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

Full disclosure: These are affiliate links, but I have not yet been accepted into Amazon’s Affiliate Program. I need to drive 3 sales in order for my blog to be considered for this program. If you’re interested in either of these books, purchasing through the links provided here will help me to qualify for the affiliate program. Belonging to the Amazon Affiliate Program will allow me to earn a very small commission from Amazon sales made through the affiliate links I provide on my blog.

Smoothies with a hint of vegetable

I bragged and bragged about my little baby-led-weaner who would eat anything under the sun from 6 months old. But then, around the 15 month mark, Avery became picky. She can smell a speck of spinach from a mile away, and will violently gag up an accidentally ingested piece of mushroom. She grimaces at tomatoes, she picks finely diced sweet bell peppers out of an omelette, and she squeezes zucchini through her fingers while glaring at us for trying to poison her with these multi-coloured harbingers of vomit.

Ok, maybe my interpretation is a bit dramatic, but she has definitely been refusing a lot of vegetables lately, and often with a dramatic flair of her own. So I decided to start hiding veggies in smoothies. So far carrot and beet were successes, cauliflower was not. I also threw one single leaf of spinach in a berry smoothie (not pictured here) and she spat it out. The fact that she’ll consume milk and yogurt when used in a smoothie is also a win, because she won’t drink cow’s milk from a cup and she’s getting less and less human milk as we slowly wean.

The vessel I use to feed her smoothies is the Squeasy (available on Amazon) and I LOVE THIS PRODUCT. I’m not an affiliate, not getting any money for clicks/purchases, but I don’t mind touting the product anyway. I find that smoothies clog up traditional sippy cups, and we’ve found the squeasy to be easy to suck smoothie from while also being spill-proof, as long as it contains a smoothie and not just water or milk. The liquid needs to have just a little viscosity to it. It’s also super easy to clean, and Avery loves holding it and squeezing it. It’s like those plastic puree pouches you can buy at the grocery store, but reusable (and more spill-proof than those). We love it.

Do you have any good smoothie recipes I should try? I’m on board with trying anything – even a little chocolate!

Carrot, peach, mango, milk, yogurt, date. 

Cauliflower, strawberry, banana, milk, yogurt

Beet (pre-boiled), blackberries, strawberries, banana, milk, yogurt

30 Days of Blogging, Day 30

My blogging challenge has come to a close. I’ve loved writing for 30 days straight, and I’ve learned a lot about what’s most important/pressing to me in life by what I’ve chosen to recount. Lots about sleep and breastfeeding, not surprisingly. That’s mostly what you get from me if you follow my blog! That, and a spattering of chicken talk and pics of homemade bread.

Tonight I’m going to write about something we haven’t been plagued with in quite a while – teething. Avery has started teething her 2-year molars. Last night she woke up at 1:30am crying (which she hasn’t been doing for the past couple of weeks – she wakes and asks calmly for me to come in and give her milk). This time she was inconsolable. I tried offering milk, I tried cuddling her, I tried bringing her back to our bed, but she wasn’t having any of it. I tried taking her downstairs to watch tv but we have a basement tenant and she was still crying downstairs, so I figured that wasn’t a sustainable option. Finally at 2:15am we put on Moana in our bedroom. She fell asleep cuddled into me watching her favourite movie. It was so adorable.

This morning she felt hot to touch, but didn’t have a fever. Her cheeks were red. She wouldn’t take her fingers out of the back of her mouth. She barely touched breakfast, snack, or lunch. Advil was a game changer – clearly she was feeling pain.

Although we can’t see swelling at the gums, it’s hard to see back there, and the teeth could be moving down but not at the edges of the gums yet. I’m 99% sure that teething is on the table. I hope they come soon, but I’ve heard that the 2-year molars can take a long time to work their way down. It’s also kind of shocking to think that my little baby is working on the last baby teeth she will ever grow…

30 Days of Blogging, Day 25

I am so thankful that Avery has a cousin the same age as her. Since her sibling would/will be quite a bit younger, it’s so great to see her forming a relationship with the other kid who will probably be with her for the rest of their lives, as long as the family stays close.

This weekend we visited my sister-in-law for an overnight and the kids, who are 5 months apart, played like it was 1999. The laughter, happy screams, and even tough sharing or hitting moments made my heart full. They are growing up together, learning from each other about how to be in this world.

Avery also has this with daycare, but I know one day we’ll part ways with our daycare provider and the friends she has made there, when school starts.

On another topic, the drive home from our visit with family showed a new, more mature side of Avery. We had a long day full of fun, and left at bedtime. Long car rides at bedtime have historically been disastrous for us – Avery gets overtired and doesn’t want to be stuck in her car seat and screams and screams (once for almost all of a 2 hour car ride). But tonight she really seemed to get it when I said we were going home and would be going to bed as soon as we got there. She was calm. She was tired, rubbing her eyes and yawning, and still didn’t sleep in the car, but she was SO PATIENT. She asked me to sing her songs, she babbled to herself, and she just sat quietly and stared off into the distance for a while. No tears. No whining. I am loving this new level of communication so much. It’s so hard when they’re little babies and can’t understand why you’re making them do something they don’t want to do, and can’t hold their delicate shit together for long. That’s not to say toddlers can hold their shit together WELL, but it sure does get easier and easier as they get older!

30 Days of Blogging, Day 24

It has been what, maybe a week since I started down the slow weaning road again? She’s already showing signs of self-weaning all the way. We cut out all nursing sessions during the day except for nursing to sleep for nap and bedtime, and we still allow nursing through the night. She has started to come off the boob at bedtime and roll over to be spooned the rest of the way to sleep. She has only been waking once or twice a night for milk. It’s amazing what cutting back on nursing does to her sleep….

The downside is that she only had a bit of milk from one side at bedtime today, and she didn’t have any at nap, so one side is full of hard lumps. We’re staying with family this weekend and I don’t have a pump to help me out, and I’m garbage at hand expressing. So I find myself actually hoping that she’ll wake up soon for a nighttime feed…