Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Thirteenth Month

Hello out there!! It's been a while, huh? See - this is what happens when I don't have self-imposed deadlines - I go AWOL! It has been a busy, busy month and I can't wait to fill you in on the details. Now that Kaitlin's first year is over I am going to give monthly updates rather than weekly, but hopefully I'll be popping in more often than once a month! So...onto our new monthly update!

*ps - I've had this in my draft folder for well over a week - can I still use the "baby brain" excuse??*

I'm pretty sure this statement is going to sound familiar, but it has never been truer. The amount that I have seen Kaitlin grow in the last month is astounding! She's not physically any bigger (although her feet have finally grown a bit) but developmentally she has made so much progress. Around her first birthday I had mentioned to a couple people that I thought she was a little behind in her speech development. In reality she definitely was not - our pediatrician said she was absolutely fine and it was me just being an overly concerned parent (as usual) - but she really only said variations of "Dada" on a consistent basis. She hardly ever said sounds like ba, gah, ma, etc. And she only said one word ("Dada", which is completely normal at her age). In the last month I have noticed her speech develop at a rapid pace. She still pretty much only says "Dada" but she has lots of her own versions of words. She says "yes" ("yish"), "this" ("dis"), "bubbles" ("bah" then blows), "skootch" to go down the stairs ("shhh shhh") are the most common ones that come to mind. She has also learned to "sign" that she is all done eating, which Brian and I have been working on with her over the last week or so.

Just because she doesn't say much (she is only a year old, after all) doesn't mean that she doesn't understand what you're saying to her. Ohhhhh no - she knows exactly what you are saying to her - she's a smart one! She continues to listen to and (sometimes) follow instructions and she is learning how to put things away (which helps with the hundreds of toys and books that she continuously throw around the house all day every day). Last week she had terrible diaper rash, the worst she has ever had. We even had to take her to the doctors to get prescription medicine to help clear it up (I'm blaming teething but in reality I still haven't figured out the culprit). It got so bad that it hurt her whenever she went to the bathroom, which is often. One afternoon we were in her room "organizing" her books when she suddenly looked at me and pulled on her diaper. I asked her if she had a pee-pee diaper and she immediately said "yish".  I went to change her and sure enough she had a wet diaper! I was sure she was the smartest kid on the planet ;)  Since that day whenever we ask about her diaper we get mixed answers, not always correct but not always wrong either.  She is learning more and more concepts about her toys and ways to play with them that she previously didn't recognize or understand. Just the other day we discovered that she knows how to stack her wood blocks on top of each other! I think she was as amazed as I was. Now, they aren't that centered or stable, but I hold onto them while she builds them "higher" (which is our key word for the activity). And her favorite part - knocking the block tower down!! It is truly fascinating to watch her literally learn a new thing (or two!) every day.

Physically she's getting stronger and stronger. She learned how to "skootch" down the stairs on her bottom (since trying to teach her to go backwards was a nightmare), can now reach into the top of her water table to drop the toys down the slide, and practically runs around the house and yard. Her balance  is improving every day, even though she still falls a lot (mostly because she  doesn't look where she's going).

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Twelfth Month

Here we are - the end of the road.

So dramatic, right? 

Ok, so maybe not the end of the WHOLE road but at least the first part. We now say "goodbye" to BABY Kaitlin and say "Hello!" to TODDLER Kaitlin. Yikes.

 The twelfth month brought lots of exciting things including visiting friends/grandparents, her eighth tooth, walking and "running" (walking really fast), swimming pools and splash table fun. It also brought tears (new babysitter!), bumps and bruises. We had lots of skipped naps and our first visit to the zoo. And at the end of it all we celebrated with a birthday, some cake and a baptism (as well as my first Mother's Day). It was a busy month indeed!

Kaitlin learned how to stand up on her own this month (not holding onto anything) and it greatly improved her walking skills. She walks, walk, walks all day long - around the house, around the yard, around the playground and loves every minute of it. She still falls a lot but she quickly gets back up and is on her way. She has also started "running", which is usually just her walking really fast (and usually falling at the end because she isn't that steady) especially when you chase her. She absolutely loves being chased and playing peek-a-boo, I think she likes being surprised and the anticipation of it all.

