I Want to Blog Again.

This morning, my very favorite bloggers, whose blog I’ve followed for the past five years, announced they’re calling it quits on their blog. At least for now. I was pretty sad about it. After five years of almost daily updates, it’s a shock, to say the least. It feels like I’m losing touch with part of my family!

Somehow that experience awakened the beast in my heart again. I want to write about our life. I miss being able to document cute things the kids do, random thoughts, family updates, and my feelings about everything. I know I don’t have a huge following, and likely never will because I don’t plan to specialize in anything outside my own personal interests (i.e., my family). But it was nice to know at least a couple friends and family members could keep up with us.

So. Here we are. Hula Girl is four years and four months old. Gelato is two years and two months old. Jonathan is turning 32 this month, and I’m turning 29 in a few days. We’ve been living in our first house for a year and two months. Riley, our cat, is six years old. Jonathan is working at the same place, but his job is changing in January. I am staying at home with the kids and teaching Sunday school. So much is the same as the last time I posted. And yet so much is different!

Jonathan’s upcoming job is the biggest change in our situation. He’ll still be working for the same company. However, he has recently been trained as a horticultural therapist. Since he has received that training (to be completed in November), the decision-makers at his company have decided to purchase a house for him to use as the location to provide horticultural therapy services. They are remodeling the house right now to include office space, seed storage space, a greenhouse, indoor and outdoor garden areas, storage sheds, etc. Jonathan will be creating the entire program for his company and will serve as the therapist on-site. There will be a recreational therapist on-site as well.

To say Jonathan is excited would be an understatement for sure. Yes, it’s a large undertaking. Oh my, is it. Coordinating with his loan repayment program, current supervisors, the health department, his horticultural therapy instructors, the business office, administrators, and so forth, is a huge endeavor. On top of that, he’s building an entire program! But this is totally up his alley. It’s funny because he never had any gardening inclinations until we were married and I introduced him to it. Better half? You’d better believe it. 😉 I’m just so proud of all he’s learning, and the attitude with which he’s facing this challenge. He just keeps putting one foot in front of the other, without getting overly anxious about things.

The kids are great. Challenging, but great.

Hula Girl is taking dance again, and she’s loving it. She has such beautiful straight legs and pointy pointy toes. She picks things up quickly, and she’s still extremely obedient. Dance is one of her favorite things. She also loves playing with her Elsa and Anna dolls, jumping and skipping around, climbing really high up on play structures, and swimming. She can read, but we don’t push it. She’s a baker at heart- she is awesome at measuring out ingredients and mixing them up. She is still not very interested in sitting still and coloring or doing any kids of crafty activities. Therefore, writing is not something we’re stressing at this time in her life. She HAS grown out of putting everything in her mouth. Oh my goodness, people, when she was three and a half, I thought she was going to die because she was putting anything and everything she could find in her mouth. Soap, lotion, toothpicks, rocks, sticks, leaves, bugs, hair ties, etc. You name it, she mouthed it. And then… she stopped. Whew.

Gelato is… two. 🙂 He is the exact age now that Hula Girl was when he was born. Man, I am so glad Gelato is my SECOND child. He is into everything, but not in a destructive way. I frequently find him pulling a chair over to the fridge so he can get himself a glass of ice water or standing up on a chair near the stove so he can see what’s boiling in the pot. He is always so careful not to spill his water or touch the hot stove. I am so glad we’ve followed the RIE principles with him; he knows that I trust him to know his body’s limits, and he rarely tests them except in safe situations. Other than these situations, though, he is really quite rambunctious. He’s the kid tumbling pell-mell to plant his face into the couch cushions. He’s the kid climbing into the swings and trying to pump his own legs (at two). He’s the kid splashing and screaming in the pirate pool… just because he can. He’s also the kid who is mischievous and will try to get away with… everything. He knows the limits, and he tests them. Not the same ones over and over again. Just all of them.

Both children are snuggle bugs. They enjoy sitting on my lap for hours listening to me read. They’ve recently convinced the cat, Riley, that he should actually like them and sit on their laps. He tolerates them well enough, and hasn’t tried to scratch or bite them at all in months! Hula Girl keeps trying to convince us to keep her door open at night so she can cuddle with Riley in her bed. Santa may or may not be bringing her a kitten this year. (Seriously, may or may not. Jury is out. But it is highly likely that Santa will be bringing a kitten.)

I still attend my ladies’ Bible study group on Monday nights. It’s been so much fun to get to know the ladies in my group. One of the ladies even has two little girls and we trade babysitting services every now and then. We tried to get all scheduled about it last month, but then there was sickness and life, and this month I forgot. So we’ll see how that goes. 🙂

We’ve also joined a Bible study with a group of older people from our church. They are all into the grandparent days, so they are willing to travel to our house on Thursday nights. This saves us the hassle (and $$$) of having to hire a babysitter, and we so appreciate it! It also means my house has to be spotless at least one day a week. You win some, you lose some.

So that’s that. Hi. I hope to reconnect with some friends and family, so leave me a comment to let me know you were here! 🙂

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Dance Dilemma, Part Deux- Advice, PLEASE!

Parenting just got REAL, y’all.

We are experiencing a bit of a dilemma regarding our dance class. After class last week, it became apparent that Hula Girl was getting sick, and if you know my daughter, you know she doesn’t do “sick” well. I was hoping that was responsible for last week’s issues, and that things would be resolved this week, but I was wrong. When we went to dance on Thursday, several things happened.

First, Hula Girl woke up on Thursday morning and exclaimed, “I know what day it is! It’s dance class day!” She.was.thrilled. I was so relieved to see her so excited about it- I thought our day would go smoothly as it has in the past.

Second, when we got in the car, Hula Girl noticed “Tinkerbell” on the ceiling of the car and began talking to her. (“Tinkerbell” visits us frequently- she is the sun’s reflection off of phones, dishes, anything shiny. We feed her pancakes in the morning- Hula Girl is always AMAZED that there are tiny “bites” missing from the pancakes, teehee- and we tell her all about our day whenever she’s around. She really likes our family because she usually flies around at least once daily.) Hula Girl told me Tinkerbell was nervous about dance class. I asked Hula Girl what she thought we might say to encourage Tink to feel more comfortable about attending. She said we could remind her that Miss S. is a very nice teacher and that all her friends will be there. So I told those things to Tinkerbell. Then I asked Hula Girl how she is feeling and she said she was a bit nervous as well. I repeated our comforting messages to her, and she seemed to be fine.

Third, when we arrived at the dance studio, there was another little ballerina waiting to join the class. Uh-oh. Any change in routine is bad news for Hula Girl. She immediately got her very serious face on, the one where she stares at the floor in front of her and bites the left corner of her bottom lip. I brightly welcomed the new dancer and introduced Hula Girl to her. The little girl was absolutely adorable and I told Hula Girl that I hoped they could be good friends after dancing together for a while. Hula Girl blinked.

