Monthly Archives: October 2011

My Sweet ZoeBear

Zoe,

Did you know that while you were still in my tummy your Daddy nicknamed you Zozo and I started tearing up. You were going to be his Zozo…and I determined that I wouldn’t ever call you that, so that it could be something just between you and him. When you were born your Papaw saw you and said, “Well, hey there Bugaroo” and that’s what you’ve been to him since that day. His little Bugaroo. But to me? You’ve always been my ZoeBear. I have no explanation for it. I don’t even know where or when it started. I can’t remember if you were still in my tummy when I called you that for the first time, or if I’d been holding you in my arms for weeks. But, for as long as I can remember you’ve been my ZoeBear. You’re 15 months old today, sweetheart. That’s a little over a year, still far away from being 2, and right smack dab in the middle of learning how to be a toddler.

This month has brought as many changes as it has days. You are becoming more independent every single day. For the most part, you can entertain yourself for a long time. Lately you’ve been trying to climb into your carseat all by yourself {you’ve even succeeded a time or two}, and your highchair too, for that matter {you have yet to succeed at that}. You now request to walk by yourself in public instead of hold my hand, and after you do that for a little while you come toddling back to me with your arm outstretched. There’s a 50/50 chance that at meal time you won’t eat something if I’m feeding it to you, but you’ll scarf it down if you’re feeding yourself. Actually, let me restate that. You’ll flat out deny the food, turning around in your highchair and pressing your face into the back of it in order to not eat the food that I’m trying to feed you. Those moments are countered by an increasing clingy-ness to me. Numerous times a day I try to put you on the floor, and you cling to my shoulders and pull your feet up like a monkey, absolutely refusing to be put on the ground. You associate your Papaw with me leaving, so even though he’s your favorite, it takes you a while to go to him. You like your independence, you just like it in doses.

I think one of the easiest ways to describe this month is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For instance, this month we’ve seen a tremendous slowing down of our lives. Our schedule isn’t any lighter…just our pace. Because you want to do things on your own, and we allow that, it takes 5-10 minutes {instead of 1} to walk from the car into the store. We have to get to the gym 15-20 minutes early so that you can walk yourself in, and hand the cards to the front desk people {who adore you} and then walk down the hall to the daycare. If I’m doing BodyPump, we have to get there 30 minutes early. You feed yourself everything, meal times can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Most are right around 45 minutes. Then there’s the clean up. But the opposite reaction? Is that you’re more active then ever, and getting more active every day. Which means that we’re up and down, up and down, up and down all day long. I’m learning that anything I want/need to get done has to happen at naptime…which coincidentally, has also gotten shorter.

At 15 months, you are still the sweetest kid I’ve ever met, but you’re adding more into the mix. You’re testing your limits every single day. That’s good. It means your brain is working. But, it also means that Mommy and Daddy have to be on their game. We’re trying to be as consistent as possible with boundaries and their consequences. The fun part? You’re a GENIUS. You’re now learning that if you want something, like…say, to get down and walk around when we’re at the mall, and I’m holding you in my arms because I’m tired of chasing you here there and everywhere, I’ll see your thinking face appear, and then you’ll hit me. Full on. In the face, on the chest, on my head. Wherever you can reach. Why? Because the consequence for hitting is that we put you down on the ground. You’re smart. I’m smarter. We won’t even talk about the tantrum you threw in the middle of the mall when instead of putting you on the ground, I just held your hand so you couldn’t hit me again. Aside from testing limits, you’re also mastering how to work a room. I love that I know you like no one else does. I love that I can see you thinking. I love that you walk into a room, take a glance at your audience, and then figure out which one is the easiest to get your desired outcome from. It didn’t take you long to figure out that grandma’s and grandpa’s are for giving you things that your mommy won’t let you have. That, by the way, started months ago…you’re just perfecting it now. You also test people’s reactions to things. Like, if I laugh…will they? How many times can I laugh and they laugh after me? That kind of stuff.

