Syndey :: 5

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Syd turned 5 waaayyy back in November when life was chaos.  I had grand plans of throwing her requested “fall princess” party, complete with a fully yellow and orange tu-tu for her and leaf crowns for her guests.

But…

then Mama got a new job and was in NJ for a week, and the day of her birthday Mom was at an all day conference in DC…and then time just got away from everyone and stress levels were high so the party was cancelled.  Instead my dear friend Andrea invited us over for supper and she made Syd cupcakes and we sang “Happy Birthday” among our group of close friends.

#5. Hosted and attended by my #sisterwives who keep me afloat when chaos cancels a birthday party. @thehickman5 @ashleysiers

Since her party was cancelled Royce and I made it up to her by letting her chose where to go OUT for a birthday supper on Saturday night. She chose spaghetti, so we all got dressed up and went to our local Italian place down the road.  Of course a busy over stressed mom is also likely to forget to cancel the birthday cake order at the local bakery so we still had a cake to eat on Sunday but I couldn’t find candles except the numbers I’ve been saving to use for Ingrid so she turned 23 instead (2+3=5 right??).

When Mom forgets to cancel your birthday cake order and doesn't have a #5 candle on hand...you suddenly turn 23. (2+3=5 you are with me right?)

Even though there was no ‘official party’, I’m hopeful she still felt special over her weekend of celebration cause she deserves it.

Syd is a genuine little thing. No faking comes from her, if you ask her something it is likely you will get an honest to the core answer. She can be a very needy, pouty and sensitive and we are both still figuring out how to navigate her emotions.

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When she is in a good mood and all is aligned though she can be sweet as sugar. She loves her swim class and is doing well at kicking and jumping in without assistance. Its nice to see how she has grown and progressed over the year. Ballet started up this past summer and she also enjoys that activity and is learning a lot. We’ve tried other team organized activities but Syd is shy and doesn’t do well in that environment yet not to mention its still a bit young to expect a kid to play soccer with any meaningfulness.  At least the ballet classes are teaching her to listen and other things about balance, movement, use of space, slow vs. fast, etc.  You really notice the value between educated teachers (her swim class and ballet teachers) vs parent led activities (soccer) at moments like this so for now we will stick with the programs that have a solid instructional base to them.

Although I'm away I have amazing friends who take my Syd to #ballet and send me photos #sisterwives @thehickman5.

Sydney enjoys her pre-K class, writing her name and coloring. Our house is covered in paper with princesses and her name. She confesses she loves ‘math’ (sorting, counting). Dressing up (e.g., making capes from old swaddle blankets) and playing with her princesses, building towers for them and overall general imaginative play is also a common activity here.

Princess swaddle blanket watches a movie.

Over time she has gotten better with independent play but she still needs assistance or attention a lot of the time. And if you don’t give it to her she pouts…ahhh the balance of parenting. Often her pouting is her way to get attention so we are working on how her words can hurt others and she should only say negative things if she *truly* means them, not to just get attention. Mind games at 5…who knew?

Why you save an entire childhood loot of crayons and colored pencils. #berolprismacolor

She can sit down and watch a movie now though so when I need to get things done that is sometimes my go-to move on the weekends in the afternoon. Her and Ingrid play together pretty well too, mostly it is Syd bossing Ingrid around but generally it is actually eaiser to have them both at home because they entertain each other.

Proof that they watch intently and catch on quickly.

This next year will be a big year for her as she starts school!  It will be interesting to see how she does with the transition!

I’d post updated stats for her now but to be honest we haven’t even scheduled her appointment…right now its a race to see if she or Charlie gets in for their annual well-visit first.  Such is life!

UPDATE:  Syd had her 5-year visit on Jan 27th (a mere 2 months late but who is counting?).  Syd was 38 lbs (32%) and 43.5 inches (62%). Since her 3-year stats update she has gained 5 lbs and grew 3.5 inches. She is a been pole…good thing she still likes dresses b/c pants have never fit her well!

Sydney :: 4

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Syd is 4 and turning into more into a girl every day.  Even in her pictures she looks so grown up. All that baby-fat is gone.  She impresses me every day with her intelligence, inquisitiveness and kindness.

