Tag Archives: toddler

Trains & Trolleys & 2 Two-Year-Olds

Yesterday was a big day over here. Hadley turned 2 and all of our local family came over to celebrate her and cousin Henry, whose birthday is exactly two weeks before. It seemed too cruel to subject our family to two toddler parties back to back, so my sister and I decided to combine them. Since Hadley loves all things Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with a specific obsession of trolley and Henry loves trains, we picked a trains and trolleys theme. Hadley has been talking about her “try-try” party for weeks. As my dad pointed out several times, a two-year-old might never remember the grand efforts made by their mothers (in fact, this morning Hadley mostly only recalled that she had to share her balloons with her cousins, lovely toddler that she is)…. and for this reason, I took lots of pictures.




















Happy Birthday to our sweet Hadley girl. You make life so much better.


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Christmas: Part One

Holidays with a one-year-old are a little tricky. On the one hand, she doesn’t get what is going on. I took full advantage of this last year. Hadley’s first Christmas presents included a stocking, some Christmas pajamas, and toys purchased by her grandparents. I mean, she slept through the whole thing. But of course this year, she is an entirely different creature and I feel like I should do more. Last December she was an immobile infant with dark brown hair and her vocabulary included giggles and cooing. Now she’s an active toddler, somewhere between a brunette and blonde, talking up a storm, and at times a wild woman. We’ve left the baby stage and are stepping into the territory where we can start doing psychological damage. Your parents didn’t get you any toys for TWO years in a row?? Wow, they must really not love you. Okay, even if it doesn’t come to that, I want to get her new things that will bring joy to that sweet little face. But I also don’t want to overwhelm, overstimulate, and overdo it. KEEP IT SIMPLE. That’s my mantra.

As part of this grand effort to be minimal, we are adopting the tradition of giving Hadley three gifts for Christmas. I first read about this on Momastery.com, one of my favorite blogs. As she hilarious puts it, “Listen, Jesus only got three gifts. Are you really prepared to argue that you deserve more presents on GOD’s birthday than God got on God’s OWN birthday?” – See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2013/11/25/keep-simple-sisters/#sthash.HSB8E1gR.dpuf

Luckily, since she’s one, we don’t have to reason it through with her or explain anything. In fact, the only real problem so far is my own tendency to get carried away. Damn you Amazon for making it far too easy to click, buy, and show up at my door 48 hours later. Oh and the suggestions of other products I might enjoy, plasticky pink treasures that in my dreams will keep my toddler entertained for hours? These too are wastes of money. In fact, what will actually keep her entertained is trying to squeeze into the cardboard box that the toy arrives in. I can’t tell you how many boxes have kept her happy for how many hours. This is what I have to remind myself when I get tempted to overspend.

Another contributing factor in our keep-it-simple plan is that we celebrated with my family a couple of weeks early. BREAKING UP THE PRESENTS is huge. My Mom was in town to get some stuff done on their new house (ten minutes away from us!!), and so yesterday we hosted my parents and two local sisters and their families for a little Christmas celebration. It was the perfect Christmas kick-off. Snow was falling as first we feasted, while the older kids tried to eat with presents for them in the next room – no easy task. And then after the lunching was done, they had to wait even longer for sleeping Hadley to wake from her nap. I was happy to let her sleep through the gift opening, but the grandparents insisted that all grandkids be present for presents. When I came down with Hadley in my arms, I’m sure her cousins have never been quite so happy to see her. She beamed at their joyful faces, thrilled to be the center of their attention. Ignorance is truly bliss.

Seeing how delighted Hadley was in her two presents just reconfirmed that we’re doing the right thing by trying our best to keep it simple. No, she doesn’t yet understand why the toys are arriving for her. Nor did she expect more than she was given. One more toy wouldn’t have made a difference to this face.

DSC_0724 DSC_0725

So as an adult, as a parent, as an almost thirty-year-old, you would think that I would have internalized what I’m trying to teach my child. I think my intentions are good, of keeping it simple, remembering what is important and why we spend this time of year celebrating with loved ones. I might have moved on from the sick-with-anticipation for presents chapter of my life, but I am happy to have pretty things showing up for me on Christmas morning. Do I end up shopping for myself when I had every intention of hunting for good deals for Josh on Gilt? Guilty. Did I pout when I found out Josh hadn’t yet purchased anything in addition to the presents I had already picked out for myself, and then had him enter the credit card information – just to make sure that he bought it for me. It’s possible. And then of course he got me something else because of my clear disappointment. Oh, the shame.

