Blog

Category

Currently showing posts tagged toddlers

  • Harper, 5, and Max, 2

    Halfway into being 5 and 2, it feels like a year of transitions for Harper and Max. We're pretty much out of the baby years (a world without diapers, what?!) and Harper is about to start kindergarten in the fall. Max went from looking like this:

    to this, in just a few short months.

    I joke that he is basically a feral child because he is always covered in a combination of dirt, snot and food. And because we're in love with his curls, we stopped cutting his hair. So it's always a floppy mess. 

    He's also always going at full speed, but doesn't have much control. So he's covered in scrapes and bruises most of the time. He's had his share of fat lips and a bloody nose recently. But he just gets right back up and keeps going. 

    His personality bounces between being super sweet and screaming. 

    I remember Harper being extra adorable as a 2-year-old and he's starting to enter that phase. I am REALLY grateful to finally be past the stage where he just runs away from me at full speed into various kinds of oncoming danger. If we yell "red light!" he will stop now. 

    He's been going to the Clifbar daycare 3 days a week for most of the year, in the classroom next to Harper. The other two days he stays home with me. 


    Yes, we will take all the free Clif bars we can get!

    This was NOT the plan for this year, so it has been a big adjustment. His more affordable daycare fell through, so we have pinched every penny we could to make it with this scenario until Harper starts kindergarten. At that point, I am hoping to transition out of working at my retail jobs and into more teaching classes and making things. 

    Not surprisingly, we have been sick all.the.time - including Max getting hand, foot and mouth disease — so that has added another layer of difficulty to this year. 

    I am grateful for Max's sunny personality, though. His teachers say he is super sweet and pretty compliant at school. He still takes 2-hour naps for me, and he sometimes falls asleep at the lunch table at school. He's just a pretty relaxed little dude - unless you tell him he can't watch something on TV!

    He is absolutely Harper's little shadow. He copies everything she does (to her understandable annoyance) and follows her and her friends around at school. 

    As a result, he has started carrying a purse and wearing a lot of jewelry, which cracks me up.

    They do play together sometimes. There is a LOT of fighting over toys and tattling on each other. I can't blame Harper for being mad sometimes because, as the older one, she has to put up with a lot of his immature behavior. 

    They've had a few melt-your-heart moments. Mostly with her trying to help him do something. We took them to the beach recently, and although Max was tentative at first, they both loved the water.

    We also took them on a pretty good hike up Mt. Tamalpais, which we have been meaning to do for years. They both did really well with the physical part, and it was SO beautiful up there. But Harper fell a few times (she had the wrong shoes on) and so by the end she kept saying she never wanted to go on a hike again. 

    So we'll have to work on convincing her to do another hike, but I think in the long run it's good to expose them to the outdoors as much as possible. 

    We had a really fun time exploring this old building in Richmond called Winehaven. It's some kind of wine distribution center that looks like a castle and would make an amazing event venue. But it had kind of fallen into ruin, so the mayor is trying to bring it back. If you go up on the roof you get an amazing view of the bay and Marin. 

    Most of our outings still end with two kids passed out in the back seat! Mike's parents are coming in a couple of weeks and we are taking the whole family to Yosemite. So we'll see how they do with a longer trip with more car time (fingers crossed!). 

    Grammie came for a visit last month and she had such a good time bonding with Harper. I think Harper is finally old enough to show a real interest in a lot of different things, so they can play together in a whole new way. 

    Harper is in full-on princess mode most of the time now. It's a princess-Barbie-mermaid world. And even though I have an eyeroll for that stuff sometimes, I can also relate to it. I was a 5-year-old girl once. So I actually find it more fun to play with her now. 

    She wants to grow her hair long so she can have all kinds of pigtails and braids and such. I can't get enough of the little dash of freckles on her nose that comes out in the summer. 

    She did gymnastics at school and really liked it. We want to get her in swimming lessons this summer. She's starting to have more trepidation about doing things right, especially when it comes to sports. But I think once she starts something she gets into it. 

    She has constant questions about how the world works now. Which I both love and find exhausting. I can't be surprised that she's a curious person, though!

    She doesn't seem worried about going to kindergarten, even though it will mean making a whole different friend group. She's scheduled to go to the school that's closest to our house, but at least so far I don't know anyone else who will be in her class. We've become good friends with the parents of some of her friends, so hopefully we can all still stay in touch. 

    They both sleep through the night unless there is something unusual going on. Like Max had a long stretch of waking up once, but I think it was because he was sick a few times. We had talked about putting them both in the same room, but ultimately decided not to. Harper actually goes to sleep about an hour earlier than Max, although I think that will change as they get older. 

