23 Months: Entering the Mine Zone

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My little ragamuffin is now 23 months old.

The first time she went without a nap was on her 20 month birthday.  From that point on she started getting her toddler on more and more.  She’s not a tantrumy type girl.  But she’s still a toddler.  She is certainly exploring the concept of things being “mine” or belonging to different people.

I think I must be weird because I love it.  I love her feisty little “MINE!”, I love seeing her mind tick over and discover the concept of ownership.  I love that when you touch or tickle her she cries “No dat’s MY nose!” or “No dat’s MY foot!”.  She has a strong sense of bodily autonomy and ownership and I love that.

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She likes her personal space.  If another child starts getting to far into her personal space without her permission, she starts saying firmly “No!  Stop!  Get away!”  She is shy and wary with people she doesn’t know and takes quite a while to warm up.  Which is always strange to me, because with us and people she is comfortable with, she is an utterly zany, crazy little person who is a laugh a minute.

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She is a talker.  She talks in full sentences and has done for at least the last month or so.  Things like “I want toast” or “I fink its dry now” or “mummy is dat yummy?”  People often comment on how clearly she speaks.

For all her strength in the linguistic area, she is slower on the gross motor skills.  She only mastered climbing recently and was very proud of herself.  She has only just figured out that you can climb off the bed by turning around backwards.  She stills needs my help to climb on a rocking horse or those little toddler push bike things.  Her mummy is more of a bookworm than an athlete so maybe she takes after me 😛

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She spent about 2-3 months obsessed with The Wiggles.  Then she got a Hairy Maclary DVD and watched that a million times.  Her latest obsession is Peppa Pig.  Through all of these fickle changes of heart, however, her longstanding love is Angry Birds Toons.  She will beg for “Angy Birds ona iPad” and we will find her the videos online and she will beam from ear to ear.

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She does still nap most days, although will sleep in sometimes and then skip a nap that day.  However she now doesn’t go to bed until around 9:30-10pm.  She has stamina!  She still loves our bottle cuddles and she still goes to sleep on my lap with a bottle and dummy and I put her in her bed once she’s a sleep.  I know the day is coming all too fast that she won’t need my cuddles anymore.  So I enjoy, while I still can, the warm weight of her growing body on mine, watching the slow descent of her eyelashes onto her cheeks.

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She is a fussy sparrow eater.  She likes to graze and very rarely eats a dinner-type meal.  Vegies are a no go, although luckily she likes a lot of fruits.  All I can do is try to make sure her grazing snacks are as healthy as possible and keep offering dinners and vegies and eat them in front of her.

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Although I love her exploration of the concept of “mine”, obviously that doesn’t mean she gets her own way all the time.  If something isn’t in fact hers, then it is my place to step in and guide her around the concept of ownership.  We are getting there and I think the most important thing is to keep your expectations to an age-appropriate level.  It is totally normal for a child to not understand the idea of sharing until after the third birthday.  I find that often in the heat of the moment she may get upset or whingy, but then next time she sees the object or enters a similar situation, she will say something like “dat’s Daddy’s one”.  It’s like her little brain has been processing it all in the meantime and it’s kind of cool to observe.

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I can’t believe she is almost two years old, but then, on the other hand, she is certainly moving past the level of a one year old and in that respect, her being two totally makes sense.  She is feisty, funny, empathetic, strong willed, attached and yet independent.  She always wants me close by but she wants to do things for herself.  She is just an awesome, awesome little person.  I adore this age (even if she wears me out sometimes!) and I adore her.

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14 to 18 Months: An Energizer Parrot!

Sometime around the 14 month mark, Scarlett started walking.  To be honest, I actually don’t remember her “first steps”.  I do clearly remember one day, at a time when she had taken the odd step or two now and then,  that she suddenly walked a series of 3 or 4 steps across the lounge and Daddy C and I just looked at each other in surprise, because we hadn’t been expecting it.

IMG_2628-1-4One of the first times she stood on her own, at about 12.5 months

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From there it was just a gradual process of becoming more confident, and slowly transitioning her first choice of movement modality from crawling into walking.  By 15 months, walking was the mode of choice, with a funny little waddling run thrown in now and then.  I quickly forgot what it was like when she DIDN’T walk and she continued to gain confidence.

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Off a-waddlin at 16 months

I’m not sure I can explain why, but as soon as she started walking, I started enjoying motherhood with her a LOT more.  I struggled with life with a baby, but I LOVE having a toddler!  She is so fun, I love that she can get to where she wants to go by herself – she is less frustrated and is able to communicate better, because anything she can’t say, she can just go to or point at, and it helps immensely.  I love when she goes and chooses a book she wants and bring it to me to read – she is no longer just a receptacle, a recipient… she has her own ideas of what she wants to do and play with, and it’s so much more fun.

Her language also continues to grow and grow.  I made a little impromptu list  on her 17 month birthday, just out of curiosity and as a kind of keepsake.

