Monday, September 22, 2014

Adalyn Lucia ~ One Year Old

Happy Birthday to my sweet little Adalyn Lucia.  Sigh, I'm a little sad that she's already a year old!  She is just such a cute, sweet baby.  I'm sure she will be a cute, sweet toddler as well (minus the inevitable tantrums), but I will miss her babyness.  Here is what her life is looking like at one year old!
Adalyn eats pretty much everything we eat, cut up into small pieces, with the exception of the unhealthy stuff!  I think doing very few purees has paid off because she will eat a large variety of foods Juliana would never touch.  She was slow to get into eating, but in the last month she has really been picking up on the quantity of food.  Probably her favorite food is grapes.  She gets excited and points wildly whenever she sees them, and usually we get tired of cutting them up before she gets tired of eating them.
She also loves to drink water.  She drinks down her sippy cup then goes on a hunt for our waterbottles.  She just got her own waterbottle for her birthday, undoubtedly her favorite persent.  She also loves nursing and nurses 4-5x a day.  I'm planning to cut down over the next few months but will probably continue to nurse her some until around 2 years old, like I did with Juliana.  We both enjoy our nursing relationship, and it still has lots of benefits, so why quit?
Bedtime is usually around 7:30pm, a little earlier if she has a particularly bad nap day and a little later if we are out.  She is often tired and starting to fall apart, but that's the earliest we can usually manage.  A month or so ago we moved Adalyn into Juliana's room, and she started more or less sleeping through the night.  Except if she slept all night, she woke up at 5am, which I consider inhumane.  We have now struck a compromise - I go in and nurse her at 4:30 or 5 and then she sleeps until after 6am.

Adalyn naps twice a day.  She will go through brief happy spells of longer naps, but generally she is adamately sticking to her 45 minute naps.  She is happier when she naps better, but to paraphrase the old saying: "you can lead a baby to bed but you can't make them sleep."
Adalyn's very favorite activity for the past couple of months has been pushing stools, chairs, and toys around.  Her favorite is Juliana's step-stool, but she has tried pretty much anything that can be pushed around the floor.  She is close to walking independently but not quite there yet.  She particularly enjoys playing with (and eating) Juliana's toys, but she will play with her own toys if necessary.  She has a pretty short attention span for reading, but she is becoming quite familiar with our personal children's library as she pulls all the books off the shelf every day.

While she has started to exert more "spunk" (screaming when frustrated or when being persecuted by her sister), Adalyn is still pretty laidback.  She can entertain herself pretty well, especially if her sister is nearby (but not sitting on her).  She's more active than cuddly now, but she still likes to check in for hugs.  She likes grabbing my face and bringing our foreheads together while we rub noses and go, "aaaah."  I just have to kiss her chubby little cheeks about 100x a day, and she has just started kissing back.  Although she still sometimes confuses "kissing" with "eating your face."  Either way, it's sweet.

I think Adalyn's first word was mama.  At first she used it to say, "I am in great distress!  Someone rescue me!" but now she uses it to refer to me.  Now she also says dada, bye-bye, night-night, uh-oh, ball, and an approximation of "peekaboo."  She often imitates our intonation on words, even if she can't quite get the sounds.  I never really did baby sign language with Adalyn, but she has gotten down those universal basics - waving and pointing.  She also loves any sound that can be made by flapping her tongue around.

She Loves: Eating crumbs off the floor, stealthy shoe gnawing missions, playing in the pantry, tickles, imitating big sister, attempting to catapult off our beds, eating Cheerios, playing on blankets and pillows on the floor, bopping to music

She Hates: Sister taking her toys, being near but not WITH mama, sitting still too long, diaper changes, not being able to get to the shoes, falling down so often, having to nap

I love: Her chubby cheeks, when she burrows her face into mine, the way she follows her sister around, her proud look when she accomplishes a new feat, her giant expressive eyes, how she likes to "share" things back and forth, her quiet nature, and her reaching arms and cry of "mama!!" when she sees me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


I wound my bike between the dozens of other bicycles, motorbikes, and cars pulled up in front of the kindergarten.  All around parents led their 3-5 year old children through the gate, past the alluring playground equipment, and toward the castle-looking school building.  The children all carried backpacks - covered in princesses, cartoon characters, and superheroes - half as big as themselves and mostly empty.