The thing is, I don’t have Hadley’s excuse of not knowing what is going on. But I do have the excuse of being human, and therefore, very forgetful. We need to be reminded, year after year, what this season is really about. My reminders often come to me through Christmas hymns. I’ve been singing my favorite ones to Hadley each night before bedtime. The weight of her in my arms, clad in penguin footsie pajamas, pressing her face to my chest as I lull her to sleep after a day of toddler highs and lows, this is when my heart opens and the light creeps in.

“Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever and love me, I pray”

“With the poor, the mean and lowly
Lived on earth our Savior holy”

“And our eyes at least shall see Him
Through His own redeeming love
For that child, so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above”

“Mild he lays his glory by
Born that man no more may die”

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
Oh night Divine, Oh night when Christ was born”

How often have I sung the words to these cherished songs, year after year? And how often do I think about their meaning? Definitely not thinking about them when I’m obsessing about the perfect gifts we need in order to be happy. We already are happy, we already are blessed beyond anything I could ever buy, wrap up neatly, and place under the tree.

Oh, and here is some proof of just how blessed we are, sharing a Christmas celebration with family (missing several crucial members in Utah, Florida and London, of course)


Now if I can keep remembering the reason for the season this week with a fevering baby, when I’m frantically getting Christmas cards sent out, or when I’m traveling to West Virginia for six hours in the car with Hadley who LOATHES the car seat, it’ll be a Christmas miracle. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Surviving the Week

I am so thrilled to kiss this week goodbye. I really should have known it would be rough, considering Monday was a holiday and this happens EVERY time we have a short week. My expectation for the week to fly by just sets me up to fail miserably.

On Tuesday I woke up not feeling well. Not to worry, I thought. It’s suddenly sub-arctic outside anyways, and I don’t have any plans and I don’t have to go to the store.  Hadley and I can have a cozy day indoors, watching movies and cuddling. Maybe I’ll do some baking. I really have been craving the chance to just be quiet and unproductive after a busy couple of months of hosting and entertaining.

Little did I know that overnight my sweet, snuggly baby had vanished and in her place was a version of Hadley that can only be described as a frustrated, furious, fiery toddler.  I was also blissfully unaware that Josh would be working late for the next two nights, leaving me on my own to try to battle comfort this angry child. I should have stayed in bed.

The tantrums started early and persisted throughout the day, until she finally just embraced steady screaming by the late afternoon. She repeated her efforts on Wednesday. I spent most of Wednesday night crying to Josh, frustrated, exhausted, done for. He suggested that she might be teething and I reminded him (sweetly, of course) that she has never flinched for any of her teeth coming in, and then kindly suggested that unless he was the one taking care of her when she is shrieking inconsolably for two days, or held a medical license, I didn’t want his opinion.

Thursday morning I braced myself for day three in hell, but to my surprise and delight, she seemed to be back to normal. I immediately said a silent prayer of gratitude that this wasn’t just who she had become now. She was happy (well, happy for a fifteen-month-old who can’t tell me anything she wants while simultaneously wanting EVERYTHING). We played outside for a good chunk of the day and we were able to venture back out into the real world. Target missed us I’m sure.

                                               The portrait of health playing outside yesterday afternoon

And then today she woke up with a fever and a runny nose. I was again perplexed. I didn’t feel like playing the guessing game anymore, especially with the weekend approaching, and pediatricians becoming unavailable – so I took her in.

Whenever I take her to the doctor’s, I always suddenly feel like I am overreacting about her symptoms. And today as she paraded around the waiting room, saying hi and smiling brightly at other patients, I had the distinct impression that this might be a giant waste of our morning.


In the waiting room at the pediatrician. She’s about to approach a stranger and ask him to pick her up.



                            Naked and inspecting a Highlights magazine…typical visit to the docs

The pediatrician took a quick look in her ears, declared them fine and then another quick look in her mouth, and declared that she has two molars coming in. Well actually, one that had just come in and another peeking through.  

So, she’s teething. Apparently a few days with an extremely fussy toddler does nothing for my motherly perception skills. I felt like an idiot. Who needs a pediatrician to diagnose their baby with teething? Isn’t that the number one excuse we give for our fussy babies? Even Josh knew what was going on and he has been working to the bone and exhausted.

Oh well. I’m so happy to have an answer, so happy that she isn’t sick or perpetually cranky, so happy this week is over. I don’t even really care that I’ll have to admit to my husband that I was wrong and he was right. 

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