25 Months-Routine, Personality, and Things for Us Parents to Keep in Mind

So, Hula Girl is getting smarter and more “real-person-ish” every day. I have to say, I am really loving this stage in her life. Even though it’s really difficult because she’s still learning her boundaries (and pushing the ones she knows are in place), she’s starting to settle into a calmness/obedience that wasn’t readily seen before now. I should say she’s always been quite obedient and relatively mild, but now it’s even more obvious to me.

Our daily routine is still quite similar to what it was a month ago, but she can handle a bit more flexibility. It’s fun to see her gaining that flexibility as she gets older. I get her out of bed at 7:45, and we spend 15-30 minutes in her room getting dressed and cuddling while she drinks her milk. Yep, she still has all her milk while cuddling with me in her chair- I LOVE this tradition and I hope to keep it up as long as possible. I also like that she doesn’t just drink milk at meals and then not eat food. 🙂 On Mondays, we wait in her room so we can see the trash truck come by. She stands up on her windowsill (I  hold on just behind her) and watches in awe as the garbage collector moves the bin, empties it, and puts it back. He has noticed us watching, so he always makes sure to wave- Hula Girl loves it. “Hi, gabbage mayn!”

After milk and cuddles, we head downstairs where Hula Girl plays for about 10-15 minutes while I prepare her breakfast. She would think she’d died and gone to Heaven if I served her a fruit smoothie every day. However, we do a lot of different things like omelets, scrambled eggs, hard-boiled eggs, toast, waffles, pancakes, cereal, yogurt, and of course, FRUIT. She really loves breakfast some days; other days, she picks like a bird and declares herself finished after two bites. Either is fine with me. She asks to be excused from the table (and we have had very much success with this- she rarely tries to get out of her chair before she asks anymore), and at breakfast, I let her go before I am done. We end the meal when she is done regardless of what she’s eaten and then she doesn’t eat again until snack time. So if she’s hungry before then, it will help her learn not to “finish” so quickly next time!

Breakfast is always followed by a visit to the bathroom sink, where we wash hands and brush teeth. She’s still too short to turn on the tap by herself, so I always have to accompany her for washing hands. I also make sure to go with her because she can reach her toothpaste and unscrew the lid, and she’d have toothpaste for breakfast if she could. Blech.

Then we get ready for our day. On days we go out, we make sure to go potty and put on sunscreen as necessary before we leave. On days we stay home, we put sunscreen on and head out to the backyard for at least an hour. I sit in the shade while she uses the water from her water table or baby pool to water everything in the backyard, living or nonliving. She loves her rock box and digging in the dirt. She also really likes to try to drink the water from her water table and her pool… which is NOT allowed. She’s getting better at using her water bottle appropriately.

On days we stay home, we find ourselves having some extra time after outside time, so we come in for a snack and then we do sensory-type activities like play-doh and rainbow rice. Occasionally we’ll even take a bath (if she got super muddy or sweaty outside). Then, at 11:30, whether we’ve been home or out, she has her second cup of milk for the day while we cuddle in her room and then she has roomtime until 12:15. I prepare her lunch during that time while I listen to her over the monitor. She says some pretty cute things these days. Another post tomorrow on this!

Lunch is at 12:15, and nap follows pretty much right after lunch is over. We typically serve things like hummus on a rice cake, grilled cheese, beans, veggies, more fruit, leftovers from dinner, etc., at lunch. Lunch is usually her best (read: most predictable) meal of the day. She will eat a lot at this time. Just like breakfast, lunch is followed by hand washing and tooth brushing. Then she kisses her ponies goodnight and troops up the stairs with her pink blankie for nap.

She has been sleeping about 2.5-2.75 hours for each nap. This is definitely not the same amount she HAD been sleeping, but it is working for her these days. As long as she doesn’t wake up crying, I know she’s had a long enough nap. Sometimes she wakes after only an hour and a half and is crying. Then I go in and check on her and tell her to go back to sleep. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.

After she gets up from her nap, we come downstairs and have a very small afternoon snack. We tend to do quieter activities like looking at books and coloring during this time- she wakes up from her nap in a lazy mood most days. Then at 4:45, we head back to her room for her final cup of milk, snuggles, and her second roomtime of the day, which lasts until about 5:30, when Jonathan gets home. She spends time with Jonathan until dinner (6:00).

