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Dear Chloe, 3 years old

Dear Chloe,

You turned 3 years old on Thanksgiving day this year. No longer are you considered a toddler, but a preschooler, with all the interests, blossoming language skills, curiosity, fledgling independence, willfulness, and complexities that description entails. It has been a big year of changes for you. One major one has been the construction of our home addition, eventually giving you a wonderful space to play and dance, and the other being the summer arrival of your baby brother. I am happy to say that you are a very helpful big sister, which brings me great happiness and hope that you two will be lifelong friends some day.

As you are growing and learning, so are we, your mommy and daddy. We want to be the best parents we can be. You are both charming and clever, your actions often bringing smiles to our hearts on a daily basis. But some days are a struggle. Of course you’d like to get your way all the time. But sometimes we, your parents, have to make decisions for you that you don’t like. One example that comes to mind is your eating habits. You just don’t like to eat many healthy foods. You would eat cookies and cupcakes all day if we’d let you. As it is, we allow you an almost daily chocolate milk, which in some ways I’m thankful for since I can hide some vanilla yogurt (calories!) in with the Carnation instant breakfast mix (vitamins!).

The natural parent-child struggles aside, I want you to know what a happy childhood you’re having. It amazes me to think that you will likely remember none of this, and even we may forget some of what life is like right now. But it is good life, without a doubt. We are lucky to all be healthy, to have a comfortable home and especially each other. We are lucky that your daddy has a good job and that I can stay with you and your brother, that we can go places and do things. While we may not be able to afford everything you want (or we’d like to give you), you certainly have plenty of toys, games, art supplies, clothes and classes that you love, like dance and swimming. As your parents, we are trying to teach you to appreciate what you have, to understand how lucky we are, but those are probably lessons you’ll understand better as you get older.

Chloe, we love you so much. Your arrival three years ago made us a family. I hope this next year continues to bring you fun, happiness, new skills and joyous learning. You will always be our sweet little girl and a blessing to our lives, as we hope to continually be a blessing to yours.

Love forever,
Mama

 


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Dear Leo, 3 months old

Dear Leo,

You are 3 months old. I love you very, very much. When I found out I was pregnant with you, I had thought (and hoped) you were a girl, but now that you are here and we’ve gotten to know each other, I can hardly remember why I felt that way. I am so happy you are who you are, and I mean that with my whole heart.

Here are a few things about you right now:

Every morning when you wake up, you smile. I love this.

Occasionally you’ll fall sleep with your eyes slightly open. This is called nocturnal lagophthalmos. Turns out it is fairly common and you’ll grow out of it.

You have sweaty feet. You get this from your dad.

You easily overheat in the car seat. I can’t believe car seats aren’t made with more ventilation or a more breathable material. I’ve looked at dozens now and haven’t found anything better. We’ve practically frozen ourselves with the air conditioner this summer just trying to keep you comfortable.

You prefer to be carried upright.

You have a mild case of cradle cap. I did one treatment with jojoba oil and now it is clearing up nicely.

Your hair is slowly filling in and replacing your (now longer) newborn hair. I’d attempt to cut it and even it out, but your dad won’t let me.

You have never had diaper rash (fingers crossed).

It’s too early to tell, but I think you’re going to have your dad’s blue eyes, just many shades darker. Although, already you have the tiniest patch of brown on the bottom of your right iris.

You’ve begun using your hands. You swat and occasionally hold your toys, and sometimes soothe yourself by sucking your fingers. You’ve even figured out you can rub your face with the backs of your hands, so you don’t accidentally scratch yourself (a good sign you’re tired).

Sweet dreams little one!

Love,
Mama


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Dear Chloe, 18 months old

Dear Chloe,

You turned 18-months-old last week. Yesterday was your 18-month check-up and you are officially at the 0% percentile for weight. You’d likely be negative if the chart measured below zero. As usual, the doctor found you to be very healthy. You got your tetanus shot and had some blood drawn to check your iron levels. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, and apparently you have a nice vein in your left arm. Turns out you’re mildly iron deficient. We’re beginning a multi-vitamin with iron until you turn two. Once your iron stores replenish, I’m told your appetite should increase, which could lead to normal weight gain. The nurse told us that it should be given with orange juice to help absorption, but not within an hour of milk or dairy products, which will hinder it. So maybe all the whole milk I’ve been trying to give you might not have been a good thing after all. The nurse also cautioned that iron supplements can stain teeth. I still hope it helps.


