Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Last Few Weeks of 1

Well, things have obviously been busy because we're a bit behind on our blogging... like by 4 months or so. It seemed like once a week was pretty easy to keep up with, but things got pretty hectic for me at work around March/April and haven't really let up since. That has made it pretty tough to do much of anything extra. Rather than make excuses, we'll just try to get caught up. Scarlett will be 2 in just 3 weeks. Hard to believe! Time has gone by SO FAST. This week we went to the open house at Children's House Montessori in Arlington. She'll probably be starting there in August for a 4-week camp before the school year starts for preschool. Crazy to think that we'll be sending her to real school soon! They admitted her for the toddler program this year but we couldn't work it out because of the limited hours (9:15 - 11:30 am) and extra cost. Even if we could have figured out how to transport her from there to daycare every day, we would have been paying that tuition on top of her regular daycare costs. Unfortunately, we just aren't there yet! Preschool will also be expensive. It's already more for 10 months than we pay for a year of daycare and we'll still have to cover the summers at Betsie's. In the end, I think it will be worth it though. No one stays at her daycare past age 3 and she is definitely ready for a more structured program with some academics. She also really likes being with older kids and she's now among the oldest at daycare. The Montessori program involves having the kids in mixed age classes, which I think she'll like a lot. One of her favorite former daycare friends, Claire, already goes there, so hopefully she'll even end up in her class! We're also still n the wait list for the preschool at Bright Horizons (NSF) but she might not get through that wait list until she's four and at that point I'm not sure if we'll want to switch her. We'll see what happens though. I'll leave her on the list to give us some options down the road. Most people go to see 4 preschools but as of right now,, we're already too happy with both options. It seems like you can't really go wrong around here, so it comes down to fit, cost, and convenience. This one is right across the street from Betsie's and more on our way to work than the other one. We thought about immersion programs etc. but ultimately decided simple wasn't a bad thing for a 3 year old!

Since it has been a while, I'll provide a quick update on what she's up to these days. She is basically fluent now. She is a little chatterbox. Beyond repeating EVERYTHING we say, she comes up with words and sentences we didn't realize she knew. Most things are in sentence form now and she very clearly understands how to express her preferences ("I like that song! I don't like that book, I want another one."). She has asked for a gymnastics party for her birthday (seriously -- she came up with that on her own) and wants a pink birthday cake. Today she was rubbing Paul's back, gave him a kiss on the neck and said "I'm helpful!" All of it is very entertaining. She is still a really good eater. She loves vegetables and a range of strange foods like chicken skin, tofu, roe, seaweed salad, mussels, really any seafood... The only difference now is that she's a little more "toddler" about it in that she'll shove 20 mussles down her gullet one night but the next it's "I don't like it." It makes menu planning tough but we're still really lucky compared to most of the toddler palates I've heard about!

At the preschool they said this age is the "me do" age where they want to do everything themselves. We have some of that, but more often it's "Mommy, help! I need help!" She's more into manipulating us. She does a lot of "acting" and has mastered the lip quiver, has a pretty bad fake cry, and likes to order us around ("Mommy's turn!, Daddy's turn!"). Paul and Scarlett brought me flowers last week and she thought Mommy thanking her for the present was the greatest thing since sliced bread, so ever since she has been demanding that I thank her for the present again ("Thank you for the present, Mommy, thank you for the present!"). She is better at answering questions now and even tells us what happened during the day (e.g., "Tommy went to time out"; although he seems to go every day, even on the days when she is at her other daycare) but still isn't great at options. If you ask her if she wants this or that, she simply repeats "this or that." If you follow it up with a "which one" her response is always "that one!" and then she laughs and says "funny!" She's a bit of a character. She'll put herself in time out and tell us it's because she was naughty.

We're working on potty training, but in truth, we were a lot farther ahead in June than we are now There was a period of time where she made it to the potty every morning. Now it has been months since she made it. She is into the idea and tells us almost every time, but she tells us as she is going most of the time. She also likes to strategically cry wolf, like a bed time as we are on the last book of the night... Now it's funny because the deal is that she gets a sticker and an m&m if she goes on the potty, so as she is going she'll sometimes shout "stickers and m&ms!" Classic. She knows her colors, counts to 20, backwards from 10, and recognizes a little over half of the letters. She knows basically all animals, some shapes, and some numbers.

