Dylan the Determined

My parents came to visit last weekend and we picked the kids up from daycare together and walked them home. I went upstairs with Carter to help him with something and when I came back down Dylan had stripped off her pants and diaper and brought my dad a pair of undies to help her put on.

  She’s been in undies since that day.

For months Dylan has been sitting on the potty and pretending to pee and quickly standing up to point to nothing. She had a few mornings where she woke up with a dry diaper and we put her on the toilet immediately and she would go. Something with that must have made things click. We’re averaging about 2 accidents a day and mostly that’s poo which she doesn’t have down quite yet.

Overall, we’re super impressed with her and she’s really proud of herself.

Carter has been a full-time potty user for almost exactly one year. I can’t believe how little I remember from the process. I know it takes a while before they can hold it for very long but I don’t remember how long that takes. Right now we have approximately 5-30secs to get her onto a potty once she announces she has to go. She also has to go about every hour (if not less).

  We didn’t do any period of time with nothing on like most people suggest because we have been busy but she just kind of did okay with it. I’m fully prepared for a regression at any point. She is still so young. I’m not putting any pressure on it, just going with her lead and appreciating the lack of waste.

I originally went to buy pull-ups because I didn’t want to risk too much mess/stress and I wasn’t sure daycare would go along with undies but the options are…deplorable.
I know that the advertising indicates that the ones for boys and girls actually are made differently but the girl’s ones had bows which I wasn’t into and i didn’t even recognize the characters on them, which they ALL have.
I went to search for the more ecofriendly ones online and they were dramatically more expensive.

I decided to order some reusable training pants (settled on charlie bananas because they were more reasonably priced) and she’s been in them since tuesday night. They are pretty awesome and relatively adorable.

Dylan is quite possibly the most determined kid I’ve ever known.

Interview with Carter

Solo Mama has been doing interviews with her little one for a while and I’ve always loved the idea but never actually remembered to try it. Tonight just as we were about to shut the lights Carter was adorable and I remembered and I decided to go for it. I went off of her questions (roughly) and so here we have an interview with Carter.

  
A rough transcription:

How old are you? Three

Who is your best friend? Benjamin

What makes you happy? He plays with me all the time and he is my best friend.

What makes you sad? When he hits me he needs to go take a time out.

Are you sad that he has to take a time out or that he hits you? I’m sad that he hit me and he has to take a time out.

What is your favourite colour? (in the background Dylan says Blue) Green. Green is a snake! And what else can be green?

What is your favourite thing to do? Colour.

What is your favourite toy? Sand.

What is your favourite book? (thinks for a bit and looks down at the pile of books beside his bed) I have Curious George books at my school.

*fight with Dylan*

What is your favourite song? Peeka Pooka (video is probably required for this part)

What’s your favourite food? Sausage and Meatballs (says the kid who didn’t eat meat until we stopped eating meat)

Where do you live? School

Who do you love? Benjamin.

Anyone else? Brandi. Let’s lie down because I’m tired!

What do you want to be when you grow up? A big kid!

What is one thing special about you? A present.

Do you give presents? Santa gives presents.

Anything else? No! Thats it!

“No! I growed up!”

 Last week after his Karate class Carter was waiting while I got all our stuff together and handled Dylan. He started to talk to a kid who was maybe 5 and it went something like this:

Kid: Who are you?
C: I’m Carter and this is my sister Dylan.
Kid (pointing down at Carter’s heart pants): Aren’t you a boy?
C: I’ve got red boots!
Kid: Yeah, but are you a boy?
C: No…I’m a big kid.
Kid: But are you a boy?
C (Getting frustrated): NO! I growed up! I’m a big kid!
Kid: But are you a BIG boy?
C: NO! I was a little kid and now I’m a big kid.
Mommy? Can we go home now?