Dinner is often touch-and-go because we tend to serve foods geared more toward our adult palates than to her “toddler tooth.” I do try to put at least something I know she’ll like on the table (and often I’ll provide it as a side dish just for her). This is the most difficult time of day as far as training goes right now. First, since we’ve required her to remain at the table until we’re all done eating, she is constantly asking, “Mommy done eating? Daddy done eating?” We’ve also started requiring her to say, “Excuse me,” when she wants to talk. We are very consistent with this most of the time… now it’s just a matter of her getting consistent, too. I have no doubt it will come with time. She learns things quickly. Dinner is, as all meals are, followed by tooth brushing and hand washing.

After dinner we spend family time together- going for walks, playing in the backyard, etc. Then she and Jonathan calm down by reading a book and cleaning up her toys while I head upstairs to draw her bath and get her room ready for the night. Bedtime routine is something that’s very important for us, and I have been pulling myself out of it more and more as this pregnancy has worn on just in case I have to be tending to Gelato during her bedtime routine when he first arrives. She and Jonathan are pretty much independent from me at bedtime now until the stories and prayers. I wouldn’t miss prayers and kisses for anything.

One quirk about her nighttime sleep that just doesn’t seem to be getting better is her penchant for staying awake long after we put her to bed. She knows, recites, and practices her sleep rules before every nap and bedtime (Lie down, close eyes, be quiet, go to sleep), and at naptime she’s asleep within 10 minutes. But at bedtime… well, that’s another story. She will go down around 7:45 and stay awake until 8:30 or even 9:00. She talks and sings that whole time, and we can hear her processing her day. Sometimes she’ll even place “phone calls” to her relatives and tell them about what she had for dinner and what the kids at storytime did that day. So funny. I have decided not to stress out about this phase- I have heard from many many moms that it is, in fact, a phase, which will end… sometime.

Hula Girl’s personality is showing up more and more each day. She is a very routine-oriented little girl who has a deep passion for anything pink, sparkly, fluffy, and soft. She loves other children and will make it a point to stop, approach them, and say hi, no matter where we are or what we are doing. She loves rocks and ants. Her memory is insane. She is very smart and is very determined that once she learns something, she is right about it and has no hesitation about correcting anyone who says things “wrong.” (Yes, it could be said that we have a two-year-old know-it-all!) She has a way of changing her tone of voice that will guarantee a laugh out of anyone at any point in time, but she doesn’t use it in a manipulative way. I used to think that she’d be categorized as a “spirited” child but now I think she’s more “textbook” or possibly even “angel.”

A very strong trait of hers that is absolutely beautiful to see is her major major major compassionate heart toward…everyone. She simply cannot stand to see someone else crying without trying to offer assistance. She constantly changes her tone of voice to one full of empathy when someone gets hurt. She points out other children who are upset or hurting and asks me if they will be okay. She simply cannot and will not move on in her day until she sees resolution. So when we go to the Y, if a child is crying in the locker room, she must stand and watch and perhaps say, “It’s okay, gee (girl), it’s okay, gee! Mommy, daht gee ees dyding (that girl is crying)!” Then I have to assure her that the girl will be okay and that the girl’s mommy (or whomever) will take care of her. She talks about the “gee dyding at Y” all the way home. And sometimes she’ll bring it up again as she’s falling asleep at night. Girl can’t STAND to see anyone hurting.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Even she has her areas of weakness (which, like so often happens, coincide with her areas of greatest strength). Her routine-orientedness causes her a lot of worry and frustration when things aren’t exactly right. For example, when I leave her room at roomtime, I must remember to take her milk cup with me. Otherwise she will spend the entire roomtime crying and pounding on her door, begging, “Mommy mum take my milt cup, meese!” And that’s just one small example. I caution anyone who ever watches her to remember to put socks on her feet prior to every nap and every bedtime- or else you’ll hear about it for days!

Another issue is that she is very inflexible about the names of objects. For example, today she was wearing a tank top. I asked her to help me take her shirt off. “No, Mommy, nank bop!” We have been working on acknowledging her correct words for things while modifying her viewpoint- “Yes, you are wearing a tank top. A tank top is a type of shirt. Let’s take off your tank top shirt.”

While she is sometimes disobedient to the point of trying to just say no to me, she is also very malleable and is quick to listen and obey. We continue to play a lot of games that require her full obedience, and I am very consistent about doling out logical consequences when things don’t go well. She is beginning to give me an unprompted, “Yes, Mommy,” each time I call her name. She will then turn and look at me and say, “Yes, Mommy,” again after I’ve given her directions. When she does so, I praise her for listening to me. Then when she follows through I praise her for obeying. We talk a lot about listening and obeying and what those two skills look like. She is often quick to remind me that we must listen and obey God, Jesus, Mommy, Daddy, and _________ (insert name of anyone we have mentioned in the past 24 hours). The best thing is that she understands that she must obey Mommy and Daddy because God and Jesus tell her to do so.

