What a wild summer it has been — Serena has changed so much, and I can’t believe that in just a month she will be be two. (TWO!!!) (The photos above are from the very beginning of the summer, by talented local photographer Elizabeth LaDuca.) Have you heard this phrase: the days are long but the years are short? So so true. Some days, and especially some sleepless nights, were long, but I still can’t believe that years have passed, and that my tiny little baby is now a whirlwind of energy, a creative, curious, and tenacious little girl. We are leaving baby territory, although there are still some moments when Serena curls up on our laps for a rest, but 5 minutes later she is up and back at it! Here are a few things we’ve been finding along this parenting path lately…
A Mind of Her Own. It has been amazing to see Serena developing confidence and asserting her opinions, although it sometimes means that she wants to run in the exact opposite direction than necessary, or only wants to eat berries when there are none in the house. To make things easier, we’ve tried to baby proof the main living area so we can mainly say yes and save the ‘nos’ for when it matters.
Independence. There are so many times a toddler doesn’t get a choice, so I’ve been trying to let her make choices for herself when she can. For example, I usually hold up two snacks and let her pick, two dresses and let her decide. It seems thrilling to her! It is also so key for us to find places where she can really do whatever she wants. We take a lot of walks, but on city sidewalks she has to stay in the stroller or hold my hand, so I love finding a nice big park or fenced in playground where she can run totally wild! She runs so fast now — it’s amazing to see her zipping back and forth to see what kind of mess she can get into. ;)
Tantrums. They have definitely been happening this summer — emotions can be so strong at this age! I find they usually pass within a few minutes, especially if I offer a hug and some distractions. But sometimes there is nothing to do but throw the screaming toddler over my shoulder and walk up the hill (like the time she absolutely had to run into the lagoon at the public garden!). As time goes on, public tantrums have felt less embarrassing — I suppose everyone has been there or will be there, and plus, there is only so much I can do to stop them. I do find that they aren’t happening as often lately, and I think it’s because she has become better able to communicate in other ways lately. (Fingers crossed the trend continues!)
A Few Favorites. Serena has been watching us intently whenever we are using a pen, and keeps wanting to be the one to sign the receipts when we go out to eat (her treat!), so favorite toys lately have been the AquaDoodle and crayons and coloring books. We are working on the idea that the crayons should be used to color in the book and not on the couch, but it’s a process! (These crayons are “washable” so easier to remove from other surfaces than some.) She is also so active, and loves throwing and kicking a ball — even along our hallway. She’s been using my PT ball, as well as this one, which is nice and light to avoid breaking too many things or hitting her too hard! Blocks and books are still favorites, and she has started singing in the bath and joining in when we sing the wheels on the bus, etc. (So cute.) I also let her watch a little bit of PBS shows like Daniel Tiger and Splash and Bubbles, and she dances along to that music too.
Sleep. We have had a very hard time with sleep, and influenced by a few factors that were out of our control had some serious regressions. It is only within the last month that we have Serena sleeping through the night more often than not. Not sleeping for that long is seriously a form of torture, and I am hoping that she keeps sleeping well. Lately on a good night she goes right to bed after a few stories at 8pm, and wakes up around 6 or 6:15am. Sleep makes everything so much better!
Anyone have any great strategies or tips for this age? I would love to hear!
Images Credit: 1-2, Elizabeth LaDuca; 3, Daniel Bahcheli