3.25

I got a notice from a parenting newsletter that my “39 month Growing Child” was available for me to read today. I stopped counting months over a year ago, but I still know them thanks to this publication (which is worth a look, in spite of its relatively heterocentric narratives).

Three and a quarter is an interesting age. So big and so tiny all at the same time. Seemingly small things can be the cause for deep and lasting upset (a children’s television show being on while Darwin could hear it in the other room), while others that I would think might be big and hard are easily triumphed, ignored, or heartily enjoyed (a book about the death of a tree called Bertolt, which is now definitely on the top five best hits).

Sometime around 3 + 1 or 2 months, Darwin fully weaned, with little fanfare. She also began sleeping through the night, identifying letters and numbers, and doing simple arithmetic (“we need three of those and I have one so I need two more!”), entirely unprompted. She can use a knife and fork, and a spoon with little effort, though she’d still prefer her hands. And to my utter delight, she has, in the last week, aquiesed and even requested that MamaLee be the one to put her to bed. It is glorious.

Preschool continues to go well. According to her teachers Darwin is an observer and likes things to be done right. So far we know she likes to do puzzles and wash dishes, and is currently working with the button board. A couple of weeks ago she came home keen to show off and practice her new skill of doing up and undoing buttons. The last major hurdles with clothes are learning how to do snaps and how to tie shoes.

Darwin is a sweet big sister (and adamant that we should have more children in our family – no news on that front currently though). She helps Linnea put on her socks and shoes, gets her things like her water bottle or coat, and delights in hugging her goodnight when Linnea deems it acceptable.

Yesterday we took the kids to a local carousel and both were enamored. They road three or four times and we got to see the workshop where the animals are carved and painted. Darwin fell apart when we had to leave. We were able to give her time and space to be sad though, and she was able to make the choice to get into her carseat on her own. 3 months ago it would have been a real struggle.

Life with this kid is good.

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17 months of the Bee

This was a big month (aren’t they all at this age?) So many new words and ideas. ‘This one’, ‘why?’, and ‘mine!’ were at the top of the list. Yesterday she and Darwin were on the couch together and Linnea was taunting her sister with a pillow, then hugging it and yelling “mine!” The Bee is getting big.

This kid loves to lounge. As MamaLee said today, she is “the lougiest kid I’ve ever known.” The position seen above is a common sight. Linnea is comfortable in her body and revels in her strength and ability to do things now (like working on hopping), as well as her ability to laze around and look at books, or snuggle on the couch (for a few minutes at least).

Everything is named, over and over now. She’ll go around the room naming things, and will not stop saying each item/person’s name until you repeat it back to you. At which point she moves on to the next thing. The best part is that she just started identifying *herself* in this process too! “Neeeeeh!” Is the current form, probably because we call her “Nea” or “NeaBee” most of the time. It’s sweet because she is clearly very proud of herself and her growing ability to communicate her thoughts on the world.

Bedtime (with me) has been ups and downs, but overall, this kid likes to sleep. She willingly goes back to the bedroom (a trick Darwin still barely knows), willingly and enthusiastically brushes her teeth and has a story, and (mostly) willingly will be put in her pack’n’play by me. She protests vigorously if MamaLee is in sight when I take her to bed, but calms quickly now. I ask her if she wants me to put her down in bed, and she’ll say “yes”, same answer to “do you want a blanket now?” and “do you want a song?” With me she’s usually asleep within 5 minutes. Tonight it was ten. With Leah it can be 10 minutes, but it is usually more in the vicinity of 1+ hours. But tonight, tonight Linnea quieted down very quickly and I thought she was about asleep, so I slipped out. About five minutes later, we hear a little voice calling for “MamaRaaaae!” This melted my heart. It’s the first time she’s ever asked for *me* at bedtime. I went back and sang to her, and she went right to sleep. Kid pulls my heartstrings.

We got our winter tree (solstice tree, yule tree, whatever). The family that sells them down the road is just lovely, and even took our photo (in other news, I need a new camera phone…). I don’t know what I would do if I lived in a place that didn’t have live trees available, having grown up in Maine, then moved here. The house smells like solstice. Doug-fir needles, thumbprint cookies, all sorts of goodness. Linnea is old enough this year to be fully enamored with the lights and the ornaments, and I wish I didn’t work full time and could just play with her and Darwin all day long every day. There’s no time like this time of year to make me feel like that. Yay for making it to 17 months!