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However, no sooner had I written the list, than it became redunant.  She is becoming more and more of a little parrot every day.  The things she comes out with these days continue to amaze me.   She also has a couple of sentences: she says “it’s a ___” or “that’s a ____”, for example: “itsa cat!” or “that’s a mummy”.  She also says “where’s ____?” while holding her hands out in an extremely cute little shrugging gesture and searching for the mentioned item: “where’s bowl?” or “where’s minna?”  She’ll say things I didn’t know she can say quite unexpectedly and both blow me away and crack me up at the same time… such as when she threw the flash cards all over the floor and then said “itsa mess!”  Hahaha yes, why yes bubba, it IS a mess!

She is an energizer bunny, she gets up at 6:30-7 am, has one nap and is often still going at 8:30-9 pm at night.  She has the funniest, zanniest little personality and it is so awesome watching it develop as she gets older.  She is such a little girl now… and I am loving it! 🙂

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14 Months Old

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15 Months Old

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16 Months Old

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17 Months Old

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Today on her 18 months birthday 🙂

“Minna”: Thoughts from a Dummy Mummy

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Scarlett, for some unexplainable reason, calls her dummy a “minna”.  Don’t ask me why – I’ve never called it anything but a dummy!  For some reason, she has quite firmly decided that it is called a “minna”.

I never intended for my baby to have a dummy.  In fact, I used to hate them.  But Scarlett has always had a very strong need to suck.  When I weaned her from the breast at 6 months old, I quickly realised I was going to need something to replace my boob for times when she needed comfort, not food.  It made me realise how often she had been comfort sucking at my boob!

I did my research and I do know the risks of using a dummy – largly orthodonic risks.  In the reality of day to day life though, I just don’t know how we’d do without it.  As I have often discovered in my parenthood journey, intentions can often mean nothing if they are formed without accurate expectations and understanding of the situation you are creating intentions for.

Interestingly, the majority of the cot death research suggests that having a dummy DECREASES the chance of cot death.  Funny how the powers that be are so quick to promote things like breastfeeding and not smoking when they show a correlation with a lowered chance of cot death… and yet you don’t really hear about this other potential risk-lowering factor to nearly the same exent.

It’s not like I use the dummy as a substitute for mySELF, for my motherly love and presence.  But rather, if she is hurt or tired or needs comfort, she will feel more comforted sitting in my arms with her dummy, than she will sitting in my arms without her dummy.  It calms her, gives her that point of focus.  It reminds me of how I feel when I take that first sip of a much needed cup of tea – her whole body relaxes, the tension goes.

Will I have to go through some painful “removal” process at some point?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Have you ever met an 18 year old who still uses a dummy?  For now, as with most things in parenthood, I am just letting her have what she needs and going with the flow.  When she needs comfort, when she needs to be calm, when she asks for it – she has her “minna”.

I had this conversation with her the other day on the change table:

Scarlett: <holding her dummy and pointing to it> “Minna minna minna!”
Me: “It’s a DUMMY!”
Scarlett: “Itsa MINNA!” <shoves it in her mouth and glares at me>

I guess it’s a minna then! 😛

Family Christmas Trip 2012 – The Highlights

Seeing as we spent Christmas over here in Australia last year, we decided to make the trip to New Zealand for Christmas and New Years this year, to see my family (Scarlett’s grandma and aunties).  They hadn’t seen her since our trip over there when she was 6 months old, so they loved spending some time with her, and she loved it as well!  She got very spoilt for Christmas!

Seeing as there is no direct flight from Perth to Wellington, we decided to break the trip up a little and had two nights in Sydney on the way and two nights in Melbourne on the way back.  I’m really glad we decided to break the flights up like that (flying with a 16 month old can be challenging at best!), and it was really nice to get a quick little glimpse of two Aussie cities that I’m rather fond of.

The weather in Sydney and Melbourne was fantastic, and even Wellington turned on the sun and a bit of warmth for Christmas Day!  Daddy C and myself even got a couple of nights on the town in Wellington thanks to a grandma eager to babysit 🙂

Travelling with a toddler certainly isn’t the laidback beach-chillin that comes to mind when you think of the word “holiday”… but we had a really great two weeks together and it was a wonderful break away from everyday life to round off a really good year.

I decided to write this as a highlights post and pop up a photo from each day of our holiday… there will be individual posts for each day with many more photos to come 🙂

 

Saturday, 22 December – Flying to Sydney

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Sunday, 23 December – Sunny Day In Sydney

babywearing at darling harbour

 

Monday, 24 December – Christmas Eve – Family Time in Wellington

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Tuesday, 25 December – Christmas Day in Wellington

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Wednesday, 26 December – Boxing Day – Drawing

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Thursday, 27 December – Fun at Grandma’s

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Friday, 28 December – Grandma’s 52 Year Old Teddy Bear

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Saturday, 29 December – “Cooking”

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Sunday, 30 December – Hanging With Nana

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Monday, 31 December – New Year’s Eve – Family Day

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Tuesday, 1 January – New Year’s Day – Three Generations of Girls

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Wednesday, 2 January – Flying to Melbourne

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Thursday, 3 January – Melbourne Hotel

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Can’t beat Melbourne on a good day!

