Monday, February 23, 2015


Amaliya plays hide and seek now.  Kind of.  When it's her turn to seek, she will hide her face but sneak glances at me the entire time.  When she's done counting, she runs directly to my hiding place and busts up laughing.  When it's her turn to hide, she stands right behind me as I count and absolutely falls out with giggles when I turn around to see her.

Her turn to count!

That, friends, basically sums up the last couple weekends around here.  I've been able to work a little less and have had more help around the house, which means more time to do sweet, sweet nothing.  I'm hormonally balanced (for the moment) and Amaliya seems to be through her mental growth spurt and is back to being my sweetheart again. Life feels really good right now.

Amaliya's never been the most energetic kid.  She couldn't do more than 3 hours of being awake until she was practically a year old, showed minimal interest in any physical activity, and liked best to snuggle up in front of a movie or play on the floor with her babies.  That has changed quite a bit in the past few months - she is a legit toddler now, into everything and bursting with crazed energy.  It took me a while to catch on, but in the last week I think I found a method to deal with her madness.  She kept screaming in the house or in the car, for no reason, and when I'd tell her to be quiet she'd say "No!  I have to be loud!" and get very upset.  This weekend we told her that, if she needs to scream, she can tell someone and we'll take her outside so she can be loud.  There are no limits to loudness outside, but she cannot scream in the house or car (especially in the car - I have not-great hearing, so extremely loud noises sound like static in my head and are painful).  It worked like a charm!  All weekend she'd come over and tell me, "I want to scream," or "I need to be loud now," and we would calmly go outside, scream our heads off and run around for a minute, and then come back in and play quietly.

Being silly.

We also solved the getting-dressed problem, wherein she would wiggle, flail, run, kick, and do basically everything to prevent me from getting clothes on her body (which, yes, resulted in a smack on the bottom a couple times on daycare mornings because Mama don't play when we're running late).  That one was simple.  Get naked, run one lap around the room.  Put on diaper, run another lap.  Pants, lap.  And so on, until fully clothed. She has fun, it takes a long but predictable time to get dressed, and we're both happy at the end.

A moment with her Great Aunt

It's amazing how figuring out these little things can totally change the family dynamic and make everything work so much better.  Kids change so fast.  I may think I'm listening to Amaliya, but in reality, she's gone through a big mental leap and is communicating with me in different, more complex ways.  I'm listening to the person she was yesterday, not the person standing in front of me.  Wouldn't that piss anyone off?

A moment with her Nanny

Back to her ridiculous toddler energy.  It's become clear that spending the day at home is a recipe for disaster.  Much like her Mama, Amaliya goes stir crazy at home and is a beast to live with if she can't get outside and play.  We hear that, so we're trying to spend more time out on the town exploring new places.  Last Sunday morning, President's Day weekend, we went out to the Living Desert out near Palm Springs. It seemed like the perfect compromise - not too expensive, plenty of beautiful trails and animals to see, sparse crowds and only 45 minutes from home. Timing was everything - we were up and out early in the morning after a quick breakfast, and arrived at the park at 9:30 (my girl may be energetic, but she's still a thorough introvert; two hours in a new, stimulating environment is about all she can handle before totally melting down).

It turned out to be a lot of fun!  Amaliya loved the model train village and was interested in the animals this time (not like our last zoo experience).  She named the giraffe "Gerald" after a character in her favorite book, and thought the zebra was pretty cool (I did too).  When she asked to touch the jaguars I said, "no, they'll bite your little booty," which she found fascinating, and kept asking throughout the trip if various animals were going to bite her booty. Ha!  After a quick stop at the petting zoo (she is still not keen to touch goats, though when I asked her later, she said the goats were her favorite part of the trip!) and the playground (throwing dirt around is the highlight of any outing), we ate a quick picnic lunch in the shade, and packed up.  We were back in the car by 11:45. A quick trip, but so refreshing.  The desert is my happy place.

This past weekend, we took a long walk, cooked a bit, went to the park, played tennis in the front yard (her new favorite thing to do), and enjoyed each other.  Sunday was Geography Day here in Redlands, and the world's largest map of Africa was being hosted at our local library.  We ventured out in the rain to run around on a giant map and beat some drums.  I am so blissed out right now - I love babies, don't get me wrong, but I am thrilled that Amaliya is getting to the age when she really gets excited about seeing/doing things and participating in activities.  I feel like a kid again, experiencing all these things through her eyes.

 My last post was a bit of a venting/therapy session, so I'm happy to be back with more positivity this week.  Life really is a rollercoaster - you have to ride out the bad times with as much honesty and grace as you can, but also give yourself permission to own and revel in the happy moments.

Have a great week, friends.

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