Kayleigh and the Sunglasses

by Kristi Van Dyk in

My mom bought Kayleigh a pair of adorable sunglasses last summer. This past Spring Jenny DeNooyer gave Kayleigh a pair of sunglasses to match Comet Purple outfits ... I've been trying forever to get Kayleigh to put them on. Her response was always, "Momma on ... Momma wear glasses. No Kayleigh." However, we kept trying. Finally, last week she not only put them on but decided she liked them. I wasted no time in capturing the moment. [caption id="attachment_729" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Sassy Sunglass Girl"][/caption]

My only regret is that she's just a few months too late to enjoy the summer season with her shades.

Unique Entertainment

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Several years ago, Steve and I were sitting on the couch, watching a storm raging outside our window. We have a very large front window, excellent for views of the neighborhood (and into our house if we aren't careful about the blinds). We were watching the "romantic" storm when a bolt of lightning flashes out of the sky and strikes the giant tree in our front yard. It's a massive crack and we both spring up, thinking that for certain the tree is coming down on the house. It didn't ... it also died. Making it liable to come down on our house with any subsequent lightning strike or powerful wind storm. With some of the incredible storms we had this summer (and the potential for more storms this coming fall), we decided to have it removed. Insurance won't cover the tree removal, unless it damages our house. While we'd enjoy having some say in the remodel/rebuilding of our home, we aren't really in a financial position to do that :) ... even with the help of insurance. So, we decided to bite the bullet and pay the $1000 fee to have the tree cut down and hauled away. Today (Tuesday, Sep 21) was the day. As soon as the trucks arrived for the work, my baby girl was hooked. She narrated all that they were doing as best she could ... and she never took her eyes of them for 1 second. She was so enthralled by their work and their presence that she hauled her step stool over to the window, brought over her fruit juice and Cheerios and made it her entertainment for the day ... She sat longer watching the "Boys workin'" than she did anywhere the rest of the day.

Donald says...

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Kayleigh adores Mickey Mouse ... that's no secret to anyone who regularly reads my blog. Lately she's been picking up bigger and bigger pieces of regularly repeated phrases from the show. I'll catch her, when talking to herself in the backseat, whisper things like, "Meeska, Mooska, Mickey Mouse!" or she'll be muttering and out pops, "Hey everybody.." or "See you REAL soon!" It's humorous. What I didn't expect a young toddler to pick up on was Donald Duck phrases. I mean, the duck babble is hard enough for an adult to comprehend, but a little language learner??? Nevertheless, my Kayleigh repeats Donald phrases too. (We're still working on using them effectively ... typically she just erupts in one whenever she feels like it .. no clue as to what she's actually saying). As Daddy was mowing the lawn last night, Kayleigh was expressing her frustration at not being able to play with him. She's sitting inside the window sill with her face pressed against the screen shouting out to Dadddy, "Oh BOY, OH BOY, OH BOY!!! DADDY!! OH BOY!!! OH BOY! OH BOY!!" My guess, she interpreted Donald's excitement when he uses that phrase as anger and is repeating when she's angry instead of excited .... I was nearly rolling on the ground laughing ...

Donald's other favorite phrase is, "What's the big idea?!" He uses this when he's frustrated .... Kayleigh likes to use it all of the time. I tried to get her to repeat it on camera, but she was pretty distracted. I helped her get started, and here's her interpretation:

9-17 Donald Says

Mickey Mouse Mania

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Steve and I like to find fun ways to surprise our daughter. She is so great at giving us awesome reactions when we do thrill her. So, when we discovered (really we couldn't miss it) that the Disney Channel was doing a special "Family Night" feature for Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, we thought it was worth letting Kayleigh stay up for. In order to help her appreciate the special nature of it, we put out some typical "movie" stuff for her (popcorn and candy). She was in her glory!!! The food was enough, but she heard she got to watch MORE Mickey Mouse ... she was ecstatic. [caption id="attachment_633" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Her face when I told her, not just candy .. MICKEY"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_635" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="It's the only time she EVER stands still"][/caption]

Benny had his snack and "watched" too. He'll be a fan whether he really wants to or not ...

