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Category Archives: Toddlerhood
At 25 1/2 months, you can commonly hear her say:
“Be careful, baby… be careful” (she’s referring to herself)
“Ewwwwww… YUCKY!!!” (with a huge smile on her face)
“I DID IT!!!” (at the top of her voice)
“This is MINE!”
“I want milky” (the girl loves her milk)
“I want vitamin” (loooves her gummi and Flintstone vitamins)
“No sleepy”, “No pajama”, “No bath”
“I want go outside”
“I want ride beep beep” (beep beep = her Push Buggy)
“Owee there… right there…” (she says this while tapping the location with her finger)
“Mommy kiss”, “mommy owee”, “mommy sleep”, “mommy hold”
“I want ride horsie” (referring to her dad)
“I want fold towels”
“I want purple Mimi” (her purple blanket/her lovey)
“I want wear pink diaper”
“I want that one”
“I want numbers song”
This was written early last week, but I still want to document how I was feeling at the time. I’m happy to say that this phase has too passed – phew (for now)!
These past few weeks have been some of the most trying in recent memory. Noelle has been extra clingy – she’s always been a mama’s girl, but I can’t even remember the last time she was this dependent on me (maybe 18-months?). We are also dealing with multiple night wakings at the same time. I feel like I’m at the end of my rope sometimes, and being full blown pregnant isn’t helping my cause. She will not let me out of her sight, and I’ve told my husband more than once that sometimes I feel like I’m being held hostage. One of her favorite commands is, “mommy sit!”
Because I’m so far along in my pregnancy now, I’ve been trying not to hold her as much, so she’ll get her dad to hold her. Once she’s in his arms though, she’ll insist on holding my hand. It’s not good enough if I’m just following behind, or in her line of sight, so I walk alongside her, hand in hand. Yes it’s endearing, but it can also be exhausting. Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, did I do something that made her need me this much? Why isn’t she more secure? I’ve done everything I could to protect her and love her, what more can I possibly do? Where have I failed her? I know one day I’ll miss this, but these days all I feel is exhaustion. I feel nothing I do is good enough.
Won’t let go of my finger
I also wonder if it’s because she knows she’s going to have to share my attention soon. Can 2-year olds really understand what it means when we tell her she’s going to have a baby brother soon? With the baby due soon, I’m getting really nervous about how Noelle will adjust. I think about my desire to have another successful breastfeeding relationship, and how that will take up my time every other hour of the day; or how my husband and I will need to divide up the bath and bedtime routines, and I worry. I worry she’s going to feel abandoned, or replaced. I worry I won’t be able to meet all her needs when that’s all I want to do. I worry she’s going to think she did something to cause this change, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. Mostly, I worry she’s going to think I love her less and her brother more, when I already know that could never be.
Noelle: I want to see mommy
Dad: Mommy is taking a shower
Noelle: I want to see mommy nipple
I’ve been waiting for awhile to hear Noelle say her own name. She finally said it for the first time last night as we were tucking her in bed! Up to this point she would always refer to herself as “me, my, mine” or simply just “baby”. Her first sentence using her own name?
Noelle loves daddy. (2/1/2013)
This will be the first of many in a series called [Overheard], where I strive to record the funny tidbits that tend to come out of our children’s mouths.
We decided to take the plunge and transition Noelle from her crib to a twin-sized bed the weekend before Thanksgiving. We figured if we run into hiccups, at least Thanksgiving week is a short, holiday week… making any difficulties more bearable for all of us.
Her baby brother is coming in 3-months, so I was hoping we could pass her crib on to him instead of buying a whole new one. We also wanted to make sure any transitions we implemented didn’t fall too close to baby brother’s arrival, so she doesn’t associate his birth with all these changes.
We spent a few weeks debating whether we wanted to transition her to a toddler bed, a floor mattress, or an actual twin bed. These were our pros/cons for each:
We ended up going with a twin bed – I really liked the idea of being able to snuggle beside her in her bigger, adult-sized bed. That, and the fact that this is the most long-term solution. Even though this seemed like the riskiest option, we took her cautious temperament into account and it made the decision easier for us. We honestly didn’t think she’d do anything too wild in her new bed. If she did, we already mentally prepped ourselves for a week or two of suffering in hopes of long-term, lasting gain. What surprised us most was that this whole transition went without a hitch (knock on wood)!
We didn’t do too much to prep her for her new bed except read from an Elmo book titled Big Enough for a Bed (she’s a huge Elmo fan). I got this book two weeks before the transition and only read from it a handful of times, so I’m not even sure I needed it.
