Tag Archives: Astrid

Astrid – Why, Why, Why?

Family Day Fun

It started suddenly without warning and has been a non-stop barrage since. On February 18, Astrid asked her first “Why?” question. I don’t remember what it was about but my response was promptly followed by a follow-up “Why?”. As many parents know, “Why?” is the perfect question because no matter how thorough the answer, you can always go deeper with another “Why?”.

I like encouraging her curiosity and answer as much as I can, but after the 5th why I usually have to respond with “Why do you think?”

Snow What!?

February was an unusually snowy month in Vancouver, including a full-on Snow Day on February 12 when all the schools and daycares shut down. It was cool to see all the kids running around the neighbourhood and enjoying a rare blast of real Canadian winter.

Crazy Carpet

Too bad Astrid hated it. The snow was too ‘crunchy’ and cold and she would only watch her friends tobogganing, complaining the whole time.

Cookies

In January Astrid started on a new asthma medication, Advair, and it seems to be having a huge impact. We’ve now gone 45 days without any asthma symptoms, which is a new record. Astrid had one cold in early March and even though she was coughing she never got wheezy. It was nice just having a normal sick kid with a runny nose without worrying about when we would have to take her to the hospital.

Advair is definitely more expensive than the other medications we’ve tried (it works out to about a $1 per puff) because there is no generic version. However, after sending doctor approval to the province’s Fair Pharmacare program and our health insurance provider, we now have 80% of the costs covered.

Vomit Train

Although we’ve avoided asthma problems, we haven’t been completely healthy. Stomach bugs (probably norovirus) ripped through our family in February. Astrid and I were sick twice, with vomiting and diarrhea. Grandma got it too. Emily got mild symptoms from the first bug and somehow avoided the second one. I was just glad we weren’t all sick at the same time so there was always one person with energy to look after the rest of the family.

On a more positive note, Astrid has avoided a tooth extraction, at least for now. After she knocked her tooth out last month, her root extraction was delayed because she got really sick. By the time she was healthy again the gums had healed over. We’re now hoping her body is able to take care of it on its own, but if it gets infected she will have to have surgery to remove it.

Crokinole

Astrid has turned into a very compassionate toddler. When I get home from work she always asks “how’s your day, Daddy?” and “what did you eat at New Hippopotamus?”. When Emily was sick, she started every morning by asking her “you feeling better?”. It might be more of a routine than genuine concern, but it’s still nice.

Puzzle with Grammy

When Astrid was really sick in January we abandoned all our independent sleep practices and often slept in her room. After she was better we were still spending up to an hour in her room waiting for her to fall asleep. If we tried sneaking out early, she would just come find us a few minutes later. Now that she’s no longer sleeping in crib we had to find a new approach to sleep training.

Based on some ideas in this blog post, we decided to try confining her to her room by holding the door closed. A few minutes after we left the room, she tried to open the door. We held the door closed and asked her to go back to sleep. She tried every trick to delay bedtime. She asked for a snack, asked for another story, said she had to pee, asked for help with her blanket, and even took off her socks and asked us to put them back on. When that didn’t work she cried and got upset. Through the door, we encouraged her to sleep and sang to her. When she really got upset, we went in once to calm her down but otherwise stuck to the strategy.

It took 60 minutes the first night and 45 minutes the second, but after 4 nights she went to sleep on her own without trying to escape. Since then she’s resisted on a few occasions (especially after daylight savings time kicked in) and figured out some new tricks like pushing books under the door and turning the light on, but it’s been much better. Fingers crossed, but she hasn’t figured out she can watch youtube on the iPad we use as a white noise machine.

Mornings have also been better since we got the Gro-Clock. She always waits for the sun now (programmed for 7 am) before coming into our bedroom to wake us up.

After her sleeping improved we let her have a sleepover at Grandma’s house. She did pretty well, although she woke up at 6 am and crawled into Grandma’s bed.

Painting

Astrid loves painting and doing art. We’ve let her curate her own gallery.

Art Gallery

New skills for Astrid include putting together puzzles, identifying around 10 letters, and counting to 13.

