Dirty

Avery’s new word of the week is “dirty.” Her rainboots recieve the most critcism about being dirty, and although I try to explain to her that dirty rainboots is a good thing – a sign that she had fun splashing in puddles – she freaks out over the dirt and wants them washed.

There’s also a lot of dirt on our floors right now because I’ve been too sick and tired to vacuum. If Avery’s barefoot, every so often she’ll sit down and hold her foot, inspecting it just inches from her face, whining “dirty!”

I hope she’s just exploring ways to use her new word, and she won’t actually continue to be so averse to dirt. For a kid who dislikes dirt so much, she sure is a magnet for it!

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Ripley’s Aquarium

Avery’s sick right now with yet another daycare virus, but thank goodness the virus held off until after our weekend trip to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. We took Avery’s cousin as a gift of an experience (instead of toys) for his 2nd birthday. The two toddlers totally fed off of each other’s excitement and were completely wild and untamable for the entire two hours we spent there. They got into screaming matches at the fish, Avery became a “runner” and made us wish we had one of those backpack leashes, and she also showed bravery and confidence that we hadn’t seen before. They were both so far out of their shells that it took sheer exhaustion to rein them in again when it was over.

Toddler Talk

Avery’s not forming sentences yet at 19 months old (well she is, but they’re in baby-gibberish), but she’s beginning to say some pretty cute things. Here are my top 5 favourite cute things she’s saying these days:

1. “Ay-ah, teet!” (Which means Anna, treat!). She loves giving the cats treats, but one hides upstairs while the other tries taking them out of her hand. So she runs to the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs holding one reserved treat above her head away from the greedy cat, and yells for Anna to come down and get her treat.

2. “No”. It’s not the fact that she’s saying it that’s cute – it’s how. The upward and then downward inflection makes her sound desperate to be listened to. Also cute, we heard her talking in her sleep over the baby monitor the other night: “nOo. nOo. nOo.” I think she was probably having an innocent dream that we were making her put her shoes on or something.

3. She says whale like, “way-oo.”

4. She says mommy like “muh-yee.”

5. And a truly classic in toddler talk, she says please like “pwease.”

Daylight saving time had nothing on us

Sleep has been so messed up lately that we didn’t even notice the daylight saving time change.

My mom did bedtime on Friday night because my wife and I were out on a date until 11:30 (cue applause). It didn’t go great… It’s the second time my mom did bedtime, but the first time she did it there was frozen milk to offer in a bottle. This was the first night Avery had to go to sleep with absolutely no milk. Apparently there were lots of tears, and she finally fell asleep at 9pm. She woke a lot through the night and wanted long cuddles – she clearly missed us. I felt really guilty.

She continued her 4:30-5:30am wake ups over the weekend.

On Saturday night she was awake from 11:30pm until 3am, trying valiantly to get back to sleep without nursing. She tossed and turned both next to us and on her own, she sang to herself, she played quietly with stuffed animals, but finally she started to lose her patience at 3 (as did we), and I nursed her to sleep (it took just a few minutes, after hours of trying on her own). And then of course she was up for the day at 5am.

On Sunday she begged to go for a nap at 9am. We had a friend’s first birthday party that day over Avery’s usual nap time, so we thought an early nap would be ok. She slept for 30 minutes. She was so exhausted that by the time we got home from the part she slept for 3 hours. She woke up at 6pm. Never a good sign for bedtime.

She went to bed at 9pm, and although she only woke twice through the night, I was so tired that I fell asleep sitting on the floor next to her bed both times and now I’m super stiff.

This is nothing too out of the ordinary for us, but the tough sleep stints are always hard. I know it will be over soon enough, and I just have to cling to that thought.

Anyway, we barely noticed that daylight saving time was occurring. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse that having to deal with transitioning a schedule-rigid kid to a different bedtime and wake up time… Either way, we’ve always had bigger sleep-fish to fry than to worry about a time change.

We’ve joined the Paw Patrol fan club [insert eye roll here]

We try to curate what Avery watches on Netflix. We don’t have cable, so it should be easy to make sure she only watches shows we’re on board with. We have nothing against Paw Patrol, really, besides the fact that it’s kind of annoying to the parents… And I suppose we also dislike how the characters always win at everything – losing isn’t an option. We want Avery to see examples of people failing on their first try. We want her to not be afraid of or stunned by failure. Anyway, we’re not against the show, we just prefer that she watch other things.

But somehow we have a Paw Patrol addict on our hands. Her great-aunt got her some Paw Patrol books for Christmas, and while visiting her cousin she was exposed to the show for the first time. When I was scrolling through Netflix to find Llama Llama, Avery was looking over my shoulder and spotted the Paw Patrol icon. We gave it a try. She grabbed one of her Paw Patrol books and excitedly pointed from the book to the TV. And with that, she was hooked. Now whenever she pulls her book off the shelf, she points to the tv and says “Paw? Paw?”

We’ve started watching it every morning before daycare while I make breakfast and feed the cats and fuel up with coffee.

Does anyone else find it kind of annoying for the parents?

Does anyone have good kids show recommendations?

18 months

Height: 33 inches

Weight: 29 pounds

Clothing size: 2/3T

Eighteen months is kind of a milestone for me. I had the idea that Avery at 18 months would be happier, easier to communicate with, more fun, and more independent. And she is all of those things!

