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