 

Jonathan and I have recently become aware of a little trait of hers that will need a lot of shaping and monitoring as she grows. Hula Girl is a follower. Even though she’ll initiate the playing/interacting with other children, she will never actively take the lead. Even when the child is months younger than she is. She will always stand back, watch, and then follow the other child(ren). This has worked to our benefit occasionally. For example, she has two little friends that she sees at weekly storytime. They are three and five years old, and so they set the example for how she should behave during storytime (and they set a very good example, kudos to their mom). So Hula Girl is getting a great “education” from these girls. However, she also watches and learns about other kids’ behaviors that are not-so-desirable. I will say that the majority (like, 98%) of the time when she sees kids doing something “questionable” she will ask me about it first. For example, she saw a little boy running in a store the other day (like, he was running away from his mom). She said, “Daht boy ees yunning in stoy (That boy is running in store)?” I said, “Yes, he is running in the store. You’re right.” She then asked, “[Hula Girl] may yun in stoy, too?” I answered, “No, you may not run in the store. You may walk by yourself or you may walk and hold my hand. What do you want to do?” “Alk by yelf.” Okay. Cool.

So obviously we have to keep a close eye on her and monitor her surroundings and influences. I think it’s healthy for us to address her questions and desires about following the examples set by other kids. I see us having a lot of “Why does this kid get to….” conversations in the future. Honesty and consistency will hopefully be our best tools when dealing with this type of thing. I’d rather have her follow good examples set by her peers and adults around her, and feel safe enough to ask us about the poor examples before following them than to have her just go through childhood fearing our reactions and learning how to be sneaky about disobeying. Of course, at this age, it is as simple as restating her boundaries and then offering a couple of safe choices within those limits. I am, however, really enjoying the mental stimulation that accompanies these larger issues that are cropping up as she is getting older. It’s also nice to have a husband who is keenly interested in discussing these matters with me and deciding how to handle things together!

5 Comments

  1. Kristy said,

    July 10, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I love hearing about your days with her in more detail. Our oldest is similar in terms of willingness to follow both good and bad examples. So far, I think his being at school has had enough good influence on him to make it a good thing, but I do still think about homeschooling occasionally. He has been better-behaved over summer, when I am with him more.

    Hula Girl is lucky to have you and her daddy.

    • July 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks, Kristy! I always think your boys are very lucky to have you two as parents as well! After all, you are thoughtful, intentional, and willing to sacrifice when necessary to do the right thing for your children! And what fun your boys must have all the time- the pictures say it all!

      Yes, homeschooling will be something we strongly consider. However, I want to make sure our reasons are right. I don’t want to do it out of fear- after all, there can be fantastic teachers stuck in really bad schools and really bad teachers thrown into some really good schools (and I believe the teacher him/herself is the number one thing to consider when the children are at a younger age). I think we will probably take it year by year and see what options are out there. But I actually am pretty excited about homeschooling. I am planning to start next year once Hula Girl turns three with some basic basic preschool stuff (what she doesn’t already know by then, lol!) and we’ll see how things go. I also want to make sure I’m not going the way of “unschooling” inadvertently. Yeesh. Much to consider.

  2. Jeremy Irish said,

    July 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I’m curious, what will the consequences be the first time Hula Girl up and decides to “yun in stoy” (or the equivalent) even though you’ve told her not to? It’s inevitable, of course! Do you have a contingency plan? Is she old enough to understand consequences abstractly?

    • July 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      Yes. This has happened. She understands that if she does run in the store there will be a consequence. It will be a logical consequence. Probably I will require her to ride in the shopping cart. If that’s not feasible, I am not opposed to leaving immediately and waiting for a short time out in the car. This is another reason we only do one or two very short errands each day- I leave a lot of buffer time for discipline. 🙂

      So, if she does, it will likely look something like this:
      Me: “Uh-oh, how sad! Now you will have to ride in the cart.”
      HG: “No, [Hula Girl] not want to ride in cart!”
      Me: “I know you don’t want to ride in the cart! I am so sad that you have to ride, too. I know you wanted to walk. But I only let girls who listen walk in the store.”

      I will keep a lot of empathy in my voice and be genuinely sad with her that she’s lost the privilege of walking in the store.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: