03 Jun 2010

 Victoria Day consisted of sparklers at the end

Forever cautious about new things, Charlotte thought the sparklers were neat, but she really did not want to hold them herself. As the sparks burned closer to her I had to reassure her that they will stop before they burn her hand. She was a trooper in the end but chose not to hold another one.

 the non-amusement ride Charlotte experienced at the Virgil Stampede

Charlotte’s first amusement ride was anything but in her mind. The ride attendant needed assurance that, yes, we are mean parents and she will finish the ride! We know for her it is fear of the unknown. It was her choice to go on with Olivia—we just ensured she followed through.

She chose not to go on any other mechanical rides that day, and we were not surprised. Ponies were another story though. Olivia and Charlotte both enjoyed pony rides at the Virgil Stampede. They played a fishing game and both won prizes, we watched all-terrain vehicle races and a tortoise that was eating in the grass.

Charlotte has strong reasoning skills, is not afraid to speak her mind, and a great vocabulary that is only based on the English language. Lunch consists of swamiges and pretty-coloured flying insects with large wings are known as blutterflies. We do try to model correct enunciation so she learns properly, but I will miss these nuances when she does catch on.

-Pops

22 Apr 2010

 you will always know when you have made Charlotte cross

Charlotte is growing into a wonderully talented and independent little girl. With a little explaining, even the cross mood can be lifted when there is good reason behind the rule. That is a good thing because I cannot help but giggle when she gives me this look!

Charlotte helps out around the house, following Olivia’s lead and even asks to help feed her little brother Liam on occasion. It doesn’t last long, but nothing does with her attention span. She loves to play and is a good shopper, too. While we work on focussing her attention and expanding her understanding, she continually expresses herself thoughts, free of inhibition.

-Pops

29 Nov 2009

This evening we decided to have a turkey dinner. With all the food, there was no room for bread nor any reason to want such a thing, but butter was on the table just same.

Charlotte had squash; bacon, cheese and onion-stuffed baked potato; turkey and gravy on her plate. I want butter.

There really isn’t anything to put butter on, I responded, as her plate obviously had nothing on it we would traditionally top with butter. To remind us that nothing gets by her attention, within 30 seconds she suggested, How about a knife?

-Pops

18 Nov 2009

Another charming moment in Charlotte’s young life came tonight when she witnessed baby brother Liam having his diaper changed. What’s that?! she questioned, pointing at Liam’s nakedness.

So we explained one of the obvious differences between boys and girls. She must have assumed there was some correlation; or perhaps it was a simple case of not hearing the consonants correctly when she looked down at herself, pulled her pants down at the front and confirmed, I don’t have a peanut!

-Pops

02 Nov 2009

 why not to put a toddler's favourite toy inside a pumpkin for a photo

Potty training took longer but we have let Charlotte go at her own pace, most of the time. Now she sometimes gets up in the middle of the night to go potty on her own, but a pull-up is still a prerequisite for bedtime. It is fantastic how much Charlotte has learned and how many things she can do for herself.

Still the photo illustrates why not to put a toddler’s favourite toy inside a pumpkin for a photo opportunity! While her big sister Olivia had no qualms about digging into the pumpkin-carving spirit, I could not convince Charlotte to reach into the pumpkin to pull out the seeds. Whether it was too slimy or fear of the unknown (that being the innards of a pumpkin) I cannot say. She is mostly cautious or fearful, but learns to become comfortable over time and with safe exposure to new things.

Observation is a strong suit of Charlotte’s. For more than ten minutes we asked Olivia to tell us what was different out in the driveway while mommy was out picking up pizza. Olivia had wondered where mommy was. In an instant upon looking out the same window Charlotte piped up with Hey, why is mommy’s van not here?

She is pretty keen when she wants to be, and always has a prudent or sometimes smart-alec answer for everything, which makes us step back and realize our own follies with giggles and points-taken.

-Pops

05 July 2009

Everything must go in stages, and routine rules if you want to keep the peace with a toddler. Charlotte is now in the midst of potty training. She could be so good with it, we know. But she has some of daddy’s genes in her. She can be defiant, and persistent about it, too.

Just before the potty training began in earnest, the crib had to come down. Her tenacity and the crib’s availability meant Charlotte would not sleep in her toddler bed without a little persuasion.

A week before we had set up her big girl bed in the same room as her big sister, Olivia. Charlotte helped with this endeavour. That night I had asked her if she would like to help take down her crib the following weekend so we could get the nursery ready for the new baby, and she agreed.