Fairy Whale

More pictures of February and March.

Astrid – Being Sick Sucks

Sick and Sleepy

Is it summer yet? I’m not sure how much more of cold and flu season I can handle.

Ready to Roll

The new year started off well enough. We spent the first Saturday snowshoeing up on Mount Seymour. Astrid had fun playing in the snow, making snowbabies, and sliding on her bum. We had to run back when Astrid announced she had to pee (the new reality of being diaper free) and I couldn’t convince her to just pee in the snow. I was impressed she was able to hold it in with me bouncing her up and down the whole way.

Then she knocked a tooth out that night and it has been all downhill from there. She was drinking water from a bottle with a hard straw when she tripped. There was lots of blood and a few tears, and then she spit out a tooth. I was distraught but Astrid was back up running around like nothing had happened within no time. I kept worrying about the implications of losing a tooth that early (compounding all my personal anxieties about teeth). Yes, it’s just a baby tooth, but one that isn’t supposed to fall out for another 5 years!

1st Lost Tooth

We saw a pediatric dentist a few days later and he assured us that it would be ok – no speech impediments or tooth spacing issues, but there was a piece of the root left that needs to be extracted – Astrid’s first dental surgery.

Dentist Visit

The dental extraction hasn’t happened yet because Astrid has been dealing with colds and asthma. We ended up in the hospital with one of the worst asthma attacks Astrid has had in a while. It hit really fast before she had any cold symptoms and we couldn’t keep it under control at home.

Normally they give Astrid a big dose of dexamethasone at the hospital to reduce inflammation, but this time they gave us a half dose of dex and a 3 day prescription for prednisone to give her more time to recover. But the prednisone came in bitter pills that we couldn’t get Astrid to take no matter how we disguised them (crushing it in yogurt, frosted sugar, chocolate pudding, ice cream). After some desperate conversations with pharmacists at 3 different pharmacies, we managed to get ahold of an emergency doctor at BCCH who switched our prescription to prednisolone – same drug but in less bitter liquid form. It was still a bit gross on its own, but she guzzled it down when we masked it with a strong ginger beer, which she luckily loves drinking.

The next few days were not fun and we almost went back to the hospital on a few occasions but after sleepless nights for everyone and lots of drugs we got through that virus, although I ended up getting sick at the end of it and still haven’t fully recovered.

Asthma Meds

Astrid was mostly healthy for a few days before she picked up a new bug that lead to nasty cough and 4 days of periodic fevers, which were usually mild but one day she was feverish for over 12 hours and her temperature hit 39.9 C before we gave her ibuprofen. Luckily this latest virus hasn’t caused any serious asthma problems, which might mean her newest medication, Advair, is working better than the Flovent she was on before, although it’s probably too soon to tell.

Emily has managed to escape all of this mostly unscathed. Astrid is almost back to full health and we’ve rescheduled the dentist for 10 days from now if she can stay healthy.

Doctor Daddy
Cellphone Oximetry Test Results

I’ve gotten really good at pretending to be Doctor Daddy. I can now calculate Astrid’s asthma PRAM score on my own using the stethoscope we have and the oximetry sensor on my Samsung phone that measures oxygen saturation. If I can’t keep the PRAM score below 4 then it’s time to go to the hospital.

All of our health concerns have us contemplating more drastic lifestyle changes – like pulling Astrid out of daycare, getting a nanny, spending our winters in Mexico, or going full hermit in rural Manitoba with my parents. If I was more confident that any of them would prevent Astrid’s asthma attacks, I would do it now.

New Bed

On the positive side, Astrid is now sleeping in a bed and is almost fully potty-trained. She still wears a pull-up at night, but wakes up dry most mornings. Moving out of the crib and into a bed was a bit of a transition. The first week worked miraculously well, but then she got sick and was waking up more at night and discovered she could just walk into our room whenever she woke up. But we bought a Gro Clock and she’s doing better about staying in bed until the “sun comes out”.

