The last time I posted an Amalia update, she had just turned one and wasn’t even walking yet! (It happened at 13 months.) I was not prepared for how much would change over the last six months but it has been an incredible transformation to watch. She can communicate more than ever before, loves her nightly dance parties, and is currently in a major velcro-t0-mama stage with is simultaneously super annoying and the best thing ever.
She is incredibly vocal and shocks me with new words every day. The other day I was cutting up her grapes and counting as I went along. I got to 7…8… and she just shouted NINE! I was like excuse me missy, but how did you know that? Yesterday she opened one of my underwear drawers and shouted BRA which I must have said in front of her before, but I did a triple take to make sure it was her and not the dog who said it. Of course all of her new words are screamed with enthusiasm, hence the all caps. It is beyond exciting to see the wheels spin in her brain every time she learns something new.
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by repeating this again but it has been such a monumental shift in my motherhood that I can’t not. Getting my anxiety under control has completely changed my relationship with my daughter. I often used to get anxious even leaving the house with her, and simple tasks like feeding her dinner would throw me for a loop. Now? I’m able to enjoy her more than ever and literally miss her when she’s asleep. It feels amazing to pick her up at school every day without the constraints of anxiety. I’m thriving. She’s thriving. Life is good… Not always easy, but good.
When she’s at home or somewhere where she feels comfortable and safe, she is happy, outgoing, chatty as hell, and loves dancing. She does this booty shake that has Anel and I in stitches every time. The girl rarely sits still. which is admirable, but totally exhausting, quite frankly.
Luckily, reading is still her favorite activity and for that she’ll sit in one place for more than 20 seconds. It’s nice to get intermittent breaks from all of the energy. We read every morning in her room when she wakes up, before dinner every night, and again before bed. I get pictures from school of her reading on her own or in groups daily. She reaches for books instead of toys nine times out of 10 and I’m definitely not mad at it. I thought that it would be a phase that passed like everything else, but her love of “literature” knows no bounds.
Every night she gets to pick three books to read before bed and she thoughtfully goes through the shelf and picks what she wants. What’s funny is that the choices change night to night. She really knows what she wants!
When she’s in a new environment or with new people, however, she gets nervous and shy. I was the exact same way as a kid and eventually grew out of it (although I’m definitely still a homebody) and I know she will too. She has stranger danger for sure right now but we just try to introduce her to as many people as possible and bring her somewhere new every weekend so she gets used to being in new situations. Any other tips are welcome!
Like most toddlers, her favorite word is no. I remember when she first started saying it and I thought it was so cute. Ha! Those were the days. She even says no when she means yes sometimes. Although she recently started saying yes in addition to nodding her whole body which is quite cute.
She tries to repeat everything we say and now that she can say consonants at the end of a word and not just the beginning, it is much easier for her. She’ll string two and sometimes three words together, and I’m told by her teachers that it’s really early for that which makes me burst with pride! I was an early talker too, so it makes sense.
I think that her love of books has also increased her vocabulary significantly. She’ll point to everything on any given page and say “This?” which means tell me what this is. If she knows it, she’ll say it. When we read, it usually sounds something like this: Dog! Bird! Baa Baa (sheep)! This? Moo Moo (cow)! Baby! This? Socks! Shoes! This? This? Again pease!
One of the things that Anel and I really prioritize in our parenting is manners. It is a huge pet peeve of mine when kids (or adults) don’t say please and thank you. Maybe it’s because my mom drilled it into my head for years, or maybe it’s just common decency, but it drives me absolutely nuts. So we make Amalia say please (sounds more like pease) whenever she wants something. Half of the time I have to remind her, but she’s now starting to say it without me asking. It’s a tiring battle to constantly repeat it but my mom and other friends who have the same outlook on this topic all assure me that in the end it will be worth it.
She can’t quite say that words thank you yet but I’m working on it with her. I do this by saying thank you when she hands me anything and Anel and I always say please and thank you to each other around her.
7:30am- Wake up and read together in the glider with a blanket. It’s usually the best part of my whole day.
8:00am- Breakfast. Here were some of her favorite breakfasts at a year. Most of them still hold true but we’ve added toast with peanut butter and jelly, more egg combos, and sheep milk yogurt mixed with fruit.
8:30am- Off to day care (on weekdays)
9:30am- Snack 1. I don’t love that she has snacks because when she doesn’t, she eats a lot more at meals, but that’s what they do at daycare so I go with it.
12pm- Lunch. Here are some ideas for packing daycare lunches.
3:00pm- Wake up
3:30pm- Snack 2
5:30pm- Daycare pick up (on weekdays)
7pm- Bath (every other night)
7:15pm- Sippy cup with goat milk. She usually has about 5 or 6 oz, but she’s starting to self-wean off of this.
As a baby, Amalia was a great eater. I would give her fish with pesto or whatever we were eating and she’d gobble it up. Now? Forget it. She likes a few dishes but I never give up on trying with vegetables. Her favorite foods are mac and cheese (I use Annie’s organic white cheddar and add peas), these meatballs (I make them for her once a week). chicken parm (on good days), eggs with spinach and cheese, pasta with red sauce, Spinach Littles and Broccoli Littles, bagels with cream cheese and the more obvious PB&Js, yogurt, plus any kind of fruit under the sun. Booboos (blueberries) are her favorite.
Is she a beacon of health? Definitely not. Am I stressing about it? Not anymore! This used to cause me so much anxiety, but after talking to tons of moms, friends, and our doctor, I’m now focusing on doing my best and not worrying so much if she doesn’t eat a vegetable for a few days.
I give her vegetables every night at dinner. Sometimes she’ll take a few bites and sometimes she’ll skip them but I’m not giving up hope. The other night she ate three beets and I wouldn’t even make eye contact with her because I didn’t want to break the spell. That was probably the 20th time I’ve tried beets and the only time she’s eaten them. The moral of the story? Don’t give up hope on veggies!
I do still give her vitamin powder mixed into yogurt, a smoothie, or her goat milk at night so that she gets the nutrients she needs.
Although our trip to Bermuda over Thanksgiving was really tough for me personally, watching her play on the beach there was the light of the trip and maybe my entire 2018. Whenever I pictured our kids in the future, it was on that beach for some reason, and to see her running around chasing the birds and splashing in the water with the biggest grin on her face brought me such joy.
She also just looked so dang cute in her bathing suit and tiny baseball cap.
On a day to day basis, my favorite moments are the ones where she snuggles into my lap and we read together. Or pretty much anytime she’s happy and laughing. Her joy is my joy. Man when did I turn into such a cheeseball???
Photos by Julia Dags.