She took her her first consecutive steps at 14 months and is now a pro, toddling all over the place, up and down the stairs without supervision and with only one minor tumble. If I let her, she would walk the sidewalk in front of our house endlessly. (But only the downhill side. I can’t seem to help her understand that she can turn around and walk the other way too. She must be one track minded like me.) It’s a full time job supervising a fast toddler in town, but fresh air and a good walk are always worth it for both of us.
Imitation is a new development. She does so many things we have never intentionally taught her, from talking with a phone to her ear, wiping the floor and other surfaces with a rag, and more. Her little brain is so open to information right now. I can show her something new only a few times, and she’ll remember. Things like where her nose, ears, mouth are and how old she is. She says “ONE” emphatically, holding up her little pointer finger.
Speaking of teeth: she managed to turn one year old without any, but in the next six weeks, she popped a whopping SEVEN through swollen gums. She’s a trooper. And so am I as a matter of fact, but the fact that her entire life has been intense and full of challenges, teething has actually seemed like another ordinary step in the road. I guess that’s a good thing! 😀
For her rocky record, she has been sleeping much better at night. I can rarely get her to bed early, possibly from habit of being synced with her parents’ later bedtime, but after that, she’s been doing 4-5 hour stretches, which feels glorious. At one year old, she had only slept an 8 hour stretch once that I can remember, but she did it twice in the last seven days! I’ll never regret attachment parenting, but seeing my baby mature and change naturally, outgrow restless sleep, and choose independence… it is good for my soul and so worth it.
I’ll never stop being perplexed at the intense growth and changes kids go through. Sometimes it takes 15 minutes to feed and put her to sleep. Other times it takes 3 hours like the other night. No joke. I only wish she had the words to tell me what’s wrong. She was deliriously tired, but could not go to sleep. Bouncing, playing in the crib, lying next to me, getting her legs rubbed, being fed again. Eventually she just screamed and acted in pain. At nearly 1 am, she finally slept for a five hour stretch only to repeat the screaming episode. I’m suspicious she had acid reflux, but it’s a mystery. Parenting is intense, but such an honor.
My girl is completely weaned from breast milk, but thriving on goat milk. Now that she has some teeth, I’m hoping she’ll become more interested in food. She eats some of my eggs some mornings, but often shakes her head no when offered food and mostly plays with it when I let her take the reins. (utensils)
Things I’m learning:
There are so many things I love about our daughter. Toddlerhood (and really all stages I guess) is so much about perspective. If I judge my daughter by the moments when she’s having an emotional meltdown or smacks me in the face, I would think I have such a “bad” child. But if I look at the many valuable things that are growing and she is taking on with gentle direction, I am amazed at the beautiful things that spontaneously come out of her sweet spirit. Identity over behavior. It sounds so simple, but I’m not sure why humans tend to complicate things. We like to have control and have predictable plans and outcomes, but the Kingdom, much less parenting, does not work that way. If we try to make it work that way, “good” results are not sustainable.
Kids are just mini adults and truly struggle with the same things we do. I’m not interested in creating an obedient robot; I’m interested in teaching the art of good choices like self control and kindness, through example and joint problem solving. That’s the kind of eternal things that will make a smooth(er) transition into adulthood, when faced with the same challenges, simply on a larger scale. I am learning with her, to be honest.
Favorite Alexandra things:
Hands down, her kisses. Ever since she learned to blow kisses, I was mesmerized. That little palm and kissing sound…it’s too much. She figured out how to kiss us on the face within a day, and we can never get enough. A lot of babies do the open mouth slobber thing, but she has the actual kiss down, sound effect and all. We never force physical affection so she learns about personal space and the option to reject touch she’s not comfortable with, but we do adore the spontaneous hugs and kisses and always make a big deal out of it. She praises herself and claps with the biggest smile on her face. She has kissed her teddy and even her reflection in the mirror. It’s the sweetest.
Her words. We always try to listen and agree and respond in some way when she goes off on a jabbering spree. It’s interesting to watch how validated and understood she feels when we do it, even if we technically don’t know what she is saying. My husband always says, “Talk to Daddy. Use your words,” when she’s randomly screaming or throwing a fit. It might seem silly if she can’t form words we understand in the English language, but when he looks her in the eyes, she does usually switch her tune and begin to talk dramatically and seriously about her feelings. Connection is a universal language. He listens and agrees. “That’s so much better! Good job.” She feels better and is pleased. I love watching my husband be a loving father.
Her silky hair. I’ve trimmed it out of her eyes twice, so I don’t have to rely on bows that get pulled out at some point anyways.
Hearing her call for me after a nap. It’s a progression from random squawks and talking to herself to all out yells. That final (loud!) shriek lets me know my quiet time is officially over. I always smile to myself, walking up the stairs, anticipating the smile and tousled hair of my snuggly toddler. “Did you have a good nap?” (She usually shakes her head no, but that’s her general response to every question.) I reach for the outstretched wiggling fingers, and it’s a requirement to retrieve Teddy too. It’s the best moment.
I was sure I wanted a boy, but I clearly wasn’t aware of the gift I would get.