K: What a Process!

The 'kindergarten process' in San Francisco is pretty intense and while I won't go into all the details, basically the public school your child is assigned is done through a lottery. This does have some perks for sure, if you don't like the school that's in your neighborhood, you don't necessarily have to go there. And just because you live in a nice neighborhood, doesn't mean that the elementary school near you is highly rated. So basically you have the option to tour as many of the 75+ public schools in the city in the fall before your child would attend. I only toured a couple because we were also seriously considering private school. We're very lucky and have a highly rated school as our neighborhood school. There is preference given in the lottery to: siblings (automatically get in if there's a spot), ctip (addresses where test scores have historically been low) and if it's your neighborhood school. Though it's a lottery, you can list out the schools that you are considering in preference in order. I also included 'popular'/well-performing schools that I knew a lot of people would be requesting for 'swap value' -- the system will swap my choice for someone else's if each of us has the other's higher on their list and both of us are pulled for the lottery of that school. The problem with the lottery is that it can work well for some people, and not at all for others. Case in point... I did the exact same list for William and George. I put our neighborhood school, which is a great school, in slot #1. I did not link the two of them, meaning they could get different school assignments (but if you link them, you risk them each getting a lower school on the list since it's the first school that they're BOTH pulled for. Meaning one could get school #1 and the other could get #10 and it's not until they're both pulled for the same school on their list, maybe #11, maybe #33, that they would get assigned that school). William got #1 on his list, the neighborhood school, and George got NOTHING on our list... so he was assigned a poor performing school in a bad part of SOMA. The good news is that there are additional rounds of the lottery, in May, then 2 in summer and even right when school starts. So for those who can be patient, they could very well get into a better school as spots open up. For us, if we entered round 2 for George, he would get sibling priority at the school William was assigned so they would both be able to go there. So many people choose private school, or to go back into the lottery again (our school may be #1 on our list, but #4 on someone else's for various reasons -- school start time, location, etc) so spots do open up.

Because of all the unknowns in the school lottery, many people consider private school as well in the city. Some hoping that they'll end up with a great public school so won't need to accept at a private school, but others like us considering all our options and trying to find the best place for their child.

We looked at a handful of independent schools in the city, mostly in our part of town, but a few just across Market Street. One of the main things we were looking at is that they had 2 kindergartens per grade so that the boys would be separate. For each of these schools, there's a morning tour during school hours (usually 2-2.5 hours long) and an evening open house, another 2 hours or so. There are additional optional events at some of these schools as well. It's important that both parents attend, obviously you want to be able to discuss the school and have the input of both parents, but also because it's important that you appear united and very interested in the school. So you multiple all these events by 4 schools that we applied to (and I toured another 4 schools that we ended up not applying to). Then you have a parent interview at each school - some are casual chit chat about your family or child, others are more structured. Applications are due in December or early January and some are simple with just basic info about your child, others have long essay questions. Regardless, we brainstormed on these and then Dave took the lead in writing them, but it's certainly time consuming. Then in January or early February, the kids go in for a 'playdate' and assessment. They're basically looking for overall kindergarten readiness -- not that they can read, but that they can do the basics like write their name, draw a picture, separate from their parents, follow directions, etc. Even when these are over, we have a good month to wait to hear the decisions (which are all emailed at noon on a designated day).

We are lucky that we have a very involved preschool director who has great relationships with the admissions directors at all these schools so she can share some basic feedback with us and provide feedback to them, though she can't 'get us in'. The preschool does sent an evaluation before the playdates and assessments and basically they're making sure that things generally match us between what the school is sharing and what they're seeing. Beyond that, I met with many moms starting last summer --  moms who recently went through this process, had advice on the process itself or could share about their school experience if it was a school we were considering. Everyone is happy to help as they know how much work goes into it and I ended up meeting some really great moms. All those connections do help, and we did have several friends write us a letter of recommendation at a school where their child attends. We don't really 'know people' though, and don't have many friends with older kids, so it was necessary to try to make some more connections, even if just to have a better understanding of the school which we wouldn't see on a school tour.

For us, a big challenge is the fact that we need two spots. The schools we were looking at have 2 classes of 22 kids. We applied to 2 co-ed schools, so automatically half those spots go to girls, so that leaves 22 spots. Any given year, half the spots go to incoming siblings, so now we're looking at taking 2 spots out of like 11. The odds were against us. Luckily we felt an all boys education was going to be best for them, we loved the ways they're able to change the classroom, incorporate more activity and other tools that research has shown helps boys learn better. So even with 44 spots, you're still getting about half of those going to siblings, and in our case, one of the schools we were applying to already had 4 siblings going from our preschool alone. All these schools are trying to become more diverse -- whether socio-economically, ethnically, or even from which preschools the kids are coming from. These are all things we needed to consider in the process. We've heard the number 300 as far as how many applications they're getting for 44 spots, however that number doesn't give the whole picture. Most people apply to at least 2, maybe as many as 7 schools so Dave and I talked about how we'd be curious to hear the totally number kids applying for private school in SF vs. the total number of private school spots. I think any way you slice it, it's very competitive.

Anyway, after an incredibly stressful week (most parents agree it's far more stressful than it was getting themselves into college or business school), things did end up working out and we're thrilled the boys will be going to Town School for Boys. I'm confident it's going to be a great fit for both of them. We like that it's an all-boys environment but the building, while new and impressive, doesn't feel 'fancy' or over the top. The teachers seem great, and my brother is actually friends with one of them who seems so passionate about what he does and agrees the others are the same. The boys won't wear uniforms, which I would've been fine with, but do have a dress code that includes collared shirts -- which I really like. The school is a block from Calvary and we drive by it every day so I think the boys already thought they were going there. There are so many opportunities for sports, music, theater, robotics, stem, community service and much more so it's really exciting to think about how they'll be shaped there over the next 9 years.

It was actually a really great experience for Dave and I to figure out what we wanted in education and where we felt the boys would do best and we're just so grateful it worked out as we hoped. No one else from our preschool is headed there next year, which isn't usually the case, so we will start fresh when it comes to making friends, but we did hear that there are 2 other sets of twins who will be attending so that should be fun.

What a crazy process, but in the end, we feel it's worth it. Both Dave and I love living in the city and I'm glad we have the option to raise our kids here. After all the stress of waiting to see if they'd get spots, when we finally got the call that they were in, we had to celebrate with champagne for Dave and I, and sparkling cider and huge chocolate chip cookies for everyone else.

The boys now ask daily when they're going to kindergarten. Luckily they'll do a little kindergarten camp at the school in June for a few weeks and then school will start at the end of August. We're so excited for the next chapter!

Colette: 22 Months

Another month already and now we're starting to plan her birthday party in May! I feel like she's doing new things every day. Just yesterday she was able to pull her rain boots on all by herself. She's also turned into a 2-year-old pretty much overnight. She wants to do things herself, gets very determined about having things a certain way, etc., but if it's a battle not worth having -- like wanting to put her favorite jacket on when it was actually warm -- then I'm fine giving in. She's become a bit more distracted when eating, though still eats more than enough. And I'm so excited her language seems to be progressing, I feel like we may be at the cusp of really starting to talk.

She's continued to enjoy her classes and some of her favorites from last month are still present. She loves the trampoline and big balls (basketballs, etc) at MyGym but I also see her balance and coordination overall improving. She likes to walk on balance beams and try any of the special activities they have. She's also doing so much better following all during 'surprise time'. Each child gets the surprise of the week -- a cone, hockey puck, pom pom, etc., and then the teacher leads the group in different movements with that things. At first she didn't do much of it at all, but now she's getting the hang of it. Technically her class is for 23 months to 2.5 so she seems to be right on track.

At the Stretch preschool class, she still loves the baby dolls and everything to do with them -- putting them to bed, feeding them, wrapping them up in blankets. She has tried some of the messy play activities (painting, cornstarch mix, etc.), but overall as soon as she realizes her hands are dirty, she gets concerned about that and wants to wash them. It's funny, because overall she doesn't seem to have an issue with getting dirty or having stuff on her hands, loves playing in the sand, etc., but I feel like it's times these new experiences that she's confused by the dirty hands.

I'm starting to consider putting her in swim lessons. I think for a while there, she was so advanced in the water, and she is still very comfortable for her age, but when I take her to the pool, we have the shallow end to play in since the other end is for swim lessons, and while she loves going under water, jumping in from the side and is capable of 'swimming' a few feet, I'm noticing that she's getting so comfortable just playing around and being able to put her feet down, that she's not trying to actually swim and keep herself up. I don't see committing to swim lessons heading into the summer since we'll be gone for a few weeks, but it may be time to get her some instruction in a class. I haven't been too impressed with the options at JCC and La Petite Baleen though so not sure what I'll decide on.

EAT: Nothing new here, besides that she's getting distracted more so doesn't want to sit for as long as she has in the past. Sort of dreading all the eating out we'll have to do in Hawaii since restaurants really haven't gone well lately and I feel like we're in this phase for probably another 3-6 months when sitting still and waiting for food, even with distractions, is pretty hard. She'll eat a side vegetable here and there but that's still the area she could improve on the most. We had salmon for dinner last night and I got .86lb for G and C to share as Dave and I were having black cod -- more expensive and G won't eat so got the cod just for the two of us. G and C finished all the salmon and both would've eaten more.

SLEEP: Thankfully no major changes as I did notice one of her lower 2-year molars is coming in on the bottom, but so far, so sleep issues. Her naps still are short, but usually 1.5 hours, rarely longer, but occasionally shorter. When she doesn't take a good nap, she does tend to sleep in later, as late as 8am, the next morning. I started a new thing where I tell her that if she's going to whine and cry, I'm gonna take the books out of her bed and she's at a point where she can really understand that now. The first day or so, I go back in if she's whining and ask her if she wants me to take the books away and she grabs them all and shouts, 'no!' and calms down. Only once did I have to actually take the books away, but now, maybe two weeks into this, she does much better going down for naps and bedtime and if she is actually whining or crying, I figure it must be something else that's wrong and I go in. She's also gotten better about not ripping books so she's now allowed to take in some of the non-board books. We also got her a pillow for her bed, which she's taken to nicely.

PLAY: Colette continues to play really well independently most of the time, but she'll also come and get me when she wants me to do something with her. She'll come and try to take my hand and bring me to what she wants. And if I'm on my phone, she shakes her finger at me saying 'no! no! no!' and tries to bat it away ;) She's in to copying other people, so she likes to pull up the little step stool so she can sit at the counter stool, often with her little leapfrog laptop as I often sit at the counter on my own laptop. If the boys are around, she likes to sit in one of their seats at the table to eat. She still enjoys reading and though she often closes the book mid-story and adds another book on top, her attention span is getting longer and if it's a book she's likes, she'll sit for the whole thing. She likes Yellow Copter, Red Truck, several Airplane books, Llama Llam Gram and Grandpa. I often find her in her room in the chair or on the bed (or on William's bed downstairs) with a big stack of books and she'll sit there for awhile reading. She loves pulling up a chair next to her dollhouse and doing all the dolls and characters, opening the doors, giving kisses, taking a bath, etc. We have far too many characters and every night I put a bunch of them away in the drawer, but every morning she likes to take all of them out again. She likes to build with blocks and will do duplos or bristle blocks for awhile. Collecting stuff from the play kitchen and loading up her baby carriage to push around is also a favorite activity. Usually she plays very well on her own, although lately she's been wanting to play outside. We've had a lot of rain so that hasn't always been an option and when we do play in the backyard, she just keeps wanting to get out one thing from the bin and then 30 seconds later, drag me over to get out a different thing, and so on and so on. So definitely not my favorite activity. Despite knowing very little about princesses, she loves wearing her one princess dress and requests it any chance I ask her what she wants to wear.

TALK: Progress every day here. New words, and we're just starting to get more of the full word. She can say words starting with 's' now and sort of with 'c' (sometimes it comes out as 't'). We're really working on her being able to say 'Coco' but the closest we got is 'toe'. I heard her say 'slide' today, or a version of it that definitely included more than one sound. 'Outside' is her new word and she definitely gets the two syllables there 'ow-side'. With two months to go until age two, I hope the progress continues and by her next doctor's appointment, I'll feel more confident that she's on track with her talking.

POTTY: I would've hoped for a little natural progress here, though I haven't been pushing it at all. She even pooped in the bathtub last week which hasn't happened in forever and I try to put her on the potty before bath time, but she hasn't really gone more than a couple of times total.

Colette: What a big girl you are! You don't need much sleep, but I'm grateful that despite the short naps, you sleep soundly at night. You're filling your body with so much good food every day and are excited about all that there is to explore in the world. You're talking so much, constantly making sounds even though they're not clear words, but when you do try to tell us something, there's so much progress being made. It's so fun to hear your little voice especially as you speak words that we can understand and there's such a satisfaction on both sides. You've definitely become a 2-year-old in the past few weeks and get very upset when things don't go your way. There are certain things that just have to be done a certain way and I try to indulge you when it makes sense. You still have plenty of room for improvement when it comes to communicating your frustrations with other kids and will usually just grab toys and do your loud grunt to get what you want. Often times, you're really good about sharing and will offer things up on your own. Other times you get very possessive and there's no chance you're going to give it up freely. Typical toddler I guess. We have some fun things coming up in April, starting with a trip to Hawaii. It will be so fun to be back with you here, especially with how comfortable you are in the water. I'm a little bit worried that Dad and I need to leave you for back-to-back 4-day weekends in April, once you'll be home with your brothers and the next time Dedee and Papa will be just with you. You were pretty clingy at your classes last week after I had been gone for the weekend so we'll see how it goes, but I know you'll be in good hands. After all this travel is over, the countdown will be on for your second birthday!

Colorado Trip

We were so excited to visit my brother in Boulder but since we didn't get to see Dave's parents in Florida, things were a bit up in the air. We ended up book in January for our February trip but everything came together.

Jon's house has plenty of room for all of us but they've recently gotten a cat so that was a no-go for Dave. He got a hotel nearby and just came back and forth but with the altitude, dry air and cat dander, he really couldn't be inside for more than 2 hours, his sinuses were just going crazy. We managed fine though. We survived the flight with C on my lap (we've always gotten the kids their own seats after a year old, but since we booked this flight so late, I thought we could save the money and manage for the short flight), but it wasn't fun getting all our gear loaded up and it seemed like it too forever to actually get on the road to Boulder. The cousins were anxiously awaiting our arrival though so everyone had fun playing outside and on the neighbor's trampoline before it got dark. Jon made a delicious dinner with ribs so our kids were happy.

The next day we lucked out with beautiful weather and decided to go to brunch and then a hike. Maris and her husband and 18-month old son joined us and we had a great time catching up. We headed over to the outdoor mall area for popsicles and let the kids run around some more before heading back to Jon's for rest time, which didn't really end up happening since C had dozed on the hike down in Dave's arms. The four adults got to go out on our own for dinner and we left the kids with two sitters. It was fun to really catch up without the kids around and we had a great dinner.

I've always heard about the crazy Colorado weather and we certainly experienced that. It was in the 60s on Saturday and Sunday, and the dropped down to the teens that night and snowed all day Monday. We went out for a bit in the morning but the kids weren't too into playing in the snow. So we drove over to an exhibit they have at CU Boulder and the kids had fun doing different activities. We all went out to lunch and then went back to Jon's to rest before heading out to the rec center that afternoon for swimming. The pool had a fun waterslide and a play structure so the kids had a blast. We settled in for one last night in Boulder.

The next day we packed up and stopped by the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver out of town. We were a little worried about how the roads were gonna be since it had been snowing for a day and a half, so we wanted to get on the road and the boys were thrilled to get McDonalds on the way. We also passed a thrift store so I ran in to see if I could get a few things to entertain the kids in the condo in Vail and lucked out with a castle, some cool characters, magiclip dolls and a pet store dollhouse for C. The roads were fine and we made it to Vail in two hours and luckily, were able to check into the condo right away. It was so nice to be totally unpacked and all together in one place. We stayed in Lionshead Village which was so great. We booked basically the only somewhat affordable condo left and were a little bit weary but it turned out to be great. Very comfortable, awesome location and the boys had a murphy bed they loved :) We went to Mexican food at the hotel that night and I took the boys to the hot tub after dinner.

The next day, Wednesday, was a beautiful, sunny day and the boys were signed up for a full day of ski school. They were excited and ended up having a great day. They didn't make a ton of progress, but I guess that's to be expected. Coco and I had a great day. After seeing the boys off, we walked to get a hot cocoa and then onto the library. They had a story time and craft day, not to mention a train table, blocks, etc., so we ended up spending 2 hours there before walking back for her nap. Understandably, the boys were tired that night and we just brought pizza back to the room after a dip in the pool, and a longer soak in the hot tub.

We asked the boys if they wanted to do ski school again the next day and they both wanted to, so we signed them up again. The next day was cold (though the day before had been in the teens as well), but it was also snowing so we weren't sure how they'd do. It sounds like it was fine, and by the end of two days, they learned to 'veer' (not quite turn)... Apparently they got mac and cheese and burgers for lunch, oreos and hot chocolate for snacks, so overall they had a good experience. Coco and I went back to the library for a bit and then checked out Imagination Station, which was awesome. It's basically a mini children's museum but they make great use of the space and have a ton of fun things for the kids to do. We got take out from a BBQ place for dinner that night and discussed what we would do the next day, which was supposed to be sunny again.

