It’s amazing how fast kids grow up. There are days where I wake up in the morning and pick Isla up out of bed and realize she’s completely different than she was when I put her down for bed the night before. She blew through her 24 month sized clothing in a matter of weeks and is rapidly filling out her 2T clothes. Every day, she picks up some new skill or word, and every day, her sweet chubby baby face is replaced more and more by that of a little girl. It breaks my heart and makes me button-bursting proud all at the same time.
Isla is a bit of a giant. Kellen is average-sized, and I’m very petite, so we have no idea how we managed to produce this massive beast child. She’s super tall for her age, though. She’s also very strong, sure on her feet, and has surprisingly good fine motor skills. At her 18-month well baby check, Isla picked up a plastic 2-step step stool, carried it all the way across the room, sat it down in front of the sink, climbed up, turned on the water and started washing her hands–all completely unprompted–while our pediatrician looked on slack jawed. She told us, “I have 5-year-olds who can’t do that.” I was thinking, I can barely do that.
Isla’s favorite thing to do is go to the park and climb on everything. She gets on the big kid playground equipment and climbs weird ladders and rock climbing walls. She can hang from the monkey bars and hold her own weight. She also likes swings and slides. She’s quite the dare devil. If she sees a big kid doing it, she wants to do it too. And she usually does.
It’s been really fun to watch Isla’s language development in the last few months. Her vocabulary is growing daily. She knows all sorts of animals and the sounds they make. She knows almost all of her body parts and clothing items. She loves trains, trucks, school buses, and planes. When we’re driving or out for a walk, she’s constantly pointing out the various transports around us. She has a big truck and tractor book, and she can name pretty much every single truck and tractor in the book.
She also loves art and can name pretty much all the colors from her box of crayons, plus say “crayon,” “sticker,” and “art.” She knows most of the shapes, and her favorite is star. She knows about half of her ABCs at this point and can say the letters when she sees them. She knows the names of a handful of fictional characters. She knows Biscuit and Curious George and can name pretty much everyone on Sesame Street. She is obsessed with Toy Story, constantly asks about Jessie and Buzz, and if you ask her what Jessie says, she’ll cry, “YEE HAAAAW!” She also has names now for several of her favorite toys, at this point entirely descriptive: Bunny, Kitty, Boy, Girl.
She knows walk, play (for park), star, moon, and cloud from our family walks. She knows a few foods–mostly junk food, unfortunately–and will say “eat” and “drink” when she’s hungry or thirsty. She says please and thank you. She also says Mama and Daddy. Just this week, she’s started using adjectives, so for instance she’ll say “blue kitty” when she wants the blue Hello, Kitty sticker. More and more, she’s starting to string together words into phrases. No subject-verb action yet.
Her favorite books right now are her My Big Truck Book, Curious George Before and After, Going on a Bear Hunt, Going to Bed Book, Goodnight Moon, Pumpkin Pumpkin (which I can’t find online), and a bunch of Little People flap books we picked up at a garage sale for pocket change. Goodnight Sweet Butterflies continues to be a favorite and has been taped back together so many times now, I’ve lost count.
Isla also loves to wear headbands and bows. When we put them in her hair, she will run into the kitchen and stare at her reflection in the oven door. If she loses a bow, she gets really upset. She loves shoes more than ever and when she can get her hands on them, loves to play with toy beads and will put them on and take them off and admire all their colors. It’s funny how excited she gets at all the pretty, sparkly stuff..
In the last month or so, we’ve been getting an early taste of the terrible two’s. Isla has definitely started to throw more tantrums, some just because she gets frustrated, but others because she’s obviously trying to get her way. She also has been testing boundaries and asserting her independence. Last week, she threw a tantrum when I tried to put her in her high chair for breakfast, and refused to sit there for over half an hour, even after I’d put her toast on the table and Kellen had put yogurt (which she loves) on the table, too. As soon as I went upstairs to get her clothes for the day, though, she went and climbed straight up into the chair. Little stinker just didn’t want to do what I wanted her to! We’ve been doing short, 10-second time outs in the corner of our living room when she willfully does something she knows she shouldn’t. These don’t happen very frequently, but when they do happen, we usually have a spate of them all at once.
The best thing about this age is how affectionate she is. She loves kisses and hugs. We can pull her into bed with us in the mornings if she wakes up too early, and she’ll wrap a little arm around my neck and say, “mama!” in the happiest little voice. When I pick her up from daycare, she pats my shoulder, and she gives the best hugs. She’s in a bit of a Mama phase right now, so poor Kellen has been getting the cold shoulder a lot lately. She constantly wants to be held by me and for me to play with her, and she won’t let Kellen take her to the bathroom. I know it’s just a phase, but it’s nice to know she wants me around so much. Someday not too far away, she’ll be slamming doors in my face and screaming, “I HATE YOU!” and won’t want to be seen with me in public. I’ll take it while I can get it.
I have to say, the parenting gig just gets better and better. Isla was a painfully adorable baby and I loved her to pieces, but I found the baby stage very stressful and trying. Isla didn’t sleep, and she couldn’t tell us what she wanted, and she was so focused on learning how to do things, she didn’t have much time for affection or other people. It was hard work. Now, though, Isla sleeps pretty well, and she can tell us what she wants, and while she’s still learning a lot, she is very excited to share all of that with everyone around her. It’s so fun to see how excited she gets about everything, especially when she learns something new. You can just see in her face how proud and pleased she is when something finally clicks. I think that’s the best part of being a parent. Seeing the whole world with fresh eyes, where everything is new and novel and exhilarating.
I love her so much. I can’t believe the next time I do one of these, she’ll be 2.