Fourth, when Miss S. showed up for dance, Hula Girl asked me to pick her up and then laid her head on my shoulder. Double uh-oh. She began to cry and said she wanted to go home.

Fifth, I sat Hula Girl down in the car and told her that I wanted her to think very carefully about what it is that is worrying her about dance. She told me she wanted me to stay in the room with them. I explained to her that mommies and daddies aren’t allowed in the studio with the dancers because the teacher needs ballerinas to pay attention. I reminded her that we’ve seen how the camera works and asked her if she was 100% confident that I would stay right in the chairs with the other mommies. She nodded, but said, “I want you to come in with me.”

Sixth, I laid it out on the line for her: “[Hula Girl], you need to think very hard before you answer. You have a choice to make now. You can quit dance and not come back to class again at all, or you can be very brave and go inside with your friends and do dance class today. Remember, being brave means doing something you are nervous about. What do you want to do?” She chose to go inside.

When we got inside I asked the owner of the studio if we could leave the door open just until Hula Girl gets comfortable in class again. She said that’s fine. Hula Girl would not go into the room with the other girls. I made her stand just inside the door (I stood in the waiting room right outside the door) and I told her that if we are here she needs to be doing the steps just like the other girls. She did a beautiful job.

You guys, she loves to dance. And I love that she loves it so much. And she’s great at it. It broke my heart to hear her say she didn’t want to do dance anymore. BUT.

I really don’t want to push her. I remember times in my life when I felt like people pushed me to do things (not my parents, by the way) that I wasn’t comfortable doing. I was such a people-pleaser that I caved. And hated it. (Example: when I was little, my parents had a convention in Florida and I went but was with a group of older kids who took me to an amusement park. I did not want to go on some ride, but they pushed me to do it. I did it, and was terrified. I still remember it and hate it.) BUT.

She needs to learn to struggle and she needs to learn to socialize a bit. I kind of think it’s appropriate for her, at 3.5 years old, to step outside her boundaries sometimes and get uncomfortable, as long as she knows I’m always there for emotional support. I feel like she’s leaning on me too much but I don’t know how to encourage her without her feeling like I’m forcing her into something (and I especially don’t want to spoil dance for her- I can’t emphasize enough how much she truly loves dance).

Janet Lansbury just linked this post on Facebook this morning. It’s about a mom who fears she’s ruined her child by providing a lot of love and attention. Her child is very uncomfortable in social settings and she’s asking for advice about how to help him out. Janet has some thought-provoking ideas and challenges, including: Stop fearing struggles, Let play be his, Gain a healthier perspective about feelings, and Set boundaries with confidence. I feel like we’re good on the last two, but I know Hula Girl struggles with the first two. She tells me every day, “I don’t want to do room time.” And when I take her outside and tell her to “just play” while I do work, she has a hard time figuring out what to do. She often climbs up on her play structure and calls out, “Look at me,” several times a minute.

So I wrote a comment to Janet on that post which reads,

Janet,

I have a 3.5-year-old daughter who is also very introverted and like the sweet mom in your post I have been very careful to make sure she feels emotionally supported her entire life. We have set very firm boundaries, and she is 100% positive that Mommy and Daddy are in charge. She knows we can handle things. She is very advanced in her language skills and has really never had emotional issues because we’ve worked hard to support her and create a safe place for her to express herself.

However, she gets SO very overwhelmed in social situations. For example, she has been attending ballet class once a week for six months. This and weekly story time at the library are her only consistent peer-interaction situations. She is okay with story time because the moms stay with their children. But in dance, she struggles to stay in the studio with the teacher and the other little girls when I’m not in the room. It’s against the studio’s policy to have parents in the room, and quite frankly, I want to be out of the room so she can focus and learn to dance- she has BEAUTIFUL technique and quite a bit of natural talent.

Recently she began saying she didn’t want to go to dance, and I am trying hard to figure out if this is a situation in which I should encourage her to struggle a bit-she LOVES dance and would be absolutely devastated if I told her we are not going anymore- or be respectful of her stated desires and let her decide to quit. I have strong feelings about these things because I quit everything I ever attempted when I was a child and I don’t want her to give up as easily as I did. I never learned to struggle.

Being mindful of this, I also don’t want to be one of those parents who pushes her to do something she really doesn’t feel comfortable doing. Is a weekly dance class an age-appropriate place to learn to struggle? Or should I assume that she’s able to comprehend enough to allow her the option of quitting?

Full disclosure: my heart broke in ways I didn’t know it could when she told me she wanted to quit. I want to examine my own motives deeply before I make a decision about all this. Any input would be very welcome and very appreciated. Thanks!

I am really hoping Janet responds to me or opens the question up as a discussion question on her Facebook page. I am just at a loss right now and I am really torn about what to do here. This is not for the faint of heart!

What do all of you think?

 

Gelato 8 Months Update

Um, hi. <crickets> Well, I’ve been gone a while.

We just went through another major schedule transition this month, which accounts for my absence here. I intend to get back soon. For now, I just want to put up a quick post detailing Gelato’s last month and all that jazz, for posterity at least.

Wonder Week

Gelato is technically 35 weeks old, but since he was born 5 days late, he’s about 36.5 weeks old in brain development age. That means he’s right on track for wonder week 37, and WOW, we’ve seen it. This one has been the most noticeable of all the wonder weeks so far. He’s been showing all the classic symptoms: clinging, crying, and crankiness. Oh, and sleep funkiness. But since I understand what is happening, it’s not freakin’ me out that much. I’m just grinning and bearing it!

Physical Development

He’s so good at sitting up that we’re doing regular baths in the big tub now. Gelato especially enjoys bathing with Hula Girl. Somehow siblings make the menial tasks in life so much more fun.

He’s finally kind of on the move! On Easter morning he started moving forward across the floor. It looks like he’s swimming in the Olympics, freestyle. So funny. He has also started to push himself up onto all fours, and he’ll stay there a few seconds and rock or he’ll push too hard with his arms and move backwards across the floor. But hey, this is major progress! Of course, he can always fall back on rolling and spinning, and he does those things frequently, too!

He’s also been working on his pincer grasp. He can pick up raisin-sized crumbs (don’t judge- I have a toddler), rocks, blueberries (smooshed), and, much to Hula Girl’s consternation, felt “sprinkles” that go on her felt “cupcakes.” I don’t think he’s actually eaten any of the things that aren’t food. But I do know he’s eaten at least two blueberries. Progress. Ha!

We still have no teeth.

Language Development

Gelato’s receptive language skills are pretty good! He’s able to look where we tell him to look, find familiar objects and people when we ask him (“Where’s Daddy?”), and imitate several movements and facial expressions. He knows how to turn a page in a book when we ask him to. He smiles and laughs with us when we smile and laugh in front of him.

