth appears.


13: Joseph can sing the whole United States of America song.


14: Joseph pushes Vivienne on the swing while counting to 10 in French.  (I kid you not.  Vivienne was sitting on a regular swing, too – and of course I was right there to catch her.)


16: Vivienne has been eating bits of whatever we’re eating since she was five months.  Often she gags, but she has always been able to handle the food well, swallowing what she can and rejecting what she can’t.  Today was the first time she got ahold of something (we think maybe paper?) that choked her up more than that and we just started to get scared when she recovered.  I love my daughter, I don’t want to loose her!  I’m usually pretty good about not worrying too much, but episodes like that set the mind a spinning.  Every day we are so dependent on God’s provision and mercy!

That same day Vivienne slips while holding onto our neighbor’s coffee table.  She hits her chin, which causes her lower teeth to cut her upper gums pretty badly.  At least it bleeds a lot, but again she recovers and lives to see another day.


21: Joseph has been playing with a simple gadget the shows some basic addition and subtraction problems.  Today I playfully “quizzed” him and he gave the correct answers for 1+1, 1+2, etc. through 1+7, then I went out of order and asked 1+9 and 1+8.  He paused before answering (he was clearly expecting the questions to go in order), but gave the write answers.

Vivienne turns 8 months.


22: We have good friend’s over (Gotte D + Götti A S.) and we enjoy celebrating the first day of fall with butternut pumpkin pastetli (puff pastry cups) and fresh apple juice and homemade Swiss apple cakes.  Good food, good company, and good kids.  Our bedtime routines really made it so much easier for us to put the kids to bed without tears and have a little adult time.  I only wish we’d started earlier, but I’m so grateful for the peace it’s brought to our household.  We invited our friends to join us for family time (30min before bedtime) and that was fun, especially since we all sang Amazing Grace together and with some harmony.  I am looking forward to making music together as a family!


23: Our church celebrates God’s provision with a harvest service and brunch.  Vivienne rocks out to the praise songs, sanding while holding on to a chair and rocking energetically back and forth to the beat.  Later in the service both kids sit on my lap and Vivienne falls asleep on her brothers shoulder.  SO sweet!


24: Vivienne starts moving from all-fours to the seated position.  Up until now I’ve put her in a seated position and she does well, but usually wants to get moving again.  Now she’s happy switching at will.


26: Vivienne bangs block together.  (Doctors care about this. I just noticed now, but I don’t know if she’s done it earlier).


27: Joseph stays awake for his whole 2 hour quiet time for the second day in a row.  I still think he needs the sleep, but it looks like we’re starting to loose the nap and he’s only 27 months!!  I think he keeps himself awake watching the clock until it hits the time I tell him he can.  He just came out shouting the time he’s allowed to be finished and woke his sister up, who took forever falling asleep today too . . . Hope you appreciate me giving up my break to get this update done!

Posted by harp on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Edit
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Aug 20th : Joseph learns to do a somersault by himself.  Vivienne is getting pretty good at sitting up by herself, though she only does when I put her in that position.


Aug 21st: Joseph appears to say “Grandma, Dad-o” with a strange accent but then continues with “delta” and part of the Greek alphabet.  He can name them all but no yet say the full alphabet without looking (at least as far as I’ve noticed).


That night it storms so hard that rain comes in through the heavy shudders and we get to clean up a bit mess in the middle of the night.  Then the kids were up early . . . but on the plus side I rearranged the furniture because of it and we’re happy with the space it gives us.


Aug 22nd: Vivienne loves clapping her hands together and slapping water.  She LOVES water.


Aug 23rd: Vivienne uses a neat pincher grasp to pick up a garden pea.  She’s getting better about getting things in her mouth, too.


Aug 24th: Joseph often says “hard one” when he’s on the toilet (because I used to encourage him when he was working hard on the pot with “that’s a hard one, isn’t it. You can do it.”)  Sometimes he goes on to say “hard, too” and if he has another one he’ll say “hard three”.  English is so confusing.


Aug. 25th: We go to the wedding of one of Stephan’s friends and Joseph has a blast playing with the other children.  He’s too excited to chew his food and brings it all back up on the drive home.  When we stop to clean it up we discover Stephan’s wallet on the roof of the car still intact.  See Stephan’s blog for details.


Aug 26th: Joseph easily completes a shape sorter at the church nursery by carefully looking for the correct slot before attempting to put a piece in.


Aug 29th: On the swing we count by 10’s, 2’s, and 6’s.  Later that day Joseph asks me to count by 6’s again.  I stop at 96 and he exclaims “102!”  Your guess as to why or how is as good as mine.