[caption id="attachment_636" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Benny's snack"][/caption]

Kayleigh's Love Affair Complete

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Well, it was only a few hours after I finished writing the previous blog post that the playset was completely assembled. However, it was too dark to take pictures, and the little princess had been sleeping for at least an hour. So, her joy at the rest of the project would have to wait until morning. Daddy left for work SUPER early (like 4:00 a.m.), but he came home for about 30 minutes at 8:00, when Kayleigh wakes up. He wanted to be able to show her the playset and be there for the initial playtime. She was unbelievably excited and alternated her attention between the slide and the swing, slide and the swing ... pretty sure that during Benny's afternoon nap that will be calling as well ... "Mommy, slide, Mommy, swing ..." At one point she noticed the other attachments and started "driving." Steve wanted to get her down the slide at least one more time before he had to go back to work, but she wasn't interested at the time. "Daddy, I'm drivin'!" At the rate she's growing, I'm sure she will be, before I know it. Sigh ... oh Kayleigh.

[caption id="attachment_566" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Inaugural swing ride"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_567" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Sheer Joy"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_568" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="I'm Drivin'"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_569" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Livin' the dream"][/caption]

I'm sure there will be yet another blog post because my husband is NOT finished with this project yet. He has drawings littering the dining room table detailing a perimeter enclosure around the playset as well as a sandbox (most likely below the tree-house area). There is a canopy that attaches to the top as well, but that wasn't critical to play time, so it will get up when it gets up.

Thanks Linda for the playset :) We love it!!!

P.S. During my laundry work this morning, I took both kids out to play. Kayleigh was IMMEDIATELY on the playset sliding and Benny watched in the Bumbo. After I got done hanging the diapers, I let him have a shot at the swing. The result? Kayleigh fell to her news, screaming and crying, "NOOOOOO SWING BENNY!!! BENNY NO SWING!!!" I tried to tell her it was okay to share and that sharing was good, and important and that we really planned on buying them both their own swing we just hadn't yet. Her curt reply, "No share. Car ride ... Myhers (how she pronounces Meijers). New Benny swing. Come on, Mommy. Ready, Set, GO!" I laughed so hard!!! As a concession to the fact that she DID, after much scolding, share with her brother, we went to Lowe's to buy an additional swing. Now I can push them both at the same time. :) AHH the life :)

Another day at the lake

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Steve and Kevin went to the University of Michigan practice this past Saturday. So, to avoid being alone on the weekend, I took the kids out the lake for time with Grandpa and Grandma. The weather was supposed to be cloudy and rainy, but it turned out GORGEOUS. When we arrived, both kids had lunch and tried to nap (only Benjamin succeeded in his endeavor). Then, we all went to the beach. Kayleigh enjoyed chasing seagulls with Grandpa. Seagull Chasing with Gpa

Benjamin enjoyed another bottle with Grandma underneath the deck. After time in the sand, more time on the  beach playground, and some treats from the poolside snack shack, Kayleigh found a toy she never dreamed existed. A Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ball ... Yes, my daughter's two biggest loves merged together in one! The little boy to whom the ball belonged was gracious enough to share it with Kayleigh long enough for her to bring it to Mommy. "See Mommy!!! Mickey Mouse ball! Goofy, Daisy, Minnie, Mickey, Donald!!! Mickey Mouse BALL!!! Kayleigh take???" Grandma assured her that if she brought it back to the boy, she would go, immediately, to Meijers and buy one for Kayleigh. Kayleigh believed her, and we left IMMEDIATELY, to change and head to Meijers. All the way to the store, Kayleigh says, "Myyyy hers...get Mickey Mouse ball...Myyyy hers, get ball."

Here's the result

[caption id="attachment_509" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Holding her precious treasure"][/caption]

You can tell that she's seriously in love with this toy. In fact, after dinner, baths, and final diaper changes, we left to go pick up Daddy. When he was running seriously late, we stopped at Grandpa and Grandma Creswell's house (we had been at the trailer) to spend the night. Kayleigh REFUSED to go to bed, screaming and screaming and hollering until Daddy gave her the Mickey Mouse ball. She slept with it all night!

