Two-and-a-half years have come and gone and on this, the third half-aversary, not a single thought of a cake or celebration crossed my mind. Still, this is an age when “and-a-half” counts as a significant thing. Sonja is so much more than a two-year-old and so far from a three-year old.
Last year around this time, Shaun and I were discussing when we’d make the big switch from crib to toddler bed (well not us, of course. Sonja.) I did a lot of reading on the subject and decided two-and-a-half would be the magic number. That, according to the experts on the interweb, is when most kids make the transition. “This time next year,” I said, with complete confidence. Now that time has finally arrived, yet it’s not time. This is one of the most vexing things to me about raising a child. All those ideas you had and arrangements you made and plans you formulated in your head? Just go ahead and throw those off the balcony. A toddler bows to no one. Sonja still fits in her crib just fine, cannot climb out, and rolls around like a wind-blown dust bunny throughout the night. There is no justifiable reason to make the switch. There are many reasons I would like to do it: To open up her room by removing the rocking chair, so I can read to her on her bed now that she wants to sit next to me in said rocking chair instead of on my lap, to simply move on to a new stage. But it’s not my bed, is it? I console myself with the reminder that a toddler who can’t get out of a crib when she doesn’t want to go to sleep is undoubtedly much less of a nuisance than one who can.
Speaking of which, bedtime has inched increasingly later. It used to be around 8:30, and that was great with me. Now it’s closer to 9:30, and since we hooked up a video monitor in her room, I see that she stirs for quite a while before actually falling asleep. Most nights she doesn’t fuss too much, but there are nights when I’m super grateful she’s still in the crib. She usually naps two hours a day, falling asleep between 12 and 1. I’ve experimented with eliminating or shortening the nap, but none of these things proved particularly fruitful. Again, this is me trying to rearrange her schedule for the sake of rearranging and proving I’m in charge. Ha! I’ll take the late bedtime and late awakenings over the lady at preschool whose son gets up at 5 a.m. every day. In fact, I’m kind of a late-to-bed, late-to-rise person myself, so what am I complaining about again?
Speaking of preschool, I enrolled Sonja in a co-op over the holidays and we began attending in January. School meets once a week and the schedule is as follows: Half-an-hour of playtime with parents present, an hour of teacher-supervised playtime while the parents meet in an adjoining room for discussion time (the kids are free to seek out mom anytime they like, and most do at least once during the hour), 15 minutes for snack, and 15 minutes for music. I snuck Sonja into the age 2 group, even though her birthday is 18 days past the cutoff date. She is doing great and enjoys her time there. (This indicates to me I’ll try to put her in Kindergarten a year early, but I’m trying not to worry about that just yet.) She is always first at the snack table, even though it’s about a 50/50 chance she’ll even eat what they serve. But boy, she sure loves it when there are crackers.
The imagination that was developing last time is in full swing now. She likes pointing out imaginary dragons or lions and asking me to help fight or hide from them. She comes up with her own games, such as “circus.” Here’s how you play “circus”: Move the small lion rug to the center of the room, say ready, set, go, and run around like a crazy person. She has also put her own spin on the “little piggy” nursery rhyme: “This little piggy went to Target, this little piggy stayed home, and this little piggy went wee, wee, wee all the way home to get lunch.”
She has developed the ability to recount her day, more or less. For instance, she can tell grandma that she went to school and painted and jiggled like a jellyfish, then had snack and she didn’t like the apple but she liked the crackers, and then she sang and then she went home. I think she’s just starting to get a grip on time, as she’s been saying things like “I took a bath last night.” She also told me “Sid took a shower last night” which I’m almost certain is not true, but still, the concept of last night, tomorrow, and in a few days is taking root.
She is down to just one bottle a day, which I had intended to take away today. She still refuses milk out of a cup. One day I hid milk in a non-opaque sippy cup. She giggled when she drank it and said, “that tastes like milk.” I said, “yeah, it’s milk!” at which point she got very upset. Right now she’s allowed a bottle in the morning. If she asks for one at night, I say that she can have milk in a cup, and she immediately changes course and asks for something different, like a peanut butter sandwich. If I have to let milk go for the sake of getting her off the bottle, I guess that’s what I’ll have to do.
I also just started her potty-training, though, and making both changes at the same time seems like it would overwhelm her. One thing at a time, or so say the experts. This is another personal challenge of parenthood. Breaking down the barriers to the next level of independence for Sonja requires of me a patience and persistence that is not part of my natural disposition.
She has been eating like a champ lately, even though it’s still a limited variety of foods. She weighed in several days ago at 21-and-a-half pounds, whereas at the last update she was 20-and-a-half. I think this means she is gaining at the regular rate for a two-year-old, but of course, she’s still a little string bean.
She was obsessed with Toy Story from pretty much the last update until about two weeks ago, when she replaced it with Puss in Boots. She’d seen Puss before and liked it, but now insists on watching the Tuesday Night Dance Fight scene (chapter 4 on the DVD) over and over so she can dance with the cats. She imitates all the moves, including “the litter box,” and at the end, when Puss goes flying across the room with all fours outstretched, she runs across the room with her arms out and her fingers curled into claws. It’s adorable.
I’m not sure if this is entirely accurate, but I feel like anytime one thing related to the kid gets easier, three things get harder. I don’t know how we’ll make it to the milestones of being potty-trained and bottle- and binky-free. I don’t know how much I am supposed to help and how much she will just figure out on her own. Time will tell I guess.
She finally did figure out that jumping thing. She can, occasionally, if one is watching closely, get both feet off the ground at the same time. Most of the time when you ask her to jump, she gallops. But I’ve seen both those feet in the air simultaneously, I swear.