This episode's photo album is here.
In terms of toddler time, 3 months seems to be a really long time! The last time I wrote a summary for Luna she had just turned 18 months old. That was back at the beginning of October and since then we have had Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day! While it’s easy to see a baby’s changes on even a daily level, the evolution of a toddler is a little more succinct. It’s only when I look back over the past months and go through the 3,000 plus photos that I have amassed do I see all of the little (and big) changes!
She had a bit of a growth spurt recently, weighing in a nearly 22lbs and measuring 31.5 inches. Still little but totally proportional and fine for her age. We know all of this because Luna had her cardiology check up in December, during which we had some amazing news!! Those appointments are highly stressful for all involved, and take a lot out of all of us. The screaming usually starts on the scales and ends at the end of the echocardiogram and it’s very, very hard to get proper readings. It’s during these instances that I am SO happy that we are still breastfeeding because it’s the only way to calm her down a bit. Luckily she finally fell asleep during this echo and the technician was able to get some good readings. The Pulmonary Stenosis has completely cleared and not returned which is brilliant. And then the even better news is that despite the odds, her ASD has shrunk by itself! There is now a chance that it may even close by itself over time, which was off the table last year. So, instead of looking at heart surgery in a few years we are now just looking at yearly cardiology check-ups for the rest of her life. We are really, really relieved to say the least. So we now just need to watch out for any signs of difficulty keeping up with other kids and breathlessness, but other than that she is super healthy!
There have been a lot of holidays over the past 3 months! First came Halloween and Luna’s first trick or treating experience. So how does trick or treating work in the city? Instead of knocking on people’s doors kids pop into shops, yell “trick or treat!!!”, hold their pumpkin pails out and wait for the shopkeeper to pop a sweet or chocolate in it. I dressed the girls in their skeleton outfits, Meg came over to help, we put Luna’s skeleton friend Kalaka in the front of the stroller and went off on our adventure! Meg and Luna popped into different shops on Main Street, and while Luna was a little hesitant and shy at first she quickly got the hang of it and was a professional candy demander after that. I think she was the smallest trick or treater on the street, Meg had to save her from being trampled by boisterous older kids a couple of times! We also checked out the Halloween celebrations at the Queens Botanical Gardens where Luna met the most adorable little pumpkin girl and shared some sweets with her. Luna had a blast; she was in a great mood all day and didn’t have one meltdown even though she hadn’t really napped.
This is when I started to realize that Luna is always happy walking out and about and that being cooped up at home is when she begins to get restless and grumpy. It gets a little easier every day, but she has a mind of her own and will not listen very well when we are out, making it difficult for me to watch both kids effectively when I’m alone. It has lead to a few interesting experiences, such as sliding down a kids slide with an infant attached to me or running after Luna before she jumped into a gaggle of Canadian geese. I’m really looking forward to having a garden!! I would love to create a fairy garden where the girls can make their own little dreams come true! Anyway, we were blessed with pretty warm weather all the way through Christmas so we weren’t too cooped up in the apartment. The only way to tire Luna out is to let her run around. She has enormous amounts of energy, well I suppose most toddlers do, and there is not enough room at home for her to dispense of all of it!
We didn’t get a chance to set up our Dia de los Muertos altar this year unfortunately, but that us something that we won’t be waiting until the last minute to do next year. I’m actually excited to take Luna to see all of the amazing altars that will be on display in Sacramento, and then explain to her what it means to us and why this tradition exists. Thanksgiving was lovely, although Cesar had to work in the evening, so we made a lunch and went for a walk. Thanksgiving has always been one of those holidays that I never know if I should celebrate or not, but as the girls were born here I feel like we should just find our own way of celebrating this holiday. It’s a strange holiday to me, because while the idea of giving thanks every year is quite a special one, it is based on the historical fact that this land was taken from others. I don’t know, we will figure it out as the girls get a little older. I don’t want it to just be about eating loads of food and watching TV.