The girls at Saint Cupcake and then hanging out at the park (again with the rain!)

To celebrate this 18-month milestone, you met up with a friend at Saint Cupcake who shares your same birthday.  It seemed fitting to have a little mini-cupcake together. Both of you are on the petite, picky-eater side, so it is nice for me to have another mom to commiserate with.


Watching the big hail storm last week. Curiously, the hail was in the shape of diamonds.

There is so much about you that I want to remember from this age, and I’m going to kick myself in the future for not capturing it on video. Your smile is infectious, your laughter bubbly. The feather-light smack of your sweet kisses melt my heart. Some days you’re a study in opposites: little miss independent one day and then saying “up, up” (aka “hold me”) the next. You’re all the good, lovable things a little girl should be, despite the occasional frustrating, demanding times that I expect will keep growing as your needs and desires outpace your vocabulary and restraint. I just hope that I can be the loving guidance you’ll need, even when I have to grit my teeth. 🙂

Love,
Mama

Chloe stats: Weight: 18lb 13.2 oz, 0% | Height: 2’7″, 28% | Head circumference 17.99″, 26%)


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Dear Chloe, 9 months old


A little grass never hurt anyone… right?

Dear Chloe,

Today you are 9 months old. What a milestone! Nine months ago you were born, and nine months before that you were barely two cells joined together. And now look at you, sweeter that a summer peach and apple of your mama’s eye.

These days you are bounding around like a curious and troublesome puppy. You crawl everywhere, like a magnet drawn to everything we wish you wouldn’t play with. You pull yourself to a stand on anything that will support you. It started with a diaper box left in your play area (read: living room), but now you just use it to dangle over on your tummy. Sadly, falls and tumbles are par for the course. Sometimes you land safely on your bottom, but other times you land hard, bumping your head and making the whole house shake. I cringe. You cry. I always want to comfort you, but I’ve found on light tumbles that you recover quicker on your own. It is a fine line, treading between your fledgling independence and my desire to protect you from everything.


I don’t need the box anymore, I can use the sofa now.

Your diet is steadily becoming more varied, but I worry that you don’t seem to eat or drink enough. This month you’ve tasted green beans, turkey, blueberries, broccoli, cottage cheese, apricots, wheat, barley, brown rice, cantaloupe and grapes. You’ve even begun finger foods! Besides diced fruit, frozen wild blueberries and crumbled egg yolk, you love puffs, baby mum-mums, and yogurt melts. You still have no teeth.

I guess I’ll also mention that you’ve had a few food-related incidences this month, too. That time you found an m&m on the floor, which Daddy caught you eating, and just yesterday when the dog didn’t eat his food right away. I was prying the kibble out of your clenched fists when I realized your jaw was working. You must have popped a piece into your mouth before I got there. Horrified, I hooked it out with my finger and immediately yelled for your father, while breaking out in a cold sweat at the same time.


Yes, but I don’t know what thorns.

This past month we enrolled you in a baby pool class. At first, you didn’t know what to think and were pretty skeptical. Then you decided it is a lot of fun (as long as you get a good nap beforehand). This is an activity where Papa really shines. He’s taken you several times, all by himself, so mama could have a precious hour of alone time. This month you’ve also tried a couple Gymboree classes, which you also love.


Pool class is fun!

You are realizing a lot more now – how the paper bin is so fun to tip over, that there is water to play with in the dog bowl, that the light switch next to your changing table makes a pleasant snapping sound and can turn the lights on and off. Your daddy has taught you several things, too, like how to “sing” in the toy microphone that amplifies your voice, and how to clap, which you do spontaneously on occasion (but rarely when we want to show our friends).


I can stand up! Now what?

You’re quite a clever little girl, and keep us on our toes, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Love,
Mama

Chloe’s 9-month specs: 26.75″ lengths (25%) | 17″ head (25%) | 15lbs 10oz weight (5%)

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