Our Noble Pursuits

Living the good life. And writing about it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

22 Months!

With my recent post about the terrible two's in mind, you might think Annie's twenty-second month has been a little challenging and chaotic.  But you know, in reality, all the lying down on the sidewalk protests and crying jags for no apparent reason have been pretty spread out over the course of the month, so I haven't really been overwhelmed by them since the day I wrote my last post.  That's not to say they haven't happened - just this weekend we had to scoop Annie out of the street, where she sat in protest for being forced to walk to the car instead of stand in our friends' driveway playing with balloons.  They are just spaced out enough to seem more manageable to me.  And there have been lots of smiley moments in between, like this one...

This month, I have found myself abandoning using her monthly age as a way of telling people how old she is.  Something about saying "21 months" just seemed overly complicated to me, so I just started saying "almost 2" or "she turns 2 in June" instead.  A distinction without a difference, I'm sure, but it somehow had the unintended effect of making her seem even older to me in my head.  Which, of course, leaves me at the end of another month wondering where in the world the time has gone.

In her 22nd month, here are some of Annie's favorite things...

She loves to sing these days.  Since she was just days old, I have sung to her.  David and I both have had a habit since she was a newborn of making up songs for her.  I think it started out as a way for us to communicate with her without feeling ridiculous for talking to a tiny baby who obviously couldn't talk back.  And now that she can talk, it is fun to listen to her join right in with us and make requests for certain songs.  I have made up a "PJ Song" for when we get her ready for bed at night, and it is so sweet to hear her sing "pjs, pjs" with us.  Just this morning, I made up a song on the way to school to distract her from trying to climb into the car seat by herself (because it is always so much easier and faster for me to deposit her in the seat myself), and she loved it - requesting that I sing the verse over and over with a different name of one of her friends at school.  She can actually carry a tune pretty well, especially for a toddler.  So I think she may have inherited some of her Gaga's vocal ability, along with some musical genes from both sides of the family.

Our baby girl is turning into quite the outdoorsy girl.  She has always loved being outside.  From the days when we rocked her to sleep at night on our porch swing, she has been somehow calmed by the great outdoors.  And now, she is developing a little explorer's mentality, looking for every opportunity to wander and search for new and exciting things in the grass and dirt.  When we take walks in the evening now, she demands that we pick flowers for her and hand them to her in her stroller.  The more flowers the better, as far as she is concerned.  And any time she can find a rock or a pinecone or a mound of dirt, she is all over it.  Her fingernails look like those of a car mechanic, they are constantly dirty.  But she has so much fun, I figure the necessity for a bath later on is worth it.

Annie is very active and loves to run and jump and play on the nearby playground at her daycare.  She tends to be more daring when I'm not around, it seems.  But even with Mommy there, she is always game for sliding down the slide or climbing over, around, and under almost anything.  Since she was tiny, people have told us she was busy, and that isn't slowing down any as she grows stronger and faster and more capable.  She also continues to talk more and more and it seems like there isn't much she can't eventually communicate to us if she and David and I are patient enough to figure it out.  This week she went into the kitchen, grabbed David's hand, and requested, "Daddy, come outside."  Then later, at bedtime, she wanted a family hug, at which time she told both Daddy and Mommy that she loved us (after hearing us say the same to her).  Yeah, there may have been a misty eye in that little bedroom at that moment.

In her 22nd month, Annie saw her first group of farm animals, when we went to have Breakfast with the Babies (Animals) at nearby Shaker Village.  She also rode her first carousel, which kept getting a resounding request for "More!" after each ride.

Telling us she was "all done" after getting a work out at Shaker Village. 

Riding the carousel with Daddy.

