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Thoughts, experiences, and helpful tips on raising a toddler.
Not a Fan of Santa Claus

I heard that 1-year-olds aren't always afraid of Santa, but 2yo's usually are. So we figured we'd give it a try. Besides, she'll get a kick out of the pic. She started to cry as soon as I passed her to Santa's little helper and then screamed when she sat with Santa. But thus begins the annual Santa pics. I think it's mostly stranger anxiety rather than the costume. I'm trying to talk hubby into getting a Santa Suit. Maybe it'll get her used to Santa. I saw one on sale at Joann's today :-)

We have been debating about whether or not to get a Christmas tree this year. We've been lazy the past few years and haven't bothered for just the two of us. We have hardly spent time in the living room anyway.

But little Bel adores Christmas trees. She stops and stares in awe (and touches) whenever she sees one at the store. So we're thinking maybe we should just break down and get one. Then there's the question of whether to get a real or fake one. We both grew up with fake trees. I never really liked them. I liken them to fake flowers and plants (why bother?). And the thought of storing a fake tree. We're already up to our eyeballs in stuff stashed away in every nook and cranny. I really don't think we have room to store an artificial Christmas tree.

But then there's the logistics of getting and disposing of a real tree. The magical charm of a real tree might outweigh the hassle of lugging it in and out of the house, sweeping up needles and mopping up mud and sap. But I'm not 100% convinced yet...

A cute little Charlie Brown Christmas tree sounds good to me. Nice and small and easy. But I'm sure baby Bel is looking forward to a towering majestic tree that can elf even Daddy :-)

Cute Feet

One of my favorite things about baby Bel has been her cute little baby feet. So soft and delicate! She laughs when I kiss them. 

They're getting more muscular now since she's walking all over the place on them. She has grown out of size 3 and on to size 4. Really she's in between sizes, but it's hard to find a 3.5.

I still remember the first time I saw her little feet. It was on the 3D ultrasound. I loved them then. And after she was born, they caught me by surprise how cute they were in real life!

She's given up being so clingy this week. She's had more fun playing at Toddler Group, parent baby class, and My Gym. She used to just sit with me and not want to go off and play. Now she wanders around with all the other kids and plays. That was my pleasant surprise of the week.

I'm trying to get her to say more words. Right now, I am only noticing her say Mama and Dadda consistently, with the understanding of what they mean. She tries to imitate animals sounds that I make like Meow and Neigh. Her "Hello" on the phone has now turned into just "Ah!".

Even though she is not "talking" much, I can tell she understands a whole lot. When asked to, she sits down, lies down, gets a book, points to a few body parts, gets certain specific objects, and even points out certain people, like Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, pets, and some of her friends.

She has a lady bug toy that projects stars onto the ceiling. It's called the Cloud B Twilight Constellation Night Light. She loves it, and from that she has learned what stars are. Or at least to identify the "star" shape. Today I asked her where the star was in her book, and she could pick it out on several different pages, even when it was a little hidden. That was my pleasant surprise of the day.


Her hair is finally beginning to grow out. It's long enough to get wild looking sometimes, now. She loves to rip clips out of her hair still, but they are staying in a bit better with her hair getting longer.

She loves to pretend that she's talking on the telephone. When she hears a doorbell ring on her toy or on TV, she puts her hand up to her ear and says "Hello", or more like "ah-yo!?". She also puts her toy phone up to her ear and does the same thing, with a little added babbling as well. I try to get her to talk on the real phone with someone on the other line, but she just freezes. Go figure :-)

13 Months

Has it already been a month since her 1st birthday?!

She's finally returned to eating a few more solids again. She loves rice, white or fried. She'll usually eat some chicken along with the rice, as well. I continually offer her all kinds of solids. But chicken and rice seem to be the only things that she's eating pretty consistently, now.

She's got a new bottom front tooth now and a new molar! So now she's got a total of 4 top front teeth, 3 bottom ones, and 1 molar.

