Three

I have been procrastinating writing this post for a long time in hopes that it would somehow make the month stretch out longer, therefore keeping my two year old a little while longer. But it seems that time has flown by anyway and I now officially have a three year old! Here’s what she’s loving and doing lately…

  • She still loves reading. We go to the library roughly every week/ week-and-a-half and we pick up 6 or more books at a time. Her favorite stories seem to be ones where the characters get a little silly and are shouting something in them (i.e.- Wolfie the Bunny, The Not So Quiet Library, Llama Llama Red Pajama, etc.). She also really enjoys stories that have really beautiful, fanciful illustrations in them like The Night Gardener, Miss Rumphius, or The Napping House. Her favorite thing to do is read to herself and her stuffed animal friends. Once she has me or my husband read it, she’ll say “I read it! I read it!” And she does! She’ll ‘read’ back everything she can remember including the names of the author and illustrator.

  • She got her first haircut this month! I took her with me to my salon and had my girl trim it for us. She was very curious about what was going on and kept looking around a lot, but other than that she did great. Obviously I kept the hair clippings. That’s just the kind of mama I am!

  • She’s still a water girl. She gets very excited when it rains because she knows that it means puddles. As soon as it stops we’re out the door in our boots to jump and play in all the puddles in front of our house. She also enjoys ‘washing her hands’ in the puddle water and picking out the drowned worms.
  • She is fully potty trained (nights too) and has been since about two and a half. This was something she chose all on her own, if you can believe it. Emile and I were very nervous to start potty training so early, but she had it down in about a week. Then that was that! If I’m telling the truth, I get a little nostalgic when I walk past the diaper section, because it reminds me of just how grown up she’s become.

  • The playground with the ‘bumpy slide’ is where it’s at. She requests to go to this specific playground in the morning when she wakes up, and in the afternoon as well. Every. Single. Day. That’s how much she loves this place.

  • This picture scares me a little because I feel like I can see the person she will grow up to be. Does that ever happen to you? When she was a baby Emile had this picture of her where we put doll glasses on her and I made him take it off his background because she looked too grown up. But I digress. This girl is happiest when she’s outside, which makes both of us equally happy. It is honestly my favorite activity to take her for walks in the woods. She always finds new treasures to take back home, and also attempts to tidy the forest floor by sweeping all the pine needles off the paths.

  • She looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooves music. Loves. Loves. LOVES it. I know that was a lot of “o’s” and love, but you have to understand that’s just how passionate she is about it. She loves to sing. She loves to dance, and she’ll play any instrument that you give her. Just last night Emile and I got to listen to her serenade her puppy to sleep with Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as loud as she could, over, and over again. (Yes I know the above picture is in no way related to a musical activity)

  • She adores her Papa. Her face absolutely lights up whenever she sees him. She hates when he has to start work in the morning and calls for him to come back. Then whenever she hears movement from upstairs in his office she always asks “Is Papa done working??” Whenever he comes downstairs she’ll ask him directly, “Papa are you done working?? Is it the weekend?” He is always coming up with new ideas for games for her, and no one can make her laugh like he can.

For those of you interested, I actually did a little interview with Esmé so you could get her perspective on life at the age of 3:

  1. Who is your favorite person in the whole world? Me
  2. What is your favorite color? Pink and blue
  3. What’s your favorite television show? Little Einsteins
  4. What’s your favorite outfit? Pink
  5. What sport do you like best? Golf
  6. What song do you love? Frosty the Snowman
  7. What’s your favorite cereal? Wheetabix
  8. Who is your best friend? Kenzie and Savanna
  9. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Pirate Ship
  10. What is your favorite book? A Chair For My Mother
  11. What are you really good at? Making food (she really is quite the helper in the kitchen)
  12. Where do you wish you could go on vacation? Cape count (pretty sure she means Cape Town)
  13. What is your best memory? I like yogurt (no idea about this one, sorry)
  14. What would you buy if you had $1000? A skateboard (no clue she even knew what that was)
  15. What vegetable do you hate the most? Salad
  16. If you could have a wish, what would it be? A skateboard (now I’m thinking I got the wrong birthday present)
  17. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Chocolate 
  18. Who is your biggest hero? Kenzie and Savanna and Kristie and Thomas
  19. What do you like to do best with your friends? I like to play with them
  20. What do you hope you’ll get to do before your next birthday? Play

Essie love, you are the brightest sparkle this world has ever seen. You have hair that the cherubs in Michelangelo’s paintings would envy. You run with a bounce and a skip because there is so much joy bubbling inside of you, you often struggle to contain it. You love to laugh. You’re an adventurer. You’re always willing to try new foods, places, or activities (albeit cautiously at first). You know exactly what you want, and you’re not afraid to let everyone else know. You negotiate with frightening skill. You are all the proof I need that magic exists in this world. Happy happy birthday angel baby! I love you so.

