At 2.5 Years…

At 2.5 years, she is the most fun she’s ever been. With more language come fewer tantrums and (a bit) more reasoning and understanding. It’s such a joy to watch her little wheels sort things out in her brain as we talk. Below are some of my favorite things she’s saying and doing right now:

I do my own self!

I love ____! It’s my favorite!

__________ is the best ever!

Silly mommy! Silly daddy! Silly Pepper!

When she hears a car engine roar, she yells, “Slow down!”

She says, “What’s that noise?” all the time.

I happy, Mommy!

She calls strawberries “strawbabies”

In the backseat, she tells me to go faster. If I tell her I can’t because of traffic, she says, “Go traffic, go!”

She loves to bargain, but she doesn’t have her number sense yet. If I tell her she has five more minutes, she says, “No, two minutes!” She also loves to ask for “one more” of whatever she is doing.

She talks a lot about the weather. “It’s sunny!” “Rain, rain, go away!”

If I get to daycare after 5pm to pick her up, she says, “Mommy late!”

Yesterday I sat down beside her to eat breakfast. She reached over, grabbed my hand, and said, “Best friends. Mommy and Izbef.” I cry every time I retell that and I am crying as I write it now. Below is the pic I took of us holding hands while we ate our breakfast together.

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She loves to ride her blue balance bike and her red tricycle. She has made so much progress on both of them in just a few weeks.

She is doing great at potty training–we certainly still have to remind her, but she goes regularly with few accidents and loves feeling like a big girl. “Babies wear diapers. Big girls wear panties! I wear panties!”

At the pool, she mostly enjoys being in the baby pool with her toys, but she is getting braver at jumping in the big pool to us and going underwater. Going to the pool is one of her most favorite things–she asks to go every single day. Yesterday we got our suits on after I picked her up, but on the way there it started raining and she yelled at the rain to stop so that she could go swimming.

On June 10, we threw her a little Half-Birthday Party. She was over-the-moon excited about it! We rented a bouncy house, had cupcakes, and invited a few little girlfriends over for a morning party in our front yard. Having a December birthday is tough, and this was a fun way to celebrate outside. We had the bouncy house all weekend, which she loved, but they came and took it down on Sunday while she was napping. When she realized it was gone, she said, “Aww! I miss it so much!”

Now that it’s summer and I have a few weeks off, we have sweet, slow mornings together. I get her out of her crib when she wakes up and we cuddle in my bed and watch Peppa Pig. She reaches over and pats my cheek as we snuggle up together. I have to drop her off by 9am at daycare, but she begs to “stay with my mommy.” It’s so hard to balance being the mom I want to be for her and finishing my dissertation data analysis, a chore I must complete this summer to be able to graduate in December…three weeks after Baby Sister is born.

 

 

The 2s so far…

We are a few weeks into having a two-year-old, and it seems like she changes a little bit every single day. She is saying more complete sentences, including but not limited to:

What you doing, Mommy?

Where we go, Mommy?

I watch Elsa Anna, Mommy.

I want to play, Mommy.

I take bath. Mommy take bath. Bubbles!

Her newest sentences have thrown me: “I don’t want to” and “My do it.” Game changers. I have come to accept that bribery is a perfectly acceptable parenting strategy. We just don’t have all morning to decide which pants we are going to wear. Or if we are going to wear pants at all.

She says words with passion. With whine in her voice. How does she know how to do that? How does she know how much inflection changes her message? It’s incredible, really. She cracks me up every single day. I bet when people drive past us in the car, they think I’m a smiling fool because I am always laughing at something she is saying or doing in the back seat.

She is also very interested in family dynamics. She identifies the mommy, daddy, and the baby in most books, shows, and movies. We are working on other family dynamics that she knows but doesn’t see as often: families with two daddies, two mommies, only one parent, grandparent, etc. She learns so fast.

A favorite thing right now is when we take her clothes off for a bath, we say, “RUN!” She takes off running naked through the upstairs rooms, laughing and screaming for a few minutes before bath time. It’s basically the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

Some things are harder than they used to be and some things are easier. All things are better because she is ours.

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My Baby Turns Two

Tomorrow we will have a sweet, small little 2nd Birthday Party with family and celebrate the two best years of our lives. Jon and I are constantly amazed by how much we love her, how wonderful she is, how much fun it is to be her parents. Below are some of the things I want to remember about her right now, on the night before she turns two:

When you sneeze, she says, “Bless you!”

She loves shoes–her shoes, Mommy’s shoes, Daddy’s shoes…everyone’s shoes! Yesterday at The Gap, there was a mannequin with bare feet, and she looked at me and exclaimed, “Shoes!” I replied that she needed shoes, didn’t she? Next thing I know, she has run over to the shoe display and brought back a pair for the mannequin.

Her favorite toy right now is her Bitty Baby from Oma and Beepa for her birthday, which she got to open a month early when they came to visit. She carries it everywhere and asks for it first thing every morning.

