It has been too long since I've offered a newsy update about our beautiful ms. C. She is growing and developing SO quickly that it is truly hard to bring to mind the cute stories, or ways of saying things, or developments... But I'll try...
Nighttime- Pretty. Darn. Good. She has not nursed in the dark of night since we returned to Nashville after our winter break. She has asked once or twice recently, but quickly remembers that we are waiting until sun up. She often will sleep 9 or so hours in her own bed, but sometimes joins us in our bed at some point in the wee hours. A sign that she has assimilated the night weaning is that she most often heads to Kev's side of the bed right away. She like to cuddle, especially with daddy, now that night nursing is not an option. This is not always the best for Kev's sleep, but he's surviving. Some nights he's actually slept with her on the floor in her room. She loves to snuggle with daddy. She also loves to announce "SUN UP, MOMMY! TIME FOR MILK!" At first she didn't grasp that the sun was up even when she couldn't literally see the sun. Now she understands that dark means night, light means day- and light comes from the sun being up! I'm hoping that with the time change MAYBE she'll start sleeping a bit later... one can dream! We've made HUGE progress on the sleeping front. Definitely something to celebrate!
Happy Hour- Since returning from Michigan (where we spent the holiday with Kev's parents) we've been having happy hour Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays before dinner. Caroline LOVES this. I think I may have mentioned it in the pic post below. She may have either chocolate milk or juice at happy hour. She almost always picks chocolate milk (surprise, surprise), but as soon as she finishes the milk she says "Now I have juice?" And everytime we say "Tomorrow (or next week) you can choose juice." But always... chocolate wins. This is fine. It is a very special treat, marking this as happy time. As is the custom in Kev's family, we toast at the beginning of happy hour (C with her box of chocolate milk, mommy with her sparkling water/cranberry juice/lime/stevia mixed drink in a pretty glass, daddy with an alcoholic beverage of his choosing, usually in a short crystal glass.) We clink or clunk our beverages together saying "to a happy day." C LOVES this, she does it at least three times before beginning to partake! I'm on a pretty restrictive diet at the moment, trying to get rid of some long residing symptoms in my system (nuff said), so my treats at happy hour are pretty limited. My greatest indulgence is macadamia nuts, which C tries to grab and gobble up before I can get to them. "But Caroline, you can have EVERYTHING on the tray- the sesame sticks, the potato chips, the cheese.... things mommy would LOVE to have too.... why not eat those?" To which she responds by grabbing three more macadamia nuts! Ah well! She has good taste at least.
Eating- She tends not to be too interested in dinner after happy hour, go figure. And even sometimes unexplainably on other evenings. Often if we can get her to take the first bite of something she'll happily gobble up more. Often we bribe her... if you take three big bites of this, you may have some strawberries (or raisins... or other dried fruit... or something else she wants.) And then just a bit of the treat is given after three bites and she'll get more if she takes three more bites. She's on to us, now though. When she's not all that hungry at first she says she wants fruit, but then she remembers what that means and she says "I not hongry. I don't want dinner or fruit." Sometimes she says that RIGHT away. WE don't force it. She often eats a lot of breakfast and lunch. And she'll nurse for a bit when I get home at the end of the day, reconnecting time (we're down to two or three times a day max.) She LOVES mac and cheese at the moment- Annie's mac and cheese usually. But she's fond of a chick pea masala that Kev has been making recently (in which he brilliantly hid blended Kale recently!) And she's enjoyed a mommy made avocado smoothies once or twice. She can even tell you what ingredients to put in- C's smoothies are better than mommy's! She really enjoys watching and helping in the kitchen. She'll often drag a big chair into the kitchen and stand on it so she can see what's going on. She always listens when daddy asks her to move back because something is hot.
Discipline- As was suggested at the end of the previous paragraph, she often is a very good listener and is quite obedient. This is, of course, not always the case. But more often than not she will do what she is told, if not initially, eventually. And she responds pretty well to "by the count of three". Time outs are also working well, when needed. She can still throw massive temper tantrums, but these aren't usually related to being corrected on behavior- they are more related to exhaustion or having to do something (like take a bath, or sit on the potty) that she doesn't feel like doing at the moment.
