Adelie and Staley's World

Adelie and Staley's World

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mini-cation

Mini-cation:  A shortened, condensed version of a vacation

Before Staley, mini-cations were a typical part of Zach and my yearly routines.  It wasn't uncommon for us to drive up to Chicago or down to St. Louis on a whim for a week-end away.  Jetting off to Washington, DC for a long week-end visit happened several times a year.

Staley is a great traveler, but mini-cations now require a lot more forethought and planning.  Packing takes twice as long.  Do we have enough diapers?  Blankets?  Books?  Toys?  Did we get the stroller?  Pack and play?  Snacks?  Instead of winging it, leaving whenever we are ready and doing activities on the fly, we now have to plan drive time and activities around naps and bedtime. Finding hotels with pools is a priority, and hotels with suites so that Staley can sleep while we stay up is a bonus.  Staley loves to travel, and we love to travel with Staley.  It's just different now.

But different can be good.  And we had a great time this past week-end on our family mini-cation to Chicago.  Zach and I had tickets to the Bear's game on Sunday and because a.)  the game would be occurring during Staley's naptime,  b.)  we didn't think 3 hours sitting on our laps watching a football game would hold her attention, and c.)  cold and windy might not be the best elements to keep our child out in for hours at a time, my mom came with us to watch Staley during the game. 

Staley happily talked and played on the ride up to Chicago on Saturday.  She was too excited to nap when we got to the hotel, so we passed on naptime and enjoyed time at the aquarium instead.  The highlights for Staley?  Watching the sea lion do tricks, checking out the jellyfish, watching the aquatic show, and finding the seahorses, crabs, penguins, and starfish.  On Sunday, Staley enjoyed time swimming at the pool with Grammie and napping while we went to the game.  Then she got to swim AGAIN with Daddy while I did a little shopping with my mom.  The weather warmed (and the wind calmed down) on Monday, so we enjoyed time walking around in the city.  We visited the children's section of the Chicago Public Library and spent some quality time at the Disney store.  My tired little girl then slept the whole ride home.

Waiting for the show at the aquarium

Taking a break from swimming time with Grammie

Go Bears!!
A last-second Bear's comeback victory made sitting in the cold for 3 hours well worth it.
 
A mini-cation can wear a girl out!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Let's Hear It for the Boys

Staley likes boys.  All boys, but specifically older boys.  Slightly older boys.  Much older boys.  It doesn't really matter to her.  In Staley's eyes, boys are great.

Staley has grown up around boys.  Her two Walles cousins are boys.  One of her Bradford cousins is a boy.  Her first daycare had her holding her own with 3 boys.  Her current daycare has more boys than girls.  Staley has been surrounded by boys throughout her early life, and there's just something about them that captures her attention.

Staley LOVES her cousins.  All her cousins are great, but the two that Staley talks about the most are Cade and Elliott.  (Her two older boy cousins.)  She loves her friends at the baby-sitters.  But the one that she talks about on the way, the one she talks about during the week, the one she ALWAYS says good-bye to first as she is leaving is her baby-sitters 8 year old son.  In music class, there are 3 little girls and 3 little boys.  Who does Staley always bring up when we are talking about music class?  The boys, of course.  And one of Staley's favorite things to do is visit Uma and Papa's shop.  There are several  young guys that work at their shop, but Staley has grown especially fond of Brandon and Greg.  When Staley pretends to talk on the phone, it's usually to Brandon.  When she walks in the front door of the shop, before even asking to see her Uma or Papa, it's usually Brandon she is asking to see.  When we ask who she wants to pray for at night, Brandon and Greg are often at the top of the list. 

Greg came over to our house for dinner the other night.  Staley was SO excited.  He had barely walked in the door, and Staley was showing off for him.  She gave him a play-by-play all evening of what she was up to.

"Greg!  I washing hands."  "Greg!  I twirling."  "Greg!  I eating corn."  "Greg!  I running."  And then, after dinner, Greg (who is a fire fighter) gave us a private tour of the fire station.  Staley got to look at all the fire equipment and sit in the fire trucks.  As if Greg wasn't already pretty great in her eyes, that was just the icing on the cake.

Pretty tickled to be standing so close to Greg
 
Right now, I think Staley's enchantment with boys is cute.  I think it's great to grow up knowing how to relate with both boys and girls.  I do want her to feel comfortable and act like herself around both genders.  However, if I'm still seeing this attachment to older boys in 15 years, I'm going to start to worry!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let's Talk About Feelings

Staley is a sponge.  She doesn't forget anything, and she doesn't miss much that we say or do.  We find our words and our actions coming back to us from a cute little 21-month old.  (Luckily, nothing we are too embarrassed about...yet.)

