Colette: 20 Months

A good chunk of this month was spent in Florida, but it's been nice to get back and settled into a routine here again. I was looking forward to starting new classes with Colette and offer her a bit more stimulation beyond the park, but unfortunately we've been stuck inside quite a bit since everyone has been sick. Colette came down with something last Thursday and Friday (fever, clingy), the G got it Sat/Sun and rested Monday and we thought somehow W would avoid it, but Monday night he started getting sick too. The kids are all on the mend, just lingering colds, I have the cold, and Dave though he was getting a touch of the flu last night so we'll see how he fares. Even Jessica is out today, my mom got the same thing, my dad had the flu at the beginning of the month so we didn't see him for several weeks. It's brutal. It seems like everyone I've talked to has dealt with it to some extent. Unfortunately we're in the thick of Kindergarten assessments and playdates and already had to reschedule our first two and are hoping to make the two we have scheduled for tomorrow. Now next week is our packed week so praying they don't get something new.

Even though Colette was the first to be better (though she did come down with a second fever after several clear days), unfortunately William was home from school which meant that she's been stuck inside since we couldn't go anywhere. Finally today I got to take her to the pool and story time at the library. Next week is busy with the boys' K stuff again but hopefully we'll get through those, avoid any other serious bugs moving forward and can get into a nice routine of classes. We did start a class at a preschool with other 18-24 month olds on Wednesday afternoons and Colette has really enjoyed that. It's a great space (in the actual preschool class, in their yard, etc) so they have all sort of 'provocations' set up, the teachers get involved, etc. The teachers were impressed with how quickly she engaged and while I'm there with her, she's never too concerned about where I am. I've also decided to try out MyGym so we'll do that for two months and see how bad the driving and parking is.

Our weekends have been pretty mellow too, both because we have little planned, and also because of being sick, and honestly, I'm considering skipping church again this Sunday as I can't risk them picking up more germs (though I think they're getting everything under the sun from preschool). We're finally starting to get rain so it's hard because we want to get out, but avoid enclosed spaces so we'll see.

EAT: Nothing to report, eating the same as always. Even with a fever, she still ate pretty well, though not quite as much as usual.

SLEEP: This has been going well once we got readjusted to California time after our trip. She even was going down easier with out so much crying. She's been sleeping closer to 7:30-8am too which is nice. We got a couple days of 3-hour naps but those are gone again and it's more in the 1.5-2 hour range. Sun clock seems to really be helping her with the mornings though which hopefully is giving her more sleep overall.

PLAY: She's really grown this month; there are so many times I turn around and see her doing something I'm surprised by. Just yesterday while I was making dinner, I looked over and she had climbed up into W's chair and started eating his sandwich leftover from snack. She's playing with her dollhouse more and lining up her people. She'll climb into a chair and just sit there and play nicely. She's also started throwing things and banging things more though. After lining up all her doll figurines, she'll then aggressively throw them each down. She's started banging her milk cup or fork on the table. Or she throws all the magnets off the fridge. She's also pretty destructive and loves knocking down or wrecking just about anything the boys are working on. Typical toddler I guess, exploring new consequences and reactions. She has enjoyed getting home to her toys. She plays with duplos often and while she doesn't get too much built with them, she can keep herself entertained for awhile. She loves her new doll and loading up all her animals and dolls into her doll stroller and pushing it around. She likes feeding her babies and having tea parties. Books are ever popular but thankfully she's starting to move past some of the baby books and has a slightly longer attention span to listen to some of the toddler books. What she really loves to do is clean. It's so cute, our cleaner was here the other day and she was following her around and finally she gave her one of her rags and she was in heaven, dusting and wiping everything that the cleaner was washing. She now gets distracted during meals as she'll notice the mess under her chair and want to clean it, saying 'mey' for mess. She continues to be social, will often share on her own at the park or at the pool, but will certainly put up a fight if someone is trying to take something she wants.