He has been working on saying some words. He can say “Dada” and “Mama” as well as “tat!” and “gee-gee!” Both “tat” and “gee-gee” refer to Riley, our cat (tat=cat; gee-gee=kitty). Jonathan has been practicing saying “red” and “green” with him; his approximations sound like “ded” and “dee!”

Gelato also enjoys making lots of bubbly gurgly noises. He blows raspberries, rolls his tongue around while saying, “aaaahhhh,” and generally drools a lot while just sounding like a happy baby. (Hula Girl is always thinking it’s okay to chastise him for spitting at the table. I have to remind her that he’s only a baby and even though toddlers aren’t allowed to spit at the table, babies are. How unfair! 😉 I’m also having to remind her that Mommy and Daddy may tell Gelato what to do, but toddlers aren’t allowed to do that.)

Nourishment

Gelato is still nursing 4-5 times a day. Most days it’s 4 times/day. (See “Sleeping/Schedule” for more details.) He still nurses well. We have had no issues with nursing other than a few bouts of soreness from biting or a weirdish latch. I am thinking some teeth might pop through soon.

We are doing really well with baby-led weaning. Gelato has just figured out how to keep his hand in front of/in his mouth to hold his food in there while he chews it up. We have had far less food falling back out, and his diapers hold evidence of a much larger solids intake (can I take a moment to just say THANK YOU to whomever it was that invented the diaper sprayer?!?!?!). He still doesn’t seem to really like pears, but he likes pretty much everything else we give him. So far, he has eaten: chicken, egg yolks, mango, pears, peas, broccoli, cucumber, carrots, zucchini, sweet potatoes, potatoes, blueberries, strawberries, waffles, bread, pancakes, rice cakes, oatmeal, hummus, avocados, bananas, apples, ham (for Easter), asparagus, muffins, pasta, cheese, and more. I can’t seem to make my brain think of anything else right now.

Sleeping/Schedule

We are still having early waking every single morning. It is still driving me crazy. I guess Gelato is just an early riser. I think I have found that he needs to be in bed between 6:30 and 7. Too early, and he’s awake between 5:30 and 5:45. Too late, and he’s awake between 5:45 and 6. If I get the sweet spot, he sleeps until about 6:15. I do need to start logging his bedtime/awake times for the next few days to check this theory, but I really feel like he’s just an early riser, plain and simple. Fortunately I am a bit of an early bird myself… or these early mornings would be way more brutal than they already are.

A week into this month, Gelato decided he was ready to be on a 4-hour schedule. He had one day where he slept through to 4 hours between feedings. Then he went back to 3 hours the next day, 3.5 the day after that, 3.5 for another day, then he moved to 4 and that’s where we’ve been ever since.

We’re still working to figure out the last “cycle” of the day. He doesn’t sleep late enough in the day to drop his third catnap, but he doesn’t take that nap (or at least, he’s only taken it once in the past 11 days… but who’s counting?). I would just say the nap’s officially dropped, but since he’s in the wonder week, I have been attempting to do the 3rd nap every day anyway.

Another issue we’re facing is that he’s waking sometimes in the middle of the night and he will.not.go.back.to.sleep.without.nursing. (See the 4-5 feedings/day mentioned in the previous section.) I know he COULD sleep through the night, every night. But we haven’t had him cry it out. I have been too afraid of him waking Hula Girl. We actually plan to have him cry it out and get rid of all night wakings as soon as his wonder week is over. Or maybe sooner. I have a hard time convincing a super sleepy Jonathan this is what we need to do when I return from nursing Gelato at 3:45 a.m.

So, here is what his schedule typically looks like (parentheticals are times when he DOES take the catnap):

  •  6:15 wake
  • 6:45 out of crib, nurse, start making breakfast, get Hula Girl up
  • 7:45 breakfast, sibling playtime
  • 8:30 nap
  • 11 wake, nurse, independent playtime, go for a walk
  • 12 lunch, free play time
  • 1/1:15 nap
  • 2:45/3ish wake, nurse, one-on-one time with Mommy (so rare!), “baby activity”
  • 4:45/5 attempt catnap
  • (5:30) up, dinner
  • 6:15 (6:45) bath, bedtime routine
  • 6:30 (7:15) bed

Personality

Even with the wonder week and fussiness, Gelato is a happy guy. His favorite thing to do is to be held facing me so we can fake laugh back and forth. He has a crazy deep voice and he laughs like, “Huh, huh, huh!” It’s so funny. He’s very inquisitive and he enjoys studying things- his sister’s movements, the way a box opens and closes, the holes I’ve poked through a lid, the way Riley’s tail swishes (so tempting), or the way a drawer pull swings in its brackets. He can use his little fingers to manipulate small objects and will do the same motion over and over and over… to make sure the outcome is the same every time? … to practice making his fingers move the same way? … not sure why, really, but he does. He is a very independent player most of the time and does not mind just rolling around exploring in the room while I read to him and Hula Girl or help Hula Girl clean up or whatnot. As always, he’s just a laid-back kid. I have a feeling that when he’s a toddler, he will test me a LOT… not because he’ll be obstinate or willful, but just because he’ll be so involved in what he’s doing he won’t hear me telling him to stop or he’ll be so active he won’t remember what I said about jumping on the couch eighteen hundred times yesterday! 😉 All in all, he’s a very very very fun little person and it’s a delight having him in our lives.

Sibling Relationship

I added this category because I feel like the two of them actually have a relationship now. It’s not just Hula Girl smothering him and cooing over his latest achievements. He has really started to interact with her and she expresses to me at least fifteen times daily how much she loves him, how much she wants to play with him, and how fun it is to have a little “bo.”

He watches her every move. He tries to copy her to the best of his ability. Yesterday this led to him pouring a measuring cup full of cold water all over his legs (kids were playing with a bowl of water and “scoops” on the kitchen floor), but he dipped that thing back in there and tried again!

He screeches or fake laughs to engage her in a screeching or fake laughing “conversation” across the table.

He bounces up and down in my arms when we go upstairs to get her up from her bed in the morning and after naps. As soon as I open the door, he lets out a shout of glee and screeches until she says, “Hi, Buddy Boy!”

He pulls himself up onto her lap. (She helps him sit up all the way, and then she sings songs or says nursery rhymes with hand motions and guides his hands, just like I did with her when she was little.)

He cries when she leaves the room.

I feel so blessed to have two children who love and care for each other the way they do. I KNOW that many siblings, especially at this age, do not get along and/or end up hurting each other (accidentally or not). Hula Girl has never hurt him, and I have never heard her speak one jealous word against him, barring the occasional, “Gelato doesn’t need to get up from his nap. You can let him cry a while so we can finish this book.” I know we are bound to have scuffles in the future, but I really do hope we can continue to grow our family’s sense of respect and kindness as they get older. It is just so lovely to see them enjoying each other. I’ve really started to see a lot of that in the past two weeks, and now I believe all those folks (like you, KATE!), who said that a sibling is the greatest gift I could have given Hula Girl. Love.It.

