18 Months with Amalia

18 Months with Amalia

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.

HER DISPOSITION

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!

Her words

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!

Manners

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.

Her Schedule

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.
1pm- Nap
3:00pm- Wake up
3:30pm- Snack 2
5:30pm- Daycare pick up (on weekdays)
6:15pm- Dinner
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.
7:30pm- Asleep

Food

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.

BEST MOMENT

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???

Read Amalia’s one month, two month, three month, four monthfive month, six monthseven month, eight month, and nine month, 10 month11 month, and one year posts

Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. olivia said:

    She is sooooo cute!!! I just can’t wait to be a mom too and live all that beautiful moment!!! I feel the same about manners! I really hope I will be able to teach that to my kids !!!

    1.24.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Aww that is so sweet! Love that you are so excited about motherhood.

      1.24.19 · Reply
  2. Jess said:

    Have you tried any of Jessica Seinfield’s Deveptively Delicious recipes? They hide the good veggies in with the stuff little ones like.

    1.24.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      No I need to do that though. Is it worth buying the book?

      1.24.19 · Reply
      • jessica french said:

        If love it, but maybe your local library has it for you to test out

        1.24.19 · Reply
      • jessica french said:

        I love it, but maybe your local library has it for you to test out

        1.24.19 · Reply
  3. MarciaMarciaMarcia said:

    She is just super stinkin’ cute. (her mama too!) I also just want to applaud you again for making the decisions to both seek treatment for your anxiety and for sharing your story. If it helps even one person make a similar decision or not feel alone in their situation, how worth it is that? I’ve been on Zoloft for a few years now, and it has been life changing for me. I still get anxious of course, but now it generally has an actual reasonable cause, as opposed to just non-specific constant anxiety. It’s also so much easier to deal with because it’s not as bad or as constant. I’m so happy for you and your family that you are taking care of yourself and your needs – what a great example to set for your daughter. Even if she’s too young to really grasp it, I know she must feel the difference.

    1.24.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thank you so much for saying that and thank you for sharing your story. I’m the same as you in that now I get anxiety every once in a while but it’s manageable and doesn’t feel as earth shattering. Amalia definitely feels the difference. She seems so much happier now!

      1.24.19 · Reply
  4. Libby said:

    You must be a proud momma! What a beautiful, happy girl Amalia is!! Happy 1/2 birthday, Amalia!

    xoxo Libby
    https://premedwearspearls.blogspot.com

    1.24.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Beyond proud! Thank you!

      1.24.19 · Reply
  5. Raquel said:

    Her smile is priceless! Love reading your updates because it gives me an idea of what’s to come (my daughter is 6 weeks younger!). A pediatric dietician I work with said children don’t fully enjoy a diet from all the food groups until their 7/8 yrs old! So all we can do is just always give options and model good eating habits, which you do a fantastic job of! I love to make quiches for my daughter because it’s a great way to sneak veggies. And as someone mentioned below, the Deceptively Delicious cookbook is wonderful and the hummus recipe is divine!

    1.24.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Oh well that is GREAT to hear! Quiches are a great idea. I need to get into that. I tried egg cups for a while but she never liked them but I bet she would go crazy for a ham and cheese quiche with hidden veggies. Just bought the book, can’t wait to try it!

      1.24.19 · Reply
  6. Olivia said:

    Love your Amalia updates! And to see that you’re both THRIVING! That is my motto for the year. I never truly understood the value of that word until our Ped said our daughter was thriving at one of her early monthly checkups 🙂 I also ran across a May Angelo quote while reading to my daughter from Bedtime Stories for Rebel Girls that has stuck with me for the year…My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style. Enjoy your weekend!

    1.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I love that quote so so much. Wrote it down in my journal just now. Thank you!

      1.25.19 · Reply
  7. Reenie said:

    I love these updates! It is so crazy how quickly it goes. I’ve been following a while now and it has been so nice seeing all of the Amalia updates. My daughter is just about 8 months – so it is great to see what is to come. I get sad every few weeks about how quickly it is all going, but I have also been absolutely loving each new stage. And I also just looked back at your 7-8 month updates because I am having a hard time with food now, and those helped a lot. Thank you!

    1.25.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      8-9 months is the BEST! They’re so cute and happy but can’t walk yet. One of my all time favorite stages. So glad the updates from then helped!

      1.25.19 · Reply
  8. Ann said:

    I saw you and your family at the Stamford Museum today while the bunnies were out. I felt weird saying hi because what would I say besides “uh I recognize you from your blog, and I love your style!” Anyway, felt weird but just wanted to leave a note in case it happens again.

    1.27.19 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Oh no! Next time say hi!! How cute were those bunnies?

      1.27.19 · Reply