Our last full day, we debated doing sledding, and they have a great park right there where we were staying, but it didn't open until the afternoon and they had a height requirement we weren't sure William would meet for some of the tubing so decided to pass. Elizabeth had told us about the hot springs about an hour past Vail so we decided to do that and it worked out great. It had one really hot pool and another huge one that was perfect to spend an hour swimming around. The kids loved it and it was such a nice day. We had a pretty drive back to the hotel where we did a short rest before we all headed out to explore the town. They had a fun playground for the kids to run around, then I took them back to the library to return the books we had checked out and they played a bit before we headed to Imagination Station. Everyone had a blast checking out the different areas and the boys got to do sand art and virtual reality which was a huge hit. We headed back for BBQ leftovers and started packing up.

Saturday ended up working out fine, we had breakfast in town before loading up the car and heading to the airport. It had snowed again so you never know about the roads, but we made it to Denver early so stopped at a park for them to run around a bit before going to the airport. It was soooo cold! The flight home was uneventful, thankfully.

Trips to new destinations can always be a bit daunting but I think it went pretty well and we now know what we'd do differently. I think it's a great spot to go for our February break where we can see Jon and his family but also have a bit of a vacation. Dave enjoyed snowboarding and I had no problem missing out. Vail was such a great place for families and staying in Lionshead made everything easy. We were planning to take the kids out to a nicer dinner on Friday night, but it was in Vail Village so we would've had to drive, and they hadn't been great at restaurants on the trip so far so we scrapped it, which was fine. Maybe next year we'll get to try it but not holding my breath :)

Colette: 21 Months Old

Now when people ask how old Colette is, I say, 'she'll be two in May'. It really is coming up quick, especially when this post is now several weeks late. We've been having so much fun at all her little classes; there is definitely a reason why the class opportunities open up around 18 months -- they're totally ready for more. People constantly comment on how expressive Colette is. Though she's added so many words in the last month, even when she's not saying 'words', she's constantly making sounds, expressing frustration, excitement, etc. It really is entertaining. I can usually tell when she's finally fallen asleep because she finally stops talking.

She's had fun exploring the Presidio at her outdoor class and I'm learning more and more about her personality through these classes. She's pretty adventurous and has no problem going off on her own, isn't too concerned about where I am. She loves stomping in puddles, picking up sticks and petting banana slugs. She's not really into getting her hands too dirty though, even at her preschool class they'll put out cornstarch and water mixes or similar mixes to play in. She will try it, but always looks at her hands, then tries to wipe them off. We reassure her it's okay to have her hands dirty but she usually just keeps saying 'wash, wash'. We have MyGym on Tuesdays and it's worked out pretty well despite the drive and parking. She loves the class, does okay at circle time but especially likes the stations they set up to try different tricks with the teachers' assistance. She loves the trampoline, the swings and putting balls in the little basketball hoop. She's also a great helper putting the swings away back in the storage room.

On Wednesdays, we go to a class through Parks and Rec which is basically a bunch of toys, ride-on toys, jumpy house, etc in a rec room. They also have an arts and crafts space and a separate room with a play kitchen, dress-up clothes, etc. It's a big space and a big class, probably 50 kids, and a group of my mom friends are in the class too which makes it much more fun to go. Coco is super-independent there and I'll usually see her ask another mom for help getting into the bouncy house or climbing up a ladder if she can't do it herself. They do a circle time at the end with songs, music and then do several runs from one end of the gym to the other. I have the funniest videos of her trying to figure out what to do and now she has the hang of it. A few weeks ago, she even waited for her friend Violet who didn't want to run. So cute!

We're in a good routine and Colette has adjusted well to each of her classes. Coco warmed right up to the little preschool class we do Wednesday afternoons -- many of the kids joined at the start of the year but we joined midyear. I wouldn't say she plays 'with' the kids all the much, but I can tell she loves being there. She's 'all girl' though and goes straight for the feeding station with bowls, spoons and lots of stuffed animals. Last week they put out doll cradles and she spent 20 minutes making and re-making the beds. She also likes the book nook and taking all the books off the shelf and laying back on the pillows. She always tries most of the other provocations but spends the most time in the feeding area.

