Monday, August 19, 2013

The First Year-And-A-Half

As seen in New York Family Magazine:

From mastering animal sounds to throwing pretend tea parties, a toddler shares with us the highlights of turning 18 months.


Dream: I am pushing my baby doll down the street in her stroller. Baby has learned so much in the past months thanks to my fabulous parenting. Baby walks and talks and is developing a lovely disposition and personality. She is strong, smart, independent, sweet, and pretty adorable (if you ask me).  We turn the corner and head into our apartment building. Our doorman, Mr. Andrew, greets us with smiles and high fives. He alerts me that I have a package, but I tell him to just give it to Mommy later. Baby and I are tired and want to grab a quick lunch before nap time. Hopefully, Mommy made us grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum, yum!

Reality: I am reclining in my stroller seat as Mommy pushes me home from a Music Together class. We sang a special “Happy Birthday” for my half-birthday. What a special day! Can you believe I am 18-months-old already? Time flies when you’re an Elle Belle! And this baby has learned so much in 1.5 years–it is remarkable. I am so strong, smart, and independent. And if you ask me, I am a natural learner. Well, I guess Mommy helps me learn a little. As we continue our stroll, I start daydreaming about making a documentary about me, the super duper one-and-a-half-year-old.

I know the perfect song to kick it off: “Harder, better, faster, stronger…” These are Kanye’s words that I live by. I can walk along with my baby stroller, run endlessly, climb stairs, push my radio flyer wagon, kick a ball, jump on the trampoline, and even undress myself. That last one comes in handy when Mommy asks me if I want to wear something and I say, “No,” and she puts it on me anyway. I can just take it off and say, “No way!” As you see, I am strong physically as well as when it comes to willpower.

I am told that I am one smart cookie. My vocabulary is rapidly growing as is my comprehension. I articulately say many words with authority, especially: No way, doggie, golf, cupcake, grilled cheese, and bye bye. Leading sing-a-longs and reciting key segments of my favorite books are other smartypants pastimes. I also know my colors, letters, and numbers. I know that while my favorite color is blue, not all colors are blue (some are red and purple). I can sing the alphabet song with gusto, and I can clearly count to 10, even if I do use the number two for one and two (just until I learn to say “one” properly).

I am a budding artist, coloring on paper with crayons. And I mastered my animals and making their corresponding sounds, learned my shapes and can fit them into my shape sorter like a pro, and spent endless hours identifying my body parts and also finding them on my dolls. My favorite body part for now is the belly button. When I touch Mommy’s, it makes her go, Hee hee! How silly! And the list goes on. Are you floored yet? My grandparents are!

I am also sweeter than sweet. I must say I am quite affectionate with those I know and love. I understand letting friends deliver high fives and will even give a whole ten if I am in a giving mood. I have mastered the art of giving nice, gentle kisses as well as blowing a kiss (which was no easy task). I also learned that I should not kiss with my tongue: this is reserved for puppies and the French. (That’s what Daddy told me.) And I love to deliver bear hugs and know Mommy and Daddy love getting them.

When I want to be, I can also be pretty adorable. Playing pretend is off-the-charts fun and everyone loves to play with me. I host the most fabulous tea parties! We cheers with our tea cups, with fresh brewed tea, and I make homemade tea sandwiches. Delish! And I am pretty cute when playing a pretend mommy and caring for my baby dolls. I even spice things up by being a crazy, cool mommy, letting Baby bounce on my legs as we sing our favorite Music Together song, “Trot Old Joe.” But I have to stop playing with Baby when the phone rings. I pretend to answer–it’s always Daddy! Hieeee!,” I say with enthusiasm and I mind my manners and always say bye bye” before I hang up (even if Daddy is still talking while I do so). But everyone’s favorite is when I pretend to get ready with my makeup mirror and say: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Elle!”

I am exhausted just thinking about all the great life accomplishments I’ve achieved so far–and I am only 18-months-old! I am pretty sure I will have to make a mini-series instead of a documentary.

As my day dream bubble pops, I realize I am hungry and Mommy already got us home and made me grilled cheese. Yum, yum! Who knows what can happen next? Maybe I will even use the potty soon.

Happiness is...

Happiness amazing half birthday! And an amazing half birthday cake!
Happy 18 months!

City Kid Meets the Country

As seen in New York Family Magazine:

For a toddler born in the Big Apple, a country getaway is full of wonder.


