Sunday, March 21, 2010

Caroline update: 16 months

Caroline will be 16 months on the 24th. I spend the past Saturday cleaning and organizing her room, putting away lots of baby things like burp cloths, boppy covers, and swaddling blankets that we hadn't used in months. That was bittersweet. Where did the time go? I look at her baby picture on the wall, and can hardly remember when she was that small with so much dark hair that stuck straight up. One of her newest words, is "baby", and we like to look at those pictures together and point to "baby" Caroline.

At her 15-month well- child visit, Caroline weighed 24 lbs. and was 30 1/4 in. long. She only gained 1/2 lb in three months and was the exact same height. (I am not 100% convinced there wasn't some measuring error in there because her clothes are fitting differently in length.) I am not surprised at the weight, though, because three ear infections, 40 days of antibiotics, croup, and multiple colds didn't leave her with much of an appetite.

I am so thankful to say Caroline has been healthy for the past month and there is certainly nothing wrong with her appetite now. She must be playing catch-up. I think she would snack every hour if I would let her and will try almost anything I put on her plate. This is probably a terrible thing to be happy about, but I even love that Caroline will eat fast food! (Rylan wouldn't at her age and not until the past year.) We don't eat out that much, but it is a nice treat to get chicken nuggets for lunch at Chick-Fil-A every now and then and know she will actually fill her tummy. She is still not crazy about cooked, chopped veggies, but will still eat the pureed peas and carrots, so I get them into her one way or the other. She has the bad habit of throwing her "leftovers" onto the floor, especially if I am watching and apt to say "no." Sometimes she teases me, holds the food over the side of her tray and corrects herself, "no!" I think we could feed a couple starving orphans with her throw aways. She is interested in grabbing the spoon when I am feeding her, so I may need to let her try learning to self-feed soon.

Caroline is walking and running very steadily now. I have been given notice by her nursery teachers that she will have to move up from the crawling room in April. Then she will be in the first toddler room, where Rylan was when we first moved to Colorado. Hard to believe! She is quite the climber and I caught her climbing on top of our small kids' table several times last month. I had to stack the chairs on top to keep her grounded. She also likes to test out any larger push toy for its climbability. I have predicted she will be the one to give us our first ER visit. (Just wait until after April 1st please, darling.) Caroline is way more daring than Rylan ever was. He was adventurous, but cautious and not as much of a climber of toys or furniture. This weekend I tried leaving the baby gate down and letting Caroline have free reign of the house. As long as I can remember to keep the bathroom doors shut, I think we will be okay. She is really bad about splashing in the toilets, another thing amazingly, that Rylan never did. I think she is excited about having all this new freedom and she is incredibly fast about flipping onto her tummy and scooting/sliding down the stairs. Caroline makes a bee-line every time I crack the back door and would play outside for hours, poking things with her stick, digging in the sandbox, and tasting all the rocks. When we try to go for walks, she wanders everywhere, so I end up buckling her in the stroller or wagon if we actually have a destination in mind. Her newest cute trick is spinning in circles to music or just whenever she wants to be noticed.

Verbally, Caroline is still in the stage where I can count all her words, but she is adding new ones every week. Here is the most up-to-date list: mama, dada, bubba (brother), nana, bubble, ball, bear-bear (he really is the 5th member of our family), no, snow, ju (juice), baby, night-night, bye-bye, hi, up, and dog. She can understand many more words and phrases and knows where her nose and eyes are, but isn't always consistent about pointing to them. Caroline can say "honk" and "neigh" when we read our farm animal books and I point to the goose and horse. One of her favorite games is saying "ongh, ongh," and reaching out to "honk" mine or Charlton's noses. She squeezes really tight with those sharp little nails, so that game usually doesn't last long. Maybe this is a girl thing or just a sweet part of her personality, but Caroline has started to "sing" to herself the past month whenever she is content or happy playing.

One of Caroline's newest words was "dog", and she is crazy about them. She squeals with delight as soon as she sees one, even if they are far away. A few months ago, we played at the park with a 4-month old golden retriever puppy. She enjoyed petting and interacting with him until he knocked her down for the 3rd time and then she was done!
She will hold her baby and cuddle for a few moments, which is progress, and I was really happy when she started saying "baby." We played with play-doh for the first time on Friday and once Caroline realized it wasn't for eating, she seemed to like squishing it and mashing it with a fork and spoon. She will scribble with a crayon, but is more interested in tearing up the paper. She doesn't like to sit with us and read library books during the day, but loves the few books we cycle through at bedtime each night. "Brown Bear" is a favorite right now.

Caroline has already shown me her strong will; screaming, hitting, and even flopping on the floor when life doesn't go the way she wants. She seems more responsive to correction about hitting than Rylan was, so hopefully this won't be the long drawn-out battle that we had with him. I am watching her very closely, because I am also afraid she might start biting. She tried to clamp down on my arm the other day when I was cutting her nails and I have seen her get really frustrated with Rylan and think she might try out this new "trick" on him. Now that will be fun...

Since she has been feeling better, Caroline has been much happier and content to play independently. She still has bursts of crying that make my head pound and send me running for the motrin, but they are fewer and farther in between. I am trying to teach her to say "please" because right now when she wants something out of reach, she just stands near it and screams. My biggest and most exhausting struggle right now is refereeing between her and Rylan. He loves to chase, push, wrestle, pull her clothes, tease, and do anything that gets a reaction from her and me. It usually starts out with lots of giggling for both, but always ends up with Caroline crying.
It is hard to match Caroline's enthusiasm for greeting either of us when we have been away. That always warms my heart. She will sometimes give kisses, which is also precious. Now that she is feeling better I am lucky to get my few minutes of cuddling before bedtime. She is a busy girl and brings so much delight to our home.

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