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Tuesday
Jul152014

Mo - 18 months (holy crap, a year and a half!)

A year and a half ago yesterday, my baby girl was born. I knew it would go fast, but damn, it goes FAST! It wasn't long ago I was cuddling a tiny, helpless infant, and now I'm trying to get an active, rambunctious toddler to slow down long enough to give me a kiss. 

Actually, the last few weeks, Mo has been pretty clingy. In June, I went on a work trip and left her for four nights, the longest I've ever been away from her. The very next week Mike started a new job and Mo went back to daycare. I think those things must have happened at an important stage for developing trust because now I think she never quite trusts that I'm not leaving her. She wants to be carried a lot, and if I put her down even for a few seconds, she cries. Not just whines or whimpers, but cries real tears. If I walk out of the room without her, she panics. I do love that she loves me so much, and much of the time I'm happy to just hold her and hang out with her, but sometimes I need to be productive and that's hard to do with 25 pounds of toddler in my arms.

Mama and Mo snuggles

Overall she's doing well at daycare though. After a series of ups and downs and changing circumstances, we ended up at the same place we left when Mike lost his job. I thought, even after three months, that she might remember it, but if she did, she didn't show it. That first day, she acted like I was leaving her with complete strangers. She has gotten better with each drop off, but it definitely goes smoother when Mike does it. I don't think she fully trusts me to come back when I drop her off. However, as you'd expect, they tell me she is fine moments after I leave and does well all day long. Plus, Mike's mom retired at the beginning of the month, and we are very blessed that she wants to watch Mo two days a week. It saves us a little money and gives Mo some one-on-one attention during the week.

Mo pretty eyes

Mo has also become obsessed with her stuffed animals. She has always loved her loveys, two in particular, but lately she has really attached herself to them. Puppy and Kitty. They are a pair, we call them PuppyKitty, one word, and they go everywhere with her. She sleeps with PuppyKitty and carries them down with her in the morning. We've drawn the line at taking them to daycare, and we try not to let them out of the house lest they get lost, but otherwise she tries to go about her life with two stuffed animals in her arms. And often, she brings along some of their friends. She'll try to climb the stairs (which she still needs her hands for) with an armful of animals, or drink her water or get a book off the shelf. I love that about her.

Mo and all her stuffed animals

We are still nursing. When I think back to how hard it was when we first tried breastfeeding, I never would have imagined I'd still be doing it 18 months later. But it works for us and there hasn't been a reason to stop, so we haven't. Typically, she nurses when we wake up and again when I get home from work. Twice a day. And only if she asks for it. Sometimes she'll be busy or distracted and not ask for "milk" (using the sign) and we don't do it. If she asks outside of our usual routine, I tell her no. I explain it's not milk time, and that if she's hungry she can have a snack, and if she's thirsty she can have water. I will say, though, that because we're still breastfeeding, she has no interest in cow's milk. Like, at all. She gets lots of nutrients from breastfeeding though, and plenty of healthy fats in her food, so it's not a concern. Speaking of her diet, she is not the great eater she once was. She's not terrible by any means, but she used to LOVE all kinds of fruits and veggies, and now she's mostly interested in crackers, cereal, yogurt and cheese. And bananas. Oh the bananas. The other day I actually had to google "is my toddler eating too many bananas" because she will easily eat 3 or 4 a day. I got mixed results from google, but I decided it's just a phase so let her have the damn bananas. She drinks a lot of water and gets fiber in her grains, so constipation has not been a problem. And as long as that's not all she's eating, it's not worth worrying about.

Nursing

Mo eating banana

We've started introducing Mo to the toilet. We're by no means potty training, but we have introduced some of the language. Where do you go potty? Toilet! Where is the toilet? And she can show you. We let her sit on it sometimes and talk about why she's there. There have been no...results yet. But that's not the goal right now. I think what will work for us is a progressive potty training rather than quick and dirty, so this is phase one I guess: start talking about it.

