I created a person!

In two and a half months, WST will be 3 years old. I have found myself in wonder repeatedly lately – “Who is this person in my house and when did I invite them here?”

The answer, of course, is that I invited her here without knowing anything, really, about her.  So now I have a permanent house guest (resident really) whose personality is something of a continual surprise.

She is opinionated, difficult, demanding, and unreasonable. She is also articulate (most of the time), thoughtful, creative, and insightful.  Also funny, loving, charming, and kind. 

She is a whole person, with a solid personality all her own.

She is over 3 feet tall (and over 30 lbs, ooof), prefers shirts and pants/shorts, but takes spells of wanting to be in a dress. She loves shoes, and has a penchant for deliberately mis-matching her socks.  Also “green is her favorite.” She likes princesses and fairies on her panties, glittery things, and, when it is not cold, being naked.

She is attached to no one ‘thing’ or comfort object, but rotates ‘favorites’ regularly.  She likes books, dinosaurs, Pooh characters, and investigating things.  She hates sleep in the evening and wakefulness in the morning. She generally likes water play and baths, unless it is not her idea. She likes to yell, sing, hum, and dance and often makes up her own songs/tunes. She likes to run, jump, climb, play  on playround equipment without fear, and has learned to ride a tricycle. She likes puzzles and art and helping to cook (or clean – but on HER schedule).

She is an active, interactive, go-get it personality (when she is not being a floppy slug-like being in front of the TV on your lap). She has been called down for being bossy at school and at home. She has “best friends” and is well-liked by many at school/daycare (teachers and students).

Wow.  Less than 3 years ago, it seemed like it took FOREVER for her to learn to reach up and grasp a rattle – to become someone you could interact and play with.  Now I have a whole person who argues with me over English grammar, methods for imbibing liquids, and whether or not imaginary friends have appropriate transportation.

Now if you blink, you missed something.  Maybe even something major.

Anthony Hopkins delivered a line in Meet Joe Black, “Sixty years. Don’t they go by in a blink.”

Yeah.  Wow.  And I waited to have her until I was 41.  In only 17 years more, I’ll be 64 – and she’ll be 20.

17 years – won’t they go by in a blink. (Except, of course, for the portions/phases that will take eons to end.)

“Wait – Max & Emmy are coming too!”

Imaginary friends have arrived. Monday I had to load two imaginary friends in the van, get them buckled, take them to school with WST, open doors for them and explain them to the daycare teacher.

In the past week, WST has been more and more “talking to mid-air.” We’ve even been asked to feed her imaginary friends.  What was striking about this was how fast it happened. One day imaginary play required a prop of some sort.  The next she could eat “imaginary food.” A week later, we all became characters from “Dragon Tales.” A week later, imaginary friends. Wow.

And I had just been wondering when imaginary frieds started – I had a whole imaginary FAMILY I hung out with as a kid – for at least 3-5 years that I remember. And I can only remember from about 4 yrs old on…

After long (long) silence…

Ok, clearly I have been too busy BEING one lucky mommy to document being one lucky mommy.  Really, life is good – hectic – but good.

At Uncle L’s urging to post, I am going to try a new approach – at least once weekly updates – even if VERY short “notes from the field.”  I will also try to finally get documented (in longer posts) both the “sleep saga” and the “breasfeeding experiment” from the 1st two years- as I feel those may bring useful information or at least consolation to others.

To recap – I am an over 40 first time mom, with a 2.5 yr old girl, who works a 9-5 job.  The child is currently known as WST (World’s Smartest, Sweetest, Stubbonrest, Snottiest, fill-in-the-S-word-of-your-choice depending on the moment, Toddler). She used to be the Worl’d Cutest Baby (WCB). My partners in this adventure include two dads DaddyO and Daddy N (I am polyamorous) who also work (essentially) 9-5 jobs.  Also important in our lives are Uncle Lamont and Auntie  (part of our polyamorous group). The purpose of this blog is to talk about the cool, nifty, horrible, frustrating, fascinating things about being a mom.

A current snapshot of WST as it has clearly been 8 months since our last post:

