B: 3.5 Years Old


It’s been awhile since I’ve written a few words about my oldest baby, who turned 3 1/2 (!) last month. And, since I can’t get enough of our most recent set of family photos, this seemed to be a good time to share a Little B update!

B’s exploding social skills have been, by far, the biggest change that we have seen in the last few months. It no doubt has to do with her starting school in September. For the first month, she cried every. single. day at drop off. Then, one day, we walked in and she let go of my hand without so much as a look back. I felt so un-needed in that moment that I almost wanted her to break down and cry!

All that to say, she is no longer the little girl who refused to look at strangers when they tried to talk to her in line at Target. She loves going to parties, playing with other little kids and generally charming everyone she meets.

B’s favorite activities include any kind of craft, particularly those that involve paint, markers or crayons. She loves color—her favorite things to draw are rainbows and she takes pride in filling a coloring book page with every color in the crayon box. She is getting increasingly into imaginative play. Her favorite games are house (I’m always the baby sister, Alice is usually Tracy and B is the mom) and doctor (there is a specified routine that you need to follow when playing this game with her: stethoscope first, then check eyes/ears, take temperature. Everyone gets medicine and a bandage, whether they need it or not). She sings and dances up a storm, and she even likes some “real” music. Her current favorites include David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” (which she calls the “Red Shoes Song”) and Marian Hill’s Down.

B seems to have adjusted well to our move, and frequently tells us how much she loves the new house. We have a little bit of a longer commute, but she loves to pass the time on the road by counting the number of Walmart trucks she sees on the highway. We never to go to Walmart, but she loves seeing the logo anywhere, solely because of this song that they used on commercials for awhile. One day, we saw eight trucks en route to South Philly, and I’m pretty sure that it was the best day of her life so far.

B is still one of the pickiest eaters that I’ve ever met. She recently developed a love for boxed macaroni and cheese. Every time she eats a bowl, she says “Look, mama/dada! Aren’t you so proud of me? I’m eating grown up food!” I assume that because the pasta has a sauce on it, and comes in fun shapes, this makes it seem fancy. When offered chicken or some other food that everyone else is eating for dinner, though, she’ll politely refuse it and say “I have to wait until I’m older to eat chicken (or fish/beef/some other food not covered in a cheese substance).

B says a lot of funny things—I’m not as good as I used to be at writing them all down, but here are a few “B-isms” from recent months that I can actually remember:

  • “Mama, maybe you can clean-up the toys by yourself. I can’t do it because my hands are too small.”
  • “No, Alice! You’re too little.” Always…doesn’t matter what Alice is doing.
  • After offering to help us get the house ready for company and dusting off one shelf: “I need to go sit down and relax now! I did a lot of work!”
  • “When you are my age, maybe you can come to my school.” Apparently, she thinks I’m Benjamin Button and will be aging backwards.
  • When I say “ouch” after sustaining some sort of injury: “Mama, do you need a bandage?”
  • She’s never one to let you live down a mistake. For example, “Mama got a flat tire and she had to go wait for the Triple A in the Starbucks and she cried. And, Nee-Nee had to come take me to school.”
  • And, yes, all of this was true. It was one of the more epic meltdowns that I have had. But, in my defense it was right around the time we moved and everything seemed to be hitting the fan. Later, when my mom asked B if she was also sad that I got a flat tire, B said “No! It wasn’t my fault.”
  • “Remember, when I was little? And I was allergic to peaches?” She has never even eaten a peach, but she’s watched the Daniel Tiger episode where he has an allergic reaction to them so many times that she thinks the show is about her.
  • “Daddy, do you love my hair? Doesn’t it look beautiful? I need to go see it in the mirror.” This is because I recently introduced her to the blow dryer, which she absolutely loves. I have created a monster.
  • “Do these ones flush by themselves?” Although B is getting much better about using public restrooms when we are out and about, she is petrified of toilets with automatic flush.
  • She knows most of the words to “Hello!” from Book of Mormon. I don’t know whether to be proud because, clearly, she is developing a love of show tunes, or ashamed because although that’s pretty much the tamest song in the show…it’s still inappropriate. It all started because our doorbell reminded me of the song, so I had to play it. B loved it immediately and demanded it on repeat. I can only imagine what people at the grocery store think when they hear her say “Hello, my name is Elder Price and I would like to share with you this book of Jesus Christ.”

If you’ve read this far and you are thinking that B sounds pretty much perfect…do not be fooled. There are plenty of moments where our sweet B disappears and a threenager rears its ugly head. We have to start getting ready about ten minutes before we actually need to leave the house because B wants to put her backpack and coat on “BY MYSELF!!” Sometimes, when we put her preferred dinner in front of her, she dissolves into a puddle of tears because she “Only wanted ten mac-and-cheeses!” “Why?” Is the most frequently used word in her vocabulary.

