Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Two and a half

Magpie is now two and a half. Wow. How did that happen?

She is more and more a little girl, with fewer glimpses of the baby she once was. She is so definitively herself. Ardent, enthusiastic. joyful. Dare I say it? intense.

She loves to be read to. She loves to go through a review of her day with me at bedtime. "Mommy, tell me my day please?" And I walk her through her day, starting with awakening and ending in the present moment. To which she then says, "Tell me my day again?"

Her lovey is a lamb who has become a close friend now and often plays the role of baby, or the student in a ballet class (guess who else is in ballet class?), or the child who goes to school "all by herself!"(an upcoming event that Magpie is very excited about)

Slightly more controversially, Magpie wraps the lamb in a swaddle and says it is the Baby Jesus and she is Maria (her caregiver is Spanish-speaking and very observant Catholic). She also sometimes puts a towel on her head and says, "I'm the Baby Jesus!" (Will and I usually give each other a behind the scenes wide-eyed look when this happens. I think it strikes us both as almost sacrilegious, although she means it in the most innocent way). I'm not sure how this Baby Jesus role play will be received once she officially starts school next fall (I'm thinking it will need to stop), but Magpie seems drawn to it for now, and it doesn't bother me personally. As long as any God the caregiver introduces is benevolent and loving, it's fine by me.

Magpie is very chatty and speaks full sentences almost all of the time now. Many of these are directives, like "Mommy, I would like warm milk in the sapo (frog) sippy." Or "Daddy, no cut my meat. I do it myself!" My girl is often emphatic and has a very specific vision of how she wants things. We are working on developing patience and flexibility.

More and more Magpie seems like she is learning to handle her "harder" emotions, which makes me happy because she's a pretty intense kid. Last night, I was responding to a work email and Magpie wanted my attention and wasn't getting it fast enough. She started singing a tune from Daniel Tiger, "When you feel so mad that you want to roar....take a deep breath...and count to four. 1.....2.....3....4!" I very much liked her using a cognitive and behavioral skill in the moment to cope with her frustration. Go Magpie!

Magpie is usually correct in her use of English but has a few adorable mashups that I love. A few recent ones:
"Daddy, are you going on the climber?" (stepladder)
"Let's play hide and peek!" (hide and seek, although her version does involve a lot of peeking)
"I'm going to sneak Daddy!" (sneak up on)
"Tell me my born" (the story of when we first saw her and she first saw us after she was born, a significantly sanitized version)

Not a mashup but a new word last night that got a lot of air time (and made me think I must be using it a lot): "And then the Daddy came back, eventually." We will brush our teeth, eventually." 

I enjoy watching her creative language constructions to get her ideas across.

With Will and me, Magpie speaks all English, with some Spanish vocabulary thrown in: servieta (napkin), sapo (frog), basura (trash). With her caregiver E, she understands everything in Spanish and she will reply in Spanish sometimes and English sometimes. I'd like to push her to only speak Spanish with E, but it's difficult because she knows that E speaks English too. When she stayed with E and her husband while we were in Denver recently, she spoke mostly Spanish with them for the day and a half we were gone, so I know she can. I'd like to emphasize that more for her, because I know it's a use it or lose it. She's able to translate back and forth between English and Spanish and seems to really understand what words belong in which language, which surprises me a bit.

We talk a lot about feelings. Trying to identify what a character in a book is feeling and then identifying why we are making that guess, pretending to express different feelings (happy, sad, surprised, scared). I see this as hopefully building the beginnings of emotional literacy for Magpie. I work with adults who sometimes can't identify their feelings in words, can't observe the physical manifestations, thoughts, and behavioral urges associated with various emotions to figure out how they are feeling or why they act the way they do, which I think makes life much harder. I figure the more Magpie can know her own emotions and become a skilled observer in noticing those of others, the better off she will be. And it seems like she's getting it. She often points out characters now and talks about their feelings. And the other day, she looked at me and said, "Mommy, are you sad or mad?" Taking me completely by surprise. I was rushing to accomplish something in the evening and realized I had a furrowed brow. Funny to have my little girl now be able to let me know she's noticing my emotional state (and help me then to correct it in the moment!).

She is able to count to 11 in English (then skips to 40 for some reason) and to 20 in Spanish, but if she's counting objects or pictures she's only able to get to four or five before getting confused. She still seems to not know ANY colors, but she knows enough to name a color (confidently). So if you ask her to what color something is, she will (confidently) tell you a color name that isn't even close. Not sure when that will sort itself out, but I'm sure we'll get there before she reaches adulthood.

She is very independent and wants to try to dress herself, undress herself, and generally navigate her way in the world  herself. Magpie remains super active, always always always on the go. She doesn't like to sit in the stroller. Or really to walk for that matter. "I run!" she tends to say, exuberantly.And even when sitting she is often tapping her foot or playing with her fingers. I can catch her for a quick hug and then she's off again to the next thing. If only I had her energy.

