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toddlers

Anna celebrated her 2nd birthday a little over a week ago!

Late last week she had her 2 year check up with her pediatrician. Though much has changed in the 2 years since she was born, and much growing has taken place, one thing remains the same. She is still out itty bitty little thing.

Height: 32.25 inches (1oth percentile)

Weight: 22lbs (not on the charts)

Head Circumference: 18 5/8 inches (50th percentile)

The doctor gave her a clean bill of health but has asked us to try to increase her calorie and healthy fat intake to try to avoid her falling any further off the charts. She has always been tiny, but since she dropped right off the charts this time for her weight she just wants to be careful and make sure we at least stay where we are if we can’t increase it a bit. She recommended that we give Anna a can of pediasure (a high calorie/high nutrition drink) every day. So far she isn’t a fan, but we’ll see.

Other than the low weight issue everything looks great. The doctor was especially impressed with her verbal skills and her very firm grasp on using language to get her point across and how well she understands what others are saying to her. She showed off her verbal skills when she got her shot by looking at the spot where the shot was just given and saying “Owww, that hurt.” :) It is amazing how well she can speak for a 2 year old. I lost count of how many words she knows a long time ago and she can easily string 4-5 words together to make a sentence. Not to mention her sentences are often surprisingly grammatically correct for such a young child. Physically she is developing great as well. I am so grateful for my healthy little girl.

It is hard to find the right words to describe Anna. She is so incredibly sweet. She loves to be funny and loves to make people laugh. She is also extremely inquisitive and loves to watch others do things and then try to do them herself. She plays well independently and with Maya. Her favorite activities include coloring, reading books, playing outside, playing with her little dollhouse, her farm and Maya’s princess castle. She eats well (even if her weight doesn’t show that) and her favorite foods include fruit of pretty much any kind, cheese, yogurt, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, oatmeal (only peaches and cream though), carrots and ham sandwiches.

Anna we love to pieces. The last 2 years have flown by and it has been an incredible privilege to watch you grow into the sweet, lovable, spunky little 2 year old you are today.

Ever since we found out we are heading to Australia I’ve been thinking a lot about the very, very long plane ride we will have to take to get there.  I’m wondering how on earth a 3 year old will handle sitting on an airplane for 15-20 hours when I cannot figure out how I (a 33 year old) am going to manage sitting on an airplane for 15-20 hours.  How on earth do you pack enough snacks and activities in a small carry-on to cover you for that length of time?

Maya has been on an airplane a few times in her 3 years of life and has done really well each time.  However, those trips were only a couple of hours long, a mere drop in the bucket compared with the epic trip in our future.  Packing a carry-on for a 2 hour plane trip I can handle, I’ve got that down pat.  But how do I take that 2 hour plane ride carry-on and make it into something that lasts 10 times as long.  I’m afraid to think about how large my carry on will need to be.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading/research online about what you need to bring along when embarking on an airline travel of epic proportions.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far that needs to be in my carry-on bag.

  • A change of clothes in case of any potty or food/beverage related accidents.
  • A warm layer to add to her comfy airplane outfit in case the plane is chilly.
  • A large array of snacks including granola bars, dried fruit, fruit snacks (Maya’s fav), crackers, cereal, etc.
  • A sippy cup or a cup with a straw so we don’t have to worry about her drinks ending up all over her, us or the aircraft.
  • A large array of activities including books, coloring books/crayons, movies/dvd player, her polly pocket sized princess toys, a hand-held game device of some kind.
  • And of course, her blankie and a favorite stuffed toy.

The trick, I think, will be making sure the things we choose for the plane are new enough and exciting enough to really grab her attention and hold it for a while. My plan is to pick up a few new books, a couple of new movies and a new hand-held game device/games (like a leapster or something) for her and not let her have the stuff until we are on the plane so everything is still new and interesting.  If I keep the snacks to finger food type snacks I should be able to pack enough variety and quantity to last (I hope).

Since we will be on the plane for such I long time sleep will be necessary for all of us.  This will be the trickiest part.  Maya is not a good travel sleeper. She doesn’t sleep much in the car and the last time she slept when on an airplane was when she was only 10 months old and I breastfed her to sleep.  I’m hoping that sheer exhaustion will get the better of her and she’ll eventually just crash.  My concern is that over-tiredness and boredom will be fuel enough for some epic meltdowns before the sleep takes over.

Really only time will tell how this trip will go and I’m sure we’ll learn somethings on the way there that will hopefully make the trip home that much easier.

