My kids’ favourite software: Cheese

I’ve been using Ubuntu for more than 3 months now, and I’m loving it! My kids love it too, especially Joel. Whenever he’s in front of my netbook, the first app he clicks on would be the webcam application called Cheese. This software can be used to take some still images or video shots with pretty nifty effects. I’d like to talk more about it, but I’ll let the pictures do the talking for me.

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Baby sign language, my progress so far

(I scheduled this post to a later date, so this update might actually be a few weeks off the original timeline)

It has been three weeks since I used the baby sign language book I just purchased. I only watched the DVD once. I haven’t opened the quick guide that comes with it. Ezra and especially Joel absolutely loved the little baby signs book for the pictures. However, one time Joel was holding the book and somehow managed to get his face sliced off a bit from the sides of the book, sort of what you get with a paper cut. I decided to put the books away for a while, but I’ll be putting them out again some time later.

As for the signs themselves, it’s still a learning stage for all three of us. Currently I’m focusing on only a few signs that I think are critical to lessen Ezra’s meltdowns. Those are drink, eat, milk, bath and finish/all done. I haven’t seen one indication from either Joel or Ezra so far. I’m not so worried about Joel now. His articulation is getting better. Ezra still gets frustrated when I can’t read what he wants. I showed and repeated the baby signs to him, to which he doesn’t respond. Then when he wails, of course my stress levels go up, and I stress out quite easily.

He does try to speak a few words, like mommy, habis (finish), daddy, and a few more, but not the other important words like milk, drink and eat. I guess I’ll have to wait a couple more months to see if I can communicate better with Ezra using the baby sign language.

Toilet training Joel, day 3 (plus another)

Both Joel and I woke up on a Sunday morning with no accident. Yes! He was dry! Half an hour after we woke up, he told me that he needed to go pee.

For the whole day, the challenge was to keep ME focused on Joel. There were SO much I wanted or had to do — clean the floor, the kitchen, do the laundry, cook, taking care of the rest of the kids, on top of catching up with much needed rest — this little one in my tummy wasn’t getting any smaller.

That was where I started relapsing for a few hours. And that was when Joel had a poo accident. Not pleasant. A few deep breaths, though, and I rushed Joel to the toilet, made sure that he really has finished his job, then reminded him once again what he should do. Thank God for baby wipes, they really made cleaning easier. I showed Joel the poo that I cleaned, expressed my yucky face and threw it into the toilet bowl while he watched and hear me reminded him yet again.

I did one different thing that day, after re-reading the 3 Day Potty Training again. I started to praise Joel much more excitedly and loudly every time he successfully tells me he wanted to pee and did his job as he was suppose to. I think that would help reinforce things a bit more.

This was the end of my potty training with Joel. At least in the end, I managed to train Joel to tell me whenever he wants to pee. I didn’t quite remember what else I did differently on the third day as well as the next day (Monday, which I took an leave from work), except for keeping in my effort to focus, focus, focus. I think I was the one who struggled more than Joel. I don’t remember Joel having any day time accidents, either, but just during the early morning when he just woke up. Again, I’m having issues getting him to pee after he had just woken up, and he did complain every time he was put on the kiddie toilet seat when he’s still groggy from sleep.

Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch…

It’s never a pleasant thing to get these fake Braxton Hicks contractions, especially when you’re still a month away from being full term. Everything about this fourth pregnancy seem to be more intense than my previous ones. I suppose this is why my OBGYN is recommending the weekly check-ups now. No matter. When he’s ready to come out, he’s ready. Yes, he’s a he. I picked up a name for him already.

Just as a side note to self, this is the first time that my better half has never attended any of my pregnancy check-up. I’m fine with it, though. The important thing is that he’s around when the time comes, and not being outstationed for work.

Counting the days. Let’s hope my little comes on the due date next month 🙂

Update: This post was actually made on 18th June and scheduled to be posted on 20th. What do you know — I delivered my son on June 19. More on that coming soon.

Toilet training Joel: day 2 part 2

I kept re-reading the 3 Day Potty Training e-book just in case I missed something. I was a little bit stressed out because of the anxiety I put on myself. I’ve been asking myself all day — what’s next after this 3-day potty training? What can I expect? That Joel goes to pee in the toilet every time? That he doesn’t poo in his pants? What??

In the mean time, Joel seems to be doing okay. I kept reminding Joel to tell me when he needs to pee, like, every other minute. My exact words were, “Tell mommy when you want to pee, OK?”, instead of “Do you want to pee now?”, which the 3 Day Potty Training book told not to do. So, he told me he wants to pee every time he felt like peeing. No accident until night time, except once when he took his afternoon nap. He didn’t wake up in time to rush to the toilet. He seemed to have a problem waking up when he has the urge to go to the loo, so that didn’t help ease my anxiousness one bit. But it’s only the second day, I tell myself. It’s OK. I didn’t want to transfer my stress and anxiety to him. I just calmly told him to tell me the next time he wants to pee, and not pee in his pants.

He didn’t want to drink much, either. I’m suspecting that he had tied two and two together; more water equals more peeing, so he lessened his drinking so that he didn’t have to go pee so often. Again, I stressed out about it after noticing that he didn’t go to the loo for almost 5 hours. After a while, though, I told myself that what matters most is that he goes to the toilet when it was time, so I chilled back, calmed myself down a bit, told myself he has good bowel control, and just went on with my routine as what the book advised.

So that’s pretty much what happened on Saturday, or what I would call Day 2. Again, I can’t really call it Day 2 because I only started Friday night before.

Toilet training Joel, day 2 part 1

I woke up at 3am that morning to the sound of my hubby telling me that Joel has just peed on the bed. I had a mattress laid out in the living room of my apartment, and while my hubby dealt with the wetness in the bedroom, I took Joel out to the living room. I didn’t take him to the toilet that time.

When Joel woke up at 6am, he had another accident. This time I rushed him to the toilet, hoping that I had just caught him in the middle of peeing. Nothing came out, meaning that he was done. Sigh. I reminded him to pee in the toilet instead of anywhere else. He didn’t seem to care as we was still halfway awake.

I took the chance to re-read the e-book I printed out. Oops. There were a few things that I overlooked and didn’t follow. I was suppose to have him in underwear so that he can feel how uncomfortable his poop or pee is. It’s also a good way for him to signal to me — whenever he has the urge, he just goes to me and pull his pants down while saying “shee-shees?” and I’ll know that he wants to pee. So I started doing so.

Another oopsie I did was to ask him if he wants to go pee. What I was suppose to do is to instruct him to tell me if he wants to go. So that’s another little change of strategy. Now I instruct him to tell me if he needs to go shee-sheesh, but I still did it like every other minute or so. He looked like he was ignoring me every time I said it, but at least I know that I’m reminding him constantly.

Starting on baby signs

Baby Signs Starter KitA week after toilet training Joel, I received this Baby Signs Kit from Ethel, signaling (no pun intended) another major milestone in my little kids’ life, specifically Joel, Ezra and our newest edition in July. I’ll get Eric to join in and learn as well, so he too can communicate with his brothers better.

I am confident that signing will not only improve my understanding of Joel and Ezra’s needs, but it will also be a stepping stone for both of them to improve on their verbal skills and speech. I have tried baby signing (using my own made up techniques) the words milk, drink, and eat to Joel when he turned one year old, and if I recalled correctly, he was able to learn in after about 4 months and communicated in signs whenever he needed those. Along the way, though, I stopped. I don’t remember why exactly. Without the signing, both Joel and I get frustrated easily and he would wail and cry while I tried to keep my head from exploding from all those noise. My situation with Ezra is turning to be similar to Joel’s, so I really need to do something about it and this is what I believe can help every one of us.

I hope I’m not bringing in too much change into our family life too often. It’s really only been a week since Joel started being toilet trained, and that’s a major life changing event by itself. What with office work, house work, taking care of the kids, expecting our new baby, and trying to keep up with being healthy, life is already very hectic. I just hope God can give me the strength to go through it all. I’m just glad I currently have a wonderful support system that is my hubby, Eric, my mom and my sisters.

Phew. One day at a time.