I watched with amazement while he held his ground. He’s gone through a few phases of telling us very clearly he is “not a girl!” and occasionally he will say “I’m a boy like Benjamin.”
We’ve never implied that he isn’t a boy or that he isn’t a girl but we are clear that neither of those words should have barriers or expectations. He doesn’t ever seem to confuse pronouns except with some cartoons or inanimate objects (thomas and friends trains) but he always uses them.
I’m really proud of him and it makes me feel happy that he has thus far avoided being told what he is or what that means for the most part but watching him get frustrated broke my heart. I wished he didn’t get worked up about it and could have just changed the subject but he got more and more upset. I understand why he did (and I did too as an observer) but it still made me sad.
I’ve let him pick his outfits since he decided he wants to. His favourite articles of clothing are sparkly pants, pink heart pants, purple pants, his purple jacket, pink sweatshirt and now…his princess dress.

 A friend of mine offered up her daughter’s old costume and while we have a couple dresses in the dress up collection we have this one was far superior. I accepted it with the plan to add it to the collection. By circumstance it arrived to us in Disney World and if there was ever a place to wear it it was to the castle. Carter excitedly wore the skirt portion one day paired with an adorable tank top he has. I loved the look. He was comfortable and he liked the twirl.
Since we arrived back from vacation he has put it on a couple times but last night he insisted on putting it on when he got his PJs on. I told him he could put it on while he brushed his teeth but then he asked to wear it for story time. I said no and he said “I WANNA WEAR IT!!!!! Why can’t I?”
 I had no reasonable answer aside from I didn’t think it would be comfortable to sleep in. He told me he was comfortable and so I backed down. He slept through the night in it (a rarity in our house).

This morning I tried to get him dressed for school in the outfit he picked out last night he asked if he could wear his dress to school. I told him he needed to put his outfit on and then he could put it on over if he wanted. I thought maybe he would change his mind in the process. He did not.

 Today I dropped off my awesome kid at daycare in his pink heart pants topped with a purple frilly ensemble.

I’d be lying to you if I said I felt comfortable with this. In all honesty I don’t think it’s appropriate for school in general and I told him that. I told him it would be more challenging to go to the bathroom but he said he would “hold it all up just like this”. I feel partly uncomfortable because I’m challenging my own gender based beliefs and partly because I don’t know why anyone would want to wear dresses like that. I also feel nervous though that someone is going to say something negative to him. I’m scared that while I’ve told him he can wear whatever he wants, I haven’t really talked to him about the fact that other people might disagree. I curious to see what our conversations will be tonight and if it will even be an issue.

I’m trying to tell myself that his statement of “I growed up” is bigger than him getting older and that he is actually evolved past gender labels and barriers and I’m trying to do the same.

Disney World Reflections

 We just returned from a week at Disney World and it was an incredible trip.

I went into this trip with a mix of excitement and fear. I thought our kids were too young (3 and 19 months) for a Disney trip but we figured we would at least be in a place where their behaviour wouldn’t be a problem and they wouldn’t have too many limitations or be able to break things. This was our first family vacation and our first flight with both kids. This is the longest the 4 of us have been together without any help, breaks or support – not even kidding. Sure it as a lot of work but it went way better than I had anticipated. I thought I would be desperate to drop them off at daycare this morning but I wasn’t.

Why we stayed on Disney property:

  • When Daniela and I went to Disney World for our Honeymoon we impulsively purchased a Disney Vacation Club membership (a timeshare). This has turned out to be a really smart purchase for us. This was our first time actually using the timeshare but we have been able to rent it out each year.
  • Disney’s magical express picks you up from the airport and brings you to your resort. It’s easy transportation and they also send you luggage tags so that your checked baggage doesn’t need to be claimed when you land, they just deliver it to your room a few hours later.
  • Disney Transportation System brings you to all the resorts and to disney springs. Picks up from the resorts roughly every 20mins. Most busses go directly to where you want to go so it’s the fastest way to get anywhere and drops you off right at the entrance for the most part.
  • Not having any moment in the trip that isn’t “Disney” is pretty awesome.


What I planned ahead of time:

  • Park tickets – I purchased tickets for everyday we would have time to go to a park. The cost of an additional day goes down for every day you add on so it seemed worth it. In retrospect I would have gotten 5 days instead of 6 and had one day just to relax at the pool or go to Disney Springs. We could’ve added on an additional day if we wanted to.
  • Fast Passes – I booked fast passes for Saturday and Sunday because we had planned to meet up with someone and she booked hers so I just copied. I didn’t do fast passes ahead of time for the other days because I didn’t know what our plans were and I didn’t really know that much about them. I ended up booking most things the night before which worked out just fine.
  • Airport Parking – we had a 6am flight and I didn’t love the idea of a cab with no carseats with the kids. We debated a hotel near the airport that offered park and fly but it was more expensive than I had predicted and reading reviews about the shuttles not being dependable stressed me out. I decided to prebook parking right at the airport. It was garage parking so no matter what the weather was upon return our car would be in good shape. The parking garage was connected to the terminal via shuttle train that ran every 7 mins. I found a promo code and I think it was totally worth it.
  • Disney World App – I downloaded the app. It’s awesome and you can get all the information related to your time at Disney. You can book fast passes for everyone in your party, book dining reservations, view park maps with current wait times for the attractions. You can access the photo pass photos and you can get recommendations about what is happening near where you are at any moment.
  • Disney’s Memory Maker – For $150 you can get unlimited digital access to the photos that are taken on some of the thrill rides as well as from any of the photographers in the park which includes in the general areas as well as at the character meet and greets. I went back and forth about this because it’s a big chunk of money but in the end we decided it was worth it in order to get family photos. It also proved to be worth it because it meant when Dylan was screaming and trying to get away from characters one of us could be with her and the other one of us could go with Carter to meet the character which he wasn’t quite ready to do on his own and we still got some great photos. We ended up with about 150 photos taken on a good quality camera. Totally worth it to me. You also can ask the photographers to take pictures for you with your own camera which is nice but not having to deal with the camera was very nice. They get sent to your phone on the Disney app and you can download them from there or you can access them on your computer.


In our checked bags:

  • Clothes for the week – We stayed in a room with washer and dryer so we didn’t have to over pack. We had exactly the right amount of clothes which was lucky.
  • Mickey Shirts – I wanted the kids to partake in disney apparel without the price tags. I purchased them matching Mickey Shirts on sale at Old Navy. They were simple, adorable, and affordable. I ended up finding Mickey Shirts for Daniela and I before we left as well. It was a fun thing for us.
  • Camera – We barely used this. We took most photos with our phones and used the Disney Photo Pass/ Memory maker which allowed us to have family photos. The waterproof case we have was great though and fun for the pool but totally not necessary.
  • Some food: see food section.

In our Carry-on:

  • Snacks – I packed bento box style containers with snacks for the flight to Orlando and then we were able to refill each day for our ventures.
  • Carriers – I brought two carriers. I didn’t know what our plans would be and I thought it was better to have one for each kid. In the end, we would’ve been fine with one even though we ended up using both (and at the same time), I don’t think it was necessary.
  • Maclaren Twin Triumph – We decided to get a double umbrella stroller for the trip. It folds up easily and is small. It’s side-by-side seating so they could share snacks but they were also able to fight which wasn’t great. Both kids fit comfortably and the seats recline. We hoped they would nap in it but for the most part they did not.
  • Two CARES harnesses – We had to get a ticket for Carter obviously so his harness made sense. I borrowed another from a friend in the off chance there was an extra seat available for Dylan and she would miraculously sit still. Neither of these things happened. I’m glad I didn’t spend the money on a seat for her because that would’ve made the trip that much worse.
  • iPads – We brought two. One would’ve been fine probably. Dylan doesn’t really care about it yet and she took the attention of both of us at anytime where we would’ve used one. Carter spent the whole flight on his.
  •  

What met us at the resort:

  • 4 Brita Water bottles – I had read somewhere that the water in Orlando tastes like sulfur. I hate buying bottled water and I would end up drinking anything but I didn’t want the kids or Daniela to not stay hydrated. In the interest of keeping everyone drinking water I purchased these bottles. They improved the taste of water but truthfully, I didn’t think it was all that terrible to begin with. I was glad I purchased these.
  • A frilly skirt that a friend sent. Carter owned this as his Princess skirt. He looked adorable with it on.
  • Food was supposed to…more on this below
  •  

Our Room(s):

I tried to figure out ways to maximize our stay using our timeshare points and decided we would do a 1 bedroom suite for 4 nights and then move to a studio for the last two nights.

