If you posted a comment or sent me an email asking for the password but never received a response please comment or email again! Astral, Kathy, I saw your comment but there was no email address to reply to!
I am still trying to figure out this blogging thing… I’ve password protected my other blog, Starlit Dreams. Any readers are welcome to join me, just let me know if you want the password. :)
I think this blog will stay up as a reference, but I will likely not be using it any more.
I missed Ember’s 17 months and now I am already in anticipation of 18 months! Yikes! She has been doing so much this past month.
On the teeth front she has 7 of her front teeth and the eighth is sitting right below the surface. Her molars are all poking through now, we’re just waiting for them to come in completely. Thankfully the worst of the teething night issues are done and she is sleeping much better! I’ve mostly night-weaned her by picking her up and singing to her instead of nursing her. She was unhappy with that arrangement at first, and some nights she still throws a fit at me because she wants her milkies for whatever reason, but generally a short song and she’s back in her crib, she complains for a couple minutes then is back to sleep. She’s sleeping great! … Too bad she’s sharing a room with her sister, who has started having bad dreams every night. Ember may sleep through Kate’s sobbing, but when I open the door she wakes up and then I have both of them crying at me. Oh how I wish I had a bedroom for each of them. :/ I really hope Kate starts sleeping better soon, both of them are quite tired from interrupted sleep. So while Ember has never had the chance yet to actually sleep all the way through the night there have been several ocassions where she woke once when Kate did, she went straight back down, and then continued sleeping in until 7 or 8 in her crib! That’s pretty huge here. Generally she ends up in our bed around 6am because that’s when Kate gets up and things get really hairy past that point so I’ll keep them asleep any way I can.
The other major thing that she’s been doing is speaking with actual real words. As it so often goes, I was starting to get a bit concerned because at 17 months she still had only 2 words: “Yay!” and “Ba” (bye). She was showing no interest in more words, though she was babbling at us in toddler-ese all the time. I asked a few friends when I should mention it to the doctor or get her evaluated, just to be on the safe side (I’d rather she get help sooner than later, if it is warranted). So of course the very next day she added a new word, then another and another. Now she is repeating pretty much everything I prompt her and she’s pointing out everything wanting to know what the word is. She loves to say “titty!” (kitty), she tries to say her name as “Memer,” she can say “roar!” and “tikka-tikka” (tickle-tickle). Sheep says “ba”, cow says “moo,” pig says “knk,” duck says “cack,” and roosters say “ca-ca-doo-doo.”
Along with this new-found knowledge of words has come with a big interest in books! She used to mimic us reading books, so she’d sit on the floor and flip through the book, pointing at pictures and mumbling in toddler-ese. Now suddenly she realizes that books have WORDS and she is just so excited! She’s constantly bringing me books and wanting me to read them so she can repeat everything. Her favorite book is Farm Peekaboo! which combines farm animal sounds with lift the flaps. It is just so fun to see her start to get it!
Personality wise she’s really showing her spunk now. Tantrums? Oh yes. The other night she was having a prolonged tantrum so I walked away. She stopped, got up, followed me into the other room, then layed back down and continued screaming, kicking her legs, and rolling around on the floor. Putting her in her car seat has turned into a fight because she doesn’t want to sit down, she arches her back and screams and kicks. And oh the looks we get! This child has a very expressive face, she has a sulky angry look down, any time we say “No” to her she scowls at us and pouts. It is so hilarious, I need to catch it on video. There are many ocassions now when in public she tries to lay down wherever (like a parking lot) to do her rolling-and-kicking tantrum thing so I end up picking her up and carrying her under my arm like a football while she screeches. Yep. I am now that mom.
With food I don’t even know what to think now. I thought it was her teeth causing her to stop eating most things but it continues when the teething does not. She throws most food on the floor. She still likes meats (sometimes) and some fruits (sometimes). She loves yogurt and cheese. Grapes she gobbles up. But it seems that any meal I make at least half of it ends up on the floor – even when it’s things I know she likes! (Like this morning’s eggs. She ate a few bites, then threw the rest.) She’s only nursing three times a day but she barely nibbles at food! I hope this is just a phase. Well, everything is just a phase… I hope this is a short phase.
