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Madeline Mae at 3.5

Our sweet Madeline Mae is a full on threenager. Three has proven more difficult for all of us over the “terrible twos”. Twos were not very terrible looking back… Three though. It’s been rough. Madeline is still very much our sweet, thoughtful, kind hearted, tender, loving, super helpful, smart, responsible, girl. But as she gets older, the tantrums are more extreme and more often, more whining, more attitude, more melt downs, she has decided that she doesn’t like being told what to do and always seems to have potatoes in her ears. It makes for a more challenging day when I want her to do something. She wants to do things on her own terms, in her own time, and have it be her own idea. I’m learning as a parent, how to deal with it in a way that she will respond better, and not always be a scary mommy drill sergeant. It’s just easier for me to raise my voice and be annoyed, so every single day I’m working on it. She tests my patience on the daily and likes to just be her own independent self. This is all part of growing up. For the both of us.

Every night, Madeline loves to be held in the rocking chair (except not as of February when we put her bed in our room to do sleep training with Ellie) and she says, “Let’s talk about our day!” So we talk about our day, the ups and downs, and then I sing her two songs, which are always “When I Am Baptized” and “I Love To See The Temple” (Rainbow and Temple). And then we give kisses and loves and say good night. She loves to say, “I love you all the way to the moon and come back.” And daddy started the sun part cause the sun is actually farther than the moon. So sometimes it’s, “I love you all the way to the moon and the sun and come back.”

She has started to get into the habit of picking at her nails. So her nails are always really short. At least she’s not using her teeth. BUT she has started to grind her teeth so bad at night. It is the worst sound, I feel like I might throw up when I hear it. She sleeps right next to me right now in her toddler bed, and so I can hear it perfectly. If she was still in her room, I would have no idea that she did that.

Madeline LOVES to ask questions. All kinds of questions. “Mom why don’t I have holes in my ears?” “Mom what is that string hanging down from your privates?” “Why do you have blood down there?”

She also LOVES to ask question upon question. All day long. “Hey there’s a UPS truck! Why is there another UPS truck?” Cause a lot people buy gifts at Christmas time. “Is it Christmas time?” Yeah it’s almost Christmas. “Why is it almost Christmas?” Because it’s December. “Why is it December?” etc etc etc… I feel as though each answer I give just isn’t good enough. She keeps turning my answers into questions. Or she’ll ask me something like, why is that car blue? Cause that’s the way it was made. Why was it made blue? Cause they wanted it blue. Why did they want it blue? Cause they felt like it. Why did they feel like it?

She is still very attentive to others feelings and compassionate. I think this is a gift she has and will have it forever. When her friends are sad or get hurt, she’s right there patting them on the back and making sure they’re okay. We have a crazy neighbor that I’ve had a few bad run ins with and when I come inside from an interaction with her, I’m usually a bit shaken but try to put on a smile and act normal, but Madeline always seems to know and stares at me for a bit and then asks if I’m doing okay. Any time I am laughing so hard that I start tearing up, she rushes to me and looks me in my eyes with a worried smile, making sure those are happy tears and not sad tears.

When we are driving in the car, sometimes I will reach one hand back and rest my hand on her leg or try to hold her hand and she’ll say, “Mom remember? Two hands.” She always makes sure I have two hands on the wheel while I’m driving! She also likes to tell me to go, or to stop, “Why are you going so fast mom?” “Slow down, people!” etc… my little backseat driver.

When she’s really tired and watching tv or just driving in the car, she likes to say that her eyes feel “blobby”.

Her favorite shows are Daniel Tiger (he wins by a long shot), Tumble Leaf, and Blues Clues. Sometimes she’ll watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Dora the Explorer. I have started to introduce a few Disney princess movies, but those are a bit intense for her. For example, in Cinderella, she wanted me to fast forward all the parts with the cat, Lucifer.

I started to do Joy School with Madeline last fall. I couldn’t do everything in the lesson since we didn’t have a big group, but we got the main idea and it has been fun to teach her a few lessons and concepts in a fun way.

