Two Years Old

M turned two on Saturday and I’m still trying to recover from the shock. Time has always been a thief, but it’s strange to see time personified in my little human. She was once a little squishy cute potato with two or three solid skills (eat, sleep, poop) and now she’s an incredible, complex, talking, opinionated, hilarious little girl. I love it.

I struggled during our newborn days. Nowadays things are tiring, but life with a toddler is amusing and fun. She’s ornery and clever and hilarious and sweet. This past year was such a rollercoaster and M has really grown into the person she will be forever. I’m so lucky to know her.

Nicknames: Moo, Toots, Toodles, Mads

Stats: Her 2 year checkup was yesterday. She is 29 lbs. 5 oz. and 35 inches tall.

Likes: Snacking, Mickey Mouse, reading in the morning and before bed, things in nature (the moon, leaves, etc.), animals- but especially dogs, visiting with the neighbors, playing at daycare, helping feed the dogs, French fries, and rides in daddy’s new car.

Dislikes: When mom is within sight but out of reach, sitting in her high chair (UGH), and being denied a cookie/French fries/any food she’s demanding.

Sleeping: We’ve had good and bad weeks. M takes a late morning/afternoon nap every day. She goes down for bed around 7:30pm and is up around 7 or 7:30am. When she’s healthy, she’s happy and cooperative at sleep time.

Eating: In true toddler fashion, some days we love carrots and some days we won’t look at them. The same is true for most foods. She’s always in the mood for noodles or a cookie, though. French fries, pouches, and yogurt are also favorites. And bread.

Development: I was reading the 18 month update where I said M says a few words. LOL. The kid talks all the time now, half the time in full sentences. She is great at verbalizing what she wants- sometimes too “great.”

Personality: I genuinely enjoy hanging out with M. She has her moments and we’re working on not hitting people, but she understands it’s not ok and she corrects her behavior pretty quickly. She is funny and so smart. She is a negotiator and a problem solver. She follows directions and makes up songs and loves to be where K and I are. Bristol is still her favorite but she’s a big fan of the office cats, too. She’s friendly and adventurous. She’s still a daredevil and loves chasing and racing and monkeying around. She’s starting to cuddle a little more and I’m not mad about it.

Travel: We’ve been very unlucky in this department. We took a family trip to Michigan and our vehicle broke down. M was a trooper, though, and we tried to make the best of it. A few weeks ago M and I were supposed to fly to Tampa… but M spiked a super high fever and we had to cancel. We did a few camping trips this summer/fall, but other than that we’ve been homebodies.

Mom’s Summary: Over the past two years there have been moments when I’ve doubted my role as a mom. I think a lot of women do when sh*t hits the fan… But I have never doubted that M was made for me and I was meant to be her mom. She is the highlight in my day. I love to celebrate her triumphs and I love to hold her during her big emotions. She’s such a gift to her dad and me. I’m so glad we get to be her mom and dad.

These past two years have been a gift. Even new thing Mads learns brings me joy. I love to see her love other people and I pray every night that she knows she is loved and adored by not only Jesus, but everyone who knows her. I look forward to all the moments- big and small- we’ll have together in the future.

I hope you had a happy birthday, my sweet girl. We love you the very mostest.

*Happy Gotcha Day to our sweet Enzo boy! 8 years with our snuggle bug ❤

-Momma

You can find our past developmental updates here:
birth / 3 months / 6 months / 9 months / 1 year / 18 months

Infant Days: The Epilogue

It was just over two years ago (!!) that we told the world M was going to be a little girl. A few months later that little girl entered the world and completely rocked mine to its core. It was T O U G H and I feel like I was very open and honest and blunt about our struggles with parenthood.

Sometimes I wonder if M will ever find those posts and IG pictures and FB updates, and think I felt regretful. It wasn’t always glamorous and I very rarely painted it as such. And while I hope that was/is helpful to new moms, I sometimes wonder what M will think.

So I thought I’d write a epilogue to the infant days. My 19-month-old is full bore toddler now so we’re in a completely different chapter. (Maybe even book?)