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I think my favorite thing about this past year was watching her learn to play independently.  I find her putting puzzles together, coloring or just goofing off with her princess figurines.  She prances around the house carting her princesses and ponies from one room to the other mumbling enchanted tales to herself. I have no idea what those princesses are up to but they can be quite busy some days.

Passport photo out takes

Sydney LOVES to write.  She will sit at the kitchen table and write her name, and everyone’s name in the family. Sometimes I have to write it out for her to copy but she can ramble off all our names and spell them correctly (letters being the correct direction aside). Although she has always enjoyed drawing pictures of the family I noticed recently some of her stick figures are starting to get clothes and sometimes even designs on their clothes made with different colors.  Her princesses that she draws are getting more elaborate with crowns and longer gowns.  It has been fun to see her drawing progress.  For her birthday each kid in her class drew her a picture and some were quite good (lots of rainbows and stick figures with a few random kids who still scribble scrable), but Syd’s was definitely the best. She must be channeling some of her mothers artistic doodling capabilities.  Her teachers say she loves to draw and write at school. We come home with a LOT of paper each day.

All by herself.

Syd is still rather shy. It takes her a while to warm up to a room and a situation. I can tell immediately when she doesn’t feel comfortable as she crooks her head to the side and mumbles into her shoulder. As a relatively assertive woman this kinda drives me batty especially when she can’t even return simple a simple “hello” or a “thank you” when someone compliments her. Even basic social etiquette tends to fail her and I get a bit jealous when kids younger than her confidently approach me for something and bound away with an assertive “thank you Miss Julie!”. This combined with her relatively sensitive and dower emotions have always been a challenge for me. I’m reading up a bit on emotional intelligence in kids so I can better understand how to deal with some of this as my current coping mechanism doesn’t usually work well if at all.

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Thankfully she goes along with the crowd pretty easily. She happily participates in ballet class (and I don’t have to anymore!! 45 mins of blissful time to knit!) and does as the teacher says but clams up if the teacher asks her a specific question. And although the first few minutes of any encounter can be quietly painful til she gets her bearings, she almost always warms up to the situation and then we can barely drag her away.

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She still loves to read, and will flip through books on her own. We have moved on to a few chapter books recently which have been fun to read. She gets a little antsy when there are not many pictures so I really have to drum up the entertainment factor with the voice-overs which can be hard when you are bone-tired at 8 PM. She is girly and loves princesses and My Little Pony but also loves using her Mega Blocks to build them towers and other structures.

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At her 4-year visit (which was on December 4th) Syd was 33 lbs (31%) and 40 inches (52%). Since her 3-year stats update she has gained 5 lbs and grew 3.5 inches. Her wardrobe still mostly is made up of dresses and leggings. She doesn’t fit well in pants even when they are cinched up in the waist.  And I was recently told that “dresses are prettier than pants”…so there you have it.

3 years

Three years ago I became a mom for the very first time. Some days it seems longer than that, and others it seems like it happened yesterday. So much happens so fast these first few years. It’s strange to see Ingrid struggling to sit up and to know that in 3-years she will be as animated and amazing as Sydney is today.

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I won’t sugar coat it, this year has been a struggle. Sydney wasn’t what I consider to be all that terrible when it came to the “terrible 2’s” and tantrums. But I also expected them, understood them, and tried as much as possible to avoid situations that cause them. Instead the second year revolved a lot around poop. The last 9-months were atrocious.  There were a few decent days sprinkled in throughout, but when the day was bad…it was bad. I really shut down. We stopped going out to family dinners with friends, we didn’t have many people over.  We didn’t take any classes with her on the weekends. Our lives sadly revolved around poop.

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I am so very thankful to say that all of that is over with though, and on a time frame that was much shorter than I had ever imagined. She is now wearing her big girl panties to school and is so proud when she wears them. It’s funny how things can take a complete 180. 

This year we learned a lot about each other. I know she does better if I set limits with her, I know how to keep her focused, that time-outs work, that talking too much doesn’t. I know that in a group situation it can take Sydney a very long time to come out of her shell. And sometimes it is just best to sit on the floor and read until you pass out.

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I learn new things about her personality and imagination each and every day. She is a cautious, observant, gentle child who is not overly rambunctious or cruel. She is so lovely to her little sister that I just know she can’t wait for her to be old enough to play! We are slowly working on identifying our alphabet letters and numbers. Also working on phonics and rhyming. She has picked up a bit of Spanish from school (and Dora) and can count to 10 in Spanish and use simple Spanish phrases.