Aug 31st: Vivienne is fussy much of the early morning (starting at 2am) and it’s because her morning poo came too early.  That meant we were all up at 5am (but I caught most of the poo on the toilet – as is often the case these days).  That threw the schedule and the ability of the kids to cope way off and it makes me appreciate that we have a pretty good rhythm going.  Joseph is usually up shortly after 6 and Stephan gets him going.  Vivienne often sleeps until around 7 so I can either sleep a bit more or get some work done.  Vivienne takes a 1 ½ hour nap (about) in the morning and then both kids sleep about that much after lunch.  The afternoon naps even overlap a good bit of the time, so that makes me happy.  I’ve also started asking Joseph to play on his own even if he’s not sleeping so that he’s on his own for two hours whether napping or sleeping.  He does a very good job with it, and having that space every day does wonders for my sanity.  I’ve started making myself rest again during part of that time, which is also very beneficial.  I almost got a nap today but their naps dovetailed so neatly that my chance for sleep faded away.  Instead, you get a bullet update.  I know that will make some grandparents very happy . . .

Posted by harp on Friday, August 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Edit
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Aug 9: Joseph and Janet are writing numbers, as they often do, this time at the chalkboard.  Joseph asks Janet to write 112 but she only write a ‘2’ and asks Joseph to make it a 112.  Joseph completes the number correctly.


11: Vivienne now has a cross-pattern creep (hands and knees crawl).  Go Vivienne! We’re so proud of you!  Her lower left tooth appears, too.  That’s quite a bit of change for a little body!


The four Stücklin-Wightmans take a trip to Tierpark Goldau, an animal park (not quite a full zoo) in the Lucerne area.  We all have a blast, though I have to admit when I discovered that they let deer and other animals out in the public area I was a little uncomfortable, especially since we’d bought some animal feed and were there the moment the doors opened.  That meant we were greeted by a swarm of hungry deer that could smell we had breakfast!  Joseph was a little frightened, too, but he warmed up throughout the day and by the end was having a blast feeding the deer and goats and we all came home healthy and happy minus a skinned knee.  We’re at that age and I’m doing better with not letting my heart break when I see my son bleed. . .

There was playground equipment scattered throughout the park and I had fun trying my skills at them (I’m not pregnant! I can DO these things!  Did I mention diving off of the high dive at the lake?  It’s fun to have my body my own again after a few years of baby carrying…).  Joseph and Vivienne also had fun.  Vivienne did well in a contraption that looked like a Pacman on a spring.  Lots of playgrounds have those horses on a spring you can whip back and forth in, but this one had a seat and a foot and hand bar that Vivienne could hold on to well.  She did great!


At one point Joseph saw a little girl with a 4x4 pattern of hearts on her shirt.  He scared her a bit by walking up close and saying ‘heart heart heart heart.’  At this point I was more worried about him scaring the girl and trying to get him to give him some space, but Stephan said as I pulled him away he said ‘sixteen heart’ in German.  My mental replay confirmed that this could have been what he said, but how did he know that?  Oh, maybe the dominos, which have numbers in very logical patterns, I say, but Stephan points out that the dominos only go up to 15, though the pattern is the same for 16, only one row has three not four.  A day or so later I saw a pile of almonds on the table and said ‘six’ without counting them.  He’s done that now and then with other random amounts of things.  This baffles me even though of course I know he’s had a lot of number exposure.  I just still have too little expectation for what a little kid can do!


Joseph has also started to experiment with jumping with both feet coming off the floor.  Late for his age, but he’s having a blast.


12: Another number story, this time in church.  During the announcements there were several dates and numbers mentioned.  Joseph picked them out of the flow of words and happily repeated them.  His pronunciation was clear enough for those around us to understand what had happened.  Fortunately he was happy to continue with his quiet voice so as to no longer disturb other people (though folks at church are quite relaxed).


15:  It’s a Catholic holiday so Stephan has the day off.  We go and visit Joseph’s birthday buddy, who had just gotten a little brother.  It was great to see them again and even though we’ve known each other for over a year it was Stephan’s first time meeting them!


That evening Bappe gets a Vivienne kiss.  She is quite deliberate about them.  She opens her mouth and pulls you close and plants one on your cheek.  She is not exactly a snuggle bug (she also likes to be on the move a lot, like her brother), but she is quite affectionate when she wants to be.


17: This is the third morning in a row that Vivienne has woken up and pooed on the toilet for me.  EC has been on the back burner for a while, so I’m happy that I’ve had several day of no pooy diapers!  We’ve been feeding her bits of solid from about 5.5 months and she eats it up!  I’m much more relaxed about giving her food that I was with Joseph.  Again, we’re not pureeing anything, just giving her soft bits of whatever we’re eating.  She does a great job of rejecting what she can’t swallow, and swallowing what she can.  I think she prefers to eat than nurse at least during the day!  Anyway, the solid food helps make more solid poo, which makes it easier for me to tell that she’s working on getting one out, which means I can catch them pretty easily.

Posted by harp on Friday, August 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Edit
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