8 years ago, when we got married, I couldn’t have pictured this life we have now. 5 years ago, after Devin died, I certainly couldn’t conceive of a future in which I was happy and full, pleasantly busy, days filled with little joys. I remember when I was pregnant with Devin, looking around my house thinking that we were going to have a baby in here. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. And yet here I sit, day after day. I am exhausted every single day because one or the other one wakes me, but I somehow survive on just enough. There are tantrums and whining and “why?” three thousand times a day. There is food spilled every time I turn around and toys are littered across the floor no matter how many times I pick them up. Getting shoes on, coats on, everyone outside and strapped into the car seems to take me over 15 minutes each time I attempt it every day.
And I love it. Oh, I don’t always love it, and evenings have become a very slow countdown to bedtime so I can eat some chocolate and do something by myself for more than 10 seconds. But the big picture is just so good. I marvel at all these things they learn, I delight in the many hugs and kisses I get. I love watching them grow. I love watching them become who they are. I love being here as they figure it all out.
I love having two of them. I wasn’t sure for a while, when Ember was a baby, I wasn’t sure if I was done or if there was a big part of me that wanted to do it all over again. Two is hard though. They are each very different, they each go through different yet equally frustrating moods and stages, and they both take turns waking up at night. I’m not quite sure how I would juggle three. Not saying that I couldn’t, just that… two is good. Two is enough for me. My heart is so full. (My arms are also very full, as both generally want to sit on my lap at the same time.)
They both are getting just so big, legs hanging off my lap. I’m glad I’m still nursing Ember, it’s some nice quiet cuddle time with her, makes me feel all soft and content. I wish I had some way of getting Kate to chill out and stop wiggling and climbing!
Kate. Oh Kate, how much I can say about her. She is fabulous and fun and frustrating all in the same breath. She is absolutely hilarious and yet so often during the day I just some space.
I erroneously thought that a child’s road to independence was more or less a straight line. It is not. It circles and leads straight back to Mama, every time. When she was a newborn and she was in my arms all day long I would get very “touched out” by the end of the day. Here I am 3 years later and it is different but the same. Kate wants my (our) attention ALL the time. And recently we are back to needing to be on top of me ALL the time. Constantly climbing on my back, my head, my lap, hanging off my leg. It drives me a little crazy. Maybe more than a little – I am not a rough and tumble kind of person – that is what Daddies are for! She has figured out how to work it, though. She’ll slide around in front of my face and settle herself on my lap and give me a kiss on the lips and say, “I love you Mama! I want a hug.” And who can argue with that? No one. Certainly not me. I drop everything and give her hugs and cuddles. (And honestly if it were hugs and kisses all day long I think I could handle that. It’s the knees and elbows and unintentional kicks to the chest that are pushing my buttons!)
She is developing some attitude and sass, but in her quiet, understated kind of way. I’ll say we need to so something, like put on her shoes. She acts 3 and says no and runs off. When I repeat myself she says to me, “But I said no.” Thankfully after that display of willpower she’ll then listen, it’s almost like she just has to test it out and see what happens, to see what things she can get away with and what she can’t. In a way it’s fascinating because she’s pushing the boundaries in exactly the same way that Ember does when she stares at me and steps closer to the doorway, but Kate does it with words and willpower. And Kate can be talked to, which is a huge benefit. Generally I call her over to me and quietly explain that I need her to do something and she needs to do it – unless I’m pressed for time at which point I regret to find myself raising my voice.
She loves school. She tells everybody she meets (including random strangers) who her teacher is and what she does at school. She runs straight in there and yells “Bye Mama!” and doesn’t even look up. They are learning about the days of the week, months of the year, how to write letters and numbers. They sing songs, read books, make art, play. They have swim class where they are learning to kick and float, music class where they learn new songs, and gym class where she learned that we have bones that make us strong. It really is so fun watching her bring home new art, sing songs that I don’t even recognize, and tell me things like that May is her month. She’s still not very good at telling me what they did, there’s a lot of “Ummmm, I dunno…” but I’ll keep prompting until I get something right and it sparks a memory. Her teacher mentioned to me one day that Kate is always singing, including songs that she (the teacher) doesn’t even know. (I assume she is singing songs that I sing to her, otherwise she’s some sort of child genius, ha.)