I can't believe her second birthday is just two short months away.  I honestly have no idea how the months keep going by so fast.  And I know I say that every single post I do like this.  But seriously, where is the time going, people?  We look forward to much more fun in May with our ever growing, always changing, forever chatting little girl.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Uh oh

We’ve entered them.  A couple of months early, but we’ve definitely entered them.  The terrible two’s.  And you know what, they are not for the faint of heart, these days of temper tantrums and misplaced exertions of independence.  I don’t know if admitting this makes me look weak or sad or just normal, but this morning, before we drove to school, Annie and I both sat in my car and cried a little.  Both of us pushed a tad beyond our limits by frustration.  Hers because she can’t make all of her own decisions, can’t spend 25 minutes walking from the front door to the car in the morning and play with dirt and sticks and leaves along the way, can’t close herself into the tiny space between the front door and the screen door (that one actually happened yesterday), basically can’t run the show all by herself.  My frustration comes from not being able to reason with her yet, not being able to convince her that I really do know a little more than she does about most things. But mostly my frustration comes from that recurring problem of not being given a manual when she was born that would tell me how to do this right and not screw up.
In between "moments," one day this week.
I recognize that I don’t do myself any favors.  I overanalyze and think too much.  I worry needlessly (at least, I hope it’s needless) about being a good mom.  I fear that if I give in just this once to her little 21- month old whim it will start us down a road we don’t want to go down of her thinking she can talk me into something by crying or screaming or throwing herself dramatically on the floor.  But I also fear that being inflexible and rigid is making the proverbial mountain out of a molehill and setting a bad example that stifles her independence.  See, I told you I think too much.

Mostly, our moments of frustration make me sad.  Sad that I don’t handle everything the way I think I should.  Sad that our days aren’t filled with a constant flow of hearts and rainbows and warm fuzzies. Sad that our short time together during weekdays is taken up with moments of tension or frustration or tears (yeah, working mom guilt...fun). Sad, I guess, that parenting is hard sometimes.    And that in my figuring out how to parent her, Annie sees my ineptitude, hears my voice get a little sharper, sees my eyes roll and hears that sharp release of breath in a sigh that reveals I’m having a hard time.
"Pee-cees!" (that's horses) at Keeneland last Saturday.
I know it’s all normal.  And I know this too shall pass.  And I know that I better just grow up, put my big girl pants on, and get ready because parenting will always present challenges.  I know these things, really I do.  But sometimes it just helps to admit struggle…sort of embrace my own imperfection.  So I guess that’s what this blog post is doing.

And besides, when she isn’t going all stiff-bodied or limp (both are equally effective) making it impossible for me to move her or isn’t dramatically lying down on a sidewalk somewhere, our little girl gives me lots of smiles like this…

So I can’t complain too much, now can I?

Note: Of course, shortly after I wrote this post Annie proved how sweet and funny and loving she is...how happy she is...how delighted she can be just to hang out with her Mommy and Daddy.  But I still wanted to document this moment of discomfort - as a reminder when another one comes that it is short-lived, it is temporary, and much bigger and more important things are what really matters in motherhood.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter Recap (or my Better Late Than Never post)

I used to be a woman of my word.  Apparently, though, in blog writing land, I am no longer that.  I promised an Easter recap blog post almost a week ago – even saying something silly like, “I’ll be back later this weekend…” when I should have known better.  But here I am, several days after Easter, finally following through on my promise.  I’m employing the better late than never rule here. 

Annie’s second Easter was a huge hit.  We really had a wonderful weekend, full of friends and family and plastic eggs.  And we didn’t see a single scary Easter Bunny, so that was a huge plus.  I mean, seriously people, what is it about giant, brightly dressed rabbits that makes them always always always look evil and crazy-eyed?  Way worse than any mall Santa ever thought about being.  Anyway, there was none of that mess in our Easter celebration.

Annie hunted Easter eggs with her friends…

And had a visit from the Easter Bunny (no scary bunny included)...

And got all dressed up to attend Easter service at Gaga’s church in Mt. Sterling, with a tasty Gaga-prepared meal to follow…

She lounged on a cat at a birthday party…

And spent a lot of time saying, “Cheese!” (sometimes looking at the camera, sometimes not).

It was a wonderful weekend for our little family.  I hope everyone else’s Easter was just as enjoyable.  And I make no promises about when I will be back with another post.  I’ve learned my lesson, yes I have.