On the big day, S spent 4 hours building her crib. Every time she peeked in at what he was doing, I would make a big fuss and say, “Daddy’s building you a brand new bed! Are you excited? You’re getting a new big girl bed today!!”. I could tell she knew something BIG was happening that day.
We took all potential safety hazards out of her room. That meant her dresser, humidifier, and floor lamp were all safely tucked away. By the time we finished building the bed, it was well past her bedtime. We put a bed rail in place, then lifted her onto her new bed – she immediately embraced it! She even did a face plant at one point and exclaimed, “my new big bed!”. Before I knew it, she was climbing down one side and up the other. Our worries about her not being able to get back up on her own were unfounded.
Top: already awake, just sitting in the corner waiting for us to come get her; Bottom: ready to climb into bed all on her own using her little footstool.
When she was in her crib, she often woke before us and would play until we went to get her. One concern of mine was now that she had the freedom to get on/off as she pleased, we would find her roaming around in her bedroom causing all sorts of chaos. I even had a “library corner” set up in case she needed some entertainment before we came for her.
We setup the room in a way that would minimize her chances of hurting herself:
We surrounded her bed with pillows, and her old crib mattress in case she ever decided to make a dive down. We also added a step stool to help her get on/off. We chose a daybed because it’s so multi-functional – it has 3 sides, and we added a guardrail to prevent falls. The bottom of the bed pulls out so the bed becomes a double bed (perfect for future sleepovers); and below the pullout bed is a large storage space. In lieu of her dresser, we purchased hanging organizers from IKEA for her shirts, bottoms, socks, and accessories. We hang all her dresses and coats. This was a great space saver too now that her twin bed is taking so much space in her room!
My worries about her roaming her room aimlessly never came to life, and there hasn’t been a need for all those pillows flanking her crib. She is well into day 4 of her big girl bed transition, and hasn’t once attempted to get off when we’re not around. She just plays with her loveys or goes back to sleep until we come for her. I wonder how things would’ve ended up had we chosen one of our other two options.
Sleeping peacefully in her new big bed!
Overall, our crib to twin bed transition went smoother than I possibly could’ve hoped.
How did your crib to bed transition go? What made you choose toddler bed over twin, or vice versa? Did you have the same fears/worries I did?
We’ve had our hands full lately, and I’m not talking about all the fun Autumn festivities! As Toddler Heels hits 22-months, she’s been as feisty and opinionated as ever. One second she is a complete angel, making silly faces and giving me sweet kisses. The next, she is on the floor crying her head off like it’s the end of the world. Things that used to be enjoyable, like meals and baths, have become incredibly trying. Sometimes her tantrums have no rhyme or reason, making it impossible to give her what she wants even if we want to. Some days I can’t help but wonder, is this going to be my life for the next year or two? If so, Lord help me.
The world of Toddler-dom, like all things parenthood… are filled with its share of highs and lows. And thank god for those high’s because they keep me going when the lows seem to know no end.
These are some of the tactics we’ve been using to get us through these terrible tantrums:
1. Redirecting - This used to work really well when she was younger, but its since become less and less effective. Lately, it has been increasingly more difficult to redirect because she remembers what she really wants and doesn’t lose focus very easily. This leads me to…
2. Ignoring - This works pretty well for us because she doesn’t like to be ignored. It’s probably more painful for us as parents. Sometimes I just want to give in to what she wants, but in my heart of hearts I know it will only make things worse. Once I make a decision about something, I make sure to follow through or else I feel I’m sending her the wrong message (the message being, if I cry hard enough I will eventually get what I want). It is so painful to sit through her tantrums. I often sit and close my eyes until it’s over. Today, after I put her down after a a 30-minute bedtime tantrum… I laid in bed and cried. It hurt so much knowing I put her in so much sorrow – of course I want to give her what she wants and make her happy… it would be so easy to give in, but it’s not always what’s best for her. I keep telling myself that it will get better, and that I will eventually get the hang of this.
3. Time-outs - We first tried time-outs when she was younger (around 14-months), but she didn’t get it at the time and would think of it as a game. She would laugh and come back to me, reaching up for a hug (and of course, how could I resist that?). So we waited. We started implementing time-outs more seriously starting at 20-months. After the first time, she knew that if she acted inappropriately, she would have to “sit.” Most of the time, she will know to put herself in time out! For example, she will slap herself (and/or me) when she’s really upset. I will say, “do you want time-out?”, and she will immediately respond with, “sit.” The general rule of thumb is to put them in one minute of time-out for every year of age. Although Toddler Heels is almost two, the max time we’ve put her in time-out thus far has been 1-minute. I don’t always go the full minute because she usually calms down pretty quickly in time-out and will say, “sowee sowee.” When my baby girl says, “sowee” with her puppy eyes… how can I not just scoop her right up? I give her a hug and kiss on the cheek, then we go about our day with a clean slate. I don’t necessarily think of time-outs as punishment, but as a way for my toddler to calm down and gather her emotions for a little bit.
