Our baby is officially not a baby anymore! What an incredible and FAST two years! Every day she does something that amazes us and quite a few things that crack us up. She's picking up on so many details and remembers stores, restaurants, our trip to Disney World a month ago, seriously all the bits and pieces of her little life. We love every part of her personality - she's smart, funny (without really trying), brave, kind, affectionate (she hugs me and tells me she loves me at least five times a day, talk about heart melting), inquisitive, opinionated, and unbelievably full of energy (she'd be more than happy to run around outside all day long). One of my favorite aspects of this age is how she lives life with such passion and focus; once she's decided to read a particular book or complete a puzzle, it's close to impossible to pull her away.
Although she still loves to climb and jump, she's also begun to enjoy playing with smaller toys and pretending with her figurines and animals, so she requires a tad less supervision and is happy to entertain herself. It's definitely a new stage of parenting that is a lot easier in some ways but that also comes with a new set of challenges as discipline and schedule-keeping are becoming more important. Overall, she's a great listener, but we're working on understanding why it's not okay for her to run away from Mama in public (the scariest) and how to express when she wants a cup of milk or a certain toy in a kind way (which means not rolling around on the floor and whining angrily). I'm nervous for what this next year holds with the infamous "terrible twos" and the inevitable potty training. However, this babe has such a sweet spirit, and we've already been able to make the crib to "big girl bed" switch with almost no drama, so I'm hopeful that we'll be able to handle all of the coming milestones with grace.
We're spending more time apart, as she is going to hourly care (a really great program operated through the military Child and Youth Services) for three to four hours two mornings a week in addition to two hours in childcare at MOPS every other Tuesday and an hour each Sunday in nursery at church, plus we've gotten more comfortable leaving her with a sitter every once in a while since we've found someone we trust here. Although I know it's probably good for her and me not to be together 24/7 and for her to understand that she's her own little person, it's hard on my heart. She cried for a few mornings going into hourly care, but now she runs in and doesn't seem to mind when I leave. There's another kind of sadness that comes with her not being upset to see me go. Of course, I'd much rather it be that way, though. And she's always SO HAPPY to see me when I return, and greets me with a run-on sentence of, "MOMMY, I miss you! I lub you! Go home? See Hank and Lulu? Get in the car?!"
As I always say, every day is the best day and it just keeps getting better and better. She's a blessing and a light, both to our little family and to every person she meets. We're so proud and grateful she's ours.
Liesl loves -
- Milk! We're still hooked on whole milk over here. She would exclusively drink milk if I let her, preferably of the chocolate variety.
- Blueberries, steamed broccoli and carrots, cheese!, mac & cheese, sweet potato fries, Simply White Cheddar Cheetos, yogurt (especially eating it with a spoon like a big girl), gummies, donuts, bagels, and cookies of all kinds, and she really likes dipping everything she eats in "sauce" (honey mustard, ketchup, jelly, you name it!).
- Books! Although she doesn't want to read them ALL day like she used to, she still really likes to read before nap and bedtime. Her faves are "Hop Aboard Here We Go," "The Pete the Cat Treasury," "Sheep go to Sleep," "The Runaway Bunny," and "They All Saw a Cat."
- Listening to music, but only specific songs! Right now, those are "Let it Go" from Frozen, "Touch the Sky" from Brave, "How Far I'll Go" from Moana, "The Greatest Showman" soundtrack (with "Tightrope" being her favorite from that CD), "Silent Night," "Away in a Manger," and "The 1812 Overture" (or "The Unicorn Song" as she calls it thanks to Little Einsteins).
- Singing! She loves to sing ALL of the above songs (and more) and will break into passionate renditions any time the mood strikes her (mostly just of one line from each song over and over).
- Bath time (We counted recently and she has something like 43 bath toys. There is hardly room for her in the tub.)
- Animals, mostly CATS, horses, and dogs, but she loves them all.
- Her stuffed animals... most moms can circulate stuffed animals out or give the less played with ones away. That wouldn't fly in our house. Each one has a name and receives attention. Right now, her most adored are her Donald Duck, two cats named "Dexter" and "White Mocha," and her giant Olaf pillow that we bought for her new bed.
- Olaf in general! Something about that dern snowman makes her so happy that it's almost overwhelming for her to talk about him : )
- "Little friends/things" - these are random figurines, mostly Disney characters and animals, that are her most beloved toys. When we went to Disney World in December, my mom got her a book bag exclusively for carrying her "little friends." At any given time, you will find a random assortment lined up on our coffee table.
- Swinging, playing on playgrounds, and generally just being outside where she has room to run
- Running and running and running
- Puzzles! She got several for Christmas and I thought she wasn't going to be quite ready for them, but she can do almost all of them by herself. She'll spend an hour doing her favorite farm themed one over and over.
- Swiping toiletries off of the bathroom counter (kid really loves toothbrushes and toothpaste)
- Dave and Ava (her fave iPhone app)
- Disney Jr... We just recently changed TV providers and now have Disney Jr., and she is hooked. I try not to let it babysit her too much, but it is nice that almost all of their shows keep her entertained and I can flip the TV on when I need to make dinner or focus all of my attention on a task. "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," "Puppy Dog Pals," "Vampirina," and "Little Einsteins" are the winners at the moment, including their theme songs which we sing over and over.
- Chick-fil-a playdates with her best bud, Grant (and going to "see cats" at the Petco across the street after)
- Her toddler yoga and gymnastics classes
I could go on and on, there's just so much that makes her happy these days!
Liesl does not like -
- Loud noises (particularly hand dryers in bathrooms)
- Sitting still, especially in shopping carts and such - we've had to stop using her wagon for now because she just cannot stay on her bottom in there!
- Nap/bedtime - she loves her "big girl bed" but hates when it's time to go to sleep.
- When she can't make a toy, cup, blanket, etc., do what she wants it to... she becomes frustrated quickly. Working on our patience! Part of it is just toddlerhood and part of it is her personality; she comes by it honestly from both her mom and dad.
- Moving from task to task... Even when the next activity is one she really wants to do she has a hard time following through with stopping what she's doing in the moment to transition (e.g. leaving her toys downstairs to go upstairs to take her bath).
Ever since the change to her toddler bed, other than just a couple rough nights, she has been sleeping through the night wonderfully and has even been playing by herself in her room for a bit before I come upstairs in the morning. We're all much more rested, and it's nice that I have a little time to get myself ready for the day before I start giving her my undivided attention.
Her hair is very curly now and dirty blonde. It looks a little crazy most of the time, but I do my best to keep it under control and am having so much fun now that it's long enough to try different hair styles. Like her daddy's, her eyes look like they're going to settle on a really pretty bluish green that tends to change a bit depending on what color she's wearing and how the light hits her face.
I think this will probably be my last age milestone post for a while; I'm planning on holding off on doing another one until she turns three. It's hard to imagine how much she will have changed by then! Yet I know she's going to stay the same daring, free, beautiful girl, no matter how old she is.