01 July 2014

Madeleine's Year Two in Review

Last year, I did a lil' round up of Madeleine, and I thought it'd be fun to do that again. Be forewarned that I'm going to share a ton of pictures and brag about my little girl.

When we started this year, our wee girl was not yet walking; by Christmas, she was confidently moving and showing signs of being a toddler; and now, she is fully her own little person with thoughts and opinions. What a delight!

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

Personality. We have gotten to see a lot of Madeleine's personality this year as her language skills have gone wild. She is adventurous and brave (sometimes even fearless) but sometimes just wants Mummy or Daddy. She is social, asking for her friends constantly (already!). Madeleine is pretty rough and tumble, recovering well from falls and disappointments, though she almost always asks for a "ban-aid" to fix her "owies." She is incredibly nurturing, something that has become especially noticeable in the last few months. Although she is pretty independent, plays independently, eats independently, and is well on her way to being able to dress and undress herself completely, she still has a lazy streak that we see from time to time with a "Mummy do it" or "Daddy do it" response when we tell her to do something for herself.

Photo Credit: Helen Al-Najjar

Nicknames. Miss M. Sweat pea. Snuggle Puss. Snuggle Pop. Monster. Madeleine Monster. Toddlerkins. Toddler Woddler. Silly bug.


Food and eating. With few exceptions, it's impossible to predict what Madeleine will or won't eat on any given day. We encourage her to try whatever food we put in front of her, and she enforces this herself. When she's unsure of something on her plate, I'll hear "I try it." She generally enjoys a wide variety of food from healthy local favorites salmon and broccoli to Malaysian roti canai to junk food pizza, tacos, and ice cream. It's rare for her to turn down mac and cheese, berries, yogurt, applesauce, or cheese sticks. Our food philosophy is a combination of self-regulation (she determines how much and how little she eats) and no special orders (unless the food we're having is far too spicy or too difficult to eat, she is served what we eat and can choose to eat it or go hungry).

Over the last year, Madeleine has mastered using her fork and spoon, though she does sometimes choose to not use them. She can drink from a cup, but I usually only give her a little at a time in a cup to ease my worry about massive spills. We're starting to work on table manners, like not talking with food in the mouth and chewing with mouth closed.

Sleep. Madeleine isn't the best napper with her single daily nap ranging in length from an hour to just over two hours. That said, she has been known to request her nap and has only recently started struggling with getting to sleep at nap time. She is an excellent nighttime sleeper (knocking wood...). Our bedtime routine is largely the same as it has been her whole life, and, once it's complete, she asks for her bed and sleeps for about 12 hours. She has grown incredibly attached to both her bear (a soft, pink Gund bear) and her quilt (this one), and I suspect that sleeping would be a challenge without them.

Interests. Madeleine is incredibly interested in garbage trucks and, really, in most kinds of trucks and buses. A few months back, she started getting carsick; as part of dealing with that, I spent most of my car time with her drawing her attention outside so that she would be seeing the same motion her brain was feeling. Thus, a vehicle obsession was born. She seems to have come through her fear of being near large vehicles (say, being at a park while a garbage truck goes by) and landed in a place of all out fascination.

Madeleine also loves animals, especially underwater creatures (wonder why...) and farm animals. Horses are a favorite, and she loved getting to pet a bunch of horses when our friend, Jessica, took her for a barn tour last week.

She loves to care for her babies and animals, and this includes feeding, clothing (mostly undressing), and diapering them. She loves to swipe tea towels from the kitchen to use them as blankets for whatever she is loving in that very moment. She loves to put things to sleep, and I love when it's my turn to be put down for a nap. Her nurturing attitude isn't limited to creatures as I've also seen her care for a balloon, her blocks, and her toy garbage truck. Fortunately, this love seems to extend to her brother, too, as she asks to kiss and cuddle my belly several times a day.

Anything George and I do is a source of inspiration for Madeleine. She likes to put on our shoes and try to walk in them, brush her teeth while we brush ours, wrap a towel around her waist like we do (at the pool), put on "make up" like Mummy, vacuum like Mummy/Daddy, talk on our phones, and the list goes on and on. It's adorable and, when she picks up on something we never noticed, rather enlightening. Along these same lines, she loves to "help" and, as she is getting more proficient, we are starting to enjoy her help. She can transfer dirty clothes into laundry baskets, carry in packages and our dairy order, and often provide an extra set of hands. Something tells me that I'm really going to appreciate this in a couple months.