  • 1 Bedroom Suite – Included full Kitchen, pullout couch, pull ouch chair, eating area with high chair, Standard bathroom with bathtub/shower, washer dryer, vacuum, king size bed, 2 TVs, Master washroom with Jacuzzi bathtub and giant shower stall.
  • Studio – Queen bed and pull out couch, standard bathroom, mini-fridge, microwave, toaster and sink with 1 tv and small table with two chairs.

I think the room we preferred would be obvious. It was incredibly worth it. In splitting the booking I wish I’d done the studio at the start and then moved into the bigger room (especially with getting our groceries so late) but it was fine. It was nice to come without much dirty laundry.

Food:

Our room for the first 4 nights had a full kitchen so we intended to do some cooking of basic meals.

  • I packed the following: Made Good Granola bars (kids love them and they have a full serving of vegetables), Popcorn kernels, himalayan salt, coconut oil, can of soup. We like popcorn a lot but don’t like microwave popcorn so we brought everything to make it on the stovetop. This was a REALLY good idea. It was easy to pack in our snacks for the day and was a nice snack at night.
  • I had planned to order from Garden Grocer but my mom generously gifted us an amazon giftcard so I decided to try ordering from Amazon Prime Pantry. I spent way too much time looking through options and putting together and order that gave us meals for 4 nights, breakfasts, snacks and diapers. I set up delivery so it would arrive the day before we did so that it would meet us there with no delay. When we arrived it was not there. When I checked tracking, it indicated that it was delayed and would arrive 4 days late. after a terrible flight with a cranky toddler I called Amazon’s costumer service and wasn’t the nicest person. The person on the other end was incredibly nice though. She looked into it and contacted UPS who apparently did not know where the package was. It was just missing. She said they could send it out again but it would take a minimum of 4 days to get there because Prime Pantry must go through ground delivery. This didn’t make sense for us so I said no. They refunded me and gave me an additional $20 credit which was nice.
  • In a pinch I picked up pretzels, a box of pasta, soy milk, cereal, crackers, peanut butter, jelly and bread from the resort store. Not cheap but not ridiculous and at least gave us some staples.
  • I re-looked at Garden Grocer to find they have a 48 hour requirement for delivery but the next day I just went for it and ordered from them. Bonus for them is that you can order beer and produce. Ordered some beer, sauce, lentil soup, fruit, yogurt for the kids, almond milk, more crackers, bagels and muffins. This was an unfortunately carb heavy trip. Garden Grocer was awesome. They delivered the food and bell services refrigerated what needed to be until we were able to grab it.
  • Restaurants – We don’t eat meat (aside from some fish) and don’t consume dairy for the most part. We are pretty much loose vegans who eat fish and eggs. We don’t check every ingredient but we don’t get anything that obviously has dairy products in it. This obviously resulted in some added limitations for dining.
    • Yak and Yeti in Animal Kingdom – Our first day there we stopped here for an early dinner. When we told them we don’t eat meat they gave us some extra menu items that had tofu which was awesome. We got sweet and sour tofu and the Tuna Nachos. It was fantastic. It was a meal I’d go back for.
    • Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe in Magic Kingdom – Veggie burrito for us which was the only option without meat (requested the fajitas without meat and they told me they couldn’t do this for some reason). Kids got a cheese quesadilla that came with carrots, grapes and milk. Toppings bar was awesome and meant we could have a ton of guac, peppers and different salsas.
    • Boma – Buffet restaurant in Jambo House at the Animal Kingdom Villas which was just a short walk from where we were staying at Kidani Village. We went for breakfast. There were many vegetarian options and I think if we had requested vegan options they would have made them available. The coffee was good.
      The quinoa breakfast was tasty. It was nice to have some fresh fruit and salad. If I went back I wouldn’t do it for breakfast but it was an okay meal and filled us up before our groceries arrived.
    • Tangierine Cafe in Epcot – Falafel Platter. I heard mixed reviews but our experience was great. Falafels weren’t dry and had a lot of flavour. Platter was piled high with hummus and salads and a ton of olives. Pita left something to be desired but that’s not what I was there for really.
    • Citrus Garden Delivery – My online searches prior to disney made me think that getting take-out delivered to a resort was pretty much impossible. I had friends coming to do dinner with us one night and thought it would be more enjoyable if we ate at the room and the kids could relax, watch tv and then go to bed while we got to catch up. Room service looked unappealing. Ordering from the restaurant in the hotel seemed really pricy. I decided to ask at the front desk if there was anywhere we could order Chinese food from and they offered me a menu of an off-site restaurant. It was inexpensive, quick delivery, and decent. Had I known this was an option earlier in the trip I may have ordered another dinner in and looked at other options.
    • Mr. Kamals Vegetarian Cart in Animal Kingdom – We brought enough food for lunch but wanted a little something more so we got some falafels, hummus platter, and veggie samosas from the cart. They were small snack size portions but were pretty tasty and not too expensive.
    • SciFi Drive-in at Hollywood Studios – We had planned to see the fireworks at Hollywood Studios on our last night and we decided we would try to do a sit down dinner as well. I looked at our options and went with the SciFi drive-in because i thought the running movies would be decent entertainment for antsy kids and their menu had a few veggie options. Daniela got the grilled salmon salad which was pretty awesome and I got the veggie burger which was also really good although I wish I’d gotten the cucumber salad instead of sweet potato fries which were more sweet than salty. Kids shared the Grilled salmon kid’s meal which was served with green beans and israeli couscous, apple slices and milk. Overall it was good food but the seating wasn’t ideal and I wish I’d looked into more because there is the option of sitting in bench seats in a Car which is two across or at tables. The novelty of the bench seat was cool but not being able to see each other or chat wasn’t.
  • reasons to not take dylan to a restaurant…

Things that were awesome:

  • MagicBands – Disney is now using these for everything. They open hotel room doors, they are your admission to the park, they are your fast pass, you can buy food and other items on them from the resort stores and they use them to pull up your info if necessary at the front desk. They were fun and easy.
  • The animals outside our hotel – I knew they were around the hotel but I had no clue that they would be so close. Honestly, Daniela packed her binoculars so she could see them…she barely needed her glasses. They weren’t there all the time obviously but they would eat right outside and we loved seeing them.
  • The resort pool – we could’ve happily spent a lot more time at the pool but our days were over booked. There was an awesome big water slide, a small water slide and then a full water playground. There were 2 hot tubs and one lagoon style pool that was relatively shallow. There were towels available right at the pool as well as life jackets for the kids. It was never crowded at all and the water was warm.
  • Fast passes for character meet and greets – Carter was really interested in the characters but hesitant. He wanted to meet them but didn’t want to get too close at first. Not having to wait in line and being able to go see them each day made things easier for him. He wanted to see Mickey 4 times!
  • The performances and parades – They were happening everywhere. You didn’t even really have to plan to see them you could just stumble upon them. It was fun for the kids, required no wait (though we did wait for the parade one day). The kids loved dancing at animal kingdom and they loved seeing the acrobats at Epcot.
  • The Community Hall at the resort – Open from 9am-10pm they had all sorts of craft projects. Some were free and some were a nominal fee. They had toys and blocks and a pool table and fooseball table. The also had a TV playing disney junior and another set up for xbox or wii though no one was ever using them when we were around. We could’ve spent a lot more time in here.
  •  
  •  
  •  

Things I’m sad we missed:

  • Fireworks – We didn’t see any. We didn’t really plan to see them because we tried to do meals at the hotel. We planned to see them on the final night but Carter asked to go back to the hotel and it was all for the best. We were all exhausted. Kids fell asleep earlier than most nights and it gave us a chance to pack up but I’m sad we missed them.
  • Rides – We missed a lot of rides at magic kingdom where there were the most rides. I only went on one ride without the kids (Daniela got on a few).
  • Evening entertainment at the resort – By the time we got back to the resort each night there was only time to eat dinner and then get ready for bed. It would’ve been fun to watch a movie outside, or participate in the sing alongs.