When we go to her playroom downstairs, she points at the record player and says, “Dance!” We have family dance parties all the time. Her favorite record right now is the Beach Boys. Most of the time “dancing” is putting her feet on top of hours and holding our hands.

Her weapon of choice during a tantrum is spaghetti legs–scariest time was when she did it in a parking lot when my hands were full (of gifts for her) and I couldn’t carry her.

Every day, she wants a bow in her hair, and when she asks for one, I do a little victory dance inside.

When we say, “Love you,” she says, “Lush you.”

She does really well at playing by herself. I love to hear her little imagination, which is mostly gibberish to me right now, as she plays with Little People, her dolls, and her stuffed animals.

She sings the ABCs all the time…not in order, and the first few letters get more attention than others, but it is the sweetest sound.

She does not call animals by their names; rather, she makes the sound they make when she sees them. I’m not quite sure what to do about this, but for right now, it’s adorable.

Sliding is one of her favorite things to do–over and over and over.

She has recently discovered Hide and Seek…and she’s really quite terrible at it. As soon as we say, “Where’s Elizabeth?!” she jumps out of her hiding spot…which is always the coat closet.

Potty training is going quite well so far. When she goes, she gets a sticker on a chart and a “snack,” which is one M&M. When we ask her if she has to go potty, she says, “Sticky! Snack!”

When we pull in the driveway, she exclaims, “My house!”

She weighs 28 lbs and is mostly wearing 3T clothes. We go to the doctor this week for her well check–I’m pretty sure she’s off the chart in height! She sure does come by it honest, doesn’t she?

Oh, October…

You are my favorite month, October. You are orange, yellow, red, green, brown. You are (sometimes) cooler weather, inviting my boots and scarves back out to play. You are also the month I met husband on a first date in lovely Decatur. Six years later, we have a home and a sweet little girl who just turned 22 months.

Elizabeth. This is really about you because, really, everything is about you. You are hilarious, affectionate, and fun. You giggle all the time. You are in awe of the world around you, soaking up every detail and learning new things every day. Today you said the word “mess” when you walked into the office to see your toys strewn about. How do you know that word?! You constantly amaze me and fill me with a joy I never knew I could feel.

I constantly hear parents say that “time flies” and they can’t believe how quickly kids grow up. I’m sure I will feel that way one day, but right now I don’t. Right now time is wonderfully slow with you, Elizabeth. I can hardly remember a life before you were here, nor do I really want to. Every single thing is better because of you, my love. You have taught me so much about patience, sacrifice, everyday joy, and what really matters in each day. I know that in just a few weeks you will turn two years old. Two. That’s your favorite number to say; in fact, it’s the only number you will say right now.

I love you so much, sweet girl. You’re my best girl, my number one.

A Year and a Half with Elizabeth Claire

Elizabeth is 19 months old today, and the last four months have been our favorite time with her so far. She has developed so much personality! She has also been introduced to “timeout” for biting and hitting at school. (Imagine the embarrassment I feel as an assistant principal when I get a call from the daycare principal!) I want to make sure I write down her little eccentricities. Already when I look back at blogs I wrote last year, I realize that if I hadn’t recorded those little nuances, I would certainly struggle to remember them now. So here goes… She has fully mastered going up and down stairs. She loves brushing her teeth. She gives kisses and hugs, and oh my, there is no better feeling than that pudgy little arm wrapped around our necks. We started swimming lessons and she is improving in her tolerance of the water in her face. She loves shoes–hers and anyone else’s! Her favorite pastime is to open and close doors. All doors. She loves the Sesame Street opening song and squeals with delight when she hears it. She loves “Melmo” and dances to the “Letter of the Day” song every time. We aren’t sure why we buy toys because some of her favorite things to play with are cups and straws. Her appetite has slowed tremendously as has her acceptance of many foods she used to eat. She’s basically a carbivore, many days only eating bread, cereal, crackers, and cheese. She does love peas and carrots, apples, and pizza (her father’s child, she is). Our days of pleasantly going out to eat are over–she wants up, down, out, in, on, off, wherever is inconvenient for us to eat and talk. We have discovered the joy of takeout and drinking our own wine and homemade cocktails! Other things she has developed an intolerance for are changing her diaper, washing her hair, and bathing in general. Whenever we are doing something she doesn’t like, she screams for Dada the entire time. If you ask her a question and she doesn’t know the answer, she puts throws up her hands and says in her baby way, “I don’t know!” Our favorite thing she does right now is “roll call.” She calls our names over and over throughout the house, in the car, at Kroger, wherever.

