Archive for 18-24 Months

When First We Practice to Deceive

I know toddlers lie.

Probably because they are confused, embarrassed, scared, or just haven’t learned not to yet.

What I was not expecting is that a 24 month old child could actual practice the art of deception with a complex ruse.

My husband had planned to come home for lunch and mentioned his visit to our daughter. Then he got stuck at work. I broke the news to Daddy’s Girl and she took it fairly well, but casually told me that “Daddy come home for lunch and give baby cookie.”

Generally, she considers fruit dessert, but she had just had her birthday party and various relatives and friends were sneaking her treats.

Normally I would not give her a cookie at lunch but I did not want to disappoint her twice. Since Daddy had said she’d get a cookie, I decided to make good on his promise and give her one.

Later, my husband got home from work and starts playing with baby. Over the monitor, I hear her proclaim, “Mommy give you two cookies at lunch.”

Husband calls out, “Honey, did you give her two cookies?”

I respond, “No, I gave her one…and only because you promised her one.”

Husband replies, “No, I didn’t.”

Already she is playing Daddy and Mommy off each other in such a clever way. What else does she have up her sleeve?

Photo from

Mama Called the Doctor and the Doctor Said…

Since her operation, my daughter has had an increasing fear of doctors, not that I blame her. Doctor visit phobias are fairly common in children, and she certainly comes by it honestly.

And perhaps it is hereditary as well, along with her unusually strong legs. When I was a child, two nurses and my mother had to hold me down for shots and I still managed to kick the stool and send it flying across the room at the pediatrician.

Last time we visited my daughter’s cardiologist, he said he needed a clear picture from the echocardiogram. If we could not keep her calm, they would have to sedate her.

So, since our last appointment, we’ve been reading about doctor’s visits and practicing with our doctor puppet and kit to alleviate doctor fears.

When I called up to schedule, the doctor told me to make an 8am appointment and to give nothing but clear liquids.

Of course, this makes total sense in case she needs sedation, but I was concerned that it also makes sedation more likely. Two year old, plus no food, plus doctor’s office, equals cranky.

When we arrived, they said, “We need to get you registered.” But…we’re already registered. “Okay, let me call registration.”

Apparently, one supervisor was on vacation and the other was in another building so the woman at the desk just disappeared.

Over the course of the next hour and fifteen minutes, the waiting room filled with other patients who also either needed to be registered or have their information sent over to the office.

And, of course, my daughter started to grow hungrier, and more impatient. She was so very good, coloring, reading, playing, but I could see her attention span growing shorter, and I knew what was coming. My daughter is sweet as molasses 95% of the time, but her tantrums go from 0 to 60 in a millisecond and, once we’ve reached the edge, there is no turning back.

FINALLY, we go into the room. I convinced them to delay taking vitals so we would be fresh, but the hour wait had already sabotaged that. The doctor made a remark that if I was concerned about the vitals, he thought that sedation would need to happen. I think the doctor believe sedation to be a foregone conclusion.

The technician points to the television, “Who is that?” Unfortunately, my daughter doesn’t know big bird from, well, a big, scary, yellow bird. At that moment, I start to see the advantages of introducing television earlier.

We get her up on the examination table with her pillow, Cat-Cat, and Yorick the Duck (my husband named him). For some reason, she kept wanting to grab her legs. Finally, we figured out that we had told her she would be lying down, just like a diaper change. So, she was holding her legs up in the air, like she does for a diaper change.

Two year olds are logical, we’re the ones who don’t make sense.

She was a little calmer, but still cried when the technician touched her with the “tickle wand.” Maybe, I asked, I could give her just a little banana?

Uh-oh, bad question. The technician looked nervous and got up to ask the doctor.

The situation was getting desparate, so I climbed up on the table (35 weeks pregnant) and held her. I asked my mom to call the technician back in.

We were so close, and yet not quite there.

Finally, the technician asked, “What colors do you see?”

Baby answered, in a voice approaching awe, “Blue and orange.”

“Good job!”

“Good job,” baby repeated.

“You’re making those colors,” the technician told her.

Bless her.

From there, it was a quick snack and smooth sailing through another hour and a half of tests.

Toddlerism: Do Toddlers Dream of Tiny Sheep?

A tweet from @PHATMommy reminded me of a recent toddlerism:

Baby awoke, clearly from a bad dream. She’s sleeping through the night 95% of the time these days, but she just could not settle back to sleep. We brought her into bed and she was still clearly very upset. So, I tried the direct approach:

Mama: Awww, sweetie…did you have a dream? What did you dream about.