And then there was of course Christmas, my absolute favourite and most special holiday. While we are not religious, I love all of the stories and traditions that come with Christmas and love that Christmas feeling. It took a while to creep up on me this time around, but the excitement of seeing Luna’s face on Christmas morning was enough of an incentive to keep up what we had started in 2014. And it really was brilliant! Cesar and I hid all the presents that arrived from all over the world until both of the girls were fast asleep on the 24th, and then made sure everything was wrapped and placed under the tree before we went to bed. Of course Luna woke up at 7am, and she ran into the living room as she always does, and stopped short in front of the tree. We had a frenzy of unwrapping and laughter and then a little bit of a meltdown when it was all over (and I wouldn’t let her take Aurora’s new rattle). Nothing that a long walk and play time in the park didn’t solve. I don’t know how much she will remember this Christmas, but I know we will, and I want to make sure we can keep the magic going for as long as possible. I was so happy when I put The Snowman on for Luna and she remained transfixed in front of it, and then thoroughly enjoyed my rendition of the song while flying her through the air. Some things never age, do they?
So we are now planning our move to California, and Luna’s second birthday will be held there. There will be new friends for the girls, old and new friends for us and most importantly family nearby. New projects and inspirations and challenges too. I’m looking forward to seeing Luna thrive in an area where she will have more space and where we can let her have as many creative outlets as she needs (and where her little but not so little sister will have room to roll away before her sister smothers her with kisses and slaps in the face!). I can’t believe that our little Munchie will be two years old in less than three months… Incredible! After sorting through all the photos for the album I realised how much she has grown and changed over the past three months – physically and mentally. We make a little progress speech-wise every day but we still have a way to go there, sometimes she seems to regress a little, while last week she was repeating words after me, this week everything has become a “DAHT” again (including her new obsession, the stars). I just continue to point things out and repeat them, read to her and talk to her about everything in the hopes that she is just absorbing everything I say for use later on. I’m not so much focused on milestones like I was when she was tiny, but more with her well-being and ability to understand and process things. She is already growing so fast, I don’t need to make it happen any faster! I suppose I will even miss the high-pitched scream and dramatic full body on the floor throwing dramatics one day, right?
I don’t know about that last statement though… Maybe I will just look back on those moments with nostalgia. It can be really hard sometimes. The other day Luna dropped this little piece of paper she was carrying in a puddle and I left it there which lead to an epic screaming fit – I tried the distraction trick which didn’t work and moved on to the ignoring trick while continuing to push the stroller and was given a couple of looks from passers-by, one woman’s look literally read “you mean person, your child is obviously hurting”, and I nearly burst into tears. It’s so easy to judge when you haven’t ever been in the situation, but if you see a woman ignoring a screaming child, sometimes it’s because it’s the only thing they can do. High needs children often don’t respond in the same way as less needy children (I definitely see the differences between Luna as an infant and Aurora now), and it’s usually a jigsaw puzzle with a lot of trial and error to make things work. It doesn’t help that Luna cannot really speak “our” language yet, and I know how frustrating that may be for her. I find it really helpful to know that I am not alone and have a few close friends whose children have very similar children. I find that Dr Sears' 12 features of a high need baby and 20 Survival Tips for Parents of High Need Children really helped me understand that I didn’t suck at being a parent and that I was doing everything I could in the right way. I’m just glad that Luna came first and then Aurora because I think Luna really helped teach Cesar and myself a lot about patience, limits and that in the end it’s not always about doing what society says one should be doing, but about learning that everyone is unique and that there is no one way that works best. I feel that Luna will continue to surprise us with her personality and abilities forever, and I will always strive to make sure she has all the outlets she needs. I just really wish she would learn to sleep for a little bit longer, you know, four hours in a row instead of two?! I sometimes feel like people think I am exaggerating when I talk about how difficult it can be, but believe me, when I say I am tired, I really am. Writing is a wonderful outlet for me; it helps me lay my thoughts out and restores a balance I sometimes need to maintain. Parenting is hard - super rewarding, amazing and the best thing I have ever done in my life, but hard. And all I can hope is that we can help raise two little girls to become strong, independent and empathetic women.
Ah, I can’t believe Luna will be TWO soon. Time really does fly, and it’s so important to take advantage of every little moment!!