Bedtimes are still a bit of a struggle. When she got sick, one of us would often sleep next to her bed for comfort and now she wants that every night. Emily tried to go back to the ‘put down and walk out’ system when Astrid was healthy again, but that just lead to an epic sleep battle one night. Emily would put Astrid down to sleep and leave the room, and Astrid would lie down for 10 seconds before getting up to find her. They did this for 90 minutes! I eventually had to intervene and find a compromise where I sat in her room (but out of sight) until she fell asleep. That’s been our new normal for the past 2 weeks. We’ll have to slowly transition back to where we were before.

Cooking

Astrid’s imagination has really blossomed in the past month. She likes to play make believe and pretend she’s cooking or shopping. She makes up new words to songs. She changes the diapers of her dolls and pretends to flush their poopies down the toilet. Yesterday she invented a bear family that had joined us for dinner and was shooing them away so they wouldn’t eat her pizza. It’s awesome.

Rainbow Brite

More pictures.

Astrid – No More Diapers

Gymnastics

The big news here is that Astrid is now diaper free, at least during the day. She’s been wearing underwear at home since October but we weren’t sure how to make the transition at daycare. She would never tell her teachers when she had to go and we didn’t want to burden them with a toddler peeing her pants several times a day.

Then suddenly on November 8, she said she wanted to wear underwear to daycare. It caught us by surprise, but we wanted to capitalize on her enthusiasm. So we sent her to daycare with 7 extra pairs of pants, socks, and underwear and pre-apologized to the teachers for the mess she was about to make. We were shocked when she came home in the same pair of pants.

Over the next few weeks she had a bunch of accidents and sometimes came home with 2 pairs of wet pants, socks, and even shoes. But she quickly got better at letting someone know when she had to pee, and it’s been a few weeks now since her last accident. We cancelled our cloth diaper service a few weeks ago and use disposable pull-ups at nighttime.

Grandkids

The next big achievement is Astrid had her first sleepover at Grandma’s. Again, we weren’t ready for it but our hand was forced when our only babysitter (Grandma) was under house arrest (backstory) and we had plans to celebrate Emily’s birthday. So we dropped Astrid off after dinner and prayed we didn’t get a phone call to come get her overnight.

We expected the worst – Astrid hadn’t napped that day and was a bit grouchy, she was still on Ventolin for asthma, and she had been waking up at night coughing and wheezing. But she had fun, slept through the night on the futon, and was brushing her teeth after eating a yummy breakfast when I came by the next morning to pick her up. If grandma is up for it, we hope to try it again in the new year.

Sleeping Bags

Astrid’s health has been pretty good lately. A few minor colds and the accompanying asthma, but no hospital ER visits. We saw our respirologist and pediatrician, who told us to keep doing what we’re doing. They were impressed with the data and charts I’ve been collecting. The goal is to see less hospital visits and drugs this winter.

Puff the Magic Dragon

Astrid loves singing. Her favourite songs right now are Puff the Magic Dragon and Frosty the Snowman.

Mixin

She also likes helping cook and bake, especially pancakes on Saturday mornings and popcorn at night (the perfect snack for a blanket fort).

Pizza

Astrid’s newest obsession is clothing with pockets. She loves having pants, jackets, and shirts with pockets on them.

More photos of November and December.

Pretending to Watch TV

Astrid – 2 Years Old

Climbing Up
It’s been an up-and-down month.

We had to cancel Astrid’s 2nd birthday party when she picked up hand, foot, and mouth disease. The symptoms haven’t been that bad, but she’s contagious right now and we didn’t want to infect all the party guests. She had a fever one night, then two days of low energy and not much appetite, and then the sores started appearing (mostly on her bum and feet). I haven’t seen any sores in her mouth, but there must be some small ones because she complains about acidic foods and cries sometimes while eating. Luckily, she’s still eating and drinking and her energy levels have bounced back in the past two days. The hardest part is now finding ways for her to burn energy while avoiding other kids.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth

On her birthday, we had a special breakfast with muffins and candles, I took her out of quarantine to check out the train engine at the Roundhouse (I hope I didn’t infect any other kids), and we had a yummy lunch at Meet in Yaletown with some of Astrid’s favourite foods – french fries, guacamole, and mac & cheese.

