2 years old

Last month Aviana turned two.  Wow.

At two years old she surprises me every day.  She is going through a language explosion right now.  She says new words completely out of the blue so we have to be careful now about swearing!  One day she just randomly started counting to 20. She knows her abcs and can read some of the letters.  Again, randomly she started pointing out letters.  Suddenly I felt underprepared for her learning to read.  She speaks in 4 or 5 word sentences and has memorized many nursery rhymes – her favourite being twinkle twinkle little star and incey wincey spider.  She also knows all her colours – she impressed the doctor at around 21 mths with all her colour knowledge!

One of Aviana’s favourite hobbies is reading.  Some nights we can end up reading her 5 or 6 books before bed or even more if she is allowed to.   She is not picky over her books and will read them over and over so that she can memorise the story and join in the reading. One day she started recanting the Christmas story! Some of her favourite books are all her Julia Donaldson books, including the Gruffalo, and some recent favourites are ‘The Pout Pout Fish’ and Sparkle the Unicorn.

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Aviana’s favourite toy is her kitchen (she calls it her kitchen disco – another good book BTW!) followed probably by duplo, play doh and stickers.  She is insanely good with stickers and is quite a perfectionist with them, they have to be just right.

Aviana likes to help us out in the kitchen – she has some steps so she can reach the surface, although she is still a little too short.  She rather enjoys making a cake and helping daddy with daddy pancakes.  She will also help load the dishwasher!

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Aviana LOVES going to the Little gym, swinging around, roly polys, dancing around on the mats, just learning new gymnastic skills in general.

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She also loves going to the zoo, playing in the park (particular the swings, she could swing easily for half an hour without stopping if she was allowed to).

Her favourite TV shows are pocoyo (narrated by Steven Fry and he is brilliant!) and baby bum….she can also be distracted with pretty much anything on the TV if she were allowed to be, which we discovered on our family trip back to the UK recently! (THANK YOU NETFLIX!!!!)

Things Aviana doesn’t like to do….in typical two year old fashion – get dressed, get undressed, have her hair dried with the hair dryer, going out in the cold, eat too many types of vegetables (she currently eats frozen peas, corn on the cob/sweetcorn/cucumber and raw carrots-kind of).  She is also quite shy and reserved until she knows a place and person.

Aviana sleeps from around 7.30 PM to around 6-7AM with the odd occasion beyond 7 (of course that’s the day we have to go to work), she naps for around 2 hours but can survive without a nap – bedtime is just ugly.  I would say overall she is a good sleeper and we are very lucky that she is easy going to get to sleep (thus far!)

She still has her last 4 molars to come through although I suspect she has been teething these for well over a month now, perhaps even longer than that.  She is not so great at brushing her teeth…it is the one thing that she has complete and utter control over.  Having said that, the dentist said her teeth are very good (particularly as she is thumb sucker).  I wish there was some easy way to get her teeth clean!!!!

Hmmmm what else can I say about this girl?  Her sense of humour is wicked, something definitely taught/inherited by Chris.  Sometimes it’s hard to not laugh when she does something she probably shouldn’t be doing because she does it in such a hilarious way!  This age is so much fun (minus the tantrums).

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Photo credits to Max Turner

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Changes in 2019

I don’t really make new years resolutions. I’m not a fan of them because I would almost certainly break them and get depressed at not keeping them.  Most of the time new years resolutions are all about things I think I should be doing ALL the time (like eating healthy, sleeping well, learn new things, do exercise, take care of myself…blah blah blah)  However, I do like to reflect on the past year and project to the next.  There are three things that I am both excited and nervous for in 2019.

1. The travel trailer adventures.

    EXCITING! Late last year we bought a 32’ travel trailer and a 4×4 truck to pull it. The idea is that we can go visit state and national parks and enjoy seeing America without taking the need to take a tent.  I am excited for all the cool places we are going to see.  We are hoping once we have de-winterized it that we will get out and visit somewhere new one weekend a month with a few longer trips anticipated for 2019.
    NERVOUS! We are going to have to learn how to drive the truck and travel trailer. YIKES. In the US you don’t need a license to pull a trailer, let alone a 32’ one. The only reason we would need a license is if we were using it for commercial purposes.  There aren’t really driving schools that will teach you how to drive it.  That terrifies me.  We haven’t moved it anywhere from the campsite yet.  People say the best idea is to just get out there and do it!
  • 2. Organisational changes at Work.
    • EXCITING! Traveling for work has its ups and downs because it often involves transatlantic travel over the weekends. The good news is however I do get to visit new and exciting places.  I need to embrace this as an exciting point!  My team is also doubling in size and I have applied for a new position (a promotion) within it so who knows what will happen there, but I want to think positively about it.
      NERVOUS. Organisational change brings on a lot of unknowns, but as well as organizationally changing my job description has changed a little bit which will bring new challenges.  I hope I quickly learn the new skills I need for this new job description.  I have a few courses already under my belt and I have a few more this year to take.  I also suspect there will be confusion and stress through this change not just for me, but others so we need to tough it out together – I am nervous that colleagues won’t and work will become less fun.  I really hope not.
  • 3. Toddler Development.
    • EXCITING! I am looking forward to Aviana becoming more independent and enjoying more quality time together, learning about her personality, hearing her talk endlessly (she talks A LOT to us!!) and potty training (bye bye nappies/diapers!).
      NERVOUS. Potty training. Haha yes, I am also nervous about that.  We did actually try potty training several months ago but Aviana fell ill on the second day, she just wasn’t rising to the challenge as we think she can.  She has proven that she knows exactly what to do on the potty by peeing and pooping on it on her own terms.  She also spent a few days at daycare successfully using the potty and staying dry just before we moved her to the new Montessori school.  So potty training will come soon hopefully.  I am also more nervous about dealing with toddler temper tantrums.  Admittedly I think she started these several months earlier than 2 and I feel a little more prepared on how to cope with them (How to talk to your child is a great book for helping in this area)…but I am nervous that there will be bigger ones on the way!

