02 July 2015

Madeleine's Third Year in Review

Madeleine turned three last weekend, so it's time for a photo- and detail-heavy post summarizing her year. I love looking back at the changes Madeleine has undergone each year. You can find year one here and year two here. This seems like a particularly big year as she was just a young toddler when the year started and has blossomed into a preschooler with lots of her own thoughts and the ability to be largely independent. And let's not forget that this was the year in which Madeleine became a big sister. 

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography
June 2014 - Age 2

Photo Credit: The Happy Film Company
December 2014 - Age 2.5

June 2015 - Age 3

Madeleine's personality is a wonderful mix of bookworm, social butterfly, curious climber, and nurturing little mama. We are so thankful that Madeleine has always been drawn to books. She loves to sit down and look through hers a stack at a time and routinely uses books as a way to wind down at the beginning of her nap. She is almost always willing to sit and listen to any book that anyone is willing to read to her. She went through a period this year where she was tearing (sometimes into tiny little pieces) her books, so we had to take them all out of her room. It ended up working out okay because they're now in a shelf where she and Elliott can share them. Whether from loving books or having pretty advanced language skills, Madeleine is very interested in discovering the alphabet all around her. About halfway through the year, she started to identify her most familiar letters in road signs. Then, she discovered that she could delay bedtime by asking her daddy about the letters of things in her room ("what does bed start with?" "what does octopus start with?"). Now, we're turning that around and having her tell us what letter she thinks begins the word, and she's definitely picking up on sounds. We joke that she has her own phonetic alphabet: Addie, Brody, Charlotte/Cooper, Daddy, Elliott, Farah, etc. I am not teaching her to read but do want to follow her interest in this area. 

Our Miss M loves her friends. We still meet weekly with our PEPS friends, who are more like family than friends. It has been so fun to watch the little friendships develop after so much time spent merely playing beside each other. She has made some good friends at her daycare, and we've even gotten together for a few playdates with them. Madeleine is remembering more and more of our friends and family, and it's neat to see those relationships grow. I've seen tremendous growth in Madeleine's social skills in the last couple of months in that she can now go into a room of strangers and make friends; she wants to talk to other kids at the park and generally be social. As a relatively reserved person myself, I'm both proud and envious of her courage. 

Despite the gender stereotype of females being more physically subdued, Madeleine is curious and can be very physical. She has no fear of heights or climbing or exploring new places. She can somersault, very nearly swim on her own, and spot puddles from a mile away. Thankfully, she seems to know her limits and rarely does things that are completely ridiculous. I'd like to think that this is a result of us giving her quite a bit of freedom to explore and discover her limitations for herself. She loves swinging and, while she can pump and swing herself, she strongly prefers asking to be pushed "high in the sky."

The aspect of Madeleine's personality that stands out the most to me is her nurturing nature. She loves her stuffed animals and babies, and she takes care of them as she dresses and (more often) undresses them, feeds them, burps them, reads to them, and puts them down for naps. Unsurprisingly, she has taken up breastfeeding this year and likes to steal blankets from her brother's room for her babies. While she has lots of trucks, she is more likely to be seen covering them with a blanket than racing them around the house. That said, she does still love garbage trucks and gets excited about watching them at work.

Madeleine has shown her independence this year. During rough patches, it manifested as nap strikes (for a whole month and a half beginning the week I was due for Elliott), climbing out of her crib, and power struggles surrounding potty training and clothes selection. 

On the other hand, her independence has led her to be able to completely dress and undress herself, and it's been the better part of a year since I've had to regularly help her put her shoes on or off. Most recently, Madeleine has also wanted to choose her clothes, and I am learning to give her that control, which is made easier by her love for dresses over the last month or so. Madeleine has also enjoyed helping in the kitchen throughout the year. It all started when I gave her the job of cleaning the potatoes and apples for Thanksgiving dinner, and she now loves to chop fruit and veg and make smoothies. As part of fostering her independence and reaffirming her as part of our family and household, Madeleine has also picked up some "jobs" around the house, including clearing her place at the table after every meal, bringing in the garbage bin from the street, and plugging in the electric car. 

