Happy 2 Year’s, My Care Jare!

Jaren is officially two, but he still seems like such a baby to me!  With his plush cheeks, chunky thighs, and little waddle… it’s hard to think of him as anything but.  But I know he is growing up.  I can see it in the way he’s lengthening out, the way his clothes are loosening up (wah, losing his baby chubs), and the way he’s growing more into his own person with his own (strong) opinions.

These past two years have flown by.  It feels a lot faster the second time around, so I try to savor what I can.

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He loves to nuzzle his cheeks against mine (not that I mind!)

Stats

*Note: Doc said he follows the CDC growth chart after kids turn 2.  Before that, he was using the WHO growth chart.

Height: 35.75 inches (91st percentile)
Weight: 33 pounds (90th percentile)
Head: I forgot (but it was 75th percentile)

Personality

If you were to ask me to describe him, I’d say he is full of life, exuberant, passionate, affectionate, giving, and so so loving.  He is generous with his hugs and kisses, and he doesn’t mind sharing.  If you ask him to give up or share something, he usually will do it freely (lucky Noelle).

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Cuddly with his loveys

This doesn’t mean he is a pushover though.  This boy can hold his own.

He is a softy, but he is also determined, strong-willed, opinionated, feisty, fearless, and full of energy.  As one friend so accurately described, he is a bulldozer.  He is so strong in both mind and body!  If he wants something, it is hard to control him.  He’ll try to lurch out of my arms, arch his back, and shout at the top of his lungs.  Oy.  The two’s are definitely here.  This determination will play in our favor in the future right??  (Let’s hope!)

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I asked him to close his eyes because I was trying to take a pic of his newly formed double eyelids, so he gave me this.

Activity

He is obsessed with anything his sister is into.  Since she loves Shopkins, he loves them too!  But he has a mind of his own too, and some other favorites include Cars and My Little Pony (sorry son, I just outed you on the internet).  He loves to build things – stack blocks, create tall towers with magnatiles, connect Legos – then he likes to smash them down (one of Noelle’s frequently used phrases when they play together is, “Nooooo Jaren!!”)!  He also likes to throw things, and color on himself/the walls/the sofa/our tiled floors.  His coloring really knows no bounds (yay?).

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He hates getting stuff on his hands, so despite being the messy little guy that he is… he must have sticky or wet things wiped off his hands immediately.  He’ll wave and signal for us to get him paper, so he can clean all the yuck off.  He also insists that trash get thrown away immediately.  He’ll rush to a trashcan right after he’s done with something, so he can toss the offending item.

He hates sitting in poopy diapers, so he will let us know when he needs a diaper change (hopefully this makes potty training a breeze, though I’m still in no hurry to give it a shot!).  So ironically, my messy bulldozer of a guy is also a closet clean freak.

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Speaking of closets – guess who I found in my dirty hamper!

Food

I don’t know which he likes more, to play with food or to actually eat it.  He’ll smear it all around the table, toss it on the floor, rub it in his hair, pat it on his belly… you name it, he’s tried it!  Like many toddlers, he can be a fickle eater, but we just keep offering in hopes that one day he’ll love it.  He looooves meat, chicken, and pork.  He won’t touch his veggies (or rather, he doesn’t like cooked veggies – he can down salad like nobody’s business though), and raspberries and strawberries are almost always a hit with him.  His favorite snacks are applesauce pouches, yogurt pouches, and anything gummy (i.e. gummy vitamins and fruit snacks).

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Sleep

He has always been a pretty flexible sleeper.  If we put him down for a nap or bedtime late, it’s no big deal.  It makes it easy to lug him around, and we don’t worry too much about planning our schedule around his.  Usually he’ll take about a 2-3 hour nap between 12:30-3:30 pm, then he’ll go down at night around 8 pm and sleep until 7-7:30 am the next day.  For the longest time, he would wake up at 6-6:30 am like clockwork (regardless of when we put him down at night)… but about a month before he turned two, that changed and he started sleeping past 7 (hooray!!)!

Books 

He loves to read, but it’s not really reading in the traditional sense.  It’s more like him flipping through pages, pointing out details, and me reiterating what things are (goes something like this… “YES!  that is a doggie.  What color is that doggy??” – then he’ll answer, and so on and so forth with every page).  Most of his favorite books are by Sandra Boynton, such as Doggies, Blue Hat, Green Hat, Opposites, and Moo-Baa-La-La-La.  He also likes one called Five Little Monkeys based off the song of the same name.  He thinks it’s sooo funny that they all fall down and bonk their heads!

Learning

I feel like he really soaks up everything around him!  He is acquiring more and more words each day, and I no longer keep track of what they are.  However, even if he can’t say something, he can definitely understand you… there’s no fooling him!  He can count a little past 10… maybe up to 14? (sorry, second time mom here).  He knows most his letters, and all his colors too.  He’s been telling us he loves us since he was 19 months old, and my heart still melts every time I hear those three perfect words.

This is what he sounds like in real life when he talks:
Yes = “Yeth!”
Milk = “Mill”
Elephant = “Ell-pent”
I Love You = “I Wuvyoo”

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Sibling Love

It is impossible to blog about Jaren without mentioning Noelle because she has been such a big part of his life from day one.  They are really good to each other (most of the time).  This doesn’t mean we don’t get our share of fights though.  Sometimes I feel like a broken record trying to get them to share or take turns.  Other times, they freely give without any prompting from me.