What will I be in for when she actually is a teenager?! Can’t I just keep her this little forever?

School Days

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Today marks the beginning of a new phase of our lives—The School Days!

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Tracy is totally smiling here. She’s proud of B, too!

Ever since I registered B for Pre-K in the spring, I have been both looking forward to and dreading this day. Out of all of the milestones we have celebrated so far, this one is most firmly in the most “growing up” category.  This is the start of a part of B’s life that will be separate from the one she shares with us. It’s the first time that someone other than immediate family will watch over her; and, she’ll be making new friends and doing new things that we won’t get to witness firsthand. And, while I was excited for her to indulge her love of learning and build her social skills, I was anxious about her reaction to the new people, new situations and changes in routine that this day would bring (i.e. B’s least favorite things). When we talked about school in the abstract, B seemed excited, but I don’t think she fully grasped the notion that she would be facing this situation without us standing right next to her.

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So, it was with all of these mixed emotions that we picked out a first day of school outfit, packed up her backpack and headed out the door on our first ever, first day of school.

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Last night, she said that Arthur was coming to with her, but he was cast aside for Mickey this morning.

And, it all went much better than I anticipated.

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B was excited to see that her school was adjacent to one of her favorite playgrounds. She went into the building, pretty much willingly, and stood in the back of the room for awhile, surveying the scene. She made the teachers laugh when she said “No!” in answer to every single question that she was asked. Finally, she made her way over to the classroom’s play kitchen and happily played for awhile on her own.

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We watched the other kids settle in, and I was relieved when I saw how expertly the teacher was able to calm down the criers. Eventually, Chester and I were the last two parents in the room, and predictably, B broke down when we headed for the door. Tears welled in my eyes as I heard the door click shut behind us, while B yelled “No! No! No!” just beyond it. Thank God for the privacy of our car and waterproof mascara.

I kept myself distracted with work for the next couple of hours, mentally preparing to return to find B still in meltdown mode, or perhaps asleep in the corner, after crying herself into exhaustion.

But, when we returned a couple of hours later, B was smiling. Her teacher said she calmed down pretty soon after we left. She enjoyed the playground, shared her Goldfish with the teacher, made her first school art project and played with another little girl. When I picked her up, she got a little teary and said “Mommy, you came back!” But overall, she seemed happy.

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We are just at the beginning, and I know there is still an adjustment period ahead. But, for now, I am relieved, and just so darn. proud.

Little B: 3 Years Old

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June 2016, Longwood Gardens

I have a three year old.

What. the. heck?

It seemed to happen overnight, but also take 30 years, at the same time. Time starts to work in this weird way when you are the parent of a three-nager, I assume. Yes, B can be as sweet as pie in one moment, telling me “Mommy, I missed you while you was gone” and making me wish I could stop time from speeding by. And, in the next instant, she’ll be mad at me for something and I’m getting a glimpse of what it will be like when she is a teenager; she heads for the front door and proclaims “I’m leaving, Mama!” while I warn her not to let the door hit her in the backside on the way out.

It’s so interesting to see the aspects of her personality that have remained consistent since she was an infant. Although she is getting better with adjusting to new people and situations, I think she’ll always be a cautious, somewhat introverted gal (just like her mama). I’m sure that once she starts school, part-time in just a couple of weeks, she’ll make even more progress. Of course, she says she is excited to play with the other little kids, but I am prepared for major meltdowns for at least the first few weeks. I hope it won’t be too traumatic for her (or me!).

B has entered an inquisitive phase, but instead of the classic “Why?” her favorite question to ask at the moment, is “Where we got this?” She wants to know where every toy, article of clothing, piece of food and furniture in our house came from. If I say a store other than Target, Toys R’ Us or Shop Rite, she tells me it came from there anyway, since those are her among her favorite places to go. The first time she asked me where Alice came from, I stalled for time (so not ready to have that conversation), and said to her “I don’t know, where do you think she came from?” B replied, “We got her from the hospital” and went on her way. Saved, for now.

Related to her love of shopping, she also enjoys most of the commercials she sees on television and can tell you all about the products that are advertised. When she sees a Lysol commercial, for example, she’ll say “Nee-Nee has that. She sprays it when I pee on the potty!” When she sees a Walmart truck, she’ll immediately break into a rendition of their current jingle. The other day she asked me, very seriously, “Mommy, do you have an Amopei (that pedicure file)?” and seemed genuinely disappointed when I said no. And, of course, every toy she sees, she wants. The list for Santa is miles long already. Our girl is a marketer’s dream.