Madeline started Sunbeams in January! Just crazy to me that I have a kid old enough to be in Sunbeams. She’s been doing really well and it’s so fun to see her in there with all the big kids. She sits so calmly and listens and raises her hand. That makes me so happy.

She started preschool in January through our community center. It is two days a week and her teacher is Ms. Lorrie. Who is the exact same teacher that Nathan and Rachel had. So fun! Madeline loves Ms. Lorrie and I am so grateful! Luckily, her bff Gwen is in class with her and I think that has been life saving.She has never had a meltdown when I drop her off and I keep expecting it to happen. But we’ve gone through a whole semester already and she hasn’t ever cried or begged me to stay. In fact, one time after school I said, “Madeline I missed you while you were at school today.” And she said, “Oh thank you.” I asked if she missed me and she said, “Nope!” I asked cause you were having so much fun? And she said, “Yeah!” That made me really happy. I mean, I want her to miss me, but I am so relieved and so grateful that she’s just having so much fun that she doesn’t have time to miss me. I think having someone she knows already in her class has been a huge help. We have to volunteer to help in class 3 times a semester and it’s the best. I really love it. I love being able to see how things are run in the classroom, I love getting to see Madeline in her element there, and also get to know her classmates. It’s really great. She may not be learning anything other than some social skills and some new songs, but that’s okay because it has been the perfect first step into the school life and leaving each other. I’ve been really happy with it and so has Madeline.

January 16, Madeline had her first school blessing. It was the night before her first day of preschool and Nathan gave her a blessing. It was the most beautiful and touching thing I have seen. My heart felt like it was going to burst. Madeline can hardly sit still for a 30 second prayer, and when Nathan laid his hands on her head, she folded her arms, closed her eyes, and was so calm with a small smile on her face for the entire blessing. Which was maybe 2-3 minutes long. I just sat and watched her with my heart about to explode with love and she seemed so grown up to me in that moment.

January 17, after her first day of preschool, Ms. Lorrie told me that Madeline was happy, agreeable, good at following directions, and just so wonderful and said we are doing a good job as parents. After her second day of preschool, Ms. Lorrie said she reeeeaaallllllyyyy enjoyed her snack. She said she ate slowly and enjoyed every morsel, even after all the kids were done eating.

It has been so amazing watching Madeline’s confidence grow and coming out of her shell. She has grown so much in the last 6 months, it’s just incredible.

Madeline’s favorite friends are Gwen, June, Riley, and James. Gwen and June are the same age as M, and Riley is 3 years older and James is a little over a year younger. But she loves them so much and they equally love her back. Ever since she and Gwen have been in the same preschool class, they have gotten so close. It has been so much fun watching them become real friends. Instead of forced friends. They really love to be with each other and care for each other.

Madeline loves the Friend magazine and really enjoys the page where you have to find hidden objects. She’s pretty good at it.

She started to snap her fingers on 2/18 and now she will just walk around snapping away.

She loves to to be Mom and play Mom. She gets the biggest smile on her face when  I call her Mom and she does something I normally do. She loves to play where she’s the mom and she calls me big sister. Or we are friends, and she’ll say, “Oh hey friend! How are you today, friend?” Or she’ll come up to me and shake my hand and say, “Hi how are you? What’s your name? Nice to meet you I’m Madeline.” Madeline could do pretend play all day long. It’s fun, except that she always wants me to play with her, which I do, but I can’t do it all day, and then sometimes she just doesn’t want to stop and she doesn’t want to listen.

Madeline is still always eager to help with anything and everything. Especially dinner and folding laundry. She’s gotten really good at folding hand towels.

Madeline loves to be the funny girl. She really enjoys being goofy and putting on a show for us and making us laugh. And especially making Ellie laugh. Madeline loves watching herself in the mirror or on the camera on my phone. She will just stare at herself and make all kinds of faces. She’s also really into putting my lipstick. Which I never wear, but she discovered it one day and she could just sit staring at herself in the mirror applying lipstick and making faces all day.

