Here we are! Two years down and not only did I manage to keep my child alive, but she is happy, smart, sweet, sometimes psychotic, and the most adorable thing in the universe. It’s hard to believe that two years ago I held her for the very first time. The two years flew by but her birth feels like a lifetime ago at the same time. A child that was a stranger to me then is now my best friend, my little sidekick, my biggest button-pusher, and the love of my life.
And yes, she insisted on wearing a band-aid (there is no boo boo under there), her favorite accessory, with her birthday dress today. Because why wouldn’t she?
My child is feisty, there’s no ifs and’s or but’s about that. But she also takes a really long to get comfortable with people and will not speak a word or smile around anyone new. It usually takes at least 5 hangs with new people for her to open up. That said, whenever she meets new family members, it’s a matter of hours which is great.
When she’s happy she’s really happy. Her blue eyes sparkle and her laugh sounds like sweet tinkling bells. But when she’s angry, she’s angry. Her cry is quite piercing and she’s taking to kicking and screaming which is very fun. Like most toddlers, her moods are extreme and unpredictable. Although when she eats and sleeps well, things are always better.
One of my favorite things about her is her curiosity and how observant she is. Whenever she sees or hears something new, she shouts, “Wuddat?” with big curious eyes. Once we tell her, she repeats it and never forgets which is both impressive and a little scary at the same time. She likes to talk about everything she sees too. For example last night she pointed to my (painted) toenails and said, “Mommy toes pink. ‘Malia’s toes no pink.” It’s so interesting to see what she notices and cares about.
I am going to write a whole post about this because I have a lot to say on the topic, but because she’s so spirited, we have to be strict with her which she seems to respond to well. Whenever we’re more lax, she tests us more than usual. What works for us is removing her from situations when she starts to really misbehave and giving her firm no’s in the moment. The main rule for disciplining in our house is that Anel and I always have to be on the same page in front of her, even if we disagree about it later, and to be consistent in our disciplining.
Amalia is a chatterbox. She speaks in sentences now and comes out with new words daily that we didn’t know she knew. She is also really funny about picking up phrases that we say. For example, whenever she drops a toy, she picks it up and says, “You’re ok!” the same way I say it to her when she falls. Anel and I both have major potty mouths so we have been trying extra hard not to swear in front of her but she definitely has slipped with “sh*t” a few times. We try not to react and have to turn around or run into the other room to laugh because we don’t want to egg her on!
She also remembers songs really well and can repeat them back after hearing them only once or twice. Although she often botches the lyrics like We Will Vacuum instead of We Will Rock You.
We are still working on this as I imagine we will be for the next decade, but she has been a lot better about saying please in the last few months. I still have to remind her 75% of the time, but she will say it on her own here and there. Thank you rarely comes out without prompting but after getting a ton of presents at her birthday party last weekend, she’s picking it up more this week. If you missed my last update, I talked about how teaching her manners from a very early age is a big priority for us. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people don’t say please and thank you, and Anel and I want to raise her to be polite.
We went through a really tough phase for about two months (May-early July) where she would scream cry before bed, usually for about 10 minutes but sometimes up to an hour. It was every night and it was brutal. We tried everything from comforting her to letting her cry it out to going in at increments. Everything. What ended up working was giving it time and also putting her Peppa Pig stuffed animal in her crib and telling her to sing to it. She was never attached to pacifiers or lovies or anything, and never showed interest in sleeping with a toy so we were shocked when it worked. But it’s been almost a month now and every night when I put her down, I sing one song while I rub her back and then she says, “Mommy, go!”
Mealtimes are touch and go but I’ve let go of my stress around them and that makes it a lot easier for all of us. Some days she will eat a full salad (yes, salad) and other days she requests cream cheese on a spoon and that’s all she’ll eat. Anel and I have tried really hard to stay true to our rule of whatever we put out she has to eat. It doesn’t always happen like that but 90% of the time, we stick to that and it helps a lot. I also still always put a “main” dish, veggie, and fruit on her plate so she can choose from multiple things. But on the days when she only downs mac and cheese and pizza, I let it go. Because the next day she might request broccoli. It’s a long shot, but it happens!
We swapped her supplements to a chewable which is easier than powder now that she doesn’t eat purées or drink milk. We give her these which say they’re for ages 4 and up but we talked to our pediatrician who said to just give her half of the dose which is two gummies instead of four. She loves taking two vitamins every morning and I love that they’re full of food-based nutrients.
7:00-8:00 am- Her wake up time is less rigid these days for some reason. Some mornings she’s up by 7 and others she sleeps until 8. And once in a while, it’s 6:30. But I’d say her average wake-up time is 7:30.
8:00 am- Breakfast. We’ve been doing a lot of cheesy scrambled eggs and toast with butter and jam. I still make her these spinach muffins every other week and we toast them with peanut butter. Sometimes I make her a smoothie, but it’s usually an egg/toast situation. We haven’t really done the whole cereal thing so she’s not into that yet.
8:30 am- Off to daycare (on weekdays)
9:30 am- Morning snack
12:00-12:30 pm- Lunch. Here are some ideas for packing daycare lunches.
1:00-1:30 pm- Down for nap
2:30-3:30 pm- Wake up from nap
3:30 pm- Afternoon snack
5:30 pm- Daycare pick up (on weekdays)
6:15 pm- Dinner
7:00 – 7:30 pm- Bathtime (every other night)
7:15- 7:45 pm- Read a book or two before bed while she sips on a little water
7:30 – 8:00 pm- Asleep
The terrible twos are real and they’re not easy, but the hard parenting days are by far outweighed by the sweet moments that often quite literally take my breath away. When she climbs on my lap to read a book or asks for a big hug from mommy, I completely melt. When I see her learn something new, I swell with pride. When she sings a song and dances along to the beat, my heart jumps. And my absolute favorite times are when we snuggle up on the beach with a snack wrapped up in towels after playing in the ocean. That is my happy place.
Listen, the girl is two. We have plenty of tantrums. They all suck but the most embarrassing one was when I wouldn’t let her play with the checkout pen at CVS and she literally kicked and screamed on the ground in a big line of people. I had to drop everything, pick her up, and leave.
Photos by Julia Dags.