Friday, October 19, 2007

Astrid is 2.5 years old today

If you ask Astrid how old she is, she will tell you "Two and a half!"

We've been saying she's 2 and a half for awhile now, which wasn't accurate. (Most people think she's already 3 going on 4 because she's so tall.) She turns 2.5 years old today.

Language Development
Her vocabulary continues to grow at a breakneck speed, and she's speaking in full sentences.
  • "Where did Grandpa go?"

  • "What else you have Mama?" (When she's tired of eating grapes.)

  • "Mama bring Astrid's swim suit?"

  • "We go Grandma and Grandpa's house today?"

  • "We go swimming today Mama?"

  • "We go feed the ducks Mama?"

  • "Let's go Mama! Come on!"

  • "Astrid do puzzle. I got it Mama!"

  • "Astrid eat rice, noodles, eggs, chicken."

  • "I draw this one Mommy."

  • "Astrid hand dirty. Mama wash it please!"

  • "Where doll go Mama? Astrid take it somewhere?"

  • "Astrid go coffee and bread with Papa."

She loves to sing and dance.

She can sing the entire lyrics of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and her "ABC's". She also sings along to songs that we sing to her, or that she hears on the radio/CD.

She loves music & dancing and I'm hoping to enroll her in ballet class this coming January. Watching her do the twist is so adorable.

Understanding Sequence
It helps now that we can explain to Astrid the sequence of what we're doing -
First we'll do this and next this, and then that. That way she understands we have to get some errands done before we go to the park, or eat lunch for example.

Every night at bedtime we talk about what we did that day, and what we're going to do tomorrow (in order). It's cute how she'll wake up the next morning (remembering) and announce what we're doing today.

Social Development
Astrid is starting to play with other children now. It's fascinating to see her interact with small children (being gentle and helping them), children her own age (holding hands, laughing and jumping together, taking turns), and older children (she looks up to them and tries to do what they do).

She continues to love gymnastics class, and also the babysitting center at the YMCA where she can play with other kids. In another 6 months she will be joining the older kids (3-6 year olds) in the higher level gymnastics class. Already she watches them in the gymnasium and tries to copy their moves, sometimes playing with the older kids after class.

She loves babies and has started to ask me for a baby brother or baby sister. I think this may be the result of watching a Sesame Street episode on the same topic.

She's also in that "mine" stage where everything is "mine". I see this with other kids her age, and see it as my responsibility to teach her to share, which she does easily (sometimes just needing a reminder).

She loves talking on the phone:
Astrid is phone crazy. It's almost impossible for me to make a phone call with her shouting in the background and begging to talk to the whoever I'm talking to. It makes sense when it's a family member like her dad or grandma, but even if it's a contractor or painter - she wants to talk to them. She'll shout, "I want to talk to man!" I got a great tip from another mom - when her kid was Astrid's age she'd have a bag of goodies that she'd get out only when she needed to talk on the phone and her kids would be so engrossed in playing with the stuff in the bag that they'd be distracted from focusing on the phone. I'm going to try that.

Independence
Astrid wants to be independent and to do things for herself. This includes dressing and undressing, putting on and taking off her shoes, and even using toilet paper or baby wipes.

The dressing part is tricky, because she'll have problems getting something on (over her head or in the wrong pant leg), and it takes longer than it would for me to dress her. But she'll resist me doing it for her, so I'll just say, "Okay okay...mommy's just helping you." That's the key word around here - "helping" vs. "doing" it for her. Sometimes I just have to let her struggle until she asks me for help.

The shoe thing is great. She'll put on her shoes while I'm getting ready, and take them off and put her shoes away while handing me her socks.

The wiping part I'm not so fond of. Toilet paper stuck to all parts of her is tricky to clean up. Since she's fond on using the wipes (even on her dolls), I try to reinforce wiping from front to back (when she's already clean), and then I'll do it once more.

She also wants to pick out what she's going to wear, right down to her underwear, and colored hair rubber bands. It usually works out okay because she has good taste and matches well, but other times she doesn't understand that she can't wear her short sleeved shirt when it's cold outside, and a tantrum will ensue.

Mommy's Helper
She loves helping me, so whenever I need her to bring me something or throw something away, she's more than happy to do it.

She also puts away her toys & books after playing with them (often without even being asked).

Other times she helps me remember things. I know it sounds crazy, but with all that's involved in getting ready to leave the house while getting a 2.5 year old toddler ready and busy, and out of everything - and so many distractions - it's hard to keep some stuff in the old noggin. Like once Astrid was chattering away and asking me to do this and that and I stopped in the kitchen and said, "I completely forgot what I was going to get." Astrid thought about it and said, "Cheese Mommy." That's right I was going to the fridge to get her string cheese. Other times I'll ask Astrid to remind me about something and make sure we don't leave the house without it.

Pretend Play
Astrid does more imaginary play now, including housework (I got her a child sized broom and dust pan), having long conversations on her phones (she has her toy cell phone and 2 of our old cell phones), and playing with her dolls and stuffed animals.

Becoming more aware of others & her own feelings and thoughts
Astrid points out things about others now - like "Wheelchair Mama. Man sit in wheelchair." Or she'll point out another Mommy, Papa, Grandma, Grandpa. She also knows the difference between boy and girl. She's going to get me into trouble one day though - because a few times she's pointed to a masculine looking woman and asked, "Man?"

She also tells me when she's sad, scared, excited, and concerned. Lately she's also expressed appreciation and gratitude, by thanking me for something that I did or bought for her some time ago. "Thank you Mommy for buy this book." Another example is when she remembered that I replaced her doll's hair ties awhile back when they broke and a month later she said, "Mama do baby hair? Thank you Mommy."

When she knows she's hurt me (i.e., bonked me in the head on accident) she apologizes, "Sorry Mom." U. and I also make it a point for her to apologize to us when she's done something egregious (i.e., hitting, or throwing objects). We talk about it and after the apology we hug. Sometimes it takes awhile for her to apologize. She can be very stubborn and strong willed. Whenever this happens I'm fond of saying she's U.'s daughter, but I'm sure I contributed more than my fair share in that department. Hitting doesn't happen often, but when it does out of say a tantrum or not getting something she wants, we nip it in the bud right away.

Physical Development
Astrid's hand coordination and fine motor skills are developing so fast. For example, a year ago it was difficult for her to hold her crayons, but now she's coloring and drawing everyday (even trying to write letters) and loves it. We have lots of coloring books (that are also great for when we're at a restaurant), and I buy large poster paper that she draws on. She also puts together wooden kid puzzles. This Christmas her gifts will includes lots of puzzles, a beading kit where she can string together beads to make bracelets and necklaces, and Chinese checkers (she'll love moving the colored pegs to different slots).

She likes to try out different ways to move her body. For example, she does Yoga poses that we taught her including Downward Dog while she lifts either leg up in the air. She also loves to jump on the trampoline, and lately I've seen her try out new moves like spinning in the air before she lands.

She's also slimming down (starting to lose the baby fat) and elongating. People that haven't seen her in a few months always exclaim that they can't believe how tall she's gotten. Her muscles are getting so much stronger and she's a good jumper and kicker. I mentioned in a previous post how she can walk and walk and walk (and does not want to sit in the stroller).

My mom made a comment that she forgets that Astrid's only 2, because of how much she understands, how tall she is, and how long she can walk without having to rest.

Time continues to fly by and I'm trying my best to document everything as best I can, while enjoying all those moments with her. I remind myself that even the most frustrating moments will be stories we will laugh together about when she's older.

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