Sunday, April 1, 2012

Two years!

This one is all about Charlotte. Maggie updates will have to wait, and I'm short on time so this will be brief (it ended up taking two evenings to write this, so it's not at all brief)...

Charlotte is TWO! We had a "small" celebration, just cake and ice cream, with our immediate and nearby family which turned out to be more than 40 people. Luckily, the weather was nice so most everyone stayed outside the whole time. Charlotte had a blast running laps around the house with all her cousins. She thinks she's one of the big kids and wants to do everything they do. Plus, she loved being the center of so much attention. Here we are two weeks after the party and she still likes to sit at the dining room table and write "thank you letters" to her aunts and uncles. (I'm not kidding- she'll see a pen and ask for a piece of paper, then sit nicely at the table, writing. I ask what she's writing, and she tells me it's a card or letter for Uncle-so-and-so "Thank you presents for Charlotte.") I baked the cakes again, but none were from scratch and the frosting wasn't as elaborate as last year's- just a quickie rainbow on one of the two big cakes as we went with a more-or-less rainbow theme. This year's tutu is a rainbow of tulle, but Charlotte prefers wearing her ladybug tutu from last year. She asks for help to put it on whenever the urge to dance comes over her... which is at least 2 or 3 times a day.

Charlotte has graduated into size 5 diapers, size 5 shoes, and 24mo & 2T clothes. She's starting to have some serious clothing preferences, with a love for dresses and a distaste for woven pants. She flat-out refuses to wear jeans (is this *my* daughter????), but I think she finds the stiffer waistband uncomfortable in contrast to all her knit pants and leggings. She frequently announces "Charlotte don't like clothes," then strips down to her diaper while we're home. Then, and hour or two later, provided we haven't made a big deal of her lack of attire, she asks for help in getting dressed again. She puts on her pants, shoes, and socks by herself. She can put on a shirt but has to really focus on it to figure out which end should go over her head first- and she's usually in too much of a hurry to waste her time on pulling a shirt on when Mommy's around to help. She can reliably count to 13 and knows she has 5 fingers on each hand. She can name all the usual colors (red, blue, green, orange, purple, yellow, white, black) and loves to finger paint and color with crayons. She walks down stairs by herself, and no longer uses her knees on the way up (something she's very proud of, stating "Charlotte go'd up stairs on her feet" each time she does it).

Something she does that amazes me, which she's been doing for a couple of months now, is conjugate verbs in a way that makes sense but isn't always grammatically correct. I first noticed it with her daily morning announcement, "Charlotte wake upped in the morning!" Then there's "go'd" instead of "went." There are a few others, but I can't remember them right now.

Charlotte's speech is remarkably clear, and she has no trouble stringing lots of words together into multiple sentences in succession. I love the insight she gives me into what she's thinking and what she notices as we go about our days. She especially likes pointing out similarities and differences between people and things lately- "Mommy has two eyes, just like Charlotte!" "Daddy is a boy. Charlotte is a girl." "Grapes like rubber balls, but juicy." She's constantly asking, "Mommy, what is this?" or "Mommy, what are you doing?" When asked an open-ended question, such as "What would you like for breakfast?" Charlotte often places her hand under her chin and says, "I am thinking of an idea."

Elmo was replaced in her heart by Abby Cadabby, briefly, but now Olivia is her favorite fictional character. We do (I confess) use the TV as a bit of a babysitter and let her watch Olivia, Sesame Street, Chuggington, Handy Manny, Bob the Builder, or Thomas while I feed her baby sister. I enjoy watching them too, until she asks for the same episode of the 12th time in a row. We like to read Olivia books too and hunt for more every time we visit the library.

Two-year pediatrician appointment went well- no shots, and Charlotte got to stand on the big-kid scale, fully clothed, instead of stripping to lie on the baby scale. She weighs 25 pounds and is somewhere around 33 or 34 inches tall. She was very upset, maybe a little frightened, by her doctor and cried and wriggled when he was measuring her height. She's taller than she was 6 months ago, so neither the doc nor I was all that worried about getting a truly accurate measurement. In his words, she's "bulked up" in the last 6 months, jumping from the 5th percentile to the 25th in the weight-for-height category. I don't know her height-for-age percentile, and haven't bothered to look it up, but I know she's on the petite side of the growth charts.

