31 December 2011

So long 2011

Sophia started the year learning how to sit up on her own and ended the year marching and running around the room.  Ed and I spent the year grappling with our new role as parents.  It was a learning year for all of us!

Here is a little video recapping our 2011 in pictures.   From Sophia's baptism in January to all our travels throughout the year and to the festivities of the Christmas season, I am very grateful for all that 2011 brought us.


12 December 2011

Baby proofing FAIL

I asked Ed a few weeks ago to clear the bottom shelf in the kitchen of the liquor bottles he was storing there.  Well, he has been forgetting to do so and last week, I was preparing dinner when I heard clink-clink from around the corner.   I found this...  Oops!




9 December 2011

iPad surprise

In 2004, it was an iPod Shuffle.  In 2007, it was an iPod Touch.  And in 2011, it is an iPad!  The wonderful tradition of receiving cool presents in Navarik continues.  Thank you, Navarik!  This is truly an awesome gift.

Me and my new iPad
Gifts from Navarik, past and present

30 November 2011

My mom….

My mom says the funniest things sometimes, mainly because she has no filter. She does not have an inside voice! Sophia and I went to visit her last week and this is what she said to Sophia. (note: we were in Virginia last summer). “Oh Sophia, when we were in Virginia, you were so pretty. Now, you look like Ed.” hahahaha

23 November 2011

Our little songstress

Sophia loves to sing.  During dinner one night recently, I managed to catch her on video.  Her playlist:
(1) Twinkle, twinkle
(2) Jingle bells
(3) London bridge
(4) Do you know the number (a video we watch on YouTube)







20 November 2011

Good check-up


Is it a picture of a planet?  Nope. A cracked ball? Nope. Or could it be a picture of my eyeball? Yes! That is my eyeball. Pretty cool, eh? And according to the optometrist who did the examination, my eyes are very healthy. And I have a photo to prove it.

18 November 2011

Early birthday gift

Ed got me an early birthday gift this year. I was tired of my ears being irritated by my iPod earbuds. I’ve been using my earbuds for years, just putting up with them, until I had an a-ha moment last week. Why am I putting up with something I don’t like? So, I asked Ed if I could have a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones. I emailed my brother for suggestions and he suggested the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio headphones. They seemed so extravagant and at first I thought I should look for something less expensive. But Ed said he’ll be happy to get them for me. Luckily, they were on sale at Best Buy.

As I write this, I am enjoying listening to Beyonce and my ears are finally happy. Thank you to my hubby for spoiling me! Love you, babe.



14 November 2011

Halloween 2011

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Halloween 2011, a set on Flickr.

Photos from Sophia's first trick-or-treating experience.

8 November 2011

15 months

Sophia’s personality is revealing itself more and more everyday. She is curious and wants to know what’s going on around her. She has a happy disposition (most of the time) and is very social. She loves being around people, especially other children. That is why she has adjusted so well to being in daycare. She actually doesn’t want to go home when I arrive to pick her up. She’s happy to stay and keep playing there. But on the days when we are home together, she tends to get a little clingy, following me wherever I go in the house, and wanting to be carried a lot. I find this weird given that on daycare days, she doesn’t seem to miss me at all. 

She is getting better at communicating to me what she wants and doesn’t want and I am getting better at reading her. She’s very definite about what she likes and dislikes, especially with food. With a flick of a hand, she will wave away food I am offering that she doesn’t want to eat. I try to trick her into eating it by hiding it with other foods but she spits it out once it touches her tongue. Sometimes, though, she surprises me by agreeing to eat a food that she has rejected many times before. So I have to remind myself to not be discouraged and to keep offering the food to her.

Her motor skills are getting better everyday. She still uses her hands to eat but is getting more adept at using a spoon. She is better at playing with the sort-a-shape type of toys and with pulling things apart then putting it back together. She’s been enjoying playing with Mr. Potato Head, lately. She is also starting to show interest in puzzles and writing tools. She loves to climb on things! They call her Miss Daredevil at daycare because she’ll climb on anything, precarious or not. Today, she didn’t want to get out of the car because she wanted to climb in and out of her carseat, over and over. At the playground, I’ve let her go down the smaller slides on her own and she loves it.

She knows some parts of her body: hair, nose, ears, tongue, teeth, belly button, and toes. She knows a few tunes, as well. She sings all the time and she has a good ear for music. She still enjoys reading books (especially when on the potty) and insists on picking which one to read. She knows a few words now but hasn’t used her words to ask for things. On rare occasions, she has used the signs I’ve been teaching her since she was six months old, like more and food. Mostly, she whines to communicate. Drives me crazy sometimes.

