Harper in action.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

Day Care of Hard Knocks

Harper's day care follows what is called RIE philosophy. RIE stands for Resources for Infant Educators. However, it might as well be called RIP, because they don't interfere with your child unless they're about to kill themselves.

The philosophy basically boils down to the idea that if a child can get into a situation, they can get out of it. RIE also promotes letting kids work out issues on their own. It seems to me that it would be much simpler (and cheaper) to put all the kids in a room with a sheep dog and let them have at it.

All that being said, I should note that we absolutely LOVE our day care and adhere to RIE-esque parenting at home. We don't coddle Harper and we encourage her to stretch herself with new challenges. However, this "hands off" approach does result in a few more falls and scrapes than if we dressed her in one of those over padded sumo outfits that bigshot companies rent for happy hours or executive retreats.

So as a result, Harper consistently comes home with injury reports. Most of the time the injury reports simply detail some fall or scrape resulting in minor bumps and bruises. Although, it was an exciting moment when we read about her first bee sting. It's just a classic childhood rite of passage.

A couple weeks ago, however, Harper got an injury report that McCall thought was hilarious. I think the humor stems from the sheer journalistic simplicity of reporting only the facts. Regardless, it seems that Harper received a valuable lesson in the fine art of negotiating.


Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It's Potty Time!

Well, the time has come to train Harper Jo in the fine arts of human waste disposal. I believe this will yield benefits not only for our family but for the environment as well. Soon, instead of contributing to the ever growing land fills in the form of disposable diapers, we'll be contributing to southern California's water shortage in the form of three gallon flushes for half cup pee pees. On second thought, I guess either way the environment is screwed.

We got a fun book for Harper called "It's Potty Time" (I can't believe they stole my blog title for their book!), and we sit her on her little mini-toilet and show her the book. She's going to be a bathroom reader just like dear old dad.

It's a fantastic little publication that includes a built in speaker. When you push it, the speaker emits a flushing sound and a little girl laughs to let Harper know that using the toilet is a load of fun.


Now available for boys and girls of all races! (Must be white, black, or Latino)


This book got me thinking, though. I would probably read more if the books I bought had speakers. I just finished "The Ruins" by Scott Smith. It's about these 20-something vacationers in Mexico who get trapped in the jungle by a flesh eating plant. I'm wondering how much better this book could be if instead of having to imagine people screaming, I could push a button and hear them. Or instead of having to read all those words like a sucker (it's over 500 pages for crying out loud!) maybe I could hear the dialogue through the little speaker. Or it could simply act as mood music or sound effects. When you think about it, it's the perfect combination of paper and audio books.

But I digress. So a few days ago Harper actually sat and peed in her toilet for the first time. This is not to say that there haven't been some unsuccessful attempts in the past. Let's just say, it can be risky to let your baby run around without a diaper for too long. But she's starting to learn and that's very exciting because it means she'll soon be ready for bigger and bolder challenges. I think next I'm going to try and teach her to use the stove.

"Pot Luck" Dinner Night

So Friday night was Pot Luck Dinner Night at Harper’s day care. I suppose I should put pot luck in quotations, because none of the parents brought any food and the day care just ordered pizza. Now I’m not complaining because I love pizza. It just seemed like it should be called “Pizza Night”, not “Pot Luck Dinner Night”.

It was also funny to see how varied the dress was for the occasion. I was in my standard shorts, t-shirt, baseball cap, flip-flops ensemble. Some parents looked like they dressed in evening casual wear (dresses for the ladies, slacks and button down shirts for the men). For me this would’ve meant jeans instead of shorts and no baseball cap. Then there was Harper’s teacher from the day care. She showed up in a gown with high heels wearing a light wrap. She may have been carrying a clutch as well. She was the first person I saw so I immediately felt totally underdressed. I think she must have been going to some sort of awards show after the party.