I'm pretty sure Grandma would say that was $3.99 well spent :).

Monkey See, Monkey Do

by Kristi Van Dyk in ,

I knew that there comes an age, in a young child's life, where they copy EVERYTHING. I always knew that when that phase hit, we had to overanalyze each action knowing it could be repeated publicly. I never understood the magnitude of the repetition. Kayleigh is in this phase right now. In fact, she's so far in it, that being out of Mom's sight is a catastrophic issue. Case and point: We were walking to the park last night, using the double jogger (THANKS MOM!!! and good work Benjamin on holding that head so I can!). Daddy was pushing, and I was walking beside. Every minute or so, "See Mommy! See Mommy!" She had to have the visor pulled back or speed adjusted just so she could make sure Mommy was still there. In addition to being constantly close so she can mimic actions, she listens intently to conversations, even when you don't think she is. I was relating a story to a friend, and I mentioned a name. Let's say, "Sarah ..." Kayleigh heard the name, knew she had an Aunt Sarah, and went off asking for "Aunt Sarah." I wasn't looking at her, wasn't even aware she was in the vicinity, but her attention to Mommy's speech is EVER present!

I'll take a chance to embarrass Steve now ... He's meticulous about cleaning out his ears. He does it EVERY morning. Kayleigh has seen him do this countless times (since she insists on being with people everywhere they go). So, it made me laugh out loud (though it was no surprise) when she came waddling out of the bathroom doing this yesterday morning -->

[caption id="attachment_498" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Our Little Copycat"][/caption]

It sort of makes you overanalyze every step you take ... I love the parallels this draws for me spiritually. Examining each action so as not to be a stumbling block to others. Thanks baby girl for reminding Mommy of the importance of constant self-reflection.

The electronic babysitter

by Kristi Van Dyk in

When I was preparing to become a mom for the first time, I swore I'd never use television as a babysitter. That my child WOULD NOT watch any program before 2 years old, and that, if he/she did I would sit down and talk through any educational value with him/her as we watched. I had heard too much research on the early effects of television and the brain, that I simply didn't want this for my baby. However, as most resolutions do, reality sets in and you're forced to compromise. My compromise came when Benjamin was born. I did lots of his feedings while Kayleigh was napping/sleeping or playing with Daddy. Yet, there were still time when I had to feed the baby while she was awake. It was difficult for both of us ... she always wanted to share my lap with Ben (not because she's a snuggler but because she was jealous). So I needed something (at least once a day) to keep her occupied while I was occupied :). In a morning of desperation, I flicked on the Disney Channel. The result was instantaneous (though not in the way I expected). She stared into the television, saw her beloved stuffed animal singing and dancing on the screen ... screamed "MICKEY!!!!" and ran to get her toy. After that she stared, mesmerized, at Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while clutching her Mickey doll. (I'd be worried at the blanket staring except that she stares ONLY at Mickey. If it's a Donald Duck or Goofy feature, she's wandering the house again in seconds, only to be brought back whenever she hears that silly mouse's voice).

The 30 minute program brought us both such joy that it's become something of a routine. Eat breakfast, watch Mickey, change dirty diaper, run errands ... :) And each morning (whether she wakes up at 8:00 or 9:30) she expects to see her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. No amount or reasoning can explain with her the concept of a television programming schedule. ENTER: YouTube. Since Kayleigh really just loves Mickey, if she sleeps through "the clubhouse" we just pop on YouTube and watch a recorded episode ... yesterday she was content to simply cycle through "The Hot Dog song" about 25 times ... If she keeps sleeping in, I'm going to have to find another solution because I can't take too many days of THAT!!!

At any rate, Kayleighs love for Mickey is incredible. Last night we were coming home late from Grand Rapids, at least 2.5 hours past Kayleigh's bed time. Her brother was conked out, but she was too hyped up (playing in the "fountain" with Grandpa and her cousins was just too exciting). Mommy and Daddy needed a few moments of quiet: ENTER: iPhone, YouTube, and Mickey Mouse ... RESULT: Singing, happy baby instead of constant whining.