Baby: Lids…not fit on…cups! *sob*

Mama: (trying really hard not to laugh) That must be upsetting. Well, put your head on your pillow and hug Cat-Cat and we’ll go back to sleep.

Where did she get this organization fetish so strong she has nightmares about it? Clearly not from me.

Wordless Wednesday: Wonder

She’s Like a Rainbow

After the highly anticipated first word, comes the flood. When the pediatrician asks for a count, I haven’t one. The child seems to know the word for everything she’s ever seen and rapidly absorbs new ones.

The set of words that seems to amaze all the other parents is the colors. Months ago she mastered red, green, blue, yellow, orange, pink, and purple (spoken in two syllables with a mix of awe of and surprise). Now she’s moved onto “hot pink” and light and dark blue. She’s very particular about which color bow she selects every morning and which crayon she uses.

I reassure them that she counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…1…um…

Although I doubt this has deeper meaning, it can be fun to speculate. Will she be a designer? A decorator? An artist?

Of course, she’s just as likely to become a physicist…but allow me to indulge in my daydreams.

What words are your toddlers into? And what could it mean?

Father’s Day

Father’s Day was tons of fun–especially for Diva the Kid (hopefully the Dads had fun, too). The weekend kicked off with a trip to the strawberry festival and strawberries are her favorites, second only to blueberries. She even got to have the rare treat of some yummy ice cream.

At the festival, she picked out a beautiful mirror imported from Bali for her room. And yes, she actually picked out the mirror and was quite insistent that was the one. The frame is a sun and crescent moon with a design on its face that looks like a tribal tattoo.

The grand finale was a spin in front of a bubble maker they had set up at the stage. She got a real kick out of that one.

On Sunday, she hosted all of her grandparents, her great grandfather, one of her great grandmothers, her great uncle, and two of her second cousins (ages 5 and 7) for a Barbecue. She just ate up all the attention (and the food). Watching her play with the family, especially the “big kids,” reminds me why we moved back to New York!

On the cards for her Daddy and her Grandfathers, she drew original crayon artwork.

Even though it was Father’s Day, I couldn’t stop my dad from getting her a present. Her Papa heard about her fun with the bubble maker and brought one for the kids to enjoy. I got some great shots of her crowned with a wreath of bubbles.

Of course, the real highlight was having Daddy’s undivided attention for the weekend. When he’s talking to her, it is like the rest of the world just fades away. She stares at him with such rapt attention and wonder and it makes me fall in love all over again, too.

On My Own

When your toddler develops a mind of her own, it is a wonderful revelation, both for her and for you.

Lately, it seems as if Diva the Kid’s favorite word is “own,” as in:

On My Own: “Nooo…pants on own. Do it own.” (see 13 Ways to Get a Toddler’s Pants On)

I Have My Own: Proudly, upon seeing another child with a father at the playground: “Own Daddy. At Home.” (and is this a short step away from “My Daddy is stronger than your Daddy”?)

I Want My Own: Repeatedly until her Granny purchased one for her: “Mama wobe (robe). Baby wobe. Own wobe. Peas (please).”

This is My Own: When a cat sits on her chair: “Nooo…green chair own. Uddah chair. Loki chair. Green chair OWN.”

At these moments, I wonder where to draw the line between fostering independence and a politely assertive sense of self versus teaching sharing and cooperation.

When she gleefully shares her dinner with Daddy and tries to give her toys to the cats, I realize there is no need to worry.

Still, as she attempts to bodily lift the 17 pound fur ball off the green chair he is occupying with stubborn glee, I contemplate whether (or rather, when) she’ll progress to deeper notions of property rights.

Perhaps soon she’ll start charging rent on the green chair? Will she execute a hostile takeover and kick us out of the house? And what does this mean for our upcoming expansion of our family–will her little brother be viewed as labor, or competition?

Taking the Plunge

My daughter has been almost constantly by my side since she was born. The number of times we’ve been apart is in the single digits.

Call it baby separation anxiety.

At the start, it was new mommy attachment–I didn’t want someone else taking her because she was my baby. I had just worked through 24 hours of difficult labor with complications to bring her into the world, and I felt like I wanted to hold her forever.

Then, we found out about her heart condition and I found myself alone. With my husband deployed and family so far away, it didn’t seem fair to ask another to accept the responsibility for her care, assuming anyone would have.

After the operation, there were months of house hunting and moving and several phases of developmentally appropriately stranger anxiety. And recently, she added the breath-holding and fainting to her infrequent but intense toddler explosions.

Most of the time, though, she is a happy and social child. A real flirt at playdates, where I notice little toddler boys feeding her fruit.

