17 December 2016

A Long Overdue Rose Update

Trying to keep up with the blog while enjoying life with two kids under 3, and transitioning to a new job has certainly been a challenge. We've been so busy that apparently we never took Rose in for her 30 month (2.5 year) wellness visit - which would have been back in August. Oops. It's scheduled for this week and she'll be 3 in about 6 weeks. The overdue reminder I got in October made me realize that I haven't done a post on Rose's development in far too long. While I've mentioned a few things about Rose here and there, I haven't dedicated a post about her since late spring. 

Back in June, we switched Rose from the school where she started at 7 months, to the school where we enrolled Zoe in May. We wanted to make sure the school was a good fit for our family before switching Rose, so for a month we were taking Rose to one school and Zoe to another. We knew Rose would have a difficult time with the transition, and even with lots of preparation, it was still a rough couple of weeks months. Just when she stopped crying and clinging to mommy at drop off in early September, we traveled to visit family for a week. When we came back she had a few more weeks of difficult drop offs before she started telling us "I'm not going to cry" and following through with it. Now that I'm working a new job that has me traveling 4 days a month, we are seeing a little bit of regression. For the most part, Rose loves her school and her teachers. She is strongly attached to the teachers who care for her on a regular basis, and they have been wonderful in supporting us with morning transitions and providing her with the stability and routine that she needs. 
All smiles as she prepares for her second day at "Zoe's school"

Last week we had parent-teacher conferences and Rose's teacher shared with us a portfolio of the projects from the past 6 months. It was fun to see how much she has grown (both physically and developmentally). From June until September, Rose was in the 2-2.5 year old class and since September has been with the 2.5-3 year olds. She is very advanced for her age, a characteristic her teacher agrees with. She's been potty trained since she was 2 and we rarely have an accident these days. She's extremely self-sufficient and goes to the bathroom by herself. Since turning 2.5, she's also been very interested in dressing herself. There are a few favorite clothing items that I leave in the laundry room after they get washed for a few days so she doesn't wear them all the time. Other than that, she has free range over her clothes and shoes drawer. I'm usually very impressed with the outfits she is able to put together.
Outdoor art at school in June 2016
One of the most impressive characteristics of Rose these days is her ability to recite books. While she cannot read, she knows so many by heart based on the pictures. I captured her reading "Silly Sally" two months ago, but even back in the late spring and early summer she was already reading "Goodnight Moon," "The Very Hungry Catepillar," passages of "Once Upon a Cloud," "Green Eggs and Ham," "The Cat in the Hat," "On the Night You Were Born", and "Where the Wild Things Are." She also really loves Curious George books.

Rose Reading Silly Sally at Bedtime (October 2016 - 32 months)

Rose and Zoe go to a Spanish-language immersion school and while she doesn't yet speak fluently in Spanish, she understands everything that is discussed in the classroom. She follows commands and occasionally responds back to her teachers in Spanish. Back in the fall, she counted from 1-10 in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for my sister-in-law. We were all extremely impressed. I had no idea she recognized the difference between the numbers in Spanish and Portuguese. Most of her Portuguese comes from my mom when she visits and Rose's obsession with watching YouTube videos on her cell phone (ie - one of our old phones used over wifi). Her favorite Portuguese artists are Recreio da Anita and Avo Cantigas. We also have a few books in Portuguese, but most are a little too long for her attention span.
Jumping at a birthday party in August 2016

Rose Playing the Bongos in May 2016

Rose is a diva in the making. She often obsesses over her clothes, changing 2-3 times in a day for no other reason than to find another outfit to wear. She likes wearing dress up/princess dresses on occasion, and loves having her nails painted. She is often very particular about her hair and her accessories. This past fall, she was obsessed with a pony tail, two hair clips, and a headband - all worn at the same time. She'll go through phases with her sunglasses, necklaces, and bracelets. It's funny to see her interact with her peers at school. They often comment on what they are wearing when they see each other. One of Rose's favorite shirts is "Hello Kitty," and though she's never seen the movie Frozen, she loves her Frozen outfits (Elsa dress, Elsa and Anna shirt, and Olaf shirt).  

During her ponytail and barrette phase in September 2016
We continue to try and establish healthy habits for the whole family. The TV is very rarely on, and though Rose does get to watch her music and videos on YouTube, they are mostly educational, and limited in time. I definitely notice she gets into the zone when watching. In addition to watching her Portuguese music artists, she often gravitates to tutorials on taking care of babies. For awhile this summer, she was obsessed with watching videos on changing diapers. I would see her take what she watched/learned in the videos and apply it to her play. She loves taking care of her baby dolls at home, and is often giving them baths, changing their diapers, and feeding them at the table in an extra high chair. Zoe has started taking an interest in the babies too. Right now, Rose is still territorial with her dolls and they don't really play together yet. 

