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[personal profile] percival
I do this far too little - I always fear that a child will wake up when I've settled down to chronicle their development.


So, the 3.5 year old, who is 3.5 as of today, is a feisty little lady. Others describe her as quiet and introverted, which is probably our fault, because we are quiet and introverted, too. She can be amazingly patient and persistent with tasks that require dexterity. In terms of discipline, we are relatively easy going. She's never been in time out or on the naughty step once. We tend to deliver immediate sanctions that are somehow related to the misdemeanour. We also have a rule that after we have counted her out, we usually MAKE her do what we are asking her to do. When I'm really angry with her, I have a certain voice that I use. I look her in the eye and tell her off. She then usually withdraws and curls up, a sure sign that she knows she's done something wrong. Overall, we tend to emphasise the positives and tell her "well done for XYZ" (staying with Mummy, helping, crossing the street while holding hands) whenever she does something right. We've done that since she was little, and are going to go down that route with her little brother, as well. It doesn't produce perfect behaviour (oh no!), but overall, I'm quite happy.

Both languages are now fully developed (English and German). She started using the first person pronoun consistently at around three years of age. We now get more or less complete sentences. She is still German-dominant at home, but the language of play is more and more English, because that's how she plays at Nursery. (Note: must play more with her in German). She often uses the conjunction "aber", which is completely due to us. We often say "yes, you can do that, but you need to do XYZ first" or "well, it would be lovely to do that, but XYZ".

In the last couple of months, she has started to "get" irregular declensions, she's working on /S/ (alveopalatal fricative), she's working out how to recognise letters. At the age of three, she was very good at counting up to ten, but that skill quite literally took a year of counting with her to master. We're now seeing something similar with letters - she's intrigued by them, so I keep spelling things out to her and sometimes let her write / read simple words such as her name, her brother's name, Mummy/Daddy. But the process takes time. She is probably confused by the differences in English / German orthography; unlike monolingual kids, she doesn't have a single letter-to-sound mapping set to master, but two.

Or, more to the point, three, since she's attending Gaelic sgoil-araich (preschool) two days a week. Only recently, she got a certificate for speaking good Gaelic - yes! After 2.5 years of croileagan (playgroup) and a relatively silent term at nursery, she's now babbling away. She loves Gaelic songs and will sing them to me after nursery. I'm not very good at detecting Gaelic words when she uses them, but there are a few.
She also loves the German Saturday school she started attending last year; she completely adores her teacher and has made a little friend in a German/British-Indian girl. She's started to build up a small group of friends, and I have to remember to be on my best sociable behaviour so that I don't spoil things for her. At that age, kids still tend to meet up / get invited if/because the mums like each other.

Overall, she's now heavily into imaginative play and less into books, although she loves to be read to. She has two sets of ponies (from Woolies RIP), dolls, cars, and dinosaurs. Cars and dinosaurs are pretty much treated like dollies; she uses them to act stuff out and feeds them and puts them to bed. We have a piano now, and she loves playing it. I keep watching her for the right time to begin informal lessons. Music is the one external activity we never bothered with, because we know we're perfectly capable of delivering it at home. DH is an excellent singer, and I had nearly 11 years of piano lessons. Much of this ability has been lost, but I should have enough left to get her started on the piano.



Ah, the little man. He is cuteness personified. We had a bit of a rocky start due to a touch of baby blues, but I'm now very much in love with him. Falling in love took time for his sister, too - with both of them, there was a strong initial bond, which deepened with time. I love this slow process, actually.

But, more to the point, my baby boy. He started pulling up at 8.5months, crawling at 9. He can walk if you hold his hands. He is incredibly strong, nearly pushing over a table at Cafe Nero today.

Overall, he is such an easy baby - lovely, smiley, can play on his own for 15-20 minutes (!) while I get on with housework. He's into everything and guaranteed to find whatever is the most dangerous for him to do/grab/chew on. He settled well into his nursery. The move to a smaller, more personal, cosy place was definitely the right thing to do, even though it adds 15 minutes on to each pick up / drop off. He only complains when we leave him / pick him up. A couple of minutes after we've left or just before we arrive, he's right as rain. I often find him on somebody's lap when I come in.

Feeding-wise, he's at an interesting stage right now. He's determined to self-feed. When I give him stuff on a spoon, he wants to take control of it and lick it off himself. He has six teeth, 4 top, 2 bottom, and BOY HE IS DETERMINED TO USE THEM. (eleventy-one) Finger foods is definitely easier than jarred / precooked / mashed stuff. He had a phase from 6-8 months when it was relatively easy to feed him, but that progressively got worse. He also drinks from a normal sippy cup, having refused bottles since he was a month or two old. When I gave nursery some of my milk to feed to him, he refused that, too, but will take water from a cup. So we've taken to giving nursery a bottle of formula for drinks during the day. He'll often take as little as one ounce (or nothing). Once we're done with the powder we still have, it'll be water all the way.

You may wonder - well, Perce, if you're breastfeeding him, why the formula? Well, he took it (once) when I was in London for 24 CHILDFREE HOURS, plus I can't be bothered pumping. Now, lest you have a heart attack, let me qualify this statement by telling you that I am tandem-feeding. Each child is fed separately, and the preschooler usually has a long morning AND a long evening feed. Add the scheduled baby feeds to that (essentially whenever he's hungry) and I just ... can't be bothered pumping. No sir.

The only downside (as with his sister) is his sleep. He doesn't often manage longer stretches during the day, although he sometimes sleeps 1.5 hours at nursery. He sleeps on me, doesn't sleep well in the buggy, and still wakes a lot at night, up to every 2-3 hours. I'm re-night-weaning the preschooler (don't ask!) so that I don't turn into a total zombie. But this too shall pass. DD slept through when she was 2 and I was pregnant with DS.

Dexterity - he is very good with his hands (shame I didn't get to do baby signing with him). He mastered his pincer grasp at 9.5 months, clapping slightly earlier. Language - he says "mama", and I believe we also have "dada". He has these long, chatty phases where he keeps babbling, and I make encouraging noises. I also sing to him more than I speak to him (embarrassingly), so he's learned to prompt a song by waving his hand.


Wow - I spent an hour writing this that I could have spent getting some zzz! night night!
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Percival

December 2010

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