Things I’ve Learned From Potty Training My Kid

It’s been a few months since our daughter has been completely potty trained enough to go to sleep at night without diapers on. In fact, we got our cues from her when she, quite simply and directly, asked me to not put a diaper on her one night, and although I feared we might wake up to our bed soaked in her pee, this has not happened at all. I could actually forgo the diapers now even when we go out, but for my peace of mind I have still been putting her in diapers, afraid she might need to go during one of our nearly hour-long trips to church, or while stuck in traffic. However, just recently, she has also stated that she doesn’t want to wear a diaper when we go out anymore, and since we have not had any mishaps, thankfully, I guess the sensible thing to do would be to honor her wishes in this, too.

While I do not consider myself an expert when it comes to potty training, I have learned quite a few things as we journeyed through this all-important phase in Sophie’s life. Here, I share them with you to see if anyone has had similar experiences/observations, at the very least:

  1. Clorox Wipes is my new best friend.
  2. It’s the year 2012, but people still need to learn to flush the toilet after using it. It’s unbelievable, not to mention inexcusable, how many times Sophie and I have walked into a filthy lavatory when the flush is in perfect working order.
  3. Sophie can distinguish between a slightly grubby toilet that can be rectified by said Clorox Wipes, and a really filthy one, which she will REFUSE to use by loudly saying: “Mommy, I don’t want to pee there! Dirty toilet!”. Not that I would let her use it, anyway.
  4. She’s just as paranoid as I am of ‘accidents’ and will want to go to the bathroom frequently – like every few minutes – especially when we’re out.
  5. Most of the time, her paranoia strikes during meals, and it doesn’t matter that she just went 2 minutes before we entered a restaurant. She will want to go either, a) as soon as we are seated, or b) as soon as the food is served.
  6. She considers farting as ‘bathroom business’, but only when we’re out.
  7. Kids have no qualms about announcing to the world what they did in there.
  8. Kids have no qualms about announcing to the world what you are doing in there.
  9. It doesn’t matter that the movie has reached its climax, when she says she’s gotta go, she’s gotta go.
  10. Letting her watch Jurassic Park probably wasn’t a good idea, because now, she asks me every time if a dinosaur will come to the bathroom while she’s peeing.

P.S. – Also, while searching for images to add to this post, I learned that there are way too many parents posting and sharing photos of their kids on the potty on the interwebs!

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Priceless Little Gems – Sophie-isms 2

I am loving being able to communicate with Sophie more and more these days. It is just amazing to watch and see how her mind works when she formulates answers to questions, or tries to her hand at storytelling, or imitating her Sunday School teachers as she tries to ‘teach’ her Angry Bird stuffed toys.

Some of them are downright funny, while others tug at the heartstrings:

Scenario #1:
Sophie (with a pleading expression on her face): Mommy, don’t work. I want to play with you.
Me: Aww, but I have to work. I’ll try to finish early.
Sophie: (sighs) Okay, but call me when you’re done, okay?

Scenario #2:
When Sophie asked if she could watch the ‘stand-up elephants’ sing, it took us a while to realize this was what she was referring to:

Scenario #3:
One time we were at a doughnut shop, and I was buying while Robert and Sophie reserved seats for us. From across the room I hear her yell, “Mommy, I want to pee!”. After I paid for our purchase, I take her to the bathroom where she poops. Soon after I let her out of the bathroom she proudly and loudly announces to her Dad (and the other people in the vicinity), “Daddy, I didn’t pee! I pooped!”

Scenario #4:
While praying for me as I was sick with the flu last month: “God, thank you for… God!”. Later that day, as they were riding in the car on the way to church, she reminded everyone to “pray for Mommy, okay?”

Scenario #5:
Recently, I was blown away when Sophie started voluntarily (and out of the blue) saying things like, “I love you, Mommy!” or “Mommy, I want to hug you!” or “I want to sit on your lap, Mommy!”.