Jaren is so physical and Noelle so delicate, that we often have to play referee to make sure he’s not being too rough (climbing all over her, grabbing her hair, butting into her, etc.) – he’s not intentionally trying to hurt her, he’s just rough!  They do have a special bond though.  Noelle often speaks for him, defends him, and gives him first dibs on snacks and toys while she waits her turn.  It warms my heart most when I see them comforting each other when they get sad, or when they freely show affection for no reason at all.  I’m so glad they’ll always have each other, and hope they’ll grow to be the best of friends.

But their relationship is better told with pictures than words…

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There is so much more I can say about this little guy.  He has been such a bright light in our lives, and we love him so so much.  Hard to believe there was ever a world without him in it.

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Jaren and I the morning of his birthday.

Happy 2 years, my little JareBear.  You really are like a teddy bear, so cuddly and sweet.  I’m so thankful for you.

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Happy 2 Year’s, Noellie Belly!

Has it already been two years since I saw my daughter’s face for the very first time?  I can hardly believe it.

She is becoming more and more her own person.  Precise, focused, determined, and feisty are just a few adjectives that come to mind.  She is a tall little thing, and often gets mistaken for a three-year-old.  She has a very serious personality, with an incredibly silly side she only shows those closest to her.  Not only is she shy, but she is modest too; often pulling down her shirt if her belly button shows to make sure she’s all covered up.  The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree, as both my husband and I are that way.

Whenever we transition out of an activity, she’ll make sure to wave and say, “bye bye” to whatever we’re doing.  For instance, she has this ABC puzzle matching game she loves to play with, but if I pull her away from it, she’ll say, “bye bye ABC’s”.

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I asked, “Where’s the Letter P?”

She’s always observing; taking in her surroundings before she acts.  She is meticulous, and really clean for a two-year old.  Two going on Thirty?  She loves to take out all our tupperware, then put them back exactly where they belong.  She enjoys “cleaning” – you’ll often find her with a towel in hand, scrubbing the floors or wiping that smidgen of dirt off her blue bear’s face.  By no means does this mean our house is in spic-n-span condition – it still looks like a tornado (named Noelle) came through.  She also has a nurturing and compassionate side, often kissing the “boo boo’s” away for mommy, daddy, and her myriad of stuffed animals.

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She is obsessed with numbers, letters, and colors.  With her ABC’s, if you tell her to find a random letter in the alphabet, she will tell you without fail – she knows them all.  She can count to eleven, but go past that and she redirects us back to 1.  As for colors, she has her say with those too, often picking out what color cloth diaper she wants to wear – purple and blue are her favorites.  My husband loves to whisper to me that “our daughter is a genius”, and said the other day, “she has a photographic memory!” – but I just laugh it off and shake my head, knowing he’s just being a proud daddy.  Aren’t all parents this way?

She talks quite a bit, and if we don’t understand her the first time she usually finds a creative way to get her point across.  She is a girl who knows what she wants, and more importantly, knows how to get what she wants.  I lost track of her word count long ago, but she can string about 4-5 words together, with most of her “sentences” consisting of 4-5 syllables.  Some common phrases include: “I eat cwan-bewwies” [cranberries], “ducky change shirt too” (when I’m changing her in the morning), “I help clean”.  And most recently, “I love you, Mommy” – Heart. Melting.  I love you too, Noellie Belly.

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She loves to sing, and makes sure we always close out her bedtime routine with Jesus Loves Me.  She also reminds us that we need to pray for Danielle, Tanya, Holly, and Ben (her friends at school), and says the “a-men!” with much conviction.

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She’s still wary of strange adults, but is slowly getting better – it takes her about 30 min to warm up now, much improved from an hour or more.  She’s still anti-men, except her daddy, whom she adores.

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However, she loves being around other children and will often follow the bigger kids around the playground, trying to do what they do.  She toddles around with her bag of dried cranberries and offers to share with whoever will take them.  She also got her first kiss this past December, at the horror of my overprotective husband!

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When she needs help, and she often does… she will say, “daddy help you”.  She really means “me”,  but she doesn’t quite have a handle on proper pronoun usage yet.  She does know her possessives though.  She has yet to utter her own name, but uses the word, “my” pretty regularly (e.g. “my bear”, “my water”).  I’ve also been trying to teach her her age – “you’re TWO YEARS OLD now, Noelle!”, and so far all I’ve gotten are blank stares in return.

Her birth, her life, changed our lives.  I wonder what the next few years will bring as she makes the transition from only child to big sister, and we become a family of four.

“Mommy and Daddy love you, Noellie Belly”.  I say it while kissing her forehead, nose, cheeks, hands.  I hold her close, committing her baby smells to memory.  I never want her to doubt our overwhelming, overflowing love for her; thinking if I tell her enough and show her enough… she will somehow retain these memories in her subconscious.

Noelle – you will forever be our first, and you are uniquely, perfectly, beautifully made.  Happy 2 years, sweet baby.

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Celebrating a low-key birthday over brunch

Note: I wrote two versions of this post, this one felt more personal so I chose to use it here and rewrote another for Hellobee.  If you want a breakdown of her milestones and schedule it can be found on Hellobee.