Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

22 Months

One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, ‘Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!’ 
~J.M. Barrie

How can it be that my little baby is almost two years old? Before I had children, I would read or hear mothers lamenting the passing of time. When I had her, countless people advised me to enjoy her being a baby, and warned that it would pass far too quickly. I sit here today, with the realization that they were right. I feared they would be, and enjoyed the heck out of each baby-phase as much as I could, but it passed right by anyway, replacing my baby with a full-blown toddler. And still, I am powerless to stop it. 

But how could I trade this tiny person who runs and chases me, gives spontaneous kisses, says a sincere, tiny "Oh no!" when watching Beauty and the Beast and speaks full sentences to me, of which I cannot understand a single word, for that helpless baby that she once was? Her personality and sense of humor are shining through and I am loving every minute of it.

The awareness of the passing of time does serve to help me savor it. For example, when I get home from work, sometimes the last thing I want to do is be dragged by the hand and commanded to fit myself into a very small space in the farthest corner of our yard. "Mommy, house!" she orders. Would I rather change my clothes or sit and look through the mail? Sometimes, yes. But the "Not now, A - I have things to do" response is rarely uttered. Instead, I remind myself that she will not be like this forever, and that there may even come a time when she doesn't want me right by her side.

The first weekend of her 22nd month found us at Irvine Park Railroad for her first real Easter Egg hunt. I was surprised how well she did! About 5 minutes before Auntie Andrea, Casey, Bill, my Dad and brother arrived, she threw up all over me. She obviously was not feeling well, yet still hunted eggs with the best of 'em, acquiring more than her 8 egg limit. I tossed some back when she wasn't looking, so she could gather more. 

Her Dad put her down for a nap, and Andrea and I went to see Beauty and the Beast. Can you believe I escaped my childhood without seeing or even knowing the plotline? I fell in love with the story, and it instantly became my favorite Disney movie. I love the message it sends girls; to be smart, a little different, and acquire a voracious appetite for books. I love that Belle is discerning and does not blindly accept the first marriage proposal or, worse yet, give up her voice for a man she doesn't even know. 

I went home and put the Disney movie in my Amazon cart, as well as the soundtrack, which we have listened to non-stop all month. A sure sign that I've changed as a Mom: My new Depeche Mode cd remains in it's case even when she's not in the car. I knew my indoctrination was working the moment she applauded after one of the songs and asked for "More? More?" She also started exclaiming "Beast! Beast!" randomly, and sometimes following that with a growl. On 4/4, we were driving to school and she actually sung just the 'beast' portion of the title track. My heart melted. Of course I have already switched the theme for her 3rd birthday from Alice in Wonderland to Beauty. Good thing it's over a year away...

She continues to be affectionate, one day giving me 5 kisses before we were even out of bed to start the day! She will routinely kiss Trevi, her dolls, Daddy and Granka and Uncle Glen. Once we're out of the car and I'm carrying her into daycare, I am sure to get a very tight squeeze around my neck when I ask for a hug. One of the most adorable moments was at the end of Beauty and the Beast, when the two main characters are locked in a passionate kiss. She turned to me and kissed me!

She is loving the spa, and we have been in there almost every day after work! At the beginning of the month she was starting to go under water just a bit, and practicing floating with support, on on us.

For spring break, we flew to Oregon to stay with my in-laws. For over a week, I had been practicing "Dupa" with baby A, and she was getting pretty good at saying it. My husband told me that Dupa was Polish for grandfather, and I thought it would be good for her to have two different names for her grandfathers, to avoid confusion, and her expectation that my Dad would be up in Oregon. It was almost 11pm when we arrived at the house from the airport. Autumn's Grandma who picked us up was still in the car, but Baby A and I hurried in so that I could get her upstairs and into bed.
Best-dressed baby in the airport!

Patiently waiting at the kitchen table to greet us was my father-in-law, who I hadn't seen since November. "Look Baby A, it's your Dupa! Look, can you say Dupa?? Hi Dupa!" I proudly exclaimed, demonstrating my knowledge of his heritage and culture. He looked at me, a bit puzzled, as my husband said "Tell my Dad why you're calling him that." 

"Well, because that's what you called your grandfather. It's Polish for Grandpa." I replied. Shaking his head and looking down, he said "Nooooooooo!" and my husband started laughing. "Tell her what it means, Dad!" he prompted. "It means bottom. But the not so nice version." 

