I cannot believe I am writing this post. My little baby is two – and she won’t be the “baby” much longer, though she’ll always be my baby.
Looking for her birthday theme post? I had a very pregnant mom fail in that I didn’t actually do her planned theme. Instead I last minute grabbed some easy decor for photos from a local dollar store (see photos in this post). I still want to share what I had planned to do, since I won’t get to do it again next year, so I’ll share that in an upcoming post anyways.
FYI: some Amazon links are Associate links and I may earn from your purchases.
One Was A Year of Fun…
In the first year of life, I remember really loving 10-12 months. It was the start of a fun age. It ends up that 12+ months is an extension of that, because your little one learns to explore the world more on their own. They still need and want you but they’re also learning and doing independently, which is really a unique time for kids and for us as parents.
Since Maggie turned 1, it has really been an adventure. Don’t get me all wrong – parenting is parenting, no matter the age. But parenting a toddler is like a different experience because suddenly you’re the parent of this little person. Not only are they starting to do things like walk, talk more, try more foods… they’re watching you and learning from your actions, words and self presentation.
In the first year, I probably swore freely in my home like I used to. Now I have a listening ear who has been repeating me for the last little bit. She remembers words I don’t even remember saying to her! You have to be a bit more mindful of what you’re doing, and not just swearing. Your self-talk and how you word things matters because they really do start to hold onto these things. Even actions are mimicked – for example, Maggie recently was at daycare and was going up the stairs and thought it would be funny to stop mid-way and take deep breaths. Probably because her very pregnant mama has apparently been doing that. She will also lift up her shirt and put her hands on her belly, like I do! It’s so crazy what they observe and learn from us, and what they choose to take forward with them.
But this post isn’t about me and my parental learnings in her first 2 years – I could definitely do a post on that but this one is about her. .
I used to do these posts monthly but it was getting harder after around 15-16 months because so many small things could happen in a month, I almost couldn’t keep track! Still, as I write this post I’m like – what do I include?! If we’re following “official” or important milestones…
Maggie has become much more social. I don’t really like the term ‘pandemic baby’ and Maggie was technically born just on the eve of the pandemic, but I did have concerns that with less socialization opportunities, she may have some social development challenges. It was hard to watch her with our family sometimes when she went through a bit of a “stranger danger” phase because she didn’t know anyone quite enough to feel comfortable. Over the past year, this has quickly changed – mostly because we had a bit more freedom for a few months (we were still cautious) but also probably because it’s a part of her normal development. She has warmed up and recognizes most of our close family now (but unfortunately barely knows my siblings.. again this isn’t about me and my feelings, but it sucks) and she’s never had an issue socializing at daycare – she is still a little hesitant of “new” kids though but will play beside them.
She certainly is more independent and maybe a bit more defiant. Her independence has slowly grown since she started walking – but I noticed it the most in the past 2 months. She also has become more defiant in the past 2 months – so they must go slightly hand in hand, which makes total sense. With more independence, we like to see what we can and cannot (or should not) do. Generally, she is a pretty good listener, but she does get upset if she doesn’t get to do her thing sometimes. Often that thing is trying to body slam the dog… Her independence is really shining through as she begins potty training on her own accord. After she got her cast off, she suddenly told us she wanted to use the potty and pulled down her pants to go. Since then she has gone to the potty several times a day! I’m totally following her lead at this point because I honestly wasn’t expecting to be “here” for another few months. Kids are full of surprises! I will definitely be doing a separate post on our journey soon.
In terms of language, it’s blossoming! After 18 months hit, this kid just started saying so many things and copying or mimicking what we say. She learns a new word so quick it’s actually scary. Sometimes we’re not even sure how she learned a word – a good reminder that your kiddos are always listening. Ha!! I shared this in this post, but her fave books right now are those first 100 words books – she likes to point to each thing and identify it. If she doesn’t know she says “what that?” and we tell her; by the next read, she usually knows (unless it’s like xylophone or something). She also is able to identify many different body parts – today we were reviewing “armpit” for example, because she is very interested when I use my deodorant. She can name everything on her face and is good at Simon Says.
Two other books she really likes right now are the Fun With Shapes and Fun With Colors lift-a-flap books (not an affiliate link I just can only find them on Amazon.com). She is starting to identify some familiar colours – like pink and purple – and some shapes with the help of these books and her shape sorter (Associate link). She continues to be interested in imaginative play – her play kitchen remains a favourite from last Christmas, and we’ve added some new Melissa & Doug accessories (mentioned one set here). I also mentioned in the gift guide post that we got her a Melissa & Doug Mine to Love baby doll – this is an absolute fave right now, she loves to give her baby a “bath” with the change set accessories and take baby in the carrier or to bed (again – I linked all of these here). For her birthday we added the Melissa & Doug cleaning set to our toy rotation – and she’s obsessed with the spray bottle which silly daddy actually filled with water. I have some regrets!! MegaBloks are also still a fave from last year and she is really into making towers!
Did having a broken leg slow her down?
Honestly no. Even with her cast still on (it was removed December 29th!) she was walking within a week or two. Now with it off she still has a residual limp but the orthopaedic surgeon said it should resolve in the next few weeks – otherwise we will see her in follow up and maybe do physio if needed. She seems to be managing well with it off and has no pain. The removal of the cast was loud (prepare yourself for that if you have a little one with a broken limb) and this was overwhelming for her, but it was much less traumatizing than putting it on. I think the hardest part was the X-rays both times – my husband had to go in since I am pregnant.
Her physical development was not impacted – before her tib-fib fracture she was already jumping, kicking and throwing balls, running, going on her tip toes, getting on and off furniture and using the stairs both up and down (when there is a rail for her to hold onto, or a hand). She continued to do a lot of this with her cast on too.
Maggie has grown so much this year and taught me a lot
Her emotional development especially, again, in the past few weeks has really been phenomenal – I was crying recently and she came over and rubbed my arm and belly like she saw my husband do before. She said “mama crying” and would go “shh shh” to comfort me. It made me want to cry more – but happy tears!! She is very emotionally responsive and also in touch with her own emotions – she lets us know when she doesn’t like something, doesn’t want to do something, or really is excited about something. She has taught me a lot about myself; motherhood; parenting; and has reminded me how challenging being a kid can be at times – not in a way we can necessarily see, but learning to navigate all these new skills, emotions and ways of thinking is a lot of work. I hope to work on my motherhood in this coming year – I think my husband and I have done a good job so far because most people say how calm and relaxed she is when they watch her for us. But there is always room for growth for me and I look forward to another year of being her mom (and mom to another -ahh!).