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Her favorite color is purple. She loves to be outside. She is starting to get into princesses and other girly stuff which is cute. She loves to rattle off the names of all her friends. If you are willing to take orders, she loves to tell you what to do and where to put her dolls and how to cover them up ‘just so’. She even does a pretty decent job of ‘reading’ books by paraphrasing the story that goes along with the pictures of some of her favorite books.

I’ll update this post on Friday with her growth stats from her 3-year well visit.

I am so grateful we can end this year on a up-swing and am looking forward to a few good months with my big 3-year old! Tonight we celebrated with just family.  Sydney requested a chocolate cake with purple icing so that is exactly what we had.  We will be having a small birthday party here at the house with some of her school girlfriends and her neighborhood girlfriends this Sunday. She is already looking forward to it as you can imagine!

Status update: 3-year doctor visit and Sydney holding strong at being below average for all her measurements.  Since her 2-year visit she has grown 3 inches (36.5 inches; 35.5%), and gained 4 lbs  (28 lbs; 20%).  She is still in 2T clothes but her pants are getting a bit short.  She swims in 3T pants so her wardrobe this winter has been mostly dresses and cotton leggings which seems acceptable since they are so easy to move in!  Thankfully 3T dresses fit her so I have been buying some new things for her — but really I’m getting tired of her wardrobe so I hope she grows into more 3T stuff soon!

2 years

Sydney turned 2 years old on Monday November 21, 2011.  Time flies and yes things get sooo much better each year.  We have been enjoying her personality grown and watching her discover her world and language.  Yes we have tantrums, and some days are whiny, but those moments don’t typically occur for long and don’t last all day anymore — and if they do it’s an isolated day here or there.   Meanwhile, I’ve discovered to watch her play, engage with her a bit less, and let her engage with me.  Not every-moment needs to be a teaching moment, I don’t need to blabber in sing-songy voices about colors and numbers and name every item she is playing with.  We can sit in happy silence while I watch and she plays.  We have found a bit of peace and it is oh so relaxing for both of us.

She loves to play with her puzzles and her matching games and she loves to match other items up when she recognises they are similar.

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Dog matches Dog

She loves to put items in bags and carry them around.  When you ask her where she is going she will say “the bus” or sometimes “the beach”.  Even better sometimes she takes the bus to the beach!  She still puts her animals (and sometimes us and Charlie ‘night-night’) so we can never have enough blankets to cover everyone up!

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preparing animals for night night

Of course her favorite place of all is outside.  Now that she can ask to go outside its hard to say no.  Parks are getting more fun as she learns to climb, swing and slide.  Entire mornings can be spent at the park! We will miss this volume of outside time come winter.

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at the park

We are looking forward to the year ahead knowing that her world will be much different in 6-months.  I’m glad we waited to let her personality grow and allow us to give us the attention she needs (and us some relaxation!) before introducing a ‘competitor’.  We have really enjoyed the last few months!

To celebrate her birthday we had a few friends over at a local-park for pizza and cake on the Sunday morning before her birthday.  It was a beautiful fall day and everyone had a blast.  To see more pictures from Sydney’s birthday party click on the birthday girl below!

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birthday girl

Last but not least we had our 24-month doctor visit and Sydney is well below average for all her measurements.  Since her 18-month visit she has grown 1 inches (33.5 inches; 37%), gained barely 1 lb  (24lbs 3oz; 17%) and according to the measurements (which I’m sure were not accurate) her head has shrunk by 0.5 cm (47 cm; 34%).

18-months (1.5 years)

Syd turned 18 months on May 21st.  This post is a bit behind but better late than never?  We were busy you know…playing on the beach and tossing her around in a pool.  Excuses excuses I know!

silly bathtime bubble girl

With 18-months came another well-check appt and in addition to the usual (shots, stats) they also made Royce check of a list of developmental things to screen for delays.  I’m happy to report we have “normal’ child.  Yay!   As for the rest of her numbers she keeps changing things around on us.  Now she has two measures over 50%; height and head.  She is still in the <50% percentiles for weight.  Since her 15-month visit she has grown 2 inches (32.5 inches; 70%), gained 1 lbs 18 oz (23lbs 7oz; 39%) and her head has grown by 0.5 cm (47.5 cm; 74%).  We do not have another well-visit til 24 months (2 years)…that seems so far away!  These past few months she has been rather healthy so hopefully we won’t have to make any sick visits between then and now either.

