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Let's Talk Babies!

My Baby

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When I think about the words I would use to describe my sweet little girl right now, at the age of 3 and a half (+), this picture captures them all. She is full of life, loves to joke and make people laugh, and has a smile that could light up any room and any heart.

It is hard to sum up all that is Maya right now, all the tiny parts that make up who she is. She is definitely a stubborn (very stubborn), independent 3 year old. She is opinionated and strong willed and can battle with the best of them to get what she wants. She is also full of life and giggles and has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met. She loves to entertain us by dancing and singing and doing things she finds funny. If she is doing something that she thinks deserves applause she will tell you to clap. If she is doing something that she finds funny she will tell you to laugh (even if she has done it a million times and it has long since lost its humor).

In a couple of months, a little less actually, she’ll be starting preschool. She is ready in so many ways for this next big adventure. I can’t wait to see what she learns, and how she grows from this new adventure. One of her favorite games to play right now is school. She sets up all her guys in her bedroom, which she calls her very special library, and declares herself the teacher. She teaches her guys new things and reads to them, it is adorable to watch.

But, before she starts school, an even bigger change is coming for Maya. She is about to become a big sister. Her little family, the family she has known her whole life is about to change. Her little world is about to be turned upside down. The transition will be made so much easier since she is so excited about becoming a big sister and really looking forward finally getting to meet her baby sister. I know there will be some struggles, but we’ll handle those as they come. She has so much to give as a big sister and will be an amazing big sister.

I love all the little parts that make up this sweet little girl, even the parts that make me want to pull my hair out sometimes. I’ve watched her change and grow and become who she is today over the last 3 plus years and I’m looking forward to continuing to watch her grow and change. She is one amazing little girl and I’m so glad I get to call her my daughter.

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Love you bunches sweet baby girl.

Before I got pregnant, before I became a mom, I remember hearing people say they could pick their baby’s cry out of a crowd of crying babies.  At the time, since I didn’t have any children I just could not fathom how that was possible.  I mean, to my virgin ears, all babies crying sounded the same.  How was it possible for a mom to decipher the cry of her child from the cry of another child.  I just didn’t get it.

Then I had a baby, I became a mom, and I instantly got it.  A mom can tell her child’s cry apart from all other cries because she hears it with more than just her ears, she hears it with her heart.

I remember the first night home from the hospital after Maya was born and worrying that I wouldn’t wake up to her cries in the middle of the night.  I went to sleep very nervous about it only to be woken not by the actual sound of her cries but by my heart racing.  It was like my heart heard her cries and woke me up in that split second before my ears registered the sound.  I felt more like a real mom in that instant than I had before.  My body, my heart, was wired to hear my child’s cries.  I was now equipped with the power to decipher my child’s cry from any other child’s cry, that is magical.

I can remember late nights in the early months when Maya was still waking in the night to eat waking to my racing heart but not yet registering the actual sound of the cry and hoping that my heart was playing tricks on me and she was not awake and ready to eat yet, that I could get just a few more minutes sleep first.  Always, every single time, my racing heart was right and I’d hear her cries coming over the monitor loud and clear.

There have been days when I’m sitting on the couch and my heart will jump at the faintest of sounds and I know it is Maya.  I don’t question my heart anymore.  If my heart jumps or races I know without a doubt that the faintest sound I hear is Maya and I go to her.  I know it is her because I hear it with my heart.

Maya loves to eat, she will try almost any food you put in front of her.  She loves food and isn’t afraid to try new things.  It hasn’t always been that way though.  For a while there I thought we might be destined to deal with an insanely picky eater forever.  But somewhere along the way she became transformed into this eating machine :)

When Maya was about 5 months old I started introducing her to solid foods.  I started out with rice cereal as recommended by our pediatrician.  She was not impressed by any stretch of the imagination.  The face she is making in this photo is one I saw every time I stuck a spoon in her mouth (assuming she would open her mouth and let me put the spoon in, in the first place).

food yuck

There were very few baby foods she would eat.  I could occasionally get her to eat peas, squash, this pre-mixed peach cereal stuff in a jar and prunes, but that was it.  She hated applesauce, all baby cereals, and most veggies.  For quite sometime she lived on breast milk alone because she wouldn’t even open her mouth to try anything.