Scenario #6:
Me: How did you do in Sunday School yesterday, Sophie? Did you behave?
Sophie: Yeah! But the little boy, he’s makulit (according to Google Translate this is ‘importunate’ in English, haha!). He doesn’t listen to teacher.
Me: Oh, why is that? What did he do?
Sophie: He wants to come to me and look at my face!

Lastly, here is an audio clip we took of her demanding that we stop laughing, after she whined her way through her nighttime prayers:

October is Sophie’s birth-month, and I am definitely looking forward to having more humorous, and of course, meaningful conversations with my daughter as she grows up. How about you? How have you been enjoying talking to your kids lately? What have they said that cracked you up/touched you the most?

Nanny Trauma: The Day the Nanny Hit Our Daughter

I used to tell anyone and everyone who would listen that we probably had the best nanny in the world. She wasn’t perfect – she had her flaws, of course – but she was someone that I got along with fairly well, basically since she was as OC as I was when it came to cleanliness, and I could see Sophie took well to her from the start, too. She had been with us since November of 2010, and there were very few times when we had issues with her. Issues that ran from minor to inconsequential. If you asked me a week ago how much I trusted her with my daughter, I would have said 100%.

That is, until Friday morning. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed she was capable of doing what she did then.

As is our usual custom, I take a break for a few minutes from work in the morning to give Sophie her vitamins and watch her while the nanny prepared the stuff for her bath time. That morning was no different – when my husband came in to our room to tell me Sophie was done with breakfast, I took a few more seconds to read a work-related email that just came in before finally rising from my chair. Our room is in direct view of the living room where my daughter sat with her nanny each morning to eat her cereals while watching her cartoons. I opened the door to our room, stepped out and was just going to call the nanny’s attention to bring Sophie into the dining room so I could give her her vitamins when I was stopped short by what I saw. And I felt as though all the blood had been drained from my body.

With her balled up fist, the nanny hit our daughter on the thigh. Really hard. There was a vicious look on her face as she did so – I will never forget it – then she looked up and was startled to see me. A thousand thoughts ran through my mind at the sight of that and it was all I could do to control myself, but it was still at a slightly raised tone that I demanded to know what she was doing and why she was hitting my kid. She said it was because Sophie kicked her slippers off and let them fall to the floor.

Months ago, when Sophie started showing signs of testing her boundaries, I told the nanny that I had no problem with her chastising my girl, and if she was really getting out of hand, to give Sophie a timeout. But I explicitly told her then never to raise her hand to my daughter. I reminded her of that conversation, and, really?! She hit my kid for letting her slippers fall to the floor?! Maybe if she’d used her palm to lightly spank Sophie, I’d have been willing to let it pass. MAYBE. I was furious but still managed to maintain a diplomatic tone when I asked her how in the world I will be able to trust her with my daughter again if she hit her for such a small offense.

What surprised me and angered me even more was instead of asking for forgiveness for what she did and promising me it was the first time it happened or that it won’t happen again, you know, like any normal person would do, she had the nerve to tell me in a haughty tone, “Well, in that case, if you can’t trust me anymore, I might as well just leave!”, as if she was the injured party in the scenario.

My husband, alarmed at the sound of raised voices, came out of the room and I quickly relayed what happened. He took Sophie into our room and I followed the nanny to hers where I found her packing up her stuff. I attempted to talk to her again to get her to understand why I was so infuriated over what she did, and also to try to understand why she did it. She was a mom herself, and I asked her “Would you like it if you found out someone hit your child, too?” – to which she replied that no, she wouldn’t like it either. But instead of making an effort to appease me, she showed absolutely no remorse, and when I brought this to her attention and asked what kind of person would act this way she sarcastically spat out, “An abnormal one!” and talked to me as if I was the one at fault. She repeated her stance that since I said I can’t trust her with Sophie anymore then she should just leave.

By then, my mind was made up anyway. There was no way, NO WAY I was going to let his woman near my daughter ever again after what I had just witnessed and I told her this in no uncertain terms. Determined to have the last word, she said “Fine!” (“Talaga!”), as if it would be her pleasure to up and leave.