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Easter 2016

I have been so proud of the way that B has adjusted to life as a big sister. She and Alice love each other so much and B encourages Alice as she learns new things and explores the world around her. Sure, there are times when jealousy flares. But, for the most part, B is a patient and understanding sibling and does a pretty good job of sharing the grown-ups (and toys) with Alice, when needed. I try to carve out time for things that just B and I can do together, whether it’s a baking project in the kitchen or a quick trip to Starbucks for a cake pop. I’m looking forward to doing more of that as she gets older.

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From Alice’s three month photo shoot. B always has to show her how it’s done.

B’s love for building with blocks has become even more intense–we might be raising an architect! She has become more imaginative with them in the past few months, and manages to incorporate all of her current favorite things into her creations. She can spend hours choosing just the right combination of pieces to build a zoo for her stuffed animals, a playground for her Paw Patrol pups or a Clubhouse for her Mickey Mouse characters. She also loves painting/coloring, decorating with stickers and magnets and playing games on her Leap Frog tablet or my mom’s Nook. Recently, she fell in love with bath tub squirting toys and mini character figurines and has amassed quite the collection of the Bubble Guppy and Paw Patrol variety, which all must sleep in bed with her. Between those and the stuffed animals, it’s hard to find B herself in there!

B’s dislikes at the moment include bugs of any kind, sitting at the dinner table in the evenings (between that and her general picky eating habits, it’s often a battle at our house) and even the mere mention of going to the doctor. No kid likes the latter, of course, but I think her fear was probably heightened when we all got the flu in April. It was the first time that she was legitimately sick and had to take medicine, which was a traumatic experience for all involved. On the plus side, if I need to leave the house or take a work conference call in the evening, we’ll just tell B that I have to go to or talk to the doctor and she lets me go with minimal fuss. When I come back, she’ll ask me “Mommy, do you feel better? Did you get a bandage?” So, for now, our white lie is working.

B is pretty much potty trained at this point, and is even doing pretty well with keeping her pants dry at night. Earlier this year, the transition from her little training potty to the real thing seemed like it would be a battle. But, one day, I just made up a story about the potty fairy, who takes the potties that big kids don’t need anymore and gives them to babies. B easily agreed to give hers up, so we put the potties into hiding and she never looked for them again. If I knew it would have been so easy, I would have made up the potty fairy months earlier! The only thing that is still a bit challenging is getting B to use a public restroom with minimal fuss (again, she’s a pretty cautious kid), but she is slowly getting much better in that regard, which makes our outings much easier.

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At Smith Playground, June 2016

B’s favorite place to go, aside from the retail establishments mentioned earlier, is the park. She still loves her swings, but also has become a pro at navigating the slides and other equipment. So, it was only fitting that we had her birthday party at Starr Garden, one of her favorite local playgrounds. She hid behind a tree when everyone was singing Happy Birthday to her, but otherwise had a grand time blowing bubbles, dancing and swinging away for most of the afternoon.

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Chicken dancing like a pro

My little B: You drive me crazy and make me laugh everyday–sometimes at the same time. I wouldn’t trade you for the world. I’m so glad you chose me to be your Mama and can’t wait to see what you do next!

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In the Kitchen With B

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Cupcakes!

B and I have been developing some common interests for awhile now: Starbucks dates. Stickers. Coloring. Puzzles. But, the thing that I think we both enjoy the most is baking together.

At almost 3 years old (!), B is at the stage where she likes to make a mess, be helpful and eat sweets. Fortunately, baking appeals to all three of these things.

I usually pick something simple like chocolate chip cookies, banana bread or a basic cupcake recipe. Toddler attention spans only hold out for so long, after all, so things that I can do from memory and that don’t involve a lot of steps or ingredients are a must.

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When it’s time to get started, we grab our aprons and her stepstool, line up all of our ingredients and get to work. I measure out the butter, sugar and flour for her to dump into the bowl. She whisks up the dry ingredients and I mix everything together in my Kitchen Aid. She is always in charge of sprinkling in cinnamon, dumping in the bag of chocolate chips or lining the cupcake tins with wrappers, depending on the recipe.

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I love how she will stick her nose in the mixing bowl and say, “Yum! Smells good!” even if the bowl contains only flour and baking soda at the time. I try to set a good example by not licking the bowl (or eating cookie dough), but she seems to have figured out all on her own that taste testing is one of the best parts of baking.