I think every parent has a favorite age. Some will say each stage was their favorite and then the next one happened and it was even better. Kudos to those moms and dads. That is not what I (or K) would tell you.

I loved the newborn snuggles but I struggled during the newborn phase. Even after we cleared the fog, it was hard to find my groove. But then M started rolling. And sitting up. And eating some soft foods.

Then she started smiling and babbling. Pointing and shaking her head. Reaching and rejecting. By the time she was 13 months she could pick out her favorite foods, point to what she wanted, and walk across the room.

And we hit our stride.

I’m sure there are many parents who do not love toddlerhood. Eighteen months is a challenging age. Some parents love newborn age, some like school age (this will be K’s favorite I bet). I am a toddler-lover through and through. M is so much dang fun.

I love that she can communicate- even when I don’t know what she’s saying. Sometimes she’s crying because there’s a thread on her pants- but you know what? I know why she’s crying and that’s such a relief. She’s feisty and inquisitive. She loves doing everything herself… but wants mom or dad close by. She follows the dogs around and expects them to follow her. She can point to and name her body parts. She loves to figure out how something works. She likes to help with everything. She tells us when she’s ready for bed (even if she’s not sold on it when it’s actually time to sleep). She’s down for any adventure. She really is such a fun kid and such a fun age.

SO… for all the struggles and tears and complaining I did 1 year ago, let me just share what a good time we’re having right now. Sure, it’s not always easy. We have tantrums and breakdowns. But dang, it’s rewarding with M. She’s one of my favorite people to hang out with.

I might be singing another tune when we potty train… or transition from crib to bed… or start thinking about preschool. But for now? I am one happy human with my sassy little toddler.

*For those that struggle with toddlerhood, it will change. I would never paint a rosier picture than it really is, but I wanted to share that motherhood isn’t miserable forever and ever with no moments of joy.

A Tale of Two Toddlers

On Sunday we went to church and left Moo in the toddlers’ room during the service.

When we picked her up, the volunteers in the room told us that another little girl had gotten hurt and M was first on the scene to pat her head and give her a hug.

My mommy-heart LITERALLY burst.

Later that afternoon I held M and told her that my absolute favorite feedback regarding her isn’t about intellect or beauty- it’s about her generosity and kindness. I think it might’ve gone over her 16 month old head, but whatever.

Then, that evening during a bedtime tantrum, Moo smacked my face repeated and slashed me with her Wolverine-like nails.

So all of that to say, you win some and you lose some.

LOL.


Hope everyone had a very Happy Easter / weekend and my tale of Dr. Jekly and Mr(s). Moo reminds you that there are great and terrible moments in every 24 hour period. Bank the good ones and keep Neosporin on hand for the bad.

Every Direction

I use Instagram for three things: keeping up with all of you (& my non-blog friends), inspiration for my Animal Crossing island (#nerdalert), and parenting information.

Let’s hone in on that last one.

Recently I started following some new (child) sleep experts and questioning every single thing I’ve done for M and her sleep habits. (Fear not- I question my parenting every hour of every day. All parents do…) It got me thinking… when it comes to parenting, advice and research is thrown at you from every direction.

Let’s think about a generic law. You show up to a store at 6:17pm and try the handle, only to find it locked. You notice that they closed at 6pm. What do the laws of the land dictate? You shrug your shoulders, turn around, and try another day. Breaking in would be wrong.

Ok… same situation, but apply the rules of parenting. Door is locked.
Well… some experts would suggest you jiggle the handle. Try tickling or stroking the keyhole to inducing unlocking.
Or you might try talking to the door about why it’s locked and whether or not it thinks that’s a good idea. If you’re more hands on, you might spank the door or shatter its glass to teach the door a lesson in defying you.
Try putting the door in time out and return 2 minutes later to see if anything has changed.
Maybe you don’t believe in locked doors. While locked doors might protect the herd, it’s not good for you and your family. You prefer open doors and plenty of sunshine.
**And there are no true consequences for any approach you take.**

That is a silly example, but it’s how it feels to read conflicting parenting advice on e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.

