Saturday, January 8, 2011

Laurel at 3.5

I've spent a lot of fractured time talking about Laurel now that I have two babies to write about! I want to make sure I'm still painting clear pictures of what they are like at various ages. One, for me to remember when I've forgotten, and two for them to know what they were like.

She's almost 3.5 and we've reached more of a 'testing threes" rather than terrible twos. She is very headstrong, constantly testing the boundries and limits of our patience. Once upon a time, she did what was asked of her on the first request, now we have to get to punishment threats before action is taken most of the time. No comes out of her mouth a lot like she was a baby again. Compromise is used a lot to get us all on the same page for cooperation. All in all, she is still a cheerful, funny little girl that is stocked full of energy.

Her day starts around 7:30 or 8, sometimes earlier if she wants to bounce out of bed to visit with Audrey. Audrey comes into bed around 6 and sleep nurses for about an hour. Laurel loves to look at her and talk to her. Laurel doesn't like to eat much of a breakfast. She still prefers warm milk in the morning, yes in a bottle. That's the one baby thing we still allow and it's only in the morning. She has given up thumb sucking and is only semi-attached to her blanket, so it's progress. She watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while we get ready for our day too. If it's monday, wednesday or friday, we get ready for school. I pack her morning snack, Alex gets her dressed in the outfit she picked out the night before. We still help her brush her teeth but she uses the potty on her own.

If it's a school day, she is there from 9-12 and I usually pick her up walking from the studio down the street to her little school. She likes to walk on the tall curbs like a balance beam and pick little flowers for me:). She has a couple of good little buddies at school that she pals around with and talks about at home. She likes to ask me where they are and what they're doing. If it's not a school day, we start the day a bit more leisurely, waiting at home while Audrey takes a short morning nap. Sometimes we have a lazy day at home, other times she might come with me to the studio, run errands, go to the park, or ride her tricycle to grandma's apt. a few streets away. On Wednesdays she spends the afternoon after school at Grandma's. She has a closet and bookshelf entirely dedicated to Laurel's toys, games and books. Laurel loves to play at Grandma's. She helps herself to her activities and Grandma gets down on the floor with her and plays all afternoon long. Sometimes they do crafts on the table or run some errands as well. Laurel loves doing crafts. Either drawing, coloring, gluing, putting together store-bought knick knacks, etc.

We're usually home by 5 or 5:30 if we go out so that we can get started on Audrey's bedtime routine. Audrey is in jammies, rocking and nursing by 6 so that we can be in the cradle by 6:30. Sometimes she is ok with sitting on her own in the living room. Laurel plays games on my computer or her iphone or watches a tv program while she waits. Other times she is hungry for attention and wants to sit in the room with me. That's when i have to be rather fast with Audrey's bedtime. Fortunately Audrey lays down easily on her own with little fuss. Then I have exclusive Laurel time. We usually do whatever she wants until Daddy gets home. Up until recently, Laurel had a late bedtime. We would all eat as a family and she would be in bed with stories and a loooong struggle to go to bed at 9 pm. Her naps have become more difficult to arrange now that the baby is in the picture. Most of the time she can completely go without. Only if she has rigorous activity or lots of walking and excitement does she want a nap. To make sure she's getting enough sleep and is a pleasant person during the day, her bedtime was moved up to 8 pm. To accomplish this, she and I usually eat together one-on-one before Daddy gets home. Every other day is a bath day. Alex does most of the bath with her, which consists of play time, and i tend to step in at times to wash her up. Laurel hates getting water in her eyes and can throw a good fit in the tub over it. It can be quite exasperating! She still loves the idea of going to the pool at the Y, which we haven't done since October, so I'm trying to negotiate a better bath time that helps her with being in the water at the Y. She went yesterday with Grandma and had a great time and put her head in the water multiple times!