On February 4 we stopped putting pull ups on her at naps and bed time. We take her to the bathroom before we go to bed, and she wakes up dry. She has had a hand full of accidents at night. It has been more often lately and I don’t really know why. Sometimes, she’ll pee all the way and it’s a giant mess. And sometimes she will be a little bit, but then catch it and wake me up to tell me she has pee and then finish in the toilet. Then I only have to change her underwear and pj bottoms.

She really enjoys sleeping in the bedroom with Mommy and Daddy. It’s been okay as we have been trying to sleep train Ellie. Eventually they will share a room, but it’s tough cause they go to bed at different times and I don’t want them waking each other up. Ever since she has been in our room, she has regressed. She used to not care about sleeping alone and she never wanted to come sleep with us in our bed, but now she always wants us to be there and she’ll wake up in the middle of the night and want to come sleep with us. Which is not really sleeping for anyone since our bed is too small for that. We finally had to get her a clock that lights up at 6:45 saying she is allowed to get out of bed and go out. She was waking up at 5 am and waking me up saying she wanted to go out and go play or watch a show. But I’m like, go back to bed! And then it’s a huge battle and huge tantrum. The clock is starting to help a little.

She is phasing out of naps. We are at a tough spot where if she takes a nap, it’s only an hour, and then she’s pleasant and energetic all afternoon, but then has a hard time falling asleep and won’t fall asleep until about 9. But if she doesn’t nap, then she’s a crazy person with crazy energy all afternoon, but then falls right to sleep without any trouble at 7. I think as she gets closer to turning 4, we will get rid of them. But I really do enjoy my one hour of kid free time. I usually try to get Ellie’s afternoon nap to happen at the same time as M’s nap.

Madeline loves her baby sister SO much. She tells me all day long, “I love my baby sister SOOOOOO much!!!!” She loves to be with her, and pick her up, and have her sit with her, and give lots of hugs and kisses. Most of the time, Ellie just squirms and gets annoyed cause Madeline can be a little intense and overwhelming with all of this love. Despite all the love she has for her baby sis, she is still having jealousy issues and wants to be a baby ALL the time. At least once a day. She wants me to get her some milk and feed it to her like a baby. Or she’ll play baby and wants me to carry her everywhere or at dinner time she wants me to pretend to put her in a high chair, pretend to put on a bib, and then feed her her dinner. This I actually don’t mind cause then she eats her dinner faster. Or she’ll start crying about something and say “But I’m a baby!!” It’s hard. I let her be a baby sometimes, but then it has to be done and she needs to be a big girl. Sometimes I’ll pick Ellie up or I’ll be holding her and Madeline will frown and say, No hold ME!! One thing I love, she still loves to snuggle my chest. She still takes a deep breath in when she’s on my chest and make those snuggling noises. I don’t mind that at all.

I love my big girl and it has been so wonderful and amazing watching this little baby become such a real, independent kid. She’s such an exceptional person and I am so grateful she’s mine. We love her so so so so much.

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Ellie 10 months

Ellie is ten months and is just becoming more and more fun. She is still a very neutral baby, but she is starting to smile more and be more engaged. On Feb 2, she started clapping! We ask her to clap and she daintily claps away. She waves when we say hi, bye bye, or good night. Any time I ask her a question, she’ll shake her head no. We all think it’s hilarious.

She is full on crawling now. No more army crawling for Ellie. She is a full blown crawler and is super fast. Ellie loves playing with toys when she’s all alone. It’s actually pretty funny to see how different her behavior is when Madeline is at school and Ellie gets to play with the toys all on her own. You can see her body is more relaxed and she’s happy. Don’t get me wrong, she loves her sister and loves to be with her and play with her. But when big sis isn’t around, she’s free to play with whatever she wants, she doesn’t have to worry about her grabbing things out of her hands or yelling no, she doesn’t have to worry about big sis coming over to give her a big love squeeze.

She is eating a little better. She eats a lot of fine, baby food, but still no puffs or pieces of bananas. I try, but she just spits them right out. I’m just gonna keep on trying, cause it would really make my life a bit easier if she could eat some finger foods on her own. When she’s all done eating, she gets so excited when I take her out of the high chair. She squeals and wiggles her arms and legs and lunges her body towards me.

