Category Archives: Toddler

Motherhood / Primrose / Toddler

Motherhood Update: Prim at 2.75 years

February 13, 2018

Saying: Prim’s chatters all. day. long. She is constantly asking questions and shouting out commands (we’re feeling very three these days). She is fascinated by counting and colors, and has recently discovered that asking “why” can lead to an endless conversation (funnnn). She is picking up more and more Dutch words from her weekly dance class, which is taught entirely in Dutch. (Her first Dutch word was “née,” which means “no.” So… not surprising.) It has been funny to hear what she has picked up there, as we have now reached the stage where she is learning Dutch words I don’t know and will regularly ask me, “You know how to do the [Dutch dance word]?” and then will whip out some new dance move.

Prim’s Favorite Things: We have Spotify Premium (because we listen to music all day everyday over here) and I recently discovered that there are a number of kid’s audio books available on the service. We listen to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh numerous times a day, followed by Stories for Children read by Danny Kaye (something from my childhood!)

Reading: Frog and Toad and Room on the Broom.

Latest trick: Prim picks up songs so quickly now. I recently started singing “Do-Re-Mi” to her (because she has this shirt) and I swear she had the whole thing down after I had only sung it to her a couple times. She is also coming home with new dance moves every week, courtesy of her Dutch dance class, and it’s so sweet to see her wiggling and shimmying around, doing “pirouettes” and “hoofd, shouders, knie en teen.” (Prim has been attending this dance class since right after she turned two, and it was the biggest mystery to us for the longest time because parents don’t watch the classes here. All the 2 – 4 year olds go into the room and they shut the door until the end of class — it’s so Dutch! Every week we would ask Prim what she learned in class, but she’s only started telling us and showing us specific moves in the last couple of months.)

Favorite toys: Prim is still obsessed with cooking in her kitchen, and will regularly sidle up to us and ask, “What should I make for ya?” (Despite our requests, the menu at Cafe Prim seems to be limited to coffee, pancakes, and salmon with lentils.)

Sweetest things: Prim is still the sweetest big sister. She works to include Lark in almost everything she does and has started reassuring her when she gets upset. Lark is going through the separation anxiety phase and will regularly lose it if I so much as leave the room. This is not my favorite phase by far, but it’s very sweet to hear Prim telling her “It’s ok sweetheart! Mama be right back, it’s just me down here.” (PS: I don’t call anyone sweetheart, so I actually don’t know where she picked this up. So funny and sweet.)

Favorite thing about this age: Between cutting 4 new teeth and suffering from the stomach flu, Lark has been struggling at night lately and waking up in the early morning. Prim wakes up when Lark is upset and will hop out of bed to turn on their nightlight, then sit in bed and “read Lark a story” to help calm her down (we keep books next to Prim’s bed so she can read if she wakes up or has trouble winding down). I often come into their room to nurse Lark after one of these episodes and Prim will tell me, “Larky’s upset. I talk to her and read her a story.” which is my cue to text KC all the heartbreak and pregnancy emojis.

Primrose / Toddler

Conversations With a 2.5 Year Old

January 29, 2018

KC: “Prim, what do nutcrackers eat?”
Prim: “CHIPS!”
KC: “Not nuts?”
Prim: “No. Chips. Not nuts.”

Prim’s 3yo cousin (running across the room): “I’m a lion!”
Prim (starts running): “I’m a lion too!”
Cousin (stops running, stands face-to-face with Prim): “No, you’re a rabbit.”
Prim: “Oh. What’s a rabbit?”
Cousin: “Y’know… (long pause, thinking. mimes rabbit ears over Prim’s head) It’s white?”
Prim: “Oh yeah. DISGUSTING.”

Prim: “Oh no! There’s a dragon under the table!”
Me: “Oh no!”
Prim: “Have to get him out!”
Me: “We have to get him out? What are we going to do?”
Prim: “Have to put your hands on his buns and push. All of us!”

Prim: “This pasta is de-lekker*, Mama!”
Me: “Thanks P!”
Prim (finishes pasta, hands me her bowl): “More garlic.”
*lekker means tasty in Dutch

Prim: “What’s chocolate?”
Me: “I don’t know, what is it?”
Prim: “My favorite food.”