An unexpected [to me] side effect of school is that Kate goes slightly psycho afterward. She is well behaved and normal before school, during, and on the way home, maybe even through lunch and quiet time. But in the evening and the next day she acts like she just ate a store full of sugar and lost any ability to listen to directions. She’s just crazy, spazzing out and being loud and obnoxious. It does make sense, though, a kind of de-compressing from being in a structured environment for a few hours… but ugh it sucks.
Naps are also in a weird state of flux. She doesn’t nap after school – she seems to be too wired – but the following day she falls asleep mid-day. A few times I put her to bed in our bed and told her to just try to sleep and she fell asleep all right – for 2 hours. I welcomed that break in my day heartily until I realized that it meant she would not sleep at bedtime. Considering the girls are now sharing a room it’s extra bad to have Kate yelling and singing for an hour and a half in bed. So unfortunately the lesser of the two is letting her stay up all day, she tolerates that pretty well with very few signs of being tired, and then she and Ember fall asleep immediately at 8pm, which is glorious. She will still fall asleep in the car if I take any long-ish rides mid-day or later. (She tends to fall asleep as soon as I start moving, meanwhile her sister who I want to take a good nap is awake and babbling for half an hour before falling asleep directly before we arrive at our destination.)
Her love of art continues, she’s always asking for paint or glue and I pretty much give her free reign with the crayons (unless she lets them fall on the floor where Ember then eats them). She loves to color pictures and we go through a lot of paper. I love the ability to find coloring pages online and print out whichever one Kate wants! She also has some workbooks that I photocopy pages from (so she can do them over and over). She can draw all the letters with varying degrees of success and is now at the point of copying any words she sees.
She reads her books alone less than she used to (well, she does anything alone less than she used to) but is very into getting books from the library to read with me in the evening. Our libraries have a large network and the ability to search and request any book I want and pick it up at our local library has been great! I keep a running list of kids books that I’ve seen recommended and every couple weeks I return what we have and get another few ones out. Our ability to actually stand there and browse in the library is severely limited by Ember’s propensity for running away every time her feet touch the floor, so I’m relying on requests right now. Kate likes to go pick them up but she’ll take pretty much any new book! Rotating books like this has also helped with the boredom (hers and ours!) with what we have in the house. I’m trying to streamline a little bit; I still want to keep a sizable library of books, of course, but getting rid of (or hiding) the ones that annoy us or that she has no interest in. I’d leave them all available except for Ember’s love of pulling down every book off the shelf. Every day I have to pick up all the books and toys and put them back so I try to make that a little easier on myself! (I can’t wait until the girls are both old enough where I can organize a bit better without it all being destroyed in 10 seconds!) Our latest favorite is Where The Wild Things Are – a book that, I admit, I had never read that I can recall. As an adult it seems a lot shorter and simpler than I expected it to be (both Den and I were all “That’s it? I thought there’d be more.”) but Kate really likes it. It may be one I end up buying. (The movie, however, was just weird.)
She is big into jumping right now… on her bed, mine, the couch, oh and sometimes the actual trampoline. She’s just now trying out jumping off of things (which she’s never done before!), right now jumping off the arm of the couch onto the couch cushions. She finds this great fun and Ember tries to follow along after. She uses her bed as a trampoline, and while I remind her to use her trampoline and not the bed I also pretend not to notice and don’t make a huge issue of it… I remember being a kid and how fun that was. (Just don’t push your sister off or slam into walls or anything.)
Verbally she talks so well… and so very much. We’ve just hit the “Why?” stage, also the “What’s that?” I try to give her explanations but her responses illustrate that though she may know a word she doesn’t necessarily get the concept. I wouldn’t mind the “Why?” questions if the answers I give were actually listened to, but in reality she just keeps repeating “Why?” until I make up a silly answer or ask her what she thinks. She also loves games like her quizzing me on what something is. (“Is it a book?” “No!” “Is it a ball?” “No!” “Is it a cat?” “Yeah!!”) She likes to point out to me what something is not. (“Mama, that is NOT a roller coaster.” “You are right, the car is not a roller coaster.”)
