"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Maya “Balshaya”

There has been so much going on since Isla turned one, that I feel like the most important person in our family has been neglected on this blog. (Oh man, calling a child the “most important” person in the family is something I swore I would never do before she was born… BWAHAHAHAHA… oh motherhood, how it has made me live to eat my words!).

Please note that on her updates, I have no one to compare her to, so I don’t know if she is ahead of the curve or behind the curve on some things and I have quit reading baby books for the time being.  This may or may not lead to some veteran mommies snickering at my fawning over how ridiculously smart I think she is!  Smile She may actually be way behind, but to us she is perfection.

Communication: Isla can say many, many words, and says new ones all the time.  She can say Isla, Mama, Dada, Boo, Pawpaw, Cookie, sock, off, on, out, bath, book, bag, ball, this, that, bye, hi, eye, and many, many more, although I would not say that she knows more than 25-30 words total.  These are just the ones that I can think of right now.  In Russian, she can say paka (bye bye), cuckoo (like peak-a-boo), da (yes), caca (yucky), koodah (where to), soodah (here) and ga ga ga (Russian baby word that is part of a rhyme Agnesa is teaching her).  Some of these are baby/nonsense words in Russian, but they are deliberate and intentional words so I am counting them if that makes any sense.

Her signing is going so well.  She can sign bath, eat, water, please, thank you, cheese, change, sleep, bed, finished, no, milk, potty and a few others.  I am not planning on teaching her many more unless I feel like she is getting frustrated.  We (by we, I mean me) are having a hard enough time mastering Russian without throwing another language too much in the mix!

I feel like her communication is phenomenal.  She is very clear on what she likes and doesn’t like without throwing tantrums.  She does whine when she wants something frequently, but I try to make certain that she signs “please” before I give it to her.  She nods very firmly when I ask her a question, and shakes her head when the answer is no.  If she gets really whiny over wanting something, I go stone-faced and ignore her.  I will not give in and encourage that behavior… however, Grandparents are another story and she picked up some bad habits while we were in the states. We are working on them though Smile.  She really seems to understand every word we say!

Some funny ways that she has communicated:

  • A few weeks ago in a restaurant she was tired of her high chair and wanted out.  I told her that she could get out, but only if she sat on my lap and didn’t run around.  I asked her if she understood me.  She nodded firmly YES, and then proceeded to sit on my lap for 30 more minutes like an angel.
  • She has started taking signing “finished” away from the high chair, and will do it whenever she doesn’t like what we are doing.  Like “hey Mama… I am finished with this car seat!”
  • She has been doing this for a while, but I think its hilarious.  Whenever she wants something she will point to it and patiently say “this” or “that” over and over, like “this… this… this… this…” until we figure it out. I am bad about reinforcing it because I say “this” back since I think its so cute instead of the proper name.

Eating: She is still a great eater although she is starting to develop preferences and will shake her head “no” at certain foods.  She loves cheese.  Her “cheese” sign is so darn cute, but I almost wish that we hadn’t taught it to her because all she does now is ask for cheese.  She will also occasionally have days where she doesn’t eat that much.  I don’t worry… it’s just the age I am told.

We have been working with self feeding with a fork and a spoon.  I am very pleased with how she is doing.  I usually put the food on the fork/spoon and then she puts it in her mouth.  There have been a few times where I have given her the fork/spoon and let her try, but she usually just ends up playing with the food. She will occasionally have meals where she refuses to eat unless she can feed herself.  I usually don’t mind if it is practical, otherwise I firmly tell her no and continue to try to feed her; it usually works.

We are still nursing.  We were down to twice a day when she wakes up and when she goes to bed, but with the teething she wanted to nurse all the time.  For the first time, I am starting to feel like I am getting close to being done, although Isla is not showing any signs.  There are so many benefits to nursing and the Doctor could not believe that she never got sick in the 5 months before he arrived and he attributed it to long term breastfeeding.  So I am weighing my options now between my desire to quit, active versus passive weaning, Isla immune system, and having convenient “food” when traveling.  I will say that the other day I was busy picking up and doing work and I had the most overwhelming urge to pick up Isla and cuddle.  She has always been a happy nurser, so I picked her up and “gave her the opportunity” to nurse, and just cuddled her for as long as she would let me.  I am grateful for those special moments that breastfeeding still gives me now that my baby is turning into a busy, busy, busy toddler.