Motherhood / Primrose / Toddler

Motherhood Update: Prim at 2 1/2 years

November 9, 2017

Saying: Prim’s language continues to surprise us. She was an early talker, and the things she comes up with is fascinating. She understands the concept of “after” now (“I want to listen to Prim’s music after Mama’s music.”) and is grasping daytime vs. nighttime (“It’s getting dark. I can’t wait to see the moon!”)  Her speech is very clear for her age, but I love how she mispronounces words like oatmeal (OH-pa-meel) and sprinkler (sprink-lee-er). She also regularly asks, “What you doin’, Mama?” and yells “You ok, Mama?” across the room when she hears me drop something.

Prim’s Favorite Things: I picked up an 8oz BKR bottle when we were in Copenhagen, and it has proven to be a solid purchase. Prim loves that it’s more of a “grown-up” water bottle, and it fits well in the diaper bag and holds a full 8oz of water. It has a smaller footprint than the 9oz Lifefactory bottles (which we use with a sippy top everyday at home) so it’s perfect for using on the go. I love that the BKR is glass, since I try to avoid plastic with the kids, especially for eating/drinking apparatus. (There are some good metal water bottle options as well, but I personally think metal makes water taste weird, so I tend to avoid it just due to my own preference.)

Reading: Pumpkin Eye (a holdover from Halloween), The Friendly Beasts, The Night Before Christmas.

Latest trick: Prim loves helping me cook in the kitchen. As soon as she sees me heading to the kitchen, she will yell, “I want to help!” and race over to her step stool and pull it up to the counter. If I’m making dinner I will try to give her something to “cut” (she uses a kids butter knife), like a broccoli stem I’ll be discarding. Baking is much more of a “team activity,” and she will regularly help me scoop, dump, and stir. It does generally result in at least one ingredient getting messed up, but coming from a big Italian family with strong cooking roots, I’m thrilled that she’s taking an early interest in the culinary arts. (Our recent baking favorites include these pumpkin muffins and applesauce muffins.)

Favorite toys: Prim is very into “building towers” with her Legos and lining up her beloved Gruffalo blocks. She continues to be smitten with her “babies” and regularly puts them “down for a rest” or sets them up for tummy time.

Sweetest things: Prim is so sweet and considerate with Lark. She is very good at including Lark in her play, handing her toys (“Here you go, Lark!”) and looking out for her (“Larky needs some water!”) Two-and-a-half is certainly not without its challenges (Prim has discovered the concept of asking for “something else” and has made it her current mantra), but with her newfound language skills she is also readily asking us to be involved in whatever she’s doing (“You want to build a tower with me, Mama?” “You want some tea, Daddy?” “Here, you want to hold little baby, Larky?”) Hearing her sweet, inclusive requests is definitely one of the high points of this age.

Favorite thing about this age: Prim has started making up little songs and singing about what she’s doing. I know that she gets this from me (I am totally guilty of making up silly songs and singing about anything and everything). Hearing what her little mind comes up with is so hilarious and adorable.

Baby / Motherhood / Toddler

Our Daily Routine

October 5, 2017

I’m always interested in how people structure their days — especially other mamas. These little ones seem to really thrive on a predictable schedule, I suppose because they lack so little control over their own lives. It must be nice to have a sense of how things are going to go each day when you have pretty much zero authority over the schedule.

We obviously can’t stick to this schedule every single day, but I make an effort to make this their reality at least 80-90% of the time. Oddly enough, I think it’s this consistency that makes both Prim and Lark much more adaptable when we’re traveling and unable to stick to their normal routine. I also keep this structure somewhat flexible to account for the random days when the girls don’t sleep well or nap on the go, but the below is the general framework we follow on normal days.

Prim has been on a schedule for a long time, but I read a lot about routines after Lark was born because I was struggling with managing the schedules of an almost-2-year old and a newborn. I was a little frustrated with a lot of what I read because it seemed like most of the schedules were aimed at people who had a baby OR a toddler — not both. Given that many people have more than one child, I wanted to see schedules that accounted for more than one child in the same household. The only schedule I found that took multiple kids into consideration was the Moms on Call book series, which was really helpful in setting up our rhythm.