End result: Mommy can still be vigilant about time spent watching television (it's really the only show she watches), but it's probably okay, for Kayleigh to fall in love with her 1 program :).

[caption id="attachment_371" align="alignnone" width="224" caption="Kayleigh's morning Mickey fix"][/caption]

Here she is dancing away to the music on the program ... at least she doesn't sit while she watches :)

Morning Mickey Fix 7-11

Techno Geek, Jr.

by Kristi Van Dyk in

My little girl takes after her father, easily. She loves anything with buttons, that makes music, that has interesting motions. She is quite aware that her phones/computers aren't "real," so she will reach for the real stuff whenever she gets a chance. It's a battle to keep the plethora of laptops, iPhones, iPads, and iPods out of the reach of little hands. Sometimes, I don't try and just teach her to be careful. As a result, she has learned several "techy" skills that are probably unusual for her age. She can start and stop her iPod, turn on the picture slideshow on the iPad (she plays name that family member with it), and dial numbers on my phone (hence the reason Mommy had to put a lock on with a number code to avoid crank calls). Daddy combined Kayleigh's love for fish and the iPad and downloaded an application that is a virtual aquarium. She generally runs around asking for her fishy with the iPad in her hands. Kayleigh also loves jumping in the jumper (despite the fact that she's VERY big for it) and listening to the Glee soundtrack while I take a shower.

Somewhere between these two loves (technology and her jumper) she decided she could easily combine the two. When I told her to get her two toys (she always grabs two before she gets in the jumpy), she came running back saying, "One ... One...fishy ... fishy ... iPad. Momma, iPad." I did a double take because I didn't even know she knew the words. But sure enough ... iPad is definitely Kayleigh's newest word. Can we say Mac advertisement?

My new "toy"

Kayleigh Lately

by Kristi Van Dyk in

So basically, these past few days my daughter has been making me roll on the floor laughing. I couldn't pick a favorite incident if I tried. Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds and she's experimenting with that. Therefore, it's impossible to predict whats going to come out of her mouth at any given moment. I've been trying to snap pictures of each of these "funny" moments so that I can remember to blog about them. I'm sure these are things a mother looks back on fondly ... so I wanted to capture them all. As it is I know I've forgotten some already. BUT ... without further ado, here are the ones I was able to "remember." As a side note, Kayleigh has learned that she needs to (a) remove her paci when the camera comes out (b). it's about HER (c) smile wide and say cheese. So, when I say, "I'm going to take your picture," she follows the procedures automatically and these are the results.

Picture #1: Kayleigh's Night O'Fun (WARNING: THIS IS GROSS!!!) This story is best told in dialogue format. Steve: Say goodnight, Kayleigh. Kayleigh: NIGHT NIGHT Momma (followed by the queen wave). NIGHT NIGHT BENNY (still waving as she goes around the corner). Me: WAIT .. Steve, are you putting her to bed without pants on? (insinuating that this wasn't a good idea as Kayleigh has the tendency to remove her own diaper). Steve: Yeah, it'll be fine ... Me: OOOKAY (I've learned it's best not to argue and let him learn on his own when it comes to the kids. There's no point in telling him that my time with them all day usually makes me right). *** Passage of time ... approximately 30 minutes ... lots of joyful screaming and thumping coming from the bedroom. Steve goes in to the bedroom. Steve: NO NO NO KAYLEIGH NO! (a huge sigh ... screaming of a baby girl ... then a defeated sigh) You were right. I was wrong. Me: What does that mean?? Steve: Kayleigh took off her diaper and is flinging poop around the room. Me - Laughing hysterically for the next 20 minutes while Kayleigh runs bare butt naked around the house and Steve cleans up the mess.

Can you believe the trouble I cause?