The image has been replaying in my mind over and over again and my blood still runs cold every time, my whole body still shakes as I type this. I am beating myself up – I trusted this woman very much with my daughter, feeling that nothing like this could ever happen. After all, both my husband and I work from home. Something like this can’t possibly happen right under our noses, right? It can’t possibly happen while we were at home, when we were just in the other room, right?

I can’t help but think: Is this the first time that she hit my daughter? When this happened, Sophie didn’t even let out a whimper or a cry, even though it was obvious she was hurt as she touched the spot where she was hit. She only looked at the nanny with a pitiful expression on her face. This reaction from a kid who would loudly complain and let it be known to all that she was unhappy being put on timeout. Looking back on it now, was that an indication that she was used to this treatment from her nanny when no one was looking? There were certainly many times in the past that we left Sophie alone with her, trusting that she will provide the best care for her. I can’t bear the thought that Sophie was subjected to more than just this one time. Were there signs that I failed to see that pointed to the possibility of this happening? I remember now that a few months ago I started seeing scratch marks on Sophie’s torso and when I asked her nanny about it, she just waved it off by saying that Sophie was just very active and probably got it while playing. I remember there were days that Sophie told me how her nanny was “mad at her” and when I probed about it, she would say it was because she was naughty. I wish now I’d probed deeper to find out what made her say that. I’m probably being paranoid, but if I hadn’t caught her today, would the hitting have worsened?

And that is why I thank God that He let me see this happen that day. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I believe that God allowed me to see it with my own eyes to prevent any worse incidents from taking place. I know that I’d been handed a gift, a blessing in disguise – not all parents who have suffered through the same experience find out until the hitting has reached aggravated proportions and their child has suffered worse horrors. While there are those who may think that we overreacted or decided too rashly to let our nanny go, I know in my heart we did the right thing for my daughter. I do believe in giving people a second chance, but our daughter’s safety and health are things that I would never willingly and knowingly risk.

I am writing about this to serve as a warning to other parents – Moms and Dads who, like us, entrust their children’s wellbeing to others – to keep a closer eye on your kids’ caregivers. I know that these days, there really is no other choice for many of us since we have to work to provide for our families. Time and time again, we hear of nannies caught on camera hurting the children they are supposed to be taking care of and keeping safe. I also know that not all nannies are the same. Like I said in the beginning of this post, I used to believe that our nanny was the best there is, and I never imagined she could hurt our little girl. But I learned another lesson the hard way that day, and worse, Sophie had to suffer through it. We really can never be too sure, can we?

The woman we hired to care for our daughter was not someone that we considered lightly for the job. We knew her sister for a long time – she worked for my mom’s neighbor for nearly 14 years and only quit when she needed to have an operation done for a myoma. When she had fully recovered, she applied as a helper for my mom, and since we knew her to be a great person who did well at her previous job, my mom took her on. When this person found out a few months later that I needed someone to take care of my daughter so I could go back to work, she referred her sister to me, and that is how I came by our nanny.

She came, and we completely welcomed her into our family, never making her feel like she was just hired help. We wanted to make sure she cared for Sophie really well, so we treated her graciously and did everything we knew to make her feel valuable – giving her a decent salary and bonuses, allowing her to take vacations when she needed to, giving her half of Saturday and all of Sunday off so she could have time to herself, she ate many times a day as she wanted to, and even benefitted from clothes, not only from me, but from other relatives as well. Most importantly, we gave her our complete trust and always showed our appreciation for everything that she does for us. This is not someone who had any cause to want to hurt our daughter to get back at us. Like I stated above, I had a lengthy conversation with her regarding disciplining Sophie, and she assured me then that she never liked to spank even her own kids. This was what lulled me into a false sense of security.

