Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Energizer bunny

We are realizing over and over again that we have an extremely energetic, adventurous and independent toddler, even compared to other toddlers. Having only ever had one toddler, we sometimes wonder if we are correctly assessing things, or if we are partly to blame (other than genetics. With regard to genetics, I blame her father). Our recent trips with other families of toddlers, and some acute observations at the daycare, have led to the following observations:

1) Layla is much more trouble than most other toddlers, but not the most trouble. These other more troublesome toddlers are boys, and are bigger and just a little more adventurous. Layla seems to have at least a little sense of caution, which is tremendously helpful.

2) A few really big benefits come out of this - first, she doesn't hesitate to try everything and do anything, which makes every outing very fun. Second, like her mommy, she finds hanging around at home kind of boring, so we have a good excuse to go out and do family-friendly fun things when we can, and we have found a lot of neat things to do. Third, I don't worry about her getting enough activity when she's being watched by someone else - because I know she'll make sure she gets it.

3) A few other things: she is a GREAT sleeper at night, and she seems to have made that necessary cognitive leap so she understands where we're going and what we're doing - hugely useful when things aren't going as planned or we're in a new environment. She's also pretty tough and doesn't whine a whole lot when she gets hurt, something she couldn't have gotten from me.

I have no idea how much of this is her and how much comes from the way we're parenting her - but I get the sense that it's mostly her. It must be fascinating to have twins that are totally different, so you can see this. And I'm sure it will be very very interesting to see how this toddler morphs into a little person and finally into a grown-up person.

The things coming out of Layla's mouth

Layla's starting to be able to tell us about more than just her opinions, although we're still hearing plenty of opinions (mostly involving milk, her scooter, and the playground). She can order events and associate different things and remember directions. Today on the way home from daycare she told me she wanted to get some milk, bring it outside, and then scoot with her Daddy. When she falls down at daycare, she can tell us about it and who was there and how she fell and what she hurt. She reads books to her Tigger, and she actually tells Tigger about the pictures and sort of tells the story to him. Although she is talking constantly, we still can't get her to talk on command (she NEVER reveals anything useful when I ask how her day was, or when we Skype with one of the grandparents). But, the new level of chatter is changing the way we handle her and how we plan our days (we can actually ask her whether she wants to go to the playground or go scooting). Most important, we can explain - and she understands - what we are doing and it has made traveling a ton easier. And it is probably a big relief to her, to be able to finally articulate what she is thinking!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Potty training update

Apparently, our girl has decided it's time for potty training. She insisted on wearing underwear all day today at daycare and actually went potty in the toilet - something we didn't even know she knew how to do! She only had one accident at the end of the day.

We are a little bit surprised, and not ready, and don't really know what to do... but I guess Layla will lead the way as she has done with everything else!

Another toddler vacation

We finally got away this weekend for a wild time up at Orcas Island. This is about a 2 hr drive split by a 1.5 hr ferry ride (because it's an island, it's only accessible by ferry!). The island itself is about a 45-min drive across. It's surrounded by other islands and is totally beautiful - but it's also very rural so the island itself reminds me a lot of my home country of Iowa.

We happened to have TOTALLY beautiful weather. We really had a marvelous time. Three families stayed in a big house and two other families stayed in nearby cabins. All the kids played hard all day then after they went to bed the adults partied hard at night (a bit too hard...). Layla was the only kid that slept through the night, and wasn't even woken up by the other kids that thought 5:30 am was a perfectly natural time to get up and scream a bunch. We considered it a great success, and are even thinking about traveling some more with her this summer. Maybe by ourselves next time.

Below are a few pictures of the resort where we stayed, Doe Bay - it has a bunch of cabins, camp sites, hostels and yurts and a swimsuit-optional hot tub, organic cafe, and yoga classes. But, what really got our business was the playground and sand pit right outside our house. Layla was a huge fan of both. She also loved the beach, which was very beautiful and offered much for exploration.

While we were there the kids did a bunch of really cute things. They all took a bath together, they carefully played with the little babies, they read books to each other, they wrestled and knocked over furniture and then tattled on each other, they each melted down a few times, they made lots of demands and chatted it up and even held each other's hands a few times. It was so, so cute to watch them play together and so good for all of us parents to stop our crazy regular lives to take it all in for a few days. For the most part, the kids were pretty good and easy to entertain while we were there.

Below are a few pictures from their website to tide you over while we get our own pictures off the camera.