Now that Lark is older and the girls are sharing a room, their schedules are much more enmeshed and seamless, but it was not without some trial and error during the first months. Our schedule seems to be continually evolving to account for consolidating naps and nursing sessions as Lark gets older, which I think is normal. Now that Lark is down to two naps a day though, this will likely be our schedule for awhile, as she likely won’t go down to one nap until she’s a year old.

7:30am We get girls out of their room and bring them into our bed for a bit of cozy time and so Lark can nurse.

The girls often wake up around 7am, but after having a rough transition period when they first started sharing a room where Prim would wake up for the day at 5am (um, NO THANKS) I bought her a clock that lights up when it’s time to get up. She now knows that when the “light turns green it’s time to wake up” and will start calling for us after it goes on.

8:00am Breakfast

9:30am Lark nurses and takes first nap (1 1/2 to 2 hours)

11:30/Noon Lunch

1pm-3pm Lark nurses and Prim and Lark nap

The girls go down for their nap awake together and are generally in their room for two hours total, but usually only sleep an hour and a half of that time.

3/3:30pm Snack

4pm Lark nurses (some days)

I’m trying to eliminate this feeding.

5/5:30pm Dinner

I don’t prefer to eat dinner this early and I am working to move dinner back bit by bit. I started having them eat this early when I combined their bedtime routine because Lark could not be up past 7pm (she just can’t hang). I have now managed to push bedtime to 7:30pm (and usually not a moment later — Lark is very strict on this). I am dreading the upcoming time change a little bit, because I really don’t want them going to bed at 6:30pm.

6:45pm Bedtime routine starts

Girls take a bath together, pajamas on, read 1-2 stories, sing one song, nightlight + sound machine on, Lark nurses.

7:30pm Girls in bed, door closed

Motherhood / Primrose / Toddler

Motherhood Update: Prim at 28 months

September 10, 2017

Prim on vacation: going and going and going until she literally just passes out on KC in 3 minutes flat.

Saying: Prim is figuring out space and time words now, so there’s a lot of descriptive sentences happening — like “Prim read the Gruffalo book over there next to the shelf!” and “Prim have raisin toast and Rice Krispies for breakfast yesterday.”

Prim’s Favorite Things: My parents got Prim a Finding Dory backpack as a gift during their last visit to Amsterdam, which she loves. She packs up all her special things when we travel and brings it onto the plane. (It’s usually full of Gruffalo blocks, a wooden bracelet and necklace, and her babies.)

Reading: The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry BearPierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a PrologueA Sick Day for Amos McGeeTree; and The Gruffalo.

Latest trick: Prim is fully potty trained now, including naps and nighttime. We do still put her in a diaper at night, but she really doesn’t need it (a little insurance never hurt anyone though!)

Favorite toys: Prim is very into riding her “tiger bike,” which is a wooden ride-on toy I scored on an Amsterdam resale site for a whopping 2 euros (it’s actually this one without the cushion). That thing even managed to survive a tumble down the stairs (don’t ask), so it’s pretty dang sturdy!

Sweetest things: Prim continues to be infatuated with Lark and is still so excited to be sharing a room with her. Pretty much every night when we head upstairs to begin the bedtime routine, she will excitedly tell us “Larky sleep in your room!” (your room = Prim’s room). We have also streamlined the bedtime routine so that Prim and Lark take a bath together before bed. This not only helps us time-wise, it has also taken away some of the bedtime resistance we’ve been getting from Prim. She will hop into the bathroom, yelling “Prim take a bath with Larky!” And while getting Prim to settle in bed after stories and songs used to take ages, I have learned that she will quiet down much more willingly if I tell her she needs to be quiet in bed while Lark nurses. I honestly don’t know what I did to get this amazingly sweet relationship between these girls, but man, it is one of my most favorite things about being a mama.

Favorite thing about this age: Prim’s speech is very advanced for her age, but even so, she’s clearly still struggling to keep her mouth up with the pace of her brain. She’s started babbling again, interspersing many of the words she knows with gibberish. She often launches into these diatribes when KC gets home from work or while we’re all sitting down at dinner, as though she wants to be included in all the grown up conversation and fill everybody in on how her day went.