Colette: 17 Months

Time is certainly flying by. Colette is getting further and further from the baby phase and is a full-on toddler. She seems so big to me, she caught me by surprise the other day when my mom pushed her back in the stroller and I saw her sitting there, her long legs hanging down. Of course there are ups and downs with the phase. I love how much she knows and understands now, but she's also becoming more opinionated by the day and definitely knows what she wants. Dave reminded me that I had already read The Happiest Toddler on the Block as it lay on my bed, but I feel like I need to refresh my memory and as we head through this phase again with a different child.

Though we've had some good adventures in the last month, overall, it's been a bit tough. Sickness has seemed to follow us since the end of September until maybe a week ago. Luckily it hasn't been awful, but at least one kid sick for a couple days so he's home from school, then both boys are and overlap for a day or two, then the original one goes back to school and then Colette may get it. Of course I'm not taking the sick one out to the park or elsewhere, which means we all stay home so I feel like after the initial couple weeks of school, we got out of our routine. Then the horrible fires up in Napa and Sonoma have led to pretty bad air quality, which thankfully is now back to normal, but was bad enough that we couldn't go outside for over a week. Everyone was bouncing off the walls -- the boys weren't taken on the roof at school, soccer or anything else outside was canceled, so as we headed into last weekend with the poor air quality hanging on, we decided last minute to go down to Pismo Beach to see Chip and Julie and get some relief. It was great, and when we got back, things were improving here and few days later, pretty much back to normal (at least here). We even got rain last night.

Now the kids seem to have a mild cold again so hopefully it doesn't get worse and we can enjoy the last week or so of October with lots of Halloween activities. Colette loves her costume though it's not good quality so I haven't let her wear it much as I already had to put my sewing skills to use to repair.

EAT: Since getting George's virus 2 weeks ago when we were up in Apple Hill, her appetite has been slow to get back to normal. Which may be a good thing because before that I actually was thinking about talking to her doctor as she seemed to be eating so much and wanting food constantly. Though her appetite has finally returned in the last few days, she does seem to be pickier and I've sworn to not give in as it was around this age the boys slowly started getting pickier and it's certainly a slippery slope. I continue to push variety and though she definitely knows what she does or does not want to eat, I have had success with offering the same food at the next meal. She didn't like my veggie-packed mac and cheese, wouldn't even touch it, but the next day ate it for lunch so it's a good reminder that just because she doesn't want something once doesn't mean she no longer will eat it. At snack time, often I offer 2 things and if she throws a fit and doesn't want them, nothing more is offered. Sometimes she'll eat and sometimes she won't, but she still eats quite a bit, and a good variety, that I'm not worried. She still does great with meat, cheese and just about any fruit, is getting better with sandwiches, seems to have gotten over eggs a bit (though I keep trying every other day or so). No progress with veggies and she's only sometimes drinking the smoothies Jessica makes with lots of veggies. We did move her out of the baby seat on her high chair so she's a bit less confined which has seemed to help. She's getting better drinking out of an open cup (though will sometimes intentionally throw it too...) and loves sparkling water. She's pretty good with utensils and loves using a big fork if she can snatch one. She also loves having a napkin and wiping her face. We've even included her in helping set the table (the boys' job) and she loves it.

SLEEP: Hmm, as I remember with the boys too, still a bit hit or miss. Generally I think it's okay, but with her being sick, we definitely had some rough nights where either Dave or I were up with her or sleeping in the bed in her room with her. Now she seems to be getting another tooth in and two nights ago I was up 4 times in an hour with her and finally shut off my brain and told her I was going to sleep... and I didn't hear her until I woke up at 7am. Well, Dave had been up with her since 4am. We've had a good night since, so hopefully we can get back on track. Her wake up times vary, sometimes she's able to entertain herself until 6:45, other morning we have to go in earlier to get her. We did get her the sun/moon clock that worked so well with the boys though, so we're trying to stay in her room with her until sun comes up so she learns to wait. She does love the clock so we're off to a good start. Bedtime has been tougher unfortunately. She's in a very clingy stage and cries to be left in there. Thankfully it hasn't been terrible screaming, but more whining most of the time, so we go in and check on her, reassure her and then go back out. It's just taking her sometimes close to an hour to fall asleep. Naps are fine in the sense that she's sleeping 2 hours most days, sometimes slightly longer, but she continues to wake up at least once, sometimes multiple times, crying/whining. We always leave her as we know the drill and she almost always falls back asleep but I really wish she would be able to sleep through. Most of the time I don't think anything exterior is waking her up so not sure there's much we can do to help.