There is nothing more scarring than a betrayal of trust. I have been betrayed many times in my life before, and I’ve learned to forgive past hurts and move on. But never have I felt more vulnerable, more deeply hurt than I am because of what the woman we trusted to care for our daughter did. I’m honestly having a hard time getting over this and I know it’s going to be a long time before I can ever trust another person to care for Sophie.

That night I lay in bed so very exhausted, emotionally, physically. When the lights were turned off and as I listened to Sophie and Robert snoring softly beside me, I was hit by a tide of raw emotions that I held in check the whole day that I was afraid to let Sophie see. It felt like a dam had burst inside me and I gently hugged my daughter, afraid to wake her up but also needing to feel her safe in my arms. I felt as if I failed her and I was, and am, so, so sorry.

I know we’re called to forgive but I’m only human and I am finding it really hard to do this. For now, I can only pray that God will give me the strength I need to forgive and let go so that healing can begin.

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Wordless Wednesday #4 – Brand Spanking New Web Design

So, my incredibly talented and, might I add, very patient husband has gone and outdone himself with this pretty new design for my blog. I just have to take another moment to ogle:

One thing’s for sure, it’s certainly awesome to have a web designer for a husband! While I’m not exactly what you could describe as a client from ‘H-E double hockey sticks’, it took me a while to make up my mind about what the general feel of the website should be. But once that was settled, Robert set out to making my dream come true. Well, I am one completely satisfied non-paying customer! ;)

This Hat I Wear

I have had to wear lots of different hats in my life – the daughter hat, the sister hat, the friend hat, the single, unattached hat, the worker hat, the carefree hat, the wife hat… you get the picture. I’ve worn innumerable hats for a long time; some are occasionally easier to wear than others, while there are some, I would say, that gave me the best of times and the worst of times all at once.

On February 6, 2009, when I found out I was pregnant with Sophia, I was handed a new hat to wear. A special hat. The scary, yet very wonderful Mommy hat. While I was not unprepared for it, I was blown away when I finally did get my Mommy hat on that day when I found out we had a baby on the way.

Since then, I’ve learned many things, such as once you put on the Mommy hat, there’s no taking it off. Not even when you’re at work and rushing to meet deadlines, not even when a day’s work plus household chores leave you exhausted, not even when you want to take 15 minutes to bathe, not when you and your husband take off for a date night, or when you’re sitting in traffic and the wee one has to go. And certainly not when the baby is feverish and it’s 3AM and you don’t know what else to do to get the fever down. No. You wear it on top of the other hats that you need to wear, no matter how unfashionable or uncool or tired or boring or anxious it will make you feel and look.

I’ve learned that wearing the Mommy hat can sometimes mean having to say ‘no’ to things that you want to say ‘yes’ to, like shopping trips (because you need the money for the baby’s shots), or spur-of-the-moment night outs with the girls (because let’s face it, secretly you’d rather stay in with the baby, whom you’ve missed so much during the day, even when someone can take care of her for you). Wearing the Mommy hat also means you can’t make it anywhere ‘in 10 minutes’ like you used to. There’s just the matter of packing her entire closet before you can take off, not to mention the fact that you need to get out of your pajamas, which takes a really long time these days!

But the most important thing I’ve learned from wearing the Mommy hat is that no matter how difficult and how challenging it can be to wear it, it is also one of the most rewarding of hats that I’ve ever worn. Yes, its weight can give such a strain – and it shouldn’t be a surprise, having to be responsible for the well-being and growth of your own child is no small matter – it is a weight that I will never trade for anything ever. The beautiful moments afforded by the Mommy hat take my breath away and give my life so much more meaning and fullness.

I know this hat I wear will have to go through many other ups and downs with me – I’ve only had it for 3 years, after all. But knowing that I am surrounded by other Moms, who together with their Mommy hats, have weathered storms, fought uphill battles and come out triumphant each time, bring comfort and encouragement to me.

So to all the Mothers in my life, I tip my hat to you. But only because I can’t take it off.