Gelato- 7 Month Update

Well, the little Monkey Man is getting older. And for some reason, I feel like he’s SO much older this month than he was last month. Time just really keeps on flying. He was 7 months old yesterday.

Physical Development

Gelato can sit up unsupported for several minutes at a time. The only time he really falls over now is if his sister bonks him on accident or if he’s reaching for the cat. (Nothing is so wonderful as the cat.) He can’t crawl yet, but he can roll anywhere he wants to go and he can spin on his tummy like a seasoned member of the Step Up cast. So basically, we have to keep an extra eye on him now. Jonathan stopped him from eating cat food a couple days ago. Crunch, crunch.

His pincer grasp is coming right along. He can grab things with both hands, transfer toys and food from one hand to the other, and doesn’t have to “swipe” at things at all anymore- he can just reach out and get whatever he wants. He tends to leave his fingers open to feel an object for a few seconds before closing his fist around it. This gives me enough time to realize he’s reaching for my bangs before he gives them a good yank. Thank goodness.

Language Development

Gelato can make all kinds of sounds, starting most frequently with /d/. He also has the /b/, /g/, /y/, /h/, and /w/ sounds down pat. He likes to talk all the time. Our friend from the library says he’s got “the talkies” whenever she sees him. That’s pretty accurate. Jonathan is 100% convinced Gelato knows how to sing, and we’re both pretty sure he’s already using some of his own “words.” Whenever he sees Riley, the cat, he says, “gee-gee!” It sounds like a very babyish approximation of “kitty.” He also makes specific noises when he first sees Jonathan.

He is learning to sign. He has attempted to sign “all done” at the table a few times. I really need to get on this whole signing thing with him. Hula Girl had signs coming her way from like 4 months of age! Ah, well, the second child is supposed to reach milestones later than the first… anyone wonder why?

Nourishment

Gelato is still nursing 5 times a day. He nurses fast and well. I am not on any kind of restrictions in my diet any longer, except caffeine. That one’s just common sense.

We have started solids with him (actually, we started a week before he turned 6 months old). We use Baby-Led Weaning, which basically means we skip the purees and go straight to letting the baby feed himself (finger-sized wedge-shaped pieces at first so the baby can grab it and have enough left hanging out of his fist to take some bites). It’s a lot less work (you know I’d be all up in the making-my-own-purees-from-100%-organic-ingredients-and-breastmilk business) and it’s pretty much hilarious to watch a baby munch away on a half of a banana. I was getting sort of worried about his intake- he wasn’t really interested in eating very much. Tidbits were making their way into his diapers, but he’d really only lick the food and then play with it, squish it, and generally make a huge mess. I know that food is just for fun before they’re one, but my only other REAL frame of reference was Hula Girl, who demolished a whole cucumber quarter the first time she ever had solids at all, and she never looked back. Girl’s always eaten like a fiend.

Two nights ago, I gave him some roast chicken, carrots, and potatoes, and mango for dessert. Apparently it pleased his palate. He gobbled it down and has been eating like crazy ever since. He had sweet potatoes last night, and this morning I gave him banana. He actually managed to eat over half of both. And his diaper this morning had evidence of what he’s been ingesting! 🙂

Sleeping

Yes, he does sleep. I would not say he is a better or worse sleeper than Hula Girl. I would just say he’s a different kid and has different sleep needs and challenges. He goes down between 6 and 6:30, and wakes between 5:30 and 5:45. I used to get him up and nurse him for a half-feeding, then put him back down… but that was just getting ridiculous. So now he’s just awake until I get him. Here’s a typical day in his life:

5:45 wake, play, coo

6:15 nurse, play with Daddy, breakfast

7:45 nap

9:30 nurse, independent playtime, go for a walk, sibling playtime

11:15ish nap

12:45/1 nurse, 1-on-1 time with Mommy, read books

2:15/30 nap

3:15/30/45/4:00 nurse, hang out with Mommy and Hula Girl, jumperoo time

5:00 dinner

5:45 bath/bedtime routine with Daddy

6:15 nurse

6:30 in bed (earlier if he wakes from nap earlier than 3:30ish)

Personality

Gelato is a go-with-the-flow kind of kid. Not much bothers him. He rarely cries. He rarely fusses. He’s really active and always wants to be able to see what’s happening. He likes playing games that include a lot of 1-on-1 interaction, especially with Daddy. He thinks the world of Hula Girl- you can see it in the way he watches her and smiles at her. He is only snuggly when he is tired, but he will tolerate a little kiss-and-tickle-fest every now and then. He is extremely inquisitive and very much a go-getter.

We are very excited to see him growing into an actual person rather than just a little blobby baby. I had forgotten how much fun it is when they really start interacting a lot. It is also nice when naps lengthen (for the most part) and our days become predictable!

I expect he’ll start crawling and get some teeth within the next month. Watch out, world!

To My Hula Girl: The Past Seven Months

Dear Hula Girl,

Your baby brother is seven months old today, and you are starting your day the exact same way you did on the day of his birth. Grampy is here and he is reading to you on the couch after the two of you enjoyed a special breakfast of oatmeal with honey and chocolate chips. I remember that morning seven months ago very clearly. We had called Grammy and Grampy the night before and asked them to come down to our house because we were pretty sure it was going to be time for us to go to the hospital. I went for a long walk early in the morning and then sat down on the couch watching you and Grampy read. I took several pictures of the two of you snuggling together under the quilt that your great aunt Anne made for you. Then I went upstairs to rest for a while… and then it was time to go to the hospital! We said goodbye to you and gave you lots of hugs and kisses. You had no idea what was about to happen; you were just excited to spend the day with Grampy.

Back then, you still seemed so very much like a toddler. You were two days away from being 26 months old- still a very young two-year-old. You were unable to dress yourself at all, you were unable to reach things on the countertops, you were unable to brush your teeth, you were unable to reach the sink without a step stool. What a difference seven months can make! In the past seven months, you have grown physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Daddy and I (and all of our friends and family) are constantly amazed at the new things you can do and the incredible things your mind dreams up.

Now you can get dressed completely by yourself. You do need help getting oriented sometimes (those arm holes are tricky- they like to hide behind your back!), and it’s not uncommon to see your waistband rolled over on itself. But you can do it!

You can reach everything on the countertops. Everything. And if you can’t reach it, you’re learning that you can get creative to make a way. This is scary for me. Your daddy was a climber, and you seem to be following in his footsteps! In fact, the other day I found you in the bathroom sink, squeezing toothpaste onto your toothbrush. Well, at least you hadn’t eaten all the toothpaste (another current favorite pastime of yours).

