Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sonja is 18 months!

We went on a vacation to Cape May and then saw Jeff's sister, Liz, and her family and his Dad. So by the time we did all of that, Sonja turned 18 months old (July 4th!), and I was exhausted.. blogging was the last thing on my mind.. but I don't just do this for kicks, I want Sonja to have something she can look back on when she's older, or maybe when she has kids.. so she can know that her own mom went through some of the stuff she will possibly go through.

What can I say about my gorgeous little 18 month old?

I think I'll tell a few stories about our vacation.. just to give you a small idea of what victories and fun moments we have had together recently.

Sonja has consistently been unwilling to let anyone grab or touch her hands against her will. That is still true. One day while we were in Cape May, we decided to take Sonja to the free Zoo there. It has great reviews and I definitely understand why. They had all kinds of animals there, including giraffes, zebras, lions, tigers, etc. and I found myself in awe of how well the zoo managed to keep these animals in decent habitats with enough room to not make me feel completely depressed for them. As we took Sonja through, one of the big changes I noticed since her last visit, was that she was actually aware and excited about the animals. She loved the birds and kept saying "boods" and pointing at them for me. We walked and walked and soon I grew tired of carrying her and put her down for a moment because she wanted to "quwalk" (that's how she says walk). And then something new happened. As she started making a break for it, I said (mostly to myself) "Sonja, why don't you just hold Mommy's hand just this one time???" And, to my disbelief, she walked right over to me and grabbed my hand and we walked around the entire zoo like that. And since that day she has held my hand when I ask her to (9 out of 10 times at least). That is also the first day she would wear a hat for us, and now she loves wearing them and taking them off repeatedly.

And speaking of obedience, the stage of her fearlessly running into the street may soon be over. Today she actually listened when I forcefully said "NO" as she fled for the street in the driveway of our friend's house. She stopped and turned around and came back to me. It was awesome.

So far I have not had to spank or yell to get my way with Sonja. In fact, I believe those methods would ultimately ruin our relationship. The few times I have raised my voice a bit more than I should've... those times I saw this look on her face of pure hurt.. and I realized that I need to knock that off.  There are better ways.

Sonja hates to be ignored. So that's naturally my new tactic when she throws fits. I just ignore her. I try redirecting her usually, but if that doesn't work, I just let her scream at me until she calms down. And that's another thing about her that is awesome, and I hope is a consistent behavior with her.. she calms down and even redirects herself now VERY quickly (unless she's genuinely hurt or sick). The hitting thing still happens on rare occassion, but I have found that now she will do it, pause a second and realize what she did and then she will take her hand (like the plan was this all along) and point to my nose or cheek and tell me it's name. Haha. She's a sly one. When she gets mad, sometimes she will throw the thing in her hand.. and then instantly say "uh oh" and go get it and be totally fine again. It's weird, but I love it. And all of this depends on me not losing my cool, because if I get mad, she feeds off my anger and things escalate. So keeping my cool is my newest challenge and I'm proud to say I'm not doing too bad at it.

Sonja now loves to dance. In cape may she and my sister and mom had a fun little dance party. She was a bit overwhelmed by all of the people there (over 30), but she managed to get some precious moments in like the dance party and she still talks about Nunu and Moo Moo even at home. She did try to step on and hit my brother's little baby Emma... so we are gonna have to work on that. And when we were at Liz's, she had fun dancing there with Laidey and Rex and Aunt Liz. She is still a total flirt, though. She loves her Frunkle Chris and dances whenever she sees him... and she loved her Uncle Andrew a lot. Sonja now breaks into dances randomly even if there isn't music on.. it's awesome.

Sonja loves to sing as well. She's learning a lot of songs, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the ABC's and many Walk Off The Earth songs. She knows some of her alphabet now, and is especially fond of the letter B. She can count to 3. While we were at the airport, we started lifting her on 3, so her new favorite thing to do is count to three and then jump.

On the 4th of July we went with the Taylors to Shanandoah National Park. Sonja had a great time hiking with us, and did really well. She wore her little zebra hat and held her little hello kitty water bottle and took to the trails like a champ! That night she got to meet her Poppy's new friend, who happens to be a girl. She instantly fell in love with her and was dancing and showing off like I have NEVER seen before. It was so awesome. She had a good 18 monthiversary I think. She didn't get to see fireworks that night, though, because bedtime was more important.

One of my favorite memories with Sonja on our vacation was when she and Rex started this adorable chasing game around the living room. It was so funny. He had on these crazy glasses and they were laughing the whole time.. and then they ran into each other and both got goose eggs on their forheads.. but even that was kinda adorable, albeit sad and adorable.

She really enjoyed the beach. She tried a few times to just go straight into the ocean, no holding back.. luckily we managed to stop her. She liked the sand to a degree, but mostly the water and the seashells which she kept calling "zhozhos". She also enjoyed several naps at the beach, courtesy of Nunu snuggle time. It was great. I wished I could nap on the beach.. so peaceful. But I was busy boogy boarding so it's all good.

Sonja is a sweet, feisty, loving, energetic toddler. Her smile is beautiful and infectious. You can tell she is really smart, and really independent, but she definitely still clings to me and her Daddy. She needs snuggles and she needs that time in my arms every day or she starts feeling a little insecure. She loves to give hugs and sometimes kissies.. which is another word she can say now. I find parenting actually easier at this point than it was even a few months ago. I feel like we have hit a groove. There are still hard days (like today because she has croup), but for the most part I'm enjoying seeing her learn and grow and grow up.

So Now I'm going to list her favorites and her skills and then this post will be over.

- Shape: Triangles
- Letter: B
- Activity: Coloring, Bubbles, Watching Walk Off the Earth, Baths
- Place: Gymboree
- Toy: Boo the Pomeranian (she sleeps with him now), her ABC blocks, her vacuum, the chalk board and her magical markers and paper, her shape ball, her chair, and her new shapes that stick to the fridge and the dishwasher.
- words: "Dede" (Adelaide) "ZhoZho" "Bee" "Quwalk" (walk) "Nunu" "Cookie" "star" "Ba" (bath)

- Vocabulary - (see above), "A, B, C, D, E.. G.. K... P(sounds like B)... S... V (also sounds like B)... X (sounds like KS)... Z (sounds like C)", "me", "li-el sta" (little star), "are", "high", "hi", "sky", "boods" (birds), "poopie", "nunu", "nana", "gapa" (grandpa), "rere" (rebekah), "mama", "moomoo", "hot", "cold", "police", "cheese", "aurora", "puppy", "bubble", "ball", "square", "blue" (usually for blue berries), "swing" and "sing", "brush", "eyes, ears, cheek, nose, mou (mouth)", "spoon," and I know there are more but I can't think of them all.

- Tasks - she can now find and put the shapes in the shape ball, she can also match pictures up on her ipad app. She can "brush" her own hair... ish... She can climb really well now, and is now capable of jumping and actually getting a little air under her feet. She can run. She knows almost all the parts of the face and all about belly buttons. She is semi-good with a fork and spoon. She is so good with the ipad that she actually can get all the way to my very hard to get to youtube app, search through it until she finds Walk Off the Earth, and then starts her own videos. It freaks me out. She is also pretty good at holding markers and pens in the way we do...

She's a great kid. I love her so much.

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