    She's in a very silly phase. Lots of dancing and fart jokes and made-up songs. 

    They both had huge growth spurts recently where I had to clean out their clothes and go up a size. They don't have much baby chub left! I can't really tell if they will be tall as adults. And though it seems like they are losing their blond hair as they get older, we still get many, many comments on it! I guess it's because it's a noticeable thing for strangers to talk about? Anyway, I found this old photo of Mike and it totally proves where the hair comes from. 

    Next up for Max is potty training. We were actually going to do it over Memorial Day weekend, but we had 3 parties to go to, so it didn't seem like the right time. I think he is ready and I don't want to miss the window. We're planning to do the same method (Oh Crap potty training book) as we did with Harper, since it worked so well. 

    Harper has a big transition coming up, but she's always handled those well. I think we're the ones that will struggle with her becoming a school-age kid. 

    I know I will shed a few tears at her preschool graduation next week. I'm so proud and of her bravery and inspired by her on a daily basis!

  • 12 months!

    A few days ago, Harper turned 1. We survived the first year! And that is something. 

    Here she was as a teeny newborn. 

    And here she is now.

    It's incredible how someone could change so much so quickly. Here she is, month-by-month.

    In honor of her birthday I thought I would give you 12 things about Harper at 12 months:

    1. She loves yogurt.

    This girl cannot get enough yogurt. She can eat more at one sitting than I can! In fact, she eats way more than you would ever think such a tiny person could eat. But that's because she's going at full speed all day. 

    2. Her hair finally lays flat.

    Harper has had some epic hair fluff throughout her life. We always said she took after her dad that way, he of the spiky hair. But now it's finally long enough and heavy enough to lay (mostly) flat. The only exception — post-nap hair.

    3. She can walk. She just won't.


    Evidence here.

    She cruises around all day. Either that or her funky crab crawl with one leg out. But I still have to convince her to walk by herself. As with so many things, you can't make Harper do something if she doesn't want to.

    4. She's a strawberry blond. For now. 

    She's gone from brown hair to red hair to blond with a reddish tint. I can't imagine it will stay that way forever, but it seems to be sticking around for now.

    5. She gives great hugs.

    One of the many reasons I like this age is the hugs. She cuddles and gives you a full-on squeeze now. It's so sweet. I might be in the minority but I don't have a lot of nostalgia for the newborn days. This age is a blast in comparison.

    6. She's starting to form her own language.

    I think she's on the cusp of syllables turning into words. She repeats things rather than saying them totally randomly. I think mama, dada, and dog are in there somewhere. You know, the important stuff.

    7. She pretty much always has a cold.

    This picture really sums up what our January was like. First she had a stomach virus (and her first real throw up, ugh), then a cold, then another cold. Mike and I got them too, so we've been a bunch of phlegm wads all month. I didn't realize there were so many things kids could get sick from, but I'm learning fast! Thank goodness for boogie wipes. 

    8. She's nothing like me.

    I joke, but she really is so much like Mike. Both in appearance and in personality. She looks a lot like he did in baby pictures with the blond hair. And especially the way she scrunches up her nose when she laughs. She's mischievous and expressive and social. But there is one thing we all have in common — we want things done our way!

    9. The dishwasher might be her favorite toy.

    I don't know what it is about the dishwasher, but she could stand there for hours. We are going to have to start eating with only spoons so she doesn't poke herself. 

    10. She still loves to be outside.

    Fresh air goes a long way with this kid. Now that we're all well we need to plan some more adventures.

    11. She is a little too fearless sometimes.

    Harper got her first fat lip this month when she tripped and fell while cruising around. I'm sure it was more traumatic for us. Her mouth was bleeding and I couldn't tell what from. Turns out it was just a cut lip. But ooh, it makes you scared for the future!

    12. She's going through rapid-fire development.

    It's amazing to watch the wheels turning as she figures things out. You can't trick her anymore. If she wants to go somewhere or play with something, she points or shakes her head no.

    It has to be incredibly frustrating to want to do so many things and not be able to communicate those desires. So I'm sure that's the origin of a lot of her crankiness.

    She cracks us up with her dancing and her peek-a-boo games and her fascination with small dogs. (Her favorite is Mike's office dog, Juan Carlos.) She's big on handing you things, but not necessarily giving them to you. 

    We had this birthday picnic planned at a park in Berkeley, but of course the long-awaited deluge of rain happened last week. We moved the party indoors and it ended up being really fun.

    Happy birthday to my baby girl!

