Monday, 9 January 2017

Eighteen Months

Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season. Despite my attempt to keep things simple (see my last post) the past few weeks were busier than I anticipated. My parents arrived on Christmas Eve and left a week later. It was such a short visit that it barely feels as if they were here. Although she is still too young to understand much about Christmas, it was fun to share experiences with Kate. We decorated the tree while watching Love Actually (I figure this is a good age as she isn't aware that it is totally inappropriate for her) I'm not sure if it's motherhood or turning 40 that affected me so, but I think I cried during almost every scene in that movie (with the exception of the couple who work in porn -my favourite storyline). We also watched another classic, Home Alone and for the first time I started to wonder if the old man was bullshitting about being estranged from his son for over 15 years just to get Kevin to admit his own feelings about his family. Phew! My cynical side is still intact. I cheered during my favourtie seen in the Sound of Music "Reverend Mother, I have sinned" as the badass nuns reveal they removed the sparkplugs. Then I decided not to think about the fact that the Nazis probably killed them. 

Husband decided to take care of Christmas dinner all on his own. I think it's his way of representing some his memories from Christmases in England. He planned the menu and did all the shopping. I wonder if in someway he thinks it excuses him from the other 364 days fo the year when he offers no help to meal planning, shopping or food prep. He was insisting that he could do it all himself, and so when my parents and I were sitting by the tree waiting for Kate to open her presents... he was in the kitchen peeling potatoes, oblivious to what we were trying to do. Initially I was annoyed, but the frequent interruptions to work on meal prep actually worked in our favour as I could see Kate was easily becoming overstimulated with her presents and new toys. I think in the next few years, I'll build in breaks with the present opening or drag it out for a few days (she finally finished opening everything a few days later). After we finished dinner, we had to work on preparing our dessert to take to a friend's party. It seemed that we spent most of the day working in the kitchen. My mother suggested that maybe next year we could just throw something in the crock pot to eat on Christmas Day and have a more formal dinner on Christmas Eve or Boxing Day. We laughed initially, but it may not be such a bad idea. 

Stats: [will update after her well baby check on Tuesday] 

Teeth: Nothing new to report

Eating: I don't know if it's just because she's learned the word, but she's really into eating apples. Whole apples; not slices I cut up for her. The only trouble is that she'll take a bite out of a few apples and then try to move on to another apple. I've had to take to hiding our fruit bowl. She's really doing well with a spoon and fork, and I think may prefer to eat this way. We went to one of our favourite restaurants and for the first time ordered something for her off the kids' menu (I'm making this seem like it's monumental as the truth is that I just didn't pack food for her). She seemend only interested in the french fries and not the chicken strips, which I cut into small pieces. As I had also forgotten her spork, I asked the waitress for a plastic fork and boom! She started eating her chicken once she had a fork in her hands (we also hid the fries). I was planning to do a cold turkey approach of the bottle to sippee cup transition over Thanksgiving weekend, but as she was recovering from Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, it gave me an excuse to bail. I decided to do a more gradual approach, replacing one bottle at a time. It seems to be working, and just in time as Day Care wants her to be on sippee cups once she starts in the toddler classroom.
 At press time, we've gone almost a week with NO BOTTLES!

Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!

Sleep: She still does really well at night. I brought back reading some stories while she drinks her milk, as she is really showing an interest in her books. She might fuss for 5-10 minutes once we put her down, but then sleeps soundly through the night. She's even been sleeping later on weekends! On Chrismas Eve, she slept until 8:30. It was the best present from her ever. I'm glad she's been sleeping later in the morning, but it does annoy me a little that on my swimming mornings, I'll come home at 7:15 and she'll still be sleeping (thus letting Husband sleep and or play with his phone for an extended period of time) while she seems to wake up at 6:00 on the days when Husband has to leave early. She's totally a Daddy's Girl. Not that I'm bitter. 

While she's a rockstar during the night, naps are another story. As I was confronting my reluctantance to switch our infant seat to a convertable car seat, I acknowledged that I used her ability to fall asleep in the car as a crutch to get her to nap [and to get errands done]. I feared that it could backfire on me. It has. I'll darken her room as much as I can, given her milk and a cuddle, she'll fall asleep in my arms, but wake as soon as I set her in her crib. On a few occasions, I've let her nap while sitting in the glider. Sometimes, I can get a litle shut eye, or do some reading. If I let her cry it out, it can take up to 20-25 minutes before she falls asleep and I once caught her sleeping sitting up. Even if she falls asleep in her crib, she doesn't seem to nap for very long.

This does not look comfortable. 