I need to create a new photo set now that Syd is 18 months.  Her 13-18 month set is pretty full and I think I have more photos still to add to it that are on my computer.  It’s amazing to see how much she has changed in just 6 months!

helping mama with laundry

As to the new milestones I’ve almost lost track but I’ll try to think of a few.  She has started running but sometimes gets tripped up and ends up falling.  There is definitely more talking with her favorite favorite word (and my least favorite) being MINE.  She is very obsessed with her shoes but not in a good way.  She wants to take them off and on and she isn’t dexterous enough for this and so she usually gets frustrated and has a tantrum.  There is at least one shoe fit per day (and thats a good day) most days there are multiple fits.  I’ve tried hiding them, taking them away, and just giving the entire lot to her to play with and so far I haven’t figured out how to tame the shoe-beast.  She has started climbing things but still isn’t tall enough to hook her leg on the couch yet. She enjoys wearing hats and putting things on her head (see above photo). Throwing things is very entertaining to her (and us) but she also likes to practice the throwing motion by smacking us upside the head too (not so much fun for us). She is getting better at eating with a spoon and fork.  She can now spear things herself with the fork (but prefers for us to do it for her) and can even eat applesauce successfully with a spoon.  Books and the outdoors are still her two favorite loves…thankfully summer is upon us and so we can start fulfilling that much needed outdoor requirement of hers!

bean bag throwing

15 months

Syd turned 15 months (that’s 1 year 3 months old to those of you whose life isn’t counted in months) on February 21st.  I realize it’s far beyond that but hey, cut me some slack.

I was waiting til we had her well-check appointment so that I could include new stats on the babe.  You all know how much I love statistics.  It typically is the first thing about my job that puts me asleep.  We haven’t had a well-check doctors appointment since her 12th month.  She is inching up there with two of her measures close to, or over 50%.   Since her 12-month visit she has grown 1.5 inches (30.5 inches; 46%), gained 2 lbs 3 oz (21lbs 12oz; 29%) and her head has grown by 1 cm (47 cm; 77%).

She still isn’t much of a talker.  Still no “Mama” or “Dada” directed at either of us. She still gets really excited and says “duh” and points at the dog whenever she sees him.  She has also perfected “uh-oh” when she drops something and sometimes will say “hi”.  I know the language is there. She understands what we are saying and will still use her signs sometimes to ask for what she needs but typically she gets what she wants with a point, scream or down-right fit.  It will be nice when I hear the words “Mama” instead of hearing grunts or screams.  She does babble occasionally but for the most part she is pretty quiet (outside of the crying).  I guess she has fluid on her ear (still) which we have to go back to have checked in 3 weeks.  If it’s still there we will be referred to an ENT (ear, nose & throat) doctor to discuss the placement of tubes.  I’m curious as to if this is why she is what I would consider to be ‘language delayed’.  We shall see.  Tubes would be a welcome relief honestly…the 3 ear infections she had within 3-months this winter were not fun.

She is still rather particular and can be upset by the smallest of things.  We stick to a pretty tight routine to avoid any upsets and it seems to work most of the time.  Some days there just isn’t anything that will appease her.  Like most children she will get very angry if you won’t let her do what she wants to do which can be frustrating especially when you are trying to head out the door and she wants to open the fridge to unload all the condiments.  She is very in-tune to what is going on though.  Saturday she wouldn’t stop screaming no matter what I did so I put her back in her crib for a while to get a breather.  When I walked back in a few minutes later (she was still crying)…she turned to look at me with this glare that said “how dare you leave me here crying” and then turned back to her crib corner and continued to scream.  And so it begins…

When she is happy she is quite the goof.  She loves to color.  Her favorite place is outside where she can throw balls, swing, dig in her ‘rice box’ and run up and down the sidewalk.  She will dance and do hand gestures to “Itzy Bitzy Spider” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.  When in the mood she will point to her head, nose and belly when asked.  She is ticklish around her neck and belly.  I think my favorite thing she does is come over when you are sitting Indian-style and plop her butt right in that spot where your feet meet.  She will do this to read books, color, or put on her shoes and socks.

