Wow, this got here fast. 18 months. And boy girl, were there some changes! Thankfully, I can talk about talking in this update. My little burst of craziness has finally decided to form words instead of reaching/pointing and "uh, uh"-ing at everything she wants. I have not necessarily been worried these past months. I know comparing her (or any child) to Ella for milestones is not wise as Ella was most likely talking IN the womb! But, when the pediatrician asked at 15 months if she was saying any words and all I could say was "nothing other than 'ma', 'da' and what I thought was "ball", I was really hoping to be able to say a few more words at her 18 month check-up. It was encouraging at that time that she was definitely understanding things that we said, so we chalked it up to the "second child" syndrome.
Well, I am happy to announce that Annie is talking!!! Like most girls (except her mother), she loves talking on the phone. She babbles away at anyone who will listen (or whoever she pretends is listening) and scarily, she knows how to dial her father's cell. For now, he thinks it's cute (granted, at the beginning, he thought I was putting her up to it). Although, every time someone calls my cell she automatically thinks it's Stephen and she proceeds to yell "dada, dada!" until I can finally make her understand it is not him I'm speaking to. For actual words (and some phrases) she is saying, the list includes:
lala (for Elmo)
ickey (for Mickey)
Sisssss (for sissy a.k.a Ella)
As for the rest of the 18 month check-up, Annie was all over Dr. Cooke. She is a lover of anyone giving her attention. She is very easy to examine and Annie even told the doctor to look in her ears (my continuously pointing at them and sticking her finger in them). She had to get one shot (Hep A), but Annie actually cried for maybe 5 seconds, as she was instantly distracted by the Tweety Bird band-aid that was placed on her thigh.
Finally, what we've all been waiting for....her 18 month stats!!! Coming in at 24 pounds and 1 ounce, Annie is in the 46th percentile for weight. Holding strong in the 92nd percentile, Annie is 33.5 inches tall (or long, however you like to say it)! And she continues to have an above average head circumference at 18.75 inches, which puts her in the 80th percentile. I'm convinced that her late-ish walking at 13-14 months has to do with her height/weight/head ratios compared to her tiny "Kelly feet" that she and Ella have been graced with.
As for other things going on in Annie's life, she is falling more and more in love with the water. This makes me very happy as I was worried with her being born in MI and spending the first few years of her life here would stunt her ability to fall in the love with the water, but clearly it's just in our genes! I'm looking forward to starting her in swim lessons late-Spring and I'm sure she'll be just like Ella and cry and get upset when the lessons are over. I look forward to having two fish in the family who can enjoy the water together. Annie does love her sister and wants to do everything she is doing. I would say that is the biggest difference in having a second child who has an older sibling to watch and learn from. Annie insists on being outside and hanging with Ella's friends (thank God most of them love Annie, too) and of course, she wants to play with all of Ella's things. It is fun to see Annie's personality continue to bloom and to see how different from Ella she is, even though they look so much alike.
The following is an article from my March 2012 Real Simple magazine that really made me think. I thought I would share it with you hoping that maybe it would do the same for you...maybe.*
My friend Jessica says that her earliest memory hearkens back to when she was a baby. She recalls watching the sun coming through the slats in her crib, striping her mattress with light. She recalls, too, the lift and fall of the curtain in front of her bedroom window, and the small rustling sound it made. My childhood recollections do not go back so far, and if they did ,I'm afraid they would not be nearly so lyrical. I'd probably picture an infant with a furrowed brow, worrying that her diaper was giving her a muffin top.
For my entire life, I have hated my midsection. It was also too big for the rest of me. Sure, my arms and legs were long and thin enough. But, then, right smack in the middle of my body was my excessively large blubber belly.
Let me enter into evidence the following: as a 19-year-old college student, I once sat at a kitchen table with three of my friends - all of whom were complaining about their belly fat. I said mine the was worst. When they doubted me, I informed that I could make a large serving spoon disappear into the folds of my fat. When they doubted me once again, I said, "OK, watch this," and I showed them, indeed the worst. they proposed a toast to me, and we drank more scotch. Which, now that I think of it, probably did not do much for getting rid of my pooch.