She wants to help with everything – no, she demands to help with everything. She drags her little chair into the kitchen to stand at the counter to help me with whatever I’m doing, which is sometimes only moderately unhelpful and other times downright dangerous – I try to keep her away from the knives. But, using a plastic knife, she can and does spread peanut butter and jam on her own sandwich, she attempts to cut things but that never actually works. She loves to stir things and add things. I’ve found she’s more likely to eat dinner if she’s helped me make it, though it’s just as likely that she’ll help me make something and then say, “I don’t like it,” when we’re serving to eat. She’s gotten very picky about texture of foods and if anything is the least bit unfamiliar she’ll declare she doesn’t like it and refuse to touch it. I’m trying to do a “one bite” rule with her but it really doesn’t do much other than causing her to drool and gag in a dramatic fashion. She still will eat very very few fruits and vegetables, even the ones she used to eat (strawberries, watermelon). Once in a while she’ll ask for and eat a vegetable off of Den’s plate, and I found that she will eat mashed potato and corn (of course two that have little nutritional value). On the plus side she continues to eat most meats you can name: pork, steak, hamburger, chili (with beans!), chicken, turkey, salmon, trout. So I guess that’s the trade-off with the no fruit thing. She’d still prefer to live off of yogurt, crackers and cheese.
This weekend I took Kate out without Ember to visit an apple orchard and pumpkin patch with a friend. It was just so nice to be able to focus on just her! It also highlights how easy 3 is in so many ways: she holds my hands in parking lots (proclaiming “Cars are dangerous!”), doesn’t run off, helped pick apples off the trees (and refused to take a bite), picked out a pumpkin for daddy. Then we sat at a table at a deli and ate sandwiches. She’s a little chatter-box and listening to her and her friend have actual conversations, telling each other about random things, was so cute.
We have had a huge transition in sleep with Ember! I felt like she just wasn’t able to settle in the crib with me sleeping right there so we made the leap and moved her into Kate’s room. We waited until after our vacation, assuming that being away would mess up any progress anyways, and then prepared ourselves for a few really rough nights. I was so nervous, thinking about how Ember wakes up crying frequently and how Kate would wake up Ember or Ember would wake up Kate. How would they go to sleep if they were both in the room? I decided to put them to sleep at the same time (8:00), which is basically what I was doing anyways. We get PJs and diapers on, bring them both into the bedroom, read one story, turn off the lights, sing Morningtown Ride, then give hugs and kisses all the way around. Then I put Ember in the crib and leave. Now I had been putting her down and walking out in my bedroom – once she got to a point where she didn’t need me to do anything except lay there I started walking out and she’d cry briefly and go to sleep. So that’s what I did in Kate’s room. I swear there was one cry, Kate said, “Shhh Ember! I’m right here!” and then there was silence. Den and I just turned and looked at each other with shocked expressions!
Ember does wake up but it sounds like she’s crying a couple times, looking around, and laying back down to sleep. If she keeps crying I go and get her and sing to her, hold her, then put her back in the crib again – and that seems to work quite well, at least until around 1:00am. She still expects to nurse 2-3 times a night and I’m trying to dissuade her from that gently. She was starting to wake to nurse just twice (1:00 and 5:00) but then this week we are back in teething hell so it’s all messed up again. But still, so much progress! We are giddy to have our own room back so we can read, talk (quietly), and I don’t have to hold my breath every time I roll over. It is just going really well and I’m shocked how well the girls have taken to room-sharing! There have been a couple bumps, like when Kate is wired at bedtime she does tend to wake Ember up a couple times.
Now if only I could get Ember night weaned so I could actually get a full night’s sleep! I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. (Actually I tend to lay awake after midnight, just waiting for her to wake up and cry. Not so helpful!)
Ember really is turning into such an awesome little person, I can’t even describe it. The funny thing is that I was reading back in my journal about Kate at this age and so many of the little mannerisms and sounds and personalities are the same, even things like putting her arms behind her as she leans forward and walks, looking like superman. She’s so sweet, she loves to lean forward and give little lip-smacking kisses to the cats, her friends, her sister, me.
She’s climbing everything now. The girls have been having this shrieking, bouncing playtimes where they climb up and somersault onto the couch, over and over, sometimes landing on each other, sometimes sliding off onto the floor. It’s quite nerve-wracking to watch and I thought I had a couple more years before they did stuff like that in concert! She’s also climbing up onto the little kid-sized chairs and the step-stool in the bathroom – but then she gets stuck and can’t get down so she stands there whining until I rescue her.