There is one tactic I’ve found to be tremendously helpful in preventing melt-downs, and that is to communicate what is coming next well before I transition her out of her current task. For example, she LOVES watching nursery rhymes on Youtube before she goes to bed. We will watch several videos, then a few minutes before I plan to put her to bed, I will say, “Okay, ONE more time and then it’s time to brush teeth and sleepy time.” When the time comes for me to pull her away, she already knows what’s happening and starts waving, “bye bye” to the screen and all is well in the High Heels household.
Sometimes she’ll say, “more more”… but I always say, “Mommy already said one more time, remember? You can have more tomorrow,” and I’m usually able to pull her away with minimal fighting.
I try to stick with whatever I say the first time; “one more time” does not mean two or three more times. Toddlers don’t understand the concept of time or how long a minute is yet, so I try to find creative ways to communicate how much longer she has before I whisk her away to the next activity.
I am by no means a discipline expert, and this is one stage I have been deathly afraid of. Being the disciplinarian doesn’t come naturally for me, and I did not have very good models of discipline while growing up (but I think I turned out ok, so it reassures me that we don’t have to be perfect to raise perfectly capable adults!). As a result, I’ve been doing what I do best when I need answers – reading and more reading. 1-2-3 Magic,Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Boundaries with Kids, Setting Limits with your Strong-willed Child, SOS Help for Parents, and Raising Great Kids are all in my home library right now.
What was your experience like with tantrums and the terrible two’s? Any tips for this newbie Toddler mama?
I sent my firstborn to preschool this week, and the whole experience was much more painless than I expected. I was anticipating some clinginess and a whole lot of tears, but she proved me wrong and I got none of that! I completely underestimated my daughter.
I woke up at the crack of dawn to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything I had packed the night before. Stash of diapers – check. Extra outfit – check. Extra pair of closed-toe shoes – check. Sunblock – check. Wipes – check. Blanket and bed-sheet – check. Check check check!!
I also prepared her lunch the night before – this was what she got in her first day Bento:
My bentos of choice are the two-layer ones. I usually put the veggies and fruit in one layer and the protein and grains in another. Here we have some cherry tomatoes, green grapes, peas, and some sliced up steamed dumplings. We are fans of the Ling Ling dumplings found at Costco! This Bento only cost me $1.50 at Daiso, and I got the silicone cups at Daiso too. It’s a Japanese store where everything is $1.50 unless specified otherwise. I’ve found some gems there, including some great ceramics!
When I woke her that morning I made a big deal about it being a special day and that I was taking her to a place where she’ll have lots of new friends. I kept telling her how exciting and fun preschool would be! So off we went, with everything in tow. When I dropped her off at the classroom, she was mesmerized by all the toys and the different atmosphere. She immediately ventured off and started playing. I grabbed her for a quick hug and kiss and said, “Mommy is going bye bye now and will pick you up after naptime. Have a great day and be a good girl ok?” – she hardly noticed when I left. I observed from the window for a few more minutes and still no meltdown. I was shocked and amazed.
Later, I asked the teacher how Noelle did and the response was, “She was so good! She was our success of the day! She cried a little bit at first, but after that she cooperated so well and even ate her lunch. Actually, she was the only one that ate. All the teachers here love her… plus she’s so cute!” – I can’t tell you how happy and PROUD that made me, especially since I have never seen her warm up to strangers her entire life. This is the girl who ducks her head between my legs like an ostrich every time she’s around unfamiliar faces. She is the girl who won’t even crack a smile or make a peep while out in public. She continues to surprise me.
Generally, she has always been slow to warm up to adults, but is wonderful with other kids. Maybe the preschool environment is less intimidating for her because the ratio of kids to adults is greater. My little girl is blossoming before my eyes and it is a bittersweet feeling. I am learning to release her as she moves from stage to stage, all the while knowing this is time I will never get back. She will never be as she is right here, right now… ever again.
I also really felt the many prayers covering her to make her first day a wonderful one. Truly. Friends and family have been praying so much for her and we definitely sensed it. God is really watching over my little girl and I feel so at peace knowing she will always be in good hands.
