Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Almost TWO

Dear Pea,
Clearly this is a VERY long overdue post. In the 6 weeks since I have last written, you have taken control of language, going from knowing many words and having some phrases to simply talking. You narrate scenes and activities, you report on past events and talk about future outings. You keep special people in your head and will talk about Seattle family weeks after seeing them.

You sing all the time. You can't carry a tune in a bucket, Sweet Pea, but you love to sign. Daddy and I often can't quite tell exactly what you're singing as your lyrics are sometimes a tad creative, but eventually we catch on.  The toughest one to date was "Ah-LLLLLL AWAY!" complete with a head bop. Hmm. That took almost a week until we realized you were signing it when a Sesame Street character was in sight, either a book or a stuffed animal. Aha! The Sesame Street Theme Song! "Sweeping the clouds away" is what you were getting at.

Another favorite song is "Let's Go Rangers!" which you will yell out whenever the mood strikes. You are also an avid Penn State fan, insisting on wearing your PSU t shirt whenever possible.

You insisted on changing your outfit into this once you saw the shirt on your drawer

You are also expanding your letter knowledge from only E to H (for Harper) and R (for Unlce Rossy). You particularity like the sign for R and try to make it often. Also of note is F for F train which we take most frequently, G for Gary (you love to call Daddy by his first name, especially if you want something from him). You are completely uninterested in M for Mama. Maybe I should try M for Muppets...

 you and Harper in the bath with all the letters. Apparently S and U are particularly delicious

We finished our first semester of Forest School last week and played in the snow! You happily wore your mittens because you were miserable with your hands cold. This is not typical for other kids your age, but you were crying from discomfort without them. And once we decided to sign "Where is Thumbkin?" every time we put them on, well, it's a no-brainer now. You love your mittens! Except that you call them mitts. (You also call buttons butts. Pretty awesome.)

You got to spend some special time with your boys after Thanksgiving, playing in the park by our house and going to the Museum of Natural History a week later. You loved the museum and can't wait to go back, but the draw wasn't the dinosaurs or the big whale or the taxidermy. Nope, the best part was the stairs by the planetarium. Best. stairs. ever. We'll have to go back soon!

 Dinos are alright, I guess. But nothing compared to snacks!

You're going to be two in a couple of weeks. My mom has been dead for over two years. Life is barreling by, full speed, full steam, no stops. We laugh a lot, Sweet Pea. We dance a lot. We eat a lot of chocolate. We snuggle a lot, we play, we read lots and lots and lots of books. We bake muffins every week. You are amazing. This is a good life.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Dear Pea,
Your latest request is "right now." Whatever you want, you want it "right now!" It's a bit disconcerting, because Daddy and I are fairly certain that we don't demand that things be done with that amount of urgency. I will sometimes tell you that we can't do x y z right now, or that it's not time for x y z right now, but you have taken that phrasing to new levels.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

22 months old!

Dear Pea,
Your 22nd month saw autumn in full swing. It's been a glorious fall this year, we've been playing outside a lot!  We've also been very social, having play dates almost every day. And on days where we don't have a formal arrangement, you run into your pals at the park

impromptu pretend nap at the park

your awesome sitter getting mobbed by her current and past charges

We've been working really hard on sleep weaning the past few months and it's slow going, but rewarding. You have gone from only nursing to sleep to falling asleep in your own bed with Daddy sitting next to you while I work. You have little rituals as you're falling asleep, sometimes you like to count, sometimes you like to list all of the people who love you ("Mama loves Eliza. Dada loves Eliza. My boys love Eliza. Uncle Chris loves Eliza. My boys love Eliza") sometimes you like to just have one of us touch your head. You still come to our bed, but it's later and later. And you wake up in the morning singing. This morning I woke up to your rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: "Twinkle! Twinkle! How I wonder! You ARE!" And then on to the ABCs "A! B! C! E! E for Eliza! Next time sing with ME!!" I just wake up laughing.

Speaking of E for Eliza, you now point out all E's-on signs, on Daddy's t shirts, on other people. You insist on having them drawn on the bathtub while you're taking a bath. In other literary news, you've memorized some of your books and now read along. At high volume. Your enthusiasm knows no limits.

