I started a post about Maleah at 20 months and never finished it... and then just a couple of weeks later, half of the information changed anyway! So I'll just meet 20 and 21 months in the middle and call it a day!
First things first: I promise to stop counting the months at 2 years. I promise promise!
At 18 months, Maleah weighed 23.5 pounds and was 32 inches tall. I think! It's hard to remember these things! I am pretty confident she has grown at least an inch since then and is pushing the 25 pound mark, if not more. She's gettin' heavy! She wears 18-24 month clothes but I've mostly been buying 2T because I'm cheap and she'll grow into them!
Her day goes something like this...
6:30/6:45 - Wake up, sleepy head! She gets a sippy of milk (it's the first thing she asks for when she gets up!). Get ready for the day - including brushing her teeth with toothpaste! She's so fancy.
7:15 - Leave for school! Currently her favorite songs to listen to on the way to school are "Let It Go," "Old McDonald," and "The Wheels on the Bus". Most days she drinks a smoothie (about 4-6 ounces) on the way to school.
7:30 - Arrive at school! She usually eats some blueberry waffle before 8am.
9/9:30 - Snack w/ sippy of water
11/11:30 - Lunch w/ sippy of milk
12:30-2:30 - nap
2:30 - snack w/ sippy of water
5 - Mommy's here! We make a mad dash for the car and try to get home quickly!
5:30/6 - Dinner
6:30-7:15 - Play!!! On the nights Blake works, we usually go on a long walk around the neighborhood during this time.
7:15 - Clean up & head to bath
7:30 - Read the Bible , sing a few songs, time for bed!
Maleah is a really good eater, in my opinion! I don't know if it is how we approached food or just her personality and tastes, but she really does eat a pretty well-rounded diet. It makes me so happy to see her enjoy good foods! (But I also don't mind giving her some good old fashioned "junk" food from time to time!)
Some of her favorite foods: avocados, sweet potatoes, ham, fruit snacks (I try to find the healthiest options!), dried cranberries, fruit squeezies, smoothies, peanut butter, sweet peas, broccoli, apples, mangoes, and... chocolate! She even likes dark chocolate!
We took of the crib rail and put in a rail guard this past weekend. The first several nights, she had trouble falling asleep. But last night, she went to sleep very quickly. We went ahead and made the change because she wasn't trying to climb out of her crib (and hasn't figured out that she can get out of the bed with the toddler rail...) and because I want to snuggle with her! We kept the routine mostly the same - except we moved our Bible-reading and singing from the rocking chair to the bed. Hoping to move the rocking chair out soon to free up more play space! But I kept it in there as a safety net in case she's struggling to sleep. Otherwise, once she's out, she's out! She sleeps around 11 hours each night and rarely wakes in the middle of the night.
People make the comment all the time that Maleah is a good talker. She really does say a lot and can communicate pretty well! Mots of that is just her nature - she just likes to talk! :) But we do make communication a priority at home. We don't play with a lot of battery-operated toys (something I could write a novel on!!!) and we try to focus our energy on playing with her and talking to her during the evening hours. She really likes imaginative play (baby dolls, kitchen, doll house), which opens up lots of conversation building opportunities. We also require her to ask for what she needs/wants instead of whining (as long as she actually knows how to say what it is she wants). Sometimes she will point and grunt at items and I will say "Maleah, you need to use words. If you want milk, you need to say 'milk, please'." And usually she will either say or sign those words.
We also do not usually turn on the television while she is awake during the weeknights. We don't mind her watching some TV, but we only have about 3 hours with her in the evening before it's time for bed, so I want to make the most of that time and not waste it watching television. I really think it has helped not only her language, but also her stamina. Maleah can concentrate on a task or activity for quite a while - a skill I know will come in handy as she begins school in a few years!
In the past weeks, we have really started working on counting and colors. Her language skills are excellent, but we need to focus on logic, too! We have been discussing colors, shapes, numbers, and counting a lot during our playtime. I know she is also getting a lot of exposure during school, as well. I think in November, I will start working on specific colors, numbers, and shapes - I can just go along with what they're learning at school. This way she gets some explicit instruction along with the day-to-day interaction with all the other colors/numbers/shapes.
Maleah knows so many songs... too many to list! But my favorite is when she sings "Tinkle, Tinkle" (as she calls it!). She sings it so sweetly and gets almost every word!
"I wuv oo" - I love when she says it unprovoked. This morning as I was making her cup of milk, she just said it - "I wuv oo, Mommy". Melt my heart!
Personality - This girl is like an open book. You know exactly how she feels at any given moment! She will cut her eyes at you one minute and then come and give you a big kiss the next!
Humor - She's starting to pick up on her own sense of humor. When we laugh at her, you can see that she is excited that we thought what she did was funny! You can tell she's proud that she made us laugh... especially when it gets her out of being in trouble! :)
She calls herself Mia. We have started calling her Mia. Much easier to get out when your mouth is full of food and you are trying to stop a disaster in progress. :)
Ahhhh discipline. This is a hard area for me, but I'm always working on it! When I talk of discipline, I don't just mean punishment. That's part of it, but discipline is just training or instruction. One of the fine lines with a girl is figuring out how to balance emotions and behavior. Maleah can be VERY emotional - she cries A LOT about ANYTHING! I want to validate her feelings while helping her learn to control her actions.
So, without going into a whole novel about our various methods of disciplines... I just want to say this: we use time-outs. We don't call it a time-out unless she is actually in trouble (like for hitting or doing something we asked her not to do). But, if she's just screaming and generally pitching a fit because she's upset, we take her to her room and say "I love you and understand you're upset, but you cannot scream/kick/hit/act ugly/whatever." We tell her to stay in her quiet place until she is done crying. Usually within 2-3 minutes, she comes walking out and we reaffirm her, give lots of love, and reiterate that it's okay to be upset, but it's not okay to make everyone else miserable because you're upset.
Basically I am repeating what I said in my last post: Over the past few months, I really feel like motherhood has finally settled in with me. To be very honest with you, I really lacked confidence for the first year. I was having a great time, but identifying myself as a mother (and everything that goes with it) was very hard for me. It's like you have to form a new identity while also learning how to take care of a tiny, unique person. You have to wade through advice, suffer through sleepless nights, and conquer teething. It's a challenge. But I finally feel like I have my heels dug in deep and, for the first time, I kinda feel like I know what I'm doing! I'm not kidding when I joke about "wingin' it" - really the first year was just trial and error! But now we are getting to know our little girl and feeling really confident about our decisions! That's a great feeling.