stella turns 2!

Stella taking a little nap
Newborn Stella

1-year-old Stella in Buenos Aires

This little person is almost 2-years-old.
Stella, a few days before turning 2
This is the result of "smile for the camera" which makes me infinitely happy...
Stella's "smile for the camera" face

No doubt I will be saying this until the day I die, but time really does move so very, very fast. The past two years have, indeed, flown by. Every single day I feel so lucky and grateful to be raising our girl, to be sharing her firsts and witnessing the leaps and changes as she becomes more and more a toddler.

At two, Stella loves to question. "What's that Mommy?" and "What's that sound Mommy?" punctuate my day. Most times she isn't satisfied with my answer. "That's a book, Stella." What's that Mommy?" I look closer at the book where she's pointing, "That's a word on the cover of the book." "What's that Mommy?" she'll say, pointing again. "Those are letters and letters make words and those words are on the cover of the book." When she asks again I give up and go back to "that's a book." On a walk through our neighborhood the other day she heard a helicopter and said, of course, "what's that sound Mommy?" "A helicopter,"  I told her. "What's that sound, Mommy?" "A helicopter in the sky, Stella," I said. "What's that sound Mommy?" I turned the stroller around and pointed up at the sky, "You see the helicopter in the sky? It looks like a plane but it's smaller? That's making the sound you're hearing with your ears." But she wasn't satisfied, "what's that sound, Mommy?" "A helicopter," I said, walking on.

I've learned that I have to pick my battles every day. She must let me brush her teeth, crying fits be damned, but I will wait an extra few minutes as I put her in the car so she can buckle the car seat herself. After discovering that she doesn't like having her hair washed, Stella went on a no-bath strike for two weeks around Thanksgiving. I finally convinced her to take a bath by getting in it myself. Though I have yet to wash her hair...and it has been more than two weeks since her hair was last washed. Ah well...

Stella is starting to master imagination play. She acts out scenarios with her trains, with her tiger, with the animals that live in her red wooden play barn, and with random inanimate objects. She's currently obsessed with putting her things to bed. The question: "What are your trains doing all lined up like that?" gets the response: "They're going sleepytime." Sometimes she'll announce "Tiger's going to sleep on my shoulder. I'm going to sing him a song." I laugh when she cradles my cell phone in her arms and says earnestly, "telephone is sleeping."

Her pronunciation of Stella sounds like Stedda. Stedda is very good at giving commands and referring to herself in the third person. "Mommy, tickle Stedda," she'll say as she gleefully prepares herself for a tickle onslaught. "Stedda was crying," she'll tell me after a teary tantrum. "Carry Stedda down the stairs, Mommy." You get the picture.

Stella now goes to sleep in her toddler bed. I am slowly trying to wean her which hasn't been so easy. I still nurse her a few times during the day but I'm actively trying to divert her attention away from "boobie." At this point she doesn't nurse for nutrition, just for comfort and closeness. At night she isn't waking up to nurse anymore which means she is finally sleeping almost through the night, from about 7pm until 6:30 am. She usually wakes up once and we bring her into bed with us and she falls back asleep until around 5am when I will nurse her so that I can get another hour of sleep. The silly thing is I still love nursing Stella, I love the little interactions that can only happen with her so still and so close. And we truly love having her in our bed. We inevitably smile at each other over her snoozing form and lean-in to inhale her heavenly baby scent. But it's time for change. She's getting older and bigger and we need more space. It's a process.

One thing Stella loves to say is "I do it myself." She says this when she wants to put on her own socks, when she wants to climb into the car unassisted, and whenever she feels the urge to assert her independence. The other day at the park I was standing about 5 feet away from the play structure watching Stella prepare herself to go down the slide when another child's grandmother took Stella's hand to guide her down. Stella looked a little confused at first but took the lady's hand and slid. She rounded the play structure, climbed the stairs and got into position at the top of the slide. The nice lady was standing there waiting to help Stella down the slide once more when Stella looked at her and said, "I do it myself." Then, unassisted, she slid.

Some things Stella loves right now:
Train and carousel rides
Max & Ruby (especially when baby bunny Huffington is involved)
Jingle Bells
Any food smothered in cheese
Outings with her Aunt Olivia
Her ladybug rain boots
Running laps around the dining room table
I'm a little tea pot
Getting a stamp on her hand after story-time every week
Dancing, always dancing
Going through tunnels and announcing "I'm going through a tunnel!"
Destroying my block towers
Her Daddy

Happy birthday to our Stellagirl.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!!

Aralena said...

Happy Birthday, Stella! (Or Hatty Burday, as we say around here) Hope it's a grand one.

Hannah said...

Thanks ladies! xoxo

A.L. Orozco said...

She is a STAR!