Little E Starts Preschool

Esmé has been really pushing boundaries with us lately, and also perfecting her tantrum techniques. Whenever things got overwhelming, and I felt like I wanted to quit being a parent, I would tell myself “She starts school in January. You just have to make it until January.” So really, a big part of me has actually been looking forward to this. For months I have been daydreaming about my twice weekly sessions of blissful solitude.

Guess what? It finally came!

Guess what else?? I totally lost it on her first day, and spent half of my three and a half hours bawling my eyes out.

The morning of her first day started out just fine. We were all excited for her to start school. We set out her clothes the night before. I woke up early to make her a good breakfast. We all got ready and took lots of pictures of Esmé in her outfit with her backpack on. My husband even took time off of work to drive with us and drop her off.

On the way to the school, I started to get this feeling of unease. My chest felt tight, and I felt very jittery and anxious, but I figured that was normal since this was such a big change for us, and that would be the end of it.

We got to the school and my spirits brightened when I saw she had her own hook to hang up her bag with her little name on it. Then we walked her into her classroom and she got a little shy, so she hid behind my legs for a few minutes, and my anxiety went all the way from my stomach up to my collarbone and my throat closed up.

Once Esmé saw the other little kids playing, she ran off to join in.  Meanwhile I stood there trying to talk around this lump in my throat to her teachers and my husband, willing myself not to cry in front of my child.

We said goodbye to her, and she gave us a quick hug before running off to play again. I swallowed, and swallowed, and swallowed and successfully fought off my tears until we were out of her classroom.

My husband ushered me out and I cried the whole way home. I cried at snack time, because she wasn’t there to share it with me. I cried at Target because the preschool director was kind enough to send me a picture of her, holding a classmate’s hand:

So then I missed her all the more.

I finally got it together around 10:30, and managed to keep it together until it was pick up time. The preschool director greeted me at the door and asked how I was doing, so I got a little blubbery again, but just a little. I pulled it together again quickly before I headed to her classroom.

I was so excited to see my little love. I walked down the hall, grabbed her things and peeked in her classroom. There she was playing with play dough. She took one look at me and said “Where’s Papa?” As soon as she heard he wasn’t there, she went back to playing with her play dough. So much for missing me.

Her second day was easier and harder at the same time. She couldn’t wait to get to school, but then when she got there she got really attached to me. She didn’t want me to leave, and after I said “Bye!” she started a very sad little whimpering cry “Mommyyyyy.” My heart just about broke, but I somehow managed not to cry until I got home again, and it was only for a little bit (improvement!). I then spent the whole time wondering if she was ok.

Apparently I am not ready for twice weekly sessions of blissful solitude. I know it will get easier as time goes by, but I just miss my little buddy, and am having a very, very hard time letting go.

Milestones and Memories: Esmé Turns 2

This is a little late in coming, a few weeks actually, but we blinked and somehow we have a two-year-old!

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We threw her a “Little Blue Truck” party because that was her absolute favorite book in the months leading up to her special day, and the difference between this years’ party and last years’ was incredible.

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For starters, last year she had a whole lot less hair, obviously, but she was also cautious about everything. She was hesitant to try the cake, she wasn’t sure how she felt about everyone singing to her, and she wasn’t crazy about having lots of people over to her house. Basically she could have cared less about having a birthday party.

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This year she woke up asking for ‘chock-oh-lot!’ because she had seen the frosting and the cake layers being made the night before, and she wanted to make sure we knew she had not forgotten. In fact, I had little fingers trying to steal my cookie-crumble ‘dirt’ from around the edges of the cake as I was finishing decorating the morning of. As people began to arrive, she was a little shy at first, but warmed up quickly, and was soon herself shrieking with delight and running laps around everyone.