  • Over 30 lbs (and mom can still haul her around!), 3 feet tall.  All parts functioning as normal, had ringworm a few months ago, requisite # of colds, and is currently (knock on wood) enjoying a 2 month “well” period.
  • Can wear her hair in quite respectable pony tails (about 6 inches long). When she chooses (“hairbows” are often “ow-y” and rejected. Combs are almost AWAYS rejected. Her hair styling generally looks like she just woke up and mom did nothing with it – ’cause that’s what happened.)
  • Has grown in leaps and bounds both congnitively and linguistically.  According to various development charts – she’s 1 to 1.5 yrs ahead of “average” – for what that’s worth.  Practically, this means that the 2.5 yr old legal negotiating has begun! And so has the daily astonishment that she said that or grasped that (we’ve totally started spelling stuff). She’s about average in math concepts.
  • About average in fine and gross motor skills – some frustration that she can’t draw/write what she wants, but loves to color/paint/chalk/marker, etc.  LOVES to climb and very intrepid. This makes her climbing skills…reason for concern (AH – that’s 20 feet in the air -AAAh!)
  • Generally eating reasonably well for 2.5. Discovered that she is “sensitive” to fresh tomatos – after about 15 seconds her face and hands (and anything else they contacted) are red and her mouth is stinging (tears). A drink, and wash makes symptoms go away in 5 minutes or so (thus this is NOT an allergy, just a ‘sensitivity’).  Overly processed tomato products don’t cause this, but we suspect they may have an effect on the other end.
  • Speaking of the other end, potty training is well under way after a long slow rambling start, plateau, and sudden stop/fall back.  Yesterday she wore panties for 4.5 hours without accident, having one “successful attempt” and then one “close but no cigar.” (We learned that todddlers should sit on potty BEFORE putting hand in warm bath water.)
  • She has been to her first full length film (How to Train Your Dragon) and has several strong television favorites (Sid the Science Kid, Caillou, Bob the Builder, Dragon Tales, Noddy, Dora – almost all PBS or PBS Sprout).  Her TV friends feature heavily in our lives even away from the TV.
  • She has begun to be able to tell us coherent snippets of her day. She grasps yesterday, tomorrow and today, later and before and after. “And then” features strongly in snippets with sequence.
  • Her personality at school has settled to “so smart” and “bossy,” but generally well-behaved at school. Strong-willed is also a phrase I’d use. Sunshine-y too.
  • “You can’t get me,”  “watch this,” “here goes nothing,” and “ready or not here I come,” have all entered our lives.

More small snippets to come – I promise!

Milestones – 1 year, 2 weeks

WCB had her 12 month check up at the DR yesterday.  Here’s the update:

22 lbs, 30 inches, with a head circumference of 18.5″  This puts her, respectively in the 60th, 75th, and 90th percentiles for a girl.

Dr had clear evidence that her lungs were JUST FINE (she didn’t like being mauled about by a stranger, getting shots or having her finger stuck for a hemoglobin test).  So was everything else.

While we were at the DR, she made a funny sound in her mouth – thinking there was something in there, I poked about and found… A MOLAR…we’ve been waiting for it/them, and I hadn’t checked in the alst few days and there it was several points sicking out of her lower left gum.  I suspect the other side to show up any day the way she has been chewing.

We are currently fascinated with the permutations of in – what fits in other things and how to get things out of other things. And we have a great deal of respect for the Kitty – who occasionally wants to play with her toys.  WCB actually sneaks up when he is not looking and steals her toys back.  Smart baby. A couple of nips, a scratch on her nose and a couple of scratches on her wrist were all it took.

Lastly, she has thoroughly grasped the hand sign for eat.  Yea!  Not so hot, however, on the difference between “eat” and “bottle/drink.” Oh and the word “No” is becoming clearer, as is “AH – dah” for all done, and “Meh Meh” for mom.

Another set of shots at 15 months and then NO MORE until 4-5 years old. YEA!

After long pause – a BIRTHDAY!

Happy birthday WCB! You are now officially ONE!  Walking, climbing, babbling, reasoning, protesting – it is ALL about you!

 Development update on Communication – we have a lot more verbalization, and a lot more use of gestures. We have been, somewhat inconsistantly, trying to teach her baby sign and we are finally seeing her attempt to make signs in return!  WCB has the following vocabulary:

·         “Uh-oh” – I dropped something, you dropped something, or I’m going to drop/throw something.

·         “Da-da, Dah-dah” – greeting for DaddyN or Daddy-O consistently, mom occasionally, and used occasionally in a question tone when dad is not evident (but sounds are heard in the other room), or when dad leaves the room.

·         “Ah-dah” – All done or all gone, in the same sing song tones we use – flip or move hands like we do to show all done

·         “Kkkkk, kah!, kkkkttt,” – Kitty, primarily the stripey cat, but also the back cat or other kitties at other places. But not kitties in photos, interestingly.

·         “UT!” or “UH!” in a commanding tone, generally along with raised arms, means Up – as in “pick me up” or Up – as in “get up and move around please” (while we are holding her) or OUT – as in “I want out of this place” (this is usually accompanied by a gesture in the direction she wants to go).

·         “HAH-eee” or “Heh-woah” – used as a general greeting, especially when playing with a cell phone

·         “Meh, Meh-meh, mah, mah-mah” – used infrequently/inconsistently for “I want mom”

·        “bath hand sign” – used in response to our use at bath time – she is making the gesture in imitation – but clearly knows it means bath.

·         Lots of pointing and then strings of sounds – no idea what she is saying, but clearly she is trying to communicate.

·         Dancing – often with hand gestures – when music is played. She does this while standing, sitting, or in your arms.  Music clearly means “wiggle!”

·         Poking – She has started poking things with one finger, including buttons, and people.  Biting and pinching are still used to get attention – but we’re working on that.