Your vocabulary is growing every day, although I would say that you’re probably just at average with your words. You say: Mama, Dada, Papa, Gaga, Yess {aunt Jess}, Yeah!, dog, cat, this, that, baby, and ice. You still have your same signs: more, all done, yes, no, goodbye, blow kisses, please, and eat. We added “drink” this month, and if we ever make it to the library so that I can check out a sign language book…we’ll learn more. Oh, and Daddy’s trying to teach you “thank you”. More than anything else, I’m amazed at your cognitive skills. I can ask you just about any question, and for months now you’ve been answering “yes” or “no” correctly. It makes life so much easier. It makes meal time a whole lot more stressful…

Speaking of mealtime…that has climbed to the top of the list of stresses in our life. You’ve turned into a moderately picky eater, which I hear, is common in toddlers. It’s not that you will or won’t eat a particular food group…at times you eat them all…it’s just a matter of determining “which” time the particular meal in question is. Snacks give me gray hairs. You don’t like the same thing all the time. You like variety. Awesome. Do you know how much variety costs? Sometimes I just want to beg you to eat Goldfish like every other kid on the block. It would make my life much simpler. And this is random, but the other day you were chowing down on fried okra and turnip greens with your Grandmommy….do you know how disgusting that stuff is? You won’t eat Goldfish, but you’ll throw okra back like there’s no tomorrow. You’re weird kid.

As far as milestones go? I don’t know if you’ve had any this month. Your molars came in, does that count? I know that I woke up one day and your face had changed again, you were older…there was no “baby” left in your face. I have a love/hate relationship with those moments.

Your Specifics:

Weight – Right at 23lbs…good job kiddo!
Height – You can see {and reach} over the kitchen table if you stand on your toes {which means our stuff isn’t safe anymore}
Size – Steadily growing out of 12mths and into 18mth clothes
Shoes – 4…favorite? Your boots.
Favorite things: pulling off your socks right after I put them on, picking your shoes for the day, your rocking chair, Hemmingway, pulling your toys out of your box one by one, pulling DVD’s off the shelf and throwing them behind you, laughing, flying, pony rides on our backs, pony rides on Hemmingway, being outside, riding your race car, bouncing on your rocking horse, climbing anywhere.anything.and everywhere, petting the cat {when she lets you}, going to the daycare at the gym, reading {all day, every day}, Baby Einstein’s World Music, DANCING!
Least Favorite things: being told “no”, eating anything that doesn’t appeal to your taste buds at that moment, being told “no”, when I am otherwise occupied and can’t pay attention to you, being told “no, getting strapped into the carseat, and…being told “no”.

Parenting is all about catching up

I’ve heard that the toddler stage is no joke. I stored it somewhere in the back of my mind when other mom’s told me that toddlers are all “go” until they crash. I laughed. I thought, “I’m sure it’s not all that bad”. I thought it would be fun. I was right about the fun, I was dead wrong about the difficulty. Lord.have.mercy. We’ve turned another corner. This one is throwing us for a loop like crazy, which is fine, because in the past year we’ve been thrown through 1,352,983 loops, so…we’re getting kinda used to it. Mostly. Let’s just say that my dad watches Zoe on Tuesdays while I go to work, and when Brad got home he asked him if I had given Zoe any sugar because she was going a mile a minute. Brad laughed. I did too when he told me about it.

No, that’s not sugar Daddy, that’s just my kid.

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My kid doesn’t stop these days. She goes from one thing to the next leaving a path of destruction in her wake. I’m not kidding you, by 8am every.single.cotton.pickin’. morning. my bathroom looks like a mine field. She gets her bucket of toys, takes them out one by one and chucks them around the room, then she collect them and dumps them in the tub, the toys are followed by the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, then she nose dives over the side of the tub to collect her belongings and scatter them around the floor again. When she moves on from the tub she finds the toilet, where she flushes it 5 times in a row {we’re working on only doing it once}, then she finds my night-stand. I’ve learned to only have like 3 or 4 things on it as opposed to the dumping ground that it was before. Other than my lamp, that all finds its way to the floor too, occasionally she mixes it up and throws it on the bed. We go downstairs when I can’t handle it anymore, and as I leave the room I make a mental note to clean it up before Brad gets home.

