This month was an exciting one- starting with Jack’s second birthday.
That was a big milestone for both him and myself. So many people have told me to enjoy these early years, because they go by so quickly- but now that I have two years of parenting experience under my belt, I have to disagree with that statement wholeheartedly. Frankly, it’s been a really long two years- but in the best way. I think back to Jack’s infancy, and it feels decades away. Even Carolyn’s newborn days feel far away. Sometimes I have trouble remembering the details, which sends me flipping through Facebook albums and Youtube videos. I look at them and I truly can not believe they was ever that small. So no, the time is not going by quickly, but I’m glad.
I put a lot of effort into staying present with my children, especially when I feel challenged or overwhelmed. I try to focus on Jack and Carolyn and remember that whatever is going on, it is only ever going to happen once- soak it all in, stay in the moment, because soon it will be gone. I think this has a lot to do with how I process their development. It feels so good to watch them grow up- I don’t feel shortchanged, and I don’t ache for earlier days. I am so excited with each new milestone that they hit. I feel as though I took everything that I possibly could from all of those previous moments, and now there’s nothing to go back to- it’s all alive inside of my mind and my heart.
So when Jack started talking a month(ish) ago, I found myself waiting with bated breath for each new word. It wasn’t unbelievable, and it wasn’t too soon- in fact, I had been looking forward to it. We do a lot of reading and pointing, and I try to encourage him as much as possible. I want him to talk to me, I want the floodgates of this new form of communication to open wide and gush with Jack’s wants and thoughts, needs and ideas. I want to hear what he has to say! He has recently begun to string words together, like “Toot toot Dada train toot toot ciao vroom vroom,” which tells me, “Dada got on a train and went home.” It’s beautiful.
Likewise, Carolyn becomes more mobile by the day. She has mastered crawling and climbing a single step. She can also stand up if she is holding on to something. I play cheerleader, slowly walking backwards around the house while she slaps her hands one in front of the other, propelling herself forward and looking so pleased with herself. I can tell she’s itching for total mobility because she gets frustrated when she gets stuck in a certain position, and I am anxious for her to start walking. I think it’ll give her the freedom she craves. It’s also a lot of fun to remember Jack at these stages, and see the differences and similarities.
A more immediate development with Carolyn has been her introduction to solid food!
On her six-month birthday, I had started her off with some baby rice cereal. She loved the concept of eating, and the first couple tries with the cereal were exciting. Soon, however, the thrill wore off.
I moved on to fruit and veggie purees, which gave me the same result. I suppose it was exciting for her at first, but after two or three tries it turned into a game of “grab the spoon, ignore the food.”
I did not have that same experience with Jack. He stayed on purees for a few weeks and loved it.
I used to laugh because he would rarely reach for the spoon, instead opening his mouth like a little bird when he wanted more.
It’s so funny to think back on that, because now he is just the same- very obedient and patient. Carolyn, meanwhile, is an independent lady who wants nothing to do with my lovingly prepared purees.
After a couple of weeks, I had to concede- she wanted texture. We graduated to small pieces of soft fruits and veggies- bananas, baked sweet potatoes, avocado, halved blueberries, etc.
Success! The girl loved it. She seems to like feeding herself, and again I think it’s about the independence. She sits in her chair with her food and eats at her own pace. It also encourages fine motor skill development, since she has to get the food to her mouth on her own. Jack’s pincer grasp has always been well-developed, but this seems to be a rough area for Carolyn. She prefers the two-handed “grab and stuff” method- a girl after my own heart.
About a week ago, I introduced her to puffs and ricemilk melts. I used to keep these on hand for Jack, and he loved them. They give me a fallback option for lazy days, or times when I leave the house without pre-prepared baby food. We started small, breaking them up into quarters and letting her get a feel for the new texture. At first she wasn’t so sure…
…but they grew on her, and now she snacks on whole pieces! I buy the green variety, which she loves. The only problem is, so does Jack.
It’s been a project trying to maintain some separation in their foods. Carolyn is very good about sharing, but in the time it takes her to eat five puffs, Jack can consume an entire package.
Not an even playing field.
Jack wants whatever someone else has. It took a lot of work to get him to grasp the concept of the same meal being on two different plates, and for a while he insisted on eating my oatmeal in the morning, even though his was identical in look and taste. He has grown out of that, but he is still all about other people’s food, if it’s something different (or in this case, something he’s supposed to have grown out of).
Recently I’ve been encouraging Jack to leave his sister alone while she’s eating. It is adorable watching them share food and eat together, but there are about 1,000 things that Jack can eat that Carolyn either can’t or doesn’t, so the few things that Carolyn does eat are generally off-limits. Of course, when Carolyn is older and eating a wider variety of foods, they’ll share and eat the same things, but for now I’m trying to keep the puffs/melts for Carolyn and the almond butter & Crofter’s for Jack.
What a pair. I’ll probably say this a thousand times over the course of my life, but I just love seeing these two together. Watching them grow up is the most wonderful experience, and we’re really only just at the beginning! We have so much to look forward to- and I can’t wait for it all.