We officially get to count in years instead of months now, which means that we just might be entering the so-called terrific two phase.
I've noticed to my amusement that the number of activities geared for the 18 month to 3 year old set is much more limited than what's available for babies (especially pre-walking babies) or "preschoolers". I'm blaming the unpredictable nap schedule rather than the legendary increase in temper tantrums.
Speaking of naps, Elizabeth does still take one quite happily about two o'clock in the afternoon. Or three. Or eleven in the morning. Or around four. She is totally out of diapers and I'm starting to wonder why I tote around the diaper bag given that we never use its non-snack related contents. Don't worry - I know better than to leave it at home (that would be asking for trouble!!!) Night time is a bit more of a challenge, because she still needs to pee a couple of times during the night but is obviously a sound sleeper. She whimpers and crawls off the mattress but if Mom or Dad don't rescue her in time she'll make puddles on the floor. She finds this more traumatic than Daddy does so we try hard to leap out of bed on time.
Elizabeth's testing boundaries, along with our ability to consistently enforce them. Suddenly life is peppered with "why?" and "where?" questions, to which she expects a proper answer! She can be reasoned with, at least some times. She's still helpful, but she likes things to be her own idea. So she'll say "no!" when asked to do something but do it anyway after a couple of minutes. Doing things "ike a baby" is extremely popular at the moment. Most of the time this works to our advantage. Doesn't want to put on her snowsuit? "Let's put it on like a baby" are MAGIC words...
Other favourite activities include drawing, chasing, singing and hiding. We don't quite understand the rules surrounding when we are supposed to find her and when we aren't. It's particularly challenging when she decides to "hide" out in plain sight but we're not supposed to know where she is.
Elizabeth is about 85cm tall and weighs about 10 kilos. This means three things: 1) She's on basically the same height and weight curve she's been on since birth. 2) She should end up somewhere between 160 (5'3") and 170cm (5'7") tall. 3) She's not going to graduate to a booster seat any time soon.
Taking after Grandpa J Elizabeth has started singing Happy Birthday to herself at every opportunity. She has even decided that this is so much fun that we should all sing happy birthday to each other pretty much non-stop... Breaking her birthday up across two days may have helped prevent present overload but it appears to have some unintended consequences.
As for the presents, this morning Elizabeth saw a gift bag sitting unopened and promptly walked over to it and started pulling things out. She thoroughly enjoyed finding her "English Doggie" inside and played nicely for a few minutes pretending that the doggie was nibbling on her finger. Then just as abruptly as she had charged over to the bag she was done and announced "more!". Oh dear. We did have one more present (small pots and pans for her play kitchen) but we kept it for the evening.
We celebrated Elizabeth's birthday today. I asked her what she wanted for lunch and to my surprise she demanded pizza. So we had make-your-own-pizzas with broccoli on the side. I didn't ask what kind of cake, since we all felt that something chocolate was rather obvious! I told Erika we would have worms for lunch. She didn't quite believe me but was very happy to help me and Elizabeth decorate our "dirt cake". I made a chocolate cake base, some homemade egg-free chocolate mousse and crushed Kinnikinnick gluten free oreos for the topping. My mouth is watering just remembering...
Grandma and Grandpa J, Uncle Dave and Auntie Karen, Auntie Janice, Uncle Chris, Erika, Maria, Auntie Heather and friend Jesse all crowded around the table with us. Elizabeth wasn't quite sure what to do with the candles on her cake, so everyone helped her blow them out. She had no trouble figuring out what to do with the cake itself.
After lunch we let lucky Elizabeth open the large assortment of presents, which she did with alacrity. Auntie Janice asked Elizabeth what she wanted for her birthday and Elizabeth told her she wanted a dragon. So Auntie Janice has spent the last few days secreted in our guest bedroom making pounding noises. Lots of jokes about our woodpecker infestation and we were even starting to wonder if woodpeckers were dragon food or something! Isn't that sheet fantastic??? Can you believe Janice stencilled every single dragon by hand???
Auntie Heather brought Elizabeth two singing ducks. One walks and tells you off if you pick him up by his ears and the other flaps his wings and giggles if you tickle him. Elizabeth loves them. At first she wanted to bring them to bed with her but I think we've convinced her they belong in the basement. (Singing ducks at 4am would be very unpopular with Daddy, and this child already knows how to turn the off switch back on.)
When Janice was little, Uncle Dave decided one Christmas that he needed to get her "the biggest bear he could find". So I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the enormous sheep that has come to live with Elizabeth. Based on the size progression the next stuffed animal he buys may not fit in his car. Auntie Karen observed that "Fat Sheep" is going to become "Flat sheep" - Elizabeth likes to pretend to ride it "like a horsie".
Elizabeth also received some play food (sushi! toy lettuce with velco-detachable leaves! garlic!) from her cousins, books from Uncle Dave, Auntie Karen and Auntie Janice and a snazzy new life jacket from Grandma and Grandpa.
She had a couple of other gifts still hidden away, but we opted to open them another day!
We don't celebrate Halloween, but that doesn't mean Elizabeth has been deprived of the opportunity to dress up! Recently we borrowed a set of three costumes from the OEYC toy library. Elizabeth has been putting each of them on in turn, several times a day, running to the mirror and cooing at her reflection. She's much better at taking them off "by self" than putting them on.
The first day "unicorn" insisted on going to wake up Auntie Janice and Daddy to show off her costumed self. Auntie Janice was amused to hear Elizabeth knocking on her door. "There's a horse out here", she heard. Sure enough, a horse did indeed poke her head around the door. Mommy wishes she had Daddy's reaction on video. He opened his eyes and nearly jumped out of his skin!
Elizabeth and I have been doing a small "science" experiment lately. We mixed different colours of food colouring into water, poured it into an ice cube tray and put it into the freezer. She was seriously confused when we added blue and yellow and got green - I wish I had been able to get a picture! I got Elizabeth to touch the water before we put it into the freezer so that she could feel that it was liquid.
Later we brought out the ice cubes and Elizabeth got to feel them too. "Cold and 'ard", she said wonderingly. "And cold!"
We put the ice cubes into separate ziplock bags and let them melt. Elizabeth liked this. "Melting!", she informed everyone who came into the kitchen. When Elizabeth was a baby every now and then I used to let her play with a ziplock bag quarter filled with water to her great delight - best! toy! ever! (obviously I had to closely supervise to make sure she didn't try to eat it). So I didn't think twice about letting her play with one of the bags full of melted water. Turns out that babies aren't as strong or as fine-motor-control advanced. Who knew? For the record, my nearly two year old finds it funny to squeeze the bag vigorously and squirt Mommy, her socks and the kitchen floor with red food colouring. She pretty much destroyed the bag in a matter of seconds. "Oops..." she said. "Making mess!"