As with any age and stage of development, though, there are ups and downs. Let’s start with the awesome things she has started to do that make life more enjoyable.

She asks to colour, or to play with playdough, and she’ll sit at the table doing these independent activities, by herself, while I do dishes or make a meal. We go for walks outside without the stroller, and she splashes in puddles and crashes through the snow. And at this wonderful age, she happily holds my hand without a fight.

She sits down and takes off her own boots, mits, hat and coat (although she still gets stuck in her coat).

If she spills something, she gets a cloth off the kitchen counter (yes, she’s that tall) and wipes it up. She picks up garbage laying around the house and carries it to the garbage can (did I just admit that my house is littered with garbage?)

Her language is starting to develop more rapidly. One day she could suddenly say “Cheerio”, and the next day she had mastered “turtle”. She can identify and say (more or less) a few colours now: pink, blue, purple, yellow and orange.

She has gotten scary good at animal sounds. She even does the elephant sound using her arm as the trunk, and cats are now called “Meow” instead of “cat”. My favourite is the monkey sound: “ooh ooh ooh ooh!” and sometimes “ah ah ah ah!” I hope I always remember the adorable way she pronounces things right now. My favourite is whale, which she pronounces “whay-oo.”

Her favourite song is row row row your boat. She asks for us to sing it with her (and do the rowing motions) by starting us off with “row row row.” We watch a music video to this song on the YouTube channel Super Simple Learning Songs and she demands it on repeat. I have to say, I approve of her rather peaceful choice in kid music.

She can also repeat the numbers 1, 2 and 3 and can identify them whens she sees them in print. We’re pretty sure she knows the letter A. When we write her name she points at and says “A“. Interestingly, she just recently started talking in her sleep, too. Language is definitely blossoming.

Although her mind is burgeoning with new information, there are some challenges to this age as well. For starters, her sleep and separation anxiety haven’t changed much. She is still incredibly glued to me, and is going through a phase of waking as soon as I leave her side. Thank goodness we invested in a comfortable twin mattress for her room…

And on the flip side of her loving to wipe up messes, she can’t stand it when her toys are confined to a basket and she needs to dump everything all over the floor, even if she’s not playing with it. When she’s done colouring she whips the crayons across the room, or sweeps them all on the floor with one, agressive arm motion. She is also the messiest eater our daycare provider claims to have ever seen. She has diverse interests – cleaning and making messes.

She has entered the picky eater stage. Her favourite foods are less favourite and more like tolerated. Those are: Pickles, goldfish, berries, bananas, and sometimes peas. She has a particular affinity for gherkin pickles and will stand at the fridge saying “pee-ls? Pee-ls?” until we get her one. She’s a bottomless pit for pickles, and we usually stop her at 3.

Finally, the biggest challenge with this age is the boundary pushing and the refusal to listen. We’re trying to take it all in stride and appreciate this new behaviour for what it is (a natural part of developing as an autonomous person), but boy oh boy does it wear us out.

The next time I update on Avery’s development will probably be when she turns two. I have no idea what life will be like by then, but for now, I want to fully appreciate all that makes my 18 month old who she is. She’s friendly and loving, she thrives being out of the house and around people, she gives kisses to mere photos of any kind of animal, and she tries her mightiest to get calm snuggles with her face nestled into the cats’ fur. She’s loud, she makes hilarious and strange noises, and she talks constantly (even though most of it is still gibberish). She loves to make people laugh, but she can also be intensely serious. She can give a wicked evil glare, and she has an evil laugh to go along with it. She is a seriously awesome little person. Happy 18 months, Avery!

Adventures in Toddler Discipline: Setting Boundaries

Avery has started standing and jumping on the furniture as a way of testing boundaries. We have told her that she needs to sit or lay down when she’s on the couch or the chairs, because she could fall and get hurt from standing and jumping. She wants to see just how far we’ll go to enforce this rule, and she needs to test us every single day in case we’ve changed the rule from the day before.

Avery: stands on couch

Me: please sit on your bum when you’re on the couch.

Avery: smirks, stays standing.

Me: Can you sit down on your own, or do you need me to help you get off the couch?

Avery: still smirking, starts stomping her feet.

Me: You’re showing me that you need help to get down. Lifts her onto the floor.

Avery: kicking and crying. Runs to the next piece of furniture, climbs up, and stands on it.

Me: Sit or I’ll help you down.

Avery: stomps and cries.

Me: lifts her down.

Avery: runs to the next chair, stands on it.

Me: lifts her down.

Avery: screams.

Me: pulls hair out in frustration.

Finally out of furniture to climb on, she gives up and runs off to play with something more appropriate. It is unclear who won.

If you’re interested in how we devise our game plan for dealing with boundary testing behaviour like this, I highly recommend two books: The Soul of Discipline and No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame.

I recommend both of these books, but No Bad Kids is a quicker read with very easy to follow ideas for actually responding to your kid’s behaviour in real time. The Soul of Discipline gets more into theory of misbehaviour and discipline.

No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame

The Soul of Discipline: The Simplicity Parenting Approach to Warm, Firm, and Calm Guidance- From Toddlers to Teens

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