EAT: I know we're heading towards the point when many kids start getting pickier so I'm trying to stay consistent but so far she hasn't gotten much pickier. She never ate everything anyway -- was never much for vegetables and still isn't, but she did eat broccoli both raw and roasted so that's a huge success! As far as quantity, she still eats a ton and that really hasn't changed. Occasionally when we were on our trip a few weeks ago, she didn't eat much at a meal, but when we're home, she's very consistent. A big breakfast, ready to start working on her lunch by 10:30, sometimes a second lunch around 12, afternoon snack and dinner ranges from solid to huge. She stopped eating pears so one morning that was all I offered for snack and she finally just gave in and ate the whole thing since she was hungry. I think that's the approach to avoid picking eating or at least what I'm gonna attempt. The boys, George in particular have slipped into being pickier so we're gonna work on it all around.

SLEEP: Besides some early mornings in Vail, she's been sleeping well for the moment, though I keep reading about kids sleep getting off around 2 so just waiting for that. Naps are not great. Occasionally she'll sleep 2 hours, but often 1.5 is norm, though an hour or less unfortunately isn't that rare either. She wakes up grumpy and needs more attention for awhile. But overall, she just seems to need less sleep, sort of like George.

PLAY: She's playing so well on her own now and though she does like playing with blocks and some of the boys' toys like the castle, maganatiles, etc., in general she likes more traditionally 'girl' stuff. She loves her dollhouse and plays well by herself moving the dolls to the different areas, walking through the door etc. She was so cute one day, making each doll kiss another doll. She likes pushing her babies around, draping her purse over her head and getting her keys out. Playdough has been fun lately and she starting to get the hang of that. Reading has been much better in the last month too, she definitely can listen to books for longer and I think I can start weeding out more of the baby books finally too. I'll often find her with a stack of books sitting in the chair in her room reading. Cleaning is still a top activity and if she sees me wiping the table, she always runs over for a sponge and paper towel to do it herself. Playing with one of her two farms continues to be a hit too. I try to keep her upstairs more because she definitely gets into the boys' stuff downstairs. They're into little legos or building extravagant vehicles or buildings with magnatiles but if she's down there, she'll obviously wreck anything in her path.

TALK: A few weeks ago, I sat down and listed out all the words I could remember her saying. I wanted to keep track as we head towards 2 and her 2-year old appointment so I can share with the doctor all the specifics. She actually says a lot of words. I think I tracked close to 70 and she's added more words in the past weeks. She doesn't say the whole word and is still just saying the first syllable of most words but I think the key thing is that she's adding words. I've noticed her just starting to say more 2-word phrases too, not often, but definitely here and there, though still just the first syllable of each word. I'm anxious for her to start talking more, but feel confident that she is definitely making progress each week.

POTTY: She actually peed in the potty! We were in Vail and I asked her if she wanted to sit and she did and after a bit she finally went! This was almost 2 weeks ago and we've tried a few times since and haven't had any luck but are starting to talk about it more and ask if she wants to sit. I don't think she's ready for potty training yet, but I'm hoping this summer after our trip to Cincinnati she will be as it will be a good stretch of time before we need to travel again. We'll see!

Colette: What a fun month we've had! It's been so great to see you in your different classes, exploring everything and being around new kids. You warm up so quickly and so obviously excited about everything, people are constantly commenting about what great expression you have. You love to shyly give hugs to your teachers, and often to any other moms or caregivers sitting down in our various circle times before leaving class. You're so active but -- at least with me -- play really well on your own. You are starting to want me more engaged, taking my hand to walk me over to what you want me to see or do. If I'm on my phone, you'll shake your finger and start saying 'no, no, no' until I put it down. I feel so lucky that I was blessed with a girl and as fun a girl as you. You love choosing your close, always ask for a necklace, have all kinds of opinions about your shoes and jackets and seem like a natural caregiver. Beyond that, you're strong, opinionated and don't give up easily. A great combination for a girl I think :) You were great on our trip to Colorado and I had fun exploring Vail with just you while the boys were in ski school. You draw attention wherever you are, not just for how you're dressed, but just in general for how 'talkative' and expressive you are. It's odd to have you not be the baby anymore, but instead I have to look out for little kids that you may be pestering or stealing toys from. You're not the best at sharing, grab stuff away often and just point to yourself and keep saying 'mine, mine' if you're trying to get something. Come with the territory for being a toddler I guess!