    What are you looking forward to in 2019?  What is making you feel nervous about 2019?

    Micro blog: The copy cat

    We quickly discovered that Aviana learns fast if she has someone to copy.  For example…we visited our local botanical gardens that has a giant sand play pit, the previous night it rained heavily so there was a lot of wet sand and big puddles.  Aviana freaked out about the texture of the wet sand (sticky, wet and dirty!), so she just stood there, not playing, just watching the world for quite sometime.  As soon as our friends joined us with their almost 2 year old daughter who has no such fears, Aviana immediately followed suit, she even sat in one of the sandy puddles, digging the dirt! It was quite an amazing transformation.

    We had tried on many occasions to get Aviana to wear her helmet when she rode on the back of my bike, but we failed and she was miserable if we forced her to wear it.  But as soon as she saw her friend wearing the exact same helmet, that was all it took, and Aviana has been happy to wear hers from since then. In fact she asks for it.

    This all good, really it is adorable to watch her learn in this way, but there is going to be the time when she copies others and we DON’T want her to follow suit!!!

    Micro blog: The poop monster

    Here’s another interesting development….Aviana wanted to sit on the toilet to poop.  She didn’t actually poop, but she sat there for a little while.  She also sat on the step stool and pretended to sit on the toilet to poop (in her diaper).  We have been asking her to tell us when she has pooped so she doesn’t sit in it for too long, and she decides to also tell us on occasion when she has peed.  Sometimes she gives us warning she’s pooping, and sometimes she has actually just farted, so we are some way off potty training!  But it made us think perhaps we should smarten up on potty training and get a potty for those moments when she asks to sit on the toilet.  I’m not in a hurry to potty train her, she’s got a way to go physically I believe. Apparently their bladders aren’t really big enough until around 2. But I literally have no clue on this subject, we should be prepared-time for some reading up!

    Speaking of poop, Aviana’s poop was blue on the 4th July.  It was so blue it stained her bottom blue.  We discovered she ate a muffin at daycare the day before that had a lot of blue food dye in it!! hahahahaha….so gross.

    Micro Blog: The wee bean pole

    As for recognizing Aviana as an IUGR baby, you really can’t tell anymore.  Yes she has skinny arms and legs, but she is definitely one of the taller kids in her class, but not the oldest.  On Monday she had her 18 month wellness check up.  She was 21lbs 6oz (31st percentile, up from the 25th!) and 32.5″ tall (69th percentile, up from 60th).  But she has been wearing 18-24mth old clothes for a while and has outgrown many of her 12-18mth clothes in length.  She can still wear 6-9 mth trousers, they are short, but still fit her waist!  In my IUGR support group i is believed that many IUGR babies catch up in size by the time they are 2 years old.  However, that is not necessarily the case for all types of IUGR (symmetric and micro premie babes), and sometimes it is very easy to spot the IUGR baby in the class.  Aviana is one of those who has caught up physically!!! Good growing little Miss A.

    Micro blog: The Hungry Caterpillar

    We are making a little bit of progress with Aviana’s food habits.  She actually ate a chicken nugget the other week! SHE ATE MEAT!!!! OK, so this type of chicken nugget is the kind which you can barely tell it’s actually chicken…but hey, it’s a win in my books! She eats any kind of fruit thankfully, but vegetables we are down to frozen peas and occasionally broccoli, but that’s it.  She still hates tomatoes, and gags on tomato sauce, but she has been willing to try new stuff, even if she has spat it out before.  So we just keep offering her whatever is the plate du jour in the Fenning house hold, praising her for trying new foods, and keeping it as relaxed as possible.  We know that she eats better when she is around other kids at daycare…sometimes, I wish I could be a fly on the wall whilst they eat their lunch!  On occasion we are sent videos of the class eating their lunch or snack.  I’m amazed at how quiet they actually are when they sit down for food together!  It’s the complete opposite of what you would imagine a toddler lunchtime to be like.  I reckon that must change as they get to the older classes because at the moment conversation isn’t exactly flowing at this age.  My lesson with food so far is not to stress over how much or what exactly she is eating and she seems to do ok, but honestly it’s really hard not to worry after IUGR.