After a hiatus from yoga, I enrolled Madeleine in a class over the winter, and she adored it. Ever since, she has been dragging my yoga mat around the house to do a pose or two at a time. We got Madeleine her own yoga mat for her birthday, and I hope that many more yoga classes are in her future. I'm also considering enrolling Madeleine in soccer in the fall as she enjoys kicking balls and insisted on stopping to watch a game of pick-up soccer when we were in Hawaii. She continues to enjoy swimming and has made huge progress this year from only just being able to go under to insisting on taking a few kicks at a time on her own.

Toys. It's hard to pinpoint a favorite toy. Fortunately, toy rotation has been pretty successful at keeping her interest in most things. She has gotten into puzzles and Duplo in the last couple of months, quietly mastering both during independent play. She loves her play vacuum and play stroller. As I mentioned, she loves her dolls (Stella and my Cabbage Patch Doll, Betty Fanny) and stuffed animals. She likes reading and can spend an hour looking through a stack of books; I love catching her rummaging through her piles of books looking for a particular one. She has assigned a word or two to each of her books and typically asks for them by these names. Outside, she has really enjoyed her "special park" in our backyard and can do more and more things every week.

TV. We started letting Madeleine watch TV at about 20 months. Per week, she is allowed one episode each of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Sesame Street. This gets stretched a bit when she's sick, and other weeks she doesn't even ask for it. We do our best to keep Madeleine from characters and marketing but, despite it all, she is very, very fond of Daniel and his friends. She still thinks Mickey Mouse is a dog, Nemo is a fish, and Thomas is a train...so we're winning on some fronts!

Friends. Speaking of friends, we continue to meet weekly with our PEPS friends. It's fun to watch the kids interact with each other and see how they are each developing into their own person. Madeleine has also grown fond of her school friends as she is in part-time childcare. We love hearing about the adventures she has with her friends. She continues to adore and be adored by the kids next door.

Traveling. Madeleine has traveled to Oregon (twice), California (twice), Hawaii (twice), Texas, Ohio (twice), and Canada this year. She is a good traveler, although we've had some difficulty with her sleeping while we're away. We all still like the Phil and Ted Traveller crib, but we have reached the conclusion that we can absolutely not share a room with her. On flights, she spends most of her time fascinated by what's going on outside the window while on the ground or in the in-flight magazine while in the air. Only on our last trip did we finally pull out the iPad to show her a couple of episodes of her TV shows (thank you, PBS app). In general, Madeleine is very adaptable so long as we keep some basic routines in place.

Memorable Moments. The ordinary is really what is memorable about this year. I love the days that I get to spend with Madeleine doing ordinary things like running errands, going to parks, and working around the house. I love teaching her new things and watching her pick up on things that I do, previously unknown to me. She is a wonderful little mirror. I find great pleasure in seeing her experience the freedom of innocence, playing with the toys that seem most interesting to her rather than the toys society might think she should like. I love watching her build confidence by letting and encouraging her to try new things on her own. As someone with a strong maternal instinct, I must admit that I'm really enjoying watching that naturally develop in Madeleine.

This was the year when Madeleine made her first piece of art that I truly love (I'm that odd mom who doesn't think everything she makes is wonderful). This is also the year when Madeleine first said, "I love you, Mum" and "I missed you, Mum." I love her tight hugs, often accompanied by pats or rubs, after even the briefest of absences. I feel so lucky to be Madeleine's mum.

Cuddling the smiley face on the Costco receipt. Doesn't everyone?

Even with the "terrible" twos upon us, I can't wait to see where this next year takes Madeleine. I love you, Sweet Madeleine!


aaron and misha said...

Love this! I can't believe how much M has grown in the past year and am so glad to be a part of her life! That said, she is growing up way too fast!

Anonymous said...

What a cutie. You're such a good mum! Miss M is a lucky girl.

Janie said...

Slow down, Mr. Clock! Wow, how she has grown up but how awesome and exciting to see her develop. She is so wonderfully adaptive and she is a sponge to the world around her taking in every detail. What a wonderful recap post. Beautiful.

ALKS said...

Thanks, guys. We're so lucky to have you all in Miss M's life!