On Tuesdays, she'll fall asleep on the drive from Baby Music and I'll transfer her to the jogging stroller and she'll nap on the pool deck while I swim. So on the weekends if she's fallen asleep on the way home from the Market or doing other errands, I'll put her in the stoller and wheel her into the house. While my parents were taking care of her during the Christmas break, they would take her for a walk in her stroller to get her to nap. She'll sleep a good 60-90 minutes while reclining in the jogging stroller, sometimes even longer. I know that ever parenting manual would tell me this is wrong, but for now I'm accepting there are worse things I could be doing. Life is easier since she's been taking only one nap per day, as I feel there is less pressure to make sure this nap happens. Plus we only have to do this nap thing for a few more years, right? 

Diapering: Is hating diaper changes a sign of being ready for potty training? If so, Kate is so there. It used to be that she just wouldn't sit still, now there's crying involved every time. She's also started trying to dismount off the changing table. As I write this, I think I need to read up on how to start potty training. We moved into the next size of disposable diapers as her size 4 diapers were seeming tight on the sides. I thought it was interesting that she was in size 3 for almost 9 months, but only lasted in size 4 for 4 months, so I looked and size 5 is supposed to start at 27 pounds, so technically we're a little early. I think I need to face the reality that Kate will inherit my large sized ass and thighs. The inserts for her cloth diapers have been working really well and we're using them with her disposable diapers at night. 

Likes: So much to include! I joined a group where parents can buy and sell used baby goods. One of the hottest items has been the learning tower. Most people post a used one for sale at $100 and comment that it retails for $200. I thought it looked like something I could make for a fraction of the cost, so I searched Pintrest and found instructions to make a tower from an IKEA stool. I sent the link to my Dad, and suggested that maybe we could make it while he was out for Christmas and have a litte daddy-daughter projejct. I received a response about 5 minutes later: Call me right away. As I knew he was watching the Patriots game, this had to be pretty serious. He didn't feel the improvised IKEA tower would be safe as it wouldn't equally distribute her weight and could easily tip. He checked out the official Learning Tower and thought that given the sturdiness and the fact that it's adjustable, it was worth the price and offered to give it to Kate as a Christmas present. As my Dad is all about Ama.zon Prime and their free two day shipping, he sent it out and left it to us as to whether or not we wanted her to wait for Christimas to start using it. I decided that it would be a bitch to wrap, and would take up too much space in the living room, so we assembled it right away. She loves it. I was worried that I should have selected the model that had solid sides, as she quickly learned how to get in and out of it herself, but she'll actually push it up to the counter herself. [Also if I start working on a different counter surface, she'll move it to follow me] I picked up her own pots and pan set, so she can 'cook' while I meal prep. 

Her other Christmas gifts were a huge hit. As she loves to push things, I got her a 'You and Me' doll (who babbles) and her own pram. It is so sweet to see her cuddling her baby. I think she likes her 'Dress Me Kitty' but she mostly just takes her shoes off and hasn't worked on any of the other snaps or zippers. Myrtle sent her a small little kitchen, which also teaches Spanish. It's very cute, but very repetative. We also found a 3-in-1 trike, which transitions from a push ride to an early learning trike to an actual tricycle. It's supposed to go from ages 10 months to 3.5 years. I love transitional toys                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I also purchased a wooden IKEA kitchen (as it was one sale) but I'm saving it for when she is potty trained and we can get rid of the changing table (the kitchen can go in that space). I also picked up the Little Ty.kes classic red and yellow car, as it was on sale and I've always wanted one to give to my kid, but I'm saving that for her birthday as I didn't want to go overboard.

I am a little concerned as 'Dress Me Kitty' isn't wearing any underwear...

I have been buying her a lot of books and I suggested books when asked about presents for Kate. Her end table with the built in storage unit is overflowing with books and it's sent me on a search for a hanging book shelf, I've discovered why they're really called board books, it's because parents become bored reading the same stories over and over again. The two exceptions are Olivia and Splat the Cat. These are my favourites and I was so excited to discover there is an entire series with these characters! I think illustrations really make or break a kid's book, as the storylines can be so random. Olivia's drawings follow a pretty basic format, but they capture so much expression. Splat's are more detailed and I feel that I'm often discovering a new feature. It makes me appreciate what writing and illustrating children's books is harder than it might seem.

Seriously. I can't get enough of Olivia.

Oh, she loves her Daddy. There are days when she just wants to be around him and wants nothing to do with me. At first I didn't mind, I actually enjoyed having a bit of a break. Now, I'm starting to get a little jealous. Actually, while Husband is holding her, she'll extend one of her arms toward me and invite me in for a group hug. It melts my heart over and over again. She's also started expression affection with kisses. 

