As usual, let's start with the monthly pics!
(Yup she's got a lovely li'l "bat in the cave" in this one - oops! I could've put my newfound Photoshop learnings to the test, but in the interest of authenticity - she had a cold at the time, after all - I decided to leave things as is!)
(All better, and super-excited about Birthday Party #3!)
24 months #2:
(The stinker-face "cheeeeese" version! Cracks me up every time she does this.)
As usual, LOTS of updates in the various developmental areas (in particular social, emotional and verbal), however my post-dates preggo brain isn't in peak form so I'm going to break things down using a simple, point-form categorical approach. (Yup, the project manager in me is still alive and well! ;)
- S had a mini growth spurt over the last couple months! She's now 32 inches tall and weighs about 24.5 lbs, putting her between 10th and 15th percentile in both categories. Perhaps all that competitive eating is finally catching up a bit? :)
- She's getting quite adept at putting on and taking off simpler clothing items by herself - shoes, boots, underwear, loose pants, shirts and hats. It would appear this has helped in her training to become a professional boxer!
"Who YOU lookin' at??"
- Unfortunately, this also means diapers with hook & loop closures are OUT! I learned this the hard way the other week, when (upon hearing the foreboding sound of post-nap detaching aplix) I frantically ran in to her and she ever-so-helpfully handed over an open-faced, SUPER-poopy diaper. Let's just say a buttload of laundry was done that day!!!
- In dental news, all her canines are fully in now. So just the 2nd molars this year and she'll have all her primary chompers. Yay!
- She's such an active, squirmy wormy these days! Hiding, tearing around the kitchen with her new shopping cart, climbing up onto EVERYTHING. Lovin' the high energy - though sometimes tough for this huffin' and puffin' preggo to keep up with her! (Especially when she wedges herself into small spaces, like behind the glider in her room. She totally knows Mommy has trouble getting to her there!)
- She just finished a 10-week kinder music session which she loved - a great way to burn off energy with other kiddos! Here she is enjoying all the actions of "Sleeping Bunnies" - a great slow/fast action song for toddlers!
- She can also be very focused and patient as well, when in the right mindset. For example, her second haircut took all of 7 minutes! No objections - not even during the bang cutting part!
- She's continuing to get more confident in the water. During her last couple swimming lessons this round, she began jumping off the edge to Daddy unassisted, and just recently during bath time has become fond of sticking her head directly under the faucet. Silly monkey! :)
- Two of her current favourite activities include sorting and puzzles. For a couple weeks, she became obsessed with dumping out all her ChildUp cards and putting them back into the right boxes, with 100% accuracy! If we attempted to put a card into the wrong box, she'd object and take it out. Puzzle-wise, she's moved well past the starter "chunky puzzles" and is on to 12 and 24-piece jigsaws. Here she is making her current favourite, a 24-piece "Cars"-themed puzzle which glows in the dark!
- She can answer all the HooplaKidz interactive video quizzes almost perfectly, except for the numbers one which is a little more advanced (and, evidently, distressful - more on this in a bit!)
- She can count up to 20 by herself, and higher up with prompting. We continue to work on associating the counting with actual objects by having her touch each one as she counts.
- She's beginning to notice patterns and images in unrelated objects/materials. The other day she pointed out an animal shape in her food, and another time she commented that something looked like a ghost. (For the life of me, can't remember what it was!)
- Her memory is amazing! Several days after her 2nd haircut and dinner at a friend's house, she could recite back all the details - what she watched at the salon, what she ate and all the fun toys they played with! Her visual memory's proving to be equally impressive. We just introduced her to a memory game (matching different types of shoes) and this morning she beat my hubby 4 to 1, fair & square! (Granted this one's "cheating" a bit as she's almost 24 1/2 months now, but thought I'd slip it in there anyway. :)
Social / Emotional / Verbal:
- She's really beginning to assert her independence. "Mommy do it!" (one of her favourite requests from 18-22 months) has practically vanished from her vocabulary as she wants to do most things by herself! She also wants to help Mommy and Daddy with stuff around the house, like sweeping and dishes. When she hears the kitchen tap turn on, she makes a beeline for a chair to get in on the action!
- She continues to enjoy make believe and is getting more into dress-up. She loves trying on Mommy's necklaces and shoes, and checking herself out in the mirror all decked out! Here she explores a big box o' dress-up loot she got for her birthday from her aunt, uncle and cousin!
- She's beginning to play more interactively & cooperatively with peers. I always love hearing the stories from daycare, like how she and her friend C were reading "Where's Waldo?" together. She has a pair of "BFF" pajamas with two monsters holding hands, and she points to one and says his name and the other and says her own name! (Cue the chorus of "awwwwwwwww"s!) Here she is playing an amusing toddler "take turns" game with another of her little friends! (His mama and I were trying to figure out the "rules" to no avail. :)
- At around 22 months she started becoming keenly aware of her own emotions and began developing true empathy. Remember the numbers quiz I mentioned earlier? Well, about midway through it she became distressed by the sad/scared looking mouse that appears when you pick a wrong answer. We stopped playing it but for days afterwords (and even occasionally now!) she'd mention how she was "Sad about the mouse on the topeter." (I was worried I'd scarred her with that one! :-/) She also likes to give kisses to sad/crying characters in books, and more recently became somewhat preoccupied with the "cold letter C" in a deck of alphabet flash cards she got for her birthday, hugging it and snuggling it into a blanket!
