Colette: 18 Months Old

It's fun to think back on memories from a year ago, good memories when Colette was home with us, though we were still skimming milk and trying to get her to eat better at this point last year. We were just starting to introduce solids. I feel so grateful to be where we are now, especially when I needed to get a school form filled out from the doctors office with her immunizations (we're enrolling in a 1-hour per week Mom-and-Me class at a preschool so they unfortunately require this), and I get to see this:

There was so much unknown even a year ago and while we still have worries in the back of our head, a big 'Healthy' feels so good. We had a call with a Dr. at CHOP yesterday who reviewed Colette's medical history and relieved some of those worries as he doesn't expect there to be any problems based on what he's seen. Who knows, but it was nice to know that our team followed the procedures that CHOP (the best in the nation for pulmonary/lymphatic issue in kids) does.

It's so busy right now, but I feel like at least our weekends haven't been packed since Halloween so despite having a lot to do personally, the weekends are somewhat low-key. I've been working on Colette's activity schedule for the new year as I'm getting antsy to add a few more classes into the rotation. She enjoyed music, but wouldn't say she loved it so we may take a break from that. I'd love to get her in a gymnastics/MyGym type of class and would've done it sooner but MyGym is across town and the closer place did have good class times for her schedule until she turned 18 months. We'll also be doing an outdoor class on Monday morning which should be fun and a class at a nearby preschool which is sort of an early intro to preschool, but parents stay the whole time. I hope it will be a good way to meet other moms with kids the same age as the range is only 18-24 months. While I love the flexibility in our schedule to take care of things we need to do, switch off and get the boys from school, etc., I was also getting sick of just ending up at the park. I'll continue to swim with her 1-2 times per week, she's still great in the water though I feel like I need to work on some of the things she'd get in a class, like learning to hold onto the wall. All my kids have been the same, they love to let go immediately.

EAT: Colette's appetite is strong as ever and her palette hasn't changed much. It seriously seems like she's always hungry but I'm trying hard to stick to meal times and then offer a snack in between. She's always the first at the breakfast and dinner table and it seems like I've just cleaned up when she's giving me the sign for more food. Her weight gain has been steady so I don't think there are any concerns about how much she's eating but I'm just trying to watch the snacking. She drinks milk but not too much and honestly just uses it for a desperate last-ditch attempt and not going to bed. While she can still sit at the table for a while during meals, she's definitely testing limits a bit lately -- pouring water into her bowl of food, throwing stuff down, spitting milk or food out of her mouth, etc. Luckily, she loves food, so she does get really mad fast if we start to take her bib off or push her seat away from the table. She loves being a part of the routine as well, helping to set the table, using a big fork like us, carrying her plate over to the sink after dinner. One morning, I hadn't fully cleaned up breakfast yet and was in the other room when I saw her get the towel and start to clean up under her chair.

SLEEP: We're still in the thick of separation anxiety right now so while generally she sleeps well, most nights she cries at bedtime. It's hard because I'll go through our whole nighttime routine, she says goodnight to everything and seems fine, then when I go to put her in her bed, she desperately goes through all her signs and now says a version of the word along with it -- diaper, milk, she points to the chair or the bed and wants us to sit there with her. I usually give her a last drink of milk and I know her diaper is clean and her put her in. She cries more, sometimes for awhile, but I go downstairs to take over from Dave with the boys and he handles her. Some nights I think he has to hold her, but the problem is, she's fine when you pick her up, but when you eventually have to put her back down, it all starts over again, so it really feels like we're prolonging it. For a few nights, she was waking up around 11pm and doing her whole routine with her milk sign, etc, so we usually give her a drink, but again, it's almost better not to go in because once you go in, she won't stop crying until you pick her up, but whenever you eventually put her down again, it starts over. Most nights thankfully she sleeps soundly and wakes up between 6:15 and 6:40. Naps have been a bit better, though she still wakes up screaming most days after 40 minutes, but will put herself back to sleep almost every time. She loves her sun/moon clock and I'm convinced it does help at least a little bit or is good training for when she moves to a toddler bed... hopefully no time soon.

PLAY: Colette is so active now. She's really on the move at the park and I can look down for less than 5 second and she's gone. Luckily she's adventurous but not a dare-devil so while I'm always watching her, I don't think she's just run off the edge. She's strong, but I think she'd benefit from a gym-type class. She doesn't seem to know how to climb up a ladder, but on the little plastic stand-alone slide at the park, she's strong enough to get her arms over the platform park and pull her whole body up. I also had her at a messy play class that had a small platform tilted to form a slide. The kids were having a blast walking up the slide on their hands and their toes and then sliding down. She didn't get it at first, but after maybe 10 tries, she figured out that she needed to turn her feet to use her toes. She had so much fun with it! So the strength is definitely there and she seems to be able to do everything developmentally appropriate, but I notice she'll sometimes find a different, and maybe more difficult way to do things. I wouldn't say she's running yet as she doesn't lift her knees, but she's definitely progressed to a very fast walk. She likes to draw anytime the art supplies are out for the boys, something the boys weren't interested in at this age, and in general, she has great fine motor skills. She likes her tea set and will set it all up herself and is into pretend play, feeding her stuffed animals, getting stuff out of the play kitchen, pretending with her doctor kit, or cleaning. She likes stuffed animals more than dolls and likes the barn and farm animal toys. She also has started building with duplos. She's more into playing in the sand at the park now and still likes the swings, but just for a couple minutes. Dave caught her on video actually being able to scoot herself forward on one of the car toys at the park, I had only seen her move her legs to go backwards before. We've gotten her scooter out as she seems so into it, and have seen her be able to hold onto the handle, one foot on and one foot pushing, but generally she doesn't get it. She loves balls and can throw. Books are still a top favorite and I realized a week ago that a lot of the books under the boys' beds they've outgrown -- still fun to read here and there but they really don't need to have all of them down there which just ends up making more of a mess. So I boxed them up and brought them upstairs, and then I realized that maybe I should've moved her baby books out sooner and been reading more actual books (as I looked back at the boys' blog posts and they were definitely sitting for longer books at this point). Anyway, I tried to do that and she will sit for a longer one here or there, but she still loves some of the super simple tiny books. So I'm torn. It's on my list to better organize the books this weekend, but I think I'm going to put most of the books away and a do a mix of baby books and toddler books and see if we can transition more in the coming months.