Her words: hey, bye, me, mama, dada, uh oh, no no, please, thank you, seat, I sit, milk, bite bites, beach, outside, pool, Mawma (Grandma), Pawpaw, Tashy (Aunt Ashley), Bapa (Beepa), Mawma (Oma), down, more, bubbles, baba (bottle), nack (snack), teeth, airplane, ball, book

Animal sounds she knows: moo, quack, meow, woof woof

Songs she knows and does motions to: Row Your Boat, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Wheels on the Bus, Baby Bumblebee, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Funnies:

  • She raises a fist in the air and exclaims, “Outside!”
  • At the beach, Beepa taught her how to “Cheers!”
  • She emphatically, with her whole body, shakes her head yes or no
  • She does the “all done” sign when she’s doing something she doesn’t like
  • She likes to pop, lock, and drop when dancing
  • She has to touch every little hanging cloud in her classroom every morning when Daddy drops her off at daycare

Being her mommy is my greatest joy in life and is certainly the most important role I have ever had. I am so thrilled that I will now work 1.4 miles from home, giving me so much more time with her each day. Never ever have I felt more in love with my husband and more complete in my life. I am just so thankful!

 

15 Months of Elizabeth

Words she says: Mama, Dada, shoes, bye bye, uh oh, baba (bottle), na (snack), shashu (thank you)

Things she loves: reading books, playing chase, running, swinging,  cuddling, giving hugs, giving kisses, playing with her Fisher Price Little People, carrying baby dolls and stuffed animals, opening and closing doors, pulling wipes out of the box, playing in water, being outside, riding in her car outside

She goes to the cabinet where we keep the cat food and gets out cans, takes them to the kitty’s mat, and calls for kitty to come eat.

She squeals with delight any time she can get her hands on one of our phones. She talks to Siri a lot who never understands what she’s trying to say.

She knows when we put shoes on that it’s time to go. She starts repeating bye bye over and over.

She recently discovered the front seat of our cars and loves to sit there by herself and say bye bye to us.

She loves walking while holding one of our hands.

She likes to try to put clothes on herself.

She is tough, rarely crying when she falls down.

She has started throwing little tantrums when she doesn’t get her way, laying face down and crying.

We just started taking music class and she absolutely loves it. Her favorite part is putting the instruments back in the boxes.

My heart sometimes feels like it will burst with love for her. I am so thankful that Jon and I get to be her parents.

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On the Evening of her First Birthday

One year ago this evening, at 34 weeks pregnant, my water broke. And a couple of hours later, contractions started. I labored until just after midnight, and then they took me back for a C-section because Baby Girl was breech. At 12:34 on December 10, I met my daughter, Elizabeth Claire. So tiny, just 5lb, 11oz and 19in long. But so healthy and strong, she was. Looking back now, I had no idea what was in store for me over the next year.

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One year ago. Everyone told me it would go by so fast. Savor every moment, they said. Soak up every second, they said. Enjoy every phase, they said. And I have. I have loved every single phase of her first year of life. Those early newborn snuggles made for such simple days, holding her and resting together. Then she could hold her head up, and we didn’t feel as afraid of breaking her all the time. Then she could sit up by herself. And then she could crawl. And now she can walk behind a push toy or holding onto something. I love all of those phases. And I have soaked up and cherished every day of being her mommy. But my goodness, they were all right. It is so cliche to say it, but it just went by so fast. And I know it will keep going by so fast, and I will keep enjoying each phase as it comes.

Last weekend, we had a one-year photo shoot and I am dying over the pics. On Sunday, we will have her first birthday party. The theme is pink and gold with crowns. A crown on her head and a crown on her cake. I may have gone a little overboard, but I just can’t make any apologies. I love my birthday, and I love her birthday more. And I will always always always make a big deal about it.

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I heard someone say on NPR one day that motherhood is the “terrifying joy of unbearable responsibility.” What a perfect phrase, each word so true. As I have written before, I pray over her every night and every thought that goes through my head is filtered through my experience as her mother. I am a better person because of her. I am a much better school administrator because of her. I am sometimes a worse friend because it is so hard for me to choose to be away from her. More than anything, I love being her mommy. And tomorrow my baby turns one. This is just the beginning of the great adventure of life with Elizabeth Claire. What a sweet and wonderful life it is…

These are some of the little wonders about her right now:

*When you change her diaper, she reaches down and pulls off the left tab. Only the left, and she will do it as many times as she can before you put her clothes on.

*She says “Aaaaahhhhh” when she hugs her stuffed animals.

*She gets tickled looking at pictures and videos of herself.

*She loves to play chase with me or Jon or PepperCat.

*Her favorite toys that aren’t toys are remote controls, measuring cups, toothbrushes, and paper.

*When you put her lovey on your shoulder, no matter what time of day, she has an automatic reflex to lay her head on it.

*When I pick her up at daycare, as soon as she’s in my arms, she turns to her teacher and her little friends and says, “Bye bye!”

*She waves at everyone as you walk with her in your arms in public.

*Opening and closing doors can keep her entertained longer than anything else.

Tomorrow she turns one. Her first year has been the most joyful year of my life.

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