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Thoughts, experiences, and helpful tips on raising a toddler.
Coloring
1/4/2011

I just bought Baby Bel her first coloring book today. She since loves Elmo, I was lucky to find a Sesame Street coloring book with Elmo on the front :-). She had been coloring at restaurants, those that provide crayons and a placemat or booklet to color on. She's pretty good at targeting specific objects in the coloring book, like coloring Elmo.

A couple of months ago, I had bought some crayons and poster board for her to scribble on. But she couldn't really do much then. Little by little she's tried out our pens and pencils. Finally now, she's got the dexterity to actually enjoy coloring. She sat coloring her new book this morning for about 10 or 15 minutes by herself! Of course, I played some Sesame Street music for her while she colored.

Baby's 2nd Christmas
12/26/2010

We finally got our Christmas tree a couple of days before Christmas. Baby Bel was so excited about it. We went to Home Depot, and she saw all the Christmas trees there, saw Daddy strap one onto the car, lug it into the house and put it up. She loved every minute of it, especially putting up the ornaments. We had little fake bird ornaments, and she loved petting them :-)

The tree was a little dried out, so I think next time we might go to a U-cut and have one cut down fresh so that it lasts longer.

We didn't get too many gifts for her this year because she made out good for her birthday, plus all the garage sale finds we got last summer for her. But she enjoyed opening the few presents that she got from us and family.

For Christmas, we went to a friend's house and let Baby Bel play with her other baby friend. They had such a great time chasing each other around the dining table, sharing toys with each other, and even climbing into a basket together!

Little Talker
12/22/2010

At first I was worried about her gross motor skills. When I took her to places to play, she didn't seem to want to walk around or climb any of the play structures, like many of the other toddlers were doing. I know you're not supposed to compare your child to others, but who doesn't? It's inherent, it's what first time parents do without thinking.

She finally got over that hump a few weeks ago, and is climbing up slides and exploring play areas with enthusiasm, now.  I don't know if the change was just a matter of time or if it was due to hanging around a certain baby friend who is very active and mobile. Walking and climbing very early for her age, being 2 months younger than our little Bel.

But then, just a few days ago, Hubby and I shared our concern about her not talking. Why isn't she saying little words like her other friends? Granted these friends are 1-2 months older than she is, but first time parents are also impatient ;-) We had been hanging out with her mobile monkey baby friend so much and we hadn't spent as much time with one of her talkative baby friends. So I brought her over to her house the other day. And sure enough, either from modeling her baby friend or pure coincidence, she started saying a new word that day.

While she was there, she said "doggy", which sounded very similar to "daddy". But those who heard her, knew what she was trying to say when she pointed to their dog. The next day, as I was reading her a Christmas book, she pointed at one of the round Christmas tree decorations in the book and said "Ball!" Then she said "bubba" as I was blowing (and saying) bubbles. And today, she's repeated her "ball" and "bubba" exclamations at the correct objects.

So I joke and say it was from hanging out with her talkative baby friend that got her saying these new words. But who knows if it was or just a matter of time. But for some odd reason that I may never understand, she says "mamma" when she wants something, like a toy, a drink on the table, or some other object... Go figure.



Fine Motor Skills
12/16/2010

Lil Bel is trying desperately to use a fork or spoon when eating her meals now although she still doesn't quite have the coordination. We help her scoop food onto the spoon or poke food with the fork. But she would really rather do it all by herself. So she finally ends up picking up the food with her fingers and eating it that way. Probably out of shear hunger.

This is her fine motor skill development that we learned about in Toddler Group. Her brain is challenging her to do new things that require more advanced skills. In addition to trying to use eating utensils, she has been playing in her toy kitchen a lot more. She busies around on the stove with the pots and pans, on the bar with the plates and cups, and puts various items in the sink. She pretends to drink out of the play cups and eat the fake food.

She is starting to put things into containers, like putting toys into bowls, pots, or bags. Today she even put food back on the plate after she knocked it off with her spoon. I guess she's learning neatness, too.

We tried letting her color with a crayon. She doesn't do too much with the crayon yet. Just sort of taps it against the paper to make a very light dot. And once in a while makes a light little line. She loves to use pens. I'm sure it's just from watching us use pens.

Nostalgia of a 3-month-old
12/14/2010

Today we went to a play date to meet up with some friends and their similarly-aged babies/toddlers. It was lots of fun, as usual. But this time, one of our friends also brought a 3 month old baby that she has been babysitting twice a week. He was so adorable. Made me realize how I have forgotten so much about when Lil Bel was that age.

I tried to remember what the days were like then. I fed her a lot more, and she slept a lot more. I used to do her neck exercises for her torticollis. I used to give her Zantac for her acid reflux. I think she started cooing around that age. I also realized that I never wanted to be away from her.

I couldn't imagine having someone babysit her at that age, like my friend was doing for that baby. She was doing a great job. But then she also told me that he is in Kindercare the other 3 weekdays that she's not watching him. And that's when I felt so fortunate that I could stay home with the baby. I would not want to go back to work after 3 months or so and not see my precious baby for 10 hours every week day. I would feel like I was missing out on all her new developments.

Now with a young toddler, my days are spent mostly running around after her. I take her to a lot of baby groups and classes. That keeps her days interesting and fun. When I'm at home with her, I don't get too imaginative. We play with her toys, read books, eat, and nap. I sometimes get wrapped up in getting household things done, and have her play by herself.

But when we are out at baby classes, there are much more things to play with and apparatus for her to climb on and slide down. We learn fun songs that have movement associated with them, like "The Noble Duke of York". And best of all, we hang out with friends, and she learns to be social. It does get expensive with all the classes and play groups, but she really enjoys it and is making some good friends.

Baby Dress Up
12/14/2010

She's gotten past the read-a-book-to-me-constantly phase. And now she's into the put on clothes and shoes phase. It started about a week ago when one day she sat on the floor for quite sometime intently trying to put her shoe on her foot. When that didn't work, she let out some fussy cries, so I helped her. She immediately took it off and tried it again. And again and again.

The next day, she repeated this adventure with pants. She was able to get one leg in, and then became fussy again. But since then, this has been her daily hobby. We went to her baby friend's house yesterday, and she started pulling clothes out of her closet and trying to put them on. Everything from socks, to pants, and even tights. She doesn't get beyond one leg in, and no shoes on. So I put her friend's sweater on her, and she walked away satisfied.

On a different note, she's starting to eat more solid foods again. I don't know if it's because two of her molars came in, and now she's taking a breather before cutting any more of them. But tonight, she ate a whole bunch just because our friend was feeding her. It was like she was being cute and good for our friend, eating just about everything she put in her mouth. Wow, I wish she could eat like that when we feed her. No, but she is starting to again... sometimes.

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