Things I would’ve done differently: 

  • Booked a longer trip – we only had 5 full days there. Sure it was a decent length of vacation but there is so much to do and we didn’t get around to a lot of it.
  • Skipped Hollywood Studios and maybe even Epcot – While I like these parks there was much for the kids and ended up not feeling all that worth it. If the trip was longer I would still include Epcot but if not I would just do Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom.
  • Another alternative to skipping those parks would have been to get park-hopper tickets instead of single park tickets. This would’ve let us go to epcot for a little while and then head over to magic kingdom or vice versa. It would’ve given a little more flexibility and we could have gone for evening activities at other parks after animal kingdom shut down for the day.
  • Already stated, but I would order from Garden grocer and I would purchase way more produce. Even Dylan ate 4 bowls of salad when we got home last night. We missed a high veggie diet.
  • Booked a later flight on the way there – We had a 6am flight to Florida. This meant we had to wake the kids up before 4am. They didn’t get back to sleep at all and they didn’t have a chance to move around at all before the flight. They were a terrible combination of antsy and exhausted. Dylan was extremely difficult on the way there. It wasn’t fair to anyone.

Overall it was a fantastic trip and I already feel desperate to go back. I thought the kids were too young, but they weren’t. Most of our issues were a result of planning that I could’ve done better (and will next time).

Consent.

Every day that goes by the kids love each other more and more. They talk to one another, Carter shows Dylan things and tries to teach her new words (forcefully correcting her when the pronunciation is incorrect), Dylan likes to share her food with Carter. They squeal with delight when they are reunited at the end of the school day. They have become good friends.

  
Along with increased interaction comes increased fighting. They both grab each other’s toys. They both decide they don’t want to be hugged or touched and rather than using their words they push one another out of the way resulting in a battle. Carter has about 10lbs and 8″ on Dylan so its not a very fair fight but Dylan bites.

Carter is in such a phase of defiance that he can’t be relied on to be the more levelheaded one despite age (and let’s be serious…he’s only 3).

We’ve tried letting them fight it out on their own. This tactic worked when we introduced a second cat but apparently is not as effective with children.

  We’ve tried separating them for time outs/resets. Another fight is sure to break out moments later.

We’ve had lengthy discussions with them about using our words, trying to come up with ways to play together and how to share toys.

I generally feel okay with the fact that they fight because it’s two sided but there are times when Carter just uses his size and force to restrain Dylan that my brain just explodes. They can be sitting on the couch watching something together when all of a sudden I will hear her start screaming and I’ll look over and he is just lying across her while she flails trying to get away. If I ask him to stop he wont, if I ask him why he is doing it he says he “just wants to snuggle”. We’ve had conversations about asking permission before hugging someone, we’ve demonstrated this behaviour though I will admit we aren’t totally consistent because sometimes I fail to remember.

How do you teach your kids about consent? How do you help them recognize when consent isn’t given or when it’s changed? This is such an important lesson and I feel like we are failing when I see this behaviour.

3 Years Old

Size – Going to the doctor today so I can confirm then I suppose but Carter is roughly 39″ and I’m going to guess 36lbs. He just moved into a lot of 4t clothes but the majority of his wardrobe is still 3t. If I buy him clothes from the “girl’s side” he is a 4t or even 5t depending on cut. For being a pretty solid sized baby and early toddler he seems relatively average these days…maybe a bit denser than other kids.

  
Sleeping – For a kid who slept through the night pretty well around 1 he has a lot of wake ups now. I think maybe once a week he sleeps through the night. Most nights he wakes up and either calls for us or comes and climbs in our bed. For the most part we don’t mind this but i know it’s not great for our sleep. He still naps most days but maybe shouldn’t? Bedtime he is at his sweetest. He rarely protests though maybe he asks for extra books. He lies there face-to-face to me whispering sweet things and looking about as pretty as can be.