With a grateful heart… Ange
This past week was tough on the High Heels household. First, Mr. Heels got sick, then Toddler Heels got sick, and finally… Mama Heels got sick. I guess it could’ve been worse; this was just a normal cold running its course and none of us really experienced any high fevers. The highest temp I logged on Baby Heels was 99.2 degrees. However, it’s still no fun to be a family of sickos.
Thankfully, Toddler Heels chose this week to come out of her clingy, needy phase and started to become much more independent than she had in months! This alleviated some of the stress. She would play on her own while I was free to just sit back and watch. And despite her cold, she was in great spirits!
Sick but happy!
Excuse the black box…
This sweet face keeps me going when the going gets rough
A story from today - this morning, Noelle was eating chicken soup for breakfast. I saw that she was dipping her fingers in the soup to get to the chicken and carrot bits instead of using her spoon. Hoping to outsmart her to get her to use her spoon I said, “Why aren’t you using your spoon? We can’t drink soup without a spoon, now can we?”… She looked up and gave me a funny look. Then says, “like dees [this]“… and lifted her bowl to her lips and drank away.
You got me, girl! I surrender.
Noelle 1, Mommy 0
In preparation for “the terrible two’s”, I’ve been reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block. One chapter I found interesting was the temperament chapter. The author carves out nine main traits of temperament, and lumps these nine into three major categories. What I also found intriguing was the percentages associated with each type.
1) Easy kids (40%) - these kids are flexible, active, not too intense, and open to new situations. They wake up on the right side of the bed in the morning, cheerful and ready for a new day.
2) Cautious kids (15%) - are also called “slow to warm up”. Hesitant, sensitive, even fearful, they don’t like changes and surprises. They tend to be peaceful but are easily frustrated. These are the kids who insiste on watching other kids go down the slide for twenty minutes before they get up the confidence to carefully try it themselves.
3) Spirited kids (10%) - are also called “challenging”. These are the “more” kids: more active, more intense, more sensitive, more passionate, more inflexible, more moody, more impatient, impulsive, and strong-willed.
Now I don’t know how the author derived at these percentages other than his own experiences as a pediatrician, but it is largely on par with my own observations. I haven’t met a lot of cautious or spirited kids, but I have met a lot of what I see as “easier” babies. Though I personally don’t like the label – Easy – because parenthood is anything but!
Noelle definitely falls into the 2nd category, and when I see other kids I often think, “every baby seems easier and more independent than Noelle”. I’ve frequently wondered if I did something wrong, or why she isn’t as sociable as other kids. As a parent, it’s hard not to take credit for the things your kid does – both the good and the bad. They really do feel like an extension of us. But I can tell you now that Noelle has been this way since birth. She was cautious very early on, and when people say babies don’t hit stranger anxiety til they’re 9-months, I’d have to kindly disagree because Noelle’s been in her “stranger danger” phase since she was about 3-months! She is a mama’s girl through and through and often clings to me as if her life depended on it.
The upside is I rarely have to worry about her “getting into trouble”. She’s super careful when she does anything. Babyproofing has never been much of an issue for us. She’s never played with cords or tried to stick her finger in outlets. As soon as I tell her, “it’s dangerous”, she’ll shy away from that previous object of interest. I can leave her on the couch/bed unattended and trust her to climb down safely. She is so delicate and tender in her movements, and rarely ever aggressive in her actions.
Here’s a recent picture of Noelle at her friend’s 1st birthday party. These other kids are happily playing with ice, and although Noelle LOVES playing with ice (when she’s in safe, familiar surroundings)… in this scene she is a mere observer. She did not once try to reach in and touch that ice.
Other quotes I was able to really relate to when it comes to my cautious toddler:
- “By four months, when many babies hand out smiles like free samples, cautious infants frown with worry at the sight of a stranger and retreat to their moms for rescue”.
- “They usually offer generous waves of bye-byes — only after the guests have walked out the front door.”
- “Your child’s cautious temperament was not caused by you being overly protective or ‘giving in’. Your child has been this way from birth.”
I really think her temperament will be a huge relief in her teenage years. My husband was a straight and narrow type of guy who always stayed out of trouble, so the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. Even now, he is cautious and deliberate with everything he does. These are the things I appreciate about him because I can be impulsive and really quick to act. It’s funny how I see so much of me, but also so much of him in our little girl. It’s easy to understand and love your kid when they feel like a mirror image of you. So narcissistic huh?? Lol. I’m always noticing things she does that’s “just like me!” or “just like Sam!”…
I can’t wait to read the rest of this book. Just this chapter alone was so interesting. Even though these were traits I already recognized in my daughter, it helps to see it on paper.