She is still pretty fascinated with the vacuum. It's not like the newborn days when I'd clean the floors multiple times a day just to make her calm, but it keeps her engaged as an activity. Recently she started pushing her air popper while I'm vacuuming, which is great as I can't hear the annoying noise.

Finally, she loves the Hamster Birthday card. Back in September, Myrtle sent Husband a musical birthday card that features a spinning hamster. She wrote something to the effect of 'I hope this card isn't too annoying..' Annoying? Kate absolutely loves it. It can break her out of a meltdown and it can keep her occupied during a diaper change. We fucking love it. I went to Hal.mark to get a back up.

Milestones: The language explosion has started! Her most frequent words are 'bubble' and 'apple' but every now and then she'll throw something random such as 'meatball'. She's also calling Tyler 'ai-la'. The other day I was getting her out of her car seat while dropping her off at Day Care and she spotted her friend and called "Lilly". I was so excited, I had to text Husband to share it with him. When does this get old? I mean, I learn a new word everyday thanks to push notifications from my dictionary app and my parents don't give a shit. I'm fascinated by the simplist actions or behaviors she demonstrates. She opened her travel food mat and tried to press the suction cups to make it stick and I was so impressed. While we were baking scones and watching The Sound of Music, I gave her a piece of a scone. She opened the container drawer, picked our a small plastic blue bowl, placed her scone in it and walked over to her chair, where she sat down and started eating while watching the movie. I was in awe. She's becoming such a little person!

Her other accomplishements include blowing her nose. The only trouble with this, is that she doesn't know how to reuse a piece of tissue and she tore through an entire box of Kleenex on her own. She's mastered climbing into her high chair on her own and she can now fasten and unfasten the snaps herself. I know where this is heading, all attempts at safety and security are going to be rendered useless. Although when I buckle her in the shopping cart, I often reflect that we never had safety straps on carts when I was young enough to ride in the cart and I lived to tell about it. I'm waiting for the day when I become the mom who is late to everything because my kid insisted on fastening herself in her car seat. Not really a milestone, but I'm just including as it's impressive, she's mastered the Maggie Simpson walk. As it became warmer, we stopped putting her in the sleep sacks, so I was curious to see what she would do as she's learned to walk in that time. No problem, she can motor along in her sleep sack. It's really cute.  

Not too impressed after her first Little Turkeys Dash

Clothes; While they have the most adorable baby clothes, I'm finding that I'm not too impressed with the toddler selection at Car.ter's. Gap has been a great source for stylish and high quality clothes. While I was Christmas shopping they were having a mystery box sale, where you could select a coupon offering 20-50% your total purchases. I got a 40% coupon, so I had to take advantage of that. My parents got us a Car.ter's gift card, but I'm tempted to take it to the store where you can turn gift cards into cast and hit the Gap outlet. I was finally able to get her a bath robe. I noticed that bathrobe sizes go from newborn to 9 months, then nothing until 2T. Gahh! I can't believe we're in 2T already, but what a way to break into a new size with something as adorable as this:

Health Issues: She recovered from HFMD uite quickly, but just after Christmas she picked up a cough and runny nose. Although the cold only lasted two days, Husband and I knew what was coming next. She becomes cranky and fussy and then doesn't want to eat. She develops a fever and a trip to Urgent Care confirms her ear infection. She cut her finger this weekend, it was on my watch, I was letting her play with some plastic containers from the recylcing bin and I forgot I stuck and empty cat food can in one of them. Of course, she cuts her pinkie finger on the can. Lessons learned; recycling is not a safe playing space and liquid bandaids are a must for a toddler!

Looking Forward to: Kate is transitioning to the toddler class! Gah! My baby is truly growing up. We're hoping she does well with the change. Fortunately, her "baby friends" Lily and Alex are going with her. Every morning when Kate is fussing about leaving for Day Care, we remind her that she's going to see Lily and Alex. I learned from Alex's mother that she does the same thing when they leave their house. Kate is also going to get to see her boyfriend Greyson again (he moved up in September). She'll be doing more art projects, music lessons and can sign up for soccer in the summer. As a bonus, they'll provide milk, so we don't have to prepare bottles (now sippee cups) each night. Another perk -monthly tuition drops $115 per month