    Micro blog: Little Miss Shy

    There was a moment in time when I thought Aviana was struggling with her shyness and wasn’t enjoying participating in group activities.  I wondered whether we should change daycare to some where more like a Montessori school.  Every photo or video we were sent from daycare, Aviana was either sat in the lap of the teacher, upset or on the otherside of the room by herself.  She had been in this class permanently for over 2 months, it wasn’t like it was so new.  But the daycare staff never thought much of it, Aviana just had her own way of having fun.  Aviana is very affectionate and loves her teacher cuddles.  I am very appreciative that the teacher’s reciprocate, although I was beginning to wonder if they spent too much time holding her or even spoiling her.

    I even wondered whether we should stop going to the little gym parent-child classes at the weekends.  Aviana would cling to us throughout the warm up and would scream, cry or refuse to do any of the skills or activities.  She was happiest playing away from other kids (and noisiness).  And then just as we were going to make an appointment to see the Montessori school…we suddenly got videos of Aviana integrating, participating, and smiling.  We went to the little gym for a birthday party one weekend and she came right of out of her shell.  She was showing off all the skills she had observed other kids doing.  Just yesterday Aviana not only participated in every single activity in the class, she joined in with the other kids (in her own way still!) and suddenly was happy to do all the daredevil stuff she had spent the past 6 months avoiding, and she wanted to do it over and over again!  An incredible change. I doubt she will be the attention seeking kind of kid, but this little step in self-confidence has been wonderful to see.

    Micro blog: The walking dictionary (for beginners)

    Aviana is coming along nicely with learning new words.  I have lost count of the number of words she knows but it is well over 50, may be even 100, and the other day she actually put two words together that she came up with herself, in context of the situation….”Daddy gone?”.  I was taken aback at her new found skill.   Her other new skill is knowing the names of colours – she hasn’t quite got the difference between pink and purple yet, but to be fair, I know a few guys who can’t tell the difference :-0 There is one word in particular she has trouble saying, but is the sweetest – Lizard – she basically says ‘Li-la-d’ and sticks out her tongue like a lizard as she says it.  Too cute.  She occasionally also says words backwards…like ‘Cup’ is ‘Puc’.  I find all this language development truly fascinating.  Every day it’s something new!!!

    Micro Blog: Child’s Brain

    Aviana seems to be growing into her skin a lot more.  Now that she is walking, running and galloping (her new skill this week!), she seems pretty content with her new found skills.  She spent a lot of her growing life constantly frustrated that she can’t physically do stuff she mentally wanted to do.  It felt like her brain was always two steps ahead of her body developmentally.  We have also ran out of ‘wonder weeks’.  Her final leap was actually earlier than expected, a couple of weeks early than the book suggested, but this was becoming the trend with the last few leaps.  Now that we have run out of leaps, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t ‘leap’ in her brain development anymore, it’s just that it’s less predictable.  The wonder weeks app has been a wonderful resource and comfort.  I highly recommend it to new parents.

    I am now reading a new book called ‘Welcome to your child’s brain’ which is sort of an advance on the wonder weeks, and explains a child’s brain development in a whole lot more detail.  Like the wonder weeks, it provides guidance on when and how a kid’s brain develops, but towards teenage college years.  Everything from sight, smell, reading, mathematics, art, behavior, motor skills and emotions.  It’s thoroughly fascinating to learn about how, when and why children do certain things and its normalcy.  Read it.  You won’t regret learning about why your child does certain things and how to deal with them.

    Where’s Dani?

    I haven’t blogged in a while.  Mostly because I have been focusing on other things in my spare time, like learning how to use my sewing machine!!!  Work was a little crazy too and I have often come home feeling like the last thing I want to do is sit down in front of a computer to write.  It is also a sign that I haven’t felt the need to blog, my therapeutic tool.  And that’s kind of a good thing.

    I’m feeling more comfortable in my parenting rhythm.  It goes something like this…

    ….Figure stuff out (books, facebook, family, friends and google – thank you) Two weeks later forget that and figure something else out.  Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

    I have learned to be cool with the routine of the routine always changing.  That’s not to say we don’t have a routine, because we do and it’s a pretty good one Chris and I have figured out.  Rather, I mean, that Aviana is constantly changing and her needs are always changing.  Now I’ve gotten used to that reality.  Expect the unexpected is my new motto.

    With that in mind, I haven’t felt like I have needed to blog!  Which is a shame because I love to capture the interesting things I have learned as a parent.

    In any case, I thought I’d do a series of micro blog posts to catch up!!! No one wants to read my 3 months worth of an essay in one hit!