(2). I was working on cleaning up the house on Monday morning and was unloading the dishwasher and changing a load of laundry. Kayleigh had been playing with her Mickey and Minnie Mouse and I thought she was thoroughly occupied. Once I had finished unloading the dishwasher and the laundry was restarted, I thought it odd that she hadn't joined me yet. So, naturally, I began to panic. It was just too quiet. I went looking for her and smacked myself inwardly when I saw that I hadn't closed the bathroom door tightly. (This usually costs me a roll of toilet paper). However, she was standing next to the toilet, muttering in gibberish to herself. She had a different pacifier in her mouth and had the toilet cleaning brush. She was rhythmically slamming the toilet bowl. As I got closer, I heard it wasn't gibberish, instead she kept saying, "CLEAN PAPI .... CLEAN PAPI ... COME ON ... CLEAN PAPI."  I don't know why it occurred to her that the toilet was the best place to clean the pacifier (maybe because we  clean diapers in there all the time??), but it had. Needless to say, we're down one paci ...

Cleaning my way

(3). Monday afternoon she was sharing chips with Bri. After Bri left, she put the remainder of the bag up on the dining room table, thinking that that would be far enough from little hands to avoid trouble. I started feeding Ben and let Kayleigh play around. While I was focusing on making some eye contact with my little man, I took my eyes off the big girl. She proceeded to climb up into my chair (narrating what she was doing the whole time ...) "CLIMBING ... MAMA SEAT ... CLIMBING ... MAMA SEAT", and grab chips "TOUCH CHIPS ... TOUCH CHIPS ... TOUCH CHIPS" then she slid down "DOWN ... DOWN ... DOWN" and grabbed the remote "MOTE ... MOTE .. MOTE", she turned on the tv (I have no idea how she knew which button), "TEE TEE", and sat on the pillow eating chips while singing "TITS, TITS, TITS (her best attempt to say chips). Here she is, vegging out (right below my feet as I feed Ben)

Eating my hard earned chips

(4). This morning I was working in the kitchen while Kayleigh was having her "treat." I needed to get supper preparation started before we headed to the store. Kayleigh could tell we were going somewhere (car seat was on the table already and her shoes were out), so she was really excited. She didn't want to miss anything, but she was really hungry. So, she dragged an upside down laundry basket into the kitchen (easily her favorite toy right now), then went back to the TV stand (her snack table) and grabbed her plate and milk and brought them into the kitchen. She had set up a table right next to where I was working. She couldn't miss anything now. I laughed at her creativity, but then she started saying, "Up ... " and she'd stand up as tall as she could "Down ..." and squat down as low as she could go. She kept repeating until I recognized her words (I had never heard her say these) then she proceeded to make her ups even higher, by jumping and her lows even lower, by laying on the kitchen floor ... She wanted Mommy to join too. So, for 5 minutes we did Kayleigh aerobics doing "ups" and "downs" while eating a snack.

My new snack table

Lest you think my baby boy is missing or gone ... let me give you a little Benjamin story too. Ben has been sleeping in his rocker since he came home. It's supportive but soft and cradles the head well. He LOVES it and can soothe himself to sleep in it, so we have hesitated putting him in his crib at all. He's not used to it and we have poor night sleeps as a result. So, I'm trying as much as possible to have him nap in the crib during the day so that the nighttimes will get better. Here's what Ben does when he's in the crib ... yup, no sleeping, just playing ... the entire time ... I also think he's starting to reach for stuff ... really? is that even possible at this age?

Playing in the crib

That's our little family ... Thanks for reading :) I hope it was worth a laugh for you!

My Little Sunshine

by Kristi Van Dyk in

My toddler believes she is the queen. I think her grammy helps her believe that, but I also think that she's somehow learned exactly how to get people to laugh (thus getting the attention she wants). Acting like the queen sure brings a smile to people's faces, therefore, the behavior persists. Her biggest "queen" trait - the Miss America wave. She has nailed the elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist without ever being taught. She uses it frequently and with great success. Kayleigh's Miss America wave scenarios: ~ Steve said they were walking in the parking lot and nearly got hit by a driver who wasn't paying attention. Steve's response: violent internal anger. Kayleigh's response: elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist ... and a big smile (probably followed by HI CAR!!)