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Shape Up Slowly After Baby Comes (Guest Post)

A new baby is wonderful and all-encompassing experience for a woman. It’s natural to feel more than a little overwhelmed. Getting up for midnight feedings, breast-feeding, keeping up with all the laundry and other chores can leave a new mother very little time for anything else. Getting back in shape sounds great, but it’s hard to find the time.

Before attempting to get back into shape, a mother should consult with her doctor about her plans to be sure that her body is prepared for all the changes she wants to make. Just as her doctor provided information about post-delivery plans concerning the baby on subjects like immunization and umbilical cord blood banking, a doctor can continue to provide the same informative benefits for a mother concerning her body post-delivery.

No matter how great a mother feels after delivery, it is encouraged that new mothers take time to adjust to the new routine, rest and bond with their infants instead of rushing to get back in shape. For the first couple days, post delivery, kegel exercises and pelvic tilts are recommended, along with abdominal breathing and ankle circles. These very gentle exercises help to strengthen the abdominal floor and improve circulation.

When mom is ready to start exercising her entire body, beginning with low-impact workouts like yoga can be beneficial. There are even mother and baby yoga classes offered; the gentle exercises done with the infant in tow help to strengthen and stretch core muscles and improve balance, posture and an over-all sense of well-being. Most programs recommend waiting four to six weeks to let the body regain equilibrium first. Women who have had a cesarean section or complications should talk with their doctors first. Benefits of mother-baby yoga include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Strengthening of body’s core
  • Stretching to loosen muscles
  • Relaxation
  • Support from other group members
  • Social contact for infants
  • Bonding between mother and child

Once a mother’s body has made a full recovery, she can begin to increase intensity and build more muscle. Starting intense regimens too soon can damage unhealed abdominal muscles and cause more injury to a mother, prolonging her recovery. The keys to getting back in shape are patience and persistence.

For breastfeeding mothers, vigorous exercise may cause an accumulation of lactic acid that will produce a sour taste in the milk. Although this is not harmful, the infant may not like it. If a woman wishes to engage in very vigorous exercise during the breast-feeding period, it may be good to express milk prior to the session and to discard any milk produced within thirty minutes afterward. Breastfeeding is said to aid in weight loss as well since it burns extra calories.

Women who engaged in regular exercise during pregnancy and had an uneventful vaginal birth may be ready to begin some low impact exercising a few days after the baby comes. Those who experienced complications or needed a caesarian section should consult their physicians first. The most important thing for a mother to remember about getting back in shape after pregnancy is to be kind to herself. Taking the time to enjoy baby and to rest is just as important to a mother’s post-pregnancy care as exercise.

 

“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”

Priceless Little Gems – Sophie-isms

Those who know me well are probably tired of hearing me say how amazed I am at how quickly the time has seemed to go by. It still feels like I just gave birth to Sophie yesterday – and now I can’t believe she’s approaching 2 years and 7 months. Yeesh.

No matter how much I miss those days when she was little (and light) enough that I could carry her with one arm, I have to say I am enjoying these days just as much – if not more. We’ve actually successfully potty trained her already (and I’m not vainglorious enough to not give a lot of credit to her nanny for that since she spends more time with Sophie during the day than I do)! She’s also done her first stint as a flower girl at my dear sister J’s wedding a month ago – and what an adorable, well-behaved, appropriately-paced flower girl she made, if I may say so myself! It was a good thing that, as a wedding-singer Mom, I didn’t have any lines to sing at the same time she performed her aisle duty because I totally got wrapped up in her moment in the spotlight that any line I had to sing would’ve flown right out the window.

More than those precious milestones, however, the one thing I truly LOVE about my toddler is the fact that she can actually converse with us now – and not in gibberish! Already she’s showing signs of wit as can be evidenced by the following gems, or Sophie-isms as I like to call it, that she’s sprung at us thus far:

Me: “Can I try playing Temple Run?”
Sophia: “Ok. Be careful, Mommy, ok?”
I play Temple Run and die at the 5k mark, and each time she reminds me to be careful. After the 5th time, she grabs the phone from me and says in a huff, “My turn na nga!”

