Sunday, February 12, 2012

Love Letter, Month 25

Dear Kate,

You are twenty-five months old today. I’d like to start out this letter by quoting all of your most common phrases:

NO MOMMY! (Usually you call me Mama. This is the only time you call me Mommy, as if to emphasize it and call attention to the fact that you really mean no)
No Daddy. (Somehow he is exempt from the extra emphasis…)
No Lucy! (With emphasis again…)
Mama hold you.
Mama stay home with you.
I don’t like (want to do) that.
I can do it myself.
I’m having so much fun!
I’ve noticed a couple of things about these phrases. One is that you are now starting to use pronouns in certain scenarios. No longer do you say “Kate wants that” but rather, “I want that”. 
The other is your growing need for independence struggling against your need to feel secure. Very developmentally appropriate but confounding to live with. You want to dress yourself, feed yourself, go to the bathroom yourself…

On that note, I will mention that you pee and/or poop on the potty every day, usually before bathtime, and you ask to wear your new panties instead of diapers on some days
…but more often than not you end up frustrated. Fortunately you usually ask for help and are quite willing to then accept the help. Unfortunately….

There have been Tantrums. Oh my, yes. The Tantrums. They are spectacular in their intensity. I had no idea you could almost make your head pop off your little neck with your rage. The first time it happened you were fighting nighttime sleep. You had napped that day and thus were not tired enough at your normal bedtime to fall asleep and boy howdy, were you angry with Daddy and me for not letting you:

A. Get up
B. Have some more water
C. Read in the rocking chair
D. Read on the couch
E. Watch Caillou
F. Have a diaper change
G. Watch Sundance on the iPad
H. Play with dollies
I. Eat some more supper
J. Go to sleep in Mama and Daddy’s bed

You went through this list over and over again, all the while raging, throwing all of your night-night babies out of your crib, screaming at the top of your lungs and jumping up and down. (I am still amazed that Lucy slept through this.)  What finally worked that night was to wrap you in a big hug as you stood in your crib and tell you the following:

I know you aren’t tired yet and I know it doesn’t feel good to lay down and try to sleep when you can’t. You want to spend more time with Mama and Daddy. But it is dark outside and Night-Night Kitty, Dolly, Ice Cream Cone and CoCo are tired and want to sleep with you. Maybe you could lay down and cuddle them, close your eyes and help them go to sleep. Mama and Daddy will check on you through the night to be sure you’re all ok. Can you do that? What song should I sing while you are settling in?

And OMG it worked. You requested Baa Baa Black Sheep, lay down on your belly, gathered all your toys and we never heard another peep until morning.
You still have major (and many more minor) tantrums throughout the week. But most of the time you respond quite well to me sitting down on your level and reflecting your feelings back to you. Simply an amazing response from someone your age I might add.

So this leads to the other major change in our house this month. I no longer even pretend to have you nap anymore. You go down much easier at night and sleep a solid 11 1/2 -12 hours without waking. Your mood is the same by the end of the day whether you have napped or not so I have ceded the battle. Funnily enough, you love to "play" naptime with your friends at playgroup. Here you are with Lina and Sloane taking a "nap" on the couch.
Your growing independence has its good and bad sides. In the negative department, you have become much more finicky about what you want to eat (yes, those are beets that you loved on Tuesday and hated on Thursday), 
what shoes you want to wear (rain boots every day rain or shine…), and how I need to be spending my time (Mama sit down RIGHT HERE and play with you!)
On the other hand, I love that you want to help with everything. Your favorite things to do are water the plants, load laundry into the dryer, take things to the trash, and carry the toy box at Wiggleworms. This week, while Lucy was taking a highly unusual 2 hour nap, we made muffins together. You lined the muffin tins with cups, helped me stir the batter and then sprinkled almonds on top of each one. The only part of the process you weren’t as thrilled about was eating them.  Sigh.

All of this growing and changing has also led to more independent play. You will read to your dolls in the living room while I spend 5 minutes putting Lucy down for her nap every day.
You can now spend 15-20 full minutes having conversations with your dolls, feeding them, changing their imaginary diapers, putting them down for a nap (oh the irony…), and putting them in timeout (again, irony).  When you aren’t doing this you are lining them all up in a row with various other toys in a pattern that only makes sense to you.
You are fascinating to watch and even more enjoyable to talk to. Your daddy and I remark every day about what a little person you are becoming. You are so delighted by learning and discovering new things. I hope I can continue to foster that, that your curiosity and love of life grows.
It makes you even more beautiful than you naturally are.


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