Mo is so long and lean. We talk about how she's gone through two major transformations in her short life. She started as a small newborn with dark hair and eyes, and transformed into a round baby with fuzzy blond hair and huge blue eyes. And recently she's transformed into a long and lean toddler with blond curls. Because Mike is tall and (somewhat) slender, we sort of assumed Mo would get some of that height. She didn't show it for the first year, but now she's starting to resemble her dad more. Her torso is so long that some of her 18 month shirts are too short, yet her hips are so narrow that some of her 12 month pants are still too large around the waist. It's an interesting phase.

Mo climbing on couch

We've been doing some fun things this summer. We took Mo to her first baseball game. She only made it through a few innings, but she enjoyed the crowd and ate an ice cream cone before Mike took her home. (I stayed at the game with the friend who had gotten us free tickets.)

Mo's first Whitecaps game

We've gone to my grandparent's cottage on a lake a few times where she gets to play in the sand and go for boat rides. On those days, we usually skip a nap or push it waaay back, and she is still always happy and well-behaved. 

Mo on a boat

This past weekend we spent the weekend at my mom's "cabbage." It's on a small lake, and even though the weather wasn't gorgeous, we had a great time. Mo is obsessed with my mom, so I got a break from carrying her around every second (though I'm sure my mom's arms are tired!). She got to fish with Gamma, chase her dogs, explore their property, splash around in mud puddles. It was such a fun weekend for a kid.

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This summer, even though we didn't open our pool, Mo has had a few opportunities to swim. Turns out, she is fearless! Girl legitimately has no idea that she doesn't know how to swim on her own. She fights to get free of us, not because she wants to get out but because she wants to be untethered. The other day we were at our neighbor's pool, and Mike handed her out of the water to me. I put her down and reached for a towel, and in that microsecond, she tried to climb over the ledge to jump back in the pool. When I pulled her back, she screeched with frustration. We've tried dunking her and letting her go so she can see what happens, but she just smiles and tries to escape again. I think we need to get her in swim lessons so she can learn how to respect water, and maybe learn some survival skills just in case she ever manages to break away and actually jump in, god forbid.

Mama and Momo swimming

So that's it. We made it to a year and a half. I still think every day about how lucky I am to have her. I reflect on the rocky path it took to get to the moment I held her in my arms, and how blessedly smooth our path has been since she was born. I don't care that she's a thousand inches tall and weighs nearly four times as much as she did at birth, she's still my baby.

Mo's big goose egg - bump on the head!

(Oh yeah, did I mention she falls alot? This is her latest goose egg.)

Sunday
Jun222014

Mo - 17 Months

Mo is grow grow growing. She's still in 12 month clothes because she's so slender. She used to be so round with beautiful big thighs, but I think she's getting ready for a growth spurt. She has thinned out and is starting to look more like her dad - long and lean. I've pulled out a few 18 month clothes, but the pants fall right off her tiny hips.

Mo white hat cheese face

She has been learning a lot. I'm losing track of when she learns things or how long she's known something because it's so rapid lately. She knows lots of animal sounds and can identify many animals in her books. She can point to her hair, eyes, nose, mouth, ears, belly and toes. Her language is starting to develop more quickly. She knows mama, dada, nana (banana), cheese, yoyo (yogurt), shoe-shoes, hi, down, wawa (water) and a few others. 

She is pretty good at feeding herself with a spoon or fork, and she likes to drink out of a "big girl" cup (though she still mostly uses a sippy cup).

Mo drinking from big girl cup

She loves to read. Like, crazy about books. The other day I was so sick of reading the same books a thousand times that I pulled out my phone and showed her some Lion King videos. See why I'd be a poor stay-at-home mom? I need breaks from the repetitive kid stuff too often! But really, I love that she loves books. When she was a baby she hated when we'd try to read to her, so it's a relief that she find so much joy in it now.

Mo reading

Mo has been running a lot, or as much as a toddler can run. She's definitely getting more confident in her body. She is speedy when climbing yup stairs and wants so badly to be able to walk down them. She still has to scoot down on her butt or climb down backward, but she prefers for us to hold her hands so she can walk down facing forward. She also loves to climb on everything.

Mo standing on a table

Her grandma got her a water table recently, and we got her some sand toys, so she can finally enjoy playing outside. Poor girl used to just sit on our stoop because she's not quite old enough to run around, and we didn't have anything fun for her to do. 

