the grumpy toddler. i always dreaded two in my mind because everyone always talked about how awful that year was. although i sort of feel like now people are onto how much worse three is than two so maybe we have a lot to look forward to. :) anyway, know that a's more than two and a half (do not forget that half!) i feel like we're solidly in two year old territory and i actually haven't found it that bad! i mean she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to tell you about it, she is starting to be a bit manuplitative, and she's just getting into the world of having a sibling who she can't always boss around, so there are definitely challenges but there are also some good changes too. she knows what she wants which means that she can actually tell you why she's upset. this is huge. and she's also getting good at identifying feelings so she can tell us if she's frustrated or excited or mad and why. this is one of my favorites. lots of times we can't do much about the reasons behind why she feels something: i get that your frustrated that you have to go to bed but uh, you have to go to bed. BUT sometimes just talking about those feelings and acknowledging them makes a huge difference in her world.
i'm so interested in seeing how her relationship develops with her sister over time. ellie is now at the stage where she will yell if she doesn't get what she wants. not putting her fast enough into the bathtub? she screams. took the mail that she was eating away from her? she cries. and what this means for avery is that if avery takes a toy away from her (something she does all the time) then ellie cries and avery's quick fix of giving her something else no longer works because ellie knows that she wants that toy, not just any toy. the whole concept of sharing is sort of strange to me because i get that we want kids to play together nicely but i don't feel like it's fair to expect them to hand over their toys because it's the nice thing to do. so we're trying to teach avery that if ellie is playing with something than it is ellie's to play with until she decides that she is done and likewise if avery is playing with a toy she doesn't have to hand it over just because someone else thinks it looks cool.
a is also having a hard time lately with charlie traveling. i noticed this happening back in may when he was gone a lot and then i forgot about it because he was home for a month and then we went on vacation but now we're back into our normal routine of him being gone maybe 50% of the time and avery is having a hard time sometimes. this past week she actually got upset before he left for the first time, which was hard to see. but what i've noticed is that when he gets back from a trip she's extra clingy to him (totally understandable) but to the point of not going to bed because she 'won't let him leave the room'. when it's just me with both kids her bedtime and naptime routines are pretty short and sweet because i have two kids to take care of and therefore she knows: she gets two books and one story and one kiss. always. sometimes she cries about this and tries to drag things on but this is always what she gets from me so she gets over it pretty quickly. unfortunately when charlie travels a lot it seems like she is just getting back into 'normal mode' when he leaves again and she has a hard time again when he gets back. i actually think she could use a later bedtime but i can't figure out yet how to put ellie to bed (this usually takes about 20 minutes) before avery goes to bed without letting avery either play on the iPad or watch tv, something i don't really want to do. when charlie's around it's not a problem since he can just hang out with her but if it's just me i'm not sure what else to occupy her with during that time when i need her to be occupied, safe, and quiet.
and because i can't end this on a negative note i have to talk about how sweet she can be. she says 'i love you' unprompted to charlie and i and ellie and the dogs. she always tries to comfort ellie when she's crying. when ellie was crying the other night because she was having a hard time going to sleep avery was visibly upset. she kept saying "mommy go get ellie and bring her downstairs". she wants to feed ellie. the other day she fed her yogurt and a few days later a banana. pretty sweet. she's nice and polite to other kids at the playground and is really warming up to people she doesn't know. she holds ellie's hand in the stroller and will ask me to put ellie's song on if she starts to cry. she can feed the cats on her own and usually does this if i ask her. she loves to bake and cook and craft. we made cookies the other day and she kept saying 'i'm so excited to make cookies'. she also loves to FaceTime and talk on the phone. it's actually getting difficult to have an actual conversation with anyone when she's around because she wants to monopolize the phone. the other day she corrected charlie when he said shit, "shoot daddy". and she is so excited for the holidays this year.