Thursday, April 28, 2011

Two!

Dear Little P.,

Today you turned two.

I'm Two

TWO!!! (That's what you're saying in the picture and trying to put up 2 fingers, haha)

I feel like I've been waiting for this day forever! I guess I've just been excited to celebrate and buy you fun presents. It's the joy of being able to spoil you before you can be spoiled...I love it! I've been wondering what to write for this letter and thinking of what grandiose thoughts I could put forth and just couldn't come up with anything that seemed worthy or fitting of this day. So, I guess I'll simply tell you that I love you and am so proud of all you are becoming and all that you are right now. I wouldn't change a thing about you; you are a magnificent creature of God and I'm blessed to be your Mama.
What a wild year we have had! You've mastered the art of walking, running, galloping, speeding up and down hills, walking the balance beam, kicking the ball and throwing the ball, and even hitting a giant golf ball with your giant golf club. You've started to speak and communicate and you have wonderful articulation! You've been working hard for months now on mastering your skills of communication, speech, engagement, and social repartes. You are doing so great with it all and we couldn't be more proud. You really enjoy going to your Gymboree class once per week; it's a chance to flex your motor skills and run free. You've been making lots of little friends there and it's fun to see. Your other favorite outing is your Kindermuzik class. I tend to doubt there is any other time when you are so happy as when you are there. You LOVE all the little dances and games and songs. The glee and joyful dancing you put forth prove that it's your favorite thing to do; so I'll have to sign you up again for the next classes they offer! Some of your favorite things to do include: play doh, digging in the sand, collecting leaves in the fall, splashing in the bathtub, finding eggs we hide all around the room (an Easter activity that lives on even after the Easter Bunny has come), coloring with crayons and markers on your easel, directing us to make you a "clue" with crayons (making pawprints and coloring them in Blues Clues fashion), drawing faces on the easel as you direct us (eyes! mouth! ears! hair! sad! happy! etc.), swinging on the swing, rolling on your yoga ball to row,row, row your boat, singing the ABCs (the only song you really dance to), roaring with your toy dinosaurs, putting puzzles together, playing with your Dollies, and your number one favorite thing....READING BOOKS. You LOVE to sit in our laps and listen to stories. You never tire of it. And when we are busy, you are often found to have a book in your lap as you "read" aloud to yourself. I'm glad you enjoy reading time; it's a favorite of mine too. I like sharing the same interests with you; it makes me feel even closer to you.
Today your Daddy stayed home from work so he could be with you and play with you too. We had a wonderful time together. You opened a few gifts this morning and then we got dressed and went to the Butterfly Place. You have had a runny nose, so we canceled the plans to go to Gymboree. You didn't seem to mind. We also had intended to take you to the zoo, but the weather wasn't on our side either. There were lots of scattered showers and thunderstorms that thwarted our intentions. We'll go soon sweetie, I promise. You enjoyed the Butterfly Place and didn't even try to grab or squish any of them.

Butterfly Place

You just sort of marveled at the sight of them fluttering everywhere. We got you your very own set of butterfly wings in the gift shop. I let you choose the color and you surprised us by saying "pink." Your favorite color is usually blue, but you didn't want those ones. So, we put the pink ones on you once we got outside and you galloped around like you owned the place.

Wings

Wingy Walk

Silly

We then took you to lunch at our favorite Chinese/Japanese food restaurant. Your favorite food is their Beef Lo Mein, so we thought eating there for your birthday lunch would be a hit. As usual, you wolfed in your lunch with so much satisfaction and that's all we could ask for. After your nap, we went to the free zoo (PetSmart) and looked at all the critters. You were thrilled! But not as thrilled as when we went to Friendly's to get sundaes afterward.

Ice Cream

Waiting for Ice Cream


You said your first sentence ever on the way home..."I Love Ice Cream!" You said it many, many, many times over. It's also something we didn't even have to teach you to say. You just said it out of the blue by yourself while we were in the car. You've never said "I Love YOU" but that's FINE. Hmph. It will come. For now you love ice cream. I wish I was ice cream. hee!!!
Don't worry, I know you love me. You show me every day, and for that I am so lucky.
After we got home, you had more gifts to open (a big hit!), dinner and your cupcake, and then you helped me make your cupcakes for your playgroup tomorrow.

cupcake madness

(you got a new apron for your birthday!)

