January has been a very busy month, so much so, that I wasn’t able to take any pictures but a few in the tub. Andrew and I both celebrated birthday’s, Andrew’s parents came to visit and our sweetest Pierre had to have eye surgery for an ulcer and the recovery was not only labor intensive for us, but had several setbacks (he’s finally better though!).
Needless to say, I am glad to have this month almost behind us. Wallis is officially 25 months old.
Andrew and I are not social butterflies and because of that we are also not big about filling Wallis’ calendar up. Wallis runs some errands with us, we go to the park, church, and we play at home…that’s pretty much it. Wallis will have years to socialize, work and study and I am in no rush to make those happen now.
I really just want her to play and enjoy her immediate surroundings. I often think about how my first photography teacher told our class, “if you can’t take a great picture in your own back yard then you are not a photographer” and to me, that’s very much how I feel about play and learning at home.
So it was a big deal for me when we signed her up for music class once a week at our local university. I was very emotional about it, it felt like a really big deal to me. Andrew took her because one, it was something that he really wanted to do with her and two, I was worried my nerves would make her too nervous to actually enjoy this new experience.
I have that effect on her and my mood or anxiousness can make something new for her worse, I am working on it but it’s really hard to control my anxiety over some of these things, so I have learned to take myself out of the situation if I feel like I am not going to be the best thing for her in that moment and I don’t feel bad about it.
It is not Wallis’ responsibility to take care of me or feel my anxiety about something. It is my responsibility to do the best thing for her, and for this, that was Andrew. He is even-tempered and I am not sure he has ever felt anxiety in his life.
Wallis had a terrific time. In the beginning she held Andrew’s hand for each activity but by the end of class she was putting things away on her own and following instructions by herself. She even had homework that she loved to practice the entire week until her following class…which did not go as well.
Wallis’ second music class experience was also the first time she has ever had a meltdown. I was unable to come to this class because I was stuck at the DMV, so Andrew was the one that experienced it. It was the end of class and the teacher (who is very German and very kind) worded the instructions wrong. She told all the kids to take a seat in their chosen chair, but then she followed up with, now parents pick the kids up and place them on your laps in the same chairs.
Well Wallis was really enjoying sitting her in chosen seat and had the teacher lead with parents sit in your chair and place the kids on your laps – Wallis would have been fine, but because it interrupted the excitement of sitting in her own chair, she was NOT having it. It was also the end of class and she was tired. Andrew walked over and told her he needed to sit in the chair and she would sit on his lap, and she replied, “No! all by myself” and then just immediately burst into tears and started saying over and over again, “all by myself, me sit chair all by myself!”
There was no reaching her at that point, she was gone into meltdown land where all the built of feelings go. Andrew stayed calmed and told her she could sit in her chair all by herself, but I think at that point she was also embarrassed, so she just kept crying and saying loudly, “all by myself!”
Andrew picked her up and they left the class but she could be heard crying loudly “all by myself” throughout the whole floor past all the classes filled with college students until they finally got outside – to which she immediately recovered walked over to the car, climbed into her car seat, buckled herself up and was ready to go, ha!
The thing is with Wallis and maybe most children this age – is that it is best not to interrupt her train of thought, but give her a moment to warm up to the idea of what has changed. So instead of Andrew telling her he needed to sit there, he should have just let her stay in the chair, sat on the floor in front of her, and once she had seen the other kids sitting on their parents laps, she would have followed suit…but it was the sudden interruption that threw her.
I really understand this about her, but it’s something that Andrew struggles with. He didn’t do anything wrong, and I am not blaming him by any means – I feel like he handled the meltdown better than I would have even, but I can see how that would have set her off.
We’ve been raised in a way to boss kids around really, pick them up and place them where we want them to go, without giving them a chance to catch up. I don’t like seeing that, and unless it’s a dangerous situation – I think kids should be given a moment to see and hear what has changed and what you are asking of them. Andrew still tends to rush her through, and that does NOT go well, ha! Either way, we both felt bad about it, but she was totally fine and it was good for her to blow off some steam!
We are having so much fun though! All the conversations and imaginative ideas she comes up with!
Right now we’re fixing doorbells a lot, and everything can be one, including the hinges of her mini wooden fridge. She’ll bring her tool kit over and make a “ding do” and say, “doorbell broken” and then we’ll fix it, and she’ll make a “ding dong” sound to confirm it’s fixed! The other day she turned her mini stethoscope upside down and said it was a “monkey” and had the chestpiece part start eating my toes! haa! I just love moments like that so much.
Her favorite books to read right now are, The Zoo by Suzy Lee and Stanley Mows the Lawn, she loves hank the snake. And also, apparently she can count to 20! The other day we were counting the stairs and she just counted all the way up to 16 (because we ran out of stairs) but then I kept going and so did she? I had no idea!
Toddlers are funny like that, they keep a lot of secrets and just randomly toss some out to their desperately tired parents to give them a boost of, “hey maybe I’m doing an okay job” and then quickly back to hiding them like nothing ever happened.
Wallis was very concerned about Pierre’s eye too. She told everyone about it, and would point to her left eye (the same eye Pierre’s surgery was in), close it and say, “Pierre boo boo eye” – she would close it, because Pierre’s was closed. She was so upset about it, that at one point she tried to put lotion in HER eye, to make it a “boo boo eye like Pierre” she told us! Luckily, we stopped that from happening. Ha! She is very relieved that he is better.
She’s also been keeping a list of her things that Olive has destroyed. We have worked hard to not let the dogs ruin her toys, one we don’t want them to do that, but also, we don’t want the dogs to swallow something they shouldn’t either. But Olive is VERY sneaky and Wallis likes to carry her soft toys everywhere, so on a rare occasion one does go missing for a few minutes before we’ve noticed…most we have been saved unharmed, but unfortunately her favorite yellow lion lost it’s tail thanks to Olive (which I do plan to have fixed) and then one of her bath letters (the letter ‘P for Pop-pop’ as Wallis calls it) had fallen out of the bath and under the tub to which Olive found and quickly destroyed.
So Wallis will have moments where she starts listing them out (I call them her Arya Stark moments, from Game of Thrones) and she’ll start repeating, “yellow lion broken Olive, P for Pop-pop broken Olive.” So Olive better watch herself, Wallis has NOT forgotten, ha!
Her favorite thing to say right now is okay which she literally says like the kid from Little Rascals, “Oh Tay or OTay” ha! but it’s really sweet and she says it so happily, I love it.
The hardest part about a 2-year-old is probably the short fuse and there’s more whining than there use to be, but man, everything else is gravy…I love it so much.
We have side stairs that lead into our kitchen and Wallis has been climbing up 3 that face the stove, and while I cook her dinner, she talks to me…mostly about the food she can’t wait to eat, but it’s become one of my most favorite times of the day with her.
She’ll exclaim loudly, “oh mama beets!” while sneaking a few pieces of tofu from her plate that I haven’t quite finished filling. She has no idea how happy it makes me to have her there…how even the sight of that chubby wee hand moving as fast as it can makes my throat ache from holding back the tears of this specific kind of love.
Even when I lay in bed at night I think of her there, kneeling on that 3rd stair completely unaware of how much she has changed my life. The concept of simplicity is for a younger mind now, because even that which is simple feels finite, but ever so treasured.