Monday, January 25, 2010

A Few of Alaina's Favorite Things

Now that our "little sprout" is a few months old, we are starting to see a lot more of her personality. I thought it would be fun to write about some of her favorite things to do. . . .

Alaina loves to take baths. She only squeaked a little bit during her first bath at the hospital, and since then, she has never cried in the tub--not even when having her hair washed (although she sometimes cries when we take her out!). Alaina has just about outgrown her baby bathtub (although I still put her in it when she takes baths with Janae . . . for obvious reasons!).

Alaina started rolling at the beginning of the month, and now it's hard to stop her. She is really good at getting from her back to her tummy, and is starting to roll from her tummy to her back as well. She also loves to grab her feet and chew on her toes :)


Alaina loves to be propped up to standing--and then she stays on her feet by herself. She is pretty steady. Here she is beside our bead maze, trying to put the wires in her mouth!


Alaina is constantly trying to suck her thumb. When Benjamin and Janae did this, I immediately removed their thumbs from their mouths and gave them soothers. With Alaina I just think it is too adorable :)


Finally, Alaina's all-time favorite thing to do is watching all the crazy things Benjamin and Janae are doing. I think her biggest smiles are for her brother and sister!


Alaina has a few dislikes, too, including spending time in the van, getting dressed, and bonking her head, but overall she is an easygoing and content baby. We are really happy she's part of our family!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Does That Come in Princess?

We all know that when it comes to princesses, the Walt Disney Corporation knows what it is doing. The Disney Princesses are beautiful, kind, sweet, and even smart. They have beautiful dresses, interesting stories, and handsome princes. Little girls dream about meeting them and love to dress up like them.


Janae is no different. She loves her Princesses, and especially her Princess stuff.

Princess stuff, of course, comes in all shapes and sizes. In our home, you could find the following items, all bearing the Disney Princess logo:

Shoes (running shoes and dress-up shoes)
Swimming suit
Coloring books
CD player
Dolls (regular, Polly Pocket style, and paper dolls)
Mega Blocks


This sounds like a lot of Princess stuff, but every time we go to the store, Janae spots other items she would like to add to the collection. On Janae's verbal wishlist you might find such commonly seen and advertised items as a Princess bike/scooter, Princess jewelry/hair accessories, or a Princess umbrella.

However, with the amount of Princess merchandise available, and the amount of Princess items we have given in and bought, Janae now has the mistaken idea the everything comes in Disney Princess.

For example, one day we were talking about fishing, and Benjamin asked what types of fish one could catch in a local lake. When I suggested "rainbow trout," Janae responded that she would like to catch a "Princess rainbow trout."

When we were talking about our favorite playground equipment at the park, and Benjamin said "slides," Janae commented that she would like to play on a "Princess slide."

One morning I offered to make pancakes, and Janae said she would like a "Princess pancake," and another time when we drove by a school called "North Poplar," Janae declared that she would like to attend "Princess Poplar" when she is ready for kindergarten.

Normally I think this is kind of funny or cute, although I do worry about the influence Disney's pervasive advertising might be having on my little daughter.


The other day I realized, though, that Janae not only thinks everything comes in Princess--she thinks everything she has should be Disney Princess. She was playing with one of her favorite toys, a pony house that happens to be generic--it doesn't have any company logos or pictures on it at all. Suddenly she pushed it aside and said, "I don't want this pony house any more; I want a Princess Pony House."

I took a second to compose myself and actually refrained from using the term "spoiled br#$%" . . . but I did use the common (and effective) Mom line "Maybe you don't need to have a pony house at all and we can give this one to another little girl who would appreciate it." Janae, of course, reconsidered and finally decided she would keep her pony house after all.

But seriously, I think we have over-bought into this Princess phenomenon, and I, for one, have decided not to buy any more Disney Princess items . . . although I guess I'll need to wait until after Janae's Ariel birthday party, which she is already planning for the beginning of March.

I guess I should just consider myself lucky, though, because it could be worse. She could be asking, "Does that come in Star Wars?"


Because chances are, it probably does.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Our Ballerina Girl

This morning Janae lived out her life-long dream of dancing in a ballet class!

She had the enthusiasm;


She knew how to pose;


She even had her hair in a bun (well, sort of--thanks to a few tips from Auntie Tina and Grandma, and a bun cover from the dance store).


The ballet class happened behind closed doors, but from what I can gather, it didn't go too badly. Janae claims that she yelled at the teacher and pushed one of the kids, but when I asked the instructor if Janae did okay, she assured me that Janae was fine.

Janae wanted to keep her bodysuit and tights on the rest of the day, and she put her ballet slippers back on as soon as we got home. She didn't even want me to take out the bun!


So, I guess we're starting the new adventure of having a little beginner ballerina in the house :)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Things Fall Apart

As many of you know, I try to discourage my children from watching TV, especially when they are under a year old. Awhile back I read an article about the effects of television viewing on young children's brain development, and ever since then my efforts to limit my children's screen time could only be described as CONSTANT VIGILANCE (or possibly OCD, which I would come by quite honestly).

Anyway, with Benjamin this was not too difficult--and not just because he was the only child. Benjamin, as you might remember, was content to sit by the window and watch the lawn mowers parked in the backyard. He spent hours lining up toy cars, digging for bugs outside, or looking at books with his mommy. Benjamin was allowed to watch one show a day, but other than that, the TV was OFF.


When Janae came along things became a bit more complicated. I usually had Benjamin watch his show while Janae was napping, but sometimes he'd be finishing a video when she was awake, and once in a while she caught a glimpse of what was on. Still, I was careful not to let her sit and watch TV until she was one.


Now that Janae is a little older, she really loves her shows--especially her princess and Barbie movies. Benjamin, who is now in kindergarten and realizing that boys don't normally watch princess and Barbie movies (I knew I never should have entrusted him to the public system!), usually prefers more adventure-type programs. So reluctantly I changed my rule from one show a day to two (one each).

This means that our TV is on--with interesting, colorful, often musical, child-entrancing programming--for as many as 2-3 hours a day. Alaina, of course, has noticed this. Whenever the TV is on, she tries to watch it, straining to turn towards the television from wherever she is in the room. She opens her eyes wide, tilts her head, and strains her neck--usually in vain, but once in a while she gets to watch a few minutes.

The other day, out of the blue, Janae announced that she would be picking Teletubbies as her show (is it possible that Alaina planted this idea using some kind of Jedi mind trick she'd picked up during the few minutes of Star Wars Jason had let her see?). As I was changing Alaina's diaper, she turned towards the TV and lifted her head higher than ever before.

Since Alaina rarely shows any interest in tummy time, and has been a little lacking in muscle development (compared to her siblings), I let her lie on her tummy and lift her neck to watch a few minutes of this very baby-oriented show.


Than finally on Friday, things absolutely fell apart for me and my anti-TV crusade. Jason and I had taken the kids to Science World and were getting settled in to watch Beavers on the enormous Omnimax screen. Alaina was by my side, sleeping peacefully in her carseat. Or so it seemed.

As soon as the film began, Alaina stirred. As I picked her up, planning to quickly nurse her back to sleep, she turned towards the screen (it was, after all, kind of hard to miss), her eyes open about as wide as a human being's eyes are capable of opening.

Needless to say, she watched Beavers in its entirety--and she LOVED it!


So, the question is, what should I do now? Allow Alaina to pick one show a day, too? Eliminate my TV rules altogether? Acknowledge that TV has won? Or just carry on, trying to forget that this little Omnimax incident ever happened?

I guess I might be able to forget--I just don't think Alaina ever will :) (You'd know what I mean if you'd seen her face while she was looking at that big screen! I think she'll always have a soft spot for beavers. . . .)