No more soother!

With some prompting from Ruby’s teachers at school, we decided it was time for Ruby to stop using her soother (pacifier). Her fourth birthday was coming up, and we chose to capitalize on the momentous occasion (to her).

I was worried about how hard it would be for Ruby to give it up. Since she was a few weeks old, she relied on the soother to relax. For a long time now, it had only been something she used when sleeping, but she was very attached to it and still asked to have it at other (non-sleeping) times. So, I braced myself for difficulty (late nights, cranky child, etc.).

The day of her fourth birthday, Ruby ceremoniously gave her soother to Haven, a baby friend of hers. That night, we teamed up to put her to bed. It was just as hard as I expected. There were tears (from all three of us), and Ruby only got to sleep after a long time of crying and begging.

As it turned out, the next night was one where she was scheduled to be watched by my mom, who reported that Ruby tried several very creative stalling techniques but eventually fell asleep on her own. The night after that, I put Ruby to bed. She tried a few stalls but again fell asleep on her own without me in the room.

Miraculously, after that, it was over. She hasn’t even mentioned her soother since then, and goes to bed normally (she was always pretty good with bedtime). I truly can’t believe it was this easy! She’s so adaptable.

End Of Summer Action, Part II

After a summer of mediocre weather, the typical September hot spell arrived right on time. But last week, with the forecast calling for increasing clouds, we decided that I should take the day off work so we could enjoy the last sunny day of the summer at the Puyallup Fair.

We went to the fair to peruse the vendor stalls, see the animals, and do some rides. Ruby wasn’t so keen on the vendor stalls, and was only moderately intrigued by the animals. Even a camel and two zebras didn’t really grab her attention as much as I’d expected.

The rides, on the other hand, were a big hit. Although we had our eyes on the ferris wheel, Ruby was too short. In fact, Ruby was too short for a lot of the rides that we thought would be perfect for her.

So, we all went on the giant slide together (with Ruby riding between my legs). Kate won the race. Then we got in line for a kids’ roller coaster. I was a little nervous as to whether or not she’d like the ride — and if she didn’t, what the result would be? Would she get upset? Would she (horror!) try to get off? After waiting in line for a while, though, Ruby decided that she didn’t want to go on this ride (I think it was too noisy for her). Instead, she went on a fairly lame motorcycle ride.

After a bit of a break to explore more of the fair, we found a different kids’ roller coaster. This time, Ruby had no doubts about getting on the ride, and I was happy to see lap belts would keep the kids in place whether or not they wanted to be there. And Ruby loved it! She was smiling through the whole ride.

In fact, all she wanted to do after that was go on rides. So, we took the gondola ride across the fairgrounds. We tried to get Ruby onto another roller coaster but she was rejected for being too short. Instead, Ruby went on a swing ride with Kate, and then we all took a train ride together. And after that, we had to plead poverty and drag Ruby back to the car.

End Of Summer Action, Part I

Kate, Ruby, and I took advantage of some well-timed good weather to do two fun things: go swimming, and visit the Puyallup fair. Both of these were great opportunities to see Ruby try some new, fun things.

Two weeks ago we went to Mounger Pool (an outdoor pool in Magnolia) on its last open day of the season. The weather was sunny but a little chilly, and we were all fighting off colds, but we decided to brave the waters anyway. Ruby had been taking swimming lessons with me all summer, and Kate was excited to see firsthand the progress she’s made.

Ruby showed Kate all the new swimming skills she’s acquired over the summer: she can hang onto a water noodle (or other flotation device, probably) and swim around all by herself; she can jump from the pool deck into the arms of someone waiting in the pool; she can hang on the edge of the pool by herself; she can comfortably float on her back while I hold onto just the back of her head; and we can even let go of her for a few seconds and she’ll go underwater and open her eyes (she’s not strong enough to swim to the surface yet).

Mounger has a decent water slide. It has a single drop at the beginning leading into a 270-degree turn before the water. It’s small, but worth the extra dollar each for unlimited rides. We took Ruby on this slide — she sat between my legs (or Kate’s legs) and we’d slide down together. After a trip with each parent, though, she wanted to go down by herself!

Kate or I would go down first and wait for Ruby at the bottom of the slide. Then the other would put Ruby in the slide and gave her a little shove. She mostly stayed upright and pointed in the right direction, and loved the ride. She wanted to go again and again. I watched her from above as she slid down the last section before she hit the water, and the giant grin on her face was the highlight of my day.

Trying out potty training

We’ve been feeling a bit of pressure from various people about starting potty training, but I am adamant about waiting until Ruby is ready and motivated, instead of forcing it on her. I’m making this post private for now so we can go at our own pace. (NOTE: entry unlocked in Dec. 2008) Continue reading →

Operation Big Girl Bed is a success!

This week while watching the napcam, we noticed Ruby doing something new:

Uh oh. Time to accelerate plans for a big girl bed! We had been thinking of upgrading her in a couple of months, but now it was urgent. Yesterday, I talked it up to Ruby all day (she’s very interested in becoming a big girl). We went on a special shopping trip where I bought a vinyl mattress cover, and she selected a quilt and sheets. I gave her a couple of options in each case so as not to overwhelm her (and so we didn’t hate it).

Because of the short notice, we decided to give Ruby the futon in our guest room. This is a temporary hack to give us time to buy her a real bed, but it’s also a good transition bed, since it’s low to the ground. Last night, Steve disassembled the crib and the futon and we set up the futon in Ruby’s room. She was very eager to test out her new bed:

As part of the furniture rearrangement, we were able to create a little reading nook for Ruby in the corner of her room:

After taking a photo of the new bedding, we tucked Ruby in for her first night in a big bed:


Ruby was very happy about the big girl bed and didn’t show a moment of fear, hesitation, or crib nostalgia. We told her that she must stay in her room until we came to get her in the morning, and that if she didn’t, we would put up a baby gate. This morning, as asked, she stayed in her bed after awakening and played quietly until we came up.

The real test of the open doorway will be naptime. Today she’s at my parents’ house, so the first naptime in the big bed will be tomorrow.

“Friend” No More

Ruby and “Friend”

For Christmas, we gave Ruby a doll. We didn’t give the doll a name, but instead decided to wait and let Ruby choose the name.

Ruby didn’t quite understand what we were asking for when we said, “What’s your friend’s name?”. She’d usually say “hmm?” or “name-o” (as in “bingo was his”). So for the past few months her doll’s name has been “friend” or “your friend”. Every few weeks we’d ask again and we’d get the same response.

Last week while we were in Hawaii, the mother of one of our PEPS friends did some babysitting while Ruby and I went snorkeling. She took Ruby to see a fire station and later, when we were all driving home, she asked Ruby if she remembered the name of the station.

“Manoa!” was Ruby’s response. She seemed to enjoy the word and repeated it a few times.

Sensing an opportunity, I said, “Ruby, what’s your friend’s name?”

“Manoa!” she replied!

We’ve asked a few more times since then, and the name has stuck. I’m not sure why, but I get a little choked at the thought of her finally giving her friend her name.

Surprising things from Ruby

We often have idle and fun chitchat during dinner with Ruby. She tends to respond with one-word answers (if at all) when I ask her about her day so we often stick to silly topics and making faces at each other.

We sometimes play a game where we make happy, sad, angry, cold, or surprised faces at each other. Today, I asked her to show me “mystified” — a word she doesn’t know. Instead of staring blankly at me, she put on a big smile and cheerily said, “I’m mystified!” Kate laughed until tears streamed from her eyes.

Also, today I asked her what day it was and she said, “Tuesday!” Which it is. And we have no idea how she knows that.