M at 18 Months

Our little girl has been with us for  a year and a half now! It’s amazing how quickly time has passed, and how distant the early days seem. It feels like there’s something new she’s doing that I’m marveling at every day, and although there are of course ups and downs, we are having a blast. It seemed like a good time for an update!

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Stats:

M is, in my unscientific opinion, tall but lean. She has remained around the same weight for months, hovering at about 23 or 24 lbs. She’s growing up, but not out. I’m not worried about it because the girl can definitely eat. I don’t have official stats because, of course, I am super behind on making her well baby visit appointment. Whoops.

Nicknames:

I call her Monkey, and I know she gets that at daycare, too. Why? Because she climbs on anything she can. We also call her Baby, which is either because she calls herself Baby, or vice versa, I can’t tell.

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Temperament:

She is… opinionated. She’ll let you know if she does or does not like something, without hesitation. She’s determined, too, and not one for distraction or negotiation. In fact, she’s conniving when she wants to be — one of her newest tricks is to pull a chair up to where she knows the treats are kept, and she recently taught our house guests how to respond to the word ‘licorice.’

She’s sweet and caring, most of the time, but gives into the temptation to pull a cat tail or two every so often. She takes care of her baby dolls and her stuffed animals, and is showing the first steps toward an active imagination. Yesterday she was pouring fake juice into a fake cup for me, and when I told her I needed pepper for our dinner she rummaged through her stuff until she produced a plastic green pepper which she brought to me gleefully.

Skills:

M is a quick learner — she picks up words with ease and is actually quite adept at communicating. She’s been stringing two words together for a few months now, and her sense of humour is really something to behold. She has some awesome dance moves, colours, uses stickers, and loves to sing. She stacks blocks, digs, reads to herself, and feeds herself with her utensils.

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Sleep:

Patchy, to be honest. When she was solidly in daycare and had been for two months, she was on a decent schedule — up between 6 and 7, a two-hour nap at daycare, and asleep by 7-ish in the evening without nighttime wake-ups. Now that Matt is in and out of shifts and she’s scattered between daycare and home, with guests and travel and all kinds of excitement, her sleep is incredibly varied so we’re all a little tired.

Eating:

Everything. Everything! She really loves pasta, yogurt, and any type of sweets. If she eats junky food she refuses to eat vegetables — or eat anything sometimes — in the evening, though. Fruit snacks are another favourite, and she does this thing where she tells us she wants crackers until we open the cabinet and she sees “baby ‘acks!”

I thought she was maybe done nursing, because she went for a three-day stretch with nothing at all while my Mom and Eric were here. But she started asking again, and now she’s back at it numerous times a day. I have no problem with extended nursing but really preferred the once-a-day before bed routine, so I’m not sure where to go from here.

Clothing:

She’s in 12-18 months, 18-24 months, and the 2T stuff my mom brought fits too and is actually better, length-wise. I’m just weeding things out as they stop fitting instead of abiding by sizing, these days. She loves shoes, especially her rain boots, and hats, and is trying very hard to dress herself.

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Loves:

Elmo. Oh how she loves Elmo. Playing outside, especially with bubbles and water. Slides. Any and all treats (she can recognize a Tim Hortons bag from a mile away). Animals of all kinds, especially horses. Colouring, particularly with markers. Music of all kinds, including her toys that make music, and definitely reading. Running around naked after a bath. Tickling people. There’s not a lot that she doesn’t love!

Doesn’t Love:

Diaper changes, on occasion. Having to go inside, having to leave the beach, having to say goodbye to the horses at the stable… you get the idea.

Mom & Dad:

I think we are mostly used to this whole parenting thing, although it’s still a struggle to get enough sleep, enough time to be just us, and enough time to feel like we’re actually on top of anything instead of just meeting the bare minimums, sometimes. When the house is clean and we have time to hang out and everyone is happy it’s nice, but it’s hard to hit all of that at once, you know? I think that’s just part of the life stage we’re in, though.

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Dear M,

Every day you are more and more of a big girl — you want to do things yourself, in your own way, with nothing from us but a watchful eye and applause when you do something spectacular. We’re glad to cheer you on, whether you succeed or fail, because if there’s one thing I know for sure it’s that you will always keep trying and ultimately achieve whatever it is you’ve set out to do.

You’re a charmer, too. Everywhere we go people admire you, talk to you, and engage with you, and you’re happy to chat away, share smiles, and be everyone’s friend. I’m glad you’re so happy and I hope you keep that wonderful grin for a long time to come. You throw yourself into everything with such exuberance.

When I used to imagine you, before you were born, I only thought about tiny baby M, nestled in our arms. You’re slowly growing past that, now, into a person who I could never have pictured, because you are beyond anything we ever dreamed. We’re so lucky to have you.

I love you, always.

Mama

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(Long) Weekend Warrior

The long weekend snuck up on me this year. I didn’t even realize it was a holiday until I was setting up our daycare schedule and realized I had an extra day with M. We had house guests all last week, which might explain why it already kind of felt like vacation! But Matt had to work all weekend, and there was that pesky snow thing, so it turned into a holiday weekend that was mostly spent in sweatpants watching movies with a toddler.

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May Long (or May 2-4, which I refuse to call it this year because it wasn’t anywhere near the 24th of the month) is supposed to be the time when Canadians go open their cottages, drink beer, and set off fireworks, something-something-Queen’s-birthday. For whatever reason, probably the risk of snow, there are no fireworks here. It is the opening of fishing season, but there was no way I was gonna haul a little one out to a lake somewhere with bait and sharp objects all by myself.