13th month

We started off sick and ended sick.  In the middle there was lots of teething sprinkled in among a few sick-free days.

It’s been a long month. I feel more sleep deprived than I did when she was 3 months old.

Let’s hope the 14th month is better.  I’m not optimistic as we are starting off on the same foot we did with the 13th month…sick.

Month 12

During Syd’s 12th month a lot ‘clicked’.  The most noticeable achievement to us was that she finally started repeating some signs and does so with such gusto that it usually gets a chuckle out of us.  She will do “more” when we say it (sometimes we have to sign it too) and she also does “all done”.   Occasionally she will sign “milk” but it’s not as noticeable as the others and it’s usually only associated with her bottle and not her sippy cup.  I’m not certain she understands that the signs mean something quite yet but I’m sure that will come with time.  Right now it’s just nice to see our 6-months of repetitive signing is starting to sink in, if only a little.

Stacking blocks and wooden animals

She still isn’t much of a talker.  Instead of babbling (using a variety of different tones to make nonsense sentences) she likes to just stick with one sound and repeat it over and over and over again.  Some nights that sound is “da” and others it’s “ba” or maybe “muh” or “tuh”.  Still no da-da’s or ma-ma’s directed at us meaningfully.  She will point at the dog and say “duh”. So somewhere in that developing brain she is putting together that items have names.  Duh is a good name for Charlie…I think we could get used to that.

She does a good job at play now.  It’s still preferable to have someone sit down and play with her, but you can get almost 15-mins of her playing by herself on a good day.  Although she hands-down prefers to destroy your block tower, she will sometimes, if the mood strikes her, build one herself.  Most of the time she is too busy for that.  She discovered peek-a-boo with the coffee table and will play that almost nightly with whomever is around.  And books…golden lovely books…she LOVES to read.  This is a huge turn of events since for the past 12-moths she typically screamed her way through any book reading.  Now it is sometimes what we do to calm her down when she is fussy.  Turning pages is her favorite thing but she also enjoys books with flaps to open and close and books that have things to touch.  This morning she kept bringing me book after book to read to her before school.  It was quite sweet.  She has a love-affair with my cooling racks.  Whenever I am in the kitchen she will make a b-line to that cabinet and take them out.  She will carry them around, walk on them, drop them, and talk to them.  She also is fond of taking things out and putting things in baskets, or buckets, or her whiskey container.   She isn’t really a sorter, nor does she group things which are traits some of my friends children have.   She still loves it outside.  I’m fairly certain she could spend her entire day out there if we let her.  This could get complicated if we have another harsh winter.

Playing with tissue paper outside

Now that she is getting more comfortable walking she has picked up the pace and is getting pretty quick! When she hears the stairwell gate open she will come over faster than you think she can to check out the ‘danger’.  And since walking is so easy now she likes to make it hard by trying to carry large heavy objects.  My favorite attempt was her trying to pick up a board while sitting on it.  There was even grunting to go along with her obvious struggle.

Lastly, it took 12 months, but Syd finally has 1 tooth!  It’s on the bottom.  It’s sharp.  And she won’t let anyone touch it or see it.  It’s a special tooth for eating birthday cake.  There is one obvious disadvantage of having teething be so late…Syd is far heavier than she was when she was 6 months old.  When she is teething she prefers to be held.  And not held while sitting down…you MUST be standing up (and preferably moving).  I still have 19 more teeth to go and by then my arms should be ripped!

We haven’t had a well-check doctors appointment since her 9th month.  She has gone back to being below-average in size compared to her 9-month stats where she at least jumped above 50% when it came to length.  Since her 9-month visit she has grown a half an inch (29 inches; 40%), gained 1 lbs 13 oz (19lbs 9oz; 20%) and her head has grown by 1 cm (46 cm; 73%).  Seems like the growing phase is slowing down a bit!

She got a ‘pass’ on her shots for this week.  She has been fairly sick for about 7 -days and honestly we needed a break (and so did she) before we poked her with numerous shots.  She also has a raging ear infection so we are going to wait until that clears up before we inundate her immune system with multiple virons!  I have no idea when her next well-check will be so it may be a while til we have some new numbers!

11 months

Playing like a big girl

Syd turned 11 months yesterday!  We are well on our way to being the big “1” and I can’t wait!  Being a baby was fun but being a toddler seems like more fun.