Speaking of toothpaste, you got a new toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste when you visited the dentist in January. Since you had just received a new toothbrush for Christmas, I told you you could use your new one in March. On March 1 you were clamoring for your new toothbrush and toothpaste even before you got out of your crib in the morning! You are still so very excited about your new toothbrush, and you love to brush your teeth. I make sure to brush your teeth first, just so I can get all the germs out, but you love to “practice” for very extended periods of time afterward. I think you’d probably watch yourself brushing your teeth for an hour or more if I let you. It is good that you have taken my advice seriously and learned not to swallow your toothpaste. Now that you have “real” toothpaste (it actually contains fluoride), I have had to watch you very carefully. You do like to eat toothpaste. What kid wouldn’t? Toothpaste nowadays tastes like candy.

So many other things have changed, too. You have grown three inches taller. You have lost a lot of your baby padding. You have learned to speak so very well. Your mind is full of creativity and your imagination is just exploding. You are getting less wary of others. You are learning to play with other children rather than just watching from the edges. You express your feelings and you work so very hard to make sure we understand you.

At night when Daddy and I tuck you in, we have a very specific routine. We read you a story, I carry you to bed, we turn off the light, you put “Mr. Sun” to sleep, Daddy prays, I pile your Daisy bear and your blankies on you, I say goodnight, Daddy says goodnight, and then we leave. When I carry you to bed, you tell me what you are that night: a big big big jingle bell, a big big big pumpkin ball, a big big big flower, or a big big big pearl. If you’re a jingle bell, we sing “Jingle Bells” of course! We always stand and hold each other in a family circle while Daddy prays. When I say goodnight to you, we blow a kiss, sign “I love you,” say, “I love you,” and then when I say, “Goodnight, Little One,” you respond, “Goodnight, Little Mommy!” So funny and so sweet. And of course, you always remind me and Daddy that you want to have your pink vitamin and some milk in the morning. Just in case we forget to give you your milk that you’ve had first thing every day for the last 33 months straight.

The very best part of seeing you at this age is observing the way your heart is opening up to the wonders of God’s creation, and to the glory of God as healer, maker, friend, helper, and Lord. It gives me joy beyond measure to hear you pray when you’re nestled in your cozy crib at night and Mommy and Daddy have left the room. Your sweet voice speaking your almost-three-year-old concerns to God in the darkness melts my heart and makes me certain that God’s got some big things in store for you. I wish I could tell you to trust in Him the way you do now for the rest of your life. That will be your decision to make, but nothing would make my heart gladder than to know that your relationship with Him is one of utter dependence and peacefulness that comes from casting all your cares on Him.

Oh, my girl. I am so proud of you and the big lessons you’re learning. You are sweet, funny, nurturing, exuberant, inquisitive, and joyful. You are never quiet for long. You have energy enough to power New York City for fifteen years. You throw your heart behind every little thing you do- whether it’s dragging Grampy’s suitcase to the front door (while calling, “Doooooon’t fooooooooooorget yoooooooour waaaaaater boooooottle!!!!”), having a breakdown because I moved your Candy Land piece a half-inch, or squirming around to find that ever-elusive armhole. You’re passionate, lovely, honest, and beautiful. I am so blessed to call you my daughter and so very thankful that God chose me to be your mommy.

Love,

Mommy (a.k.a. Daddy/Ms. Clavel- what can we say? Your imagination dictates that I am several different people all day long, depending on whatever game you’re playing at the moment!)

Hospitality

Jonathan and I just listened to a recording of the message delivered this Sunday by my old friend, who is now the pastor of my home church from childhood. The kind of hospitality and life-giving relationships that Ben (Pastor Ben? Pastor Brooks? How do I address him now? I literally grew up with him! He’s always been Ben to me!) spoke about really got to my heart.

Ben told the (fictional) story of a couple who joined the church, then joined a “Kingdom-Life Group”. The Kingdom-Life Group was a close-knit, fully-invested group of families who were “all up in each other’s business” in a good way. They all had a huge heart for the Lord and were keenly interested in living the way the apostles and believers did in Acts. They met frequently to break bread, pray, hold each other accountable, study the Word, and worship. But they decided to take it a step further. They were intentional about hospitality and missions. They wanted to get out into their neighborhood and win others for Christ. And they did. They hosted parties, they prayed, they went on walks with the intention of meeting specific neighbors. They were warm, inviting, caring, and, well, weird. Weird in a good way. People knew them, they knew their message, and even if they didn’t believe in the same things, they wanted to have a part in what was happening with those “Christians.”

Jonathan and I got so excited about that idea… but then we realized we’re kind of a long way from that kind of thing. Which was discouraging.

We’ve moved a lot since we were married. And then we made a lot of excuses. So, no, we really have no church that we call “home”. We don’t know many other young families who love Jesus and who are teaching their children to do the same. Heck, we haven’t even had either of our children dedicated yet. Yes, it is terribly sad. Yes, we have totally dropped the ball. Yes, we are heartbroken over the fact that we got so lazy.

So now we’ve got to be crazy-intentional. We ARE going to be attending church, starting this Sunday. First Advent Sunday of the season. Seems appropriate. We ARE going to step out of our comfort zones (including being nervous about missing naps, etc.) to stay at church and meet some new people each time. We ARE going to find out how we can host a small group in our own home (is that selfish? I just figured we can’t really afford a babysitter, and it would be easy to put the kids to bed by 6:45 and then have the group arrive at 7). We ARE going to raise our children in a church, in a community, and hopefully, if all goes well, in a Kingdom-Life Group of our very own.

So I guess we’re going to be taking all the right steps… just maybe a bit out of order. ‘Cuz the first thing we’re going to do is open up our home and practice some good old-fashioned hospitality. Starting December 15.

This morning I woke up with a hare-brained idea. I said, “Hey, would it be okay if I decided to invite some of our friends from Storytime over for a Christmas party this month?” It kind of blew up from there. Now we’re hosting a Christmas Cookie Decorating and Reindeer Games Party. And we’re expecting at least 10 families.   In our teensy weensy little home. That is half-filled with Goliath’s Christmas tree. Wahoo!

The whole point of this get-together, for me at least, is to get to know the names of the moms I see week to week. Huh? Yeah. I know that she’s Gracie’s Mom, and she’s Adam’s Mom. But I don’t know their real names. I don’t know anything about them. In fact, just by handing out the invitations, I learned that one mom’s husband works on the railroads in Minnesota, so she’s alone with her little girl day in and day out. I am betting that mom could use a little friendship. I would never have known. (Ironically, I have yet to learn her name. Whoops.)