Bedtime, now around 8, consists of 2 books she picks and then Daddy lays in bed with her to read and wait until she falls asleep. It was just before she turned 2 and had a lot of sleep problems that we started laying with her until she fell asleep. That's one reason the nap has had to go away because I can't lay with her and the baby at the same time. One will always disturb the other. The bedtime at 8 with no nap is easy, she is usually asleep within 15 minutes after book reading. I do miss the nap time for me to have some free time, but I do not miss the struggle to lay down and take a nap. The naps got to be so short - half hour to 45 mins, that it didn't really feel worth the struggle. Her earlier bedtime allows Mommy and Daddy to have more chill time together.

She has always been a good sleeper at night, every since maybe 4 months old, she would sleep through the night. Once we moved her out of her crib though, she's always climbed in with us. Somtimes it's early, midnight or so, and sometimes it's 6 am. But she always starts out the day in our bed. It's been the extremely rare day that she wakes up in bed at her normal time and comes in just to tell us she's awake. Lately I think she's come in around 3 am, which is when Audrey wakes up too. Not sure if she hears Audrey cry or if it's a normal wake up time in her body too. I run a fan in each of our rooms for white noise since we're in an apt. and there's elevators and door noises.

Laurel likes a lot of things little girls like. She likes to play with her princess castle and little toy houses with figurines and tiny furniture. She's gotten very good at playing by herself and pretending. When she has friends over, she likes to play restaurant in her kitchen and she serves us food and gives us money from the little toy register. She has several tubs in a storage unit filled with dress up clothes. She's gotten lots of costumes collected in her short years and loves to get in and out of them. She used to wear them constantly all day, on top of her clothes, just as part of her daily look. But they've been reduced to just play again. She loves to draw and paint and create. She was taking a little art class at the Y for a while that was great for her and she really enjoyed it. We'll start it again in the spring. When it's just us, we work puzzles, create, play with play dough, hang out in her room. When her friends come over, they like to play hide and seek, which is entertaining since our apt. isn't exactly huge hide and seek territory!:)

She likes to wear dresses still but has a few shirts and pants she prefers as well. She loved the holidays when she could wear festive, poofy dresses. She likes her hair down all the time, just a little ponytail at the top front of her head, maybe with a bow or a hair clip. She likes her "curlies" to be easy to feel and see. We used to negotiate her veggies by telling her they would create her curlies. She likes chapstick and putting on sparkly make up, at times when we're not going anywhere! She mostly wears a pair of sparkly pink keds that my Aunt Peggy bought for her. She also likes tights. She doesn't like to wear a jacket, but it's a must during the cold season. And the second she gets to a home that she's going to spend time in for a while, she takes off her shoes and socks. She loves being barefoot. She's growing out of her 2-3 yr underwear and we have started to buy the next size up.

This year seems to be the year of "why?". Laurel is starting to use that as a reply to just about anything. I am waiting to use the phrase "because I said so". It's just around the corner, i can feel it! Laurel is only just starting to understand what why means when I ask her that question. She is an emotional roller coaster sometimes and is easily set off into a crying spell. I will ask her why she is crying and she will say some variation on "i'm crying cuz that's why i cry". Someday soon she will connect an incident with the crying and we'll make some progress there too! She likes to make a lot of chatter, whether it be random noise or long strung out sentence thoughts. She is picking up new words from school. She used the word "cool" not long ago and "awesome" just last week. She picks up song lyrics easily and has an amazing memory to recall all sorts of things. She is beginning to want to know how things work and why they are the way they are. She doesn't drag explanations on and on, usually just accepts it with an "oh", but we are answering more and more questions all the time. As a parent, I'm feeling a lot of pressure to make sense for her!:) A few weeks ago, she asked Grandma where Daddy was and she said "at work". Laurel asked "Daddy loves to go to work?" lol! She went through a phase where everytime Alex was leaving she asked him if he was going to work, even at 9 pm taking out the trash. He started to say "stop sending me to work!" Funny:). I like to propose exciting ideas and activities to her. She will get giddy and say "oh wow! that would be lovely!":)

I feel like I could describe her forever. She is such an interesting little person right now. Challenging for sure, but she's gotten so much spunk and humor in her. It will be interesting to see how some of her phases develop!

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