On the Eve of Elizabeth’s 3rd Birthday

Tomorrow my baby turns 3. THREE! To say she has been the light of my life for the last three years would be, well, perfectly accurate. Elizabeth, you are such a joy. You are full of love and light. You are tender, sensitive, funny, and smart. Your little world was rocked seven weeks ago with the birth of Baby Caroline, and you have surpassed all expectations I had of you as a new Big Sister. You are so sweet and concerned when the baby cries, suggesting that she needs her paci and putting in her mouth for her. You know to have clean hands before touching the baby. You are sharing your parents so beautifully, and our family is now complete with our two girls. Here are some things I want to remember about how magical you are…

Your favorite things to play are hide and seek (you are so bad at hiding!) and doctor. You  pretend your toys are hurt and they always need a pink bandaid to feel better.

You sleep in your Big Girl Bed every night and never get out of your bed. When we talk about things that will happen the next day, you say, “When I wake up?”

When we are driving, you yell SCHOOL BUS every time we see one, and you look to see if there are kids riding it. You also like to spot convertibles and motorcycles. We say prayers for emergency vehicles. You constantly ask which way we are going. This way or that way? (We are using this to teach you left and right.) Every single day when I pick you up you ask to go to Kroger and get a cookie. Every day. Ms. Toy works in the bakery at Kroger and she always makes sure you get a cookie. Pink cookies are your favorite.

Your bargaining skills have improved. You ask for two minutes, just a little bit longer, and just one more time when we try to transition away whatever you are doing. I give in more often than I care to admit.

You have learned to glide on your balance bike. You can run fast but you don’t always watch where you are going.

You can sing Jingle Bells, Humpty Dumpty, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, You are my Sunshine, Let it Go, Do You Want to Build a Snowman, Wheels on the Bus, Row Row Row Your Boat, ABCs, I’m a Little Teapot, and Happy Birthday, but you say, “Had a Birthday to you…” instead.

You would choose to be naked all the time if we would let you. You prefer to wear dresses if you must wear clothes.

Dance class with your friends is your favorite thing to do during the week. You are learning so much in ballet!

Shows you love right now are Doc McStuffins, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Peppa Pig. You still love Frozen, but you call it Elsa Anna.

Our bedtime routine is a long bath where you play so sweetly with your toys, a bargaining discussion of whether you have to wash your hair, and then you love to go get your stuffed giraffe and run through the rooms upstairs saying, Giddy up! When we finally get in the bed, we read at least three books, usually more. You absolutely love books. Tonight as I was putting you to bed, we were reading our last book, and you said, “Mommy, I don’t know how to read. You teach me?” My heart just about exploded.

You love the color pink and will always ask to eat off of your pink plate or pink bowl. Your favorite foods are cereal and milk and PBJs cut in the shape of a heart or a flower.

You made me a mommy three years ago, and changed me forever. I love you, love you, sweet girl.

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Pregnancy: Just over the Bump

I’m just over halfway through my second pregnancy, and I am struck by how different this one is from my first. I hate to admit this, especially in writing, but I have really struggled with this pregnancy. I am so tired, so overwhelmed, and so busy with Elizabeth and my dissertation that I haven’t had–or taken–the time to be amazed by the miracle that is going on inside. Yesterday marked a shift for me. For most of the morning and again later in the afternoon, Baby Girl was a little ninja, giving me the pleasure of feeling her move all over my tummy. It was the first time that she moved for so long that I was 100% sure it was her and not…gas. I was in a workshop and as I was listening to the presenter or reading a passage, I would just smile as I felt her do her little dance moves inside. How special of an experience it is to carry a child. How lucky and blessed I am to be able to do it. I didn’t really know it, but I needed yesterday to get my head and my heart on track with this pregnancy. Up until now, I mostly just resented the restrictions (good god I miss wine) and felt tired and scared that something was wrong with the baby. And my back is already aching, which is not a good sign for the 18 weeks left to come. But I’m growing a tiny human. She and I are together all day every day. We’ve already started bonding, a process that no one else can start until she is born. I already love being her mommy.

Other not-so-sappy things I love about pregnancy:

  • My protruding tummy pulls in my love-handles, so my sides are much smoother and more taut
  • I don’t dwell on my hips and thighs, problem areas I’ve bemoaned since I was 12, because my tummy gets all of my attention
  • I absolutely love to eat, pregnant or not, so now I can eat more often and feel fully justified
  • Clothing choices are simple because I don’t have a whole closet full of maternity clothes

Five months down, just over four more to go…here’s hoping she doesn’t make an early debut like her Big Sister did!

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!