And her impatience is not unfounded, given that she scores better than her Mom:

One time, I greeted Sophie a good morning when I was trying to wake her up. She, not being a morning person, replied with: “No good morning, Mommy. I’m sleepy.” After a heartbeat she goes, “I want cellphone, please?” Probably to practice Temple Run more so she can keep beating me!

Whenever I catch her doing something she’s not supposed to be doing (digging around in my purse, making a mess with her toys or tearing pieces of paper, for example), and I ask her what she’s doing, she goes “I’m just cleaning, Mommy!” Where she got the idea that telling me she’s just cleaning will get her off the hook, I have no clue! Maybe she just knows I love to clean? o_0

As she checked herself out in the mirror, Sophie blurts out, “Mommy, ganda ko!” (“Mommy, I’m pretty!”).

Sophie and I were reviewing her letters. I held up her flashcard with a question mark pictured and said, “Q is for…?”,and she promptly replied “Qute!”. :P

Sophia: “Here, Daddy, I’ll put blanket on your head like veil. Like Ninang J’s wedding.”
Robert: “Uhm, no, Sophie. Boy’s don’t wear veils at weddings.”
Sophia. “Oh! Are you a boy?”

And then there’s this:

A few of weeks ago, she kept repeating the phrase, “Mommy, I’m a big girl!”. So, one time I asked her, “Are you still a baby or a big girl?”
Sophia: “I’m a big girl”, then continues with, “I want another one! I want another one! I want another one!”. I had no clue what she was talking about and she became increasingly agitated each time she repeated that. THEN she drops this bomb: “I want other baby! I want baby!”

Biggest gem of all and one we cannot afford just yet. LOL.

Two Great Lessons Re-learned

I just learned two great lessons again:

1) Things rarely go the way you plan or hope they would go. While I was looking forward to taking on my full-time mom role for the next two weeks, I hadn’t imagined that I’d be up all night nursing my feverish princess. But there I was, and I’m ever so grateful to God for His healing grace for my Little Miss and for His comforting hand upon me as I watched over her.

2) God is in control and there’s no need to worry. I was praying and pleading to God for healing and He spoke to me telling me not to be upset and fearful – by showing me this photograph when I looked over at my husband’s computer which was open to his Facebook account:

How very apt indeed:

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (The Message)

4th

There are many moments in my life that has perfectly etched themselves into memory whether I made a conscious effort to do so or not. Quite a few of them, I could do without – from the hurtful to the regrettable to the downright embarrassing.

But there are also those beautiful events that have brought me to the here & now…

Like the summer of ‘95 when I met the, in my opinion then, most obnoxious guy ever… and a month later when we went from grudging respect to actual friendship.

Like the summer of ‘01 when we went from being just best friends to being a couple.

Like June of ‘06 when he asked me to marry him… and I said yes.

And like that windy afternoon, 4 years ago today when we said our “I do’s”.

God, in His infinite wisdom (and great sense of humor), has brought us through our ups and downs, apart and together, in order to write our love story so perfectly. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love you, Hun. Happy anniversary.

Our Dearest Little Miss

Wow. You’re 2 years old today. I still cannot wrap my head and heart around it – it seems like it was just yesterday when your arrival made us a family of three… but here it is.

I’m pretty sure you have no idea what this day means to the people around you and you undoubtedly have no clue what birthdays mean just yet… but here it is. Today, we’re saying hello to a brand new chapter in our lives.

But before we do, I want to think back on all our experiences for this past year – and oh, what a year it has been!

Like any normal family, we had our ups and downs but thankfully, the good far outweighed the bad. Two bouts of tonsillitis and one of roseola infantum had me and your Daddy scared witless, but grateful still that all our needs were provided for and healing came swiftly for you during those times. God has been SO GOOD.