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Of course, there are mishaps. Handfuls of flour end up on the floor. Entire containers of rainbow sprinkles scatter across the counter, while I frantically corral them before B eats them all. Meltdowns ensue when as the 13 minutes that it takes to bake a tray of cookies crawl by.  As with most situations involving a toddler, patience is key.

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Finally, the baked goods make their way out of the oven and onto a plate and a few seconds later, B grins at me with a chocolate-smeared mouth and says “I did a great job, mama…” And, she seems so happy that I don’t even realize that she has danced her way out of the kitchen to go watch a show, leaving me with the clean-up.

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Little B: 2.5 Years Old

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Photo by April Ziegler 

It’s been a momentous couple of weeks in our house, as Alice was born a little over two weeks ago and this past week, B turned 2 1/2!

I have missed sharing monthly updates about B in this space, so I thought I would put together a little half-birthday update to commemorate this milestone. Here is what she has been up to!

Stats

At her 2 1/2 year check-up, she weighed in at 26 pound, 10.8 ounces and was 2 feet and 10 inches tall.

Personality

When I was being a particularly difficult child (which was often), my mom used to say “I hope you have ten just like you.”

Well, I have at least one.

Dramatic doesn’t even begin to describe our Little B. When she’s happy, she’s really happy. When she’s angry, she’s really angry. You really never know from one minute to the next which B you are going to get. Sometimes, she will hug me tightly and sweetly declare “we’re best friends” and in the next instant she will throw a punch at me because she wanted “box Cheerios” and not the kind that I dared to give her out of a ziploc baggie.

I have also noticed a bit of a bossy streak in her lately. “Playing” with B involves taking a lot of orders. You may only dance or sing if she explictly asks you to. She will hand me a crayon sometimes and say “Mommy, do it!” and God help me if I don’t color the exact spot that she had in mind. This morning, she dumped all of her play food out of it’s storage container and sweetly said “Mommy, clean it up” before walking away to destroy something else.

Needless to say, she is becoming quite familiar with the time-out chair lately.

On the positive side, B can be pretty funny. She LOVES to talk and seems to know just what to say and the tone of voice to say it in to get people to laugh. I like that we can have “conversations” now, about the important things in life, like her favorite TV shows.

I’ve shared a few of the gems that have come out of her mouth in an earlier post, and since then I have added a few new favorites to the list:

  • Sometimes, she’ll snuggle up next to me on the couch and say “B hang with Mommy.”
  • When I was pregnant, she would rub my belly and say “Mommy’s tummy aches.” At least she was sympathetic.
  • If she sees a commerical for something she really likes, she’ll yell, “Oh look! It’s so cute!”
  • When she’s in a good mood, she’ll say “B is happy for… [insert whatever is making B happy at the moment]”
  • She picked the word “friggin’” from Chester. In public places she has been heard to say, “this friggin’ dog/toy/car seat/etc.” at top volume.
  • “Probably” is by far her favorite word at the moment. I lose count of how many times in a day she says it lately. Sometimes, she will use it correctly and other times she just throws it into a sentence, just because (as in, “Tracy is probably a dog.”)
  • Occasionally, she’ll reply “Okay, sweetie pie!” if we ask her to do something.
  • Sometimes, she’ll squeeze her eyes shut and yell, “I can’t see my eyes!”
  • One of her favorite TV shows at the moment is Bubble Guppies and she says “B have a tail, just like a Bubble Guppy.” Recently my mom asked her where her tail was, and B showed her the tag sewn into the back of her underwear.

Favorite Things

B could spend hours doing puzzles, building with blocks, playing with Play-doh and reading. I introduced her to the idea of picnics on the floor recently, in an attempt both to get her excited to eat and also to avoid lifting her in/out of the chair when I was at my most gigantic. Now, one of her favorite activities is to line up all of her stuffed animals on the floor and set up a picnic for them using her play food.

In addition to Bubble Guppies, she loves Team Umizoomi, Paw Patrol, Blaze and the Monster Machines and also has a strange obsession with surprise egg videos on YouTube (If you have no idea what I am talking about, here is an example. I don’t understand why anyone felt the need to make these videos and put them online, but there are hundreds of them out there, and some of them have millions of views).

She loves to sing with her microphone, “just like the Bubble Guppies” and she takes dancing pretty seriously, too. I love when I hear her yell “I need my dancing shoes!” (which are either her Uggs or our pink polka dot rainboots, depending on the day) because I know that means she is about to break into the Hot Dog Dance from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. 