When I signed her up for swim lessons, I thought we would enjoy the experience together. But the Mommy and Me class was geared for much younger babies–”Now if your baby has good neck control, you can try this…”

So, I held my breath and dove in–splurging on the individual lessons. Lessons that required I hand my precious child to another person and then walk away. I could watch from the observation deck, but she would not be able to see me.

As she approaches her second birthday, I am realizing it is long past time. Time for her to embrace new experiences. A healthy attachment is a beautiful thing and so important at the start. At the same time, I do not want to limit her. I have to let go, just a little, so she can grow.

I know she feels loved and secure. I knew she could do it. I just was not so sure about me.

So, yesterday at the the pool, I released her into the arms of a trustworthy someone who is not a blood relation.

And for the first ten minutes she screamed. She howled and raged at the betrayal. And I gripped the rail and felt terrible, for her, for myself, and especially for her poor, patient swim teacher.

But after that, she was finally distracted by the joys of the pool, the fun toys, and the excitement of actually being encouraged to kick–the lure of the forbidden fruit. She swam, and she smiled, and she didn’t even start crying tears of accusation when I returned poolside to pick her up 30 minutes later.

All the way back home and the rest of the day she talked about “swim fun.”

There you stood on the edge of your feather, expecting to fly. While I laughed, I wondered whether I could wave goodbye… (Expecting to Fly, Neil Young, Buffalo Springfield)

13 Different Ways to Get a Toddler’s Pants On

Ways to Get Toddlers Pants On

Thirteen Different Ways to Get a Toddler’s Pants On:

  1. Allow her to pick out which pair she wants to wear. Get over the fact that they don’t go with the top.
  2. Tell him you are doing something cool as soon as he lets you get the pants on.
  3. Give her something distracting to play with while you slip them on.
  4. Make your hand into a “monster” that eats cute feet; thread your hand up the pant leg and proceed to pull the feet back into the pants leg.
  5. Have a “race” to see who can get the pants on the fastest or try to beat the clock (egg timer).
  6. Hold the pants and encourage him to put his own feet in while you make funny sound effects (Captain Dad likes the theme from jaws).
  7. Tell her that “big girls” wear pants.
  8. Tell him the pants endow the wearer with “special superpowers”; pretend child has said superpowers when he is wearing the pants.
  9. Have her “slide” into the pants.
  10. Let him try to do it on his “own”; ignore the fact the pants are on backwards and just celebrate that he’s wearing pants at all.
  11. Hold her down and wrestle her into them.
  12. Let him go pants-free, snap him into pj’s, or put on a long t-shirt (this probably works better with girls because you can always just put on a dress).
  13. Give-up and run errands another day.

Original Photo by Libero, used under Creative Commons License.

Toddler Empathy

We had a fabulous day today.

First we went to a “Soccer Tots” demo. We’ve been joking all week about what a 1-3 year old soccer clinic looks like. We imaged half the kids sitting on the floor, a quarter of the kids crying, and a quarter accidentally kicking each other.

Soccer Tots

Despite my high expectations for humor value and low expectations for organization, the class was actually quite fun for the kids involved.

Baby LOVES kicking the ball around so I was hoping it would be a big hit. She’s been getting better and better at being around new people and today she participated like a champ. A little boy her age wanted to share with her which is just about the cutest thing, but Baby isn’t quite at that stage yet. I was very proud, though, that she managed to throw the ball as well as kick it in the right direction. Here’s another picture…faces blurred to protect the cute little people who aren’t related to me.

Go, Soccer Tots!

After her nap, we ventured out again to check out our local libraries. We have a choice of two and as a Libra I am incapable of reaching a quick decision.

At the library was the calmest, sweetest dog and Baby actually got close enough to touch the dog (though she stopped short of an actual petting)! This is huge for us. Usually she doesn’t even want to be in the same room as a dog, although she is fascinated by plush dogs and dogs in books. All the way home she kept telling me, “Mama, Woof Woof!”

Just for fun, here’s another pic of my cutie:

Baby in a Hat

Finally, at bedtime tonight, my daughter gave me a glimpse of the caring young woman I hope she will become. We were reading Babar, one of her new favorites, and when we got to the part where Babar cries because he misses his mother (who was shot by the hunter), tears started streaming down my little girl’s face. She pointed to me and said, “Mama!” I hugged her and told her that I was fine and mumbled something about trying my best to avoid getting shot by a hunter.

Then I reminded her that the story had a happy ending and asked her if I should keep reading. I made sure to keep my tone upbeat through the rest of the story as we followed Babar’s homecoming, wedding, and coronation. Her smile grew as we continued the reading and then she burst out in applause as Babar and Celeste rode away in their beautiful balloon.

The End.