  • Harper's first real hike

    So on Easter we decided to go for a family hike on the trail that's just a few blocks from our house. The trail is steep, but short, so it's kind of instant gratification.

    We were lucky enough to find a hiking backpack for Harper at a kids consignment store.

    We were looking at having to spend $250 or so at REI for a good one, so getting this Deuter Kanga Kid for only $50 was nice. It is a less expensive model, but we liked how all the components fold into the backpack. Harper liked it too. So much that she completely conked out for most of the hike.

    Sort of like her first hiking experience, at 2 months old.

    What can I say? This girl is never more relaxed than when she's outside.

    I love all the eucalyptus trees along this trail. They make it smell so good, and the giant sheets of bark hanging down make for a cool atmosphere.

    One problem, though. There were slippery acorn things everywhere!

    Here are some more photos from the trail.

    There's quite a payoff in views at the top.

    We had a great time, so I think we'll do more family hikes when we can.

    On the way home I was practicing some close-ups with the camera. I think I'm starting to figure it out!

  • 15 months

    Harper turned 15 months today. We went to the park with our neighbor and her twins, born on the same day as Harper. Us moms were marveling at how much they'd changed and how quickly. We're so cliche.

    This age is a lot of fun. Every day I see Harper making connections that have taken months to achieve. Puzzle pieces fitting into their slots, rings stacked in perfect order. One day she just held up her little lovey that we call Baby and said "Bay-bee." We kind of flipped out.

    Other words: hi, bye-bye, dog, deedle-dee (we call it baby yodeling)

    I can't let her out of my sight for a second. She will be running down the street (always to the park), tumbling down a step or putting a dirt clod in her mouth.

    Her baby-sized pool is full of floating wood chips. Maybe we should switch to a water table?

    Her latest obsession is sorting through piles of clothes. Actually, I have no idea what she does with them, but it keeps her occupied.

    She likes wearing my skirts as shawls. It's hilarious.

    Our house is a tornado of toys every day, but I don't mind. We just pick up at the end of the day. She loves dragging her wooden snail around the house. Thank goodness we don't have to do all the pulling anymore!

    After about a month or so of not eating much, she is back to a full appetite. And I mean full. She eats and drinks all day long, it seems. But then she's burning off every calorie toddling around.

    The nanny sends me pictures of her with the other little boy in the share. Those two are pretty precious. They look like they could be related.

    I feel like the universe heard my plea about naps. It seems the long naps with the nanny have translated to longer ones at home. Of course there's a tradeoff. She's been waking up at 6 or 6:30 instead of 7:30 and staying up past 9 instead of going to bed at 8:30. You just can't win with baby sleep. I think I'll take the longer naps, though.

    I'm sure we'll have lots of adventures in the new house. Now she's really got room to run!

    My favorite part of this month, though, (aside from her discovering her popped-out belly button) has been the kisses. One day I found her leaning over and smooching a toy. Now she plants delicate kisses on your cheek and it's just about the sweetest thing ever. 

  • Toddler adventures

    At 16 months, Harper is one adventurous toddler. She's figured out how to climb up onto chairs and then stand up. So I'm constantly going, "sit down!" while she teeters on a chair. 

    While Grandma Corey was here, Harper picked out a talking dog named Violet. I think she carried Violet around, constantly pushing her paws for new songs, for about 48 straight hours.

    We also got her a water table, since she was constantly trying to get into her little pool with clothes and shoes on.

    She loves to scoop out the water and try to drink it (gross!), but she's also started watering my plants and refilling the dog bowl.

    I think she's at the age where she's very big on trying to imitate what we do. I'm constantly surprised at what she can understand even though she doesn't really talk yet.

    The other day she fell off one of the deck steps and scraped her forehead. Then she got a scrape on one knee, then the other. I think she's going to go through childhood with constantly scraped knees. She's a very curious soul who kind of charges through life. I have to admire her for that (even if it scares me).

    Despite the vigilance required to parent a toddler, I'm finding that I'm able to enjoy parenthood a lot more these days. She's more independent, less cranky, and a much better sleeper. Though her schedule still swings pretty wildly, she has been sleeping much later in the mornings and taking some long naps. She only wakes at night if there is something unusual going on, like houseguests, or if she has a dirty diaper.

    The other day I was at the dentist and the hygienist was telling me about how she had a 1-year-old who didn't sleep through the night. I told her about how much Harper had changed in the last few months, which seemed to make her feel a lot better. Like so many hard things in life, it gets better!

  • 18 months

    Harper is just about to be 19 months, but I can still get in under the wire!

    She is really turning that corner from baby to kid lately. Thankfully she still has that delicious pudge and adorable toes, but in other ways she looks more grown up every day. 