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‘NONONO’ and other tails from the trenches

My energetic, happy, compliant 16 month old has thrown off the shackles of the last of those descriptors. No to diapers. No to getting dressed. No to being picked up. No to MamaLee bring out of sight. No to bed. No to not reading a book 5 billion times in a row.

I had somehow forgotten the intensity of the nearly one-and-a-half year old with regards to ‘no’. I forgot that we used to put Darwin in the car in her pajamas in the morning so we weren’t late to childcare swap.

Currently I’m enjoying the fact that Linnea has not yet started biting. Hitting, yes, but hitting doesn’t draw blood the same way.

Oh life with a toddler. It’s all good.

16 months

The Bee hit the 16 month mark just over a week ago and our lives have just been all over the place so I’m just now sitting down to write her update. Sixteen months with this kid is pretty cool. She has a ton of words now, including the names of all the important people in her life, animals (including “platypus”, which is “plat-pus” and may be the cutest thing I’ve ever heard), body parts, favorite foods, and just about anything else you can think up. She has also learned “no”, very clearly and emphatically.

Fun things:

  1. Linnea now loves books and will sit with us while we read entire picture books to her. This evening she carried one over to me and put it in my hands. I turned it around to read it to her while she stood in front of me, but she pushed it out of the way and said “LAP!” So quite logically, I helped her climb into my lap and read her the book. It’s lovely having two kids who like to read.
  2. Smiles for days. This kid is so happy. She is relatively independent and quite pleased to be able to play on her own with the megablocks, or tear apart the train tracks, or run around the house and bounce on the bed with her big sister.
  3. Daycare is a second home now. Linnea loves daycare. She has friends there who she knows by name, and she is quite pleased to be dropped off as long as I give her a good snuggle before I leave. She is also very enthusiastic to see us when we pick her up, so it doesn’t hurt the mama hearts at all that she’s so happy away from us!
  4. Still eats everything. I think this may be the month where she surpasses our little bird in weight (though not height). She’s strong and stocky and always moving. It takes a lot of fuel, very little room to be picky!
  5. Swimming is the BEST. THING. EVER. Linnea spends the entire time in the pool playing and smiling and splashing and has no issues going under water. I’m so excited to watch her swim more.
  6. My hat is a favorite play thing. As in, yelling “hat!” taking it off of my head, and returning it to my head. Fun for days.
  7. Sisters hugging is so flipping adorable I don’t even know what to do with myself.

Challenging things:

  1. Hitting is now a thing. As is screaming “nonononono” when it’s time to do something she doesn’t like.
  2. Linnea constantly feeds the dog when given the chance, which wouldn’t be such a big deal, but our dog does *not* need anymore weight on her arthritic hips, and her metabolism has slowed considerably the last year or so.
  3. Leah has been struggling some with her sleep, but the kid got FOUR TEETH in over the last two weeks, so I think we know why. I’ve started doing more bedtimes, which has been a bit hard. Lots of “no” and screaming, but asleep in about five minutes, which is shockingly easy compared to big sister (who is still currently awake at 10 pm).

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‘Nug

I forgot how much fun the second year could be. Linnea is currently funny, affectionate, playful, and energetic. My current favorite is “‘nug!” When I ask for a snuggle, she exclaims “‘NUG!” and comes running over with her head tilted (because the primary snug mechanism is her head tilting into us). She does a full-body…everything, but particularly hugs. This kid is full tilt, knows what she wants, and does it.

Other awesomeness is the current exclamation of the names of everyone she is most excited to see. Darwin is “Dar-Dar”, Leah is “Me” (“Mama-Lee”), Grandma is “Gma”, Opa is just Opa, because that’s easy. Her daycare providers have their own names, the other two kids she spends her days with do as well. The dogs at daycare are loved. And I am “Rae”, when I’m not just mama. I’m so happy to be her “Rae”.

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Happy little Bee

Linnea is in the happiest toddler ever born stage. She wakes up happy, goes to daycare happy, gets picked upĀ suuuuuuper happy. She’s happy to see Darwin and chants “DarDar! DarDar!” from the moment I pick her up from daycare (after exclaiming “Mama!” while bouncing towards me). She even says “happy” when I ask if she’s happy.

This is why people have children spaced 2.5 years apart.

Happy