Monday, July 23, 2012

Scripture memory

You know how your kid repeats everything you say, especially what you didn't want them to hear, even days after you said it? Toddlers seem to have a knack for memorizing - I'm sure there's a child development something that causes this, language acquisition or whatever. Nate quotes lines from his favorite TV shows, movies, books, and things that we tell him repeatedly.

A few months ago (23 weeks according to Pinterest), I pinned these two children's memory verse posts.
30 Easy Bible Memory Verses for Children
10 Easy Bible Memory Verses for Kids

Yesterday, I finally introduced Nate to Scripture memory. I have a mirror my sister made (not the glass itself, but the mosaic frame). Since we can't put nails in our walls (rental, there are some existing nails we can use to hang pictures), and it needs 2 nails, I can't hang it on the wall. It's sitting on a window sill, not where you can actually see yourself in the mirror, unless you enjoy putting yourself in awkward positions. We have some dry erase markers. I wrote Nate's first memory verse on the mirror. I can see it all day and remind him of it.

We do a repeat-after-me style of memorization.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

sleep/no sleep

I feel like I spend (or have spent) the vast majority of the first year of my kids' lives just trying to get them to sleep. Perhaps the only thing that takes more time is feeding them. Either he (because I've only had boys) is in a phase of eating well and not sleeping or he is sleeping well and not eating. Occasionally phases will include both eating well and sleeping well, and occasionally phases may come with neither eating nor sleeping well.

I remember Nate's 10 month sleep-and-eat-regression (otherwise known as the fussy phase leading up to Wonder Week 46) only because of photographic evidence of him trying to play in the middle of the night and written evidence in the form of a notebook I found in which we recorded all of his intake for about a month. He cut 6 teeth in 22 days while going through WW46, so not only did he want to play all night because of the new mental development, he also didn't want to eat because his mouth hurt so much.

Ben is in the middle of this now. He already cut his first set of upper teeth, but his second sets of teeth are starting to show themselves beneath the gums. He is in an eat-everything-in-sight phase, rather than refusing to eat, so that's one less problem. He is not sleeping well, though. Whether from teething pain or his active mind during this developmental phase, he wakes up or cries in his sleep several times per night.

He takes 2 naps per day. It should be a 1-hour nap in the morning and a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. However, he is so extra tired in the mornings from not sleeping well at night that he sleeps forever, then has a hard time sleeping in the afternoon, then is ready for bed early, which leads to a rough evening and another hard night.

To get him ready for nap, I change his diaper, then cuddle him with his blankie while he takes a bottle. He snuggles his face in my shirt when he's had enough milk (he never finishes the bottle), and I give him his paci. Then he pulls the blankie up to his face and waits for me to put him in bed so he can fall asleep. But lately (and this is the sweet part of a sleep regression) he is so exhausted by naptime that he falls asleep as soon as he's done with his milk. I can remember only a handful of occasions in the past 5 months that I have gotten to cuddle Ben to sleep. It's like a special treat for me!

I haven't taken a picture of him sleeping on me, but here is a still-cranky-after-nap cuddle

Friday, July 20, 2012

favorite apps

I waded through several favorite app lists, from blogs to magazines, looking for ways to keep Nate (at 2.5 years) occupied in certain situations (like waiting for our food at a restaurant or waiting in the checkout line). I faced a few issues: 1) I need Android apps, 2) some apps are not available in Kenya or on Safaricom, 3) some apps are too fancy for my phone (i.e. my phone would freeze just trying to start the app), 4) I only go for free apps (with one exception). I was able to install some of the fancier apps on the Kindle, but we don't take that everywhere with us. Nate gets some game time on the Kindle at home.

Here are Nate's apps, for phone and Kindle:

* Undersea Adventure for Toddler - Kindle. It froze my phone when I tried to put it on there, but Nate loooooooves it. It's so simple: an underwater scene, fish swim by, when you touch the fish they swim faster/turn flips/etc.

* Giraffe's Matching Zoo - Kindle. Just a basic memory/matching game with animal pictures, complete with sound effects, though I think some of the sounds are made up. It has a high score/fastest time record, which Nate doesn't care about, but Rodgers and I compete (*ahem* I am winning). [[Note: it says it is $0.99, but I got it free.]]

* Animal Hide and Seek for Kids - Kindle. Each scene has 5 animals hiding. I think Nate is starting to memorize each scene and where the animals are hidden, though there are a lot of scenes and a lot of different animals.

* Kid Mode: Free Games + Lock - Kindle. This one is kind of cool, but you have to be consistently connected to Wifi. You create a profile for each kid, with their age. They "log in" by tapping their picture, then the app has games and YouTube videos that are age appropriate. 

* Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad - Kindle. Of all the drawing apps I've tried, this one is the coolest. You can't, for instance, draw a picture of a dog. It's more like doodling, inside a kaleidoscope. Way cool. Nate thinks so, too.

* Little Piano - Kindle. It's one octave. There are several instruments to choose from, but Nate prefers the piano. There are also lots of different songs it will help you play, by highlighting the next key.

* Peek-a-boo Safari for Kids - Phone. This is similar to Animal Hide and Seek, but there is only one animal per scene. He still likes it. My phone screen is not quite large enough, though. The giraffe hides off to the bottom right corner, only a few pixels show on the screen. I usually have to get that one for him.