Eating

B is still very picky. Her favorite things at the moment are mostly of the carb variety—Cheerios (still), oatmeal with honey, crackers, frozen bread (yep, she will chow down on it straight from the freezer) and spaghetti. From time to time she will mix it up and eat shredded cheddar cheese (which she calls “sprinkle cheese”) or an apple and butternut squash pouch.

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Pink cake pops from Starbucks are her new favorite treat. 

Milestones

There were quite a few big accomplishments during the last six months.

She made her first trip the dentist (no cavities!). As you might imagine, she was less than thrilled about the whole experience. But, five months later, she is still talking about the purple balloon that they gave her as she left the office.

She made great progress on the potty training front. She now only wears pull-ups at night and accidents are few and far between. So far, though, she is only comfortable using her little potty. So, sometimes outings are a bit stressful as we race to get home before she needs to use the bathroom.

In preparation for her little sister’s arrival, she vacated her crib and moved to a real bed in January. On the first few nights, things started off well but major meltdowns ensued when Chester and I left the room after bedtime stories. She settled down within a week, though, and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Now, I think bedtime is one of her favorite parts of the day and she has a whole routine which involves arranging multiple stuffed animals (which she calls “pets” or “friends”), rubber ducks and other toys in her “big girl bed.”

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First night in the new bed!

Speaking of her little sister, it’s safe to say that Alice’s arrival was the biggest thing to happen to all of us in the last six months!

When B came to visit us in the hospital the day that Alice was born, it seemed as if she had grown up overnight. Next to her baby sister, B looked like a giant, and not like the little girl who I had kissed goodbye only the day before. Fortunately, I had mentally prepared myself for the fact that this might happen, so it didn’t send me into a post-pregnancy meltdown.

I have been so proud of how B has handled the chaos of having a newborn in the house. She seems to be getting more comfortable around Alice with each passing day. My heart feels like it might explode when she says “I love my baby” or I catch her giving Alice a gentle pat on the head or tickling her feet while she lays in her Mamaroo or Rock and Play.

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Taking their first nap together, on Alice’s first day home.

Fun Experiences

The last six months were very busy, because they involved a bunch of our favorite fall activities, the holiday season, and our last few outings as a family of three. Here are some of the highlights:

September

I had a weekend event in Washington, D.C. for work, so Chester and B came with me. B loves pandas, so we planned a trip to the National Zoo to see them.

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We spent the better part of the day waiting for the pandas to come out and play. When they finally did, B was asleep!

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The next day, B and daddy got to hang out at the park while mommy worked.

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October

She went on her first apple-picking adventure at Linvilla Orchards!

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We had a family outing to Boo at the Zoo. For the second year in a row, B refused to wear her costume, but seemed to enjoy collecting treats anyway.

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We bribed her with the promise of bubbles to get her to dress up on Halloween.

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Trick-or-treating at Tee-Tee’s

November

We took a trip to the Strasburg Railroad to meet Thomas and Percy.

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Taking a ride on Thomas

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December

We had a lot of fun during the Christmas season, including cookie baking, a visit with Santa, a Christmas card photo shoot and presents galore.

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Enjoying the carousel at Franklin Square Park

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Checking out the holiday train display at the Reading Terminal Market 

It was unseasonably warm in December, so we were even able to squeeze in a few trips to the park!

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And, when the weather is dreary, the Please Touch Museum always entertains! We made it a point to check out the special Clifford exhibit, since he is one of B’s favorite characters (she even had a chance to meet him in person on a prior visit to the PTM!)

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January

We did a photo shoot at Longwood Gardens to commemorate our last few weeks as a family of 3. B was having none of it at first, but after she ate a peanut butter sandwich and some owl crackers, she was hamming it up for the camera, as usual.

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A blizzard named Jonas dumped more than 2 feet of snow on Philly. I would have loved to have taken B out to play in it, but at more than eight months pregnant, it just wasn’t going to happen. So, we watched daddy clean up the mess from the comfort of our living room. B loved when he threw snowballs at the window!

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On Valentine’s Day we went to the Please Touch Museum, to check out the new Curious George exhibit.

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B got to meet the George himself! I can’t even describe how excited she was about it. She talked non-stop in line while we were waiting for our turn, and when she got to the front of the line, she basically just screamed with delight at George and could not stop looking at him.

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Also, I’m gigantic here.

Thankfully, this happened just four days later.

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Whew! I’m exhausted just reading all of that.

I am sure that the next six months, as we count down to B’s third birthday, will be just as busy! I’m in no hurry for that day to get here, though. I don’t think I’m ready to handle a threenager!

Introducing Alice!

I’m so happy to officially introduce the newest addition to our family!

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Alice Bing

Born: February 18, 2016 at 7:53 a.m.

