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toddler

I haven’t nursed Nora in over a week. She is officially fully weaned. She still asks for it on occasion but she doesn’t get upset when I say no or distract her with something else. Although I was completely ready to be done with breastfeeding I still feel a little sad, or maybe nostalgic is a better word, now that it is over. It feels a bit like the end of an era. Babyhood in our family is officially coming to an end. Our kids are getting older and more independent by the day. Even the baby of the family isn’t a baby anymore.

Being done with breastfeeding feels like such a huge deal to me. Donating my nursing bras and tank tops felt surreal. For close to 5 of the last 7 and a half years I have had a nursing baby or toddler. It was just so much a part of my parenting routine that to have it be done feels weird, and I must admit a bit freeing. I don’t feel so tied down or required anymore. We all like to feel needed, and all my girls still need me and prefer for me to put them to bed at night, but I’m not required. Being gone in the evening around bedtime is now something I can do if I want to!

Nora was by far the hardest to wean. Perhaps it is because I waited a bit longer to start the process with her, perhaps it was just such a comfort to her she didn’t want to willingly give it up. Maya and Anna were fairly easy to wean, with only one or two nursing sessions being a little more challenging. By the time I started weaning them at 18 months they were down to just a few times a day anyway and we fully weaned within a month or so. Nora was still going strong at 18 months so getting her give it up was a lot harder. We took it slow and I tried to let her set the pace as much as I could, although I was ready to be done so I tended to nudge her a bit when I could. It took about 4-5 months to finally get to the point where she was just nursing once or twice a day. Getting rid of those last couple of sessions was a lot easier than I anticipated. I figured she would put up a huge fight, but with a little distraction and the introduction of some new elements to our morning and nighttime routines she quickly decided it was okay to give it up.

I really enjoy our new nighttime routine. We read a book (the same airplane book every night!) and snuggle for a few minutes. We still get that quiet, uninterrupted time together and she still gets her much loved snuggles before getting into bed. It works well and both of us are happy.

 

In the blink of an eye 18 months has flown by. Some how my baby girl, my smallest daredevil princess, the lovely Miss Nora is 18 months old. It feels like just yesterday that I was holding a tiny little bundle of newborn Nora in my arms for the first time, in awe of her perfectness. Then I blinked and she was suddenly an 18 month old toddler not afraid of anything and taking on the world one daredevil stunt at a time.

Weight: 20lbs 10oz (23rd percentile)

Height: 31 ins (24th percentile)

Head Circumference: 18.5 ins (70th percentile)

Nora had her 18 month well child check up this morning and was declared to be petite and perfect! Just like her big sister Anna she is still rocking her petite status with pride. After a thorough check up by the doctor that included lots of talking, since Nora is a chatter box, I was told she was perfectly healthy and way ahead of the curve with her verbal skills both with her ability to communicate and her ability to understand. It is always nice to walk away from a well child check up with a glowing report.

There is so much I could say about our sweet baby girl and yet it is hard to find the right words to describe her. She is full of life and energy. She is a total daredevil and not afraid to try anything. She loves playing both on her own and with her big sisters. Her favorite toy is her baby dolls. She pushes her doll around the house in the stroller and hugs her and pats her back and gives her kisses. It is so sweet and cute. She also loves to play dress up, especially with hats and shoes (one of her current favorite words!). She also loves to color and read. But, her favorite activity is climbing anything and everything! I had to move our bar stools away from the counter because she figured out how to use them to climb on to the counter and I couldn’t not keep her off of it. She is a fun one 😉

Nora is a busy little girl. Busy growing, busy learning, busy talking and busy keeping us on our toes. She has a great vocabulary and can communicate very well with both words and gestures. I’ve lost count of how many words she knows. It seems like she is adding new words daily now. She can say, hi and bye, mom and dad (but mostly mom, she uses mom for a lot of things), dog, cat, bird, duck, meow, quack, tree, truck, bus, shoe, fish, this, that, nose, belly, bum, bike, hat, boot, blanket, bath, bubble, balloon, outside, help, cheese, juice, snack, lunch, park and plane. I’m sure there are more but that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. There is rarely a time that I don’t understand what she means. She is very good at combining words she knows with gestures to make her point clear. She also understands an incredible amount. She will answer questions and follow directions.

This is one of my favorite ages. There is so much exploring, learning, growing and changing taking place it is almost like there is something new or different about her every day. I love seeing the world through the eyes of a curious toddler.

So, yesterday I spent all day psyching myself up to move Anna into her big girl bed. I knew the sooner I did it the more likely it was that things would be settled down and in a good routine before Maya starts kindergarten and before Baby Girl #3 arrives. Once I had myself talked into I started talking Anna into. Which, it turns out, was harder than I thought. Every time I mentioned her sleeping in her big girl bed in her new room she would say “No”. I tried not to let that get to me and scare me away from moving her over last night.