We also celebrated your second Halloween. You dressed up as Kermit the Frog. When anyone asked you what your costume was, you would jump up and down and say "ribbit ribbit" On Halloween itself, you get a lollipop. It may have been the Best Thing Ever because now whenever anyone asks about Halloween, you yell "POP!" You probably ate 1/3 of the thing, but it lasted all night and made you very happy.

 Halloween! And the famous pop!

 Your hair is so long now that you need a ponytail every day to keep it out of your eyes. Luckily you oblige most of the time. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Forest School

Dear Pea,
Of all the activities you have done and do, your favorite is Forest School. Only a month in to this weekly class, it is easily a highlight of your week. You talk about the teachers Sally and Jane, you request the songs, you are an active participant in class rituals. And the funny thing is, it's a Waldorf-inspired curriculum so there really isn't a lot of direction. It's an hour and a half of playing in the dirt, washing hands, eating a snack, playing in the trees, then sitting in a circle singing. But you already know the songs and the motions that go along with them. You know the flow of the class and sense the pacing. Today was our first class in rain and cold and you were undeterred, loving every minute.

 taking a mud break on a stump

 washing hands! A favorite activity

 taking a "horsey ride" on a fallen tree

flying a kite

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

21 months old

Dear Pea,
Dearest, magnificent, amazing Sweet Pea, you are 21 months old. You are almost TWO. When people ask how old you are, I say "she'll be two in January." It's so funny, we used to count your age in weeks, then months and now it's derivatives of years.

You speak in sentences. You sing, which is magical and hilarious and lovely. You can't carry a tune, but you know the lyrics and request songs and then sing along. You drink tea and eat soup and request mushrooms. You call soda "so-la" and kombucha "bucha" and know that you can drink bucha but so-la is "ew." Also "ew" are dirty diapies, dirt in general and the bottoms of your shoes. And raisins most of the time.

As seems to be the norm with the equinoxes, everyone we know has been sick. You got a weird 6 hour stomach bug, then a cold, then an itchy rash on your feet and now have another cold. Everything has been mild and you've healed quickly, but the most remarkable thing has been how you can communicate what's going on. Before the rash appeared, you told us that your feet itched and that you wanted cold water on them. So we ran your feet under cold water and slathered you with calendula and oatmeal cream and by the time we got you to the doctor, she said it was such a mild case of hand foot and mouth that she wasn't even sure that's what it was, maybe it was just a little virus after-shock.  And now with this current cold, you feel totally fine, just have a boogery nose, which you love to wipe by yourself. When you sneeze, you request tissues. You don't love it when I do gua-sha, but man, does is make a difference.

You love to help. "Eliza help mama!" is a common request and you are actually quite helpful. We bake together at least once a week, you dump ingredients into the bowls and throw away egg shells. You help Daddy sort the recycling each week and love to help with all aspects on laundry. You also love the "clean up" song and as soon as it's begun to be sung, you start picking up toys and putting them away.

helping me put away clean clothes

You are very diplomatic on the playground, insisting on taking turns with toys or apparatus.  Well, maybe insisting that it's your turn is a more accurate statement, but so far you are willing to wait out other people's turns without too much protest.  Today over a lunch of chicken and veggie soup, I told you how proud I was of you this morning for sharing toys and taking turns on a playdate/personal training session we had this morning. You nodded and said "Eliza's turn, then Maya's turn. We're friends." Holy shit, did that blow my mind.

Holy shit, do you blow my mind all the time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Eliza shut door"

Dear Pea,
In the past two weeks, you have gone from not saying your name at all to mastering it top now referring to yourself in the third person. You have always been a big narrator of your surroundings or activity around you but now you're narrating your actions, too. "Mama pushing Eliza stroller! Whee!" "Eliza in bath! Eliza dump agua!" I'm not sure when or why the 3rd person comes out, you still will say "I" sometimes, too. Anyway, as evidenced by Elmo, this 3rd personal referral is just another reminder of how much a toddler you are.

 another shot of the shoes you love
"Eliza sit raisins! That funny"

Friday, September 6, 2013


Dear Pea,
Yesterday you said "I love you" for the first time. It was lovely, but it didn't make my heart flutter and swoon the way my friends describe their first "I love you." You are a parrot, what can I expect?