  

Eating – Appetite has for sure changed. He is pickier about food but still generally will try things. He loves lentil soup best of all. He’s started to eat some raw vegetables which is a win. We mostly eat vegan at home but when Carter wants yogurt I go to the store with him so he can buy it. I think it’s pretty adorable.
He doesn’t like cake, brownies, ice cream, lollipops or juice. He acts like he loves all of those things and if you give it to him he pretends to eat it but usually abandons it and asks for something savoury or water. He’s always been a salt fiend.

  

Language – Carter is so very verbal. His teacher pulled me aside one day and said he is the first kid that he’s had in years that he can have full conversations with and he’s one of the youngest in his class. He’s considerate and interested in what other people have to say. He asks a lot of questions which is sometimes exhausting but he asks questions about other people’s feelings which makes me feel so happy. Every morning he asks how we slept, every evening he asks us how our day was.

He is interested in learning new words and then using them appropriately. I love when a word is used in a book and he starts using it. In a terrible PAW Patrol book he was given one page says:

“No” Marshall protested.
One day I asked him if he would get his stuff on so we could walk home from school and he was dawdling.  I kept urging him along and he said “No, I’m protesting!”

It was a good laugh.

He knows all uppercase letters but lowercase have been more challenging for him. He is working on the sounds of letters but we don’t work too hard. I’m not sure what they do at school. I don’t want to put to much pressure on things but he often asks me what letters words start with.

Last night he drew a ‘D’ and said “look Mommy! it’s a ‘D’ for Dylan!”

  
Playing/Strength –He’s gotten tougher and his balance has improved. He is very cautious and rarely falls or gets hurt. He’s faster when he runs finally but still couldn’t keep up with Dylan when she gets going.
He loves playing with figurines (PAW Patrol, Peppa Pig, Dollhouse), he loves his trains and his cars. Hide and go seek is his game of choice though he still tells us where he is going to hide no matter how many times we tell him he shouldn’t.
He creates games with his friends at school. He tries to teach games to Dylan and sometimes she tries to get it.
He’s become a good, confident swimmer. He will do any of the skills requested by his teacher but generally just wants to swim around with a noodle underneath him or with his puddle jumper if we go to free swim. He’s mastered turning himself around which I didn’t realize he couldn’t do until I realized he could.
He sometimes choses to walk home from school which is over a mile and I think this is pretty amazing albeit slow.
He tried a dance class but it didn’t mesh well. He liked doing things but overall it wasn’t a hit and he didn’t want to go in by himself and us going with him isn’t an option.
He is going to try Karate once he isn’t sick anymore and he is incredibly excited about that. We’ve watched a lot of videos and gone in and watched a class.

  
Books – Carter can memorize a book after reading it only a few times. He started doing this early on and it continues to amaze me. He will often request to read the same books for 2 weeks in a row before moving onto others in his library. His favourite books this week are: Waiting, The Way Back Home, Don’t let the Pigeon Stay Up late, Rosie Revere Engineer, and The Most Magnificent Thing.

Style – I love the outfits Carter picks. I love seeing what he likes. He never wants to wear sweatpants but we’ve worked some leggings into his wardrobe so he has a comfy option for when he is doing something particularly active. He loves jeans and he loves his heart pants that I think are a bit obnoxious.
He really likes wearing collared button up shirts which wouldn’t be my first choice for comfort but he really loves them and looks adorable in them.
He sometimes wears about 10 layers between an undershirt, shirt, sweatshirt and he’s gotten into wearing two jackets for whatever reason.
He is probably the most responsible mitten owner there ever was and has never lost a mitten. How is this possible?

 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Carter is such an amazing kid (totally unbiased, right?). He is fun, interesting, pretty well behaved, mostly patient and genuine. He is good about communicating his feelings and expressing his needs. He sets boundaries with people and of this I’m proud though sometimes I find myself mildly embarrassed that he isn’t interacting with people that really do love him and care for him. He loves his sister far more than I ever prepared myself for and he is helpful. He has a passion for cooking and I’m glad I can let him help me. He made his own birthday cake this year with me helping with measuring. He can crack eggs, use a blender, flip a pancake, carefully put things in the oven. He asks for help with things when he needs it and with encouragement will try new things. He is determined to get better at cutting things with a knife and wants to practice often.
He isn’t very into art but when he does artistic things he for sure has a style that he has had forever. He likes overall designs and full coverage.

  

18 Months

Size – I’m going to guess 26lbs and 32″ but this is a total guess. I suppose I should book her well-baby check but I keep forgetting. She wears some 12-18 month clothes, a lot of 18-24 month clothes and some 2t jeans so they are long enough. She’s a sturdy kid and much bigger than some of the kids in her class.

  
Sleeping – Maybe we shouldn’t talk about this right now. The past week has been HORRIBLE. I assume it’s a sleep regression but I’m just wiped out. She has a ton of trouble getting to sleep (last night she was up over an hour after Carter fell asleep). She wakes up a lot of times. I don’t even know how many…maybe 10times? She screams and fusses and sounds uncomfortable or scared. I’ve checked to see if there is an ear infection and there is not. We’ve given her motrin because it might be teeth but that hasn’t helped at all. If we don’t go into her or bring her into our bed then the crying won’t stop but even with us it doesn’t seem like anything we do helps her she just cries.
Last night after bedtime I was downstairs with Daniela. The crying began. I gave it a minute…just in case. It continued and so I went upstairs. Carter was curled up with her face-to-face reaching around and rubbing her back while he was still asleep. It wasn’t helping but it was the sweetest.

  
Teeth –Currently 12 teeth but I think the canines are gearing up to break through. She won’t let me look and if i dare to go near her mouth with my finger she will bite me.

Eating – She is an epic eater. She will now tell us exactly what she wants and how she wants it served. Her preference is served in a ziploc bag and for this reason I got some reusable snack bags. At some meals she will ask that everything is in separate bowls. Maybe it’s silly to give in to something that results in more work for me but when the alternative is her screaming and then refusing to eat anything I will suck it up for now. My father has weird things where he can’t reuse the same plate and he doesn’t like when food touches…maybe it’s genetic. ha.
I might try to find some divided plates and see what she thinks about that.
When it is served the way she wants she will mostly eat anything. She loves any type of soup. She likes pasta. She likes yogurt and fruit and oatmeal. She LOVES grapefruit though the first few bites you would think she hated it. She has a sweet tooth. When I made Carter’s birthday cake (post to come) she cried and cried because I wouldn’t let her have it before dinner.

  
Talking – She talks a lot but mostly she sings. She can sing ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle, Row row row your boat, I can sing a rainbow and wheels on the bus. Sure the words aren’t all there but you have not doubt in your mind that it is what she is singing.
Its to the point where I can’t list what words she knows but I still feel like she isn’t a talker. I know that’s silly because clearly she is. She communicates very well with words or not. She will repeat most words that you ask her to. She says mama and mommy but mama is a general term for almost anyone she wants something from and mommy is her term when she things you aren’t listening. It’s more like mom-ME.

Playing/Strength – There is nothing to say. This kid is FIERCE. If she wants to do something, she will. She can climb all over the place. She goes up and down stairs with ease. She plays with whatever toys she can especially Carter’s figurines. She likes to be outside and loves to race. She is determined to do anything Carter does. She puts on her outdoor gear by herself and she always tries to dress herself.

 

climbed to the top without using the footholes or pegs of course.

 
Books – My babe who could’ve cared less about books really enjoys them now. She picks out her own stories at bedtime we read them together. I’m not sure which is her favourite this week but maybe chicka-chicka-boom-boom?

Dylan is a handful but also a delight. Everyone loves her. Her teachers tell me how sweet she is and how smart she is. They are amazed by her independence. She laughs a lot, she’s curious. She hugs her friends at school when I pick her up and enthusiastically says “bye”. She makes up games and she jokes with Carter. She will tease him all day sometimes saying “no” when he asks for a hug. She says it with a grin and EVENTUALLY will give him the biggest hug you’ve ever seen. She runs with delight to him when I pick them up in the afternoon. There are many days when my only time with her is a great deal of her screaming because she is frustrated or tired but man she is awesome. I hope she is always so strong and sure of what she wants. I hope she is always determined to get where she wants to go.