At bedtime I put her favorite guys, the ones that usually occupy the space at the end of her crib, in her new big girl bed.

When I brought her upstairs we went about our usual routine and jammies and brushing teeth. Then, we did something a little different, we walked into Maya’s room instead of her room. She got excited at the sight of her guys in her bed and climbed right in. I was excited and thought, just maybe, this transition would be smooth.

But then she got this look of fear in her eyes, you can see it in the last picture. That look didn’t leave her eyes until they were closed and she was gently snoring away. I climbed into bed with her and we read a few stories and I got her to lay down and climbed out of the bed to sit beside it for a minute. She was not having any of it and started crying. I climbed back into bed with her and laid down beside her. I told her it was bedtime and she needed to go to sleep. Her response just about broke my heart and resolve “No bed, I scared” :( I laid there with her for a while and watched her eyes dart all around the room, the fear still very prominent. When her eyes started to get heavy and her breathing rhythmic I tried to get out of bed and leave the room. She responded by sobbing. I gave up and laid with her until she fell asleep.

With her blankie held tightly to her chest, her eyes closed and her little snores filling the quiet in the room I determined she was asleep enough that I could safely leave. I whispered to Maya to stay very quiet so Anna wouldn’t wake back up and I tip toed out of the room. I checked back in on them later, before I went to bed. Both girls were sleeping soundly, Anna still in the exact position I left her in, with her blankie still clutched tightly to her chest.

Even though the going to bed part was a bit rough, and I’m guessing I’ll need to lay with her for at least a few nights until she gets used to the new bed and new room, I’m going to call last night a success. She slept all night, not a peep out of her, in her new big girl bed and woke this morning full of happiness, the fear of the evening before long gone. So, the first night was a success and my fingers are crossed that it is more of the same in the days ahead.

Friday night, for the first time since she was born, I didn’t nurse Anna before bed. At 19 months it was time to be done. She probably would have kept going if I had been willing, but I was ready to be done. As I read her a story and rocked her for a bit before putting her in her crib I found myself feeling a bit sad. Even though I was ready to be done it felt like the last piece of her babyhood slipping away.

The process to get to Friday night when we were officially done breast feeding started about a month ago. Slowly Anna had been dropping nursing sessions on her own since she turned 1. We were down to the last 3, the hardest ones in my experience, for them to give up. The first one we worked on was her before nap nursing session. It was by far the toughest, and although she no longer asks to nurse before nap time it is still a struggle to get her to fall asleep. A few days after we ended to before nap nursing she decided to give up the first thing in the morning session on her own. It was nice not to have to battle her on that one.

Once we were down to just the before bed session I took a break for a couple of weeks from the weaning process and let her adjust to the new normal. I knew on Thursday it was the last time I would nurse her. I had picked Friday because I figured if it was a real challenge to get her to go to sleep it would be easier when we didn’t have to get up early for anything the next day. Surprisingly, she was fine with it. We read a story and then snuggled and rocked in the rocking chair for a bit. She was out within minutes of me putting her in her crib. And, she has continued to do well every night since.

I am proud of myself for making it another 19 months. Breastfeeding this time around was a much easier than last time as it didn’t come with any of the early struggles I experienced with Maya. It wasn’t challenge free but the challenges that did come up were easy to get through thanks to the 19 months experience I had nursing Maya. I’ll miss my quiet time with Anna all snuggled into me that nursing guaranteed daily. Although, Anna loves to snuggle so I’m sure there will be no lack of snuggle time with her.

Anna’s favorite activities are those that require quiet concentration. From birth her personality has been that of quiet observer. As I watch her take in the world I can almost see the sponge within her absorbing and expanding. She is happiest reading books, coloring or building with her duplo blocks. She will concentrate for great lengths of time on these activities, taking pride in her work and gladly showing off what she has created with a very proclamation of “Look!!” as she holds up her creation for all to see.

So, yesterday, since Maya had the day off school and I was trying to come up with an extra fun activity for us to do I decided to let both girls paint. Painting has always been one of Maya’s favorite things to do, but, up until now I had not let Anna in on the fun. I taped together several pages from the big coloring pad Anna got for Christmas and I let her have at it (knowing a great mess was likely).

From the first stroke Anna was in heaven!

The look on her face was priceless. She was so proud of herself :)

Part way into our painting project she realized that Maya’s pictures were much more colorful than hers and started to ask for more colors. She asked for “boo” and “low” (blue and yellow). Eventually her little paint tray was filled with every color of the rainbow and she was delighted!

I’d say painting is likely going to be a new favorite activity for my budding little Picasso :) It won’t be long now before crayons no longer cut it and she is asking for paints whenever the creativity bug bits.

Anna sure comes by this love of colorful creation honestly, her big sister is quite the little artist herself.