Staley has several books that talk about feelings.  Lately, we've been talking about feelings...surprised, sad, happy, angry.  Tonight, we had this conversation.

Staley:  "Sit down."  (As she proceeds to sit down on her princess lunch box.)  "Talk about feelings."
Staley:  "Mommy.  Be surprised."
Me:  "Oh!!"  (Doing my best exaggerated surprise face.)
Staley giggles.
Staley:  "Mommy.  Be sad."
Me:  (Doing my best sad face.)
Staley:  "Mommy.  Do tears."
Me:  (Pretending to cry.)
Staley: "That's unnecessary."

I had hoped for a hug or some reassurance from Staley, a little empathy to stop my 'fake' crying.  Instead, she threw back to me a little of my own medicine.  I guess if crying for no reason is unnecessary for Staley, it should be for me too.

Growth Spurt

Staley has been going through a growth spurt.  It's not just that she is out-growing her 12-18 month clothes or that her appetite the past week has been insatiable.  It's more than the fact that she has skipped her nap now TWICE in the past 2 weeks (which does not benefit anyone.)  It's even more than the indeniable fact that she is looking older, speaking older, acting older.  There is a new found independence.  It's not the desire for independence, but the actual ability that has taken me by surprise.

There are several of Staley's growing-up moments that have been a little bittersweet.  Staley has more definite opinions about what she wants.  She no longer wants to dance with Daddy at bedtime, preferring to skip straight to story time.  I know that stings for Zach, and I miss seeing her little head nestled into his shoulder as they dance around the office.  She often prefers to sit beside me now instead of on my lap when reading books, a snuggle time that I always cherished.  And although it's nice that Staley likes to walk rather than be carried, it sometimes hurts when she doesn't want to hold my hand.  Bittersweet is the word.

Staley's desire to do things 'all by myself' does have its benefits.  All by herself, Staley will take off her shoes and socks, wash her hands for dinner, and clean up her toys.  She is learning to put on her own coat, drink well from an open cup, and put on her shoes.  Each of these little conveniences make our days a touch easier.  But some of her growing-up moments are a little frightening for me.  She likes to walk up and down the stairs instead of crawling...and doesn't always want to hold my hand.  I've seen her do it, but I hold my breath and stay close, afraid of a misstep that may lead to a tumble.  Today we took Staley to the playground, and instead of climbing up the short, wide, railing enclosed steps to the slides, Staley wanted to climb up the open, tall, spiral-staircase steps.  She maneuvered her way up without my help as I guarded her every move.  I know as she gets older, I am going to have to learn to let go, to let her try, sometimes even to let her fall.  But it's hard.  So, so hard.  Much harder than I thought.

I love watching as Staley's world expands a little more each day, and it's so fun to see the pride in her eyes when she realizes something else that she can do.  I love the increased understanding, the growing sense of humor, the ever-expanding communication, the blossoming personality.  I do love that my baby is growing into such an amazing little person.  I just wish it wasn't happening quite so fast.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Healthy Self Concept

It's important to me for Staley to grow up with a healthy self-concept.  I want her to grow up understanding what it means to be a strong, independent woman worthy of respect.  I don't want her to ever doubt her worth.  Based on her observations this morning, I don't think we have anything to worry about at this point.

Staley was getting dressed for church this morning.  We put on her new pair of boots. 

Staley:  "Oooooh!!  Them fit very well.  (Pause...)  Staley look very cute!"

Healthy self-esteem?  Check. 

 
And although I agree with her observation, maybe our next lesson will need to be in humility.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Manipulation

Staley is learning how to get what she wants.  I was cracking up today, sitting here listening to her through the monitor after I put her down for her nap.  Some naptime snippets for your enjoyment:

S:  "Mommy!  Come here.  Real quick.  One second."
S:  "Mommy!  I tangled.  My blanket tangled."
S:  "I want different blanket.  Mommy!  I want different blanket."
S:  "I want different bear.  I want pink bear.  Mommy!  All done green bear.  I want pink bear."
S:  "Blanket fall off.  Mommy fix it.  Mommy!!  Fix blanket."

After about 15 minutes of her running commentary, Staley is now napping sweetly in her crib...with green bear and her tangled blanket that is probably off her.  Staley didn't get what she wanted this time, but I did...a soundly napping girl.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Speaking of Staley...

There are those things in life that I think are universal pet-peeves.  Being interrupted when you are speaking.  People who tell you the end of movies you haven't seen yet.  And people who refer to themselves in the third person.  There's nothing more annoying than the third-person speaker.  (I think it's one of the many reasons I find Elmo so grating.)