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Perhaps the biggest change of all came when it was time for cake and singing. First she pointed out that we were ‘making fire,’ then when everyone began to sing she got such a huge grin on her face that split wide open into the biggest smile you have ever seen once she realized everyone was singing to her. We took a video, and it absolutely melts my mama heart to watch it every time.

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Basically it ended up being the best day ever for her.

For those of you who couldn’t be here in person to celebrate with us, here’s a little update on what she has been up to lately:

-At her 24 month checkup she measured 80% for height, 55% for weight, and 90% for head circumference.

-She has all 20 teeth now and has been to see a dentist for the first time! I was very nervous to see how this would go as she can be a little reluctant to open her mouth for brushing teeth sometimes, but she did so great. There were no cavities, and she didn’t cry or fuss one bit when the hygienist cleaned or teeth, nor when the dentist was looking at them. SO proud of my brave girl.

-She is fully communicative and speaks in 4-5 word sentences now, so there’s no more special words or phrases for things anymore. It may take her a couple tries to get it, but she copies everything we say now. This is one of the things that blows my mind on a daily basis. She wakes up talking and doesn’t stop until she is asleep. She is starting to say things without needing to be reminded, and she’s thinking ahead as well. I’ve always heard that kids are sponges, but now I totally get why people say it. She literally picks up every small nuance about us!

-She still loves to help out around the house, and is trying to take on a little bit more here and there… she likes to carry her plate/cup/silverware to the table to eat, and she also likes to take it back to the sink to wash it off when she’s done. She still loves to help out with the laundry, but folding is still overrated for her. She understands that when mama is cleaning with the ‘chembubbles’ (chemicals) she can’t help, and has also developed a new love for vacuuming. If I can just get her to take on the dusting and the ironing, I’ll be set.

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-She is absolutely OBSESSED with swimming. I can’t think of any other way to describe it. She talks about it all week long, and then as soon as we leave she starts up again with everything that she wants to do…’Go under water Mama,’ ‘Get rings Mama,’ ‘Climb up ladder Mama,’ ‘Go down slide Mama,’ and on and on. She loves her coach, and she loves all her friends in her class. My husband and I are big water people, so it has been so fun to watch her develop a love for something we both enjoy.

-She also really loves her Kindermusik class. This has been much more of a slow-to-love growth, but still fun to watch her learn and grow. Another exciting thing about this class is that Esmé has gotten really comfortable with her instructor to the point where she’ll let her hold her and do activities with her. It gives me hope that we might be able to leave her with a babysitter some day.

-She still loves her reading, although she is starting to have a preference for books that either rhyme of have some sort of a plot to them. Besides “Little Blue Truck,” a few of our favorites are “Llama Llama Red Pajama,” “The Three Bears,” “The Wonderful Things You Will Be,” “A Potty For Me,” “Goodnight Moon,” and “The Giving Tree,” which she calls the apple book.

-She has decided that she is ready to be potty trained! I say she has decided because I had heard from so many people that it really doesn’t click until they’re about 3, and I am still working through some other parenting books, so I thought I’ll just wait to buy the potty training one until she’s three. Nope. She comes out to me and says ‘Mama, have go potty. Have go pee-pee.’ Well ok then.

I went ahead and bought the book, which I have yet to open, but Esmé is continuing on with her self-taught-potty-going-method. She hasn’t gone poop in the potty yet because she realizes it too late. She’ll look at me and say ‘Poop!’ and then I’ll say ‘You want to go poop on the potty?’ and she says ‘No. Change you,’ which means she needs her diaper changed. But she goes pee before her bathtime, bedtime, and naptime. She’s so excited about going on the potty she even cheers me on… She follows me into the bathroom, watches as I go, then says ‘Yaaaay Mommy!’ while clapping her hands, ‘You pee-pee on potty! I so proud you!’ No joke.

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If you had told me a little over two years ago that this tiny little baby would become a cherubic, strong-willed, tender-hearted, fire-cracker of a soul with curls to rival Shirley Temple, and eyes that match all the colors of the sea I would have laughed until I peed my pants.

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This year I felt the same sense of dread and reluctance to accept the fact that my baby was another year older as last year, all the while feeling intense joy and pride for all my little girl has accomplished this past year. I think I feel this reluctance to let her grow-up because with each year she gains, it’s one year lost for me, and one year closer to when I’ll have to let her go for good.

Don’t get me wrong. I can not wait to see the wonderful things my daughter will do when she grows up, and the wonderful person she will be, but I don’t think I will ever be willing to part with the piece of my heart and soul she has become.