More accessories in October 2016
On the topic of sisters, Rose continues to often be rough with Zoe. She is very attached to mommy and gets jealous when I give Zoe attention. She frequently tells me to give Zoe to daddy, or asks to be picked up when I am holding Zoe. Now that Zoe can walk and is no longer nursing, we are starting to see her lash out less. We've been working on positive reinforcement when she is gentle with Zoe or when they play nice together. I know that my lashing out at her when she pushes or hits Zoe doesn't help, and I've had to work on that.

Rose at almost 33 months - October 31, 2016
Another area where we have struggled is with naps. Over the summer I had reduced my work hours so I could be with the girls more, and support Zoe more with her first year of nursing/eating. On Mondays and Fridays I was home with them and would try to get them to sleep around the same time so I could do some work. If Zoe was awake, Rose would refuse to nap. And, often, when Zoe went down, I'd still have to rock with Rose to get her to sleep. While she sleeps really well at night (and has since turning 11.5 months), naps have been hit or miss for at least 6 months. At school, she seemed to be napping well until just last month. But on the weekends and days at home with me, she would resist. Sometimes I would plan morning outings so she and Zoe would falls asleep on the way home. I would let them sleep in the car while I did work. It was difficult to do on the really hot days, but worked well in the spring and fall. 
Running with her fofinho (Portuguese lovey)

Rose continues to be a very good eater. She still drinks kefir milk at home, and now drinks regular milk at school. We are fortunate that the school Rose and Zoe attend provides them with lunch and two snacks daily. We are even more fortunate that their meals are ridiculously good and fairly healthy. They get a second breakfast in the morning, a gourmet lunch, and an afternoon snack. All are prepared on site by a chef with a nutrition background. Meals are varied and often include fish, red meat, white meat, and vegetarian choices. As an example, on Friday the girl's lunch at school was: apple pork, multigrain bread, rosemary roasted potatoes, green beans, and milk. Last week they had tuna steaks with orzo, cucumber, and cauliflower. We try to limit snacks at home, and focus on meals as a family at breakfast and dinner 7 days a week. On the weekends, we often cook and sit down together for each meal. I notice that Rose has very good table and eating manners compared with other kids when she goes to birthday parties. I like that school supports all the kids eating the same meal at the same time together. It's similar to how we approach the meal at home.

Posing at Hill Ridge Farms during a fall outing
I'll find out Rose's stats at her doctor's appointment this week, but I feel like she had a growth spurt this past fall. None of her 2T pants fit her anymore and we have fully transitioned to all 3T clothing. I think she's still on the petite-average size height-wise, and probably average weight. She had been following the 30th percentile on the CDC growth charts, and I would expect that has continued. I've noticed a drastic change in her body since turning 2. She's much slimmer, losing both fat rolls in the arms/legs and losing the pot-belly that young toddlers have. She loves to run and jump, and she's actually pretty fast. When we do a 2 mile hike around the lake, she often walks 75% of it, asking to be picked up here and there throughout the trek. Even after walking for a mile and playing on the playground, she'll often walk most of the mile back home. 

Rose Swimming at the Beach, Mother's Day 2016 (27 months)

Jumping Like a Frog at Storytime in May 2016

Rose at the Neighborhood Playground, June 2016 (28 months)

More "Sun's Out Gun's Out" in the summer (July 2016- 29 months)

I'm grateful that Rose has remained healthy and has exceeded developmental milestones to date. At times I think she is too smart, and that likely causes some of the tantrums and emotional challenges she has. I suspect her emotional intelligence has not caught up to other mental capacities. I'm also grateful to have a wonderful school in the area where they can attend. It certainly is not cheap, but we are investing in their future. In addition to being fserved well-balanced meals and snacks, they are mentally stimulated in age-appropriate ways with materials from the natural environment, and they spend a lot of time playing outside. I think these factors have contributed to both girls remaining mostly healthy for the past 6 months. While we probably won't be able to keep away all germs all winter, I'm glad they are healthy enough to fight off whatever comes their way.

When I have Rose's new stats, I'll update the post. And, now that I am no longer doing monthly posts on Zoe, I'll try to remain balanced in posting about both girls. My hope is that as they get a little older, we can get back to traveling, and then I can blog about some exciting new adventures with the new perspective of doing so as a parent. We had hoped to go away this winter, but with all the traveling we've done to visit family the past 6 months, I'm not sure Colin can take the time off. We might have to do a few long weekends instead.

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