I suppose with all the buzz about baby Macey, I have neglected to keep track of Maleah's development recently! Having a two-year-old is definitely an adventure - I never really know what to expect with her. She keeps us on our toes and keeps us laughing! So, I think I owe it to her to provide a little overview of what her life is like at nearly 2 1/2!
At her two-year check-up, Maleah was 24 pounds, 12 ounces and 34 inches tall. I imagine she's around 26/27 pounds and maybe 35 inches tall at this point.
I love how independent Maleah is - and she loves it, too! She's definitely in the "I do it myself" phase! We try to let her do what she can on her own - I love seeing the look on her face when she does something difficult by herself! She also LOVES to help. She wants to help us do all sorts of things - cook, sweep, mop, fold laundry, get the mail. I know she'll be a great help once Macey is here!
Physically, Maleah is becoming much more coordinated. She can run, jump, climb, throw the ball (and sometimes catch it), and is also honing in on those fine-motor skills. She loves to use stickers - and I love that she can now peel them off the page by herself!
Maleah knows most of her basic colors, can count to thirteen or so, and speaks in complex sentences. She says things like, "Then, I did ____" and "Sometimes we do ____, but today we didn't." I am constantly amazed at how well she communicates!
Behavior & Discipline
Maleah's behavior is directly related to her mood. If she's in a good mood, she is generally obedient, sweet, funny, and playful. If she's in a bad mood... yikes! She can be anywhere from overly whiny to flat-out mean! We really try to work hard with her to teach her how to handle her emotions and not take her bad mood out on other people.
We use a lot of different disciplinary "techniques" with her - lately one of the most effective is having her stand in the corner with her face against the wall! Thankfully we've only had to put her in the corner a few times and now we can just use is as a warning and she'll straighten up! She did NOT like it! For me, it is sometimes hard to discipline her because I don't want to break her spirit or hurt her little heart. But I have learned that not following through with consequences makes her a brat - and I definitely don't want her to be that, either! So we do what works best with her in order to help her learn her boundaries.
Two-year-olds are famous for throwing fits and Maleah is certainly no stranger to a tantrum! It's really annoying when your kid decides to just scream and cry out of nowhere. But, it happens and we move on. We are learning that the best way to handle Maleah's tantrums is to get her in a quiet space (like her room) and let her finish her crying. She has never been a child who is easy to calm - she just needs to get it out of her system. She'll sit in her room and cry and then calm down and say, "Mommy, I'm done crying!" and come out and play!
Sometimes she just needs to be left alone to finish her little fit. I am always careful not to call this a "time out" or act as if it is punishment - but rather just that she needs to do her screaming and crying somewhere other than right in front of my face. I read an article the other day that said putting your child in his or her room to cry during a tantrum was essentially telling them that you don't want to be around them unless they are being good (it was encouraging parents not to isolate their child but to comfort and console them). I was like... yes... that's exactly right. I do not want to be around my child when she is acting like a loony bird... the author has obviously never tried to console my child while she's screaming - it only makes it worse! To each their own...
Maleah's eating habits have been changing slowly since she turned two. She is definitely starting to turn the corner into bland-land. It is not unusual for toddlers to prefer bland, "safe" food over the yummy flavors they enjoyed as a baby. I am not really too concerned with her new-found preferences. But, I do want to continue encouraging her to try new things and to eat a well-balanced meal. She still likes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and is still not too fond of much meat. She recently started liking beans - black beans and baked beans being her favorite. Still not a fan of green beans. :) We also have been letting her eat more sweets. Mainly because I want sweets and I'd rather not wait until her bedtime to indulge!
Maleah is potty trained!!! Yay! I don't have any tricks or tips or secrets... she was just ready! We didn't have to do stickers or bribes or timers... she just wanted to go! We have been working with her on potty training since late December, but more or less we were just slowly introducing the idea, talking about it, and we've had the little potty out since then so she could try when she wanted. About a five or six weeks ago, we noticed she was telling us every time she peed. She would say "I tee teed in my diaper!". This was the sign that she was getting close to being ready. Then, pretty much out of the blue, she started telling us she needed to go before she had gone, so we were able to make it to the potty in time. Then it took a few more weeks of getting her to ask to go consistently (stopping to go during play time being the most challenging), but she got the hang of it! She has been wearing her big girl undies to school and on outings and she's done really well!
Thoughts on Two
I'm really happy that we're having a second baby before Maleah turns three. I think she is at a great age to introduce a new sibling - she's had a great run as the only child but not so long that she's totally spoiled. We have been working really hard the past several weeks letting her know what life will be like once the baby is here. I don't pick her up or carry her as often and we're trying to teach her that she doesn't always get her way. It's not easy when you've been the one and only for so long! But I'm hoping starting these things now will help make the transition a little easier.
With that said, I'm also really trying to enjoy all this one-on-one time we have! I am finding myself saying "yes" to more with her (despite what I said in my above paragraph!) - more play time, more singing, more books being read, more time outside, more dancing like a crazy person in the living room during America's Got Talent... because I know those things will be much harder to do when there's a newborn in the house.
A little part of me is totally nervous about starting all over with a new baby who will probably be different from Maleah. Just being honest, the newborn/baby phase was not my favorite. It's exhausting and confusing and just when you get the hang of one routine - presto, chang-o - your kid is moving on to something new! Toddler-hood is definitely a challenging phase of life, but I am just generally more confident in what I am doing and I'm enjoying it a lot better than her first 6-8 months of life!