 

*Photo cred. for all Esmé’s 2nd birthday photos and swimming photo: Alma Alvarado

Milestones and Memories: 20 Months

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I always look back at the last Milestones and Memories post to see what I wrote about, not only to remind myself of what I’ve been writing about, but also to see what Esmé was doing several months back. This time I feel like there has been a huge leap in her development, though that could just be due to the fact that it’s nearly 4 months past the last one I wrote. In any case, here is what she’s been up to lately:

-At her 19 month checkup she measured 92% for height, 77% for weight, and 91% for head measurement.

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-She has 18 teeth now!! See this is what I’m talking about with huge leaps. In her last post she only had 13, so she has grown 5 teeth in less than four months. No wonder we had to start putting bibs on her again because she was such a drool monster! She is more than happy to show them to you if you ask her for a smile.

-She isn’t really signing for anything anymore as she can tell us what she wants. The one thing that she still is kind of working on, is ‘Thank you.’ She can’t quite say it, and especially when she is in a hurry to do something she just signs it hastily instead of trying.

-She is talking up a storm. She loves to copy what we’re saying, or words from songs that she recognizes, and she loves copying animal sounds when she hears them. She is stringing together a lot more words like ‘I take,’ ‘Me see,’ ‘Yes please,’ ‘Papa work,’ ‘Mama cook,’ and saying ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ to various objects/people/animals when entering and leaving a room.

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-She is learning to be a good helper with all sorts of things because she loves to copy mama and papa. She puts her dirty clothes in her laundry basket; she puts her dirty diapers in her diaper bin; she pulls out/ puts away her changing mat; she loads laundry (with a little assistance) into the washing machine, helps take it out of the washing machine to put it into the dryer, and then helps take it out of the dryer once it’s done; she can’t really fold anything, but loves to take everything out of the basket for me; she loves to sweep the kitchen for papa; and most of all she LOVES to help me cook/ bake ( she is perusing my Smitten Kitchen recipe book in the photo above).

-She adores her swimming lessons. She likes her music class, and loves the bubbles at the library’s story time, but far and away swimming is her favorite. In fact we can not talk about swimming lessons out loud in front of her or she gets very upset and starts saying ‘Go poo! Go poo!’ which is how she says ‘go to the pool.’ We have to explain that it’s not swimming day, and we have a big cry about it. So we call it ‘SL,’ or spell it out. She hasn’t figured those out yet.

-She is still an avid climber, but has now added running and jumping to her list of favorite things to do. Technically her ‘jump’ is more of a skip/one-footed-hop, but she’s almost got both feet off the ground!

-She still loves her reading, and is starting to have favorite books, which is fun to see. Her favorites currently are (still) her little Highlights magazines, but she loves ‘Goodnight Moon (Nigh Moo),’ and ‘Rainbow Fish (May-mo Pish).’ She loves the part where it rhymes brush, and mush in ‘Goodnight Moon,’ and is fascinated by the pretty scales on the fish in ‘Rainbow Fish.’

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-We took her to see Santa last month and she HATED it! She started crying before I even let go of her. Oddly enough, she now claims ‘Santa fun! Santa funnn!!’ So she likes pictures of him, but is not a fan of him in person.

-She loves to be outside. She loves digging in sand and dirt, she loves kicking a ball, she loves running around with her bucket like it’s a purse, and she loves all the things that she can see outside: birds, planes (a favorite of hers), clouds, sky, trees, leaves, etc.! We have a park that’s near us where they have a train and it has quickly become a favorite place. She’s gotten a lot better at climbing on playgrounds by herself, and the swings aren’t her favorite anymore. At least not at this park…she is all about the train, or choo choo, as she would call it.

IMG_5711One of my favorite things to see, has been how much her love grows for her Papa. Even though this last picture is blurry, I had to share it because it shows how much she adores him. She lights up whenever she hears his office door open, and hears him coming down the stairs. She loves to have tea parties with him, and loves that he takes her flying (Fy Papa fy!!). Best of all, no one can get her to laugh like Papa does. As you can see in the picture, she is mid-full-body-crumple-belly-laugh and it gets me every time.