So, for those of you who have traveled long distances with your youngsters what wisdom do you have to share with me?  What am I not thinking about as far as the carry-on luggage goes? What have you learned in your experiences that you hadn’t thought of before you traveled?  Any tips, tricks, words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

I do believe Maya may have reached a milestone I’ve been, admittedly, dreading. It appears she may be ready to say goodbye to naps.  It has been a week since she has actually slept during nap time.  This lack of sleeping during nap time leads me to believe she has outgrown them and no longer has a need for that middle of the day slumber.

Last Monday, while still recovery from a cold, I managed to get a nice long 3 hour nap out of her.  Tuesday, no nap, just an little over an hour of quiet reading time in her bedroom.  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday…and so on…more of the same. No sleep, just quiet reading in her bedroom for a little bit.

Naps, those couple of hours in the middle of the day, mean I get a few things done that I can’t do with a kid in tow, or at least not easily.  It is the time of day when Maya gets to re-energize with the help of some sleep and I get to re-energize with the help of some peaceful quiet time all to myself.  I enjoy my alone time, my me time. I don’t get  a lot of it, so I really value those couple of hours in the middle of the day.  I’m going to miss that time when it is gone.

My hope as we go down this new path, this path of sleepless afternoons, is that we can retain some quiet time at least.  So far, the hour or so she has spent lying on her bed, quietly reading stories, has worked out well.  She may not need that sleep anymore but I know she still needs the down time.  My plan is to continue on our usual schedule for nap time and if she needs the sleep she’ll sleep, and if not she will at least sit quietly in her room and read.  We’ll see how it goes, play it by ear.

Some mornings the mess is just too much for me.

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The toys scattered all over the floor. Books tossed here and there.  Piles of necklaces and princesses and ponies everywhere the eye can see.  Plates full of toy food.  Stuffed animals under every couch, table and ottoman.  It all becomes too much.  Trying to walk a path from the entrance of our family room to the couch is impossible and it makes me angry.  I force clean ups and discuss the importance of putting a toy away after we are done playing with it.  Some mornings I fail to see the beauty of Hurricane Maya and path of destruction she leaves behind.

Other mornings, like this morning, I marvel at the simplicity of childhood as I watch her bounce from one toy to the next.  I wonder at and adore the creative juices flowing through her head as she turns the blank slate of a Mr. Potatohead into something beautiful and total her.

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Some mornings I see the beauty in that path of destruction.  I see the fleeting moments of toddlerhood, those moments that go by way too fast.  I hear the laughter and the constant commentary that comes only from the freedom of being able to pull out every toy, of being able to make the biggest mess possible.

Some mornings I look at this mess and I realize that messy mornings = happy mornings

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One thing I’ve learned about toddlers from my brief stint as the mother of one is that they don’t really like change all that much.  Routines and repetition are the name of the game for toddlers.  They like to know when to expect certain things like naps and lunch and snacks, etc.  So, packing up and moving to a new house with a toddler can be a challenge.

We just moved last week and things seem to be going pretty well so far.  There were several things that I did to help make Maya feel part of the move and prepared for the big day when we actual moved into the new house.  I figured if she knew what to expect along the way and felt like she was part of the action than things would go a little smoother, and they did.

Here are a few things you can do with your toddler as you prepare to move into a new home:

  • Bring your child along to look at the homes with you as you are searching for a new home to buy.
  • Be sure you see the house you will be buying several times with your toddler in tow.
  • Let your toddler explore the new house and talk about all the fun things about the house like where their room is going to be, how fun it will be to play in the new backyard, etc.
  • As you pack up your home get your child involved.  Talk about all the things that will come with you to the new house and let your child pack up their own toys so they are comfortable with the fact that none of their stuff will be left behind.
  • Get some books about moving.  We read The Berenstain Bears Moving Day a lot in the weeks leading up to our move.  Reading and seeing pictures in books about moving will help your child better understand what to expect.
  • Talk a lot about the move and what your child can expect.  Let them ask questions.
  • On moving day let your child be as involved as possible.  Give them little things to carry into the new house and let them help unpack some boxes and put things away.
  • Allow for an adjustment period.  Sleeping habits may take a while to adjust in the new house.  Also, your child’s temperament may be a little different for a few days or so after you move in.

When your child feels part of what is going on and has a bit of an understanding about what to expect during the moving process it is more likely they will adjust to their new surrounding faster and may even be excited about the move.

The one thing that my daughter didn’t quite understand was that the new house was home now and not our old house.  For several days after we moved she would ask to go home when she was really tired.  She didn’t quite understand that we were home and this was where we were going to sleep now.  After a few days though, she seems to be into the swing of things and definitely loves her new house and new bedroom.

When you moved how did you help your children adjust to their new surroundings?