POTTY- I bought days of the week underpants for C this past week. She's been using the potty on and off for MONTHS now. She has had several days recently when she's done all her pooping in the potty (not every day, for sure, but several days). And she's gotten to a point where she tells us right away if she's pooped in her pants. It certainly seems she knows what it feels like when she needs to poop and she knows when she's done and when she's not. She'll sit on the potty for a LONG time, and I'll think she's just playing around, but... eventually a bit more comes out and she says "I all done! I am not as convinced that she knows when she needs to pee. I think that using underwear, at least for part of the day, so long as she keeps the underwear dry, will help her to figure this out. We'll see. We'll have to get some pullups, At the moment she's getting such exciting praise for peeing and pooping in the potty that she excitedly announces when I get home at the end of the day whatever she's done in that department- including "I POOPED MY DIAPER, MOMMY!" Um, o.k.... but we KNOW you can do that! Glad you're happy about it. We'll see... She LOVES the underwear. I think they're going to be good motivation for her.
When treats turn sour- Earlier this week I got home late at the end of the day and wanted to make it to the gym. To pacify C and distract her from her desire for an immediate reconnect nursing at the end of the day, and to celebrate a very good potty day, I offered her a lollipop. This did the trick. No mommy's milk necessary (you must know, despite the chocolate milk references and the lollipop- sweet treats around her are usually fruit... ). She happily sucked and chomped away- she chews lollipops. So bad for her teeth, I'm sure... but daddy does the same. She comes by it naturally. When we arrived at the Y her lollipop was gone and her face was covered with stickiness. Her hair, in fact, was plastered to her face. It seemed important to detach the hair and clean her face. So I got out a wipe and set to it. Pulling the hair off was, apparently, AGONIZING. She screamed and cried bloody murder. The people in the next car over said "Is she going to be alright?" "Um, yes, she's fine." And then I explained. Well, a few days later we took a family walk at Centennial Park. This was a very toddler friendly walk. We went where she wanted to go, and more or less lingered where she wanted to linger (though, admittedly, we did try to keep her moving.) She spent a lot of time digging in dirt and picking up sticks, even very big sticks. She was filthy by the time we got home. So, though she had a bath (much to her disdain) the day before, another bath was in order... once again a treat turned sour! Ah, life's lessons.
Une Artiste- C has been having a great time with the easel that Uncle Daniel and Aunt Lauren sent her and with the playdough creativity set they sent her... and she's also been enjoying just scribbling on paper with a pen. We need to get some fingerpaints. Uncle Daniel tried to send those too, but they were out of stock. I think she'll LOVE paint. She's also had fun with sidewalk chalk on our front porch. The girls next door came by and colored up a storm. Their pictures lasted several days, until a major rain. Such a cheery way to greet the day. C also LOVES stickers. Should we need incentives in the potty journey... stickers it will probably be.
Sing, Sing a Song... Every now and then C just bursts into song. Unlike her friend, Fiona who sings whole songs with impressive accuracy, Caroline tends to pick a line or two and belt them out again and again, or to riff on just a few words. This morning I think she was doing an improv loosely based on the itsy, bitsy spider, but the spider was now characterized differently. She seems to be absorbing song lyrics. She'll often start singing Laurie Berkner songs even if she hasn't heard the song for days "We're not perfect, no we're not!" So glad that line is sticking! She also loves to sing "We are the dinosaurs, marching, marching, we are the dinosaurs, what do you think of that?" And sometimes she'll sing "Moon, moon, moon..." and will even do the sound effect for the light clicking off. Once when nursing and singing her to sleep she broke her latch and started singing the lyrics to "Everything Possible" with me. (If you don't know this lullabye- lyrics here. Great, great song. I've been singing it to her nearly nightly her whole life with the hopes that the lyrics would sink deeply in. Maybe they are!)
Our Little Helper- In addition to the kitchen help mentioned above, C, apparently, is a great help with the smaller babes Kev cares for during the week. She's sharing more and more freely and at one point this past week when Parker was upset she went to the fridge, opened it up, and got out his milk and brought it to him. Very impressive as this meant distinguishing between his milk and Alistair's milk! She also often helps with diaper changes, getting out whatever Kev needs and waiting patiently by his side and handing things to him. Of course there are days when she is exceedingly possessive, whiny, and clingy... but more and more she is an eager, little helper. And she just LOVES Alistair and Parker. When we say thank you prayers she thanks God for them at least five times.
speaking of praying- She has some great spontaneous thank you prayers, but Mr. Brad, and Ms. Heather (alistair and ella's daddy and mommy) are always near the top of the list! She frequently spontaneously gives thanks for each of her grandparents and for aunts and uncles. Sometimes she'll throw in something that happened during the day. It is very sweet.