 

 

Now and Then

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I had quite a few requests for pictures of Esmé in her Halloween costume this year. My sister suggested I do a picture comparison of last year vs. this year. When I went back to look at last years picture, I realized how much she had grown, and knew that I had to do more than just post a picture comparison. I had to write about a little bit of now and a little bit of then.

Last year for Halloween Esmé was the cutest little pumpkin you ever saw, but we didn’t really get to enjoy the holiday. She was still taking several naps a day, so making a long drive to the pumpkin patch was not an option. No one, besides us, got to see her in her costume because she was far too young to go trick-or-treating, and she was sound asleep for the night by the time trick-or-treaters came to our door.

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This year was completely different. The week before Halloween we decided to take her to a pumpkin patch that had all these different animals and activities for kids to see. We thought it would be perfect for Esmé because she loves to walk around and explore. Lo and behold she did not feel like walking, or standing at all while we were there (we found out later that she had a sprained ankle). Any time we put her down she immediately sat down, stretched her arms up and said ‘up?’ She was not impressed by all the activities.

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She was, however, very excited about the pumpkins, as you can see from the picture above. ‘MUNGIEEEE!!!’ She shouted, (that’s how she says pumpkin by the way). She wasted no time picking out her own little pumpkin and promptly sat down on it. She’s like me when I pick out my Christmas tree…once I’ve got it I’m standing next to it until we carry it out because no one is going to take my tree.

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This year for Halloween, we dressed her up as a monkey to go trick-or-treating with our neighborhood friends. She loves to copy her Papa when he does the Tarzan call, so it seemed very appropriate.

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She and Carson (Darth Vader) were the perfect pair for trick-or-treating. He would take the candy from the bowl that was offered and then Esmé tried to give it back (as she is trying to do in the photo above). If it wasn’t for Carson’s excellent bucket-filling skills I don’t think we would have ended up with much candy. Ha!

In truth she was much more obsessed with everyone’s pumpkins, or ‘mungie’s’ as she calls them. She loved her little pumpkin bucket so much that she walked around the house with it like a purse until I packed it away for the season, (you can see it here).

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Esmé was such a happy little monkey to be climbing stairs, knocking on doors, taking candy, and giving it back with her friend. They really had the best time together, it was so cute to watch.

We did take a video of Esmé before we left for trick-or-treating if you’d like to see (here), and one of her and her partner in crime after they were done trick-or-treating (here).

In short, last year was sweet because it was our first autumn together, but this year was perfect. We had such an amazing time with friends, and an even better time experiencing so many firsts for Esmé as a family, that my heart was full of warm fuzzies by the end of the day. It was one of those days where you wish you could do it over again, just to relive all the fun happy memories.

Milestones and Memories: 17 months

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I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since one of these posts! Time flies when life gets a little crazy. Before any more time passes, I thought I should write about how much she’s grown before she goes and has another growth spurt on me. Here’s what she’s been up to lately:

-At her 16 month checkup (we had to do our 15 month one a month later because we were gone) her height was: 92%, her weight was 82%, and her head was >95%. Being the only grandbaby to two sets of grandparents, and only niece to all aunts and uncles has really gone to her head. It’s huge. Literally.

-She has 13 teeth now. Her left lower cuspid just started to poke through, and the other three are not far behind.

-She is moving from signing into talking now! This is so crazy to me because I feel like I spent so much time trying to get her to learn them and now she’s already done with them. She says all sorts of words now: ‘nanana’ is banana, ‘up,’ ‘lahder’ is water, ‘papa,’ ‘dada,’ ‘mama,’ ‘ow,’ ‘hah-t’ is hot, ‘cooh’ is cold, ‘mo-mo’ is more, ‘ca-ker’ is cracker or chips, ‘no,’ ‘bah’ is ball, ‘CAH!!!’ is car (she is obsessed with them right now, so it is always with great excitement that we use that word),  ‘buhbo’ is bubbles, ‘hi,’ ‘bye,’ ‘ah-po’ is apple, ‘cir-coh’ is circle, ‘tuh-tol’ is turtle, ‘ahma’ is Ouma, ‘nay-nay’ is Auntie Rene, ‘cah-kul’ is Chuckle, and ‘GaGa’ is our lovey giraffe that we must have with us at all times.

-She is also starting to put words together. So she’ll say ‘papa up’, when Emile goes up the stairs, or she’ll say ‘mo-mo ah-po’ if she wants more apple, and ‘ma-MA-ma’ when she wants to sit on my lap and eat my meal.