Helping

Liners

Phew! What a day! It is quiet in your room right now, so I know you are drifting off to dreamland on this first day of being 2. I hope it was as fun for you as it was for us. I'm so proud of you my precious girl. You are so good at being YOU and you seem so proud to be that way. I love that.
Happy Birthday my sweetie P, I'm so lucky to know you much less be your Mama. Here's to a delightful and fabulous year ahead.
Love you always and forever more,
Mama

story time
Your cool new book which you are enamored with...

zoo mania
Your new zoo set (from the Playmobil 1-2-3 line for toddlers).

Animals are cool
A few Ostheimer toys that you loved. You kept saying "Mama!" "Baby!" "Mama!" "Baby!" (there was a big elephant and a little one)

Look at this
Look Maren! See my new giraffe!?

Fancy Book
Enjoying the fancy new book

Glockenspiel
Goodnight Boston! Tip your servers! (You love this new Glockenspiel and we love the sounds it makes so it's a win-win).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Belly

Toddler Belly 2

Dear Little P.,

Today is the last day that you are one year old. I can't help erupting into tears now that I've written that. I'm happy you are turning two; I just wish I could keep you small and innocent and wanting to be near me forever. But I know you don't belong to me; you are a child of God and I'm here to try my hardest to show you how to be the best YOU can be. For now, I'm savoring all the littlest moments with you. In light of that, I decided to take some pictures of your little belly. It's one of my very favorite things and I know you will grow up and this belly just won't be the same anymore. So, selfishly, I took pictures of it and am documenting it here so I can always look at it and marvel over your cuteness. Thanks for humoring me and allowing it.
Love you madly,
Mama

Toddler Belly 3

Toddler Belly

Friday, April 15, 2011

another

Hi friends!
It's finally starting to seem like spring around these parts! Phew! It was getting depressing...all the cold and darkness and snow and whatnot. I'm now staring at some budding trees and a blue sky. Jiggety jig!
I've been fielding questions as of late...the "when are you going to have another kid" question to be exact. I wish I had a firm answer. I just have no idea. I get pangs now and again...the pang that says that babies are so cute and cuddly and warm. Then I get another pang that reminds me of the work, the elusive sleep, the commitment. Not that I'm not already committed, but you know what I mean. Two is more than one and all that jazz.
The truth is, a big part of me is terrified to go into trying to have another baby. I mean, Paige was our fifth pregnancy. I spent the first trimester in terror and fear. I spent every day shaking, sweating, nearly crying and I thought I could never go through that daily fear again. I was so grateful to be pregnant, but so terrified of something going wrong. I barely slept and didn't really relax until about my 7th month. It didn't help that I bled alot from a hematoma in there early on (nothing like bleeding to calm a pregnant woman's nerves). Anyway, it was a lot to go through and I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to go through all that again. (I won't even go into all the feelings I have with all the time and energy that Little P. needs right now as we learn about what we can do to help her developmentally. A baby thrown in the mix would certainly add another level of chaos.) I wonder "what if I have another loss? And another? Can I really go through it again?" Deep down, I know the answer is a resounding "yes." Paige has proven to me that every scary step is well worth it. Paige, when she was an angel, tried many times to get to me. Her future body was just having a hard time forming. And when it finally did, she came to be with us and we will forever be linked as Mama and daughter. How can I not give her a brother or sister to romp with here on earth? Another angel waiting in the wings for an earthly body. I'm scared, but I know I can do it. I may not know our next angel personally yet, but I know I love him or her and want to give them a home to come to. Soon, dear angel...soon. Please know that I will try my best but I have no control. That I am scared. That it may take a while. That I just need a little more bravery to come my way. In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying your heavenly garden in all its splendor.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Photo time