She is a lot of fun but also a lot of work. And as she gets bolder at expressing frustration and anger through tantrums, crying, and whining, keeping my cool gets more challenging. And usually, I have no idea what to do or how to respond, and that stresses me out. Children are so unpredictable and there isn’t one way to raise a child because each one is different. I get a lot of “it depends” type of answers from other parents when I ask for advice. I guess that’s why everybody says parenting is hard.

31 October 2011

Auntie

My good friend and Ed's cousin, Jenny, was in town from Toronto for a really quick weekend visit.  I asked Sophia to say "auntie" and she did!  Sophia generally refuses to perform for the camera but Jenny was able to catch a bit on video...



23 October 2011

Sing sing talk talk

I now have a new favourite pastime - listening to Sophia sing. She can carry a tune! She sings “ta-ta ta-ta ta-ta-ta” to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. She also sings a couple of lines from Jingle Bells and the song from a YouTube video that she watches. Ed and I were amazed the first time we recognized what she was singing. I thought I imagined it so I asked Ed if he recognized the tune and he did. So cool! She sings while she bathes, eats, plays, walks around, and lays in her crib. I just love listening to her!

Sophia is also starting to say words and imitate the sounds she hears from us. She says cat, ball, cheese, shoes, and apple. She said bow wow wow after I said it to her (I was reading a book to her). I notice Sophia watching my mouth closely as I say words for her to repeat. I now have to rid myself of the swear words that sometimes just flies out of my mouth. I have a little one who is listening intently and mimicking what she hears. Shit. Good thing she can’t read yet!

20 October 2011

Post-baby business trip

I spent three days away from home last week. I went to Houston for my first post-baby business trip and Ed had to hold the baby fort together while I was gone. I was not sure how I would be emotionally, leaving my baby for the first time. I phoned home as I was waiting for the plane to take off from Vancouver and I got teary-eyed as I left a message for Ed and Sophia. Once I arrived in Houston and got busy with work, though, time moved faster and it took my mind off how much I missed Sophia. This is also the type of work that I really enjoy - conversing with the users of our applications, finding out what they want and need, then figuring out how our software can make their jobs easier. Since designing software is something I’ve done for a number of years now, I tend to overlook how big an impact my work can have. At the end of our meetings with the client, my colleague, Nathan, reminded me that something I invented is used to streamline the work of hundreds of people in major corporations such as Chevron and BP. Software I designed is used in far away places like Nigeria and Singapore. That made me feel pretty good. Thanks, Nathan!

Ed did a great job taking care of Sophia, although, when I called home at night, he sounded more and more tired as each day passed. It is a lot of work to take care of a baby all by yourself. I appreciate having a husband who is supportive of my work and its demands for travel, and is willing to take care of things at home so I can do the work I enjoy. Thanks, Ed!

I also took advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with old friends who now reside in Houston. One night, I had dinner with Dee, a classmate from high school whom I have not see in twelve years. Oh, it was non-stop talking all throughout dinner! The next night, I had dinner with Prince and his fiancĂ© Irene. Prince and I became friends at Andersen Consulting, at my first job after finishing university. We also had a lot of catching up to do. I had a great time getting reacquainted with them, finding out what they’ve been up to, and reminiscing about the past with them. Old friends really are such a blessing to have.
With Dee

With Prince and Irene

30 September 2011

Mama and other tricks

Sophia said "mama" for the first time yesterday.  And when I had her show off her new skill to Ed, he said "kiss-kiss mama" and Sophia promptly leaned over to kiss me!  She even gave me a big smile after the kiss.  My heart just melted.

It's a little weird to be called mama, though, because that is what I call my mom.  So I'll still refer to myself as mommy and soon, hopefully, Sophia will learn to call me that instead.

She's getting quite good at going down the stairs sitting down.  She still wants to hold my hand as she goes down but she's getting faster.  She is walking very well and a lot faster now, she is almost running sometimes.  She knows how to knock-knock on doors (well, she knocks on books, walls, etc).  And when we ask her where her tongue is, she sticks out her tongue to show us.  She also knows where her nose and belly button are.  She knows how to turn things on and off, like the fan in her room, the light in the bathroom, and her toy that spits out balls.  I say "press the button" and she goes and presses the on/off switch.