But today, we bought you a new pair of shoes and as we were leaving, you declared "I love these shoes!". That, Sweet Pea, made me melt. A) You are so like my mom! B) You actually do know the meaning of love

the shoes you love

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

thank you

Dear Pea,
In my topsy turvey first year of parenthood, a year of mourning, of whiplash, of struggles too painful and joys too plentiful to name, a dear dear friend sent me a book. That book closes with snippet of words that rang so true, so profound to me in my postpartum haze that I still can not even think of them without tearing up. Here it is in its entirety:  http://therumpus.net/2011/02/dear-sugar-the-rumpus-advice-column-64/

I think the final three words become more powerful with the rest of the paragraphs in front of them. But those final three are the most salient. It's become my inner mantra. I don't say it out loud, but I say it to myself all the time. So, out loud, I offer gratitude wherever I find it, whenever I feel it.

And so do you.

Not because we prompt you. We don't sings-ongy ask you "what do you say?" after receiving something. But almost every time someone says "here you go" you say "thank you."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Your 20th month

Dear Pea,
Your 20th month has brought about big changes. You are completely, undeniably, 100% toddler. No more baby. You speak in sentences: "I want milk on the couch" "Mama, read this book please" "Daddy is all done with the shower." You take off running when presented with any open space. You run with your arms flapping by your sides, as if you are too excited to to remain grounded and are requesting flight. You run with intention, with joy, with no direction. Sometimes I try to chase you, playing "I'm going to get you" and you squeal with glee, but it's difficult to chase you because you are content to wander and I can't anticipate your next move.

With running comes falling down. Skinned knees, bruised elbows and boo boos abound. You insist on having your boo boos kissed my me and Daddy about ten times a day. Sometimes first thing in the morning you will wake up and say "mama kiss boo boos!" and, of course, I do. I fell off my bike last week and have some spectacular boo boos of my own and you like to kiss them after I kiss yours. This was unprompted, you just made the connection. "I kiss!"  You also keep track of the boo boos you have received. Your buddy H is in a little bit of a biting phase and you keep pointing out where he bit you and having us kiss the boo boo. This was a month ago now, but you won't forget. You don't hold it against H, you still love to play with him, you just know that he bit you.

You know all of these guys by name and ask about them constantly. 

These guys, too

You really love to play with your friends. Or, rather, you love to talk about your friends. You will spend all day getting excited to see a buddy, taking it up, and then when you see them, you don't really interact. Or it takes you a long time to warm up. The child development books say that people your age engage in "parallel play" which means that you play near each other, but not really with each other. This is mostly true, though you definitely interact and play with sometimes, too. 

 you and H

You sing along when I sing. Old McDonald, some Vared songs, Happy Birthday. You request songs by name or by chorus. Or the Alphabet song by saying H,I,U,V. You love to sign, and know more signs than I do, I think. The latest are hot and cold-you've been signing cold when you want something cold to drink ("cold seltzer!") and hot when you want something hot to eat ("hot soup!"). You call sign language "nice." You like to count, though almost always say there are TWO of anything when there are more than one. "Two boys!" in the photo of Bob bob and his three brothers, "two blocks!" when looking at your set of 24, "two hats!" when you're wearing two or more on your head at any given time. We correct you by counting out how many there really are and you nod emphatically and again say there are two. You enjoy counting with us when we're counting, particularly when walking up stairs. There are 17 stairs leading up to our apartment.  You count 1, 2, then are silent until 8. Sometimes you'll say 10, too, but often you are silent again until 13, 14, 15. Maybe the teens are just more fun to say.

We have started night weaning, which has been tough. You've always nursed to sleep and this is a big change. The first night, I was so nervous that I kept pushing back your bedtime, letting you watch your favorite signing DVD and keeping you up until nearly 9pm. Finally, though, you were clearly ready for bed, so we nursed on the couch until you were done and then got in bed. I explained that the boobies were sleeping and you'd have milk in the morning and you were so sad, it broke my heart. But you fell asleep without nursing and each night it's been a little easier.You still have milk throughout the night, that will be the next step. I'm in no hurry to wean you completely, that will be up to you, though you have naturally dramatically decreased the amount of milk you want. You really only nurse around sleep times-first thing in the morning, for nap and before bed. Once in awhile you want some mid-morning and late afternoon. We practice "don't offer, don't refuse" so I don't say no if you really want it, but I will try to distract you or offer you something else before offering milk.  Sometimes you're actually happy to eat a snack, or read a book, or have a snuggle and sometimes you really want the milk, so then you get it. The only time I flat out refuse is in bed for the night.