8 pounds, 6 ounces

21.5 inches long

Yes, I missed out on having my Pisces baby by just one day. But, Aquarians are awesome too! And, by the time 39 weeks rolled around, I felt so exhausted, tired, achy and large that if I had remained pregnant even just one day longer I might have jumped off a bridge.

Fortunately, my blood pressure was high during my weekly doctor’s appointment and after an afternoon being hooked up to monitors at the hospital, the doctors decided to induce labor to avoid any further complications.

The induction was a long process, taking more than 12 hours from start to finish. I would have preferred to spend the early part of labor up and about and distracted by other things, like I did the first time, instead of being in an uncomfortable hospital bed while trying to watch reruns of Downton Abbey on a TV that alternated between losing its picture and sound. But, overall, I was a lot less anxious about giving birth because I knew what to expect and I was just relieved that the end was in sight. And, the thing I was most apprehensive about—getting the epidural—went a million times better, thanks to an anesthetsologist who actually knew what he was doing.

So, now we have started a new chapter in our lives as a family of four. Nearly one week in, and we are all still alive!

My diaper changing skills are rusty and I had forgotten how scary it can be to handle a person who can’t hold up their own head. But, I feel more confident in my ability to care for a tiny human than I did when B was born. So, I’ve actually been able to squeeze in a bit of sleep at night, instead of spending time Googling “why does my newborn sneeze so much?” and other first-time parent concerns. Which is good, because the newborn phase is even more exhausting when you are also trying to keep a toddler fed, happy and entertained.

As for B, she seems very happy with the new addition. Although we have told her it’s okay to give Alice a gentle pat or a kiss, B prefers just to stare at her, giggling ocassionally at the funny noises her sister makes and declaring “I like the baby!” She gives Alice a pass for all of her crying, telling us “She’s just a little bit fussy!” She helps us grab diapers, burp cloths and books to read to her sister upon our request. I’m hoping this attitude stick around, and she isn’t asking us to send Alice back by next week.

While I was in the hospital, the doctors and nurses joked that I made having a baby look so easy that I should just keep doing it. Um…I think I’ll pass. Our little family is perfect, just as it is.

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Life Lately: 35 Weeks

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A sneak peek from our recent family photo shoot at Longwood Gardens, with April Ziegler Photography

I am 35 weeks pregnant, which means this baby could be here really soon, or weeks from now. I think you all know by know how much I love surprises. So, this does not bother me. Like, at all.

[insert sarcastic emoji here].

All of the uncertainty associated with the end of pregnancy can produce the wildest thought patterns ever.

For example:

“I would deliver this kid myself, in the bathtub, just so she will stop resting on this bundle of nerves somewhere in my pelvis, that I didn’t even know existed.”

Five minutes later…

“Actually, I hope that this kid doesn’t decide to come on a Sunday night. I don’t want to miss Downtown Abbey.”

Or, when trying to get dressed in the morning:

“Ugh. I cannot wait to burn all of these maternity clothes.”

Two minutes later…

“These maternity leggings are just so. freaking. comfortable. Can I wear them even after the baby comes?”

Or, when I see two little girls, who I assume are sisters, being adorable to each other in Target:

“Awww…having two little girls is going to be amazing. B is going to be the best big sister ever!” [cue happy tears]

Less than a minute later, when said girls start pulling each other’s hair and the older one threatens to push the little one out of the cart…

“Holy shit. What was I thinking? We should have just gotten a goldfish!” [cue panicked sobs]

There is one thing I’m sure of though: I will miss B.

Obviously, she isn’t going anywhere, but there is such a short amount of time left time where she will be my one and only.

During the past two and a half years (and more than that, if you count all of those months of pregnancy), B has been the center of my world. I have gotten to know every little thing about her. All of her firsts are cataloged, in painstaking detail, in my memory. I have felt my heart break a little every morning when I realize that she looks a little more grown up than she did when I put her to bed the night before. When she has been happy, excited, sad, frustrated or sick, I’ve felt all of those things right along with her.

I have felt pretty guilty during this pregnancy, because it seems like the only time I am completely focused on this new baby are those 30 seconds at the doctor’s office each month when I get to hear her heartbeat. When I think about this baby, B always pops into my head first.

“How will B react to a sibling?”

“Will B feel like she is being replaced when we move her out of her crib and put baby number two in it?”

“How will I make time for B when I’m caring for a newborn?”

And, so on.