She's eating most everything but the volume is not as much as I would like. Partially because she gets full fast, and partially I think because it is hard for her to sit still. So she is still a small little one, weighing I think between 24 and 25 pounds. She loves all kinds of fruits, especially berries and loves all kinds of nuts. She loves many vegetables: peas, green beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, tomatoes, avocado (I know some are technically fruits, but I'll take it). She loves beans of all kinds: pinto, edamame, black beans, lentils. She likes cheese and fish and chicken and beef. She loves tortillas. We try to offer a number of different flavors and ethnic foods (sushi, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Thai) and she's usually game to try everything. Sometimes she spits it out, but I love that she will try. Especially when we are eating something spicy for dinner, I'll be sure to have a toned down version available if the spices are too much for her after she tries it.

Magpie starts school in the Fall and she is already very excited about it, "I will go to school by myself!" The several month long application process for New York preschools....I will just say, Oh My God. Another one that should be its own post. I feel fortunate that we can send her to be honest, but the process was outrageous (lotteries to get applications, multiple essays - and how much can you say about a kid who was 1 at the time of the applications?, interviews for Will and me, interviews for Magpie, open houses, tours, just WOW).

Magpie has become an expert at her routine. Last night we were walking Moxie and on the way back home, I reviewed with Magpie what we would do once we returned to the apartment (reviewing in advance seems to help reduce resistance when the time comes.)
Me: "What will we do when we get home?"
Magpie: "What will we do?" (Magpie has the habit of repeating your question when she's not sure of the answer).
Me: "We will put on our bathing suits!" (said in a silly way)
Magpie: "Naaah! We will put on pijamas!"
Me: "Oh, yes! pajamas. You're right! And then what will we do?"
Magpie: "We will read!"
Me: "What do we always do before we read?"
Magpie: "Brush our teeth!!"
Me: "Let's do it!"
Magpie: "Yay!"

Having tooth brushing (which used to be a big battle) now occur as a precursor to reading (a favorite activity) has basically eliminated all tooth brushing resistance. That was Will's idea, and it was a brilliant one.

I will try to do a whole post on potty training but for now I will just say we are in the midst of it. She's doing really well and proudly wears Dora and Hello Kitty underwear when we are at home. She's usually good at noticing when she has the urge to use the potty. I've learned to drop everything and help her get there because there have been a few occasions of not making it in time, which is very upsetting to her. She is mostly self-motivated about wanting to use the potty and yesterday apparently wore panties all day with E, even out of the house (I've been putting diapers on her for outside the house outings beyond just a walk for the dog around the block, but maybe I need to advance to the next step).

Overall, Magpie is doing really well. It's a joy to watch her grow and develop.


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  1. Daniel. Tiger. (My girl is 2.25...had forgotten how close they are in age.) Some things about that show drive me BATTY (the Meow Meow stuff, the little girl calling the kids "Toots," the "royalty," etc...), but it's so low key and was recently noted in the NYT for the behavior things you mention. So it's our go-to show. We certainly try to use it to our advantage!

  2. Adorable! Isn't it so fun watching her grow and develop? That's been my favorite part of being a parent.

  3. Ha, sometimes I have to use that line from Daniel tiger myself!

    Looks and sounds like she is thriving! My 2 yo is about one month younger and about the same weight (and usually middle of charts) so her weight doesn't sound too bad.

  4. This this post! I think Dylan and Magpie would be great friends :). Talking about our day is also one of our favorite things.

  5. She's very cute!

    And FWIW, Tiny Boy at 3.5 is only 28 lbs ;)

  6. What a fun glimpse into Magpie's life! Thanks for sharing... -Polly

  7. I feel sad to think she might be the only child in NYC mentioning Jesus. (Maybe i dont understand your concern) But otherwise very much enjoyed this post, what a smart little girl!

    1. No there are definitely a lot, I imagine, although there are many jewish and agnostic kids in our neighborhood, along with some muslim. a lot of the preschools choose to be non-holiday observing, non-secular in my observation so nobody's religion or cultural viewpoints are presented as the dominant ones. she wouldn't be in trouble by any means, I'm sure.

  8. Muy delicioso! Maybe you can find a Spanish language music class to help her retain her Spanish.

    Don't sweat the potty training while out. My mother was hardcore. She was just fine with me having accidents while out in the beginning. I was much more relaxed about it and let Sunshine lead in terms of her confidence about going out in underwear. It just doesn't matter much in the long run. They all get there. Since Magpie seems motivated, I think she'll probably have it down by September.

  9. I love hearing about her. I am a Pre-K teacher and I must say that if all moms were like you, I wouldn't have a job. :) Great job with her!!!!

  10. What a delightful peek into your delightful daughter; she sounds like a joy to be with! You're an amazing Mom to an amazing little girl! As always, sending love and light!


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