Her favorite toys are the dragon ball-drop, play food, drawing pads, xylophone, trains, and just yesterday she figured out how to use the cash register (drop coins in, push the button to make them go down into the tray). She loves closing doors over and over again. The girls also like to use objects like pool noodles and long paper tubes to make noises into, as if they are playing the obo. Ember picked that up from her sister. It’s quite cute! The girls also run up and down the house giggling and laughing, and they like to hold onto the ends of the jump rope and shake it. Oh and she LOVES to color with crayons, she’s a big scribbler. (But she also eats the crayons so she has to be supervised, though she keeps getting ahold of Kate’s crayons, grr.) This week at a playgroup a older girl had a coloring book and crayons and Ember gave a little shriek of joy and ran straight over to help, ha. She seems to have a favorite TV show on Netflix: Color Crew. It’s this silly Baby First animated segment where different color crayons color pictures. Every time it comes on she gives a scream and claps with “Day!!” and then she bounce-dances to the music. She also freaks out with excitement over a lullabye on YouTube (Sweet Dreams – Goodnight Song); something about the bears makes her squeal at them every time.
Words are coming slowly. She say “day!” (yay) while clapping. She may have said “bye-bye” and “hi” a couple of times, but it’s hard to discern. She is definitely increasing fast on the receptive language, though, and she’s picking up new signs really quickly, like milk and bath. If I ask if she needs a diaper she bends forward to look at her diaper and pats it. When I am changing her diaper she grabs a wipe and reaches down to wipe her bum. She can point to her nose. She brushed her hair when she gets ahold of a brush. I love how at this age you can just see all these new ideas forming and connections being made. She’s figured out that she can point to or tap things that she wants, so she runs over to the highchair and pats it with an “eehhh!” if she’s hungry, she has started not-so-gently patted my chest saying “Ehhh! Ehh!” when she wants to nurse. Yesterday she ran over to the closed bathroom door and started banging on it while she bounced up and down and said “eehhh!” and when I asked her what she wanted she leaned over and rubbed her legs, which I assume was her attempt at the newly-learned sign for “bath”.
On the other side her new grasp of asking for things is leading to her being Very Upset if she does not get what she wants. She does a lot of crying in frustration, some flopping on the floor when it’s something she really wants but can’t have.
She is eating a lot lately, always seems to be hungry. She’s pickier than Kate was at this age – she likes some fruits and a couple of veggies but she is just as likely to drop them on the ground. She likes crackers (duh, what child doesn’t) and she, like her sister, love meats! I’ve recently started getting her some of the little Chobani yogurts and she likes that, and she loves cheese… which is good because she still won’t drink milk, it’s just water and nursing. I wonder if that will change when she weans, whenever that may be. I am trying to get her night-weaned so she and I can actually get some full nights of sleep but she’s still waking twice to eat (around 12:30 and 5) and I think this eating less often at night is what’s leading to her eating all day long. That’s fine, I just try to make sure she gets enough (healthy stuff) so she’ll sleep well!
Of course after I wrote this a couple weeks ago we have had Teething come back for another visit – more front incisors and the lovely molars! So sleep has gone to hell again. Though she goes to sleep really well and easily in her crib, not a peep, will actually stand and watch me give kisses and hugs to Kate, turn on the music, I say “Good night girls, I love you!” and then she lays down and goes to sleep. I know this because I frequently have to go back in multiple times to answer Kate’s ongoing stall tactics and Ember will either stay laying down or sit up to watch and then lay down when I leave. This may sound like a small thing months down the road or to other people who have kids who sleep regularly in their crib but to go from a month ago barely being able to get her to sleep in the crib at all to this… it’s pretty amazing!
The teeth are also messing up her eating – she’s throwing more things on the floor than she is putting in her mouth – and is back to nursing frequently. And it hurts too, because she is doing weird things with her teeth. I’d like to just skip this teething bit. Or, since clearly it is going to happen whether or not I want it to, I would like to just have all her teeth pop out at once so we are done with it.
Kate is starting preschool. I feel like I should be sad in some way but I admit, I was just really excited for her. We bought her a backpack (purple with owls on it), some clothes, I still need to buy her some new sneakers since her feet have grown. I used to love starting each year of school, the fresh new binders and pens, the prospect of new classes and things to learn. Of course she has no school supplies and is too young to really understand what’s coming, but she knows enough that she’s going to school and she thinks that is awesome.
