The other morning as I got ready to head to work (late), I was standing in my bathroom trying to make my mop of wet hair presentable while a shall-otherwise-remain-nameless toddler screamed and cried and pulled on my pant legs and pitched an absolute fit because I would not pick her up at that very moment.
I wrestled her off my legs, gave her lots of slobbery kisses goodbye, she gave my neck the best kind of tight squeeze, and I managed to make it to work at 8:02am (only two minutes late - yippee!). As I sat down at my desk I noticed a white, crusted stain on my grey, just-washed work pants. After wracking my brain for what could have stained my pants in the thirty minutes since I'd zipped them up, I realized that it was snot.
Yes, folks, the snot of my shall-otherwise-remain-nameless toddler who had been hanging like a chimpanzee off of my leg only moments earlier.
And then I realized I hadn't blogged much lately on what life has been like with a toddler. A toddler who leaves snot stains on your freshly washed work pants to remind you all day long that you're a mama.
I guess I should also mention that the VERY next day I found a Cheerio in my underwear. No joke. One lone Cheerio. Before you let your mind wander, my honest guess for how it ended up in my underwear is that Cameron had been eating a snack cup of Cheerios that morning, and when I was holding her I remember her putting one down my shirt. In the midst of wrestling her mid-tantrum, I forgot to find said Cheerio and somehow it ventured down into my drawers.
And I have to admit, when I went to the bathroom, it scared me a little bit when I pulled down my pants and saw a Cheerio.
Anyway, all of this is to say that life with a toddler is crazy in the best possible way. As a matter of fact, at CK's well checkup last week, her doctor said, "So, how is everything going with a 15-month-old?" "Well..." I smiled, "It's... interesting. Hilarious and entertaining and so fun, but exhausting and hard and a constant test of my patience." "Sounds about right," she replied.
Well, at least we're right on track developmentally!
In all honesty, Cameron Kate is incredible. And though we've had some days that truly test my ability to remain calm and patient, I wouldn't trade it for the world. And if I continue to be honest, losing our baby last month has probably helped me appreciate every single ounce of motherhood even more - from Cheerios in my underwear to snot stains on my nice pants.
Our little girl is growing, growing, growing. She's now 24 pounds (60th percentile) and 32 inches long (90th percentile). And we finally have enough hair to give her a tiny little ponytail. (!!)
Developmentally, she's reaching milestones far beyond her age. (HA! I had to put that... doesn't EVERY parent think her child is a genius?!) No, really though, I think she's doing great. We all know she's been
running for awhile, and now she'll climb anything and everything (even my legs,
obviously). But her vocabulary has
increased tremendously over the past couple of months. I'm not sure if it's a result of her
ear tube surgery, or just a part of her development, or a combination of both -
but I love it. I love hearing her
sweet voice, watching her try to copy me as I teach her words, watch her
"read" books aloud. Some
of my favorite words she says now are -- mama, bye bye, jacket, cat, quack
quack, water, snack, please, up, down, Elmo, spoon, teeth, Abby, big bird,
shoes, hat, PaPa, Digby, Raleigh, and boo boo. And these are just a few! I swear it seems like just yesterday I was practically doing
back flips to get her to say mama.
With the awesome-ness of developmental milestones comes the difficult-ness. We have officially entered the age of meltdowns and tantrums. Like full-on throwing herself on the floor and screaming if you put Corn Flakes in her snack cup when she really wants Cheerios. Or completely melting down if she says, "Up!" with her arms raised above her head, and you cannot pick her up at that exact moment. And don't get me started about her saying, "please" over and over and over again. Yes, it's great that we're teaching our child good manners -- the problem is that now she thinks she gets what she wants whenever she says please!
Usually, I find the meltdowns to be funny. How can you not laugh when a two-and-a-half-foot-tall adorable mess is falling apart on the floor over Corn Flakes? (Unless, of course, you're in the middle of Olive Garden.) And also, I know tantrums are a good sign (so says my doctor!) that she's right on track developmentally. After all, this is the way toddlers handle frustration and the inability to express their emotions appropriately. However, I'd be lying if I said that I don't take a lot of deep breaths lately. Or count to ten. Or pour a
second third glass of
But I still do think life with my sweet girl gets better everyday. With the trying parts of toddler development comes the opportunity to watch her grow into a little girl right before my very eyes. A little girl with big brown eyes, a smile that can light up a room, giggles that make your heart want to explode, a huge heart, and a wicked sense of humor. Here are just a few of my favorite things going on with Cameron Kate these days:
~When Cameron wants to tell you something, she looks right at you, grabs on to you, and says the word over, and over, and over again, with such conviction. Her eyes get real big and her voice gets louder and she'll keep on repeating the word until you let her know you understand, usually by repeating the word back to her.
~She loves to give kisses, but sometimes she'll look at you and say, "Bite?" and go in for a kiss/bite - And I'll say, "No bite, just kiss" - And then she'll say, "kiss" and give you a big, slobbery, open-mouthed smooch.
~She’s learning how to feed herself with spoons and forks and she gets so proud of herself when the food makes it to her mouth!
~Cameron loves to climb on top of things, look at you with her mischievous grin, and say, "no no no" and then giggle. It is adorable and so funny and I have such a hard time keeping a straight face when I really am trying to teach her the word "no"!
~She LOVES books. I hope this never changes!
~Cameron dances every time she hears music. If she sees you dancing, she will run over with her arms in the air and say, "Up!" and will insist that you pick her up and dance with her.
~She loves to be spun around and around and around in your arms.
~Every time she sees a beer bottle, she points to it and says, “Mama!” (Seriously.)
~Cameron would rather be outside than inside, all day long.
~She loves shoes - her shoes, my shoes, T's shoes.
~While she is still a wild little girl, Cameron is definitely becoming more of a "girly girl." She used to love to be flipped upside down and thrown around. Now she gets really scared and shy and cries when she's afraid. And other than her shoe obsession, she also loves to put on scarves and jewelry. Though she thinks every piece of jewelry is a "na-na" (translation: necklace).
~Her favorite foods right now are quesadillas, Cheerios of any variety (obviously), bananas, ravioli, eggs, and cheese.
~She HAS to sleep with her "friends" - Ellie, Nuzzle the dog, and, you guessed it, Melvin.
~She has to have her snack cup full of cereal as soon as she wakes up in the mornings.
~She loves Elmo.
~She takes one nap in the middle of the day, which usually ranges from forty minutes to an hour and a half.
~She is very grumpy when she wakes up, and it takes her awhile to come out of her post-sleep funk.
~She has all eight front teeth, her two top molars have finally broken through, and her two bottom molars are on the way in.
~Cameron's teachers say she's the best little helper, always helping to put things away and put toys back in baskets.
~She still has some stranger/separation anxiety. She gets nervous and sticks to me like glue when someone other than mama/daddy comes around, and she will immediately start crying if we walk into an unfamiliar place and we try to put her down (because she thinks we're going to leave her).
~She is a MAMA'S GIRL right now. And I know it's just a phase, but I'm loving every minute of it. :)
Cameron continues to make each day better than the last. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - having a child makes every morning feel like Christmas. When she wakes up, I am still SO excited to go in and see her. And every morning I wonder what she'll do differently... if she'll say a new word, if she'll reach a new milestone. And I really and truly try to capture each day in my heart as a memory, because I'll never get these days back. And each night, when T, Cameron, and I say our family prayers, I always thank God for choosing ME to be HER mama. She is the best thing I've ever done, and I am so, so proud of the little girl she's becoming.
Especially lately – but always – she is my sunshine.