Okay, please just humor me here.
When Charlotte turned two years old last November, we had just sold our house in Oceanside and moved to University City. I also had a very needy newborn on my hands.
I managed to throw Char a little family ballerina birthday party, but that was about all I could pull together. I took a couple months off from blog posts and to focus on my sanity, Emmie’s weight gain and reflux issues, and helping guide Charlotte through some big life transitions.
SO, I never posted a two year update about Char, and although I know no one noticed, I have been meaning to write some stuff about her ever since then.
She turned two and a half this weekend, so I thought I’d use the opportunity to give a little update on how she’s doing.
Char loves her family SO much. She’s constantly rattling off the names of her cousins and talking about each of her grandparents as if they make the world go round. She asks to call Tyler’s mom every night during bathtime and begs to see my parents on the weekends. Most mornings, we walk to my sister’s house while Emmie naps. By the time we arrive, she’s practically beside herself with excitement about seeing her auntie and uncle.
She loves Wednesdays. LIVES for them. On Wednesday mornings she has ballet which is the highlight of her little life so far. She loves, loves, loves ballet. Talks about it constantly and is fully invested in each class. And then in the afternoon on Wednesdays, she gets to play with Kilee–a wholesome neighborhood middle schooler who comes two days a week for a couple of hours and plays with Char while Emmie and I fold laundry and make dinner. She asks if it’s Wednesday every morning.
Char is very particular and endlessly creative. She is almost always up to something around the house–arranging her animals precariously around her room, furiously flipping through the books on my nightstand shelf (she says “ABC ABC ABC” over and over again when she pretends to read), changing diaper after diaper for her baby dolls with this little kit my best friend’s mom made her. She loves to steal ziploc bags from the kitchen and gets a huge kick out of storing the fake wooden food from her kitchen in ziploc bags around the house. Her favorite thing to do is a BAKING PROJECT with me in the kitchen (has to yell BAKING PROJECT at least five times before we get started).
She spends her days coloring, building literally anything, playing dress up, dancing and screaming at “goo goo” to play her favorite song (“Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding from 50 Shades of Grey, no less, thank you Auntie BonBon). She’s a scooter queen, is always down for a family bike ride, and still plays with the $20 plastic dollhouse Tyler bought her in Utah at least once a day.
I say this guardedly, but at this point it does seem like we are turning the corner away from the Terrible Twos. Tyler and I have figured out how to stay in control when she has a tantrum and are learning more and more each day how to address her needs ahead of any meltdowns.
Charlotte is mostly resilient and is becoming a very good listener. She is independent and strong-willed, and we are really proud of how far she’s come this year.
Char’s interest in Emmie oscillates by the hour. She’s grown out of her low-key jealousy phase, thank goodness, which took about six months of ups and downs to run its course. She seems to have accepted Emmie as a permanent installment of the household. She acts cautiously optimistic about Emmie’s potential as a companion now that she can sit and babble along as Charlotte plays. Char will frequently take toys from Emmie but knows that if we are watching she is supposed to replace the stolen toy with a different toy, lol. Sometimes when someone new is around, she’ll get really proud and say “Here’s Emmie!” which of course makes me swell like a balloon.
Char is an amazing sleeper and has been ever since we sleep trained her at four months old. Obviously, she’s gone through all the same regressions that most kids go through every few months, but for the most part she is an all star.
She sleeps from 7pm-7am. We start her bedtime routine around 6pm and give her a bath at the same time as Emmie, and then she’s allowed to stay in the bath and play until Tyler decides she’s done for the night. He gets her in her jammies and does prayers and a story and then lays her down. Then she waits for me to come say goodnight after I’m done nursing Emmie, and we sing one more song. It’s the best ever. She NEVER cries going down at night. She just plays with her stuffed animals, chats about her loved ones, and sings herself to sleep.
She usually naps from 12:30-2:30pm. Occasionally, she’ll fight her nap but just sort of yells and counts and talks about Mickey for a couple of hours until she finally gives in. She’ll sometimes fight it for a day or two at a time and then realizes that she is, in fact, only human and needs her rest just like the rest of us.
We loosely followed the “baby led weaning” approach with Char when she was a baby, and it really set her up for success. Over the past year she’s gone through various phases of pickiness, but she mostly eats what we put in front of her. I attribute that to us exposing her to lots of different flavors and textures. This has taken patience and persistence, though.
For example, last summer I started nonchalantly tossing thinly chopped red peppers and cucumbers onto her high chair along with the rest of her meal. She turned her nose up at first but I kept just casually putting a few in front of her each day. She eventually warmed up to them and now eats them all the time.
And look, I’m not proud of this, and you certainly won’t find it in any parenting books, but we made a mental health decision a while back to let Char watch a show during most of her meal times. It’s the only time of the day she’s allowed in front of a screen, and it helps her relax enough to chill and eat her food. Otherwise she was just way too high strung to sit and actually eat when we needed her to. One of the sanity saving compromises that came with having two kids under two this year and I regret nothing, lol.
Breakfast: oatmeal with fruit (I like the Trader Joe’s overnight oats for busier weeks), hard boiled or scrambled eggs, or oat/banana/egg pancakes
Lunch: almond flour chicken quesadilla with avocado, cucumbers, and peppers, or Banza mac and cheese with frozen peas mixed in
Dinner: she eats our leftovers from the previous night for dinner usually. Lots of veggies, clean animal protein, lentil pasta, Right Rice, you get the idea.
Smoothie: I try to have her drink a little bit of our green smoothie each day.
Snacks: the reason I feed her such clean meals is because the girl likes to SNACK. I try not to stress too much about her having less healthy snacks because I know she’s getting the nutrients she needs at mealtimes, you know?
Not there yet, team. It’s on my to-do list for the summer, alright? I guess I just figure at this point I’ll wait until I know for sure she’s ready.
She’s been haphazardly interested in the little potty chair we keep in our bathroom but I can tell she’s not super into it yet.
Occasionally she’ll fancy herself a try on the potty chair and will squat for a minute or two before moving on with her day.
The other day without warning she peeled her pants off and sat down on it, so I said, “do you want some privacy?” She nodded and said, “privacy.” I nodded too and left her alone. Every time I popped my head back in she would look at me and say “privacy,” so I’d leave and come back 30 seconds later. We went back and forth for about five minutes before I got bored of it and came back to help her get dressed. I started to put her diaper back on when she flung herself to the ground, sobbing “PRIVACY!” Then she started frantically running around the house yelling “privacy” and realized she was LOOKING for a tangible object that she thought was called “privacy.” I couldn’t really figure out what she was looking for until the next day when I walked by myself into the bathroom, God forbid I have a moment alone. Thirty seconds later, Char stormed in authoritatively with a copper mug from our bar cart in her hand. She said, “here, mom, privacy,” set the mug on the ground, and walked out.
So anyway, bookmarking potty training for Q3.
More family posts here.