I love that my husband can still pull something like this off. Even though we know each other so well, I had no idea that he was tricking me!

We had not been there since our visit at Thanksgiving. At that time, she was afraid of pony, and cried when we placed her on top, even briefly for a photo. But this time, not only was not afraid of pony, but she was excited! After a moment on Butterscotch's back, she wanted to sit on the bigger horses; all of the bigger horses! This made me so happy. She enjoyed being by pony, and was comfortable brushing her and petting her. As I spent more time with Butterscotch, my comfort level increased as well. I went riding one day while she napped, and we took Butterscotch for a walk around the property with her. 

Baby A loved tackling the stairs at her grandparents' house. I was surprised and impressed by this, because I know other kids who are much older that still cannot navigate stairs. In fact, her Dupa, er...Grandpa, thought that she must be about to turn 3 instead of 2, because of how well she independently goes up and down the stairs, all by herself. I started out by spotting her, but after a day ow two she went up (or down) all by herself, without me even watching. 

She also loved riding in the larger gator with us, and the mini Power-Wheels version. She does not yet have any concept of steering, and didn't flinch when she narrowly missed the garage by an inch or two, as she sat back, still munching on her piece of bread.

Uncle Ben loves holidays as much as I do!
I love the rain up there in April, and letting her splash in puddles. We did have several days of sunshine, and some rainbows, too. Other than a night out at the symphony with my in-laws, we stayed at home which was really relaxing. She had some good quality time with her grandparents and also Uncle Ben, who helped her with an indoor egg-hunt, and gave her a special Thumper rabbit. 
Playing with Grandma in her room.
Bye Grandpa!
The day after we returned, it was Easter and we had her cousins over. She enjoyed spending time with them. It was only the second time she had seen them this year, but the following Sunday they came over again, and it was so neat to see her level of comfort, fun and familiarity increase. She seemed excited beforehand when we told her "Your cousins are coming over" and she even learned to say "John-Paul." A few days later, she randomly asked for him which was quite endearing. 

Around the middle of the month, I had wide excisions surrounding some atypical moles. One of the moles was on the bottom of my foot, and so the surgery left me with limited mobility. For well over a week, I was not able to even put pressure on my foot, and had to use a walker. I used it as an opportunity to get down on her level, literally. We sat in the backyard and she had popsicles (two!) while I pulled weeds and watered. We colored on the floor, and I read up to 20 books in one sitting. Hearing her say "More book" is music to my ears.

It would have been easier to put on Peppa Pig or Beauty and the Beast, but when I realized that we had made it through Saturday with no TV, it became a goal for Sunday as well. Instead, we just played and played. The day seemed longer, which I liked.

At the very end of her 22nd month, she transitioned into the next classroom at daycare, with the 2-3 year old kids. Originally, they were talking about Sebastian and Isabelle moving over, but Baby A did so well on the trial days that they decided to move her instead of Sebastian. When Sebastian saw myself or my husband he asked for her by name or "where she?"

The ratio of kids to teachers is much higher (up to 12 children per teacher, for a total of 24 kids and 2 teachers) but they only have 8 per group right now, for a total of 16 with the two teachers. 

We were excited because the move up means a savings of $300 every month!

Things I do not want to forget about this month:
  • Night-time snuggles. Getting her to bed is still one of my favorite times of the day.
  • Saying "Thank you" when she hands me her empty bottle and "Excuse me" when she needs to get by.
  • Some new words and phrases: "Mommy coming, Daddy baba, Trevi house." Too many words to list now, almost one a day. I love that any flying insect is a bee, and snails are "Mommy's friends."
  • Leaving daycare one day, it was really windy and she started belly laughing, so I started laughing too, which caused her to laugh even more.
  • How she will wrap her arms around Daddy's neck and pull him in close for a kiss.
  • We stopped using her baby monitor. When she wakes up, she knows where to find me! The only child-proofing we have (ever done) is one monkey lock on the hall door. She usually sleeps through the night in her own bed, but sometimes still wakes up in the middle of the night and we snuggle. I'm still a bit sad when she sleeps straight through.
  • Our evenings in the hot tub, and jumping off her special seat.
  • Running around chasing me, or being chased.
  • When her friend Olivia stops by and knocks on the door. She lives down the street, and when her parents take her on a walk now, she asks to go to our house which I love. Earlier this week, the girls started learning to play tag, and ran around holding their Daddy's hands while I sat on the bench and watched.