TALK: I feel like I felt similar about her progress with walking. She was never behind, but I still was hoping for her to take off a bit quicker than she did. There definitely has been progress this month. She's 'talking' a lot more in general and if we're being generous with her woods, she can say quite a few (maybe 50?), but no one besides me, Dave and Jessica would recognize most of what she's saying. She's still mostly saying first syllables only. She can say 'bow' and 'baby' but those are the 2 complete words that stick out (beyond Mama and Dada and Dedee). She can communicate backpack, blanket, book, read, rain, wet, bath, move, milk, doll, monkey, bowl, spoon, brush, mess, eat, boot, on, off, diaper, wipe, clean, mine, me and many more, but can't say the whole word so bowl is 'buh', 'read is 'ree'. From what I've read, and when I asked the pediatrician at her last appointment, this is all normal and it's much more important that she's making progress as far as adding more news than actually saying the whole word. I'm getting a bit antsy for her to make some more progress with full words though. She does get frustrated and I feel like she's definitely more frustrated than the boys were at this age, but they were able to talk a lot more with complete words.

POTTY: She seems slightly more interested in the potty this month though despite her interest in sitting on it, she has yet to have anything come out. Last month I would say things like, 'soon Coco won't need to wear diapers and she'll go on the potty' and she'd smile and say 'no!', at least this month sometimes she says 'yes' when I make similar statements. I don't expect to be potty training her before 2, though you never know.

First French braid!

Colette. You really do seem like you've grown this month. Not just physically, though I did get rid of most of the 12-18 month pants. You seem to be more opinionated, you're 'talking' more, you're a bit more independent and capable. It's always weird with certain things that one day you just don't need the assistance anymore and probably haven't for a while, but there was a safety net there. Like with your high chair, you still have the buckle on it but just in the last few days I figured that you probably don't need it anymore. You can now get yourself into chair easily, which means the kitchen table is no longer a safe place for W&G's stuff. You want to do whatever they're doing, or more accurately, you want to destroy whatever they're doing. Dad and I were talking about it the other night, and though you have so many similarities to George, your hot temper is much more like William and Dad. George and I tend to be more emotional, get sad, but you get mad. There were several instances in the past month when Dad or I has had to be very stern and say, 'Coco, no xyz' and be really serious after several attempts were not working. You just froze and then broke out in the silent, and eventual loud cry. It's so sad! But I think we got our point across. You're a great helper and love to clean and generally listen pretty well, but there are plenty of times when you know what you want and you are not giving in. You want to do most things yourself now, whether climbing into the carseat or putting your bib on. You are very specific about what you want to wear, who you want to come out of your bed with you, etc. I've created a bit of a monster when it comes to your clothes. I've had so much fun with all the cute girl stuff that now you get as excited when a box comes, hold up the clothes to your body, once on you like to smile at yourself in the mirror. One day you were very particular about wanting your boots, big winter coat we got for next month's trip to Colorado, your necklace and your sunglasses. It's a lot of fun and you get plenty of comments about being such a cute baby but oh boy, I probably need to be careful. It's been fun to witness you in new class situations and you seem to be adapting well. You always come and take my hand when you need me for something, which honestly isn't too often. Looking forward to more talking and opinions in the coming months!

Florida 2017

Our time in Florida was bittersweet this year as Linda and Gary couldn't be down there at the same time as us. We debated canceling, or postponing but their schedule was too uncertain that in the end, we decided to just keep the trip as planned. We love our time down there regardless, but they're obviously the reason why we choose that destination. They boys were pretty sad they weren't down there with us too. The good news is they're headed to Florida so at least they're getting out of the cold and will hopefully get a good winter down there.

We started with our time at Disney and then drove the 3 hours to Naples, picking my mom up at the airport on the way so she could spend one week with us and help us out a bit. That day is always tough as we get into Naples at 9pm, the kids are tired, we're tired, have to pick up something for dinner, unload the car, get the kids bathed and to bed. Thankfully my mom could help while we got set up and got dinner made.