I kind of want to establish a gathering place. My home is never spotless. My home is rarely even tidy. I can’t cook very well. My husband will have to be home if you want coffee, because I don’t know how to make it. But I can heat up water and soak a tea bag. And my couch, albeit old, is cozy. And the living room smells like Christmas. So yeah, I can handle this. In fact, I’m craving it. Give me a reason to keep things tidy! Give me a reason to try a new recipe (but give me grace when it’s a disaster!)! I can’t wait to welcome folks into our home. I hope one day my children will feel strange when we don’t have someone new in our home for a week. I just want to create a space that is welcoming, comforting, and serene. I want people to feel loved, served, honored, and relaxed when they enter our home.

Yee-haw. I just found my mission. 🙂

“Whoa, I LOVE the Floor!”

Our Fall Wall Hanging

Today I woke up with autumn in my bones. It’s currently 90° outside, but it was only 56° at 7:00. So Hula Girl and I had a fallish morning.

We started with a harvest breakfast: strawberries, peaches, banana bread (for her), maple & brown sugar oatmeal (for me), and hot peach tea. Hula Girl even got to drink her tea out of an adult mug- what a treat!

After breakfast, we headed outside to create the wall hanging you see above. This thing is huge. It’s 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. So it’s not just a painting. It’s a wall hanging. And it’s hanging in our hallway because I haven’t gotten around to putting up a gallery wall like I want to do eventually. This will suffice for now.

And yes, her feet are huge these days! (I did take the picture at an angle, though, so the bottom footprints are not likely to give the most accurate scale.)

She had so much fun! I put the red, yellow, and orange paint on a paper plate, had her step in it (which she was very tentative to do at first but when I encouraged her more, she wanted to JUMP in it!), and then I spun her around in the paint a few times just for good measure. She loved that part! She also loved walking in the grass and getting the blades all red, orange, and yellow. (We watered the grass afterward to wash the paint off.)

So she was barefoot outside. I allow this. What kid should not be allowed to go barefoot? Yes, I know there are “dangers” around our house- fire ants, super sharp “pokies” (grass seeds/burrs), lots of rocks, etc. But our backyard is pretty tame- cement, grass, 1″ granite. Hula Girl is quite adept at carefully making her way across the rocks without hurting her little feet. She also knows to avoid the ants.

However, Gelato started crying and wanted to eat. I decided to nurse him outside since it was a beautiful morning and I wanted to let Hula Girl stay outside playing. But… as soon as the baby got settled into nursing (which took a while because I have a super super super powerful letdown and he sometimes struggles to stay latched at the beginning of a nursing session- imagine trying to comfortably drink from a fire hose), Hula Girl started screaming. She had a “poky” in her foot. I told her to sit down where she was, but in her panic she decided to run on tiptoes to where I was nursing Gelato. I reached down to pull the poky out of her foot, causing Gelato to get a)squished, b)unlatched, and c)angry! Then of course the poky did not come out cleanly and she had two supersharp needle thingies left in her foot. I jumped up, told her to stay put, and ran inside to get the tweezers. I set Gelato on the floor, booked it to the bathroom, and returned to find her screaming bloody murder at the screen door (she’d hobbled over) and him just chillin’ like, “Oh, hey Mommy, the floor’s pretty comfy!” I got her inside and used the tweezers to extract said sharp objects, and her foot began to bleed. That did not make her screaming stop. Quite the opposite, in fact. Gelato was looking at her quizzically, probably thinking, “Shrieking sister-thing has got to be crazy. How could she be so upset about the floor? I love it here!” 

Gelato is going through his four-week growth spurt. He is normally very predictable on a 3-hour schedule, which is why his wackiness yesterday threw me off-guard. I kind of thought he had already gone through his 3/4 week growth spurt, because a couple days ago he woke early to eat a couple of times. But yesterday and today, his feedings have been closer and closer together. Today I have been feeding him every 2.5 hours. It’s funny though, because I expected to have to feed him more at night during a growth spurt, but last night was one of his best nights of sleep ever! He just ate and went back to sleep every time I woke him! And today he’s been hibernating- he’ll wake up enough to eat, but then he’ll fall back asleep immediately afterward. Even when he’s with Hula Girl and she’s screaming her head off because she has a bleeding foot. How he did not get overstimulated like mad is beyond me.

The adventures continue. I was just talking to my mom about how I am working to keep everything in perspective. Once Gelato is Hula Girl’s age, things are going to be CAKE around here. For real. They will play together constantly, they will have nap/rest time at the same time, they will eat meals at the same times, and she will be much less inclined to get “into” things. An example, just for humor’s sake- my little girl is growing up so fast! She learned how to do a good job of sweeping today. She practiced her skills on a whole pile of baking soda that she dumped on the kitchen floor while I was upstairs getting Gelato’s diaper changed. Ummhmm. I want to chronicle all these things so I can look back on them and laugh. I had a hard time laughing about it this morning. But I do think I handled it well. Her only consequences were that she had to clean it up (she was very dependent on my help… but a few more episodes like this one, and she’ll be a master at sweeping!) and she had to apologize to me for being wasteful.

I want to mention that this whole parenting-two-children-thing has come as a surprise to me. Honestly, I expected it to be hard. But I couldn’t have predicted the ways in which it is hard. I feel like it’s similar to having our first child- I expected to be tired, but I didn’t know quite how tired the human body can be. I expected my life to change, but I had NO idea what that really meant. Now, having my second child has been easier in many ways. I knew how to handle newborns. I knew how to feed, burp, change diapers, give baths, settle a baby for a nap, etc. But it has been SO hard in other ways- I am having to learn to balance the needs of two very needy little people. I am having to learn how to be flexible in ways I’ve never had to be flexible before. I am learning how to cherish the few moments of true “me” time I have each and every day. It’s not like Jonathan can come home and just “handle it” anymore. I still have to be actively involved in parenting 24/7 because he can’t nurse Gelato. It kind of makes me feel stuck.

But then I have to step back and regain perspective. One month down, eleven to go until I am no longer breastfeeding. One month down, five to go until we start solid foods. One month down, one or two to go before he’s sleeping through the night. Seriously, I’m halfway to having a baby who sleeps 8 hours straight! And a third of the way to 12 hours! So really, this is truly a super super short season.

Something else that has given me perspective is this blog post. I ran across it on facebook today and it’s really helping me feel like my struggles with Hula Girl’s behavior in the past couple of days are normal, and that I’m dealing with things the best I can. I just need to remember to ease up on my expectations of her (she’s only two!!!) and keep a more eternal perspective. If she’s still getting into the cupboards and drawers next week, I have not failed as a parent. 🙂

Hokay, have a good afternoon. I have about 5 more seconds before Gelato’s due to wake for his next feeding.

 

 

 

 

23 Months- Noteworthy Stuff

Hula Girl is officially 23 months old today! That means she’ll be two soon. Yikes. I am ready, but also not ready. I sent two pictures of her to a friend today- one from a week ago and one from a year ago… what a difference a year makes!