It's so fascinating and fun to watch her respond to what we say.  She says uh-oh when I say it!  We're definitely going to have to start watching what we say around her!


21 September 2011

At the daycare

Here are some photos I took this morning of Sophia at the daycare. She is a very social baby and is enjoying herself there. The staff are very good and pay lots of attention to the kids. So far, it's been  good and I'm really hoping that it stays that way.



19 September 2011

Back at work

Today, I went back to work after 13.5 months of being on maternity leave. I am very grateful to have had that long to spend with Sophia fulltime. But now, I have to start making money and devoting time to my career again. Sophia is doing well at daycare and, so far, has not had any big crying fits. I know that she will not receive the same level of care and attention in the daycare as I have been giving her. I have spent the last 13.5 months creating a perfect cocoon for my baby, where she gets as much rest as she needs, eats as much as possible, stays clean and tidy, and gets comforted the moment she gets upset. That cocoon will not exist in daycare and a friend wisely advised me to just let it go. I still worry, though, especially when she gets home from the daycare and she has a lot of left-overs from lunch and napped less than two hours all day. By 5pm, she is exhausted and cranky, and we have to get her ready for bed right after she eats dinner, which means we hardly get to spend much play time with her. For most of the time she is awake, we’re busy dressing her up, feeding her, or bathing her. Given that reality, I am very happy and grateful that I am able to work for only three days a week. She can recover from her very active day at daycare with a relaxing day with me.

A friend asked me today what it felt like being back at work. I said it felt like wearing a pair of old shoes - very comfortable. It felt good. Aside from forgetting all my passwords, it felt like I never really left. I spent most of the day setting up my new laptop (yay!), resetting my passwords, getting my development environment up to date, getting reacquainted with the systems we use in the office, and saying hello to my colleagues. I have spent so many hours in that office that it feels like my second home. It’s a good environment to be in as I ease myself back into work mode and learn how to juggle the responsibilities of parenthood and work. Actually, I have to “ease myself” back pretty quickly. In three weeks, I’m going on my first post-baby business trip. Welcome back!

7 September 2011

She didn't miss me

I left Sophia by herself at the daycare today for hour and a half.  She didn't cry or even notice that I had left.  She played and played and enjoyed herself.  She did reward me with a big smile when I came to pick her up.  I am relieved.  I hope the rest of the transition goes as smoothly as it did today.

6 September 2011

Daycare starts

Today was the first day of daycare for Sophia. She will be going to daycare three days a week. This morning, I stayed with her the whole time but didn’t interact with her, unless she came to me. I sat back and let her be. We arrived at 9am and stayed for 1 hour and 45 mins. She played, walked around, had a snack, and even sat on the lap of one of the staff members, Ivy. I think Sophia wanted more oatmeal (she was the first one to finish her bowl of oatmeal) and so she went over to Ivy to try and get more. There is a little slide in the play area outside and Sophia climbed up the three little steps, sat down at the top of the slide, and went down the slide on her own. It was fun watching her figure out how to do it all on her own. It also broke my heart to realize that, while she’s at the daycare centre, she won’t be getting nearly as much one-on-one attention as she gets from me. There was a little boy, Evan, who started crying when he realized that his dad had left. He was inconsolable and I started to tear up because I can picture that child being Sophia. I had a hard time keeping it together as I listened to Evan cry. A staff member, Andrea, held him the entire time he was crying, trying to comfort him. He eventually fell asleep in Andrea’s arms, exhausted from crying.

Tomorrow, I leave Sophia at the daycare centre for an hour and a half. She will stay longer and longer each day and by next Friday, she will stay the whole day. I am instructed to not sneak out, that I have to say bye-bye when I leave. I have a feeling it will be harder for me than Sophia. Maybe her big crying day will be next week when she realizes that this bye-bye business isn’t just for a day or two. I am hoping that Sophia will take it all in stride and adjust well to this new reality. She’s resilient and I know she will be okay. I think she’ll handle it better than I will!

29 August 2011

Whiny, whiny

Sophia has been working on her whining and frowning skills. It’s amusing, most of the time, but I have to admit the whining grates on my nerves sometimes. I am getting better, however, at tuning it out. ha!

Here are some photos to prove that she’s not always a smiley baby...




7 August 2011

One year

The past year has just zoomed by! August 3 was when I went into labour (Sophia was born at 12:40am on August 4) and last Wednesday, I found myself thinking back to last year a lot and saying “this time last year...” as I replayed in my mind the events leading up to Sophia’s birth.  I’m still in shock that Sophia is already a year old.

Ed and I decided not to have a kids party for Sophia because she’s too young to know what’s going on anyway.  We invited our families and a few close friends to join us for lunch this past weekend, instead.  On her birthday, Sophia’s playmates, Nelly and Violet, came by for a playdate in the morning. In the evening, Ed’s mom cooked and Ed’s brother joined us for dinner. After dinner, we gave Sophia a little cupcake with a candle on it, sang happy birthday, and took pictures. Sophia looked confused by the whole thing and just stared at the cupcake set in front of her. She poked it with her finger then promptly ignored it. I offered her a little piece but she refused to eat it. That’s okay. I’m happy to not have her eating the sweet treats just yet.

Sophia is growing so fast! She’s a happy baby and flashes that adorable smile all the time. She is starting to respond to questions and requests, actively communicate to us what she wants or dislikes, throw little tantrums to show her displeasure (yikes!), and play interactively with us. Her personality is definitely showing more and more. She doesn’t like getting dirty and walking on or touching grass. She loves the water. She doesn’t like mixing her food together. (Yes, she’s clearly my daughter! hahaha)

And since she is one year old already, we decided it was time to trim her hair to clean it up a bit.  I cut her bangs and the long bits at the back.  I was nervous going into it but Sophia was quite cooperative, surprisingly and thankfully.  Her hair actually looks good!  Not bad for a first time.

Happy birthday, our dear Sophia. Mommy and daddy love you very much! We are soooo very lucky to have you in our lives.

Playing with Nelly and Violet.

The birthday girl enjoying the sunshine.

Sophia checking out the cupcake.

Birthday cake!

With my mom and sister.

Sophia and her cousins Camille and Sabrina.

Freshly trimmed hair!

24 July 2011

She's walking!

I went out for lunch last Wednesday and when I came home, my mom-in-law says from the living room, "Come see your daughter!".  I then find Sophia looking so happy and proud of herself, doing laps around the room, walking on her own!  She's been taking a few steps on her own but has been much more comfortable when holding on to us.  That must have been a really good nap she had that morning because she somehow got over her fear.  So, of course, I grab the camera and follow her around....


In the last four days, she's gotten faster and more steady.  She's lowering one arm now (versus walking like Frankenstein) and even waves to people as she walks by them.  She's definitely having a lot of fun with this walking thing!

9 July 2011

Pool party

Today, Ed, Sophia and I went to a pool party hosted by Ed’s colleague, Sean. Three years ago was the inaugural pool party and we were pretty tipsy by 5pm and Ed was lights-out by 7pm. This time around, we arrived with a portable crib, booster seat, etc for our baby Sophia, and we hardly touched any alcohol at all. Ed and Sophia enjoyed the pool for about 30 mins, then I got Sophia bathed and ready for a nap. She managed to nap for about 40 mins (the techno music was pretty loud so I was quite impressed that she slept through that). After walking her around for a little bit, it was time for her dinner. I managed to say hi to people while she was napping but otherwise, my attention was on Sophia. Partying is just so different when there’s a baby around! But still, we were glad we went and Sophia had a good time swimming and being around other people. I think she quite enjoyed the techno music and she even stayed up until 10pm! We have a party animal in the making, I say.

12 June 2011

10 months

Our baby girl is now ten months old and she is developing so fast.  It seems like I am recording a “first” something a few times a week.  The main thing I am discovering and didn’t really expect is how much I enjoy just watching and being with her.  I wasn’t really a “kid person” before I had a kid.  Many women gravitate to children and have a natural kinship with them.  Me, I was awkward with kids, never really knowing what to do with or say to them.  I was told that it would be different with my own child and now I know that is true.  Every new thing she can do or say, we celebrate with joy and pride.  I am certain that Ed and I sound ridiculous at times but as parents, we are allowed to gush over our baby as much as we wish.

Sophia is very vocal (i.e. talks a lot) and expressive.  She is happy, smiley, even-tempered, observant, and quick to learn.  Sophia said the word “cat” when she was nine months.  She and I were playing quietly when our cat Bob walked by.  Sophia squealed, “cat!”.  I thought it was a fluke so I started asking, “where’s the cat?” and she would crawl over to the cat or turn her head and look at Bob or Neo, our other cat.  And I would ask, “can you say cat?” and she would say “cat”.  Some days, she also says “Bob” but she’s not as consistent with that one.
Up close and personal with Neo.