speaking of giving thanks- While we frequently prompt her to say thank you at appropriate moments, she OFTEN says it spontaneously, at very appropriate moments. So endearing.
speaking of speaking- Wow. Wow. Wow. She tells long, elaborate stories now. Sometimes recounting events of the day, sometimes events of weeks or even MONTHS past... she shocked us in January when she started telling a story, in detail, about halloween last year. Mr. Brad got a full accounting of her trip to the doctor when she wiped with yellow stuff and peed in a cup. Must be very careful what we say around her these days... She has so many cute little expressions, but they're escaping me at the moment... she asks "why?" and "what happened?" all the time. And lately she has started saying "Because..." a lot, but there's nothing to follow "because." Oh, I know one of them- "I DO IT MY OWN SELF!" We were waiting for some version of this to arise... it is here. The "My OWN self" bit is pretty funny. Not sure where she picked that up. She still pronounces milk as though it has three or four syllables- it is the one sure sign she was born in the south. Everytime she says it it sounds SO southern. Occasionally she adds a few syllables to "mommy" as well, southernizing that! Again, not sure where she's getting that from. And Kev just reminded me that sometimes instead of saying "my own self" she says something that sounds for all the world like "my bad self." She calls the pack and play (in which Parker naps) the "plack and play." She calls piglet "Pliget."
School? In some very recent and exciting news... we visited a homebased montessori program that is just two miles from our home. We were hoping this might be a good fit for C perhaps starting this summer (maybe even sooner). A mother of three runs this out of her home. She's an artist and received her masters in teaching from Belmont University two years ago. She's working on getting state certification so to be able to open a kindergarten. C loved the space- lots of great wooden toys. I saw C work on puzzles for the first time ever (Kev has seen her do so before.) I really think this could be a good fit for her. And I think we can afford it! Woohoo! We asked her if she wanted to come back sometime and she said "I want to stay!" When we asked her in the car if she wanted to go back there for school she said "Yes." It sounds like the kids have two hours of fairly unstructured play in the morning, she observes and assists where needed, but wants the kids to learn to help each other. They go outside twice every day (and it appears they do gardening as well as other outdoor play things.) There is circle time. And quiet time. Two snacks and lunch. She usually has a kid help her with lunch- either a volunteer or someone who seems to need some attention. The teacher has a daughter who is just a few months older than C, about Fi's age. Fiona and Ethan might go there this summer too!
Gardening- This is the beginning of my spring break (hence the long- and long overdue- post) and the big family goal for the week is to put in a garden. We didn't garden last year and our lot is a mess. Sam, Ethan, and Fiona are also hopefully going to work on this with us, at least twice this week! Woohoo! I might pick all three kids up three days a week from the montesorri program and bring them back for gardening at our place! Crazy to think that the last time we put in a garden we could sit her in her bumbo next to the garden plot while we worked- we had to take turns entertaining her! Now she'll likely be able to help (more or less!)
Family Activity- I mentioned the family walk in the park, but we also went for a family run at the track at the Y last night. C and K would run a lap, and then I would sprint a lap, we alternated like this for a mile. I'm trying to pick up my running speed a bit so this was a good exercise. And C had a lot of fun with it. Daddy is not a fan of running, but he was a good sport about it! The gardening should also be great family activity and we've been trying to get out for walks on beautiful days. Good stuff. Gotta love the southland in the springtime.
Choosing her Clothes- Daddy is more encouraging of this than mommy. I like things to match... he just wants her happy! I try to let her choose from within a range of matching options! Sometimes I come home to very interesting combinations. She thinks they're beautiful though! Guess that's all that matters.
Braiding Hair- The past three Sundays I have put C's hair into two french braids. I'm not very good at it, but I'm getting better. It takes quite awhile so I let her watch a movie while I work on it... and I ply her with snacks. Her hair is getting really long! The ends still curl out nicely. She gets so many compliments on her golden locks.
Last Saturday- C and I went to the downtown library to return some signing time d.v.d.'s and hang out in the children's library for awhile. It turned out there was a marionette show of Alice in Wonderland in the theater there so we did that. We had SUCH a good morning. She was squirmy during the play, but made it through the whole thing. She played on one of the toddler computers for awhile. She listened, and cooperated, and accepted redirection. I picked up a cookie for her at the coffee shop attached to the library... I was so proud of her! It was SUCH a good morning! Alleluia!
Surely there's more, but surely that's more than enough. Pics will follow... soon, I hope.