I helped Juliana down from the bike seat, her own Minnie Mouse backpack bouncing on her back.  "Look!  It's my school!!"  Juliana cried excitedly.  She had been talking about starting school for the past year, and the day finally arrived.  I could tell she was feeling pretty important, albiet a little confused, because for a long time we have been telling her she would start school when she was four.  Technically, she will be in school for three weeks before she turns four.  Almost-four-year-olds don't deal in technicalities.

We stopped first at a nurses station just inside the door where a nurse checked each child's hands and throat.  She handed Juliana a red plastic chip to show she was healthy.

As we climbed the stairs to the second floor, where the 4 year old classes are held, Juliana held the child handrail and carefully placed her feet on the painted footprints leading upstairs.   Her teacher greeted her kindly as we entered her classroom, and Juliana remembered her "laoshi hao."  I put Juliana's backpack and jacket in the cupboard while she happily placed her red health chip in its slot.
Twenty-some children already sat at tables, quietly playing.  Juliana spotted her Norwegian friend across the room and hurried to join her.  The two blond-haired, blue-eyed children certainly do stand out!  Juliana's friend has already been in this class for a year, but the other children watched Juliana curiously.  I said goodbye to Juliana, but she was already involved in play.

When I returned at noon, Juliana ran happily to me.  The teacher told me Juliana cried a little bit before I came, but she ate well (she eats breakfast and lunch at school).  Juliana cheerfully waved to all her classmates.  The other children were finishing their lunch and climbing into beds pulled out for naptime.  They stay at school until 6pm.

On the ride home, I asked Juliana what was her favorite part of the day.  "Dancing!"  No surprise there.  Every day the whole kindergarten gathers outside on in the play yard to dance or exercise together.  Dancing has been her favorite part of every day, along with time on the playground "running and screaming."

 Finding out what else happens at school is a little trickier.  "What else did you do today?"  "Oh, I played.  A little boy hit me."  Every day, there is some variation of a little boy hitting her.  It's hard to tell if that actually happens every day or if it happened one day and just makes the account every day.  Either one seems like a decent possiblity.

We have a lot of exchanges like this:
"What did you eat for breakfast today, Juliana?"
"Hot milk. I like hot milk."
"What about for lunch?"
"Hot milk.  Just hot milk."
"Wait a minute, you were still eating lunch when I came, and I saw you had some soup."
"Oh yes.  We had soup.  We had some orange bubbly drink.  It tasted strange."
"Hmm, I don't know what it was.  Maybe something with vitamins?"
"They were yucky vitamins."

Halfway through the week Juliana's enthusiasm was momentarily dampened.  She got up saying, "I'm a little bit sick today.  I don't think I should go to school.  I'm grunting a lot."  But by the time she was heading out for school, she was excited again.  On Saturday morning when I told her there wasn't any school, she said, "But whyyyyyy??"  She quickly recovered when I told her she could stay in her pajamas.  She would be happy to stay in her pajamas all day, except that I don't let her wear them out of the house.

Kindergarten is off to a good start.  I am really grateful for my super-social, crazy-energetic little girl to have somewhere to go every day to enjoy being around kids (even if she can't communicate well yet).  And I'll be honest, I have been enjoying my calmer mornings hanging out with Adalyn.  I can even get some things done since Adalyn doesn't usually demand constant attention.

Every day I also ask Juliana, "What was your least favorite part of school?"  And most days she says, "Nothing!  There is nothing I don't like!"