Well, my daughter has always been a third-person speaker.  (At least for as long as she's been speaking in sentences.)  'Staley playing in bathtub.'  'Staley want snack.'  'Staley's turn.'  Of course, when it comes to the communication of my 21-month old, I don't find the third-person speech annoying.  I find it one more cute little nuance that makes my daughter who she is.  However, I want to make sure that this third-person talking doesn't continue past the point of cuteness, so we've been working on pronouns lately.  And I think we've recently turned a corner.

In the past few days, Staley has really started using 'I' and 'my' more consistently and appropriately.  'I want waffle.'  'I get bowl for Daddy.'  'I go to circus again.'  And her current favorite...'I do it all by myself.'  Granted, she still sometimes gets confused with her 'you' and 'I' ('Mommy pick you up'), and her third-person reference is still present, but she's starting to get it.  And Ellen is really proud of her.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Makes Me Thankful

Staley had a rough evening yesterday.  R-O-U-G-H.  Rough.

Yesterday was a great day.  We spent the day with Liam and Melissa.  Staley and Liam played with his toys and chased each other around the house.  We went to the Children's Museum in Bloomington, where Staley and Liam had a blast playing in the water, shopping in the marketplace, cooking in the kitchen, building with blocks, driving the combine, and painting on the wall.  Staley chose not to take a nap, instead talking and crying in the pack and play for an hour.  After her non-nap, Staley enjoyed a fun trip to visit Daddy at work.  She fell asleep on the drive home from Bloomington.

And that's when the fun ended.  Staley woke up when we got home...and she wasn't happy about it.  She cried...and cried...and cried.  Books, toys, even some coveted TV time failed to bring her tears to an end.  She cried through dinner (or as much of a 'dinner' as I could get her to eat.)  She cried through her bath.  She cried through pajama time.  She calmed down a little with bedtime stories and was asleep in her crib by 6:45.  The endless tears from the evening left me feeling worn down and frustrated and sad and tired...and thankful.

I am thankful that Staley is a happy little girl.
I am thankful that I can't remember a previous time when we've had an hour of tears.
I am thankful that Staley's tears are few...and very short-lived.
I am thankful that usually Staley eats what is put in front of her.
I am thankful that bathtime is generally fun and pleasant.
I am thankful that Staley usually naps without issue.
I am thankful that bedtime generally occurs without a fuss.
I am thankful that I have a partner to share this parenting journey with.
I am thankful that a rough evening is not a normal occurrance.

I know that some parents deal with 'rough' evenings or mornings or full days on a consistent basis.  I work with children who have physical, psychological, emotional, sensory issues that cause irritability and sensitivity and behavior problems and sleep issues and eating issues.  I know there are many parents who are navigating the parenting world alone.  I know there are parents who deal with much worse than what I was faced with on my rough evening.  I feel for them.  I can't imagine the frustration of dealing with these issues day in and day out.  And so I am thankful for Staley's rough evening...because it reminds me that I have it good.  So, so, so good.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Smarter Than Her Daddy Too

You may remember this post from a few weeks ago when Staley proved that she was smarter than me when it comes to construction vehicles.  Well, now Zach gets to join my club.

We have a zoo membership to the Peoria Zoo.  When the weather is nice, Staley and I are frequent zoo visitors.  Although the zoo is small, Staley never gets tired of going to see all the animals.  On Saturday, Zach and Staley went to the zoo together.  They were looking at an exhibit of meerkats when Zach looked down the hall and saw an exhibit with some birds.  He said, "Staley.  Do you want to go see the toucan?"  Ever agreeable, Staley headed down the hallway with Zach.  When they got to the exhibit that Zach had seen, Staley said, "That's hornbill.  Where's toucan, Daddy?"

And, of course, she was right.  Zach checked the exhibit sign and, sure enough, the bird he thought was a toucan was actually a hornbill.  Zach knows about skid steers, and I would have known that the bird was a hornbill.  But Staley wins.  She knows both.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Domestic Goddess

Staley has always loved to be my little helper.  But recently, doing 'chores' has become Staley's idea of a good time.  Given the choice, she'd rather sweep the driveway than draw with sidewalk chalk.  Washing dishes now trumps playing with refrigerator magnets.  And helping Mommy cook or bake...well, there's nothing more exciting than that.  I love that Staley finds such pleasure in these activities.  It's also a little ego boost (however misguided) that my daughter thinks I'm quite the little homemaker.  She likes to push her vacuum or cook in her little kitchen 'just like Mommy.'  I wonder how long it will take her to realize that her mother's domestic abilities are about on par with her mother's musical abilities.  (Probably around the same time she asks me to stop singing to her at night.)  Let's hope we still have a little time to live in this make-believe world...because I like it here. 

Staley can happily spend 20-30 minutes 'washing' dishes in the sink.

Taking a rest break from putting away groceries

Helping Mommy cook

My little domestic goddess