CPR 374

Our little girl is definitely growing up. She’s moving out of the infant room and into the toddler room at daycare (although the hand, foot, and mouth interrupted the transition). And she’s started potty training at home. We’ve had a potty since she was little, and had some early success placing her on the potty first thing in the morning. But ever since she started walking she’s refused to sit on the potty. That changed this month.

Potty with a View

Now she often refuses to wear a diaper at home (we bought her some big kid underwear) and she’s started talking more about the potty and going pee pee. I can often get her to pee in the potty first thing in the morning if I get her out of the crib before she’s been awake for too long. We’ve had a few glorious triumphs where she’s realized she’s needed to pee and made it to the potty on time, once or twice all by herself. Misses are still more common and we’ve had to clean up a lot of puddles (thankfully we don’t have much carpet), but things are moving in the right direction.

We bought a little balance bike for her. She hasn’t mastered it yet, but we’ve had a few fun days riding around on it. If we can get her to ride for more than 5 minutes, it’s a triumph. Often she rides for a few minutes and then I end up carrying the bike while she runs about.

New Balcony Play Area Framed

We cleaned off our patio and made a little outdoor area for Astrid. She loves playing out there, tearing up the flooring, and watching the dogs and bikes go by.

Happy Father's Day
A yummy breakfast on Father’s Day.

Umaluma Vegan Ice Cream
The upside of Astrid being sick – she gets to eat lots of vegan ice cream and homemade popsicles.

Emily Tries to Sleep In
Sometimes Astrid lets mommy sleep in on the weekends, but not always.

Astrid's fam
After a year away, we’re happy the Holdings are back in Astrid’s life.

More pictures from June (and a few cute videos).

Astrid – 1st Haircut

1st Haircut

We’ve been avoiding cutting Astrid’s hair for a while now. Partly because she has such beautiful curly hair and it seemed a shame to cut it; and partly because we couldn’t fathom her still long enough for someone to maneuver scissors next to her head. Well, we finally did it and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. The hairdresser at Hairloft (in the Granville Island Kids Market) was a pro at moving with Astrid’s darting head and their were plenty of distractions in the room to keep her mostly looking forward. Her hair still looks lovely and curly, and now it is much easier to comb and doesn’t tangle as much.

Cystic Fibrosis Sweat Test

So we ended up back in the hospital in May, but luckily not in the emergency ward. We went to BC Children’s for a Cystic Fibrosis sweat test. Astrid had a genetic screen for Cystic Fibrosis when she was born but with all of the breathing problems we’ve had since last winter, our doctor wanted to rule it out with a more accurate sweat test. Astrid was a champ as she calmly sat (staring at the tv) while they ran electric currents through her arm to activate the sweat glands and then covered her arm in multiple layers of plastic wrap and even a diaper. Then I had to convince her to wear all of her warm clothing and run around in the sun to get her as sweaty as possible. I didn’t do a great job but they got just enough sweat to run the test. The end result is she concussively doesn’t have Cystic Fibrosis. So that’s good news.

Sick Kids

She did pick up a bug at daycare that gave her 5 days of diarrhea. It probably rotovirus or norovirus. 7 kids in her daycare either had vomiting or diarrhea at the end of May. It even got me and I spent an awful night emptying my guts.

Pair Programming

Once she was better, she had to stay home for 24 hours to make sure she wasn’t contagious, so we got to hang out and do some pair programming together.

Temper Tantrum

Astrid has really started to push her boundaries as she approaches the so-called “terrible twos”. We’ve had a few more tantrums and it can now take 30 minutes to leave the house in the morning as she refuses to wear a diaper, pants, socks, or shoes. We’ve been trying to give her choices (“which pants do you want to wear?”), which helps but she also likes to scream “no pants!” and run away.

Over the past few weeks, she’s started to learn what the boundaries are and we’ve been conscious about being consistent in enforcing them. She also keeps us in check by ensuring we’re applying the rules consistently to ourselves. Which means that if Astrid needs to wear a hat, then so do we. If she has to wear socks and shoes to daycare, we’re not allowed to leave the house in sandals. Seems fair.

