Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas update

Our family had a lovely, low-key Christmas this year. Little Miss Magpie is still confusing the concept of Santa and snowmen, but I am guessing by next year she will have the two 100% sorted out. Here she is at a family member's house, hugging their nutcracker who is taller than she is! I'm enjoying this time where she doesn't have any expectations of a materialistic Christmas. Hopefully we can keep it that way, with the focus on family time and traditions, but I expect it will be harder as she is exposed to more media and older kids.

Her caregiver gave her a Baby Alive for Christmas, which I think was her favorite gift this year. They took the new doll in the doll stroller to the American Natural History Museum, and Magpie showed the doll the animals at one of the exhibits, bending down to catch the doll's eyes and pointing to each animal model in turn, saying, "See! Look!" She is very thrilled for her new doll and working hard to be a good toddler mama.

Magpie is talking more and more - and more frequently in complete sentences now for the past couple of weeks, which is still new enough I whip my head around in surprise every time. Her vocabulary is growing and she's at that stage where she's picking up new words every day and putting them together in fantastic novel constructions that often really convey the idea she's trying to get across. It's a joy to watch her learn and for her to be able to communicate her ideas with us. She's talking well in both Spanish and English and has become very directive (or said more plainly, bossy), telling us where to sit, what to hold, etc. I'm guessing it's developmentally part of her growing autonomy (also hoping that she can learn some nuance with this as time goes by or we'll have a little dictator on our hands!).

She vacillates from being a joy to be around - fun, engaging, interactive - to succumbing to hard-to-witness meltdowns, and her mood can sometimes change quite quickly. Small things frustrate her and she doesn't yet know how to calm herself down (and we can't always predict what might be the thing that is too much, although when she's tired or hungry, her fuse is even shorter than usual). So when she gets set off, she is still sometimes apt to throw something out of sheer frustration or to begin wailing. We're working on it.  It seems like her disposition is a happy one but that she has an emotional intensity that will take her some time to learn to handle. It appears hard to be two.

She's definitely developing a sense of humor. Sometimes when we're looking at a book and I point to a picture of an animal she's familiar with and ask her what that is she will look up into my eyes, smile, and announce, "pizza!" Oh dear. She loves pretend play now: cooking at her play kitchen, feeding her baby doll and then putting her on the potty, "reading." This morning she commanded me and her baby doll to go to sleep on her bedroom floor and then went over and grabbed a book that makes an elephant trumpeting noise and while we were "sleeping" blasted us with the elephant noise, giggling mightily at herself. Ah, two year old humor!

Magpie continues to be busy, busy, busy, always on the go from the moment she awakens until naptime or bedtime. Someday this energy will serve her well, I imagine. In the meantime, I picture future education needing to occur on a treadmill because I can't imagine this young lady sitting still long enough to learn in a classroom! And in trying to keep up with her, I sometimes muse to myself that this is why people have children when they are young (well, energy level and better fertility) - my goodness she keeps us on the go!

We've spent the fall in the midst of the New York preschool admissions process (at some point I will post on the ludicrousness of this process). After submitting her applications (complete with multiple essays...seriously!?) we've attended open houses and play-date interviews (oh, New York, you slay me!). She's behaved well at the interviews, thankfully, and I think we've managed not to appear as freakish parents, so hopefully she'll have some options come next year.

Magpie is still a tiny little thing, only 23 pounds now at 25 months, which is the 5th percentile. She's 25% for height. She will try almost anything to eat that she is offered, which makes my mama heart very happy, but eats such a tiny volume and hates to sit still for long enough to actually get much food in. She has learned now to tell us when she is hungry or thirsty, which is great to see her learn to read her own body cues and be able to express them. She eats a lot of what we eat, and enjoys hummus, polenta, chicken of various types, broccoli, carrots, and cheese. She loves fruits of all kinds, and last night ate a bunch of dates, which surprised me. I am very happy with her range but would love to see her be able to increase the volume!

We had our first trip to the ER two weeks ago, when an upper respiratory virus developed from a minor ailment in the morning to a 106.5 degree calamity by the afternoon. She ended up responding to a combo of Tylenol and Advil and was monitored for several hours. Verdict was that she is a kid who may spike high fevers fairly easily. We were much relieved nothing more serious was going on.

Standing on this side of the trenches, parenting someone who is no longer a baby and more and more a little girl, I am so thrilled. I still can't believe I get to be her mama. Feeling very happy and so, so fortunate. Ok, tired too, and sometimes de-skilled at her toddler-ness, but very very happy.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a New Year that brings all that you wish for.

