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

My Love of 15 Months

My sweet and savvy little girl is 15 months old today. Since she was born, I’ve been upfront and candid about the struggles of motherhood and parenting and re-defining myself in this new chapter book.

Today I’m just here to say how much fun my little moo-baby is 😊

The newborn stage was not my forte & the baby stage was ok, but the early toddlerhood that we’re in right now is my favorite. M typically wakes up with a smile on her face. She lays in her crib and talks with Cal the Octopus (obviously short for Calamari). She learns something new every day. Her personality is goofy but inquisitive, bold but observant, ornery but sweet. She’s freaking exhausting, but so entertaining. I love seeing her little brain work and solve something new.

Toddlerhood is not without its terribleness, LOL. She has bad moments and grumpy days. Everything is a toy and, as such, everything is a hazard. Dog fur is soft to cuddle on, but it’s also easy to pull. Climbing, running, and exploring are not without their risks.

My mom tells me that we talk to M like an adult. We speak softly & sweetly to her, but we talk to her in full sentences. She understands basic tasks, she can retrieve a stuffy when we ask for it by name, and she can bring us the book we specifically request (of the 5 or 6 oft read board books). When I say, “Let’s have breakfast/lunch/dinner” she heads to her highchair. When I say, “Let’s let the dogs outside” she goes to the backdoor with me. She identifies family members in pictures and in person. She knows the difference between our dogs (and has a favorite, lol).

She loves to brush her teeth, she loves to “CHEERS” with her cup, and she loves Mickey Mouse. I love taking her places (on the rare occasion we get out) because she’s usually well behaved and she LOVES watching the world around her.

This is just an appreciation post to say I love this stage and Miss Moo.

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?

12 Months (!!) of Madelyn

This is the last of the designated M posts. I’m not planning to do more quarterly updates and this will round out the birthday-related topics. I’ll likely give an 18 month update mid-2021.

On Saturday we had a zoom party for my baby. It was lame, but it was safe, so I’ll take it. She also recognized people on the video so I think she enjoyed herself.

Nicknames: Maddie, Mads, Moo, Maddie Lou, Poodle, Snoots

Stats: Chunky monk is 23 lbs. and over 31.5 in. long. Clothing-wise she’s slowed down a bit and we’re still hanging out in 18 months outfits. (Thank Jesus.) She’s above the 99th percentile in height, though. WOOF.

Likes: Her dad, her dogs, and her stuffed animals. She loves music and dancing, likes to watch the dogs run around inside and out, and loves having her toes eaten. Lol

Dislikes: Shots (duh), being wiped off after a meal, Mom leaving the room, and having dog toys taken away from her. She hates being restrained, too. She also refuses to leave socks/shoes on.

Sleeping: M has always been a great sleeper. We were struggling with bedtime AND staying down for the night for a few weeks, but she’s back to normal now. I think it was the 1 year sleep regression. UGH.
We’re still doing 2 naps/day and I will hold on to them both as long as possible!

Eating: Our little poodle loves her noodles. She is a carb queen. She also loves avocados, eggs, meatballs, fish, and turkey. But pasta is the way to her heart.

Development: I don’t have time to list all the new things this girl can do. She does everything in her own time but once she’s got it, she’s got it. She stands, walks along furniture, walks with help, walks with her walker… but no independent walking yet.
M is a MONKEY. She climbs on everything- stairs, couches, toys, humans, dogs… lol. She knows how to get up and how to use tools to get up, and she knows how to go down (“feet first!” we say over and over).
She knows 4 or 5 body parts, yes and no, how to wave and clap and point and she tries to blow kisses, she signals “all done” when she’s finished a meal, she cuddles her stuffed animals, and she has mastered the colorful rings toy.
She makes a million sounds, says mama dada and da (dog), and will repeat back sounds and syllables of words you say to her. She knows who people and animals are- and can tell our dogs apart by name.

Personality: I hate COVID. Moo is so much fun to hang out with and take places. I hate that we can’t go anywhere with her. She has a happy disposition and she’s way more clever than me. She’s starting to find certain things funny and she’s starting to find some things scary. I love that we’re seeing her imagination develop. Unless she’s super tired or in pain, she’s a happy happy girl .

Travel: Sigh.
We have done some longer drives lately. We popped down to Cabela’s in Tridelphia, WV a few weeks ago and Maddie did great!
We took her to the reverse Christmas parade our town had and she loved driving through the float displays, waving at everyone.

Mom’s Summary: It was weird to see my baby turn one. I remember everything about the day she entered this world- and it doesn’t seem that long ago. M brings joy to everyone she meets and that’s especially true for me. I’m so proud of all the things she’s learned this year and I LOVE that despite all the isolation, she’s a happy friendly adventurous little girl.

M is starting to get a feisty, head strong, clever personality. I’m looking forward to shaping her into a kind little kid 🖤 I struggled a lot with the helpless newborn stage. I am much much more cut out for the communicative and temperamental toddler stage. I know that’s weird to prefer (and maybe I’ll take it back), but I love her budding personality- even the more difficult side, lol.

I now have a T O D D L E R and I am not ok. 😭

All professional photos courtesy of Jackie Beachy Photography.