Happy Half Birthday

Yesterday was Annabel’s half birthday. Two and a half. I can’t believe it. For some reason it really makes me sad that she’s now closer to three than she is to two. The same way I was sad when she was one and a half. And then two. I don’t know. I guess it’s always going to make me a little bit weepy to see my baby get big.

But the nostalgia is only half of the equation. On the other hand, there’s a lot of pride in watching my girl come into herself. The last few months have brought about many changes, both wonderful and…challenging. But without fail, everyday with Annabel brings a smile to my face and a love in my heart that I can’t even begin to put into words. Watching her grow up is by far the most rewarding experience in my life.

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And the past three months (since our last update) have been no different. I’ve struggled a bit to keep us both entertained and happy through the winter months, and there have been some rough days. But we’ve also had a lot of fun.

I think one of the neatest developments recently has been Annabel’s affection for her friends. We’re lucky to have neighbors with little girls right near Annabel’s age. One lives right next door and the other is the next house over. Anytime we’re outside, Annabel wants to see her friends. Both of the other girls have big brothers who go to the school across the street, so when the weather is nice, we go outside when school is letting out and have a giant impromtu play date with all of the neighbors. Annabel loves this, and I really enjoy the time to chat with other adults. But mostly I love watching Annabel interact with her buddies. I have been so proud to discover that she is an incredibly sweet, nurturing, and caring friend. She hugs her friends, shares her toys like a champ, and is very empathetic when one is upset. She has never once pushed or hit another child, even after she’s been pushed or had her toys ripped from her hands. My only fear is that her sweet nature and tendency to not fight back will make her a target for bullying as she gets older. So while I’m proud to see her not being physical with her friends, I want to teach her how to stand her ground when someone is being unkind to her.

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In addition to lots of quality time spent with friends, Annabel is also becoming great at independent play, and there is little I enjoy more than listening to the stories unfold as she creates an imaginary world around her. Some of her favorite toys these days are little figurines/people. At Christmas time, she had a set of Rudolph figurines that she took everywhere with her. Now it’s a set of Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, etc. They take baths with her, play in her dollhouse, and just generally follow Annabel around the house.

But as her imagination grows, so do her fears. I’m not really sure where Annabel first heard the word “monster” since we’ve tried to be conscious of what she sees and hears. But she’s apparently heard it and realizes that monsters are scary. It’s strange because I’m not sure how she determined this, but she’ll frequently talk about monsters. Mostly she’s just telling me that “there are no monsters in the house” because that’s what I tell her anytime she mentions them. But sometimes she’ll come charging at me, saying she’s scared of monsters. She also told me the other day that she was “scared of the dark.” I know for certain that we’ve never used that phrase with her, which means she came up with it all on her own, which I found to be interesting. I guess it is just an instinctive fear. Weird.

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One of the most exciting changes in the last three months has involved our bedtime routine. A while back Annabel started climbing out of her crib, so we had to remove the railing. When we did, naps officially went out the window. They were on their way out before that, but with no way to keep her in her bed, the deal was sealed. It’s been a long, slow, and painful transition to no naps, and many days I can tell she still needs one but is too stubborn to take it. Sometimes I plan a “well-timed” car ride to get her to sleep, but usually not since that pushes back bedtime. So yeah, back to bedtime. Things went ok when we removed the railing, but we were Nathan was still spending 45 minutes to an hour some nights getting her to bed. And many of those nights she was still crying for me. So we decided to shake things up, and ever since then, bedtime has been awesome. Now we all go into her room together. I actually lay down on her bed with her while she drinks her milk and daddy tells stories and sings songs. Then we tell her goodnight, give lots of hugs and kisses, tuck her in, and leave, keeping the door open and her nightlights on. Boom. Done.

On top of that, we also bought her her very own alarm clock that lights up when she’s supposed to wake up. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ve convinced her that regardless of what time she wakes up in the morning, she needs to stay in her bed until the clock lights up green. Much to our shock (and pleasure!), it has worked like a charm, and we’re all feeling pretty happy about it. When it lights up, she comes charging into our room, so proud of herself. And she’s not the only one! So great.

And now, before this truly does turn into a full-length novel, here are a few more tidbits I don’t want to forget about that one time when Annabel was a two and a half year old sweet, loving, rebellious, energetic, endlessly silly, gentle, and funny little girl…..

  • Everything must be pink, always.
  • She recently decided that she likes to wear her socks mismatched, telling me that she wants “one of each”
  • She likes to pretend to drink “coffee” (milk) like daddy

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  • She changes her mind constantly and literally from one second to the next, telling me she doesn’t want something, only to then say she does want it half a second later
  • She doesn’t know how to spit out her toothpaste. So instead, she leans over the sink and shouts “SPIT!”
  • She has taken to calling myself and Nathan “mommy-0” and “daddy-o”
  • But sometimes she calls Daddy, Nathan, which bothers him but which I find endlessly adorable and funny, especially when she calls him “my Nathan”
  • She knows every letter of the alphabet and what sound it makes
  • She is getting MUCH better about trying new foods, and when she likes the taste of something, she’ll tell me, “this tastes good, mommy!” Or if it’s really good, she’ll say, “this is deeee-licious!”

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  • Everything is “beautiful”. Cooking dinner the other night, she looked at the chopped green beans and remarked “look at these beautiful green beans!” and then, “those mangoes are beautiful!” It cracks me up.
  • Her favorite treats are chocolate and “gubby wubs” (i.e. gummy bears) and she insists that you eat one with her. Similarly, she loves to feed us, shoving things into our mouths and saying, “Have some!”
  • She wants absolutely nothing to do with the potty, though she likes stories and TV shows (Daniel Tiger) centered around it
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  • She thinks it’s hilarious to make messes. I don’t share in her enthusiasm.
  • She wants Mr. Bo (our cat) to come everywhere with her…into the bathroom during baths, to her room at bedtime, when she gets a diaper changed, etc.
  • She will randomly walk up to me and say “I love you too, Mommy!” as if she’s just read my mind. Other times she squeezes my neck really hard and tells me “I love you sooo much, Mommy.” It shatters me.
  • Her smile is contagious

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