PLAY:  She's practically running now, or at least walking fast enough that you're sure she's going to fall, but she doesn't. Her favorite 'toys' still remain: the remote, the phone, the toy camera. I got her a tea set from a friend and she does like that, and pretend play in general. She loves playing doctor and attending to her stuffed animals. Dress up is also a hit with the doctor kit, getting out her lion coat, superhero mask and cape or just pulling out clothes she finds. She gets excited when I show her her outfit for the day and loves to get dressed and look in the mirror. I do wonder how much I'm influencing this and though I know I shouldn't be doing it, I did the same with the boys, 'you look so cute!'. Though there have been periods of intense clinginess lately, she's generally very independent. There are many times she goes into her toy corner to read books or play, or gets in to the duplo drawer and starts trying to build. At the park she heads off on her own and will even start climbing the play structure. Though she's done it before, she still gets nervous to go down the slide and has a problem letting go from the top so I still hold one hand for her to get down. She loves the swings for a minute and especially likes switching between different swings in 30-second bursts. Reading is still a favorite though she'll promptly snap a book shut in the middle if she done and hands me a new one.

TALK: She definitely made progress this month, though we're mostly just getting the first syllable of the words. There's a lot of aah (apple), da (duck, dog), ma (milk, more) and ba (bar, ball, bow, bear) and uh for up. Other 'words' I can loosely include are 'off' and 'on' and 'all done'. She has 'wawa' down for water. She doesn't say yes or no, but has a different guttural sound for each that communicates her opinion. Her no sound also includes a fiercely shaking finger in your face... I have been encouraging her to 'say' more words so when she grabbing at my legs and pointing up (the sign language sign for up), I say 'up Mama, up' and she'll say 'uh'. I think she may be starting to say 'ga' for George (we're going with 'Gaga' but other than Mom and Dad, she doesn't say other names.

POTTY: Zero change this last month. She's extremely interested if you're going potty, to the point that you need to move her away, and loves to get you toilet paper, but hasn't been sitting on it much at all and we haven't really been encouraging. She continues to have her poop issues holding it in.

Colette: I noticed the shift to toddler this month, how active you are and how opinionated you've become. I'm hoping your language picks up a bit as I know how much of a difference that makes, though it is pretty amazing how much you can communicate just by the different grunts you use. A boy about your age was riding a bike at the park and you wanted it so you went over and did you guttural grunt and he started balling and ran to his mom. You sat down and rode off on the bike, satisfied. Why talk when you can get your point across so clearly? There are plenty of tantrums when you don't want your diaper changed, you don't want to be taking out of your high chair (yet are throwing your food), or don't want to leave somewhere. But along with all that comes the development and understanding of more and more each day. I feel like I can ask you to do pretty much anything and you attempt to do it. You're getting better at taking off your shoes when we come home, you'll go get things for me, etc. I know we're heading into what can be a hard phase, but there are so many great moments too. You do more and more animal sounds and can't point out so many things in the books now. It was sad to see you sick and not feeling well and some of that clinginess has stuck around, but since I didn't get much of that with the boys, honestly, it's secretly appreciated. You're a great helper, so sweet with giving hugs, know just what you want and will stand your ground to get it. For the first time today at the park, you cried, and I don't blame you. A little girl, maybe close to 2 or slightly older (but not much), wrapped her arms around you from the back in a light hug. I was watching and just as I was saying, 'gentle', she grabbed you tightly and pulled you backwards to ground. Of course her mom was mortified and you were crying, but we calmed you down and you were okay. That type of thing is bound to happen many more times and I think it caught you offguard more than anything else. You are such a strong girl and we love you so much! Here's to soaking up another great month before you're closer to 2 than you are to 1 :(

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