    She's big on imitation. Loves to wear our clothes, which is so cute.

    Her hair's long enough to be pulled back, but whenever I try to do it she just pulls it out.

    She's gone through phases of wanting to sit in her car seat in the middle of the room or climbing up into her stroller just to hang out.

    Her appetite is unbelievable. Sometimes it seems like she eats as much as we do.

    But I guess you need a lot of calories to fuel toddler energy.

    The best part about this age is watching her starting to form language. She has new words all the time: brush (for brushing her teeth), bubbles, duck and various other animals and animal sounds.

    Hearing her teeny voice across the room just kills me.

    Unfortunately it turned out that we could not escape the 18-month sleep regression. But I think we're so used to sleeplessness now, it's just part of the deal.

    Harper has a doctor's appointment soon so we'll find out how much she's grown. After several months of going down on the growth chart I think she's catching up!

  • Pumpkin patchin'

    We had so many good photos from our trip to the pumpkin patch, so I had to share.

    It was a little strange to go on such a hot day (probably 80 degrees but felt like 90 in full sun), but we still had a lot of fun.

    Mom: not in Kansas anymore.

    Harper was determined to pick up pumpkins, throw them, or pull them in the wagon.

    She really liked climbing this hay bale tower, which scared the bejeezus out of me.

    She is so fearless. She went all the way to the top.

    She also zipped through the hay maze.

    They had this crazy pumpkin house that was basically a yurt that we used to get some shade.

    Then Harper got to sit on the huge pumpkin.

    We took a few pumpkins home for carving later. I might have gone a little pumpkin crazy this year, but I just love them so much!

    Fall is really the time I miss the Midwest and the change of seasons. I'll be going back to Kansas in November for my grandma's funeral, so I guess I'll get a taste of it then.

  • Harper at 2.5

    I just put this in the kids category rather than baby - I guess that says it all.

    She loved when grandad played guitar for her.

    Harper has changed so much in the last few months. I find myself wanting to freeze her in time when she does something really sweet and funny. She'll be a total monster one minute and then the next minute she'll cuddle up and say, "I love you SO MUCH!"

    She's a constant imitator, both of what we say and what she sees on her favorite shows, Daniel Tiger and Peg + Cat. One time my mom walked in the room and she was playing her xylophone like a "pinano" while watching a character play a piano on TV. It was just so precious. I'm not one to use that word often, but there's no other way to describe her right now.

    I do see her trying to exert her will more. Like with very basic things I ask her to do like put her shoes on. She's testing boundaries and realizing her power. I'm starting to understand all the things I've heard about the 3-year-old personality. I'm definitely concerned about how she'll react to the new baby since she'll be almost 3 when he arrives. (Oh yeah, we just found out it's a boy!)

    She does not want to talk about having a baby brother at all. She will repeat pretty much anything you say, but if you bring up a baby in mommy's tummy or being a big sister she just shuts off. It's so weird. How could she know that?

    But we have more pressing concerns right now with potty training. We've been putting it off for a while, but I think she's finally ready (and we're finally ready to commit).

     

    My dad and stepmom came for a visit recently, and they had a lot of fun taking Harper on some outings. The last time Mike took her to the Little Farm she was terrified of the cows, but not this time. She LOVED feeding the animals. She was just cracking up the whole time.

    And I know everyone says this, but my god, their energy! I'm still extra tired all the time and I would give anything to suck a little bit of energy out of her.

    On the plus side, she has been sleeping so much better lately. Pretty consistent 2-hour naps and longer nights without waking. I don't know what the secret is with this kid, but I'm just going with it.

    She's still a little daredevil. When we walked around the houseboats in Sausalito she kept going right up to the railings next to the water and poking her head through. I think she would have just jumped in the water if we let her.

    Another thing she really seems to enjoy is gardening. She "helps" us pick cherry tomatoes and puts them in the back of her little dump truck.

    She is also still very much an outdoors gal. She decided our overflowing geranium plant was the perfect hangout spot and sometimes I find her laying there.

    Large trees are not all that common in our neighborhood so when she sees one she will literally go up and hug it.

    She still has a great appetite, and it must be fueling her growth because she has really stretched out. She's pretty tall compared to her peers now, so I think she is going to end up taller than me.

    We've had her in part-time daycare for a few months now and it's kind of a mixed bag. They say she is really reserved and plays by herself there, which is the total opposite of how she behaves at home. I think she'd probably open up more if she was there daily but we just can't afford it. So we'll see.

    This next 6 months will hold a lot of change for this little girl, but she is nothing if not resilient.