Today was orientation – an hour in her school so she can get to know the setting and teacher while I and the other parents were shown around. They have a classroom with art supplies and alphabet decorations and a throw rug with the solar system on it. They will have swim lessons, music lessons, and physical education, in addition to learning their letters and numbers and colors and such (which Kate already knows). Play time is incorporated every day, some indoors, some on the playground. There will be a winter and spring music concert. They’ll take field trips, including to the pumpkin patch. I mean, seriously, it sounds freaking awesome. I truly think Kate is going to love every minute of it. She ran straight into the classroom and took a seat at the table to color with the others. Nope, no concerns about this one.
I will be able to be the parent helper for some of the swim classes during the year, so I’ll get to watch her progress. They apparently get all the kids swimming independently by the end of the year. Which would be so awesome! Right now Kate can swim with her puddle jumper on, but she’s extremely hesitant and takes a long time every time we go to the pool for her to work herself back up to swimming without holding on to me. And considering I have to have a grip on Ember 100% of the time it’s a little difficult for me to manage both! I would love to see her confidence go up in a few things, really. This time away from me is going to be really good for her, I think. She wants to be independent in that three-year-old I-do-it-myself way, but she is always looking to me.
And of course I’m really excited about having a couple hours where someone else is occupying her. She’s a bright kid, she’s happy and energetic. I do love to watch and listen but man it’s exhausting (especially since she hasn’t been napping except in the car). I don’t want much, but just a couple hours for someone else to handle the reins while I catch my breath, maybe go to a store with just the quiet one.
Ember seems like such a toddler now! She has figured out how to climb onto the couch (using her chair to climb over the couch arm), climb and sit on the kid chairs in the house, and thankfully also how to get off furniture feet-first without injury – though there was a spectacular roll off the couch the other day that landed her flat on her back. She’s turning into a monkey, and as she gets taller she can reach more too; every time I turn around my computer mouse is missing.
I’ve noticed big change is in her language skills. She doesn’t have a whole lot of actual words yet, she says “Mama” and “Da-dye” which stands for bye-bye and/or night-night. But she understands so much more. I ask her if she wants to eat and she runs to her highchair. She’ll run over to her daddy when I ask her where he is. She blows kisses on command. I ask her if she wants more food and she makes the sign for more and waits expectantly. I need to brush up on some signing words to teach her, as she’s picking things up pretty quickly now.
We are also in transition with her sleep. She still ends up in bed with me in the middle of the night but she’s starting the night in the crib. We’ve gone from refusing to settle in the crib at all, to laying down on my hand and gripping it while she falls asleep, to laying down without any help from me. Now we’re working on her falling asleep without me in the room, but it is being slightly complicated by the dreaded molars. (I knew I wouldn’t have a long time between teething episodes so I am not surprised, just full of sighs for stupid teeth.) Along with falling asleep on her own she’s putting herself back to sleep on her own, which is pretty huge. Also huge: Den was able to put her to bed while I was out one evening last week. Huge! For over a year I have had to come home and put her to bed, no matter what time it was I knew I had to hurry home because she’d be tired and cranky and refusing to sleep until I nursed her to sleep. The night I came home to find both kids in their beds I did a little dance!
At some point I’m going to need to night wean her so that she and I can actually sleep all night long – I am not even sure my body would know what to do without being woken up every couple hours. Night is really the only time she actually nurses a lot, she’s down to nursing just a couple times during the day, she’s just too busy and distracted. Kate at this age was very needy (from what I remember), nursing often. Ember’s just totally fine without it. She doesn’t dive or tug at my shirt at all. If she’s hurt or sad she just hugs me and nuzzles onto my shoulder. If she’s tired she’ll flop around on my lap until I nurse her, but then won’t actually nurse more than a couple seconds until I take her in a dark room. Once in a great while I’ll nurse her in public, usually when it’s past her nap time and she’s starting to lose it, but it’s a pain in the butt and doesn’t really accomplish much.
She’s taken over one of Kate’s nalgene no-spill water bottles and drinks water all day long when she feels like it. She won’t drink milk at all still – takes a mouthful and then lets it all dribble out of her mouth. I’m hoping that someday she actually decides to drink some, but I got tired of putting milk in a sippy cup just to have it spit all over. Food at least is going much better than the milk! Once she figured out chewing and textures she’s been doing just fine with table food and can handle most things without issue. She’s definitely not a kid who will eat anything and everything, she has her preferences and will drop food over the side of the highchair if she’s not keen on it. She loves meat, I can pretty much count on her eating whatever meat is with the meal. Fruits and veggies are more hit or miss. Grapes and blueberries are completely rejected. Banana, strawberry, watermelon and such are all eaten though it’s clearly not her favorite thing ever. Actually I’m not sure she really has a food that she totally loves, she’s just very measured in her appreciation.