Sometimes you are difficult for me to deal with. In stereotypical toddler fashion, you love to scream "NO!" I mean, scream, with vibrato and force. Sometimes because you really don't want to do what we're asking, sometimes because some is trying to play with something of yours, sometimes just for fun. It can be trying. Hardest for me is when we've spent a good amount of time doing something wonderfully fun and you pitch a fit when it's time to leave. I want you to say "thank you, mama, what a fun morning, I'm ready for a nap now" and then fall gently to sleep. In reality, you scream "NO!" and "MORE!" and fight me getting into the stroller ("I want to walk!") and then demand that I sign "Dell!" (The Farmer in the Dell) or "Bus wheels!" (The Wheels on the Bus) to help you sleep as we walk. When I sit back, I know that your reaction actually is toddler speak for "thank you, mama, what a fun morning, I'm ready for a nap now" but sometimes I get lost in translation. I'm sorry.

In fact, there have been many times in the past month where I have been 100% convinced that I am doing everything wrong. Not setting enough boundaries, not being gentle enough, not sending the right messages. After one particularly awful morning, I could not take it anymore and put you in the jogging stroller and went for a run. You had been cranky in the apartment, but now yelled "whee!" and pointed out every bike and baby you saw. About 2 miles in, my anger subsiding, you turned back to me and said" Mama running! Mama feels good!"  Ok, so maybe I'm not doing everything wrong. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

All the ways you make my heart burst

Dear Pea,
You have started singing along when I sing to you. One of our favorite kid's musicians is our neighbor and we've been listening to her CD since you were a newborn. Now when I sing the songs, you start singing, too. You also sing Row Row Row Your Boat (well, just "row row row" over and over) and jump in with H I J during the alphabet song. We walk down the street together singing and my heart just melts.

You are obsessed with buckles. You will sit for 20 minutes or more clicking them together, asking for help undoing them and them redoing them. Sometimes you'll affirm "more click!" You ask for help as soon as they have been fastened "Hep, peas!" It's the "peas" that kills me. You will often sign for "please" as you're asking. And very often, we get a "tink to!" once we open it for you. That's right, Sweet Pea. At 18 and a half months, you use "please" and "thank you" unprompted. Amazing. Heart burst!

 some of your favorite buckles!

You like to help me in the kitchen. I make banana bread and salads and smoothies and you "want to dump!" the ingredients into the bowl or blender. I measure them out and you dump them in. Sometimes you'll wander into the kitchen and say "I want to dump!" unprompted and we'll start a food project together. I love love love that we're already cooking together.

eating some of what you've helped prepare

I let you play with my keys the other day while I was putting away clean laundry. A couple of hours later, I needed to leave and couldn't find my keys. Remembering that you had been playing with them, I asked you if you knew where they were. You walked right over to the laundry hamper, pointed in and said "keys!" Yup, there they were!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

18 months

Dear Pea,
You are talking up a storm these days, adding two or three words a day, it seems (most recently: soccer ball, Kermit, and kick) and stringing together phrases. "I want to type" is a common one these days and it means "I want to be involved in the action." Sometimes that's actually typing, but you'll say it if we're blowing bubbles and you want to hold the wand and blow, or if you want to push the stroller or if you want to hold a book. Another oft-heard request is "park! hats! two!" which means "Let's go to the park, I need to wear a hat and I want to wear two of them!" Yes, you very much like wearing two (or more) hats these days. You also have very strong opinions about which shoes you want to wear. Almost always you insist on wearing the pair that's least appropriate for the activity you want to do and/or the outfit you are wearing.

walking down the street with Aunt Rachel & Uncle AJ. Those shoes don't really go with that dress...

We have also ventured into Pottyland! You have put your tinkles in the potty a handful of times in the past few weeks and have also begun telling us when you are going to poop, or just after.  The times you've said "poop" before actually pooping, I've asked if you want to sit on the potty and put your poops in there and you've said no. Okay, not a problem, I'm just excited that you're communicating the sensation. We are still a LONG way from actually potty training, but it seems that we're moving in that direction.