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This morning she was rearranging my picture frames. The translation? She was carrying them around with her and I’ll have to find them later. That’s what I do all day long. I find things. I find my wallet in her toy box, I find Hemmingway’s kong at the bottom of her toy box, I find picture frames on the table, I find candles behind the door, I find Zoe standing on the ottoman, I find the dog dish by the front door, I find the diaper that I just put on her in the hallway and my naked girl arranging her magnets on the fridge, I find her diaper bag pulled off the table and the contents strewn about the hallway. You’d think I don’t pay attention to her…you’re wrong. I watch her like a hawk making sure she’s safe, which bring me to my next point, safety.

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I haven’t figured out exactly how much I want to be up and down with this new explorer side of Zoe. For example, one of her favorite things to do is to climb the stairs. I trust her on the stairs. She’s been climbing up and down those stairs on her own for 6 months now without ever having an accident. But it only takes one time. Am I willing to risk it? I don’t know. I know that I frequently ask myself “Will this cause harm to life or limb?” and “Could we end up in the ER if I allow this to happen?”….those are really my only two reasons that I stop something from happening. A fall down the stairs? Yes. A fall off the couch? No. Which is why I let her climb up and down the couch to her hearts content, but supervise every climb up the stairs. You get my point? The simple truth is, Zoe is a climber, and other than quench how she was designed and all the personality traits that go with it, we just have to go with the flow. It’s hard. My heart skips a beat when I see her use the chest beside the couch to climb up over the arm rest and fall onto the couch, or worse, just stand on it and dance. I’m not a fan of it when she flings her little body over the back of her rocking chair, or worse, stands on it and surfs. I was shocked when she asked to climb to the top of the ladder Brad was working on the other day…but, really? What is there to do? Other than try and make it as safe as possible as she does it 145,382 times a day. Not the ladder specifically, just climbing in general.

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And then, if all of that wasn’t enough, Brad and I have been introduced to the toddler tantrum, and oh.my.word does my girl put on a good show. I have to applaud her enthusiasm for the tantrum, even if my nerves are rubbed raw by 5pm every day. Where she used to accept a negative response to a request, she now squinches up her little eyebrows, purses her lips to see if that works first, and if it doesn’t? She pulls out the big guns…full blown screaming tantrum. It could really be over anything, there’s no middle ground, we go from peaceful to crazy in .008 seconds, and we do this cycle over, and over, and over, and over, and over all.freaking.day.long. There’s times when it’s so ridiculous that it’s cute, and there’s times when it annoys every part of my being. Tantrums can be better or worse depending on the day, and some days {I swear} Zoe gets out of bed with the desire to push every single one of my buttons. It’s awesome.

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But, there’s an up side to all of this. I’ve never seen this girl cuter in her entire life. Part of being a toddler is this incredible sweetness that is just unexplainable. It’s what helps us maintain sanity. When Zoe climbs up on the couch and sits right up by my side just to hang out with me, my heart melts. And when she gets a book and brings it over to me, I sit on the couch, and she crawls up into my lap with her hands on my arms as I read…there’s nothing like it in the world. Her shriek of delight when we play airplane up and down the hall, or when I scoop her up off the floor and throw her high in the sky…it’s like morphine for my raw nerves. How she sits down with her toys and takes them out one by one, inspects every single one of them, lines them up and then puts them back into their box…adorable. When it’s 5 and she hears a car pull into the driveway and the dogs barking and she looks at me and says, “Da-da?” and I answer yes…the squeal of delight and the hyper screaming, followed by uncontrollable laughter when her Da-da walks into the room…wipes away the exhaustion. Her little face scrunched up as she inspects something new, or her eyebrows raised and her neck stretched out as she peers over the edge of something she can’t quite reach…you just want to capture all of it on camera so that you can remember it forever.

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So, we’ve turned yet another corner in development, Brad and I are scrambling to catch up and I might be slap wore out by the end of the day, and like all the other seasons I’m confident that this will be both amazing and frustrating. I’m just hoping Brad and I adjust quick…

Happy Thursday Ya’ll!