She has continued bonding with Den. When she’s mildly upset by some bump or disappointment, if I’m not immediately available she runs right over to him for a hug and a cuddle – and sometimes after going to me she goes to him as well, double the consolation I guess! She loves to play with him, I always tell the girls that he is the fun guy (so go jump on him, not me!).
Maybe our memory is blurry, but it seems like Ember is really good at figuring things out. She’s solid on her feet and trying to jump already. She has really good fine motor skills and is always doing things that surprises us. She uses the toy vacuum around the living room, puts the balls in the dragon toy so they come out the various chutes, threads sticks through holes. I know none of this seems amazing to other people, but she just seems to pick things up really quickly after watching, and she experiments and figures things out herself. I guess watching babies grow and learn will just never get boring!
Kate has been testing my patience lately by sheer force of the whines, but she can also be so damn sweet. It was a bit of a rough week, my truck was in the shop for 3 days so we were stuck at home with nothing much to do except drive me crazy. She was just hyper and not listening at all. Getting out these last few days has helped a ton, she needs to get that energy out!
Today in the afternoon we sat at the table so she could go through a sticker book – stickers, a crossword puzzle, some connect-the-dots. She was really into it, she’s been enjoying matching things and was even starting to look for matching words in the crossword… but then she saw me circle some words and decided that was far more fun. She’d circle things like “APCAWODQ,” she’d read each letter outloud and then say, “What word is that?!” She did not like my answer that it, umm, wasn’t a word. She was so adorably earnest, and she did a really great job of circling the words with her markers.
When we were done and I got up to clean the kitchen she said, “Thank you for helping me, Mama!” So. Damn. Sweet.
Before bed I set out the TV remote and some cereal and water for when she wakes up in the morning. The last few days I’ve also put out a coloring page and the cup of crayons. It was so sweet to come walking out to see her bent over the table, coloring away, TV still off. And look at this, pretty good for a barely 3 years old. This is the kid who would not color anything, she would whine that she couldn’t and beg me to do it. Now that she figured it out she’s really taken off.
And this from a few weeks ago, tracing letters:
She is very fond right now of saying NEVER. Today she was lagging behind her cousins at the park and when I encouraged her to hurry it up she wailed, “I never catch them again!” Other new favorite words are either, as in, “I don’t know either!”
She is also all about HELPING… which is not often actually helpful. The wanting to help is really adorable; however, screaming, “I WANT HELP YOOUUU!!” while I attempt to do anything at all in the kitchen gets a bit twitch-worthy. She actually is good at helping me unload the dishwasher, just a little slow at it. And she knows she can’t help with knives. But she really really loves to help me cook and it drives her nuts to have to stand aside at the stove. I let her stand on her step-stool and watch, but she has to stay off to the side out of reach. Her attempts at helping me sweep and vacuum only slow me down, but it’s a great place to start!
For being a 3 year old girl she’s not very combative at all, my biggest complaint is the constant way everything is expressed as a whine. She’s still super sensitive and needs a lot of hugs and reassurances. I often think I give her too much praise though, typical oldest child, needs that constant attention and praise… it’s hard not to say “Good job!” especially given that I am frequently amazed at everything she can do! She is so big and capable, she loves to do things herself and I try to remind myself to give her lots of opportunities to be self-sufficient.
And one thing I can absolutely, positively say about Kate is that she loves her little sister. She gets upset if Ember grabs her things, but other than that she is still always holding her hand (pulling her along), giving her hugs (knocking her over), giving her toys and food and kisses and love. She frequently exclaims “I love my sister!” The two of them are almost always together. It makes my heart so happy.