So we did take down the crib, my girls and I. That left Charlotte with little choice but to sleep in her big girl bed which had been at the ready for the past six nights. She took to it without any real fuss and has not looked back, as far as we can determine.

 Charlotte's big-girl bed poses the challenge staying in it during sleep

If we play our cards right, Charlotte won’t be interested at all when we set up the crib again a couple weeks after she too becomes a big sister. In the interim, hopefully she will learn how to stay in her bed during sleep.

- Pops

20 March 2009

As time quickly passes it is not without growth and new developments in Charlotte’s world, rather it is simply her daddy not finding the time to document it all properly.

 Charlotte took the long way up and down the wheelchair ramp repeatedly

In the photo Charlotte is in her element, out-of-doors and running up and down the wheelchair access ramp at Anna and Michael Olson’s latest establishment in the village of St. David’s. Running around the wooden deck and ramp would have occupied her and Olivia for the entire morning had we not had places to go. Notice that her well-loved puppy is coming along for the jaunt, as always!

Charlotte is learning so quickly that I am prepared to say she is striving to be just like her big sister by tomorrow. Every day she gets a little closer to her goal. She will parrot nearly anyone who provides a new word or new sentence structure so that she learns it immediately. Honestly, her strings of words never cease to amaze me and leave me wondering how she knows how to articulate her thoughts so well two months shy of her second birthday. She gets her point across with eloquence—even when the grammar or diction fail to materialize precisely—because memorizes sentences as well as new words with ease.

Recently Olivia attended a Doodlebops concert and her mother and I could not keep ourselves from wondering how well Charlotte would have enjoyed it also. Yesterday Amy got the chance to see wonder in Charlotte’s eyes as they and Olivia attended a Disney on Ice show in Hamilton. Look for photos of the event on Charlotte’s experiences page.

- Pops

04 January 2009

So many things have happened and Charlotte has taken them all in stride. She is a very happy girl on most occasions and she now understands much more than we might give her credit for. She also acts like a parrot from time to time, whether in the car or possibly relaxing at home. She will pick up on a word or phrase and repeat it with a clarity that makes you believe she understands every meaning, literal or otherwise.

This year we moved to a new house, and along with the move came a change in Charlotte’s sleeping arrangements. She now has her own room beside Olivia’s. Olivia has her own things in her room, Charlotte has her things in her own room, but you would never know it. The way they play together it seems as though there are no rules as to where or with what. Two things are sacred and well understood by both of them, however; Olivia has her Dee Dee (a blanket which has somehow ended up as two smaller ones) and Charlotte has her little beige puppy. Pay no attention to the fact that the puppy was a gift to Olivia from a family friend well before Charlotte was born… Somehow Charlotte chose that toy to be her security blanket and the rest is history.

 Charlotte cannot wait to peel an orange before digging in

Of the many foods Charlotte enjoys oranges are right up near the top of the list of her favourites. She cannot peel them yet, but she is adept at segmenting them if you do the peeling. Of course when no one is around to help, she may resort to tucking into one on her own terms, and the photo illustrates those results.

The way Charlotte associates things and people together is remarkable. She adores her cousin Mitchell, and we went to visit Grandpa and Shirley for dinner the other day where cousins Alyssa and Mitchell were also present. They had a great time together with the two house cats providing at least half of the entertainment in Charlotte’s eyes. Today when Grandpa and Shirley came to visit, Mitchell was the first word out of Charlotte’s mouth when she recognized Shirley coming in the door. She showed no dismay when we stated that Mitchell was not here also, again taking it all in stride.

- Pops

27 June 2008

Download this .m4v (QuickTime) file for use with your iPod.

It didn’t take long after Charlotte’s first birthday before she took those first tentative steps without support. For about three weeks her gait was staccato in nature, but now she moves swiftly and with all the grace a toddler can muster. During her Uncle Rob’s wedding day she found that she could walk up a shallow incline without fault, but walking back down such a path proved terribly difficult at first. After a dozen mishaps, she finally restrained her descent enough to take over a dozen steps before falling to the ground and trying again.

The movie here is of her trying to ingest Jello for the first time. Without the ability to use a spoon very well—and the possibility of grasping it with her fingers being close to zero—she devised a plan to inhale it by bringing her mouth to it, rather than the other way around. She is a clever girl and it is a joy to watch her learn and grow.

While ASL is not proving to be of great interest to Charlotte, she does say a few words already. Her first word was dog but it still is not recognizable as such. She also says thanks, Olivia, more, loves to say the word fish, baby, shoes and the obligatory no. She is quite good at repeating words too, and on occasion will come out with a word so clearly spoken you would guess she was eight years old already! That quality never gets repeated at this stage as it is a fluke on each occasion, but it is cute nonetheless.