Mo strawberry bathing suit

For awhile there she was testing us a little, pushing limits. We got a little chair from my grandparents, and we put it in a corner of our living room, and when she did something we didn't approve of, we'd ask her to stop. If she didn't, we sat her in the chair and knelt by her and explained why she needed to be removed from whatever activity. A toddler version of time-out I guess. After awhile I think she got bored of testing us so we haven't needed the chair lately.

Mo in her little chair!

She is still in love with her stuffed animals, and now makes us kiss each of them several times before we leave the room at bedtime. She also makes Oberon (our cat) and everyone who visits kiss them too.

I don't think I've written about my most commonly used nickname for her lately. I call her Peach, which I've mentioned before, but that morphed into Peach Pie, which morphed into Pie. I find myself calling her that all the time, and several variations of it - Pie, Pie Pie, Pizel, Pie Crust, etc. She's my favorite girl in the world.

Mo in hammock chair

Monday
Jun092014

How does one camp with a toddler?

We're going camping for a week in July. I'm scared.

Two years ago we did this same camping trip with my family. I was a few months pregnant, and other than sleeping terribly for numerous reasons, it was a great trip.

Week 15

Last year we had a seven month and I had to travel work work at the same time, so we only stayed for a weekend. It was fine, but two nights was enough. Mo is a rock star sleeper when she's in her element, but a pack 'n play in a tent meant several middle-of-the-night awakenings which meant pretty much no sleep for me. Other than that, it was good.

 

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This year, though, we'll have an 18 month old. Someone told me recently that this will be the worst year for camping, and I fear they're right. Last year Mo couldn't get herself around so she was content to just sit where we put her. Next year she will likely be old enough to follow directions a little better and will probably be able to hang with the older kids. But this year she is ALL OVER THE PLACE and at a campsite there are NO BOUNDARIES! And she isn't exactly great yet at understanding what we mean by "Do not go into the road where you could be hit by a car" or "Do not go into the water where you could drown" or  "Do not go into the woods where you could fall and impale your face on a stick."

We had a little taste of this recently on a visit to my grandparents cottage. Mike, as a chef, was put in charge of getting lunch together, and, as a man because that's just how it is I suppose, was asked to help with the boat and general cottage maintenance. That meant I was on my own for Mo duty. Which, of course, meant I was chasing her everywhere. We weren't safe outside where there was water and driveways and other people's cottages that she should probably stay out of. I was so exhausted by the end of our four hour visit, I didn't even remember what happened.

Imagine that for six days.

In a row.

With no good sleep at night during which to recover.

I need ideas! Have you ever camped with a toddler? What's the trick (or the tricks)?

My sister is renting a camper, so if we really need to contain the toddlers (she has one too) for awhile, we can hang in there. But who wants to be in a camper all day? 

We also thought about buying or renting a play yard, setting it up somewhere on the campsight, putting our chairs inside it, putting the kids inside it, and hanging out that way.

We'll also go on day trips once in awhile to have an excuse to strap them into car seats. And we can go on lots of walks (strapped into strollers!). 

But what else? How do we keep them entertained? How do we keep them contained? What about sleeping? What are the best sleeping arrangements in a tent or a camper for a one and a half year old?

I've never done this before. I need your tips and tricks even if they seem obvious!

 

Mo cutest face ever!

Monday
May192014

My second Mother's Day with Mo

Once again, Mother's Day was busy busy. But it's busy because we're blessed with so many wonderful women! I have a great grandmother still kickin', two grandmas, a wonderful mother, a step-mother, a mother-in-law and a step-mother-in-law. Not to mention the sweetest baby girl. We didn't manage to see everyone, but we made a pretty good effort.

In the morning, Mike's mom and brother came to celebrate. My mother-in-law brought me Starbucks and flowers. I only got her a measly little card. We had brunch, and Mo made Kitty Grandma read her just about every book in the house.

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Then we went to my grandparents' house where we met my mom, sister and nephew. It was a gorgeous day (finally!) and we spent most of the afternoon outside. Mo loved hanging out with her Gamma:

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And her Great Grandma and Grandpa:

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I still often reflect on my journey to motherhood. The fact that we started by pursuing adoption, then opened our hearts to consider trying to get pregnant (opposite of many people, I know). Then not getting pregnant and not knowing why. In hindsight it was such a short time we struggled, just a year, but it was such a long, heartbreaking year. It pales in comparison to what others experience, I have no delusions about that, but that year - all the negative pregnancy tests and millions of ovulation predictor kits, the ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage, all the waiting and wondering - has made it impossible for me to take my daughter for granted. 