·      “SCREAAAAAAM/Howl” – in the last month WCB has found her opinions.  She wants THIS thing and NO she does not want to give it up. OR She wants MOM and no one else will do.  She has done more crying in the last month than in the previous three.  We are all three having to harden our armor…. 😦

·      “Nah, Nahp” – She has just started “refusing” with a single sideways shake of her head and this sound.  usually when eating, but sometimes when a toothbrush is offered, or a comb/brush.  We know she knows what NO means, but it looks like we are going to start hearing “No” said to us frequently and emphatically quite soon!

 

Along with the above –  LOTS of imitation showing up – just this morning she pulled a box partially off the shelf, got out the toy she wanted and pushed the box back in. Previously she would simply have torn the box off shelf and just dumped it.  When she opened her brush and comb present, I brushed her hair to show her what it was. Handed the brush, she immediately brushed her own hair with it!  We’ve also caught her “comparing.”  She got a large bouncy ball for her birthday – and spent quite a bit of time bouncing first it, then other smaller, non-bouncy balls in her room – bounce, no bounce, bounce, no bounce, etc.  She is simply SO fascinating to watch learn!

 Looking at pictures of the “baloney loaf with eyes” from one year ago – it is unbeleivable that this is the same being!  UP the parenting roller coaster hill we go!!!!

Science underlying picky eaters?

This post from Personal Effects/American Farmer crossed my desk today, and while interesting, and something that I can in general go along with , I’d like to see some actual science references to go with it. 

Online research into bitter taste buds anyone?

WCB “ate” her first apples this weekend. On her own she discovered the ones we have delightedly harvested for the first time at this house (no cedar rust this year), and had to be stopped from biting once or twice every apple in the bins.  Given her own apple or 2, she bit, and *chewed* (gummed?) little pieces and “ate” bits of her OWN apples! [And only threw up once.]

This week – bananas, carrots, canned peas and sweet potato pieces are on the list to try as finger foods…

The speed of change

MAN – what they don’t tell you is how just when you think you’ve got it, it is time to do the next step/thing.  As a matter of fact, the FACT that your child has gotten comfortable with something is the *sign* that you need to move on to something new.  Sigh.

So -WCB is finally sleeping “through the night” in her own crib*. Um, well, for the following definitions of “through the night” and “in her crib”:

  • WCB has learned to go to sleep in 5-15 mins after lights out, and can be transferred from mom’s arms to crib in about 45mins (although it is often an hour to 1.5 hrs later as I fall asleep at about the same time that WCB does and then OLM has to be wakened by Daddy-N to put WCB to bed).  
  • WCB sleeps completely through the night 1-2 times per week, has only one wake up 3-4 times per week and has multiple wakings per night only 1-2 times per week.  
  • Upon night waking, she can return to sleep in her crib with between 2-10 mins of pats and/or “hold my hand” 4 times out of 5, and needs to sleep a chunk of the night with an adult only maybe 1-2 times a week. 
  •  MOM spends 65-70% of her sleep time IN HER OWN BED, in chunks of 4-6 hours at a time – whoop!
  • Daddy-N has successfully taken several “Friday nights” with WCB to give mom a break (usually to pack, do bills, or be sick). And WCB is OK with this.

SO – can we celebrate? Noooooo – now we have to teach her to fall asleep in her own bed.  And to go through her bedtime routine/go to sleep with a Daddy (with no mommy at all). That’s September’s project.  And part of me asks – why?  What we have is working SO WELL!  And the answer is – because we are GOOD parents. We want her to develop independence, adaptability, and good sleep habits.  If we were bad parents, we’d only do what was convenient for US – not what was best for WCB (or at least a compromise between the two that allows us to stay sane).

Similarly, WCB has pretty much gotten used to stage 2 foods served to her 3 times a day.  She can eat easily dissolved crackers/cookies by herself.  She drinks ALL her formula bottles without much trauma (I wish I could tell the lady that was me back in Month #2 that this would EVER happen).  So now we have to give her chunkier foods and teach her to use a sippy cup [both of which changes she is resisting, of course].   She likes her food and formula tepid to warm – cold food is not food.  So we have to get her used to cold foods. She can’t move on to the Toddler room in daycare at age 1 unless she can feed herself fairly independently.  That’s about a month away – so MORE stuff to do in September….Sigh.

She’s walking like a trooper and investigating EVERYTHING – so now we have to get her used to shoes. And limits, and gates, and child-proofing of drawers and cupboards.  She can climb out of the big bathtub (smart girl!) so now we have to teach her the word NO!  Sigh.

Being a parent is hard.  And mean.  Being a toddler is hard. And stressful.  And there are no vacations. Change is constant, and FAST.

Good thing we love each other  🙂  Cuteness RULES!

*part of the yet-to-be-written “SLEEP SAGA.”  I’ll get there, I’ll get there – just let me get this room clean, and change this diaper, and pay this bill, and…