She is pretty athletic. She takes gymnastics on Sunday afternoons. It's her second session and she progressed a lot since the last one. Paul will talk more about that but she went from being one of the worst kids in the class to one of the best. She is definitely the best at the summersault! We also still take her swimming pretty often and she loves that. Some of the instructors who are at the pool have commented on how advanced she is and agree that there's no point in having her in lessons right now. Once she's 3 we'll get her back into a class. Despite being a bit of a tom boy in terms of athletics, she is a total girly girl. She loves pink, purple, makeup, shoes, and dresses. She has pretty good manners for an almost 2-year old. She says "bless you" when someone sneezes and please, thank you, and you're welcome most of the time. Something that I think has really helped is that our daycare provider reinforces everything we do at home. She works on manners, academics, sitting at a table, eating with silverware and drinking from a cup. She also uses time out for discipline, so I think it makes it easier for Scarlett to understand the rules of order since they are pretty similar no matter where she is. Overall I think we've been very lucky to be able to trust that Scarlett is in good hands when she isn't with us.

I guess things are a lot easier in many ways than they used to be. It's hard to remember how little she used to do for herself at this point. She climbs into her car seat on her own and can even buckle part of it herself. She helps put toys away, clear the table, brush her teeth, gets things when you ask, throws trash away on her own, puts clothes in the hamper, wipes herself during diaper changes... It's hard to believe that less than 2 years ago she was completely helpless. I see why people say every stage is wonderful. As much as I love infants, it's nice to have an extra set of hands sometimes!

Well, it's brief but it's a start. We'll do our best to back fill the last few months and do better with keeping up in the future. Who knows, maybe we'll end up leaving this blog behind and starting a new one in her second year... You never know what the future holds.

Friday, May 27, 2011

18 month check up

We Scarlett's 18 month check up not far from her 19 month birthday... It was also on a Friday night of Memorial Day weekend. Clearly our pediatrician is in high demand! Regardless, we had a very good experience there as usual. We met with Dr. Clapp who would not be my favorite person in a vacuum, but she is undeniably fabulous with children. We were seen almost immediately and they took us back to have Scarlett weighed and measured. You would have thought they were trying to kill her. She immediately started crying hysterically and clinging onto me like I was trying to throw her to the lions. When all was said and done she weighed in at 23 pounds and was 32 1/2 inches long. I think they said her head was 18 1/4. After the trauma of being weighed and measured was over, we went into the room to wait and Scarlett turned into herself again. She was climbing on the windows, bed, chairs, and her parents. She was jumping in and out of the tiles on the floor, singing, and dancing. She kept herself (and us) completely entertained while we waited for the doctor, which was good because it wasn't the shortest wait. Dr. Clapp came in and was pretty impressed by Scarlett. She typically has a pretty great poker face, but she kept saying how neat she thought she was. Of course Scarlett was performing for her -- talking, laughing, jumping, singing... It was kind of nice because she is typically pretty stoic at the doctor's office so they have to take our word for it that she has a pretty big vocabulary and strings words together and what not. This time the doctor got to see most of it first hand. She quickly ruled out autism and said she's doing a lot of things that 2 year olds are just starting to do. We tried to temper our pride as we went through the rest of the exam. Scarlett is still basically tracking right where she was at her first visit. She's in the 75th percentile for height and 45th for weight and is generally a happy, high performing, high energy little girl.

I asked some questions about discipline and some of her temper tantrums etc. to make sure we aren't screwing up royally, but other than a few helpful hints and words of wisdom, it seems like Scarlett (and us) are doing just fine. The doctor finished up and the nurse came in to administer her shot. Ironically, after the drama with being weighed, she didn't make a peep when she got her shot. No one ever said toddlers are logical. She can be a pain sometimes, but we are very, very proud parents. :)

After the doctor we decided to stop for dinner since it was already about 8 PM. We went to our favorite sushi place -- Sushi Zen. One of our favorite sushi chefs was there and he always hooks us up, so within minutes of sitting down, he sent over some seaweed salad for us. Imagine everyone's surprise when Scarlett started shoveling seaweed down her throat by the handful. It didn't end there though. She had her own little buffet of Japanese food - 3 pieces of California roll, fresh ginger, 1/2 bowl seaweed salad, a bunch of edamame, miso soup with tofu and seaweed, mushrooms, green beans, carrots, a few bites of salmon, oh and all of the salmon skin to finish off the meal. When she returned home, she ate some pudding and a about 10 oz of milk. People at the restaurant were amazed by the variety of foods she ate and we just kept praying that she didn't over-stuff herself and end up throwing it all up later! All-in-all, it was a successful night and she is one unusual toddler. The doctor had just asked us about her toddler-finickiness and wanted to make sure we were still able to get some nutrients into her....

Daddy in FLA, family trip to MIA, and a Triathlon- What a week!