She can do so many tricks now and at times I coax her to perform them for family and friends.  I remember saying when I was pregnant that I wouldn’t be one of those parents who gets their kid to perform for people.  Alas, I find myself doing exactly that as I coax her to do twinkle, twinkle little star (open and close her hands as I sing the song), wave hello or bye-bye, do hooray (raise both arms way up), or show us where the light is (point up at the light). 
Hooray!

One of our favourite games to play is hide-and-seek around the sofa. I run over to the opposite end of the sofa, crouch down to hide from her, and ask loudly a few times “where is mommy?”. The first time I did this, I heard her crawling toward the sofa and then stop. After a few seconds, I wondered why she wasn’t moving closer so I peered under the sofa to see what she was up to. Well, I found her laying flat on the floor, looking straight at me with a big smile on her face. When she saw me looking at her, she let out a big squeal, and when she heard me laughing, she started laughing too.
Playing hide-and-seek with mommy.

She likes reading books.  She especially likes the lift-a-flap type, perhaps because she gets to do something with the book.  She also likes taking the books from the shelf and dropping them to the floor, one by one.  Not so fun when the book lands on her foot, though. 

On the potty business, she is still going pee and poo in the toilet most of the time.  With the introduction of solid foods, it’s been a bit more challenging to predict whether she needs to go poo and I usually miss the ones right after the meal because I’m lazy to take her to the loo after every meal.  The big development is she sits down on the trainer seat now.  Not all the time but about half of the time, she agrees to use the seat.  


Meal times just got more interesting now that Sophia has decided that she does not want me to feed her anymore.  She wants to do it herself.  She uses her hands to feed herself and waves the spoon around as a toy.  She still hasn’t figured out how to use the sippy cup either.  But she continues to pack away an impressive amount of food, given her little frame. 
Self-feeding has started.

As for mobility, she is starting to walk, albeit assisted.  Yesterday, she used the activity walker for the first time and her little legs were totally able to keep up the pace as she pushed that walker around our living room.  We have also started to let her crawl up the stairs.  She goes a lot faster when one of the cats goes up the stairs, too, and she chases after it.
Sophia and the walker reaches the end of the line. Time to U-turn.

I could go on and on but I’ll stop there.  It is really fun to watch her grow and learn all these new skills.  I never imagined it could be so and I am glad I have the opportunity to be with her everyday to witness it.  It really is pure joy!

29 May 2011

All grown up

Sophia and I are in Edmonton to attend my niece's high school graduation.  Sabrina looked so beautiful all dressed up for the commencement ceremony, held last Friday, and then the graduation ball, which was on Saturday.  I can't believe my little niece is all grown up now.   It seems just like yesterday when I would take her to the PNE and the company children's picnic.



Now, she a young woman who is confident and ready to take on the world.  Congratulations, Sabrina!  We are so very proud of you.

Cousins Sabrina and Sophia

The graduate.

With the proud parents.

With the proud aunt.

Beautiful!

23 May 2011

Aaaaaa... aaaaa....

Sophia is generally a quiet and calm baby.  Sometimes, though, she feels the need to express herself loudly.  She just cracks us up when she gets into this mood.

Here are a couple of videos of her showing us her more vocal side...

15 May 2011

Starfish

We signed up Sophia for swimming lessons, called Starfish for her age group. They don’t really teach the babies how to swim but just provide them with the opportunity to have fun in the water so they won’t be so afraid of it. Sophia really liked being in the pool and the ocean during our trip to the Caribbean two months ago, so we thought it would be a good idea to get her into the pool again here at home. Big difference in temperature! I dressed Sophia in her swim diaper, a bathing suit, plus her sun suit in hopes that these layers will keep her warm. She still would be shivering and her lips would be blue by the end of the half-hour lesson. The good thing is she doesn’t seem to mind too much. She’s too intrigued by everything around her.

Until the baby can stand up on her own, taking a baby to the pool is definitely a two-person job. One parent goes into the pool with the baby while the other parent stays dry to (1) take photos, and (2) take the baby after changing her to dry clothes so that the wet parent can now change into dry clothes as well. I wonder how single parents do it?


Sadly, we missed the last two lessons because Sophia, Ed and I have been fighting a cold. But we’ll definitely make a trip to the pool nearby when we feel better as Sophia seems to really enjoy herself.
Dad showing Sophia how to blow bubbles. 
Brrrr....  So cold....