This kid is pretty much my favorite thing in the universe right now. I cannot count the number of times a day that I am overwhelmed by gratitude for her very existence. My desire was always just to be a mother, but now I know that what I really wanted was to be her mother.
The last month has brought so many changes in this kiddo. She’s truly growing in leaps and bounds.
There’s a YMCA a half mile from our house. Charlotte has taken swim lessons there off and on since she was 6 months old. We’ve always wanted to become members, but we just couldn’t afford it. Then, last month my brilliant wife called and made some changes to our phone/internet/cable and ended up saving us about the cost of a family membership at the Y. That was pretty much the exact week that our nanny started hinting about how she’d really like to take Charlotte to a class there, but you have to be members for this class. Our nanny doesn’t drive, so options for the two of them to get out and about are limited. They can walk to the park or the library and that’s it. They tried the class and loved it, and we knew it would be good for both of them so we finally bit the bullet and signed us all up.
Now, Charlotte goes to three toddler classes with the nanny every week. On Tuesdays it’s Move and Groove and Thursdays are Sing & Sign and Tumbling Tots. They even hang out at the playground there on days they don’t have classes.
The Y has a heated indoor pool and they offer Family Swim time every day for a few hours. Charlotte despises swim lessons, so we weren’t sure if we’d get her on board for Family Swim, but she LOVES it. She will bring you her swim suit and say, “Swimming?” We took her to the pool on Friday, Saturday and Sunday this past weekend. She will pull herself out of the pool (from the edge) and stand up at the edge and jump to us. Huge progress for a kid who wouldn’t let go of us in her last round of swim lessons. Plus, the pool wears her the heck out and all she wants when she gets home is a snack and some quiet time. Mama break!
I credit her participation in these activities with the recent changes in her. Catch and the nanny have noticed it too. Her language has absolutely exploded this month. We have our very own parrot now. She repeats everything. She can pretty much ask for anything she wants by name. Outside, walk, snack, breakfast, water—that’s just the tip of the iceberg. On Tuesday morning, she finished her breakfast and said, “All done.” I let her down from her high chair and as she walked away she said, “Thank you mama. I love you.” It was my first “I love you” from her AND she paired it with thank you… MELT.
This morning as she ate breakfast, Rolo was whining. Charlotte looked at him and said, “It’s ok, mama’s here.”
Another favorite is, “Why you do that?” (This one is courtesy of her need to change the channel on the cable box every two seconds. We were constantly saying, “Why did you do that?!” I finally installed a glass door on the front of the TV cabinet along with a child lock!)
Even if we don’t see it happen, we know when she’s hurt herself because she starts repeating, “Okay? Okay? Okay?”
Thanks to her flash cards and our trips to the zoo, she can recognize and name a lot of animals. Dog, kitty, bird, zebra, hippo, turtle, monkey, elephant, lion, dolphin, chicken… the list goes on.
She’s also becoming more social. She’s always been in love with other kids, but now we’re starting to see that she has a better idea of how to interact with them, rather than just standing frozen and staring with a smile on her face. In the pool over the weekend we were talking to a mom with a 9 month old baby and Charlotte asked the baby for a high five. A while later she was playing with a few older kids on the steps. When the boy started swinging the pool noodle around and hitting the water with it, Charlotte expressed her disapproval with his antics. It was pretty damn funny. She couldn’t really communicate on their level, but she made sure she was a part of things regardless.
In one of her classes last week, an older little girl (3-4) was not up for participating and she sat in the back of the room on a bench by herself and pouted. Charlotte was concerned, so she climbed up next to the girl and said, “You ok? It’s ok.” and patted the girl’s arm. The nanny said that Charlotte wouldn’t leave the girl’s side for the rest of class.
She continues to prefer being outdoors to just about anything else. Outside is her happy place.
She has big feelings about her clothes. If it’s not leggings and a t-shirt, there’s no guarantee you’re going to get it on her. The nanny and I had to work as a team for about 30 minutes in order to get tights and a skirt on her for St Patrick’s day. (Catch’s aunt brought shamrock tights for her form Ireland last year and they fit this year, so we really had to at least get a picture of her in them—otherwise I never would have bothered!) Dresses, skirts, skorts, jumpers—she’s just not a fan.
Fine motor skills are still very meh. There’s been some subtle improvement, but she’s just not really interested in fine motor activities. The spoon/fork are still kind of a joke, but we continue to try with every meal. Gross motor is still more her jam.
I took a big step forward with weaning, and have cut out her morning nurse. Now, she only nurses at bedtime and if/when she wakes up in the night. It’s been almost two weeks and she still asks for it when she wakes up in the morning, but I just say, “No, baby—how about some breakfast instead?” She usually says, “Breakfast?” and then launches herself from my lap and runs to the kitchen calling, “Waffle! Waffle!” I was pretty sad about the change at first, but I’ve come around.
She is currently working on her 17th tooth and it sucks. She is about 35” tall and a bit over 28 pounds. She’s mostly wearing a 2T, but 3Ts have started making an appearance in the brands that run short. Her feet are between a 6.5 and a 7 and are finally narrowing out a bit so we’re having an easier time finding shoes that fit.
At 20 months, Charlotte is happy, healthy, and so, so loved.