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Friday, 4 January – Flying Home!

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{360/366:2012} Christmas Day

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Christmas Day is upon us!

And Santa didn’t disappoint!  By Santa, I do of course mean Grandma.  I saw a onesie in Target once that said “Who needs Santa when you have Grandma?”  I think that is pretty accurate!

Bubba enjoyed it much more than she did last year, when she was only 4 months old.  She helped rip the wrapping paper and enjoyed her presents, but it all got a bit overwhelming after a while.  We kept heaps of presents still wrapped to give to her over the next few days.

She really did enjoy the gifts she got though 🙂  Her favourites were: a pink hairbrush with her name on it from Mum, a fat cat toy from Dad (“awwww bidta!”… translation = “awww bedtime”… fat cat comes on TV in Australia at 730 pm when it’s time for girls and boys to go to bed), a Playmobil motorbike with a little man from Grandma, and a little handbag with a cat that sits in it, also from Grandma.

We had a fantastic Christmas roast lunch made by my mum, absolutely delicious!  We were so stuffed that we had dessert for dinner!  But what a dessert – chocolate and raspberry trifle – yummo!

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2512web-3This is Grandma’s stocking for Scarlett.  Yes, all for Scarlett.  She must have been very good this year.

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2512web-5With one of her favourite presents.

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2512web-7Bubbles!

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New shoes!  A gift from daycare.

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2512web-15Grandma’s delicious trifle!

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We Finally Made It To The Beach!

When we first decided to build our house, one of the things that drew me to this location was the fact that there is a coastline and beach just 5 minutes drive from the house site.  And yet, we moved in and somehow just never made it to the beach!  At first we didn’t have a car, and it really is just that little bit too far to walk.  Then we got a car… but it was winter… and life settled into a routine… and we just never got around to it.

A few weeks ago I decided I really needed to check out this local beach!  So Scarlett and I popped down for a quick little visit.  It’s gorgeous!!  Fairly secluded and quiet but totally stunning, it felt like being on holiday and it was less than 5 minutes drive from our house!

As soon as we got over the sand dune, Scarlett started pointing at the ocean and emiting her little interested noises “ah!  ah!”  I put her on the sand and she started racing off towards the water!  I didn’t let her go in this time because I wanted to go to the shops afterwards, but we definitely have to head back there soon with togs and towel and let her go for it in the wet sand.

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Seagull!

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13 Months: The Growth of Comprehension and Independent Thought

I gotta tell ya, 13 months has been pretty challenging for me.  She has been constantly grizzly and clingy, which I find very difficult to deal with.  I have done my best to remember the lesson I learned the other day, to just let go of stressing about getting anything done and just be present to her – which helps and I think I have largely been the mother I want for her (with the help of a few deep breaths from time to time!).  Sometimes it’s like she doesn’t even know what she wants herself – she’ll grizzle to be picked up, so I pick her up only to have her twist out of my arms, and then immediately whinge to be picked up again!

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I know it’s just because of her growing little brain though, and I really do feel like she has turned some kind of corner developmentally lately.  Just little things, but somehow they always excite and surprise me and make me look at her differently.

She’s starting to play little games and use her budding little imagination.  For example, the other day I turned around and she was pretending to write on a piece of paper with a pen.

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Later the same day, she started playing a peekaboo game with me – she crawled into our bedroom and shut the door then started peeking around the door and giggling and then shutting it again.

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And perhaps the cutest of all, while Daddy C was away for a few days recently, she kept picking up her toy phone and going “Dad!  Hi Dad!”

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Her language and comprehension is really growing too.  The other day I said to her “Shall we go for a drive?” and she lifted her arms up to me and said “Car!”  Her latest word is “nana” (meaning “banana”).  I made the mistake of showing off her new word to Daddy C the other night, and then she refused to eat anything for dinner except the “nana!” she could see on the bench!

It’s hard to explain how it feels to have her suddenly start expressing herself and developing her own little sense of volition like this.  The best analogy I have is this – imagine you had a pet dog, and you woke up one morning and the dog just wandered in, opened its mouth and said “Good morning, sleep well?”  Wouldn’t you feel like your whole frame of reference for this dog and who this dog was had changed?  I don’t want to liken my child to a dog of course, but that’s the best way I can explain how it feels to me – this kind of taken aback, slightly excited feeling when this little being for whom I’ve had a certain frame of reference for so long (“baby”) suddenly starts to demonstrate understanding and expression that just yesterday she was incapable of.

This age is hard and it can be frustrating – but it is certainly also amazing to watch all these changes as she grows into a little person… a cheeky, funny little person!

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