Paul went to Florida for work. He was in Tampa Mon - Wed. I was supposed to fly to Miami on Wednesday for work myself, so we decided it would be simpler (and more fun) for me to take Scarlett down with me and have him meet us there. I was supposed to stay at a resort that had a big pool, so we thought it would be fun. While Paul was gone, Scarlett and I spent most of our time getting ready for the trip. We packed, bought a few toys for the plane, and did a lot of talking about how she was going to be a good girl on the way down there. She actually was. She had a blast at the airport. Being the Type A cautious one that I am, we had about 2 1/2 hours to wait before the plane boarded. Scarlett ran around, climbed the chairs, made friends, and even stuffed herself in the little box they have to make sure your carry on is small enough. Luckily she would fit in the overhead compartment in a pinch... :) One of her funniest moments was when she found a young woman with very fancy stilleto shoes and ran up to her and said "SHOES!!". The woman started laughing and saying she liked Scarlett's shoes too. Scarlett then capitalized on her opening and asked her for her McDonald's french fries. She let Scarlett reach in and grab one herself and she came back with an entire handful. Sigh. That's my girl! Flatter her with a shoe compliment and then steal her food. She also had the woman in the row behind us on the plane offering her lollipops. Mommy had to nix that one though...

Once we got there Scarlett and I took the super shuttle to the hotel, which as it turned out was sort of in the middle of no where. It was right on some well known golf course but otherwise there was nothing to do other than the pool. We met up with Paul and headed to the main building for some dinner. At that point Scarlett was VERY hungry and VERY tired. All-in-all, she was very cranky. Of course, that meant I was bound to run into my boss and all my colleagues from the meeting I was there for. Not quite the impression I wanted her to make, but oh well.

The next day I headed off to work while Paul and Scarlett had a fun filled day at the pool. I have to admit that I was pretty jealous, but I wasn't about to complain since I would much rather have them there so that I could at least see them in the evenings. The next day I finished before lunch, so we headed to the pool and I got to enjoy some of the fun Paul had been having. It's funny because Scarlett has always loved the water, but from one time to the next at the pool it's like she grows leaps and bounds. While we were in Miami she started jumping off the side of the pool (standing rather than sitting and plopping in like she had been doing) and doing a doggy-paddle type movement with her body. It didn't take her long to get confident with her new abilities -- so confident in fact that she decided she could swim on her own. We used to be able to swim on our backs and she'd hang on to our necks and go for a ride. Starting in Miami, she would ride for a few second and then jump off of us into the open water! She's crazy. In any case, it all means you have to keep a very close eye on her because she doesn't understand the concept of drowning yet but also hasn't mastered floating... If she could just learned to float with her upper body (she knows how with her legs) then she really could swim by herself, but she tires out pretty quickly. I will say however that we spent hours in the pool with her and we still had to drag her away crying and screaming. I think she would have stayed at the pool all night. That girl just loves to swim.

We headed out the next day and despite having a little trouble with the Miami cab company, we didn't really have any issues on the plan ride back. It wasn't a full flight so we had a whole row to ourselves and Paul even got her to sleep for a little while. After we got back, we drove up to Columbia, MD for Wine in the Woods. We got there pretty late and missed most of the wine, but we visited with Bonnie, Mike and their friends for a little while before grabbing dinner and going to our hotel. We had decided to stay in Maryland for the night because Dave was participating in his first triathalon the next morning so we needed to be there at 7:30 AM. Considering Scarlett doesn't even wake up until 8:30, that's an early morning for us! We also got a bunch of poster board and markers so that we could make some signs to support Dave, but we never got to use them too much.

Needless to say, Dave finished the race and it was a very emotional day for everyone involved. It's sort of mind blowing that in less than a year he went from finding out he had Leukemia to participating in a triathalon and probably being healthier than he was before the diagnosis. We are all VERY proud of him and Scarlett loves her Uncle Dave. He's already signed up for another one...

The top few pictures on this post are of Scarlett at the playground at Glebe Road Elementary School. It's very close to our house and would be Scarlett's school if we still live here when she's of that age. We love the playground because it's big and not overly crowded. That night it was just Scarlett and a family of 4 or 5 kids. The other kids ranged in age from 1 to about 13 or 14. Scarlett made friends with a 4 year old girl who wanted to carry her around the playground. I was a little nervous at first since Scarlett is pretty lanky and over 20 pounds. I followed them around making sure she didn't drop her and trying to stay close by in case Scarlett got nervous. It soon because clear that Scarlett had no interest in me being there at all. Any time the girl put her down, Scarlett thrust her arms out toward her again asking to be picked up. It was funny because she got very quiet and wasn't talking at all (almost a submissive thing) but was very clingy with the bigger kids and quite happy to be treated like an over-sized doll. The funniest thing was that then the girl's older brother wanted to carry her around too and they started fighting over who got to carry her and for how long. I thought she might be put off by the boy because he was pretty rambunctious, but she didn't bat an eye. Same thing... if he put her down, she asked to be picked up again. She really loves older kids. She started crying when we finally said it was time to go. Hopefully we'll see them again there soon!