As you know from yesterday’s post, we are going through major sleep wackiness right about now. Actually, we did get a fantastic 3.5-hour nap yesterday. There were several variables that went into that nap, and I’m pretty sure it won’t be replicated today. First of all, I forgot to close one of her windows. So she had fresh air, outside noises, and the clack of the blinds to keep her company… whoops. Secondly, I spent a good 30 minutes in her room with her before her nap, reading book after book. Third, I implemented some of the things from yesterday- reviewing the “sleep rules” butterflies with her and reminding her that I am not leaving, I am just going to my own bed to nap while she naps. I also reminded her that I will be back when naptime is over. But today I got her down for her nap later than I wanted to, and from the way she was acting, we’re due for a short nap again. She was Miss Crabby Pants all morning. Probably because after yesterday’s fabulous nap, she stayed awake until almost 9 p.m., singing, laughing and talking to herself in her crib. I just can’t win.

On a positive note, Hula Girl has been very into songs, stories, and chants lately. She loves to sing her own versions of songs to us (hand motions included, as always). I love listening to her sing in roomtime. She sings along with her kids’ Bible songs CDs that we play. Yesterday’s song was “Zacchaeus” and she sang, “You…mum… nown!!!” over and over last night while she was falling asleep. Whenever she hears the song about Jesus knocking on our hearts, she runs to the door and “knock, knock, knocks!” She can also recite some of her favorite simple stories, and often tells stories as she’s sitting at the breakfast or lunch table or falling asleep. And chants- don’t give that girl a catchy phrase unless you want to hear it over and over for days. For example, today I said, “Yes, indeedy!” in response to something she asked in the car. She then insisted on hearing me say, “Yes, indeedy!” over and over again all the way home. During roomtime, all I heard was, “Yes… in… deeeedeee!”

Her enunciation is getting better and better. She still can’t say /r/ or /l/. Her /r/ sounds become /y/ and her /l/ sounds become /ee/, /y/, or /d/, depending on where they fall in the word. For example, our cat’s name is Riley, and she calls him “Ya-dee”. She calls lions “yi-yons.” She says little “eedee”. She has just recently started adding in /t/, /v/, and hard /g/. This doesn’t mean that she can say all things super well. She speaks very fast (“veyee wast”) and I frequently have to ask her to repeat herself. But she is getting better and better, and I almost always know exactly what she’s talking about nowadays.

Hula Girl’s appetite, for the first time in her life, leaves something to be desired. She has not been into eating very much lately. She’ll still eat a variety (pretty much anything we put in front of her), but she’ll take like one or two bites and declare herself all done and ask to be excused (“scuze?”) while climbing down from her booster seat. I am not super concerned about this. She is thinning out considerably, does not ask for snacks, and is not consuming terribly large portions of milk. I see no reason to get upset and create yet another battle of wills. If she says she’s done, okay, she’s done. I take her plate. In the event she tried to come back and eat more later (“hummingbird feeding”), I would not allow it. She’ll learn quickly enough that eating is to be done at established mealtimes and snack times.

I am considering switching Hula Girl’s milk to coconut milk. Most pediatricians recommend whole milk until 2 years of age (well, obviously after breastfeeding is over), but at 2, it’s generally okay to switch to 2%, 1%, or even fat-free… whatever the family drinks. Not being a milk-drinker myself, I couldn’t care less whether or not she actually has any more milk ever again in her whole entire life! She had the fattiest stuff at the right time, and now we don’t have to be so incredibly worried about brain development anymore. I am also concerned that dairy milk contains so many antibiotics… that can’t be good for a human. (I’m even considering just going straight to coconut milk for Gelato when he turns one, just because of the antibiotics… yuck!) Anyway, coconut milk has more calcium than dairy milk (yes, it’s added, but it’s still more), and it has the right amount of fats. Plus it’s darn tasty. We’ll see what her pediatrician says at her 2-year well-child visit in June.

Hula Girl is, as always, a climber. I am now having a hard time taking her to the park alone because I can’t climb up the metal ladders after her to ensure her safety. She hasn’t gotten it down perfectly yet, so I know she could fall at any second. It’s tough because when I go with her, I have to stop her part-way up each of the structures and insist that she tries something else for a while. When Jonathan takes her, she can climb as high as she wants and he can follow along just below her. I don’t believe in helping her climb at all. We do not touch her unless she slips off or misses a rung and will actually hit the ground unless we step in. If she’s low enough, I actually just let her fall. Better for her to learn from her mistakes than to be over-confident in her abilities. But I am glad that she’s learning to climb so well this summer, so that next summer when I have both of them at the park alone, I will not have to watch her so carefully. Another area where she can clamber well is on those foam play surfaces inside malls. She can get her little toes to grip any incline and hoist herself up to the top in record speed. I am seriously keeping in mind that she can join the Y’s rock wall climbing club when she’s six. The only downside to this talent is her propensity for climbing things she oughtn’t… such as the hope chest, the back of the couch, the dining room table, the baker’s rack, her dresser, etc. Fortunately she’s got the sense not to try to climb out of her crib. I have seen her considering it a few times, but then she looks down… and loses her nerve. (For now.)

Okay, there’s a good update for you for this month. Next month, it will be a YEARLY update. Whoa. And tomorrow will be a THIRD TRIMESTER update. Whoa again. Time is a flyin’.

 

Another Sugery Update and 22 Months

Yep, I’m combining my Hula Girl topics here. Just want to play a little catch-up. I will be posting details about pregnancy and Gelato tomorrow, at 24 weeks.

Hula Girl seems to be doing well in general. She had a busy, busy week last week, including a few early wakeups in the mornings to get to appointments, shortish naps (and nights) due to overstimulation and overtiredness, and just a lot of stuff going on. It has been nice to be home since Monday, even though we miss Grammy and Grampy.

Her eye is actually still leaking, and not draining down through the duct. I know the ophthalmologist said that it could take a few days post-surgery to really see good results, and I guess the fluid is less sticky/profuse, but I am concerned that the duct was not completely unblocked. Worst case scenario would be that the duct will never be completely unblocked, and that we will just have to be very cautious and watch out for infections. We have seen much less bloody discharge from the eye (absolutely none today), so perhaps we’re on the positive side of the situation and I’m just being impatient.

One side effect of her previous week has been her penchant for sleeping this week. I could tell she was working up a sleep debt and that she was becoming overtired because her naps were generally shorter than usual, and her morning wakeups were up to an hour before her normal time. So we buckled down with early bedtimes and early naptimes, and we’ve really reaped some benefits from that during the past few days. She slept for a 3-hour nap on Sunday (not unheard of, but not her norm), then took a 3.5-hour nap Monday and Tuesday. She even fell asleep flat on her face on the floor during her independent playtime on Tuesday!!! Yesterday (Tuesday) when I woke her from her nap at 4:30, she was groggy and upset that I woke her up. So we did an early bedtime last night, and she actually slept in all the way to her waketime of 8:00 this morning.

