Kiwi is 13 months: Always on the move

The other day, Kiwi sat at her high chair with a washable marker clutched in one fist. Using wide, sweeping motions, she moved her entire body to cover the paper in bright stripes. Her coloring was like an energetic dance—and that is how she approaches everything.

If she’s awake, my 13-month-old is moving.

This 13 month old cheered on Team USA during the Olympics! Ten Thousand Hour MamaNow that this toddler can walk, she loves the splash pad all summer long!Now that she's mobile, the beach is even more fun for this toddler. Ten Thousand Hour MamaThe beach is full of fun—and opportunities to dig sand!—for toddlers. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Kiwi is 12 months old: Leading me

Not long ago, Peeper came home from gymnastics. She ran into the bedroom, where I was changing Kiwi’s diaper.

“We learned frog jumps!” Peeper exclaimed—and began bouncing up and down, landing with her hands between her feet.

Kiwi squealed. She rolled over. Coming up to her knees, she started to bounce, too.

The two sisters laughed and jumped like frogs and laughed some more, all the while watching each other.

That little scene perfectly shows the core of Kiwi’s personality—her exuberance. She is so in love with life.

At 12 months old, my baby (wait, toddler?!) is the one leading me! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Our favorite children’s books: Books to say “no” to

Pretty much the day Peeper turned two, she rediscovered the word “no”—and all its power (to refuse, to state her opinion, to frustrate her parents…). Nowadays, one of her most used responses is the “no-yes,” an expression unique to toddlers who simultaneously refuse and demand things like popsicles and bunny crackers.

It makes sense, then, that Peeper delights in books that give voice to this milestone. Here, then, are some titles your little one can say “no” to again and again.

Favorite Children's Books to Say No To

 

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#MotivationMonday from a toddler’s POV

I’m not sure about you, but I’m having a hard time getting my Monday in gear.

We had a wonderful but slightly hectic weekend, complete with a glam photoshoot, catching up with friends we haven’t seen in way too long, and a brunch with about a dozen babies and their families. (The cuteness quotient was out of control.)

But Daylight Savings is still kicking my rear and I’m feeling stretched very thin.

Happy Daylight SavingsTo help me buck up, I’m channeling Peeper as today’s motivational coach. In my head, I’m thinking of what Peeper might say. Here’s how that’s playing out so far this morning in my #MotivationMonday. Read more

Tell me a story

Tell me a story grandpa granddaughterEvery night, Peeper’s wind-down routine is the same: Last Play with a timer. Negotiations to get another Last Play. Teeth-brushing. Stalling to get out of teeth-brushing. Jammies. Book. Song.

And recently, after the lights are turned out, she has asked for a story.

***

When I was growing up, my dad loved to tell us kids stories. He’d invent characters and a plot then string them along in drawn-out dramas. He told us a scary tale about a ventriloquist’s dummy that came to life and a mummy who chased a bunch of explorers—but just because he wanted a cough drop.

He’d tell us these stories in the car, mostly. The tales kept us enthralled between point A and point B—but he’d impeccably time a cliffhanger to the moment he turned off the Shempmobile, his blue Dodge Caravan. He always left us wanting more.

It’s legend, in fact, that one summer he stretched a story about Fluffito, the world’s fluffiest dog, to last a road trip spanning a dozen states. He told about Fluffito’s adventures as he made his way up from local to regional to national to finally international  fluffy dog competitions. But, unbelievably, he didn’t finish by the time we returned home.

Before I could hear the end of the story, in fact, my sister ruined the punchline:

“He’s not so fluffy!”

(Yes, we waited 3,000 miles for that.)

***

I can’t help but think of my dad’s storytelling when Peeper curls up on my lap, waiting for the tale to begin. They’re significantly shorter than my dad’s yarns, but Peeper listens just as raptly as I used to.

Every night Peeper asks for essentially the same story. She wants to hear about how Finn lost his bark. My challenge, then, is to invent a new twist every night—how his bark froze when he was walking to the North Pole, how a crab pinched his nose at the beach and made his bark disappear, how he jumped so high on the trampoline that his bark bounced out of his throat, how a wave from the river splashed into his mouth and made his bark too wet.

Peeper enjoys them all, I think. But every so often, I spin a winner.

“Oh, that’s a good one, Mom,” she’ll say as she slides off my lap and climbs into bed.

Maybe my stories will become longer and more complicated as Peeper grows older. I doubt I’ll ever tell an epic of the same caliber as Fluffito, but you can bet I’ll continue to imagine ways for Finn to lose his bark.

Tonight, and tomorrow night, and every night she asks me, I’ll begin. “Once upon a time…”

Movie night magic

When we were sleep training Kiwi, Eric and I slept on an air mattress in the living room. Peeper was enthralled with it: It was just like the bouncy castle, except in the house! As she jumped on it, her expression was all, OMG YOU GUYS! You’ve been holding out!

When we tried to deflate it, she deflated, too, into a heap of tears.

Eric and I looked at each other. “Would you like to have a sleepover on it later on?” Eric asked. Peeper immediately perked up.

Peeper talked about her sleepover the entire day. I was looking forward to it, too. I imagined a movie night with popcorn and snuggles and a toddler falling asleep on me. But all day she acted more like Meet the Fockers than a Disney flick—everything that could go wrong went wrong.

She refused to eat. She sassed. She demanded. She threw fits. She threw toys. I was ready to call off the whole sleepover.

Somehow Eric, whose job as a special education teacher should have depleted all of his patience, kept a cool head. We pushed through Peeper’s bad attitude and got set up for our special evening together.

I’m so glad we did.

Toddler movie night sleepover
Finn enjoyed the sleepover, too. Can you spot him in his camouflage?

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Kiwi is 7 months: Sisterhood

Baby fox toy Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now,
I know you’ll like it if you give it a chance now,
Come on baby, do the Locomotion!

The last month Kiwi has been all about moving around!

She’s not crawling, although she’s made it to all fours and is occasionally rocking, the first steps toward that milestone. But she intentionally rolls toward a destination where she’s set her sights—a beach ball, her toy piano, and especially Finn.

Baby fox toy Ten Thousand Hour MamaBaby and dog Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe also moves by whale tale splash, a special move she’s waiting to patent. While on her back, she lifts her entire body up to her shoulders and slams it back down on the ground. She swivels around like this and, by all measures, looks very proud of herself.

Sisters forever

Kiwi has also started the Peeper Fan Club. She is, of course, President. The two of them have also started a band. Kiwi does solo side projects, too.

Kiwi Rock from Catherine Ryan Gregory on Vimeo.

Sisters band Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters band guitar Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe’s pretty much obsessed with Big Sister. Peeper can do no wrong. Even when she is hitting Kiwi in the face with a pom pom or grabbing toys away, Kiwi stares and giggles.

Sisters Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Oh so tired

Over the last few weeks, everyone in the house has been passing a cold back and forth. Kiwi has been sniffling for what seems like forever. During the day she’s still her usual cheerful self, but the nights have been brutal.

Every night is worse than the last. My euphoria over her successful sleep training has been replaced by despair as I feed her to sleep every two hours. And the last few nights, she has been awake in the deep, dark hours when everyone else is snuggled safely in their dreams.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart; parenting two is even harder. But when I’m living in a sleep-deprived fog no quantity of caffeine can touch, beautiful rays of light break through: the love these girls share.

Shine on, sisters.

Sisters Ten Thousand Hour Mama