TALK: So she's made a lot of progress, but she also hasn't. She still can only say the first syllable of any word, so 'apple' is 'ah'. I talked to the pediatrician about it and it's totally normal, she was more concerned about her number of words, but when she told me that words count when I know what she's talking about even if it's the same sound as another word, she's actually doing pretty well. I'd say she has 30 words, maybe more, but they fall within the same sounds uh - up; oh (or similar version) - off, on, out, open; bu - book, bow, bucket, button, bear, boot; ba - ball, barn, banana; ma - milk, more; da - duck, dog, diaper, down, door. She did say 'chee' for cheese once when Dave said he'd give it to her if she could say it. Surprisingly, she doesn't know more food words. But it's clear to me that she knows the word even when it sounds the same for several things because she uses it in the right context. Wa-wa, Mama and Dada, are the only words she can say more than one syllable for. She's also started saying 'ya' and 'wowww', but still can't say 'no' (sure we'll get plenty of that soon enough!). She certainly gets her point across by doing her grunt that will clear a room. It's so fun to hear her form new words, but hoping she'll build more complete words soon.

POTTY: Her diaper issues continue and she had a horrible diaper rash a few days ago. She still holds her poop and we'll change multiple diapers in just a few hours as a little bit of poop comes out. She sits on the toilet her or there but has never gone potty while on the toilet.

18-month stats:
24lbs (68th percentile) - 22lbs 6.5oz 3 months ago
33.2 inches (88th percentile)  - 31.5 inches 3 months ago - who knows how accurate this is!
(just slightly bigger than W and smaller than G at the same age) 
Teeth: 18 (11 teeth 3 months ago)
Diapers: size 4
Clothes: 12-18 months, starting to move up to 18-24 months

Colette: 18 months already! You seem perfectly on track, dealing with a lot of the challenges of a typical 18-month old -- separation anxiety, tantrums, testing-limits. You're actually really independent and have no problem being across the playground from me exploring on your own. Many times you're fine playing on your own at home as well. But we haven't had the same luck at church. You're getting better, but we still can't leave you in the nursery. Dad or I will stay down there and redirect you back multiple times, encouraging you to play with the toys, sit down and read with caregivers or have snack with the kids and you will do it, often even playing on your own for a good chunk of time.  But if you look for us, we have to be there, or else you'll totally freak out and start screaming and no one has been able to calm you down. Totally normal at this stage, but we have gone to church multiple Sundays in a row trying to establish a routine. You have become engaged for longer periods and will let a caregiver read to you now so I do see improvement. You're a great helper at home and love to do what everyone else is doing. You'll help clean up (and love to do so at music class too, helping the teacher chug the box of instruments back to its place), put your clothes (or often the boys' clean clothes that I've brought upstairs for that day) in the laundry bag. You just love being a part of everything. Anytime you're walking with more than one person, you hold out both hands and wait for someone to take them. Everyone thinks it's the cutest thing when we drop the boys off at school since you'll usually be walking in between the two of them. You try to go in with the teachers every day and never want to leave drop-off. You're a tough cookie, though you've started hitting, you'll hit Dad, Jessica or I when we're holding you and you don't like what we're doing. You've also bit here or there (not us, mostly W when he's done something to you) so we're working on that. I'm hoping you get some more full words soon as that should help. Your last IGG results were 500, a huge jump from recent tests, so good in fact that Dr. Hardy doesn't think we need to test again, maybe in a year. I think I'll probably test again in a few months, but this is just such good news. This was the one things that we continued to monitor and now that it seems to be producing well on its own, you seem to be a regular, healthy girl. So awesome! You give great hugs and your new thing is to go around to the moms at whatever class we're at and hug everyone before we leave. You love accessories, always ask for a bow (your hair is a little unwieldy without one) and turn the bell shakers into bracelets at music class. You try to sneak a cheese from the drawer anytime the fridge is open. You generally know what you want and with grunt fiercely at us when you don't like something. You still love bike rides with Dad and love Dad in general, though Mom is still high up there. Dedee and Papa sometimes rank above us depending on the day. It's so fun to see you grow and learn new things every day. We love you sweet girl!

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