Saturday, May 22, 2010

Caroline is 18 months!

What a fun past few months we have had with Caroline! I think this has been my favorite age with her so far. Sometimes Charlton and I would look at each other and comment on what pure joy and sunshine this little girl brings to our lives. Caroline's laughter, singing, and dancing are infectious. You can't help but feel happy along with her. I am starting to see hints of the dreaded "terrible twos" and an emerging strong as steel will, so I am especially treasuring this time because I know a lot of battles are in our near future. It is comforting to know what to expect, to feel more equipped to handle those tantrums, and to know from experience they will eventually end.

We went to the pediatrician for Caroline's 18 month check-up Tuesday. I asked her if she could say doctor and she amazed me by babbling "doktu, doktu, doktu" all morning. It was so stinkin' cute and we had to show off this great new skill a little. I will try to get it on video soon. (We actually went to see our wonderful nurse practitioner, Rhonda, but I didn't think I would ask her to say "nurse practioner." ) So, by the numbers, Caroline weighs 26 lbs, 5 oz and is 32 inches long, both well above the 50th percentile. She is an ounce heavier and 1/2 inch shorter than Rylan at the same age. That was kind of interesting to me. She still has a toddler pot-belly and a few good rolls on her thighs, but is gradually slimming down. We had to do a finger prick to check her hemoglobin first and in the process of getting her shots, the bandaid came off and she started bleeding from her finger. Poor baby did not appreciate the shots and the tech commented on how strong she was. No kidding, I was the one having to hold her down. After the shots, we celebrated, "all done", but then realized her oozing finger could really use another band-aid. Of course, Caroline wouldn't trust us again with her finger and kept crying hysterically, "all done, all done!" It was so pitiful. In the car on the way home, she fell asleep, exhausted from her ordeal. As I carried her inside the house, she murmured sleepily, "doktu, doktu, doktu." I hope she forgets what "doktu" involves by the time we go back in November.

One of the fun parts of having two children is being able to their similarities and differences in personalities as they grow. Caroline is much more adventurous and independent. Already, she is attempting to dress and undress herself, especially with shoes. She really likes Rylan's shoes because they slip off and on so easily. She is friendly on her own terms and will wave and say "hi" especially to other children, but usually gets quiet and shy when a stranger talks to her. She loves to climb, on her play kitchen, the kid's table, Rylan's bunk bed, anything and everything even if it was never meant to be climbed. At the park, she tries and usually succeeds to climb obstacles meant for much older kids. She keeps me busy being her "spotter."

All that activity means Caroline is usually very ready for her nap and bedtimes. She sleeps about 2 hours every afternoon and from 7 pm to 6-7 am. Both kids have been getting up way too early with the sun. She is getting more attached to her bunny, "by" as she calls it. I don't know if she is just influenced by Rylan and his bear-bear but she does love to carry her bunny around especially when Rylan has bear-bear or she is tired.

One of my pet peeves is children with unruly hair, especially when it hangs down in their faces. I was blessed with a little girl with lots of hair and I love to fix it. I know how to make cute hairbows and Caroline has over two dozen to match every color outfit in every season. I know it's kind of overboard, but I am enjoying having a little girl to the fullest, and she does look especially darling with her hair fixed. Lately, though, she looks more like a neglected street urchin. Each morning I brush her hair, fasten it with a rubber band and....add the bow. That's her cue. Her chubby little hand dashes straight up to her forehead, yanks out the bow, grabs a lock of hair and pulls. Then she assumes her position: one thumb in her mouth, the other hand clasping a snarled mass of hair. When she is really tired, that hand starts twirling and twisting the strand until she has formed a frizzy knot. Yesterday I re-fixed her hair 4 times before 10 am, and again after naptime. This is not a big deal, really. I need to put away the hair brush and let go. Ahh, God must be chuckling at me fussing over such insignificance. Even though my girl looks like a ragamuffin most of the time now, I love her anyway. :-)

Caroline loves to eat, anything with syrup on it, most fruits, and cookies especially! She is quickly figuring out how to use a fork, but I haven't tried self-feeding with a spoon yet. She is definitely a breakfast eater and wakes up starving. I got sick and tired of my high chair at the end of April, donated it to the garage sale at MOPS, and moved Caroline to a booster seat at the big table. She still has horrendous table manners and one of my least favorite jobs is cleaning up after meal times. I can't believe the amount of food that ends up on the floor, under booster seats, on the walls, etc.. I am trying to teach her not to throw food on the floor, but it seems any kind of attention, even "no's" just encourages her. So now when the food starts flying, I calmly tell her "dinner's over" and remove her from the table. She also has been refusing to eat vegetables lately, so that means no dessert. I'm hoping if we are consistent, she will eventually get the connection.

A couple days ago when I was sleeping after work, Charlton had a great idea to try to hide vegetables in food that Caroline likes. Sooo, he put peas inside her grilled cheese sandwich. He told me she grabbed a bite of sandwich, almost put it in her mouth, then suddenly set it back down. Then she peeled apart the bread, extracted the pea, and then proceeded to eat her sandwich, without the offensive vegetable. A twist on the story of the princess and the pea?

Two months ago, I could still easily count the words in Caroline's vocabulary. Now she probably says about 50 words regularly and a few phrases like "all gone." Nearly every day we are delighted by a new word. She can understand more than she can say and can follow simple commands. She has been paying more attention to books and will sometimes sit for a whole story. We have been to toddler time at the library for the past three weeks consistently and last week I was impressed by Caroline's attention at some of the songs. Her favorite is the "milkshake song" which combines a song about making a milkshake with waving a scarf. She walked to the front of the room all by herself, took a scarf and came back to sing and shake. It was fun to see the recognition in her eyes and her excitement at being able to participate. She is getting so grown-up!

Caroline loves bubbles, playing outside, and brushing her teeth/chewing on her toothbrush. She would carry it around all day if I would let her. She is more interested in her baby and stroller and will sometimes hold her sweetly. She likes to carry around a washcloth and help me clean. She is crazy about animals, especially dogs and our new goldfish we just inherited from a friend. She has figured out how to aggravate Rylan and takes great delight in pushing his buttons. I am now having to tell her to leave her brother alone instead of vice versa.

She loves being the baby and hates to share her mama. On Tuesday, I helped watch some children at church for a MOPS event. I was holding another little girl and Caroline fell apart with jealousy, crying, hitting and clawing at the poor child. If I sit down for some cuddle time with Rylan, she makes every effort to worm her way into my arms too. She will lean her head on my chest and say, "mama" with great affection, but still won't give kisses. When I ask for a kiss, she thinks it is so funny to shake her head and say "no-no", very sweetly. So ornery! Sometimes she will plant her hand on our face or mouth in her own version of a kiss.

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