Things got a little easier when we introduced finger foods.  She loved those Gerber Puffs, the freeze dried yogurt thingys, cheerios and peaches.   I think for a while there she would have been happy to live on peaches :)

MMM peaches

We struggled with her eating, or lack there of, for a while.  She wouldn’t try anything.  The few things she would eat just didn’t cut it as meals and didn’t give her enough of the nutrients she needed.  When it finally came time to wean her completely from breastfeeding I was worried that she wasn’t going to get enough to eat, that she would starve because she refused to eat anything.

She didn’t starve.  As a matter of fact she started slowly doing much better in the eating department.  There were several things we did that helped her,  including; not making any meal time a battle, if she wanted to eat great, if not, fine.  We continued to provide her lots of healthy options at each meal.  I started letting her choose what she was going to eat for breakfast and lunch and we basically just let her control her own eating.

One day I realized that I no longer had a picky eater.  Instead my daughter had been transformed into a good eater.  She is the type of kid you can take out to dinner with you and not have to worry about what will be on the menu.  This past weekend we even took her out for sushi with us.  Now, granted, she didn’t much care for the actual sushi but she loved the miso soup and the japanese house salad :)  Watching her eat this weekend I was proud of her for being so willing to try new things.  I was proud of us for sticking with it and helping transform her into an amazing little eating machine.  She even used chop sticks :)

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Maya has always been a good communicator.  From very early on she learned that she could use language, sounds, signs and gestures to get her point across and once she figured that out there was no turning back.  Over time real words and full sentences have replaced the sounds, signs and gestures of her early communication.  I have to admit that it has made parenting so much easier.  We always (well almost always, anyway) know what she is asking for, or trying to tell us.  She uses her words very well, but there are still times when it is a challenge to figure out what she is trying to say (I make her show me in those cases).  Now if I say I don’t understand what she is saying she’ll say “Show me” which means she wants to show me!!  She picks up on the meanings of words, concepts and language structure very quickly these days.

Her language skills have gone through a little explosion lately.  Her words have become a lot clearer, she is forming rather good little sentences and she can carry on a conversation like you wouldn’t believe.  She has even started reading her books out loud instead of just looking at the pictures.  If she remembers the story she can read along pretty well, if she doesn’t quite remember the story she will make one up.  She is my little communicator.

Maya is pretty much always talking.  At the park she will carry on conversations with other kids, mostly she is telling them what to do.  On play dates or when we are out visiting friends she will begin telling elaborate stories about things that have happened since we have seen them last.  She tells little jokes and stories to Lorne and I all the time.  She even talks to the cats :)

The other day we were out for lunch and Maya was talking and talking, telling me all about what a beautiful day it was, the things she could see from our table and what she wanted to do next.  The people sitting around us got a huge kick out of her.  She often finds friends and admirers every where we go because of her talking (and adorableness, of course).

I’m so proud of my talkative little girl.   I love that she has already developed such a love of language and learning new things.  She will try to say any new word she hears.  I love that while we are out running errands I can always rely on her for a little conversation or at least a constant narration of what we are doing.  There is never a quiet moment when Maya is around and I love it :)

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For most of her short little 2 year life Maya has had a love affair with clothes.  She wasn’t one of those babies who loved to be naked, and as a toddler still prefers being full dressed to being naked.   If given the option to run around naked or put on some clothes she will always choose the latter.  The other day I had decided to let her run around for a bit with her diaper and pants off because she had a bit of a diaper rash.  She got quite perturbed at this idea and kept asking to me to put her pants back on.  I ended up giving in and putting her diaper and pants back on because after she used the potty she cheered and said “yeah, pants back on.”  After that display I couldn’t resist giving in to her.  She also doesn’t like it when other people don’t have clothes on either.  As soon as Lorne gets out of bed in the morning she tells him to put a shirt on.  There is no walking around naked at our house with the clothes police living here :)

Over time this love affair with clothing has grown into a love affair with playing with clothes and playing dress up.  Whenever there is a pile of clothes laying around, either to be donated, washed, put away, whatever, Maya will find it and play in it.  There have been many gigantic huge clothing everywhere messes made in our house.

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Nowadays she usually prefers playing dress up with the clothing she finds versus throwing them all over the place (which is good for me!).   Any clothes she finds become dress up clothes.

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I am seriously going to have to think about starting a dress up bin for her.  Just imagine the fun she would have with a bin full of princess outfits and mommy’s old clothes and shoes :)