Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Maddie Grace at 16 months 10 days

I've been pretty good about keeping up with Maddie's baby book. It has a separate page for each of the first twelve months, and I diligently chronicled her milestones, likes/dislikes, travels, adventures, etc. every single month. But since her first birthday, I've yet to log anything in writing about her. I have a terrible memory, and I really want to remember her exactly the way she is right now; all 31 inches and 22 pounds of independence.

Maddie didn't walk until she was 13 months old, but she picked it up quickly, and now she only has one speed - RUN! She races through the living room and darts around corners. She'll make a mad dash for the laundry room (where we keep Bailey's water bowl) or halfway up the stairs in 2 seconds flat if the gate is left open. Her poor little knees are skinned and shins bruised from tumbles outside. She loves to be chased and she'll squeal with laughter if you catch her. Wagon rides in the neighborhood are a thing of past now, because Maddie will cry alligator tears until she's allowed to get out and walk on her own, er, run, that is. I can't even count the number of times I say, "Slow down, Maddie!" every day.

She's been signing words, mostly food related, since she was 11 months, but now her verbal vocabulary is starting to pick up. She currently says: shoes, ball, throw, hi, hello, more, down, and no. Make that, "no no no" complete with a finger wag. She nods her head yes and no (fervently), and she can point to the following body parts: eyes, ears, nose, teeth, hair, and belly button. Speaking of teeth, she has 9! Her first molar has just poked through this past week and a second one reared its ugly head last night. Popsicles and Advil all around! She still uses a pacifier at night and loves to snuggle her pink birdie blanket.

Maddie usually wakes up around 6:45, and immediately asks to "eat" using sign language. She and I head downstairs to have breakfast while Tom finishes getting ready. While she eats (usually fruit with muffins, waffles, or oatmeal blueberry bars), I pack my lunch and make my oatmeal. Then I get her dressed and she and Tom head out the door for work/daycare. I hurry to finish getting myself ready, and every day Tom calls me after daycare drop-off to give me the scoop - did she cry? who was there? did she run to Ms. Katie?  I usually pick Maddie up around 4:45pm, and her teacher almost always tells me, "Maddie had a pretty good day," with a shoulder shrug and strange emphasis on the word pretty that makes me wonder what exactly that even means. We head home to make dinner (which essentially means Maddie whines at my feet for 20 minutes while I try to whip up something quick but healthy, then finally give in and let her watch her favorite baby songs video). We have dinner by 6:00 and Tom is usually able to join us. Afterward, we play outside or go for a stroll, then it's bath-time, book-time, bed-time. I still rock Maddie to sleep every night, and it is my favorite part of the day. I love to hold her in the quiet stillness of her room, breathing her in and snuggling her close. Say what you will, but I'll rock her for as long as she'll let me. 

Other fun things Maddie does right now: climbs up the ladder to go down her slide, pulls out ALL the books to only read the first page, pushes in the kitchen chairs and closes the pantry door (every time she passes it), says "mmmMmm" when she loves her food, and "ahhh" when she drinks her water. She brings Bailey her dog toys, independently goes to sit down in the living room after a walk where we always read the mail, makes a disastrous mess at every meal, nods her head in approval after every song on her baby songs video ("yep, that was a good song"), and puts things in the trash can (sometimes real trash and sometimes not-trash). She's obsessed with bubbles, water, books, and phones (so she can see pictures of herself, naturally). She waves good-bye to her daddy every evening after story-time as he closes the door and turns out the light, she loves to sit in her little green anywhere chair to put on her "choos" (shoes), and to take things in/out of containers. Buttons, oh how she loves to press buttons, throw her flash cards, and inspect the bottoms of her feet. Her tiny, tiny size 4 feet.

Her budding personality is both sweet and sassy, sometimes timid but often bold. She's inquisitive and sometimes rebellious; she's one to test her limits but also to look for approval when doing the right thing. It seems like every age is my new favorite age with her - it's truly such a joy to watch her learn and grow! How lucky I am to have such a special daughter and to enjoy her at 16 months 10 days :)


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Reality Check

Maddie woke up an hour earlier than usual this morning, and I was so annoyed. Unreasonably  annoyed. I watched her on the monitor, trying to fall back asleep, but unable to find her pacifier. As she lay there whine/crying, I found myself thinking, you're not even trying! Look around, move your blanket, find your pacifier and go back to bed! After a few minutes, I could tell she wasn't going to fall back asleep on her own. Begrudgingly, I stumbled into her room, found her pacifier and passed it to her. But she reached her arms up to me instead of laying back down, so I picked her up and went to the glider.

As I sat there rocking my sleepy baby, I was suddenly overcome with guilt. There I was, complaining about losing a "precious" hour of sleep on a Sunday morning, when families around the world are facing enormous struggles. Hunger, war, disease. How foolish of me. To even waste my brainpower lamenting my loss of sleep while I snuggled my healthy girl in our modest but beautiful, safe, happy home.

My mind wandered to the news articles I've been reading this week about the Syrian refugees who are fleeing their war-riddled country, seeking safety and a better future for their families. Their country has been in turmoil for years, but the recent photo of a toddler washed ashore in Turkey has garnered world-wide attention. My heart just breaks for the father of that boy, and the many families facing decisions like the one he made. I cannot even begin to imagine their pain and suffering. I am so fortunate to live in a safe place, where we can play in our yard, at the park, at the grocery store, without fear of bombs or missiles or bullets whizzing past. We have plentiful food, water, education, plumbing, heat and A/C, freedom, health, wealth, happiness.

You better believe you'll see a change in me after this stark reality check. I've been a bit of grump lately, and for no good reason really. Sure, I did lose my dog last month, work has been stressful, life has it's hiccups, but good gracious I have so much to be grateful for, and I am beyond thankful for all of the wonderful people and blessings in my life.

Happy Labor Day weekend, all. I hope you have a safe, wonderful weekend with your family and loved ones.


If you'd like to find ways to help those in need in Syria, check out the following recourses: