Well, it’s official. Nez isn’t a baby anymore. The fact that this kid started out as the tiny little needy nugget she was and has turned into the sweet, smart, curious, (still needy) toddler she is today, blows my mind. The way my husband and I describe it, the first year with a baby is just pure survival. Yes, there are moments of joy, but the majority is reconciling the shift between who you were and who you’re becoming, with more responsibility and less autonomy than you’ve ever known. The honest truth is that I didn’t like the first year of being a mom. I’ve never been a ‘baby’ person and in retrospect, I was definitely dealing with postpartum depression and anxiety. But the next year got progressively easier as she gave us more feedback and became increasingly engaged with us and the world around her. While it’s certainly still not easy, this ‘version’ of Nez is by far my favorite yet. I wanted to share a bit about what she’s doing, eating, playing with, and loving right now.
The difference between 1.5 years and 2 years in terms of her language skills is night and day. She’s basically a parrot, repeating everything we say (for better or for worse). If I ask her ‘do you want more eggs’ and she’s full, she’ll respond ‘no, I’m good.’ If I say ‘I’m going to the bathroom and will be right back’ she’ll say ‘No, I’m coming too!’. She gets what’s going on and processes it in such a different way than I’ve seen her do before. It’s fascinating and so much more fun! She’s gotten really cuddly, which I adore. Maybe it’s because we don’t see her as often during the day while she’s with her nanny, but when we are together she wants to be close and I treasure every second of it.
In terms of her basic day to day schedule, she’s still waking up at around 7:30/7:45 (we go in and get her at 7:45 or 8. If she wakes up earlier, she just hangs in her crib quietly or talks to herself a little), taking one nap from 1:30-3:30, then going down for the night around 7:45. This is the best and most consistent routine we’ve experienced with her yet.
One of the great things about having a toddler vs. baby is that she can eat what we eat. That doesn’t mean she actually will eat what we eat, but technically she’s capable. We try and start out with something healthy and filling so I’ll make her a smoothie with half a frozen banana, spinach, and some superfood with 1 tablespoon of my vegan protein plus a piece of toast with peanut butter. Sometimes we’ll make her eggs with zucchini (very finely chopped) and cheese, often wrapping it in a small tortilla to make her a burrito. Just like her mama, she’s a carb-aholic and would eat bread and cheese for every meal, so we try and get in as many veggies as we can wherever we can for some nutrients. She loves hummus, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, mango, blueberries and strawberries.
This kid is like a buzz saw and just blows throw games and toys. We have a fantastic nanny that’s with her every day while we work and is incredibly engaged. She’s teaching Inez the alphabet (we like playing with this puzzle to interact with the letters in a tactile way), which she sings all the way through, how to count to ten in English and Spanish, and so much more. Inez loves to pretend to cook or serve us food, so my in-laws got her a little grocery store set up and we use it like a kitchen. Otherwise she likes to play hide-and-seek, is really into her cabbage patch dolls and a stroller she pushes them around in, as well as drawing and reading. She just discovered the Angelina Ballerina books but otherwise is hooked on Lama Lama. And above all else, she is obsessed with Sesame Street. Obsessed. She would watch 20 episodes a day if she could. We try and limit to one episode a day before dinner but sometimes we use it as a crutch when we need to finish work or if we’re ever in the car for more than 10 minutes. It is what it is. She does repeat things she’s learned on it, so it can’t be too bad.
The Good + The Bad
The best part about this age is that she’s just way more fun and funny to be around. She’s taking in the world and watching her figure things out is mesmerizing. It’s also so much easier to be out and about with her (Covid aside) because she’s more predictable in her schedule and can communicate her needs. The challenge is that she gets frustrated when she can’t find the words to express those needs, and knows how to throw little tantrums. She is also so focused on what she wants that pulling her away to eat or shower can be tough. Overall, I’m the happiest as a mom I’ve been and feel like I’ve finally found my groove, which is a big relief after feeling like I was stumbling for so long.