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Entries in toddler (42)

Sunday
Aug102014

Baby Z is Two!

 

Sweet Baby Z,

Good natured. That’s the best way I can describe you. When I think about you, I smile inside.  You’ve definitely become a toddler, with all of the stubbornness and moodiness that entails, but I’m confident you’ll come out of toddlerhood with a smile on your face.

Here are some things that I’ve come to know about you:Birthday balloons!

  • You carry your emotions close to the surface. When you are happy, you bounce with glee, but when you’re mad, watch out! Your daddy has a hard time keeping a straight face during your face-down-on-the-ground, kicking and screaming tantrums. I’m just thankful that they are very short-lived and that you’ve stopped banging your head against hard surfaces when you’re mad.
  • You’re slow to warm in new situations, but you are so affectionate with the ones you love. One of my favorite memories of you this year was one morning a few months ago when I gave your brother a kiss good morning while he was eating his breakfast. I had already given you good morning kisses when I got you from your crib, but that wasn’t enough for you. When you saw me walking away from the breakfast table without kissing the top of your head, you said, “Zachy kiss too please.” It melted my heart. It also made me take notice that you are watching how our family relates and making sure you get what you need.
  • You’re funny. You have excellent comedic timing—like your daddy.
  • You share willingly (please don’t let saying this out loud be a jinx). I’ve never seen a two-year-old take turns with such relative ease. This is likely the by-product of being a sibling, and it makes me so happy to see you and Nic facilitate turn-taking on your own.
  • Eating is hit or miss. For the first year, you were a reliably good eater (except for breastfeeding, which you hated). However, at around 14 months, a switch flipped and you got picky and unpredictable. Some days you’ll still take down 3 bananas in a sitting, but other days we’re lucky if we can get a frozen waffle and some chips in you. I’m chalking this one up to being a toddler and expect you to be a hearty eater again in a few years (fingers crossed).
  • You are a mama’s boy. There are so many people who love you and who you love, but if you got to choose who you’d be with all the time, it would be me. I love this. It can make things difficult, but it’s so worth it.

Zachary, you are a silly ray of sunshine who loves balloons and long walks around the neighborhood. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings out in you. 

Thursday
Aug012013

On the Eve of Your First Birthday 

 

Dear Z,

That smile!You are so big and so small. Yes, this is possible. It’s hard to believe the way that life has expanded in the last year with you here. Our house is so much more full with smiles, messy floors and your endless range of noises.

I feel like I’m really getting to know you. You love games, and routine. I’ll be shocked if your first word isn’t “ball”—the only thing you love more is your brother, and “Dominic” is an unlikely first word. And you LOVE to eat.

You are finally getting much more of the attention you deserve. We’re all learning to share our time better, and that leaves me feeling much less anxious about giving you the focus that I want you to have. We have many moments together these days, and I treasure them. And the benefit of the few months that it took to find that balance is that you are a very patient little boy (except when you are in your highchair).

You and brother have loved each other intensely since you were born, and now you can actually play together. You roll the ball back and forth, chase each other around the house and sometimes even share toys. You even gave brother his first baby-induced owie—a scrape from a dino swipe to the face (I’m calling it revenge for an incident when you were three months old that involved a dino dropped from a height).

I know when we bring your birthday balloons into your room in the morning that your face will light up. Your morning smile is joy. It’s your joy. It’s Daddy’s joy. It’s Brother’s joy. It’s my joy. You are our joy.

All my love,

Mamamamama

Wednesday
Apr242013

5 Tips For Getting Out of the House with Two

I remember how terrified I was to leave the house during the first month of brining home my first. With a toddler, there is no time to be terrified of anything! Especially getting out of the house. It's a necessity. Here are some tips I'm using to help get out of the house (super helpful on school days). 