A HISTORY OF MY BELLY: When I was around eight years old, I begged my mother for a yellow dress I had seen in the Sears catalog. It was a bright yellow and had many, many ruffles, and the little girl who modeled it looked scrumptious. I showed it to my mother and told her, "That one, that one. I want that one. Can I have that one?" I believe my mother tried to gently dissuade me from my choice, but I remained firmly mixed on the image of the child with the curly black hair wearing that lovely lemon-colored confection.
My mother did order the dress for me, and on the day it arrived, I put it on, tied the wide ribbon around my waist, and tehn eagerly regarded myself. The model in the catalog had looked like a dream. I, on the other hand, resemebled the Queen Mary, festooned with streamers. I took it off and never wore it again.
When I was in my 20s, I was involved in a serious romance. One day the man in questions wanted to take a bath with me. Swell idea, thought I, and we climbed in the tub together. I leaned back against him and it was heavenly; the warm water, the wisps of steam rising up, the feel of his chest behind my back, and the vibrations of his deep voice reverberating through my body when he spoke to me. Then he put his hands on my waist. I stiffened as though I had been electrocuted and shouted, "Don't feel my fat!" As you might imagine, that did wonders for our interlude.
It wasn't just intimate moments that made me self-conscious. Whenever I was in the company of ANYONE, I sucked in my gut. I constantly adjusted my blouse or sweater, employing a handy three-step technique: 1. Grasp fabric in the belly area, stretch it out as far it will go (which is to say, as far as it will go without ripping), and release. 2. Try not to move to the left, the right, up, or down. 3. Try not to breath.
Even when I thinned down considerably, I was still conscious of my belly. I never work a bikini or showed my stomach at all if I could hep t. I was horrified if my gut ever made it into a photo, if somewhat I was captured with those dang rolls hanging out.
The only time I wasn't self-conscious about my belly was when it was at its largest. But I was pregnant, so that didn't count. Every pregnant belly is beautiful, for what it hold inside. But then the baby is born, and guess what's back?
As time marched on, my belly problem only got worse. Jeans looked good on my legs, but by blubber spilled over the top. Belts were a no-no. I turned to elastic waist, which felt good but made me worry that I was somehow cheating. Also, they made me feel like a slob. Whenever I got dressed up, I looked OK except in that one place.
Then two things happened. A few years ago, I was on a trip with my best friend, and we were lying on the beds in our hotel room. Her blouse was raised a little and I glimpsed her belly, and lo and behold: I saw that it was even bigger than mine.
But it wasn't awful at all. I was part of her. And as such, I loved it.
Then, a few months later, on a hot summer's day. I was with my mother, who was complaining about the temperature. "You should put on some shorts," I told her. She shook her head.
"Why not?" I asked, and she leaned in close to whisper, "Varicose veins."
"Mom," I said. "No one cares." And then I connected some dots.
I have stopped hating my belly. Realizing that my mother's varicose-vein anxiety was as pointless as my own adipose-tissue worry was a turning point. But I have also seen enough of the world and its sorrows to know that this type of thing is not worth my time and energy. I no longer suck in my gut. I wear elastic-waist pants, guilt-free. I also wear belts when I need to. Yes. I wear a belt over a top and throw on a cardigan and it looks just fine.
I had a friend who got really sick of hearing people talk about diets all the time: this diet where you don't eat carbs, that one where you eat six small meals a day, another one where you eat only soup, and of course the always popular DON'T EAT ANYTHING, EVER diet. She said, "OK, you know when its time to diet? The time to diet is when you have to let out the shower curtain!"
I may not have evolved as much as that particular friend, but I have come to hold a certain respect for fat cells. They may make us look less than ideal (if you define ideal as those angry-looking models who wear their ribs as accessories), but they serve a few nutrients. They give us insulation from heat and cold. They provide protective padding around internal organs. Isn't it nice to know that the so often maligned parts of our bodies are looking out for us in these ways?
I have also begun to feel a kind of camaraderie or kinship when I see another woman with my "problem". I feel as though if our bellies could grow little hands, they would reach out and high-five each other.