Mother's Day is a hard time for so many people. An impossible time. I'm forever grateful for what it has come to mean to me. 

Mama and Mo on Mother's Day

 

Wednesday
May142014

Mo - 16 months

Another month! Mo is growing, which surprised me. I could have sworn she hardly grew or gained weight in the last 6 months, but at her 15 month appointment (a couple weeks after she turned 15 months), she was 2 inches taller than at her one-year, and a pound and a half heavier.

John Ball Zoo 2014 - family selfie

More than that, she's grown so much in maturity. She's so much a part of the household now. She can easily go where I go so I no longer have to carry her around or figure out how to entertain her. If I need to run upstairs, I say, "Mo let's go upstairs" and she walks over to the stairs, crawls up or I hold her hand and she walks up, then I close the gate and she wanders around from room to room as I do whatever it is I needed to do. When I take a shower, she hangs out in the bathroom with me. Even if I leave the door open, she perches at the end of the tub and watches me wash my hair. Sometimes she even imitates what I do.

Mo pig tails

Mo is still extremly easy going. She is one of the most adaptable toddlers I know. We keep her on a pretty predictable routine - she's up around 7:30, breakfast, play, snack, play, lunch, nap around noon, up 2-3 hours later, snack, play, dinner, play, snack, bed around 7:30 - but if we sway from that sometimes, it's no skin off her back. No matter where we go or who we see, she goes with the flow. Mike has had a few interviews lately, and each time he makes different arrangements for her. No problem for Mo! The other day she went along when he went to sell plasma, and had to hang out in the supervised children's area, and it's like she had been doing that every day.

This face - sweet Mo

She's also still an amazing sleeper. When it's bedtime, I suggest we go up to bed, and she goes easily. Usually I carry her up, but lately when I mention bedtime, she walks herself to the stairs, climbs all the way up, down the hall to her room, and waits for me to lift her into her crib. What? She puts herself to sleep, and even if she's not ready to fall asleep immediately, she reads a book or talks to her animals until she gets tired. When she wakes up, from a nap or nighttime, she just waits patiently for us to get her. I honestly could not ask for an easier kid in that regard.

Mo reading with dad

Mo is starting to talk a little. She figured out "hi" and looooves to say hi to everyone, anyone, all the people, all the time. On Mother's Day, Mike asked her to say "mama," a sound she can make, but something she has never said on command. But that day she did, and has many times since. She also tries to say "down," she says "wa wa" for water, and "uh sah" for what's that. Mostly she says something that sounds like "snghu" for the words she doesn't know. 

home repair mo helping dad

Her hair is getting longer and curlier. In the humidity it tightens up into little corkscrew ringlets. She loves to read books now, is always bringing us something to read to her, though usually she just wants to flip through the pages quickly. Her current favorite book has a bunch of pictures of animals. She can make the sound of a puppy (oo oo), a kitty (maa aah ahh), a snake (sssss), a monkey (ah ah), and she imitates the gorilla by beating her chest. 

Mo curls

She is still thrilled by visiting Ellen, the neighbor's dog, through the fence. Last week Mike took the latch off the gate (because nobody knows where the key is to the pad lock that keeps it shut) between our two yards and united these best buds. They were both in heaven!

Mo visiting with Ellen neighbor dog

Really, Mo is thrilled by all animals, as I've said before. She will often gather up all the stuffed animals she can manage and tries to do things like feed herself, without dropping a single one. My mom brought her dogs, two chihuahua mixes, over recently and Mo freaked out with joy. They were running in all directions, and she just couldn't keep up. She grabbed her stuffed puppy and got him in the action, too. It was sweet.

 

Mo at the park

Mo is my little sidekick lately. Actually, she's her dad's sidekick most of the day, running errands and hanging out with him. But when I get home, she's my little buddy. My biggy girl, my lovey, my little love pie.

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