Magpie on the swing with her new doll

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  1. Merry Christmas. Hope you had a good one. And yes Christmas is best before kids start having "needs" during the season :)

    Hope she gets into a good preschool

  2. Sounds wonderful! I'll throw out some resources in case they're helpful.

    Do you have the classic developmental series by the Gesell Institute:

    They are wonderfully interesting and informative slim volumes on child development. It's enormously reassuring to understand normal development. Some of the text/pictures/advice is outdated, but the developmental descriptions are spot on.

    You might also enjoy "Honey, I Wrecked the Kids", which can help you detect and avoid power struggles and avoid becoming the "arbitrary gatekeeper". That was a real revelation for me.

    This website has great short articles:

    Enjoy your active, talkative, marvelous little girl!


  3. SO CUTE!!! And those are real, actual BANGS! Where did that little baby girl go? (Answer, of course, she's a lovely little girl now.) And preschool - holy moly.

    Scary about the respiratory infection - that's just frightening to witness a fever that high. Glad she's ok, and that you know she's just a 'spiker'. (Just. Yikes!)

    Love the elephant-noise humor. Kids are hilarious, and I hope that the fun doesn't get too bogged down by the 2s.

    Would lovelovelove to see you when we're down next--in February or so, most likely. Sounds like you were away anyway, but this trip was such a whirlwind of crazy that I was just desperate to come back home & be calm. But I missed seeing friends, and I wish I'd had a chance to see that big girl in her holiday finery.

    Happy end of the holidays to you, & may 2015 be your most wonderful year yet.

  4. she is darlin'!

    thanks for the update...
    it sounds like things are going fairly well...
    and from how you describe her toddler-tantrums, they really do sound typical of that stage.

    when my son began to interact with other children in his age group, for 8 hours at a time, 5 days a week, his behavior really evened out. he thrived with the addition of other kids and adult role models in his life- I missed him during the day, but the positive benefits for him made it so worth it. I think when magpie gets into a structured day of her own, with other little kids, I think she will even out in her own way.

    that pic with the nutcracker is so cute.

    have a happy new year!

  5. Just catching up on your long and winding road, and it's admittedly nice to start reading here on the happier end of the journey - Magpie sounds like equal parts joy and adventure :)

  6. I enjoyed your update. Glad all is well. :)

  7. What a little toddler you have! So cute! She sounds a lot like my son personality wise. He never stops from the moment he gets up until his head hits the pillow. Always on the go. And prone to mood swings mostly caused by frustration.

    I can't believe the NYC preschool competition. I always thought that was exaggerated for TV, but apparently not.

    Happy New Year!

  8. She is so adorable. So glad you had a nice holiday!

    Have you ever seen Nursery University? If not, you MUST.

    We have a high fever spiker over here as well. It's confusing, because the books all say if the fever is 105+, BE ALARMED. And then we've gotten him to the doctor's office and they're like "Meh...." It used to get that high every time he got sick and recently it's been lower. So hopefully your Magpie's will as well.

    Thanks so much for your supportive comment on my blog. I truly appreciate it.

  9. Oh! She is so adorably two! Crazy energy and mercurial temperament. Her joke reminds me of Sunshine's joking at that age. She would point to all the animals at the zoo and all the dogs in the neighborhood exclaiming, "Cat!"


  10. What a delightful post (except the ER part -- glad all is OK).

    No precise data, but I'd guess mine is at the top 10%, maybe top 5%, of the energy scale (not top 1%, though, happily), and it boggles the mind, as you know. I can report, though, that he has -- touch wood and all that -- proven capable of sitting still, following rules, and so forth (now a second grader). Who knew? I do think the interactions with other kids has been a big positive for him starting at least at 3 (in retrospect, we probably should have used more preschool and less "us" care for our guy), and will note that we've found our community's indoor pool to be a very good way to use up energy in bad weather -- either cold or hot! My son's very lean, and for him a wetsuit (purchased by me on impulse at Goodwill, of all things) makes the pool (which he otherwise finds cold) fun for a much longer period of time than otherwise.

    I look forward to the preschool post, glad not to be part of that world (small-town living here:)!).

  11. She is adorable and delightful and I am so glad to hear such good things! Love the pictures, and love to have this window into your wonderful and full life (although that bit about the ER was scary!)

    Thanks for posting!


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