-She is starting to give kisses!! Although I should clarify she is more willing to give them to my husband than me. It’s very funny if you ask her to give you one and she does it, because she scrunches up her face and says ‘mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…’ all the way until she kisses you. Ha! I think it’s because Emile and I have been showing her exaggerated kisses to try and get her to do it, so we would make the ‘mmmmwah!’ sound.

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-You know how there was that whole thing with people ‘planking’ all over the place, in all sorts of random places? Well Esmé does downward dog everywhere (sorry the video isn’t great…I just saved it from my snapchat). It started because she was copying my husband stretching before a run, but now she does it all the time. She does it in the parking lot, she tries to do it on the steps, she also tried to do it in the swimming pool, on the bed, on the floor, or on the couch. I don’t know if it’s a comfort thing for her or what, but she loves it. And it’s hilarious.

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-Speaking of swimming pool, she started taking swimming lessons last week. We saw how much she loves being in the water (and playing in the water) when we were in Europe this summer, and thought we might give swim lessons a try when we got back. Funnily enough, she is somewhat blasé about them. She likes to play with the toys they have, likes to climb out of the pool, and doesn’t mind having to go under water, but she isn’t crazy about the songs we sing going in a circle. She also really dislikes being on her back in the water. I guess we’ll just have to see if they get better with time.

-Her fine motor skills have really started to develop. She can now stack her rings by herself, she can fit a circle shape into her shape sorter, and she is starting to put things away (not necessarily where they belong, but she packs them away where she feels they belong). She also really likes to color. Most of the time it’s on paper, but sometimes we get excited and it ends up on our mat. She also likes to eat the crayons.

-She isn’t quite running yet, but she is a very fast walker. She also loves to dance. I can’t wait until she is 18 months old, because there is a dance studio here in Raleigh that allows for children that young to come. Yes she will be in a tutu. Yes it will be the cutest thing you have ever seen. And yes I will take pictures/ videos galore so you all can see too.

IMG_4817-I’m seeing a lot of baby butt lately, and you know why? Because Esmé is a climber.

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She climbs onto chairs to get on top of end tables. She climbs the couch to try and climb over the banister, so we had to pull the couch out away from the banister. She climbs the bookshelves, but that’s ok so far, at least, because they’re anchored to the walls.

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She climbs on top of her piano to try to reach the top of the mantle,

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and she climbs onto the dishwasher. This is not something mommy is very excited about, because I know we are going to have an epic fall sometime in the near future.

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-Lastly she LOVES her books. She will sit right in front of her shelf and pull them all out and get lost in her own reading. Her current favs are the ‘BabyLit’ books, her ‘Happy ABC Book,’ that her Nana made specially for her, her little family album, and her ‘Highlights’ books.

She is getting bigger all the time. While I wish that time would just slow down, we really are loving how much more we can play and do with her as  she gets bigger. She is such a clever little monkey.

We Officially Have A Toddler

 

FullSizeRender (2)This has been something that we have been waiting and waiting and WAITING to happen. Everywhere we go people are always asking if she’s walking yet, and we always see toddlers that are half her size running around, (she is pretty tall), but right after it happened I turned to my husband incredulously and said ‘How did this happen??’

She was just so fast and happy about crawling I kind of thought maybe she would just carry on that way forever. I realize that this is a good thing, and all part of growing up, but I honestly feel a little sad. My heart feels full with pride, but oh so ache-y and like it’s being squeezed at the same time.

We used our last milestone card, I filled in the last blank space in her ‘So Many Firsts’ section of her baby book, and I’m in a little bit of shock about it.

Baby books are kind of evil by the way. Sure it’s cute, and such a nice way to keep all your baby firsts organized, but it requires you to look through all the old pictures and mementos every time you need to add something. You start feeling all nostalgic, and pretty soon you’re wishing you had another small, squishy baby to snuggle and smell.

I’m onto you baby paraphernalia makers. I’m onto you.

In going back through all of her stuff I realized that this time last year we were celebrating our ability to roll. I’ll say it again…How did this happen??? I mean really, because I swear that rolling thing happened just yesterday.

Today was just like any other day: her pounding crawl following me all over the apartment until she found an object to pull herself up on; vehemently refusing to walk unless she had both my hands to hold on to; proud to stand up on her own (she applauds herself), but firmly shakes her head ‘no’ when you ask her to step-step. Then Daddy came home, and we were all sitting in the living room chatting, when she decided she was ready to walk! Apparently she was just waiting for Daddy to show off her skills. Emile quickly ran to get a phone to record it, and we enjoyed several repeat performances ;).