But let me back up — back to the house guests! My mom and her boyfriend visited the week prior to the long weekend, as I mentioned. Naturally, it snowed (as I also mentioned… repeatedly). We still had a good time, though, and got a bit of outdoor adventuring in. They left on Friday, and Matt went back to work, which is why M and I were alone all weekend.

Saturday was nice. It was our one deliciously sunny day and M and I went outside, where she literally covered herself head to toe in garden dirt. We dug out some of the creeping thyme that I’ve decided to give up on, and then she went in for a nap. I did a bit of housework but ultimately ditched it to sit outside knowing what was coming for the rest of the weekend…

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The next day it rained FOREVER. Seriously, torrential downpours. It was not nice. There was a tiny break of sun first thing in the morning but we missed it in lieu of breakfast. Every time I tried to get M out the door to the grocery store and bank it started raining harder. We had to get groceries, though, so we eventually just braved the wet. It wasn’t very fun.

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Then the next day, yesterday, we woke up to snow that continued falling all day long, because what’s a northern Ontario long weekend without every single type of weather possible?

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Note how all of the bad weather photos were snapped from the comfort of inside the house. Yesterday M kept wanting to go out and blow bubbles and play in the dirt, which obviously did not happen. 

Today we’re back to normal — it’s Matt’s last shift, M is presently in daycare, and the sun has come out to melt all the snow. I really, sincerely hope that was the last of it, because the weather apps are telling me that we’re in for sun, or at least rain, for the next 14 days.

So, we didn’t get fireworks, but we got a lot of weather excitement! How was your weekend?

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Review: Live Clean Coconut Products

It’s mid-May and it is snowing. Seriously — I woke up this morning to see a thin layer of white flakes that actually stuck to the ground for more than a few minutes. Last week we were gardening in shorts and t-shirts, this week we’re bundling up with extra sweaters and wondering if we’ll ever be able to turn off the heat. Thanks to Live Clean, I’ve at least been able to pretend that it’s summertime.

In the middle of winter in February, I tried out Live Clean’s coconut milk shampoo and conditioner, enjoying both the moisturizing qualities and the fresh, summery smell. They’ve added even more products to the coconut milk line so you can get the full experience from head to toe, whether it’s snowing where you are or not.

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Resolution Check-in: Month #4

Let’s try this again, yeah? To cut to the point, I am still working on my 2014 resolutions, though some are going better than others. I honestly don’t really feel like I’m making a huge amount of progress in general, which leaves me wondering if resolutions really are made to be broken. The status quo is just so easy to keep!

Less useless screen time.

I need to reinstate a few personal rules (no phones at the table). We have family coming up for a chunk of this month and I would like to be fully present, as much as possible! I would also like to maximize my in-office time better so I can actually enjoy going outside and spending family time without worrying about the 1500 things still waiting on my to do list.

More productivity.

Gardening automatically makes me productive. ;) I have a ton of seedlings started, sprouts shooting up out of the ground, and some manual labour scheduled at some point this month to keep cleaning and digging and planting. It feels nice to physically accomplish something, that I can point at and say, “I did that!”

More time outside.

Most definitely. My kid is a fiend for going outside and it brings all of us along for the ride. We spend copious amounts of weekend and evening time playing in the backyard and now that the snow is really, truly gone, it is so much easier to just head out the door without fussing with snowpants and boots and hats and frozen fingers. I think we will be going out quite a bit over the next few months, especially now that M knows the joys of s’mores.

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Reconnect with my husband. 

We’ve had a few TV nights which are what passes for ‘date nights’ around here, lately. That might not sound romantic but it’s actually a nice way to relax and spend time with one another without having to worry about babysitters, going out, spending money, etc. When M is in bed and we are both not exhausted or busy (or working!) we try to at least sit and chat for awhile. I would like to do this more often, though, and one of these dates I would like to actually get out of the house on a date.

Simplify and declutter. 

Not so much. Organization, and even some cleaning, took a major hit last month during some crazy work hours, so I’m just focused on maintaining basic cleanliness, honestly.

Better self-care and confidence-boosting activities. 

Also down the tubes. M’s sleep schedule and Matt’s work schedule don’t leave much time for me to work out, sadly. But I am getting some exercise in the garden, and hopefully I can scrounge up the motivation to take care of myself a bit better, soon.

Keep working on the house. 

Does outside count? We are working on tons of outdoor projects! That’s where some extra budget funds are allocated right now — in the next few months we’ll hopefully tackle some more indoor things.

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Room to Grow

Last year I tentatively set out with a few seedlings and a handful of garden tools, lots of hopes and dreams, and very little knowledge of how to make things thrive and grow. I was a novice gardener, and a novice parent, and between the two, I was doing my best to make something beautiful.

I grew my plants, and I grew my kid, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way but now, in both regards, I have a better handle on things. The fact that M helped us dig out this new garden bed is proof of that, I think!

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Last year we had just two tiny patches of plantable space in the entirety of this area. This year, Matt went out with the shovel and flipped over at least 100 square feet of dirt, while M grabbed chunks of roots (and dirt) and threw it over the edge. I came in and raked and sifted, and between the three of us we have greatly expanded our options for growing vegetables this year.

There are a lot of parallels to draw between gardening and parenting, I think, and I’m glad that our daughter seems to have picked up a love of and interest in nature, dirt, and the things that grow in the ground. Hopefully she will stop throwing the soil out of  my potted plants, but at least there’s no more snow to eat. ;)

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