Activity: Isla is a busy girl.  She is so busy and WILD.  I would call her a very active child.  Maybe its just the age?

  • She likes to run around and scream “ah ah ah”.  She sounds like a chimpanzee when she does it.
  • She is a very good little courier.  She loves it when I give her something and tell her to take it to so-and-so.  She always does it.  Its adorable.
  • She has started walking backwards.  She gets this little look on her face like she is soooo cool.  She thinks it’s hilarious.  So do we.
  • She is really into lotion.  She loves to put it on us and her.  She’s our little masseuse.
  • She is obsessed with socks and shoes.  She loves to get out her shoes from her shoe bin in the entry/study area and play with them for hours. And hours.  Why do I even buy toys?  She brings them to us to put on her, and they always match!  Socks she will put on and off forever.
  • She likes to help Nick get ready for work. She brings him his socks, shoes, bag, belt etc.  As soon as I say “Daddy has to go to work!” she says “Ock” for sock to remind him that he must wear his socks!
  • Here favorite book right now is a popup book that is a modified version of There’s a Wocket in My Pocket!  Her favorite thing is to bring me the book and say “book, book, book” and she always runs and points to it on the bookshelf.  I am so glad we finally found a book that she will sit still for.
  • She absolutely loves to be outdoors.  This is unfortunate since we live in an apartment and can’t just walk into the back yard, but I try to get her out to walk along the promenade by the sea every day.
  • She always gets so excited when she hears the beep in our apartment that lets us know that Nick is in the building!  She gets so excited and screams “Dada!” and runs to to the door.  I love it.
  • She has also started bathing herself with Dove soap (she has been refusing baby shampoo). Its pretty funny.
  • She likes to get on her Dad’s back when he does pushups.  It’s a fun ride!

Personality: She is LOUD.  All the time. She is loud when she is happy.  She is loud when she is mad.  She is loud when she is sad. This is a big disadvantage when living in the land of the quiet, stoic Russians.  It can be very embarrassing at stores.

Other than that she is so happy and funny.  I would not call her strong willed yet because she typically responds well to correction, but I would not call her an easy child or a pushover.  She has many, many opinions that she is happy to share with you.

Teeth: She now has TEN! She got her first molars in a couple of days ago, back to back and it was bad.  I have been so spoiled because the other teeth came in and she barely changed her behavior.  Her 5th – 8th teeth came in and I didn’t even notice them until days later.  These two molars more than made up for it!  We dealt with this in addition to jet lag the first week we were home.  Poor baby.  At one point she was running a fever of 103.2 degrees.

Random Things: She went to her Doctor’s appointment in the states and she was in the 40th% for weight (which surprised all of us since she looks like a chunky monkey to me) and 75% for both head circumference and height.

Sleep: She is down to one nap a day, which makes getting out and shopping so much easier.  I am still trying to figure out when the best time to put her down is.  Her nap must be longer (3 hours or so) for her to not get cranky, but she will only do this if I put her down after 1 pm, but then her wakeup time tends to run kind of close to bedtime, and I like to keep her bedtime pretty early… so I will get it figured out.

Here are some pictures my mom took when we were in the states.  These were my brother’s (Isla’s birthday twin) overalls when he was a baby and my hat from the 6th grade (sooo cool from Limited Too, lol).  Isla LOVES that hat!  I can’t believe she is wearing it after all these years Smile.



I know that I am ridiculously biased, but I think she is so adorable!  And so does her Daddy.  She is such a Daddy’s girl.  I cannot believe how much we love her and how much joy she brings us.  I know exactly what God means when he tells us that “He loves us with an everlasting love”.

Its true.

Parents do.

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