A long time ago, I saw a movie with a beautiful Portuguese actress with a flat, flat stomach who was lying on a bed when her lover walked in. In her gorgeous accent, she tells him, "I wish I had a pot...Pot bellies are sexy." At the time, I remember thinking, You can have mine!
Not anymore. These days I would say, "Now you're talking!"
*OK, so if you read the whole thing I'm sure you're saying, "Whatever!" Please know, I am not nearly enlightened as this writer and probably never will be, but it did make me feel better and a little more confident.
So, it's been five, okay six, months. Sorry. Life happened. While life was happening, Annie and Ella have been growing. Annie has now turned a year old, Ella has started 1st grade, and I've gained 10 pounds...but, we can just forget about that last part (until I try to fit into those jean).
So, my big girl started first grade right after Labor Day. She was super-excited and had no issues adjusting. We were also blessed with THE BEST teacher! Mrs. Leach rocks. Ella says her favorite subject is math. She is a great speller and her reading skills have just taken off! It's so fun to hear her read to Annie and we also read together. She also has art, music, P.E., sign language and world culture classes at school. And I have to say, I started getting into that rut of asking, "So, what did you do at school today?" and getting the same old, "nothing". Instead, I've started just asking, "Did you have a good day at school?" because that will give me a response and she either opens up more about what she did then, or later in the day...or week...she tends to tell me more things than when I ask questions. I love her stories, especially the BS ones. She's a great BSer. :)
Ella participated in Fall soccer again! She was great and her team went 5-1. We've been taking a break this winter, but next month she starts a short cheerleading clinic that will culminate in her cheering at halftime at a Dexter Varsity basketball game. She is very excited about that! She is also going to start karate and dance again. So, it seems like I'll be chauffering a lot more coming up!
Now Miss Annie...she turned 1 in October. She is now almost 15 months old and on the go! She is into everything and in the middle of everything and climbs on top of everything! She finally took her first steps at 13 months. She's walking more and more every day and soon will be chasing after her sister and the dogs. I don't think she's totally convinced yet that it's faster than crawling, but you can see week by week that she takes more steps before falling on her but and she has found out that if she walks with her arms extended up into the air, she has a lot more balanced...which makes it look like we have a little Frankenstein walking around.
The one thing this girl can't get enough of it food! She would eat all day non-stop if she could and she eats everything in site. There is not one food she has seen and not tried. I can't even really pinpoint her favorite food because she really will just eat anything you put in front of her. She is definitely a growing girl. Speaking of growing, here are her 12 month stats even though they've definitely changed by now: Height 31 3/4" (95th percentile), weight 21.11 pounds (50th percentile) and head circumference was 18 cm.
I hopeful this spring she will be taking her first swim lessons. Ella started at 14 months, but we were living in FL at the time. I'm not about to get my pasty white self in a swimsuit in the middle of winter and lug by baby in and out of the cold weather to do mommy and me swim classes! So, we'll wait a few more months which will put her around 18 months, I guess. We are definitely looking forward to being outside again with her able to get around on her own and explore the outdoors which she loves, we just aren't in it too much.
Speaking of the outdoors, we have just booked a Disney vacation for the first week of March, so we are all excited to see green grass and feel the warmth on our faces. This will be Annie's first trip to Disney and Ella hasn't been in a few years, so Stephen and I are excited to see their faces light up when we get there. So for all your FL peeps, we'll be staying in Orlando March 2-8. Please let us know if we can meet up! We do not plan on driving all over the state of FL this trip, so if you're close by let us know.
To wrap this up, we all had a lovely holiday season. We were in MI for Thanksgiving and Christmas and we were able to spend some time with close friends and also have some quiet time with just the four of us. It was bittersweet as this was my first holiday without my G'ma, but we all took time out to remember her and reminisce about last Christmas when we were with her. Annie was fun this year too as she was a little more into Christmas and all the decorations. She she actually enjoyed her gifts...and not surprisingly, so did Ella!
I hope 2012 will be a great year for all of our family and friends and I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months. Happy New Year!