I've been ranting and raving on here without much photo love. So, here are some shameless photos of Paige being cute from one day outside in March (a warm-ish day we had JUST before Rotavirus hell hit us). I love the one where her mind is blown over the pine cone. I need to get that happy about something, stat.

marchpaige1.jpg

marchpaige2.jpg

marchpaige5.jpg


marchpaige6.jpg


marchpaige4.jpg

marchpaige3.jpg

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Finding the Key

Hi there!
Ugh, we had SNOW for the past 2 days. YUCK! We never seem to have much of a spring around here. It always seems to go from winter to summer overnight; perhaps 3 weeks of a spring at best. I'll keep my sights set on the end of May for that to happen, ha!
I promised to share some insights regarding Little P's speech and such so I thought for this post I would focus on a discovery I made. Paige had begun her weekly therapies and I wanted to know what more I could do during the rest of the time with her to help her move forward. Her therapist gave me little things to work on, but it never seemed like much when I had the whole week alone with my daughter at my disposal. Internet searches usually turned up empty (READ TO YOUR KID! NARRATE YOUR DAY!!! really? I'd been doing that and it wasn't really helping us along.) I finally found a WEALTH of information and tips at Teach Me to Talk. It is a website run by Laura Mize, pediatric speech language pathologist with over 15 years experience and thousands of hours helping toddlers learn to communicate. Her goal is to help parents work with their toddlers at home on their own or in addition to the therapies they are getting through early intervention services or autism services.
I ended up reading all of the blog entries in the all of the sections of the website and I learned SO MUCH. From there, I ended up ordering the Teach Me to Talk DVD and the Teach Me to Play WITH You book. The DVD was very helpful for me in that it shows clips of Laura working with her clients and how she works her magic. It's useful to see her methods in action. It's not for the children to watch...it's a DVD for the parent to watch and learn from. The book was also helpful for me in that it is filled with ideas for finger plays, social games, and lists the best toys all for enhancing language development. These games are tailored for toddlers who have delays, so I was thrilled that Little P could actually participate in these...they weren't over her head or beyond her abilities.
Aside from the wealth of written information on the website, Laura also does podcasts! You can see that section on her website. I went over there via I-Tunes and began to take my pick of shows depending on what topic seemed to fit our needs. There were several! I've spent many an evening listening to a show or two. I found them helpful and fun to listen to.
If you are looking to enhance your child's speech or feel concerned about their development Teach Me to Talk is a great place to start finding some support and help. (If you are concerned about a possible delay of any kind in your child, I highly recommend having a free evaluation by your state's early intervention program. No reason to drag your feet! It's great to start as soon as possible to rule out potential issues or target the area your little one may need a bit of help with. It will only help your child and give you peace of mind. Like my friend and Little P's Godmommy said: You wouldn't wait to see the pediatrician if you thought your child had a serious illness; you would take them in to get checked out.

I have to say, the clip from the website that first caught my attention and changed the whole game for me was this one.



I noticed how FUN she was making playtime. Laura demonstrated a lot of energy and the toddler was so engaged. Maybe I needed to really ramp up our playtime to that level of fun and energy to get Little P to notice me? I tried it, and it worked. Paige was watching me (finally!) and we were having fun together. I ordered the DVD so I could watch different scenarios...it was about an hour long and touched on issues for children who have trouble engaging or listening as well. We now play in a concentrated engaged way for a minimum of an hour per day (spread through the day) but I try to tally in as much as 3 hours of engaged time per day if I can. We've been working our way up to that amount. It can be tiring and challenging to stay that energetic for such a huge chunk of time, but it helps to spread it out. Chris also participates when he comes home from work...he engages and plays for stretches of time with her after dinner and during her bath time. Every moment together with her presents an opportunity to be fun, playful, and learn language in the process (meal times, grocery store, errands, diaper changes). In turn, it has also done wonders for our mother/daughter relationship.
Anyway, changing the way we play has been instrumental for our changes so I wanted to share!
I hope people find Teach Me to Talk as helpful as we did! I'll be back soon to share more. Enjoy your weekend friends!!!!
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