  • Choose outfit the night before: Getting dressed can be a nightmare in the morning. Especially now that my toddler has preferences about what she wants to wear. Watch out #diva. We've started to pick out clothes the night before. This way we can spend a little time choosing the perfect outfit without feeling rushed and without feeling pressed for time. 
  • Make and pack lunch the night before: This saves me a good 10 minutes. Doesn't sound like much but 10 minutes in the morning is a significant amount of time. And one less thing to think about. 
  • Breakfast is what's served: I got into a bad habit of asking my toddler what she wanted for breakfast each morning. Even when I'd give her options, it would take 10 minutes for her to decide between eggs or cereal. Now I make breakfast and let her know when it's time to eat. The caveat here is if I say "I'm going to make breakfast now" and she says "I want to eat..." If she asks for something specific and we have it, I have no problem giving her what she's requested. 
  • Bottle feed baby: I'm breastfeeding my newborn, which typically takes about 45 minutes all around. And I don't have 45 minutes to spare on the days Reese has school. So I've started pumping before everyone gets up (yep, kind of a pain but totally worth it) and bottle feeding in the morning. This saves me more than 25 minutes. 
  • Use incentives: Call it what you will. An incentive or a bribe but it works. Reese is obsessed with cartoons these days. On school days when we're rushing to get out of the house I explain that after she gets dressed, eats breakfast, clears her plate from the table, brushes hair and teeth, she can then watch cartoons until we have to leave for school. So she gets about 15 minutes of toon time before school. Works like a charm...for now!

I'm still adjusting to two kids. Please share your tips with me. What tips/tricks do you use to get out of the house?

Wednesday
Apr242013

No Sleep 'Til Bedtime

 

I mourn the loss of the afternoon nap. It was that peaceful interlude when I could get some work done, fold some laundry, have alone time with the baby, or God forbid, sit down with Mad Men or a magazine for a few minutes. Alas, those times are gone. A blissful, surprise double nap!

Nic dropped his nap sometime after Christmas. It had been a long time in the making—an hour spent playing in bed before actually falling asleep, the occasional no-nap day—but now it’s the norm, not the exception. He goes strong all day long. ALL DAY LONG.

It’s fun having a lot of one-on-one play time with him, but it’s been a real struggle getting my work done, and as you may have noticed, blogging has taken a backseat. I miss the Interwebs, but mama’s got clients to service. (My husband says that doesn’t sound right. You know what I mean, right?)

And I admit it: Sometimes I just have to put on the Lorax. When I do that, there’s a 90% chance he’ll fall asleep while watching it—I have the pee-stained couch to prove it. 

Wednesday
Mar202013

On Your Third Birthday

 

Nic,

You turned three today. The day started blissfully with you singing Twinkle Twinkle to yourself in a dream while I gave baby an early morning bottle. You got to the end of the first verse and couldn’t remember how the others went, “Mama, how does the rest of Twinkle Twinkle go?” You asked this quietly, while still sleeping. But then your inquiry became louder and more urgent. I began to sing the verses back to you, but you couldn’t hear me through your dream. After a few minutes you woke up to find me in the chair next to your bed, holding your little brother. It was an early, but perfect way to start your third year. Birthday smile!

This has been quite a year. And I’ll be honest—it’s been tough. You sailed through potty training and even the introduction of your little brother, but we’ve had other struggles. Your physical exuberance is often more than your playmates can handle. I’ve heard many surprised, quiet gasps from other moms as you’ve pushed into their little ones, or worse. We’ve worked HARD—you, me, your dad, your teachers, the other parents at preschool—to help you to use your words instead of your body, and it has helped. I see the gentle soul that I know you are a bit more every day, and I can’t wait until that is the little boy who shows up to every birthday party and playdate. Until then, we’ll keep working and we’ll keep loving you just as much as we always have.

Watching you play is one of my great joys. Tonight, Daddy and I just couldn’t bear to put you to bed because you were so engrossed in pretend play with your new Legos. You were a “vetrapramarian”  fixing a broken turtle shell and then checking Daddy’s “heartbeep.” I heard you tell one of your Lego animals how proud you were of him for doing something and my heart swelled. I know that my responses to your aren’t always Positive-Discipline-perfect, but I do hope that the lasting feeling you get from our days together is how proud I am of the little man that you are.

I’m proud in the moments when I watch you pull your hands to your side at the sandbox and ask a little boy if he wants to play, when you choose the perfect, soft toy for Baby Z to snuggle, when you ask Daddy about the best part of his day at dinner, when you say that your favorite color is “beige” (seriously, what 3-year-old knows about beige?), when you eat carnitas. And I’m even proud in the not-so-perfect moments, when you are promising to be gentle next time or when you’re helping me clean up marker from the floor.

Every day we’re learning. You and me and Daddy too. We’re figuring out how this growing up thing works and I am so happy to be doing it with you.

My favorite quote these days is, “The days are long but the years are short.” I can’t think of anything else that sums up my feeling on your birthday better than this.

I love you eternally and unconditionally,

Mommy