Did I say something about how Ember walking made my life easier? Well it does in certain ways, like being able to put her down without having her rolling all over the dirty floor. The downside? She keeps running off on me now. She doesn’t technically run yet, but I would say she’s very very good at speedwalking. She sees an open gate, open door, open stairs, and she is there. Not just once… but every single time I put her down. And then if I don’t put her down she ends up being a struggling, squawking octopus on my lap. She is obsessed with going up and down stairs – and has the scraped knee to prove it. We were at a party last weekend and we were exhausted having to herd her away from the deck stairs, run after her to grab mulch out of her mouth every time she went to the playground, and then spotting her up and down the stairs over and over and over. It is boring, slightly terrifying (see the comment about the skinned knee), and just really tiring. We were really kicking ourselves for not bringing the stroller with us just so we could strap her in so we could eat dinner.
The other thing Ember is developing is tantrums. She has a spunky little temper now that she has realized that she wants things and can get things… but sometimes people don’t let her. She doesn’t understand what is wrong with these horrible people who don’t let her do fun things like dive off couches and grab the computer mouse to run off with, but she is going to illustrate her disapproval with a full range of acting skills. So far she has the back arch, kicking legs, rolling around, flailing arms, and screaming. It’s hilarious – and ear-piercing. Once distracted or otherwise calmed down it’s all immediately forgotten, though, so it’s kind of funny.
She is understanding a lot more and starting to speak some words. I can say, “Ember, can you go get a book?” and she’ll grin at me and (usually) go get a book. The sounds she makes at pretty vague and I’m still not 100% sure I can call them words, but she will say “Kate” (but everything kind of sounds like Kate right now), “Mama” (the usual unhappy “Mamamama!”), she’ll repeat “Daddy” if I ask her to say it (and will look around and find him), and the other day she said “Ba” while waving. She seems a little behind other kids her age in speech, but it doesn’t concern me at all since she’s really solid on her gross and fine motor skills. Also Kate doesn’t give her a huge opportunity to talk. (Lots of opportunities for screaming, though!) She’s pretty quiet during the day but really babbles at us a lot if she’s awake after Kate goes to bed. I’m really looking forward to having alone time with her when Kate starts preschool in September!
She spends a lot of time playing with objects: blocks in and out of buckets, putting balls in holes, turning pages on board books, dumping out cups of sister’s water all over the floor. She likes to carry things around and hand them to me or whomever is nearby. No fancy toys for this kid. It’s funny how the expensive, musical toys are only interesting for a short while until she knows how to work it, then it’s ignored. It’s the bowls and blocks and sticks that are endlessly fascinating!
One new thing that makes me get all mushy is that since her birthday she is becoming increasingly bonded to Denis. She was always very very much a mama’s girl, which I think is part due to personality and part due to the natural division of kids, Den gets Kate and I get the nursing baby. So it was normal and expected but it still made me a little sad when she just wanted mama. Now she seems to be realizing that he’s a pretty fun guy, he seems to also live here and provides good tickles. When Den gets home from work Kate immediately pops up and runs over to him, and just recently Ember has started doing the same thing! It’s really really adorable, she goes speed-walking over there and lets out a happy screech, arms up until he picks her up. Then she looks at me with this big happy grin on her face. So adorable.
She is still nursing, though she doesn’t nurse too often during the day.. but every couple hours at night still. I would like to nurse her until 18 months like I did Kate, but I’ll just do whatever works for her. She still refuses to drink cow’s milk – she spits it out like it’s something entirely weird. Of course I bought Ember her own special sippy cup for her birthday, while Kate got a water bottle; turns out Ember much prefers drinking from the water bottle. I got a second one, intending one color to be Ember’s and one to be Kate’s, but they swapped around so much I gave up trying to enforce anything. Whatever, they are sisters, they share germs anyways. As far as sleep goes… she is still in our bed. I consider a good night to be two wake-ups (of her crying, nursing, falling back to sleep). Bad nights are every hour. I really don’t like bad nights, and I’m not quite sure how I’m still functional after a few days in a row. I am going to try again to get her into her crib, which is right next to our bed. Fingers crossed that it goes well. I really would love to have my own bed space for at least part of the night, and getting more than 3 hours sleep in a stretch wouldn’t suck. What holds me (and her) back is my love of having her close. She’s probably my last baby. I love snuggling up and sniffing her baby-wash hair at night while she nurses. Yeah I’m tired, but once she’s in her crib it will all change so fast. Every time we have horrible nights and I think I’m done and ready then things shift back and I think well, it’s okay, I can wait. Sigh. Conflicting emotions.