What a fun month we've had as we've watched your personality develop over the past month.
Your Daddy just finished the last class of his MBA and this was our first weekend together as a family without the thought going through the back of our minds that Daddy really should be studying!
This morning (Sunday) we all slept in until about 8:15am when we heard you start to chatter in your crib. Lately you've been enjoying alone time in your crib with Daisy (your stuffed animal duck), your paci and blanket. We often hear you in there holding meetings and having conference calls with a few loud giggles and shrieks mixed in.
Daddy got you out of bed and as usual, you immediately barked orders for "noke" (milk). We quickly dressed, packed snacks and headed out to breakfast at Alexa's Cafe, in Bothell. We were trying the restaurant out for the first time, prompted by a Groupon we had purchased (these "group coupons" are the hot trend for 2011; purchasers get 50% off at popular venues, restaurants and events, and the deals are made possible by the quantity of customers buying the coupons). Breakfast was a huge success, and not just because we enjoyed the salmon egg scramble and walnut, banana pancakes we ordered. You were the reason that breakfast went down so smoothly. After returning home, Daddy and I reflected, trying to decide what had prompted such an especially enjoyable meal out with you. We decided it was because you were allowed your independence. While waiting to be seated, you wanted to sit on the bench that Mommy and Daddy were sitting on rather than in our laps. Then you proudly held the small circular from the newspaper Daddy was reading. As we ate breakfast, we gave you your own plate with small bites of omelet and potato along with the fork you had requested. You quickly gulped down pieces of your omelet when you realized each bite would be followed with a small piece of toast you had been begging for. You handed me a butter knife and requested that the toast be spread with "dip" ( jelly). In your mind you had complete control of your breakfast experience. Your milk was at arm's reach, you had a coloring sheet with crayons for coloring from the waitress, your cup of cheerios was lid free so you could dig deep to pick out the raisins. Mommy and Daddy weren't fussing with you, but were letting you have free reign of your own domain. And I must admit, allowing you to have free reign was not as stressful as one would imagine. You gently picked up your jellied toast so that very little got on your fingers, and carefully held your cheerio cup so that none spilled out.
You are very precise, cautious and composed for an 18 month old, and your Virgo mother doesn't mind missing out on the normal toddler messes one bit. I do however, hope that these traits which are so similar to my own, don't keep you from being a self-confident, out-going child ready to face challenges and embrace life. Luckily you seem to express a need for independence (no-doubt a trait gleaned from your father), and I will do my best to not only avoid squelching it (with my desire to fix and correct), but to foster it.
It's a hard balance, allowing you control of your surroundings while making sure that you understand there are limits. I want you to know that you have choices in life and not to be intimidated by making them. But it is also important to realize that the world does not revolve around you (a theory to which your pediatrician assures me almost all two year olds subscribe).
Recently, a friend of ours lent us a series of CDs called Parenting with Love and Logic. The number one principal that rang true to us was to allow you to make your own choices and let you live with the consequences (especially while you are at a young age and the consequences are really rather minimal). This will be easier for your Father than it is for me, as I have that motherly instinct to caution and protect, but it is a good reminder for me to let you be you. I want to celebrate you, as an individual. Julianna Rachelle George, you are a combination of both of your parents, but at the same time you are uniquely you. And we love you for exactly who you are.
At 18 months you:
• Love to watch "Sessy Seat" (Seasame Street), Elmo is your favorite character
• Are using more words than we can keep track of
• Can almost recite the alphabet in full!! (Missing the letters P and T,U,V)
• Drink about 24 ounces of milk a day and don't particularly like juice
• Think it's fun to brush your teeth, use makeup brushes like Mommy, look at yourself in the mirror and use soap when you rinse your hands
• Say and understand the word "cute" in reference to clothing
• Hate to have your diaper changed but still not agreeable to sitting on the potty seat
• Love bubble baths
• Like to turn on your sound machine and don't mind giving Mommy and Daddy a kiss if it means you can get in bed with Daisy and Paci
• Always request to walk when getting out of your car seat
• Dance with Mommy to the "Elmo Slide” (similar to a line dance: slide to the front, the back, lift a knee, the other knee, jump one time, now two times, etc.)
• Cry when Mommy leaves your sight (at friends’ homes or at Stroller Strides)
• Frequently request your favorite snack, raisins and almonds
• Use a spoon and fork well, when eating oatmeal and yogurt 90% of it ends up in your mouth
• Do well with routines
• Sleep 12 hours a night and take a 2-2.5 hour nap
• Have a recent interest in going in the front and back yards, requesting, “outside?”
• Don't like to climb and are very cautious at the indoor playground at the mall (would rather use the automatic hand sanitizer dispenser and put other kids' shoes away in the provided cubbies)
• Are observant and prefer to watch from the sidelines with your hands resting behind your back before joining in to play