We finally secured getting Kate a passport (at the last minute and had to pay extra for expidited service) as we booked a trip in England in February. Husband and I were discussing how to use our vacation time in 2017 and I mentioned that it would be too much to do a week of our Hawaii time share as we were going to England for two weeks."Two weeks?" he replied "I thought we were only going for one week" [facepalm] We do need to go for two weeks. My in-laws haven't seen Kate since she was four months old, and I feel a bit guilty as my parents see her for extended periods of time a few times per year. We also want to make the rounds and visit with friends, so we really need to spend two weeks, if just to recover from jet lag, adjust to the time change and delay getting back on a plane with a toddler. As Husband has an annual work meeting in New York during late January/early February each year, he's often scheduled his trip across the Atlantic to follow, so it's a cheaper and shorter flight (his company pays his rount trip to New York). A few times, I flew out with him, enjoyed a few days in the City, visited East Coast friends and family. I was considering doing that again, but then I realised I'd be getting off a plane and would be navigating the subway with a stoller and my suitcase. I could Uber, but then I'd have to take the super heavy and awkard car seat (which Husband is going to take). Oh, the fancy-free kid free days. I ditched those plans, but I did coodinate my flight so we'll land in New York and will meet up with Husband at the airport to board for London as there was no way I was going to do a long haul flight on my own.

I've also scheduled my first trip away from Kate. As the UCONN women's basketball team is handily  crushing their opposition in what is supposed to be a rebuilding year, my Dad and I started talking about going to Dallas for the Final Four tournament. I thought we would re-create our Father-Daughter trip from 2014, but at the last minute my mother decided that she wanted to join as she's never been to Dallas. So, my first opportunity for freedom and independence... is a trip with my parents... Actually, I have a few other incentives for visiting Dallas.  Last year, a couple from our gym moved to Dallas. She's pregnant with their first child and is due toward the end of March (conceived on their first attempt). I'm hoping I can visit and meet the baby, but she could be in labour at that time. A good friend of Myrtle's also lives in Dallas (we got to know each other pretty well while planning her shower and we recently reconnected over politics and have been emailing each other. Quite often.) I'm hoping to be able to visit with her, but she has a job interview in Chicago and if she gets the position, she has to move right away. So I may be able to catch up with some old friends, but I may end up with my parents for the whole weekend.

Speaking of Myrtle, I needed to plan some time to see her since I wouldn't be doing my New York stop over. Myrtle is an event planner and runs a major event in Las Vegas over Memorial Day weekened each year. I happen to have a medical education conference in Vegas at the same time, so Myrtle offered that I can stay with her. (She needs to be there for almost two weeks, so her company is putting her in a pretty posh suite). Not exactly a rocking Vegas weekend, but I'm hoping to enjoy some good food, a drink or two and spend some time lounging by the pool.  Finally, because it will be here in no time, I've started brainstorming some ideas for Kate's second birthday party. Don't worry, I'm not planning to do any baking. That lession, I learned.


  1. When did she start learning to use a fork and spoon? I have no idea when to start working on this. Diaper changes are like war around our house!! It make me wonder how they get it done at daycare ya know? The toddler class has been a HUGE help!! They have a designated lunch and one nap time which Bowen has adjusted to really well. He also had 3 other kids move with him so that is good too. I think you will find it makes a very positive change. We haven't mastered sleeping on the mat yet, but that will come with time. I love reading your updates and hearing about all of the things she is doing. I can't wait for these myself. That robe is too cute!!

  2. How can you possibly be planning for her second birthday??? I just read about her first!!!

    Well we already talked about our shared love of Olivia books (even if our daughters have the attention span of a gnat). I love that learning tower. I bet she loves climbing up there to watch!

    And kudos to the fork and spoon. I have no idea what to do about that. That sucks that she screams during diaper changes. Olivia went through a stage where she freaked out during them and then got better when she could hold things. But I know of some who just scream like you're torturing them. Oy. That bathrobe though... I never had one for Olivia because I thought they were pointless, but now that she's walking I'm thinking I'll need to get one for her!

  3. What a great update! That sleeping sitting up photo is priceless. Also, what awesome Christmas presents Kate got! she is super lucky. I like the toys that last a few months or years too; I dread the day when we run out of space to store all the stuff especially since I can't bring myself to give away anything yet.

  4. Happy half birthday! I love that picture of her sleeping sitting up in her crib. So funny! And who cares if some people think that stroller naps are a bad thing. You do what works for you!! Also, that is AWESOME that you actually went out and bought the exact card so you'll have a back up. Brilliant!

  5. Izzy LOVES to help CP cook while on her learning tower. I do think that she would be just fine with a regular stool, but my FIL was nice enough to get it for her and she does love it.

    That picture of Kate sleeping sitting up in her crib is hilarious! I don't know how kids nap sometimes.

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