You are obsessed with the bike and request bike rides multiple times a day. You love to play with your helmet, clicking the strap into place (you can't yet unclip it, thankfully) and bringing it me in hopes that I will then take you out on the bike.

 So happy gearing up for a ride!

In addition to wearing multiple hats and choosing your shoes, you are also loving dress up. When I take out my resistance bands for clients, you immediately grab them and drape yourself in them.  You have been known to make evening gloves out of Daddy's socks. You have also mastered smiling for the camera, though only when you feel like it, of course.

 three hats!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

all the words you say

Bob Bob
baby (when we say "Brandon" you say baby)*
thank you*
I want to/the/some...
night night
that's mine
fish (pish!)
girl (gee-al)
all done
bye bye
My-My (for "Maya")
Nanna (for "Eliana")
night night

*use the sign and say it

Friday, June 21, 2013


Dear Pea,
It is your second summer solstice. Yang energy is over abundant and uncontainable. You and all of your buddies are sick with fever and runny noses. Everyone is erupting teeth, growing taller, voicing their desires and generally running amok. It is deliciously energy draining and I am exhausted. I have my own yang overload and am struggling to find the balance (always) between yours and mine, independence and attachment, do and rest, yang and yin. You have been napping heavily, three hours at a time, after climbing, running, twirling, coloring, stomping, swinging and singing; at 17 months, you are the very definition of "verb." Action.

You know the hand movements to The Itsy Bitsy Spider and request other songs by title. You can basically teach an entire baby boot camp class, squatting, jumping, pulling bands and stretching. First thing in the morning, you run to the door and say "bye bye," requesting to go out, grabbing your shoes.

You walk down the street holding our hands.

You say "purple" and "that's mine!" and "I want some more." You can me "mommy" which I am hoping will be short lived as I was hoping to be "mama."

We started a babysitter this week and she is wonderful. I have more work than I can do with you and relying on favors; it's bittersweet. You cry when I leave but stop before I have stepped down one stair. Last night you fell asleep on her chest. It's also awesome. I am so happy to be working more.

busy busy!

all tucked out after a bike ride to the water park. 
Don't worry, you were wearing your helmet the entire ride

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Dear Pea,
I forgot to mention a big new word and concept lately: CLIMBING. You love to climb on your high chair, into bed, up the stairs...

This is not our stroller

Friday, June 7, 2013

17 months old!

Dear Pea,
You completed your 17th month earlier this week. Lately everything you do astounds me. Yesterday you pulled out The Very Busy Spider, said "Book!" and sat down, opened the book and started saying "Ba!" and "Moo!" That's right, Sweet Pea, you are now reading books on your own. (Okay, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it's still so freaking amazing to me). Also on the communication front, you have a slough of new words (car, truck, thank you, pasta ((pasta is a toy, not food))...) and have started stringing words together: "More chocolate, Mama." You have also invented your own sign!  You *love* the song 5 Little Monkeys and request it by shaking your finger at me, mimicking the scolding gesture we do when we say "no more monkeys jumping on the bed!"  Then you reach out both of your hands to hold a grown-up's hands and start jumping. It's beyond cute, I can't take it.

 jumping with Aunt Rachel & Uncle AJ

 4 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed!
You have also started walking backwards for fun. You like to see what you're going to run into. While I wouldn't describe you as a daredevil, you definitely enjoy physicality and adventure. And climbing on things.

The weather has flirted with summer and there have been a few really hot days. We ventured to the water park with some buddies of yours, which you loved. Beyond loved.


You have also started having an opinion about what you wear. You almost always want a hat ("hat-tah") and shoes on. Even if only a hat and shoes.

The funniest development to me is how you've been treating Daddy. You have invented games with him that you don't play with me. Most recently is the TV negotiation game. This morning, as we were getting ready to leave the house:
Daddy (turning on the TV to delete things off of the DVR)
Pea: Mup mups!
Daddy: No Muppets, we're getting ready to leave
Pea: Okay, hocko!
Daddy: No, not hockey either, we're getting ready to leave
Pea (pointing at the remote control and nodding vigorously): Daddy, hocko! Yeah, hocko! (smiles very cutely)

Another game is "Hi, baby!" Daddy comes home from work and immediately gives you a snuggle and says "Hi, baby!" To which you reply "Hi, baby!" and this then goes on and on. You never call me baby. It's pretty hilarious to watch.