Can we just take one minute to talk about how quickly babies grow into people. SO FAST DONT BLINK!
I actually started a post like 5 weeks ago and never finished it, and then I went back to finish it and I realized that everything feels different. That’s why we say “She’s 21 months” instead of “she’s a year and half” because there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE gap between 18 months and 21 months. The baby I had at 18 months is sooooo long gone. Vada just hit 21 months old, crazy! Her 2nd birthday is fast approaching (A HUGE PUPPY PARTY IS IN THE WORKS!) and we are just in awe of all that is happening with this crazy kid. So Ill jump right in to update on her, and some updating on myself and life in general. It’s going to be long, I should really blog more often.
In July Vada started stringing words together. To backtrack a little, at one year Vada could say around 15 words. By 18 months she could say probably 100 words. By 20 months, there really wasn’t a word she couldn’t say once we said it to her. In June Vada said a lot of “mama, eat” “shoes!” “papa, book” but then in July it turned into “Mama eat dinner” “my shoes” “papa read book” the mini-sentences were usually 2-3 words long, she had just begun stringing simple words together to explain what she wanted. Now 16 days into August, she just talks, straight up talks to me. The other night I was using the hose to fill up her cup with water in the backyard and she said to Mr. Gaunt “Papa, Mama filling my cup up with water for me” and today when she burned her hand on the stove while helping me stir scrambled eggs she said “I burned my finger while cooking. Hot, burned my finger right here” and points to her little blister. And it’s all day long. It’s a constant blabbing of names, and places, and what we are doing and where she is going, and songs, and counting, the words never stop. In full mom-disclosure I sometimes wanna scream SHUT UP! so I can have 15 minutes of silence. She narrates everything she does “I read book with my kitty, kitty need water, you’re welcome feed my kitty” “My puppy needs a new diaper, needs to change, mama change puppies diaper please” that’s the other thing, Vada LOVES her manners, which is rather adorable. Teach your kids words like “please” “thank you” “you’re welcome” “bless you” and they will seem like the nicest kids on the block! lol, even if they are little shits. Vada is also really into “Mine!” right now. EVERYTHING is MINE! She’s pretty good at sharing still, but she’s gonna let you know it belongs to her…even if it doesn’t.
Vada has basically no fears. Especially around other people, everyone is worth talking to. In May Vada started going to a once a week daycare, and the first day I took her there she freaked out; total meltdown. It really shocked Mr. Gaunt and I, it was so unlike her. Week after week she continued to cry as soon as we would pull in the driveway, and she would cling to me and I would have to leave her screaming. Her daycare teacher would text me to tell me she had stopped crying, so I knew she wasn’t horribly upset, but still, it was awful. It took about 6 weeks before she stopped crying when I dropped her off, and now she’s totally fine and says “bye mama, thank you” and sits down and plays. So an interesting thing to deal with, but I’m glad we pushed her and that she responded well in a rather quick amount of time.
I’ve had to work a lot at the restaurant lately, and since Mr. Gaunt is at work all the time, I take her with me. She usually comes in for a 3 hour shift, and she goes back and forth between riding on my back in our Toddler Tula, to sitting at the counter in a high chair. She eats lunch, colors, makes a huge mess, but mostly she talks with all the patrons. She greet people, and if they engage with her she always tells them “hello! Vada! Sit down! Eat dinner!” and wants them to sit next to her to chat. She yells about stuff she sees, babies, puppies outside, people eating soup, me washing my hands. And she sings her ABC’s and other little songs she knows. Sometimes she gets a little antsy and we let her run around for a few minutes. People are always impressed with how well she does sitting at the counter while I work, but she’s been coming to the restaurant since she was in a the womb, it’s her 2nd home. And my mom is always there, and if we are lucky my brother comes in and hangs with Vada too. Sometimes it feels super stressful and I feel angry that I have to work with her, but mostly we all adapt, and we all make do, and I am proud of her and myself for making it all work. In the end I think growing up around so many people will make her a better person. She will have been exposed to so many people who she might never be around otherwise.
DOESNT NEED MAMA:
Mr. Gaunt took Vada to Colorado for 5 days without me in June. They flew there and stayed with his mom, and hung with lots of friends and their kids. I am so glad that Mr. Gaunt took her, even though I’m sure it totally stressed him out, and I was a little sad to be without her for the first time overnight, but overall, I think it was a really empowering thing for him to do as her dad, and it was really good for me to let go and trust that he would meet her needs. Mr. Gaunt knows how to do everything I do, but because I’m with her all day long, he doesn’t have to. So for 5 days he had to remember everything she would need and want. Vada did great. Except for one time when we Face Timed and she freaked out because I couldn’t pick her up and she cried, no more Face Time after that. But she did FINE without me. Just fine. She doesn’t care at all that I’m not there. Which makes me sad, but also proud. She so confident and so happy and independent, it’s what I really wanted for her. We have also now had her stay overnight at a friend’s place, and she did great with that too.
At parks and events I have to follow her. Vada will NOT keep her eye on me. She will roam forever, and never look back. She will sit with other families, she will talk to other people, she will never come looking for me. As much as I like how strong she is, it’s definitely annoying too. I keep Vada on a very long leash, longer than most parents. I let her explore as much of the world as she wants, as long as I feel she is mostly safe (we really don’t worry as much as most parents) and that I could sprint to her if need be, I let her go. I know this makes other people uncomfortable, and I try not to worry about what other people think. I know she’s like 100 feet from me, but I can see her, she’s fine. I know she is swimming on her own, sans life jacket in the shallow lake. I’m right here, I’m always watching her, but no, I’m not hovering, I’m trusting her, and I’m trusting myself to help her if she needs help. I let her climb things that are tall. I let her swim. I let her play alone. I grew up being able to do all sorts of things by myself, and I’m not willing to let the internet, or other parents freak me out into being a helicopter mom. I’m just not. It’s not what works for us, and it’s not what would work for Vada. #freerangeparenting
MAKE BELIEVE/ ROLL PLAY:
Probably one of the cutest things Vada is doing these days is make-believe play or roll play. She often will pretend her friend Avery is with her, and “talk” to him, and do things like tuck him into bed, or buckle him into the wagon “Avey come’ere, Waggey, sit down! Buckle Avey”. Things she has done in real life, only pretend. She also does a lot of feeding, changing, and talking to her stuffed animals. She pretends to go grocery shopping, she pretends to cook in her kitchen. She pretends to color. Her doctor said this is an early age for her to doing make-believe, and from what I read it’s usually something that starts closer to two. But I figure her advanced verbal skills are just making this more apparent.
Vada definitely is being a pickier eater these days, which I was prepared for. Nearly everyone I know who had a good eater as a baby, has some set backs in toddler-hood. We are still offering her the same things, but I can almost bet now that she will pick around all the veggies. Sometimes she wont eat meat either, and all that goes down the shoot is fruit. I don’t want to remove the nutritious foods from her plate, despite the total waste, because I’m hoping she grows out of it. I don’t want her to think she can just live on crackers and cheese and fruit. It’s a bummer though, I loved how good of an eater she was! I can still get her to eat some things though, she loves sautéed Kale, and recently discovered she likes hamburger. She likes Caesar salad, and broccoli. She like peanut butter and humus, tuna fish, salmon, and of course cheese. At the restaurant she will eat soup too, Split Pea, or Pumpkin soup, she will have seconds and thirds of soup. Her favorite food right now is scrambled eggs, I kid you not she would eat 6 eggs in a sitting if I let her. She HATES watermelon, it’s the only fruit she will not touch, even if its super sweet. Weird. We cook a lot, so we just keep offering nutritious stuff, and let her do what she needs to do. No stress. Whatevs.
THE ONLY CHILD:
We are STILL on the fence about baby #2, I know I’ve said it before, but it’s true. I think we would be happy either way, but we aren’t dying for a 2nd baby. Part of me feels like if we do have another Id like it to be relatively soon, so that our children aren’t too far apart. I also really don’t want Vada to be an only child, so yeah, it’s still on the radar and maybe we will actually get around to trying to make them happen. I do feel like I’m slightly falling behind, almost everyone I know who had a baby around the time Vada was born is pregnant with their second. I know this probably isn’t true, I’m just being sensitive to it. I wish that Mr. Gaunt could be pregnant, lol, that would make everything easier! I use to worry about the size of our home with a second baby, but I don’t really worry much about that anymore, I know we can make it work. I hope that by the time we have another that maybe the restaurant has more help, and that I’m not the sole backup for when people call out or quit. It would also be nice if Mr. Gaunt has his own salesmen route by then too. But having another baby takes like FOREVER, so a lot can happen between now and then. I have begun to think of names, so that’s a step in the right direction…probably lol.
Woah having children really sucks the fun out of a relationship! Just kidding….or am I? Mr. Gaunt and I love love love each other, duh, but shit man, a toddler really exhausts everyone, and when everyone is exhausted and annoyed and burnt out, it’s so hard to be nice to each other! Mr. Gaunt and I try really hard to talk things through, talk about parenting, talk about work, talk about loving each other. We talk about why we are angry, whats bugging us, how we are making each other feel. We try to let the other person do stuff that makes them happy, see a movie, go for drinks, buy something, rearrange a room, whatever we need to boost morale, make things fun. Isn’t that what life is about? Struggle through shitty shit, and then try to celebrate all the fantastic shit?
Mr. Gaunt got a new job back in May, he’s a beverage salesmen/distributor now, which means he works all kinds of crazy hours, and he has to deal with tons of stores and bars, and holidays, and new products, and displays, and merchandisers, and since he is kind of still an assistant-salesmen (he doesn’t have his own route yet) he covers vacations and maternity leave and all kinds of crazy junk for all the other salesmen. Basically on any given day I have no idea when he goes to work, where he is all day, and when he comes home. Could be 1:00 could be 5:00, and since I work at 3:00 every day, I have to take Vada with me, which like I said above….sometimes sucks. It took a solid two months before we mostly adjusted to this. The first month was me being a raging bitch and feeling so annoyed and frustrated about the whole thing, it was bad. Now I understand the inconsistency and I’ve mostly accepted it. It’s still hard when he has no days off and then he has to DJ a wedding on his one day off. Its just SOOOOO much time with a toddler, too much time really. And I DO HAVE A JOB I work too! Just because it’s more flexible doesn’t mean it’s not important too. I’m being a full-time mom and business owner, and I’m almost solely responsible for household stuff (because Mr. Gaunt legit works alllllll the time, he can hardly do anything at home) and we both have hobbies and social lives we try to maintain too. So yeah, its been a crazy summer, and we are doing our best to make everything work.
We did make some awesome progress on our financial goals this year. We bought a new (to us) minivan last month, took out a partial car payment which was never racking. Mr. Gaunt and I have been trying hard to build our credit (for years we had no credit at all because we didn’t use credit cards, which really just bit us in the ass in the end) so now we actually have decent credit scores! It means that hopefully in 4-5 years we might be able to buy a home if we want.
Sometimes I think that parenting has changed our lives so much, but in reality we made a lot of huge changes right at the the same time as becoming parents. I opened a restaurant, Mr. Gaunt got a new job and started DJing wedding, we changed up some of our friendships, it all cray cray around here!
NEXT STEP: BIG GIRL:
We attempted potty training a couple of weeks ago, and it was a big failure. I thought because Vada talked about the potty, told me when her diaper was poopy and happily sat on her baby potty, that she might be ready. After a day in underwear I realized that she isn’t. She just isn’t aware of her need to actually go potty yet. So we are going to wait until she is two and see if she’s ready.
I’m thinking we may want to move Vada to a big girl bed next spring/summer, Id like to get her a twin with a trundle-bed underneath so I’m keeping my eyes peeled on Craigslist for a good deal. It’s the best way to get cheap furniture, look regularly for a long time and it will come to you. I think for Vada’s birthday we are going to get her a Strider Bike, she LOVES bikes and helmets, and I think she is almost tall enough to understand a bike.
This winter we are going to do more swim lessons, maybe a little dance class and work on our colors and numbers a bit. We’ve started taking Vada to the library every other week and let her get 6 books, which she loves to read. Winter will obviously bring more indoor time, so we recently rearranged our living room to make it more kid-friendly, spacious, plus room for a tiny dining room table so we can start doing meals at the table. I’m nervous for winter, even though I love FALL and look forward to holidays and sweaters and just cooler weather in general, I know we will be stuck inside a lot and that things can get kinda grey and sad. Hopefully we can stay busy.
OK OK OK I’m done for now. I’ll probably do a post in a couple of weeks to log all the stuff we did this summer, and then it’s on to PUMPKIN PATCHES AND BIRTHDAY PARTIES!!!!