Wednesday, June 25, 2014

17 Months

So it's been a few months since I updated you on the life of Maleah Ball. Let me just tell you, she is an almost-17-month-old DRAMA QUEEN. She is sweet and kissy and snuggly one minute and then SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS angry the next. But, that's pretty much all toddlers, from what I understand!

Basically, she is a typical little 17-month-old girl. She talks, she walks, she runs, she plays, she cries, she throws fits, she tries new things, she rejects new situations, she runs like clockwork, she surprises us, she makes us laugh, she makes us want to pull out our hair... you get the idea.

At the zoo in late May! She had a great time!

Poor kid was so sick in April & May. This was when she tested positive for strep. Ick!

 Her "Oh no!" face!

I love this age/stage she's in, but it's also an exhausting phase of her life for me and Blake. She understands so much but her ability to communicate is so limited, so trying to figure out what she wants and teach her how to say/sign new words is quite a task! But it's so fun to see her "get it" and catch on to things that we've been working on for days or weeks. Recently, I've noticed she really understands a lot of what we are saying - or she will at least try to figure it out. She can follow simple directions and she can answer "yes" or "no" to questions. I am constantly amazed at what she's able to do! A few words we've taught her that have been immensely helfpul lately are "help" and "gentle". I'll let you guess why! :)

My favorite part about this age is that she loves to help me do things! It's so cute. She loves to help with the laundry, unload the dishes, water the flowers, make the bed... and, of course, she loves to sit with me as I get ready in the morning. She loves to pick out her clothes and put on her shoes - and boy, does she have opinions on what she is wearing!!! She loves have her hair brushed and to get her toenails painted! I am really trying to convince her to wear hair bows again. The past several days she has worn one and left it in! Yay! :)

Playing in the yard!
One thing we are really working on this month is discipline. Blake's great at being authoritative and I pretty much stink at it. I can always find an excuse for why she's behaving a certain way and how unfair it would be to punish her for it. But I'm learning that she needs boundaries, even when she has a valid reason for being cranky/upset/bored. We have started putting her in time out (in her crib for 90 seconds to 2 minutes) when she is being particularly "bad". It has worked beautifully a few times now! I also realized that I have been threatening punishment without following through. I really didn't think it mattered until I realized that she totally knew what I was doing. Now that I have actually followed through with some of my discipline threats, I can see a change in her reaction when I tell her do/stop doing . Now my "threats" (I hate using that word!) are more meaningful because she knows I am serious. Several times, she has been caught misbehaving and I have asked, "Do you need to go to time out?" and she will immediately stop doing whatever it is she wasn't supposed to do. She has been MUCH happier since I've put my foot down a little more. I guess kids really do need and want discipline and boundaries from their parents!

Walking the pier with her daddy. We had a great time at the beach this year! Maleah wasn't too keen on the sand and ocean, but she liked to walk the shore and find sea shells! She also just loved being around her family (we went with Blake's parents and siblings) for eight whole days!
Lastly, her appetite has really changed lately! She is way more open to different foods than right now. She can chew a lot better now that she has two back molars (one of top of another so she can really chomp down!). She has taken a liking to corn, cucumbers, and even radishes! We also found that she likes those Chef Boyardee microwaveable spaghettis/mac & cheese... so... I won't lie, sometimes I let her eat them for a meal (with a side of vegetables or fruit!). She does not seem to like much whole fruit - she will eat it at school, but not at home. I don't know why! But we have learned to just be relaxed about and to continue letting her try foods, even if she didn't like it the time before. Sometimes that means wasted food, but it's all a part of the process! Avocado, by the way, is still her favorite food.

As for me, motherhood is really growing on me! I won't lie, this has been a hard 17 months. Becoming a mom/parent is a huge challenge. Not only do you have to take care of a tiny person, but you basically have to become a new version of yourself. I think I'm starting to really settle in to the new "me" - different expectations, different priorities, different outlooks, different perspectives. It really is a lifechanging experience to become a mom. I'm so glad I get to be a mom to my sweet little girl. I just love her so much!

Maleah on June 22 of last year! Just 5 little months old!