Okay, that’s all the surgery update info I will have until our follow-up on Friday. So here’s stuff about her as a 22-month-old:

Potty Training and Early Waking: I have been wondering (and I will need to post this as a question on our Babywise Moms group) if she’s actually been waking earlier in the mornings due to potty issues. I know that the first and second mornings she woke an hour early, she had poopooed. I also know that she’s been waking dry from naps, and does NOT like to use her diaper. (After surgery on Friday, we got her home and she had not used her diaper at all- not even when under general anesthesia- but she went running to the potty as soon as her jammies and diaper were off.) I thought perhaps her early morning wakings were due to her needing to go potty but being aware that her diaper was her only option. Sure enough, when I got her out of her crib this morning at 8:00, her diaper was still dry. Um, yeah, my 22-month-old held her peepee all night. And, MAN, did she drink a lot yesterday. All her milk (16 oz total) plus at least 3 sippy cups of water (so around 30 oz). When I took her to the “big potty upstairs in [Hula Girl]’s bathroom,” she went for quite a while. Hm, I wonder if we need to transition to a big girl bed and put a potty in her room. Yikes.

“Terrible Twos”: Her personality is springy and bouncy and chipper and easy, like always. She has had some moments of “terrible twos” behavior, but those are easily overcome or quickly forgotten. She has been quite insistent on having some things exactly her way, but she’s learning that there is a balance between what Hula Girl wants and what Mommy wants, and Mommy’s desires often take precedence. For example, when we leave the house, Hula Girl sometimes doesn’t want to wear pants (or skirt or shorts) or undies, but Mommy insists.Aren’t Moms a pain sometimes? These moments are fleeting and, like I already said, quickly forgotten in our daily activities.

Eating Habits: Kid loves to eat. She will eat a variety of foods, but her absolute favorites are grapefruits (“day-doopssss”), oranges (“oh-wees”), and frozen corn (“woh-wee norn”). I have found that sometime she won’t eat a particular food that she liked yesterday, and in that case I can just offer it in a slightly different arrangement or style, and she’ll eat it up (hence her recent passion for frozen corn). She has not been into eating meat lately (I’ve heard this is pretty common with toddlers), so I have been working to provide protein in other things, like tofu bites (sick, but cover them in ketchup, and she devours them), beans, cheese, and smoothies (she won’t eat yogurt right now, but she’ll slurp down a smoothie like no one’s business). Occasionally she’ll try a bite of something, make a face, take it out, and put it to the side. This is fine. She is allowed to put any food to the side, and we don’t fuss over it at all. I have seen a lot of foods that were on the sidelines make their way back into the favorites category, and vice-versa. I figure we’ll just go with what her tastebuds are telling her, as long as we just keep offering healthful foods. It’s not like she spits out a strawberry in favor of a cookie. She has never had that option. But she might spit out a piece of zucchini in favor of a tomato. Meh, oh well! We ARE teaching her to say, “No, thank you,” when she takes food out of her mouth.

Growth: Our recent doctor’s office visits have given us a clue about her growth- she weighs 28 pounds and is 33 inches tall. I just used the Baby Growth Percentile Calculator on Babycenter, and discovered that she’s finally not so tall! She’s in the 25-50th percentile for height and 50-75th percentile for weight. That said, my mom and I were noticing just last week how much she’s thinning out. She’s still got muscles like Arnold in her calves, thighs, and buttocks, but her waistline is trim and she’s losing a bit of her baby fat elsewhere. Her torso is quite long (like her Daddy’s), so she’s wearing size 24 months – 3T shirts, while her legs are somewhat short (again, like her Daddy’s), so she’s able to wear size 18-24 months pants/shorts. Silly.

Interests: Hula Girl is interested in anything that equals movement, noise, or boisterousness. She loves climbing, jumping, dancing, balancing, rolling, somersaulting, shrieking, running, bouncing, crawling, slithering, scaling, tumbling, tickling, and tackling. She wants to sing every song she knows and do the motions all day long, especially at mealtimes and in the car. She loves to learn new signs and try them out at random times throughout the day (often she’ll sign things to Jonathan during bathtime and he’ll bring her to her bedroom utterly confused and ask me what she’s trying to say. (“Oh, she’s saying, ‘cloud!'”) Hula Girl also has a passion for books. She loooooves to read and to be read to. Her latest thing is to choose her own stories at bedtime, so she’ll flip through her nursery rhyme book, “No… no….no.. YEAH! YEAH! YEAH!”

Sayings and Vocalizations: This girl has been on a roll with language lately. She is getting more and more precise and eloquent. My mom got her to repeat a 20-word sentence the other day. It’s funny to hear her trying to repeat a sentence. She’ll say the last part first, and then remember there was more, backtrack, and say the full sentence. For example, I could tell her, “Tell Daddy, ‘You’re the best daddy in the world and I love you!'” She would then run to him and say, “Daddy love you…. Best daddy in the world and I love you!” (That is modified speech- hers would really come out like, “Daddy wuh you… Beh daddy inee woh in I wuh you!”)

Along with repeating sentences, she’s been saying things that echo my common phrases a lot lately. Just yesterday and this morning, in fact, she has uttered, “Okay! Okay! Okay!” using the same intonation that I frequently use. I found myself doing it all throughout the day since my attention was drawn, and I sure do say, “Okay!” a lot! She also threw herself down in her crib and said, “Oh my goodness!” (“Oh my neh-ness!”)… too funny.

Hula Girl has also started taking what I say to her and applying it to other children, animals, and inanimate objects. For example, when we apply her Orajel to her gums, we remind her, “No biting!” Yesterday we went out back and found a hill of fire ants. I told her not to get too close to them because they might bite. She said, “No biting, ants!” (“No bibeen, ahn!”) She has also been wanting me to hold/rock her stuffed animals and baby dolls in my arms while singing “Rockabye Baby”… then she will go in another room and do the same. Her version of “Rockabye Baby” is very cute, yet difficult to decipher- “Ock a bye baby inee tee bop/inee win boh dadoh wock/inee bow ake dadoh wah/nown mum baby dadoh in ahh.”

Her favorite bedtime (and naptime) routine has become telling Mommy and Daddy, “Sleep well,” a ridiculous number of times each night. She has to be the last one to say it, and she continues saying it as we shut the door and walk down the hallway. “Sleep well, Mommy, sleep well, Daddy! Sleep well, Daddy Mommy, sleep well, Mommy Daddy!” She’s actually quite good at saying “sleep well” very clearly. No subtitles needed!

 

 

Whew, I think that about covers my little Hula Girl for now. I will keep adding more when I think of it.

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