She has also become quite the water baby. She loves being in her baby pool and playing with her splash table. Her newest "game" to play involves moving all of her toys from the pool to the splash table and then back again. Grammie bought her a whole bunch of outside balls to play with as well and she loves to carry them around and "throw" them. She loves being outside, pushing or riding her tricycle around (ie, having me push her around), playing in her pool, going for walks and playing on the playground. The more time we can spend outside with her the better. Unfortunately it is starting to get pretty hot down here so we have to get in a lot of our outdoor play in the morning before the sun and heat get to be too intense for her. I'm starting to dread the upcoming summer, when temperatures will be into the 100's, with a small and very energetic toddler at home. 

We had our first visit to the zoo, and while I don't think she completely understood it I think she had a good time. She really liked the giraffes and the flamingos, I think because they were the easiest for her to notice. Other times when I pointed out animals to look at she would look past them or be distracted by something else and not even be paying attention. We might have to hold off on the zoo for a little while longer before she get's more out of it, which is fine because it wouldn't be fun to go to in the summer heat anyway. 

Kaitlin had a great first year check up at the doctor and she said that she is doing very, very well. She was impressed with all of the walking and general busyness, and said her weight (18lbs and 11oz) and overall growth was right on track. Our pediatrician heavily suggested that we stop using the bottle as close to her first birthday as possible, as it is easier to take a bottle away from a one year old than it is a two year old. I introduced whole milk to Kaitlin a couple of weeks before she turned one. At first she wouldn't drink it at all and then she would drink a little bit if it was watered down. We finished the rest of the formula we had and then within the first week after her birthday we took away the bottle. The first night was rough, she still needs that "meal" before bed to sleep through the night, and the first straw cup with milk that I offered her she hated and refused to drink from. I ended up caving and putting the milk in a bottle, which she drank without a problem. The next night it was back to a strawcup with milk before bed, this time using a different cup. Much to my surprise (and anxiety - we had a great bedtime routine why rock the boat?!) she drank all of her milk without any problems! And since then it has been smooth sailing. We even graduated to whole milk (no added water) a couple of days later and now she LOVES drinking milk.

Kaitlin now eats about five meals a day, all of it solid food with milk and water to drink. She gets a cup of milk in the morning when she first wakes up and has breakfast soon after. Around 9-10am (depending on when she is up from her nap) she has a snack, usually fruit and cheerios, and then has lunch around 1130-12 and a cup of milk. One more snack around 3pm and then dinner at 5-530, followed by a cup of milk before bed. She is eating SO much more solid food than she was one month ago. I was really worried that she was drinking too much formula and not eating enough solids, but I didn't know how to "break" her from the bottle routine. Turns out, all you have to do is NOT give it to her. Sometimes the answer is so simple that you don't even think of it. One month ago she used to easily take 5 bottles a day, and would gladly drink more if I let her. I first took away the "snack" bottles and started replacing them with a solid food snack. It took a couple of times for her to get the idea but then she happily gobbled up some food. As most things baby related I was stressing way too much about how to handle a transition and Kaitlin handled it just fine. She is starting to become picky about what food she eats though, which is a change from when we first started solids. She definitely has her favorites and isn't afraid to let you know when she doesn't like something on her plate.

I can't believe how much our little girl has grown this past year. She went from being so tiny and helpless and completely dependent on us, to energetic and fiercely independent and her own little person in just twelve months. Of course, she still needs us for most everything, but she likes and tries to do so much stuff on her own. She is smart, strong willed and determined. She has quite the sense of humor and never fails to make us laugh all day every day. It absolutely amazing me how much she understands and comprehends. I still can't believe that this little person knows exactly what I mean when I say, "Time to eat, go to your high chair" or "Can you please give this toy to Daddy?" And watching her figure out obstacles and puzzles is equally inspiring and exciting. It really makes you realize that they really do watch and absorb every little thing that you do (and we are starting to also realize that we need to start curbing our bad behaviors around her!) This past year has, without a doubt, been the best, happiest and also most challenging year of my life. I can't wait to see what the next year brings!