We had a fun time showing my mom all of our favorite spots. After the first pool day, we visited the zoo, then she came along to the awesome botanical gardens, as well at Vanderbilt beach and lunch at the Ritz cafe next door. We had lots of pool time and time downtown and at the parks. It was great to have an extra set of hands to stay with Colette while she finished her nap, so the rest of us could head out to the pool or the park. G was sick one afternoon so my mom stayed in with him. Both Dave and my mom were sick the same day, but I was able to get the kids out all morning and we did fine.

Lots of pool time:

A visit to the Botanical Gardens with their awesome kids area and splash pad:

We rented a boat and even pulled up to our own private beach (and we even saw dolphins on the way!):

 Annual visit to the zoo:

Beach time, we loved going around 4pm and staying until sunset, and we also spent a day at Clam Pass Beach and Vanderbilt Beach with lunch next door at the Ritz cafe.

Park time at the various fun parks:

The Children's Museum:

A visit from Ronda and Don. The kids all loved their toys!

Checking out downtown:

We lucked out with great weather this year and the majority of the trip it was between 78-82. The last few days we were there it dipped to the high 60s, low 70s, but cloudy most of the morning. The day after we left, it dropped to 59 degrees with rain so luckily we escaped that. I don't think we've ever had a Florida trip without rain!

The boys are fine to be in the pool on their own which was a complete game-changer. Last year they could definitely swim on their own, but we weren't confident enough for them to be in the water by themselves. By summer, they had improved and I was much  more comfortable but by our trip to Naples, they're totally fine to be in there on their own. It was amazing to take them to the pool and sit on a chair and read a book! Not that I got to do too much of that, but still. Taking all three kids to the pool is now totally manageable too.

Colette still loves the water and continues to amaze basically anyone who sees her swimming in the water. I could sit on the side a lot even with her, as it was a zero-entry pool and when she gets too deep, she pushes off the bottom and starts swimming. Now of course she can't swim off on her own, but I'm confident enough in her knowing her limits and she's loves going under water, yet isn't a dare devil so as long as I could get to her quickly, I'd let her explore on her own. She's very social and loves making friends with other kids at the pool. The boys too. It was just hilarious to overhear William and George in the hot tub with a group of tweens, totally owning the conversation. William is more social, but I think it's so beneficial for George to have him as his twin as he definitely is encouraged to make friends too and sees how to do it.

G unfortunately kept getting fevers every 5 or so days and headaches too, so he'd sometimes be out for the afternoon. Both he and C got a bad cough around Christmas and are finally getting over it now. W got it right before we left too. W had terrible reactions to fish, basically anytime we had fish, he'd totally break out in hives. We're not sure if we weren't as careful, but it definitely was so much more frequent than he gets them at home, even when we have fish.

A tough part this year was the lack of toys. Often Linda sends down some old toys in their golf club boxes so we didn't have those this year. They had a few things to do, but William in particular complained a bit. I did get some paper, tape and scissors from the dollar store and that was fun for a couple of days and of course they had stuff from their airplane backpacks. We also were holding off on the magnatiles from Ma, saving them for Christmas morning so after that was opened, things were much better. We also didn't bring many books, but ended up going to several of the many thrift stores around and it almost turned into a game when we hit the jackpot finding Berenstain Bear and Magic Treehouse books.

We really do love our time do there. There's plenty to do that you can break up your time at the pool but not so much to do that you feel guilty just having a pool day. It was a lot of time together and I think we all had a really good time. It does get easier and easier each year the kids get older and I feel so lucky that we're able to have that chunk of time away from home and be together. I don't think the boys realize how lucky they are (though I try to tell them!) to not only be with Mom and Dad so much, but to be doing all these fun things. We went to the children's museum, the boys went mini-golfing with Dave and we even did an indoor place space in Ft Lauderdale before our 6pm flight.

We did get to go out to dinner without the kids one night while my mom was here, which is always fun. It's always fun to look back at the photos of past years, especially seeing what a big girl C is this year!