Dream: New York City was sweltering and I longed for a cooler place to escape to. Then I envisioned something amazing: instead of pushing my baby stroller up and down city streets with Mommy walking Puppy on a leash beside me–the three of us popping into my favorite air-conditioned boutiques to cool off–I saw myself running through endless sidewalks of grass with puppy sprinting ahead of me off his leash into giant puddles of water (Mommy called them lakes?). Could this place be real?

Reality: I wasn’t sure about leaving the big city, but my recent trip outside NYC was a wonderful break from the heat. This place was beautiful! I had never seen so much green in one place except in my storybooks. I could feel the moist grass tickling my toes through my sandals. I ran to the left and then to the right and there was still more pretty things to see. I ran across bridges, over water and along stone paths. And I climbed up a foothill and slid down a rock stairwell. It was like nature’s own obstacle course. And in the middle of it all were lots of rivers and flowers. I must have been in paradise, but Mommy called it…the country.

I ran as fast as I could chasing after my puppy. He sprinted so fast and jumped so high that he looked like a jackrabbit! While we were playing, I tripped over my tiny toes and fell into a pile of soft  grass. I reached down and felt it with my fingers. Not knowing my own strength, I ripped some up from the ground and the little blades blew away as they fell from my hand. It was so stimulating that I did it a few more times. And then puppy came and gobbled the grass up. Yuck!

Soon after, Puppy and I were running nonstop (again). Mommy and Daddy could barely keep up with us. It looked like a family choo choo train with puppy up front, followed by me close behind, and Mommy as the caboose. Mommy called for me to come back, but before I could even protest I spotted ducks in a lake. I ran up to the lake and, taking Mommy’s hand in mine, leaned close and gave my best, quack, quack! And guess what? The ducks quacked right back. We started quacking up a storm. When we first counted the ducks, there were only five, but by the end I was making such great duck conversation that Mommy counted 25. I saw ducks in all different sizes and shapes that made a beautiful family.

While the ducks were fun and all, I soon tired of quacking and looked for different company. Puppy led us through trails to a farm. I met llamas, donkeys, chickens, roosters, peacocks, and lots of other animal friends. The chickens and roosters said I could bawk, bawk (imagine me flapping my wings while making the sound to get the full effect) and cock-a-doodle-doo better than they could! Daddy pointed out that the inn where we were staying had a farm-to-table restaurant and Mommy said not to tell me or I’d be a vegetarian. (Note: I had pasta for dinner that night.)

After lunch, I tried to make a run for it toward more animals but stopped short in my tracks when I saw an electric fence. Yikes! Who thinks of such cruel things? I know I certainly don’t like boundaries. I hope they never make electric fences on playpens for kiddos like me!  Before I could further reflect on that awful invention, Daddy was right there to scoop me up and somehow redirected my attention.

We were on our way up a very rocky and wet path. Clearly, I was strong enough to hike but Daddy needed an extra workout to keep in good shape. So he picked me up and Mommy and puppy followed. Before I knew it, we were staring at the biggest shower I had ever seen. Mommy said it was nature’s shower and called it a waterfall. It was breathtaking. Literally, I don’t think I moved or said anything for at least a millisecond. I watched the water fall down the mountainside and into the lake below. Sometimes it splashed off rocks or tree limbs first and other times it shot straight down.
I found a tree swing and the four of us (puppy included) cuddled up on it to enjoy the view. All I could think was, I am not in NYC anymore. Here, rocks touched the sky instead of buildings. You could hear birds tweet instead of pigeons gobble crumbs (rats with wings, as Daddy calls them). The water lightly falling on me from above was from a waterfall instead of an icky air-conditioning unit. The simple wonders of the country were simply wonderful!

Our weekend in the country was full of more natural wonders, too. I played hide and seek with Mommy in corn stalks. I chased puppy through weeping willow branches. I climbed up a tree and swung from one of its branches (Mommy helped a bit). I actually saw stars in the sky and not just airplane lights. And I played hard and slept even harder, falling asleep to real nature sounds–not the ones on my sound machine.

By the time we got back in our car to head back to the big city, I was so tuckered out from my country adventure that I could barely keep one eye open to watch the inn get smaller and smaller out the rear view window. When I woke, it was to the familiar city sounds of cars honking and sirens blaring. There’s no place like home!

Happiness is...

Happiness is ...a beach weekend! But don't make my rookie mistake and eat the sand. Yuck!