We are so, so proud of our little monkey.

And time? You can slow down now. Really. That would be super.

Milestones and Memories: 12 Months

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Hello friends! I realize it’s been awhile, but we were lucky to have almost all of my family here to celebrate Esmé’s first birthday. The past couple weeks have been spent soaking up as much time with them as I could. As such our last monthly update is a couple weeks late, just like all the others ;). Here’s what she’s been doing now that she is 12 months old.

-She has 10 teeth, two of which are her top first molars.

-She can stand on her own now!

-She is not walking on her own, but she has started to walk with her walking toys finally! She really has only been playing with all the lights and buttons on the front of them before now, so we are very excited about this development.

-She will now shake her head ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ She has a preference for shaking her head ‘no.’

-She can now sign for ‘milk,’ ‘please,’ ‘more,’ ‘all done,’ and ‘eat.’ She also recognizes certain phrases like: bath time, where she will point her hand up above her head because we go ‘up-up’ (the stairs) to get there; or if you tell her to ‘stretch’ she puts both arms up by her head; and Nana taught her how to say ‘WOW’ in whispered wonder, while motioning wide with her hand.

-She still loves her Little Gym class. She gets very excited when she sees other babies and shrieks with delight! Her favorite thing to do is to bounce on the spring board that they have, and she has also learned how to bounce on her own when she’s holding on to a piece of furniture. Daddy, Grandpa, Auntie Bees, and Nana have all had the pleasure of going to class with her.

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-She now drinks regular milk, and has had peanut butter! Her first time eating peanut butter she was very excited, but now she enjoys throwing the crackers with peanut butter on them onto the floor, spread-side down, much more. She really wants to feed herself with a spoon, and is getting more and more frustrated if I try to stop her from dipping her hands into her yogurt bowls. Please pray for Mommy as we go through this very, horribly messy stage of learning to self-feed.

-She has learned to snuggle! Probably my proudest accomplishment yet, although it’s mostly with a blanket/pillow and not so much people. We’re working on it. She will throw herself down, head first and say ‘MMmmmmm!’ when you tell her to snuggle. You can see her playing with her favorite blankie here.

-She has also been to the park a few times now and, in addition to eating sand, swinging is now a favorite past time.

Somehow my child managed not just to survive, but thrive. We made it one whole year without ever getting sick, other than figuring out our food allergies in the beginning. She has been to four different states other than the one we live in. She has been on a plane twice. She has been on four road trips, and she has met family and friends who live half-way around the world.

She teaches me every day about what it means to be patient, how to love, how to feel joy, and how to see magic in every little thing. I truly believe we won the baby-lottery. We have this amazing daughter, who has the ability to bring happiness to everyone around her, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Esmé’s First Birthday

One year ago today, at precisely 4:16 in the morning, our daughter Esmé Valentine was born.

I spent all of yesterday, and very, very late Monday going through, in my mind, what happened last year, then sharing it with my husband: ‘This time of the morning was when I was shoveling PB&J into my face before we left for the hospital!’ and ‘This was when we arrived at the hospital!’ or ‘This was when I started to want the epidural.

Emile also had some touching recollections: ‘We had to reschedule the delivery for my TV!’ Priorities man. It’s all about priorities.

I knew today was coming, and yes, I had mixed emotions, but I was not expecting it to hit me like a ton of bricks. So I thought I would be helpful and tell you what not to do on your baby’s first birthday so you don’t have to end up like I did. You’re welcome.

1. Do not sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to your baby in front of anyone but your spouse, particularly large gatherings of people at, let’s say, your Little Gym class. You will end up being that mom weeping uncontrollably, unable to see the people offering you sympathetic words of encouragement through blurred eyes.

2. Do not bring your spouse with you to a particularly large gathering of people at, let’s just say, your Little Gym class again. You will hear an awkward voice asking you ‘why are you crying??’ amid all the lovely mothers trying to help you out. You will also have a witness to your uncontrollable weeping that can recount this story for years to come.