Painting with the Neighbours

During the summer months, I really appreciate how lucky we are to live where we do. We have a beautiful rooftop garden and tons of neighbours with kids. It’s awesome letting the kids run around and play together, while the adults hang out together.

More photos from May

Astrid – Easter Egg Hunts and Tantrums

Wild Hair
This blog post is a few weeks late. After Easter we all got sick (I had the flu plus a root canal, Emily and Astrid had colds), and we’ve been nervously anticipating another hospital visit for Astrid’s asthma. But now that Astrid seems to be getting better, it’s time to recap our adventures in March.

Hospital Visit #6
We were back in the hospital for Astrid’s 6th and 7th visits for Asthma on March 9th and 16th.Ugh. We seem to spend a lot of Friday nights hanging out with our doctor and nurse friends. Hopefully cold and flu season is now over and we can make it through the summer without more emergency room visits.

Hinge Park

Even when Astrid’s been sick, her playful personality hasn’t diminished. One night she woke up coughing at 1 am and couldn’t fall back asleep. I stayed up with her and we played with lego in our moonlit apartment, read stories, and had a snack. At one point she ran into the bathroom but it was too dark to see anything. She begged me me to turn on the lights, which I briefly did blinding both of us. She ran away and came back with sunglasses for both of us. We didn’t stay in the bathroom, but we did run around the house with our sunglasses on for another half an hour before she got tired and went to bed.

Toque and Sunglasses

Astrid has started asserting her will more and beginning the dreaded toddler tantrums. She’s had a few incidents where she’s completely lost it crying and flailing about. One time she wanted to wear her toque and sunglasses and refused to take them off at bedtime. Another time she refused to put on clean socks in the morning and insisted on¬†wearing the dirty ones she found in the hamper. We’ve learned to pick our battles and to give her space when she’s freaking out.

On a cuter note, Astrid has learned how to say “I love you” or rather “I you“. The first night she said it back to me at bedtime she lay in bed saying “I you” repeatedly for 10 minutes, long after I had left the room.

Tunnel

The highlight of our month was our annual Easter trip to Kamloops to visit auntie Kelsey, uncle Matt, cousin Jacob, and baby Nora. It was great to see how much fun the cousins had playing together.

Little Chefs

Astrid and Jacob ran around the house together, learned to share toys, bounced on couches, and helped me make pancakes for breakfast. Jacob woke up every morning asking where Astrid was. And Astrid woke up asking to see the baby. She loved patting Nora on head and poking her in the eyes (amazingly she never made her cry).

Kids Table

The easter egg hunt was a huge success. With plastic eggs full of dried fruit and stickers at ground level for Astrid and Jacob to find, and eggs full of chocolate hidden higher up for the adults. Amazingly we got through the easter weekend without giving Astrid any chocolate. I’m not sure if that makes us good or bad parents.

Easter Egg Hunt

 

It took Nora a few days to warm up to us, but we became best friends by the end of the weekend.

Emily, Nora, and Me

More pictures from March and Easter.

Astrid: February in Photos

After we spent the Family Day long weekend in the hospital (two visits to emergency), Astrid’s health has improved. She had her first virus that didn’t end up in a trip to emergency (she ran a fever for 36 hours but bounced back after a few days) and she’s been healthy for the last week. It feels like a precarious situation, but we’re trying to enjoy it for now.
Hospital Visit #5

Astrid is busy expanding her vocabulary. The biggest highlight is that she can say her name, or a lispy version of it. And she’s working on the names of other people in her life. She’s getting pretty good at using her words and actions to order us around (dragging us around the house, “bottle”, “book”, pat a chair to indicate we should sit there).

We had a lovely snowshoe to the Bowen Island Lookout on Cypress Mountain yesterday (photos).

Bowen Lookout Snowshoe
Bowen Lookout Snowshoe

Astrid is loving her trains and lego.

Trains
Lego

She’s a big help around the house.

Repair Work
Cleaning

Fresh air is good for the lungs.

Playing in the Park

More photos