Madeleine is great at independent play and does so for most of her play time. She does a lot of role play at this point, including taking care of her babies, cooking various creations, dressing up, and playing doctor. She has mastered changing her babies' diapers and doing snaps. She builds with her Duplo, usually cars, houses, castles, and towers. She watches a few episodes of Daniel Tiger each week and is largely disinterested in Sesame Street and Dinosaur Train, which were popular earlier this year. She enjoys art, especially stickers and painting, but I only allow her to do them under supervision. 

Her eating is totally unpredictable. There have been times this year where I swear she's turning down everything except mac and cheese, and there are times when she is begging for more asparagus. For the most part, she likes a wide range of foods with Chinese dumplings (pronounced dump-a-lings by Madeleine), mac and cheese, pizza, dill pickle soup, Mexican rice and beans, yogurt, apples, bananas, ranch dressing, ice cream, and salmon being pretty consistent favorites. I don't really acknowledge blanket likes/dislikes as far as letting them influence what we have or what she is offered, except that she has never liked avocado. Otherwise, I continue to offer her a variety of food, enforce the one "no thank you" bite, and give thanks for what a good eater she is most of the time. 

As unpredictable as Madeleine's eating can be, her sleep is pretty consistent. She goes to bed around 7:30pm and gets up somewhere between 7am and 8:30am. She very rarely gives us a hard time going to bed as her routine is largely the same as it has been her entire life. When she does, it tends to be delay tactics like asking for another trip to the bathroom, a drink of water, or thinking of some minute detail of the routine that was missed. Her daily nap happens after lunch, beginning somewhere between 1pm and 3pm. Right now, she naps about 75% of the time and otherwise lays in bed reading books or putting her dolls and animals to bed. She always sleeps with Bear in her arms and a subset of friends sleep at her feet. 

The week that I was due for Elliott, she climbed out of her crib, so she moved into her "big girl bed" shortly thereafter. With few exceptions, it has been a really good experience, and we're lucky that Madeleine respects the boundaries of the bed and generally stays there during appropriate times. 

Speaking of Elliott's arrival, Madeleine has experienced a number of emotions related to her role as big sister. She clearly loves Elliott. While he was immobile, she loved covering him with a blanket and treating him like one of her babies. Now that he's mobile and interested in all of her toys, her feelings can sometimes be more complicated. She can get aggressive with him, but in the next moment, she'll be calling him "my Elliott" and "my baby." And, thus, a sibling relationship is formed. 

Madeleine's new bed and new brother weren't the only big changes for her this year. We started potty training just before Thanksgiving, and we are still on the winding road to no accidents. She initially had a lot of success and has since experienced numerous regressions. With every step forward, we savor the progress and hope that the next regression will leave us with at least a little overall progress. 

Madeleine continues to be a good traveler and has 10 more flights under her belt after traveling to California, Hawaii, Texas, and Ohio. She now carries on her own backpack with her supplies, sits in her own seat, and watches PBS shows or plays on apps for some portion of most flights. She has adjusted to sleeping in different beds as we travel, and usually her first question upon arrival involves where she will sleep. 

Physically, Madeleine has grown quite a bit taller and finally has a good amount of hair. As of her check up, she is right in the 50th percentile for height and weight. 

I can't wait to see where this next year takes us as Madeleine enters preschool and begins a new era. 


aaron and misha said...

What a great review! I loved looking back and seeing how M changed and grew. Happy third birthday Miss M!

Janie said...

Wow, what a ride through memory land!!!!!! She is truly one sweet, sweet, SWEET little girl and it is exciting to watch her grow and develop into such a genuine young spirit! I love you, Madeleine. Can't wait to see what's up in the year ahead.

denayeb said...

She's just a cool kid. Enough said.