3. Do not look at photos from the hospital when your baby was first born, or photos of the first few weeks of their life. You will come across something like this:IMG_1818Oh hello again uncomfortable heart squeezing. So nice of you to make me wish I had my newborn back again. Or there’s this:

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Ah yes. Remember those times when your baby fell asleep in your arms with her mouth open, and you could smell her sweet milk breath? No? Just me?? Also this:

IMG_0793Sweet, happy, dreaming angel. By the time you finish looking at all those photos, you will convince yourself that you need another baby. Don’t do it.

4. Do not go to Target with your now 1 year old baby. There will likely be at least one person to ask how old she is, and you will get all choked up again trying to tell them that today is actually her first birthday. There will also likely be a new mom with a brand new baby that is crying its little heart out. If you managed to hold it together when talking to the person before, good luck keeping it together now.

5. Lastly Do not spend the whole day thinking about how small and squishy your almost-toddler used to be.  Instead spend the day enjoying the person that they are today, because you won’t get another day where they are exactly 365 days old.

IMG_2747Happy Birthday Esmé love!!! We love you so much more than you’ll ever know. Thank you for giving Mommy and Daddy so much love, laughter, and light in our lives.

Milestones and Memories: 11 Months

IMG_2534I am starting to experience serious anxiety as my daughter’s first birthday gets closer and closer. We will be celebrating her birthday a couple weeks late, so that we can celebrate when family is here, so technically I still have a little over 3 weeks to get it together, but I am freaking out. Our baby is going to be one at the end of this month! I just had heart palpitations saying that out loud.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much excited. Shopping for party decorations reaches whole new levels of excitement when it’s your own child. There were several raised eyebrows from Target employees as I kept saying ‘oOOOOOooo Esmé look at these!! Or these!!’ I got so excited I ended up not buying much because I just couldn’t make up my mind. I’m waiting until reinforcements arrive in the form of my sister. She can help me make up my mind.

Before I am in full birthday-prep mode craziness, I thought I would let you know what she’s been doing as we approach her first birthday:

IMG_2458-The term clingy has taken on a whole new meaning for me. Basically much of my day is spent shuffling around with a certain child wrapped around my legs.

-We were given an activity table by friends of ours and Esmé loves jammin’ out to all the different songs it plays. This has actually helped a little with the clinginess. It will give me about 10 minutes before she realizes I’m missing, then comes to find me again.

-She can sign for milk now! I have been doing the signs for ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘more’, ‘milk’, ‘water’, ‘change’, and ‘all done’ for a while now. I largely felt like an idiot because she would just stare back at me, so I was very excited when she started signing for milk.  It’s not 100% consistent, but she knows what that sign means and will crawl to you if you are sitting down and make that sign.

-She is always experimenting with different sounds that she can make and at different volumes. Her latest one is making little clacking noises, (my uncle would be so proud…he can make epic, echoing clacking noises). Every morning when Daddy goes to get her from her room, he will stand outside her door and go ‘Clock, Clock, Clock!’ and Esmé will go ‘clack, clack, clack!’ and then she shrieks with joy when she sees him come in. It’s pretty freaking cute.

IMG_2569-She has been taking a class at The Little Gym which we both love. I love that there are lots of moms with babies close to her age to talk to. She loves to watch all the other kids doing their thing, and crawl and explore everywhere. Her Kindermusik class was such a small space, and there were only a few other kids there who were much older than her, so I feel like this is a much better fit for us. She is one of the youngest in her class, so she still gets to watch and learn from the older babies.

-She still isn’t brave enough to stand or walk on her own. This is actually another thing that her activity table is helping with. She is so excited to be banging on all the different buttons, and making different sounds, that she stands on her own for a few seconds as she’s maneuvering her way around it, without even realizing it!

-In addition to saying mama and dada (not always to the right people or at the right time) she can now say hi and wave her hand. It’s super cute, but we have a little problem with timing. People will wave and say hello to her, and she will just stare at them until they walk past. Then she says ‘HI!’ and waves. So we’re working on that, but progress nonetheless!

-She has learned to pet kitty gently, though she still prefers pulling out her hair, and pulling/eating her tail much more. (The video also showcases her pterodactyling skills, along with her ability to make some of the best farting noises you’ve ever heard. You’re welcome.)

-She also tries her best to copy mommy and daddy. She will nod her head yes, she LOVES to clap her hands, and she has started sticking out her tongue saying ‘aaaaaah!’ when we do it.

IMG_2583She is just the best little munchky and we love her to pieces.