- Like a good little 2-year-old, she's been honing her bargaining skills. "Which book would you like to read?" we ask her, offering her a few choices. Her answer? "A Promise is a Promise, THEN Pigs!" On a similar note, she gets wishy washy about things such as which shirt colour she wants to wear ("Green. NO! Blue!") though we're not sure if she's truly having trouble deciding or enjoys the power of having us go to accommodate her first choice and then switch to the second. As such, we've started sticking to the first choice she makes, and this appears to be lessening instances of the ol' switch-a-roo!
- She's definitely showing preferences for certain things over others. For example, a few weeks back she told me she wanted an "elephant backpack". I googled and found this adorable line of animal backpacks from Skip Hop. Since there were sooo many varieties, I decided to show them to her to see if she liked any more than the elephant. She told me she liked the hippo and dinosaur the best, and (surprisingly) didn't like the kitty! (Side note to friends/family - yup, already ordered one for Christmas. Just so y'know. :) She has also started verbally articulating her meal preferences vs. simply not eating something or handing it back to me. "I don't want zucchini, Mommy!" she told me the other day. (That's fine - more for me! ;)
- Funny little OCD tendencies are coming out too! I already mentioned how she gets distraught when we put one of her ChildUp cards in the wrong box. She also doesn't like when things are dirty (we had some challenges picking out a Hallowe'en pumpkin because of this!) and she'll be sure to correct you if you get a line in a book or a lyric wrong! (Me: "You better not shout I'm telling you why!" S: "No. Pout!")
- At around 22 1/2 months, she started singing songs along with the original music! I first noticed her singing her ABCs along with her LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet toy. Now she regularly sings along with CDs, videos and people. She probably knows 30-40+ songs by now, and picks up new ones almost every day! She has also started making up songs of her own, and sometimes sings the lyrics of one song to the tune of a different one. Her emerging creativity and exploration in this area is so fascinating to watch!
- Her language and memory have progressed to the point that we sometimes have trouble understanding what she's talking about! She'll plunge into a dialogue about a TV character she noticed the other day at daycare, or something specific she wants to do/play with, or a funny memory. She'll pull these things out of thin air and, because she doesn't always enunciate everything perfectly, we'll need to ask her a bunch of clarifying questions to nail down what she's getting at! It's very rewarding when we do, however, as she'll break into an excited smile and nod vigorously. She has so much to say and she loves being understood!
- The "Mine!" phases continues and has been supplemented with its cousin, "Again!" The other week she coaxed her Nana into reading her the same book four times!
- She's taken to telling people "This is MY Mommy!" We're thinking she may be getting a little protective of me because she understands that another little person will be joining our family soon! But overall she's been very sweet and seems excited when we talk about her little brother-to-be!
In my last S update, I mentioned she'd been pretty much 100% with bare bum peeing at home. Well unfortunately, we had a regression and she started having a bunch of accidents! I think maybe the early excitement/pride at going in the potty/toilet simply wore off and she got complacent, or perhaps she was getting confused that we expected potty at home but had her in diapers on the road and at daycare? Others have mentioned potty training with another little one on the way is a lofty goal, so there could be something there too. In any case she's been coming around again in recent weeks so we'll just keep at 'er. I'm also looking at tips, products, etc. for pottying outside the home as we need to bust out of our comfort zone here! All in all, she's still young so we're not being militant about things (and haven't "resorted" to rewards yet); when she has an accident we simply remind her that pee/poo goes in the potty! (And she reiterates this back to us too - "No pee on the floor! No pee on the couch! Pee in the potty!")
She continues to be a champion sleeper at night. She does go down fairly late (usually we have her in bed by 8:30 and she sings/talks to herself until 8:45-9:00) but then she sleeps in until about 8:00. A solid 11+ hours! Unfortunately naps are getting less reliable. Some days she'll still do 2-3 hours but other days she won't nap at all. So she may be phasing herself out already - boooooooooo! On the bright side, when she doesn't nap she's generally still willing to have an hour (plus) of quiet time in her crib with her stuffies and perhaps a book or two, so at least we get a little break!
Thoughts from Mom
Well, this was the lengthiest "S" update yet! Took forever to write but she's going through such a fascinating, accelerated development period and I wanted to make sure I captured all those amazing details and wonderful memories so we always remember them! I have to say it's disappointing that so many people embrace the "terrible twos" moniker. Yes, children tend to be spirited and challenging at this age (my husband and I often let out a collective sigh of relief once our daughter's down for the night after a particularly trying evening!), but it's not rooted in a desire to be terrible; there's so much blossoming in their little minds, hearts and bodies at this age and they're just trying to explore and make sense of it all! More advanced parenting concepts certainly do come into play at this age. Preventing/contending with power struggles. The line between too gentle and too harsh. Knowing when to assist vs. letting the child figure out something on their own. This all warrants a blog post of its own, if not multiple! All in all, I truly do love being a mommy of a 2-year-old. Every day brings new challenges and discoveries, and every day I can't help but remind myself just how much I love this smart, funny, loving, incredible li'l person my hubby and I brought into the world! Now, to welcome another little person any day now - a whole new adventure!!!