Harper’s day care is affiliated with an Episcopal church so we were eating in a banquet hall. The room was festive with a bubble blower, a slide, and something that I can only describe as a two year old’s roller coaster. It was this three-sectioned, double humped ramp with a little car that the kids would sit on (see image below). The car had a handle for them to cling to (you know, for safety). You roll your kid down the ramp and watch them cruise across the floor. It was almost like a soapbox derby.



Notice the step? Harper's day care doesn't have that. And yes, your toddler will go so fast she will be blurred!

Harper’s first run she decided that she didn’t need to hold on to the safety handle. We urged her to, and she kind of placed her hands on it as a token effort to make us happy. But as soon as the car started moving down the ramp, she flung her hands up in the air like on a real roller coaster. Some day, and I can’t wait for this moment, we’re going to ride Space Mountain, or Shockwave, or some crazy Batman ride together and we’ll be high fiving the whole way because neither of us will be hanging on to the safety handles (which are for sissies in the first place). Way to go, Harper!

And she wasn’t really even using her feet for stability either. I think she was trying to have the least amount of her body touching the car as possible. Anyway, the car got to the end of the ramp and Harper was probably going a good 5 mph. You know, really moving, and she was just screaming with delight in this spread eagle position almost as if the car was a totally secondary part of the ride; like she was trying to achieve flight.

I’m watching her and I’m getting so much joy from her excitement and then I see that she’s cruising full bore toward the far wall. It’s obvious that she’s not going to do anything to stop herself. I mean the only thing on her that’s even touching the car is her butt. So I go running after her to try and stop the car before she runs into the wall. And even as I’m running in my flip-flops, grabbing the car, and bringing her to a stop inches from impact, I’m so proud of her inside. Because none of those other kids even came close to hitting the wall!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A Day at the Beach

We recently went out to Dockweiler Beach. Harper had only been out to the beach one other time and we weren't there very long. So was this was her first real time playing in the ocean. We discovered quickly that Harper hates the waves, but loves sand (and McCall loves her pink bikini).

She made some friends building a lagoon by digging out sand and letting the waves fill it in. Daddy had fun swimming in the Pacific and Mommy took pictures. Here are some highlights of Harper Jo and Daddy playing in the sand:

Harper in the sand


Dockweiler is located right next to LAX, so planes are flying low overhead the whole time. Harper loved to point them out (Harper's sense of direction is not great. The plane was directly over her head.)


Harper Jo and Daddy sharing a laugh

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Mealtime Prayer

We have been teaching Harper to pray before meals (which is why she can say "Amen", see below post). Partly because we want to instill in her a spirit of gratitude and partly because we enjoy being called child abusers by athiests. The other night, though, we forgot to say grace. But Harper stopped eating and put her hands together and waited. She was looking at us like, "Hello? Aren't you forgetting something?" It was extremely cute and heart warming.

The funny thing is how patient she will be while we pray, and as soon as we're done, she immediately gets very excited and points to her food. I imagine in her head it's all Charlie Brown grown up talk until "Amen." Then her brain goes, "LET'S EAT!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Words Harper Can Say

Harper is now 14 months old and is about to enter a period of time when her vocabulary will explode. So we wanted to gather a list of all the words she can say after one year, and if applicable how they actually sound coming out of her mouth.

Mama
Dada
No
Uh oh - said whenever she drops anything, sometimes ad infinitum.
Kitty cat - "kee ca" - we have three cats.
Belly Button - "beh-wi bu-un" - Harper is obsessed with her belly button. She is constantly touching it and likes to touch ours as well. We've been forced to cut the bottoms off some onesies because she can't sleep without access to it.
Up
Down - "dow" - I suppose it's possible she's actually just expressing an early interest in stock trading.
Amen - "a-me"
Wow - she seems very impressed by flagpoles and tall trees.
Bye bye - "bu-bye" - Usually accompanied by a wave of her hand, and usually after the intended recipient of this gesture is long gone.

Thankfully she can't identify any television characters like Elmo or Dora yet. I think this is more because we never watch those shows. Instead she watches a lot of the Simpsons.