Ellie is still in size 3 diapers and is wearing 6-9 month size clothes.

She can really understand a lot of words now. She responds to her name, when we tell her no, food, nurse, hi, bye bye, night night, sleep, wave, Madeline, Momma, Dada.

Her first tooth popped through on Feb 12. Baby tooth #P came through, and you can see #O right next to it, but still under the tissue.

This last month we started SLEEP TRAINING. It didn’t go as smoothly as we had hoped or as it did with Madeline. But it definitely has helped. Feb 8, I decided, ya know what, I just need to do this now. So I looked over my notes from the sleep specialist I spoke with for Madeline, and try to put it all into action. We moved Madeline’s toddler bed into our bedroom, right next to me. So Ellie has her own room while we try to sleep train. Once she is sleeping well enough on her own, we will have them share a room.

I tried talking it out with her and then that night, I nursed her out in the family room, then sang her songs in the chair in her dark room, and put her down in her crib in her zipadee zip (she can’t sleep without it) and made sure she had enough pacifiers around. She was not happy about. We listened to her cry and scream for 40 minutes :'( It was rough. It wasn’t as traumatizing to me as it was with Madeline, maybe cause I’m more experienced and I’m more over the needing me to sleep thing, so I’m just like, cry, this is good for you… So I went in to reassure her twice in that 40 minutes of crying. She slept from 7:34 until 11, then up at 2:30, 4:30, 6:30.

The next day she was extra clingy. It was sad. It took about 7 days for her to fall asleep in less than 20 minutes. It took about 14 days for me to put her in her down at night in her crib and not cry. It was/is a very long process. After 2 weeks of sleep training, she got a fever and had a bad cold. And then it seemed like everything went out the window.

She now knows the routine at night, and the putting to bed isn’t ever a problem. Which I LOVE. It makes my life a million times easier. I don’t have to make Madeline watch another show while I nurse Ellie to sleep. I can just  nurse her out there, and then it takes about 2 minutes in the room. It’s wonderful. She still wakes up at night, but it’s getting better. Some nights are alright, and some night are bad. Sometimes it’s Ellie that gives me a bad night, and sometimes it’s Madeline, and usually it’s both.

So the sleep training it still a work in progress, but it has helped a lot with bedtime, and her naps are better too. She is starting to take longer naps.

I love Ellie’s sweet, wide smile and prominent chin. She always smells so yummy and is sooooo kissable!

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Ellie at 9 months

Ellie girl is 9 months. She is still so sweet and petite. She is in size 3 diapers. Weighs 16 lbs 6 oz (20%ile), height 2’2 in (8%ile) (which she shrunk from her last appt, so I just don’t think they do an accurate job of measuring).

She is starting to be a bit more clingy. She wishes she could be held all day. But has moments where she really enjoys playing with toys and getting into things. As long as sister isn’t by her side telling her no and grabbing everything out of her hands. Ellie is fast. She loves grabbing anything in her sight, and when she does, she does it at lightening speed. You don’t even see it coming.

She is still a terrible sleeper and I’m this close to doing something about it. She wakes up every 2 hours and I just need to be a functioning human again. So I think we’ll start some training soon. Her naps are still 30 minutes long and she wakes up crying and is still terribly exhausted.

On Jan 17, she started to slowly do an army crawl. An inch here, an inch there. The next day, Jan 18, she was full on army crawling. She was thrilled with this new found freedom! She could follow mommy and sister down the hallway, she could go into the kitchen, she could sneak off to grab toys, etc. She’s a happy girl. She also does a good job pushing herself back from crawling to sitting position. So she’ll go grab a toy and then push herself back into sitting position to hold and look at her toy. It makes her seem like such a big kid.

Ellie still does not like texture in foods. She gags on thick stuff and anything with any kind of texture or grainy feel. I keep trying to give her puffs or cheerios, but nope. She makes a stink face and spits them right out.

We love our sweet Ellie.