Her favorite words are "Da" for daddy, "mama" for several different things, and I think she's starting to say "Hi". She seems to be understanding a lot more. When we ask her where something or someone is, such as Elmo, ducky, daddy, mommy, and even grandma, she points to them. She can pick out the snack that she wants to eat amongst other snacks. She makes a sound points to what she wants to look at or play with, such as a plant, a specific toy, or other item. She pulls at my shirt when she wants to nurse. I think she is becoming happier because she is learning to communicate her needs and wants, and therefore gets to have them fulfilled better.

Her walking is getting more solid, although she still seems to put her right leg forward more as she walks. When we got to public places like stores or restaurants, she loves to explore, walking up and down the aisles and looking at brightly colored things.

When in a large baby class setting, she still gets a little clingy and would rather hang out with me than play with other babies. But in quieter settings at home, she loves the company of another baby and interacts with them a lot. She must get overwhelmed with big groups in public places. My mom said that maybe she's afraid that someone might do something to her. Or maybe she's just afraid she'll lose me in the crowd.

Little Bookworm
Her love of books seems to be increasing more and more. Everyday she wants to be read to at all times of the day. She keeps grabbing books and bringing them to me and Daddy. Her attention span for books is improving as she becomes more familiar with each book, and she also likes flip books, with peek-ah-boo flaps. Touch and feel books have always been fun for her as well.

Eat, Play, Read

Miso Soup & Rice
It seems like it's been a little over a month since she quit eating most solid foods. And now, at almost 13 months, she still mostly eats just Snap Pea Crisps and Apple Crisps. Until last Sunday when Grandma made miso soup. We gave Bel some rice with miso soup and some tofu pieces. She went ga-ga over it. Now, when I'm preparing it, she comes over to me, smacks her lips and gets really impatient about getting it. She even made a fuss when I didn't give it to her right away.

Today I tried to give her some salmon and rice. She didn't quite like that. So I switched back to the miso and rice, and she was happy. She doesn't care for the liquidy soup, but with just enough soup to give the rice a little flavor is what she likes.

Square Peg in a Round Hole?
She is showing interest in shape sorting, putting shapes into their matching holes. It seems like most things she learns, she learns gradually, getting better and better with time. Lately, she's been able to put some shapes into their holes. She can do circles and squares more easily than triangles or other odd shapes. The toys we bought her a while back are now being played with in a whole new way. It's a nice thing that these toys have aspects about them that entertain babies of different ages, so the toy grows with them.

Lars Learns to Swim again and again and again
A few months ago she could barely stay focused when I read a book to her. Then she started sitting through familiar books. About a month ago, she started asking me to read the same book twice. Now, its about 4-5 times for her favorite books. My vocal chords start aching and I even had a coughing fit one time. I guess I better get used to it because I hear that soon it will be 10 times. Lars Learns to Swim and Sal the Shark are a couple of her current favorites.

Little Frankenstein
Her walking is improving every day. Now she can carry heavier things as she walks, like heavy books. She still walks with her right leg leading and left leg stepping forward to be in line with the right leg. But it's cute to see her different walks. She has her fast walk when she is trying to catch up to us, I know soon it will be a run. She has her walk with purpose when she has something she intends to do at a particular location, like take a toy to the gate and drop it down the stairs. Sometimes she loses her balance and falls on her bottom. She lets out a little cry that sounds more like annoyance than pain.

Impressing Grandma

Yesterday, Grandma was visiting, and little Bel showed off her walking skills. Grandma (and I) were very impressed! That day, she walked more than I'd ever seen her walk before. It was like she wanted so much to impress Grandma that walking just clicked. She walked at an angle with the right side of her body leading.

All day today she even preferred walking to crawling. And she seems to be facing forward more as she walks, rather than angled. She holds her hands up by her arm pits while she walks. I wonder if it's either a balance thing or just getting them out of the way so she can concentrate on her legs...

Learning to walk has been a gradual work in progress. First taking a couple steps when coaxed. Then not taking any steps for a while. Then back to taking a couple self-initiated steps. Then suddenly waddling across the room.

But she still likes us to carry her, for a different vantage point.


Featured Toddler Blog Articles

Grandma  - 5/24/2011
Weaned  - 4/18/2011
Bored With Toys  - 6/11/2011
New Words Everyday  - 5/9/2011
18 Month Little Boy  - 6/3/2013

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