Mommy and Daddy are so proud of you, sweetling! You’ve come out of your shell and have begun to show us your personality a little bit at a time. Like a sponge, you soak everything up and then test out your newfound knowledge eagerly the first chance that you get. Counting from one to ten, or singing along to the alphabet song (yes, you still skip some letters but you get the idea!) and drawing balloons have become your favorite things to do. Even playing games on Mommy’s cellphone comes naturally to you – although you do sneak a couple of calls to your aunts, uncles and Grandma and manage to remove my favorite widgets once in a while, it amazes me to no end how skilled you are at using it. I would gladly sometimes have no choice but to let you play with it if only to give me time to catch my breath and pick up after the mess that you’ve made let you play with it if only to see you let fly those angry birds to obliterate the green pigs, feed Om Nom, or hold it up to take pictures, encouraging me or your dad to ‘mile!’ for the camera.

You have become such a chatterbox, and a bilingual one at that, although most of the time we’re still left scratching our heads wondering what in the world you just said and what was so funny about it. I find it hilarious whenever I hear you quizzing yourself on animal noises (“What sound dog?”, “How ‘bout cat?”) and imitating the sound of running hooves instead of neighs when you ask yourself “How ‘bout horse?”.

You are so brave and ever the curious one, going so far as to play with and touch the dragonflies that Grandma caught from her garden, squealing in your delight of them. You are also quite the entertainer, holding up your ‘microphone’, yelling at the top of your lungs singing and dancing around in your PJs, sometimes successfully convincing even your Momsie to do the same.

Your Daddy makes fun of the fact that my Mrs. Cleanness is rubbing off on you when you pick stuff up off the floor/bed/chair that are not supposed to be there (such as small pieces of paper, fiber or lint) saying ‘doh-tee’ and hate having crumbs on your fingers when you’re eating and demand that they be wiped at once. And like your Dad, you’ve discovered that you like beating the drums better than pounding the piano keys. Now I know which instrument NOT to buy you or your dad! ;)

Although it has happened quite so suddenly, you have finally outgrown your aversion to grass and no longer feel grossed out by it. However, it remains to be seen whether the same can be said of your fear of the ocean or swimming pools. Or baths in general.

You go from 0 to 60 in no time and can find joy in the smallest and simplest things, such as a hair brush, a piece of string, ribbons and books. You love your dearest cousin S to pieces and have a special bond with her that is wonderful to behold.

Your smile can light up a room and never fails to brighten up my day no matter how tired or stressed out I am. You have learned about compassion and your kisses, hugs accompanied by pats on the back, “It’s okay, Mommy’s” and “Don’t cry, Mommy’s” have comforted me through three deaths in the family.

Lest people read this and think “Great, she’s got the most perfect kid on the planet”, let me say this: your bark is definitely not worse than your bite, you bawl when it comes time for Mommy and Daddy to leave you with your Sunday school class where you eat more than your fair share of cookies, pitch a fit when you don’t get what you want at times, may or may have not picked your nose in public, held your ‘prize’ out for all to see and yelled “Mommy, look! Booger! Yuck!”, and have been subjected to timeouts for various mischief. You may not be perfect, but you are absolutely, hands down, the best kid I and your Daddy could have ever asked for.

You are gaining your independence, too, and want to do more stuff on your own. You insist on brushing your own teeth, putting on your PJs, combing your hair, feeding, and yes, even reading your books yourself. Slowly but surely, you want me to do things for you less and less. For the time being though, you thankfully still let me hold you for a few minutes before you get bored and start squirming in my arms, itching to rush off to find your adventures.

I could be sad about this – and in a little way, I suppose I am. But more than anything, I am very grateful for all that you’ve become this past year. How could I be sad knowing that you are growing up healthy, surrounded by so much love? I am looking forward to what this brand new year has in store for us. I have to admit though, the thought of potty training you? It’s giving me the heebie jeebies.

Year 2 is promising to be as fun, exciting, lovely and sometimes trying as year 1 was. I say bring it on.

Even potty training.

All because my heart is bursting at the seams with love for you.

Mommy

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