- Pops

29 April 2008

 Charlotte really loves to swing

We thought that by Charlotte’s first birthday she would be walking like she had been doing it all her life. Such was the speed at which she excelled in standing—first always holding onto something, and now standing hands-free—that we were confident she would be beginning to walk by Spring. Spring has come and she has only taken the smallest and fewest free-standing steps to date.

It is still a joy to watch her play and stand in front of an array of toys and be able to move between them and use both hands to grasp at them while standing. Charlotte is adept at standing and squatting, easing her way from crawling to standing and back as she needs to get where she chooses to go. She will back herself down off a high spot such as a bed or the couch also. She is also pretty good with the stairs; She will climb them nearly as fast as any adult, while going down is still a bit of a challenge.

At her friend Hailey’s birthday party, Charlotte discovered the joys of the swing.

- Pops

29 March 2008

 Charlotte plays Easter Bunny

As we did with Olivia we are attempting to teach Charlotte a little bit of ASL. We found that even when Olivia could speak fairly well, having her know the signs to match her words was very beneficial for us. A lot of the words she used sounded similar to one another at the time, and we could decipher the signs much more readily when there was doubt.

Charlotte used the sign for more tonight for the first time. Although it was not actually the sign she meant to use, we use that one most often at this point to try to get the point across. Time will tell how quickly she’ll pick up the usage and be able to repeat the signs to communicate. Just as she is trying hard to walk these days, surely she will enjoy being able to better convey her thoughts when she gets the connection between thought and communication.

- Pops

11 January 2008

Download this .m4v (QuickTime) file for use with your iPod.

Sometimes as a parent I cannot stay silent and just let happen what may, but this time there was no harm in a little fun for both Charlotte and me. I had to giggle and get the camera as Charlotte explored the dogs’ water dish. She’d done it before but now I have irrefutable evidence!

- Pops

9 January 2008

 Charlotte plays with everything

I ought to know better by now, but there are always things to be learned. Charlotte proves this fact time and again. Tonight she played with Olivia’s doll house for quite some time. She climbs up to reach the miniature blankets and uses them as she would a larger blanket to comfort herself.

I had just fed the dogs and was preparing something for myself when I heard the familiar sound of dog food rattling against Skyler’s steel bowl. The problem with that sound is that Skyler never takes food from her own bowl for any reason than to eat it; that left Charlotte the single culprit. When I investigated, Skyler was thankfully not concerned as Charlotte grabbed handfuls of her food and attempted to eat them herself! Eventually I helped Charlotte give up the three kibbles she had been chewing on.

After this event Charlotte went on exploring and tried to make sense of a magnetic puzzle stuck to the refrigerator door. Nothing escapes a taste at her age.

- Pops

12 November 2007

 Olivia wants to help out around the house - feeding Charlotte is helpful

Charlotte is six months of age today, and so close to crawling it hurts to watch. We do our best to encourage her while she is in crawling mode and we engage her in play to help give her reason to propel herself forward. Currently she does pretty well with a slow army crawl of sorts, but she still topples over trying to move forward on all-fours.

Olivia of course is still growing more capable each day as well, and she loves to help out around the house with whatever she can. Tonight she wanted badly to feed Charlotte her peas, pears and oats. Charlotte didn’t seem to mind that she ended up wearing as much food as she swallowed!

- Pops

30 October 2007

 nearly up on all-fours at fewer than six months of age

At 5½ months of age, Charlotte is still growing in leaps and bounds, and her coordination skills attest to it. She has been holding her head up for long durations for nearly a month. She has also been holding herself steady for short durations unsupported in a seated position. As she grows in intellect, she also has realized there are many things to see and do beyond her immediate reach. This has prompted her for the past couple of weeks to try to develop her locomotive skills.

Watching her try in earnest to get from one point to another of her own free will we have seen her almost begin rolling over to get where she wants; She will have none of it, however. Instead she is skipping right to the crawling stage!

Today we witnessed Charlotte’s first successful attempts to move forward using her legs. Her coordination has not developed enough that she uses her arms as anything more than props yet, and the comedy ensues when she pushes her body beyond the balance point of her arms and lands on her shoulder and nose! Still, slow though she is, she has accessed the realm of forward motion today. We were confident that she should be crawling by Christmas, but we are thrilled for her now as we were not expecting anything significant before Hallowe’en! Almost immediately following her fifteen minute crawling session, Charlotte has passed out in her crib. This is a good sign as she will now embed that knowledge in her mind and she will develop her skills again tomorrow. Now if only I could capture a telling photograph of her in action, I would be grateful.