I am prepared to feel overwhelmed for awhile as we settle into being a family of four (Heck, I still feel like we are trying to settle in to being a family of three, sometimes. So, at least we are accustomed to chaos at this point). But, I can’t say that I relate to the worry that I lot of second-time parents have, which is that they won’t love their new baby as much as their first. I am pretty sure that our hearts are like the Grinch’s—they can just expand when the situation calls for it. I know that the moment my second little girl is placed in my arms, I’ll fall in love.

It’s hard to find the right words to express what I feel about B. The only way I can sum it up is that there will always be something special about her.

She is the one who made us a family. She lets me make all of those first time parent mistakes and doesn’t hold a grudge. She was the first person to make me cry out of frustration, exhaustion, fear and happiness, all at once. She was the one who made me realize that love can be both overwhelmingly simple and incredibly complex. She made the scariest thing I have ever done, the best thing I have ever done.

B might not remember a time when she had me all to herself. But, I always will.

 

Christmas 2015

Getting back into the swing of things after the holidays this year has been complicated by pregnancy brain and the overwhelming feeling that there is a lot to do and so little time to do it all before Baby #2 arrives. So, while most of you have probably snapped back to reality, I’m going to stay in the land of twinkly lights, sweets and Santa Claus for just a little bit longer with this post. Plus, B was especially into all things Christmas this year, and the photos are too cute not to share!

Chester and I were lucky to both be off from work for two weeks, which gave us a little extra time to do some festive things with B in the week leading up to Christmas.

There were cookies to make—and sprinkles to eat.

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We took a trip to Macy’s to do all a few of the traditional Philly Christmas activities, including a visit with Santa, a walk through the Dicken’s Village and a viewing of the light show and holiday window displays.

B could not take her eyes off of Santa when she first walked into the room. But, she wasn’t inclined to sit on his lap when it was time for the photo. Hence, for the second year in a row, it was a family portrait. I really should have anticipated this and done a better job with my hair.

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It was so warm on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day that we put the air conditioning on. It was bizarre, but at least that meant that B still got to wear the adorable outfits that I had chosen with colder weather in mind.

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Trees were definitely her obsession this year. Ours was on a timer and we told her Santa came to light it up every night. When she would see the lights go on, she would say “Thank you, Santa!” It was adorable, obviously.

Santa stopped at Ni-Ni’s early, and B was excited to unwrap the gifts that he left there. As you can see, there was a musical theme going on.

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This was the first year that she was really into tearing the paper off of things!

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Kisses for Daddy!

After eating way too many cookies for dessert, it was time to head home and wait for Santa!

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Getting Santa’s cookies ready before bed. 

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Yay! Santa came!

When B woke up on Christmas morning, she knew something was up. We waited at the top of the stairs while Chester got a few last minute things in order and she kept saying “What’s down there?!” Her enthusiasm was contagious–I can’t remember the last time I was so excited on Christmas morning! The look on her face when she saw all of the presents under the tree and the leftover cookie crumbs from Santa’s snack was priceless.

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That guitar went everywhere with her for a couple of days.

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Yes, we wore matching gingerbread pajamas.

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Well, everyone but Tracy. They didn’t make them in her size.

B was very specific in her request for a blue Care Bear, so I as excited when I found the last one at Toys “R” Us. She looked at it for about two seconds before moving on.

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In my typical fashion, I over thought all of the gifts we picked out for B (will she enjoy this? Is this right for her age? Are regular blocks better than magnetic blocks). Turns out that I needed have worried so much. Her favorite thing that she received on Christmas morning ended up being a dollar store flashlight that was in her stocking. Oh, toddlers.

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Then, it was back to Ni-Ni’s for more food, presents and family time.

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There’s that guitar again.

After all of the festivity of those two days, we kept the rest of our holiday break pretty low key. We ventured out to the Please Touch Museum, Reading Terminal to see the holiday train display and a couple of after-Christmas sales to score some half-priced décor (which I enjoy even more than the half-priced candy after Halloween) But, other than that, we were mostly at home, playing with B’s new toys.

We rung in 2016 with take-out from DiBruno Brothers’ and a movie from On Demand, to ensure that we didn’t fall asleep before midnight. We are party animals, I know, but honestly, being at home is my favorite way to spend New Year’s Eve. Except, I would prefer real champagne to the disgusting sparkling grape drink that we had. Next year, for sure!

And that, friends, was how we spent our Christmas vacation.

Now, how long do you think I can go on eating cookies for breakfast and trying to figure out if it’s possible to fit the Mamaroo in the living room without dismantling the Christmas tree?