The biggest milestone thus far this month would be walking.  Syd started the month being able to stand without assistance and by the end of the month I can definitely say she can walk.  She just wanders around the house now babbling or pushing her ‘mail cart’.  She can walk from the farthest corner in the kitchen to the front door (those of you not familiar with the layout of our house this is about 15+ feet).  It took a while to get good video of her walking.  Every time I tried she would take a few steps but then stop – drop – and crawl…in order to get to where she was going (mostly to attack the video camera) faster. This weekend when we were goofing around after lunch we finally got a good clip of her walking!  She had just finished lunch (chili) so she is top-less which is not the most ideal outfit for her walking debut, but we will take it!

This stage is definitely more fun than the infant stage but it can also have it’s moments too.  Sometimes at night she can get particularly fussy and will cry and fuss no matter what you do to entertain her.  When Royce isn’t home to help this can make for a rather long night for me.  I am still waiting for that ‘stage’ where she can happily play by herself for a while.  The challenge of figuring out how to walk has kept her pretty entertained but she is still a very ‘busy’ girl…just non-stop…even day-care doesn’t know how we keep up with her.  And my response to them is “we don’t”; I’ve gotten very used to cooking dinner with a screaming child at my feet.  As much as mommy would love to play on the floor from 5 PM til bedtime it’s just not a reality…at a minimum 30 mins needs to be spent getting us some food ready.  If only Sydney could understand that!

When she is in an agreeable mood (the mornings) she can be quite a delight.  I think that eating is her favorite past time…rarely a fuss from her during those times.  She is still eating solids very well, drinks two bottles a day (morning and bedtime), and takes cows-milk from  her sippy cup at day-care.  She is still sleeping very well at night (11 hours) and so-so during the day (morning nap 1.5 hours, afternoon nap <1 hour).  I’m looking forward to the 1 nap/day transition that should come as she gets older!

We are planning a small gathering of neighborhood friends for her 1-year celebration which will be here before I know it!

Month 10

Syd turned 10-months old on September 21st.  Where does time go?

She is still a class-A wiggle worm.  This month she started cruising a bit more.  But the big development was her learning to stand up without the assistance of an object or piece of furniture.  She can just squat down and then stand up.  Ta-da!  The first time she did it I was poring a glass of wine one Friday evening and when I looked up she was just standing in the middle of our entryway which doesn’t have a single object to pull-up on within 4 feet.  I had to do a double-take because, honestly, it looked strange to just see her STANDING there.  It suddenly hit me that she is growing up.

We have been spending more time outdoors lately since the weather has gotten cooler (and our porch has gotten more comfortable with the acquisition of some rocking chairs).  We installed a swing on our porch for her a few weeks ago and she loves it.  It is now a daily part of our evenings to sit out there and do some swinging while she yells at the neighbors.

Chillin' on the porch, staring at the neighbor boys

She loves her walk-behind toys that they have at day-care. She will walk around pushing them until she pushes them into a wall and can’t go any further.  We don’t have toys like this at home (I’m a minimalist) but it is fun to see her use them at day-care.

Her bottle (and sippy-cup) strike is still ongoing.  I’ve got reassurance from friends and doctors that she won’t dehydrate herself and will drink when she is ready to.  She eats so much fruit she probably gets enough water that way.  Thankfully her solid intake is still awesome.  Last night she wolfed down a good-sized helping of spaghetti with meat sauce, a side of polenta and some cheese…and then she ate an adult serving of applesauce for desert.  To say she can pack-it-in is an understatement.

Chow time

Big development for me towards the end of this month is that I’ve stopped pumping at work.  Can you say “freedom”?  It is so nice to not lug that damn thing back and forth and wash all the supplies and pack everything up again for the next day.  I’ve pumped everyday for the last 10-months; I do not miss that machine.  Even if Syd decides to start drinking again from a cup we still have plenty in storage to appease her.  I’m still nursing in the mornings and at night but I’m hopeful to wean her from those feedings by 11 months; it will all sorta depend on the length of her strike.  Oh and Mama joined a golf league that plays on Saturday mornings this fall.  I almost feel like a normal member of society again!  Now if I could just get some clothes shopping done…

And lastly we still don’t have any chompers.  At this point we should be teething until she is 5.

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