-Pops

30 September 2007

 charlotte now really enjoys her jumperoo

At 4½ months of age, Charlotte is growing in leaps and bounds. She seems to have slowed a bit in physical growth in favour of developing her coordination and social skills. Her screams of joy and announcements of discontentedness sound very similar over the past few days. This seems to be an adaptation; She is attempting to manipulate us to get constant attention.

Along with this growth in skills, Charlotte also seems to recognize herself in the mirror and in pictures. When I showed her this photo of herself in a jumperoo her face lit up; She reached for the computer screen with joyful screams and grins.

-Pops

11 August 2007

 charlotte has a tiny bit of sundae on her lip

Charlotte turns three months of age tomorrow. I am sure she will feel no differently tomorrow than she does today, but for her mother and me it is a small marker of her rapid development.

Playing with toys under a play set or in her Jumperoo captivates her for extended periods, though not quite as long as being held and engaged by people. Charlotte holds her head up and steady for long periods of time. She also very much enjoys standing, which at this stage requires a lot of help from a couple of strong hands.

-Pops

26 July 2007

 charlotte found that her two middle fingers are appealing

As with Olivia in the past, Charlotte now finds ceiling fans fascinating. While gazing up at them she will smile and kick her feet. Whether enjoying the breeze or the visual stimulation or both equally we are not sure, but Charlotte is generally very happy laying there staring up at the fan.

Her two middle fingers have also captivated Charlotte in a way that reminds of a chew toy for teething purposes. While she has not yet taken to a chew toy, she is beginning to manipulate toys for her own amusement. We reckon that sucking on her two fingers provides her with some level of comfort since she never has taken to a soother—or to a bottle, for that matter! That one we shall have to work on.

-Pops

11 July 2007

 amid the chaos a three year old brings, charlotte is mostly content

Charlotte has reached two months of age and has grown rapidly. She seems still to prefer milk delivered fresh rather than from a bottle, and will rarely drink any from a bottle offered by mum. She will take just enough from me to keep her going until mum returns with the fresh stuff, which means mum’s away time is still rather limited in duration.

Charlotte’s vision has improved to the point where she can follow and focus with ease, and she no longer goes cross-eyed in the process. She seems quite aware of her surroundings and will call out if she believes that she has been desserted or just not had enough attention paid to her. She is beginning to coo and sigh and she can grasp at things with her hands, though mostly accidentally.

Amid the chaos of daily life with a rambunctious near-three-year-old Olivia, Charlotte is thriving and enjoying life in her own ways. Where Olivia still will not sit and watch television for any longer than a few minutes, Charlotte seems content to stare at the screen for extended periods of time in mum’s lap. Time will tell if this is a function of her inability to move around for herself, or of her preference.

-Pops

16 June 2007

 charlotte sleeps five hours at a time through the night

Initially Olivia was a little concerned that Charlotte was overstaying her welcome. Just a few days after Charlotte’s birth she asked, When’s Charlotte going home?

Olivia has since settled into the big sister role. Yesterday she was observed plastering Charlotte’s arm with moisturizing cream in the belief that she needed protection from getting a sunburn!

Charlotte is now five weeks old and developing wonderfully. She can focus her eyes much better now—evidenced by the lack of her being cross-eyed so often—and she turns her head in recognition of where a sound is coming from. She enjoys her bouncy chair with the vibrating massage, for a few minutes at least. Sleeping on her stomach or being carried that way seems to make her content when she is having minor tummy troubles as well. If there is one disconcerting thing about her development, it seems that she has developed a distaste for milk from bottles. Although not a huge issue yet, it may make it more difficult for us to leave her in the care of grandma and grandpa. I guess playtime has to be earned.

-Pops

12 May 2007

 olivia and charlotte lying together the morning after birth

It has been fewer than twenty-four hours since Olivia became a big sister. The build-up must have seemed like forever for Olivia but she is smitten. She wants badly to play with Charlotte like she does her dolls and has not figured out that it will take some time before Charlotte can do the things she can.

Charlotte seems to be adapting well to life with a big sister who never wants to leave, two dogs who are also more than just a little curious about her, and of course all the visitations and (ab)normal goings-on around our home.

Given the extended gestation and the obviously larger size of this one, we all had our sites set towards a Liam. As with Olivia’s birth, the first thought on all our minds was not which sex, but that all is well. It took us a couple of minutes to gather everything and ensure this was the case, and it was then that I realized I will be forever outnumbered in my household!

-Pops

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