I gave Charlotte a hair cut a week before her sister was born. She was constantly pushing hair out of her eyes, but it's too fine to stay in barrettes or pigtails. The day after I butchered her hair, we went to my stylist and she and I both got trims. She loved it, especially the lollipop I brought to entertain her, and has been asking for another haircut for a week now. It's time. The front is in her eyes again. Surprisingly, my stylist charges less than half what the local "kid-centered" salon did... and the kiddie one went out of business shortly after I took Charlotte there for her first trim back in December.

Charlotte has become an excellent jumper, achieving both height and distance when she leaps around. She's come close to skipping. Is there aything cuter than a toddler skipping? I'm looking forward to warm-weather rain showers so we can jump in puddles together. Strangely, she no longer likes jumping into the pool at her swim classes. A couple of months ago, that's ALL she wanted to do and we'd actually ignore what the instructor was saying to spend nearly the entire 30 minutes climbing out and jumping back in again. She swims with my mother now (I am NOT ready to wear a bathing suit), but I go and watch every week. She flat-out refuses to jump into the pool after practicing climbing out, instead sitting on the edge and sliding back into the water on her bum.

My town offers a tot soccer program for 2-year-olds. I am ridiculously excited, and signed her up as soon as the rec department flyer arrived in my mailbox. We start on 4/26. Did I ever mention that I am kind of nuts about all things soccer? The thought of one day coaching my own daughter makes me all weepy with sentiment and joy.

Let's see, what else... Charlotte's interest in the Signing Time videos has waned, so we now watch maybe one per week. She still loves signing, and "teaches" me signs all the time. Today, she reminded me how to sign candy, why, broom, and washcloth. We bought a slew of videos for her for Christmas. At this rate, it'll take years to watch them all since we don't move on to another new one until we've mastered the ones we've already opened.

Charlotte still faces backwards in her car seat. I'm thinking of turning her around. Just think of all the "left" and "right" practice we could have if she faced the same direction as I do. She always asks me, "Mommy, what is going on?" when we stop at red lights and stop signs, so I've explained those particular traffic rules. She'll be quite the back-seat driver when she finally gets to see where we're going.

Food- Charlotte still loves broccoli above almost all else. And hot dogs. She adores fruit, although apples and bananas have suddenly fallen out of favor. She recently started enjoying corn and peas. She'll taste anything we put in front of her, but usually takes several attempts before actually eating a new food. Today, she tried plums for the first time and that's all she wanted to eat for the rest of the day. We've switched to 2% milk from whole, with the intentionof moving on to 1% after a week or two. We're not a skim household, so that's as lean as we'll go.

As far as being a big sister is concerned, Charlotte wants to hold and hug and kiss Maggie every morning... for about 15 seconds before she tells me "That's enough now." She likes to kiss Maggie's head while I'm nursing. She picked up one of her toys one day, held it to her chest and announced, "I'm pumping." She once pulled up her shirt and offered her chest to one of her dolls, asking if the "baby" was hungry. Generally, she's been wonderfully patient with sharing my attention with Maggie. I try to give her a lot of one-on-one time whenever Maggie is sleeping during the day, and we've started some new projects like finger painting and baking cookies. I try to get us out of the house as often as pre-baby. It's a lot of work, and sometimes we reach our destination only to end up sitting in the car for a while so I can feed Maggie, but I don't think Charlotte feels like her life has changed all that much.

"Terrible twos"- Charlotte has an opinion about everything. Every day, at least once, she tells me, "Charlotte don't like anything." She gets very worked up whenever I say "no," but calms right down when I tell her I can't understand what she's saying while she's fussing. She wants to be understood, so the fussing stops and she says what she has to say, then starts fake-fussing which lacks the intensity of the real thing. She frequently does not do what she is told or asked to do, and I'm struggling with how to handle that. I tell her I am disappointed and that she's not being helpful, but I don't know if that has any impact. Most of the time, she's pretty cooperative, so the occasional difficulties are easier to handle than if they were constant.

I could go on forever. If I left anything out that you're curious about, just ask. Two is a great age, and I am still having a blast being Charlotte's mom.

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