* Kids Memory Game: Animals - Phone. This memory/matching game has easy/medium/hard levels. The easy one has only 6 cards, which is good for beginners. Not as fun as the one on the Kindle. And not Nate's favorite because...

Match Picture Game for Toddler - Phone. This is a matching game with Sesame Street pictures. 

* Toddler Fireworks - Phone. It's a black screen, when you tap, fireworks happen. Even 10-month old Ben can play this one.

Mama's apps, for phone:

* Sky Map - This is so cool! If your GPS function works (mine doesn't work on Safaricom), you can use that, otherwise, you enter in your location. Then, you simply hold your phone up to the sky, and it shows you what stars/plants/galaxies/constellations are there. You can easily identify what you're looking at because you're holding the map up to the sky.

* Google Translate - It's just in app form. Invaluable if you're living in a place where you are not fluent in the local language.

* Hey Wire - Gives you a free US phone number to use for texting, via internet. You can only text to phone numbers in 45 countries, and Kenya's not one, so I still have pay for my local texts. I use it so that Americans can text me without having international texting plans, but you can use it with an American phone, too, if you don't want to pay for a texting plan at all.

* Evernote - I'm not sure how much I like it. I use it for info I need to keep but keep losing (like instructions for how to change the time on Rodgers' watch) and also for shopping lists. (I wanted Cozi, which I have used online, but I can't get it on Safaricom. I wonder, if I go back to the US one day, and get a US sim, if I can download Cozi there and still use it here...or if it's just incompatible with my phone entirely.)

* BYKI Swahili - This is the one app I've paid for. $7.99. It's thousands of flash cards, with recordings to help you learn proper pronunciation (not that I lack chances of hearing words spoken in Swahili). I have actual paper flash cards, but I have to remember where I put them, and remember to throw them in my purse if we're going to be in the car, bla bla bla. It's so much easier to have some on my phone for practice.

* Daily Bible - A verse of the day, daily Bible reading (with various reading plans/translations to choose from), and many daily devotionals. What I like best is the audio option on the daily reading plan. I can listen while changing Ben's diaper, fixing his bottle, and feeding him every morning.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

two and a half!

Nate is two and a half today! The doctors here aren't really interested in measuring growth at regular months, so I weigh and measure him myself. He is 37" tall and weighs 30 lbs even. His head circumference is 20.25". He remains average height and weight, with a 90th percentile head circumference. That means he's thin for his weight.

He loves animals

When we took the boys to register with a doctor in March, they did weigh them. They weighed Nate at 30 lbs 12 oz. That would mean that he gained 3 lbs in 2 months, which I doubt. I'm fairly sure their scale was off. Or, he was so upset, crying, and throwing a fit that they weren't able to get an accurate reading.

Nate and Rodgers built the tallest tower ever!

Nate is daytime potty trained (and how liberating to have only one child in diapers!). The only problem is that now he has nothing to hold up his shorts! I used to have his trimmer shorts put away because they wouldn't go over a cloth diaper. Now, those are the only ones he can wear.

He enjoys helicopters, Fireman Sam, playing with Ben, Legos, and soccer, in addition to continuing to love Elmo. He likes reading books, paper or on the Kindle Fire. He has started playing matching, peek-a-boo, and other toddler games on my phone and the Kindle. He knows how to find his games on either one. Sometimes, he pulls up Free Cell and tries to play like Baba.

He thinks every day is his birthday and that he is always 3 year old.

He is pretending to sleep and snore

Nate has normal toddler food issues. We have now entered the "I don't like vegetables" stage. He will almost always eat beans, sausage, rice, toast, and grapes.

He gets in trouble for holding/squashing/crowding Ben more often than anything else.

Nate asked me for coffee today, but I told him he has to wait until he is 3* (for real 3, not pretending to be 3).

Cuddling with Ben and Baba, two of his favorite people.

*I'm not really going to give a 3 year old coffee.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ben's happy place

I've mentioned before that Ben loves food. That Ben will not take a bottle if he sees someone eating real food, so we have to sneak the bottles in around our mealtimes. Ben's happy place is anywhere food is. I wondered if Ben would ever crawl. Then, Nate left food on the floor, and Ben had a reason to try crawling! We are collecting photos that we'll call "Ben's happy place." Here are some:

Sitting on Baba's lap, with a wad of bread in each fist

In his walker, with toast 

Under the desk, "cleaning up" Nate's snack that he dropped on the floor

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Wouldn't smile at me. "No, Mama! Don't take my cheese!" he says.

I want to teach Nate how to spell his name. There is a song on a video he watches that says "R-E-D, that's red!" He repeats it, so I thought I could teach him to spell his name with a song.

It's to the tune of Frere Jacques.
N-A-T-E, N-A-T-E
That spells Nate, That spells Nate
Nate is a silly boy, Nate is a silly boy
N-A-T-E, That spells Nate

Really simple, right?
He sings it all the time, but he thought it would be funny to put other people's names in there. I can't seem to convince him that N-A-T-E does not spell Ben or Mama. So I made a song for Ben, too.

To the tune of 3 Blind Mice.
B-E-N, B-E-N
That spells Ben, That spells Ben
Ben likes to make a mess, and Daddy has to clean it up! [Note: that is my favorite part of the song.]
B-E-N, That spells Ben

This morning, Nate saw his name written out and started singing, "N-A-T-E, N-A-T-E, That spells Ben!..." Oh well. We'll keep working on it.