The World According to B

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When B was born, I bought a really cute baby book at Paper Source…and then never wrote a word in it. Okay, maybe I wrote a few words in it, but I quickly realized that there just didn’t seem to be enough lines in the book to record it all or capture the things that I really wanted to about her first days, weeks and months. Instead, I started using this space to share all of the details and photos from B’s first two years. It makes me laugh when I look back through the earlier years of this blog and contrast the content from that time with what I’m writing about now. My how things have changed!

Although I haven’t been sharing monthly updates about B since she turned two, I can assure you that she continues to be a true toddler. One of the things that I love most about her these days is that she says the most adorable things. She seems to pick up new words every day and she has quite the sense of humor and impeccable timing in deploying her favorite expressions.

Some of my favorites are:

Her many demands. The ones that we hear most frequently are:

  • “Read it”
  • “Watch it”—when she wants to look at something. We spend a lot of time “watching” the Christmas tree lately
  • “Hold it”—when she wants us to give her something, even if it’s too large to be held in her hand. If we aren’t watching the tree, she’s asking to hold it.
  • “Take a selfie”
  • “Daddy/mommy, listen!”—when she wants us to pay attention to her or a noise that she heard.
  • “Mommy, go potty!”—She knows that I leave the room when I have to go to the bathroom, so she’ll sometimes say this to shoo me away. Usually, it’s because she wants to play with Chester without me interrupting. Relatedly, there’s also “Mommy, go home,” which is what she says when my mom picks her up from my house in the morning and B doesn’t want me to follow them.

“I’m good!”—if you ask her if she wants to eat or do something and she doesn’t want to, she’ll say this. She definitely learned this one from me. She sometimes alternates this expression with “No nap/no Cheerios/no bath, etc. today!” if she is in a fiesty mood.

“Jesus Christ!”—My mom accepts full responsibility for this one. Sometimes, B uses this expression in it’s proper context, like when she drops something on the floor. Other times, she just says it a random, over and over again, in Target.

“Mommy/daddy, hold you”—She hasn’t mastered pronouns yet, so it actually means that she wants me to hold her. It’s so freaking cute.

“What did you do, penguin?”—I can’t quite figure out the orgins of this expression, but my mom has this wooden penguin that B likes to play with and she always asks him this question.

“Watch out, B!”—usually said when she is doing something she knows she isn’t supposed to be doing.

“It’s okay!”—She sometimes gets mildly freaked out by sirens and motorcycles, so we started saying this to her. Now, she says it to us and gives us a hug whenever there’s a loud noise.

“Sounds delicious!”—I particularly like when she uses this to describe combinations that do not sound at all delicious, such as “meatball water. Sounds delicious!”

“You found it!”—she is very proud of us when we give her one of her toys.

“Tracy’s awesome!”

“That’s silly!”

“Say what?!”—which she says with proper inflection, in situations where disbelief is called for.

“B’s happy!”

“Tell mommy/daddy/Ni-Ni”—We’ve been potty training her during the last few months (she is doing great! She can pretty much stay dry all day and is totally comfortable using her little potty. Next step: real toilets) and when she does her thing successfully, she wants us to tell everyone she knows about it. Sometimes, she is so excited that she even wants us to share the good news with inanimate objects, yelling “tell hat/coat/trees”

Incidentally, I took all of the posts from B’s first year and turned them into a book and am in the process of doing the same for her second year posts. So, B still will have an old-fashioned, printed baby book that we can refer to in case the Internet ever goes away. I am glad that I took the time to write all of this stuff down about B and I look forward to doing the same for Baby #2 in just a few short months.

My Little Cupcake

I’m kind of glad that B is at the age where she responds to bribery. After two years where she pretty much wanted nothing to do with her Halloween costume (see here and here), I was determined that this would be the year that I at least got one photo of her all dressed up.

Of course, she declared “no nap today!” on Halloween afternoon and was sort of moody by the early evening and my hopes were nearly dashed. But, then I told her that she could go outside to blow bubbles, if she wore her cupcake hat and dress.

Mission accomplished.

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I said “go get your pumpkin!” and she picked up every one that she owns

Although we practiced beforehand, she didn’t really get the concept of trick-or-treating. So, we kept things low key, just stopping by my mom’s, aunt’s and Chester’s parent’s house so they could see her all dressed up. Of course, in the days after Halloween, she seems to have caught on to the fact that she missed out on the opportunity for free chocolate and will bring her pumpkin treat bag over to me and sweetly say “some candy?” I’m sure that by next year, she will be begging us to take her to every house in a five mile radius so she can fill it up!

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Stopping by Grauntie’s (a.ka. Tee-Tee’s) house

And, don’t worry, I kept my promise about the bubbles. They actually created sort of a whimsical effect, swirling around as she strolled down the street.