“You can’t co-sleep with your kid, you’ll crush them.” // “You put your child in a crib at 4 weeks?? Do you WANT them to die from SIDS?!”

“French fries will poison your toddler.” // “You know they make jar baby food, right? You don’t have to puree like a hippie.”

“Don’t give your child peanut butter(/eggs/fish/etc.) until they’re a year old.” // “Give you baby peanut butter before 6 months to reduce allergic reacts.”

“Breast is best.” // “Fed is best.” // “Goat milk is best.” // “Formula is full of sugar.”

“You must adhere to a strict and early vaccine schedule.” // “Make sure you talk to your doctor about spreading out shots and eliminating unnecessary ones.”

You get it.

It’s exhausting. (Arbitrary rules exist in more than parenthood, but this is trench I’m stationed in right now.) Like… give me a tried and true manual and I will follow the rules. Don’t give me this “Some experts say…” bullshittery.

Also… is fussing the same as crying it out? Because I would argue no but please don’t call the baby sleep police on me.

So what do you do? I don’t know. This isn’t an advice article. I’m just as clueless as the rest of ya.

A while back Kristen commented that she goes by, “Eat the fish, spit out the bones.” I can get on board with that. So here’s my not-tested, nonexpert-approved parenting advice:

Learn who your kid is. It’s tough because babies are potatoes but as they grow and their personalities emerge, change some of your routines and activities to foster their growth (and energy and sleepy cues and hunger pangs).

That’s the best I’ve got. Also- watch out for sleep regression and one-year-molars; they’re a true b*tch. I’ve heard the two-year-molars are just as gnarly. Will report back.

Best of luck, guys.

Baby Talk: What I’ve Learned

Being a mom is both nothing like I thought it’d be and everything I expected. I’ve always been introspective but motherhood really brings it out in me. What else am I supposed to do while rocking a fussy baby alone in the dark at 3am…?

Here are some truths I’ve learned over the past +13 months.

These are the good ol’ days.

Yesterday, today, two weeks from now. There is some “good ol” in every day. The newborn stage wasn’t for me, but looking back we had lovely days just lounging around together (because I was too exhausted to move). M is a freaking monkey and I am dead tired by the end of the day, but when I ask for “snuggs” and she wraps her arms around me and bite-kisses me, I know I have it good. And there are so many good ol’ days to look forward to with her.

You trade one mess for another.

As I hang Moo’s clothes in her closet she sits under my feet and unpacks the bins of bows and hats. While I wash dishes in the sink she squirms in her highchair and rubs spaghetti sauce in her hair. It’s chaos and the only way through it is understanding that if you want to get anything done, you simply trade one mess in for another.

There is no good & bad- just baby.

We were so proud of ourselves for training M to sleep in her own bed. But at 4am when she just wants to be held you know what I can’t do? I can’t bring her to our bed because she thinks it’s playtime. I love that we have a super little eater but you know what she does when I have ANYTHING edible in my hand? She fusses and cries because she wants a bite. She knows where her nose is but sticks her finger in it if you ask about it. She loves the dogs but sometimes won’t leave them alone. There’s no good and bad… there’s just a baby figuring it all out.

You find a focus & you obsess.

It seems like moms fixate on one or two things. “I MUST breastfed and my worth is based on my success… We WILL follow baby led weaning to the T and we will not supplement with purees… My child NEEDS to sleep X amount of hours in the morning and X amount at night to ensure perfect REM sleep”…
I’m the sleep mom. And it’s paid off, but I have been the sleep police with Moo since week 4. It’s funny how parents pick one or two areas to OBSESS over. Pay attention- because we definitely do it.

And perhaps the most bitter truth…

She will never love me as much as I love her.

It sucks having this realization. Then I realize how much my mom actually loves me. And K’s mom loves him. And really how much any half-decent mom loves their kid. And there is no possible way for that child to love their parent as much. It’s selfish to wish that she would, but dang…

And on that note…. I’m going to go scroll my phone and watch newborn videos.

What has parenthood or aunt-hood or guardian-hood taught you?