~ We're still training in the toddler bed. The first few nights were incredible, now we've turned into a normal toddler (trying to get out all of the time). Last night Steve decided to let her keep the door open, just a crack, figuring that if she could get out, she would. Then we'd know she was up and about rather than letting her play quietly in her room unbeknown to us all night. The first few trips took just a few seconds. Lay her down, kiss her, walk out ... within 2 minutes ... here she comes, toddling into the living room elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist (HI MOMMY, HI DADDY!) ... Off to bed again, only to more of the same. (When we threatened with the spanking after the 3rd try she did finally stay in bed.) But each time she entered the room, she did so, as the queen.

~ When we're driving down the highway, or in the Meijers parking lot, riding in a stroller, or really anywhere Kayleigh has a chance to make eye contact with people, she pulls out the wave. Elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist .. followed by Hi _______. Very rarely are her efforts ignored ... and most often she gets a laugh.

All of these little idiosyncracies remind me of the baby she was. As soon as she could hold up her head and smile (with intent), she was doing so at everyone who came across her path. My dad used to say it was "just gas." But it wasn't ... the pattern was always clear ... when she caught your eyes she'd brighten and smile. She's a social butterfly, and my sunshine :) ... I can't help but burst into a smile when she hits me in a leg hugging tackle at full speed, or, when she pulls my arms away from her diaper and hugs them to her chest (forcing me to stop moving for just a minute to say I love you), or, when she's really tired (or really jealous) and deposits herself in my lap (or on top of her brother) and just says, "Mmmm Momma..."

Well, I'm about to get one of my favorite greetings of all time (since it's nearing 8:00 a.m.) ... the one where she waits by her bedroom door ... willing it to open ... and greets me with the light up the world smile.

Here's to a sunshiney day (even with the dreary forecast) :)

Nature vs. Nurture

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Today I was brought back to my days in Educational Psychology where we discussed how much of a child is truly moldable based upon environment. I recall walking away with the conclusion that so much can be taught through a nurturing environment. I attempt, as I raise my daughter, to reflect on what this environment has taught her. I also ponder just how much of that is nature manifesting itself and how much is my nurturing. I haven't really come to any conclusions except that ... all of these traits are insanely like me ... only multiplied in their intensity. I'm not worried yet, but if they continue to grow, we could have some interesting days ahead. This morning's observations...my 5 "B's": (1). Blanket: The blanket comes everywhere with us now. It's a permanent fixture in my child's life, her every comfort tool. She can't relax without it, and I don't make her try. The pacifier isn't far behind, but since we're working on weening that off, we allow the blanket. Today  I watched her interact with the blanket and noticed several things ... when she sits down she will take a moment and carefully arrange it so as to cover her legs and feet entirely. She will then tuck it underneath her so she stays firmly enclosed the entire time she sits. Since she was adamant about taking her blanket with her downstairs this morning (and she scoots downstairs sitting), it took nearly 15 minutes to get from the top of the stairs to the bottom because, before she would scoot her butt down a step, the blanket HAD to be exactly, properly, placed. She WOULD NOT be rushed or hurried. No step could be skipped ...

(2). Breakfast: Each morning Kayleigh has a routine. We get up, she kisses mama, gets her diaper changed, then heads off to eat her Cheerios and Toast with a glass of orange juice. Recently we added "watching" the picture frame ... she likes to have something to do while she eats and Mommy isn't always there to talk to her. So, she will simply names people in the pictures as she eats. This morning, after she kissed me good morning she walked me, verbally, through her routine. I skipped a step (forgot to turn off the fan in her room before leaving) and went straight to the soggy diaper. She WOULD NOT lay down and be changed for all her screaming, OFF MOMMA OFF OFF OFF. We had to put the pants back on, go turn off the fan and return to the "dipper" (diaper). I was additionally absent minded (twice in one morning, I know...) but I forgot to turn on the frame. So when I stepped away from the table I was greeted with whiny  cries "TICTURE, TEE TEE, TICTURE, TEE TEE." We COULD NOT skip a step ...

(3). Barfettes: Kayleigh loves playing with her barrettes in her room. She insists on wearing them in the mornings (but only in the mornings). She must be wearing two, and they must be of the same kind. Because I don't always return the single barrette I use to the card there are several colors which she will NEVER wear. She must have both, and they must both be in at the same time. If she senses that you have tried to pull a switcheroo (or sees it in the mirror) she will scream and pull them out ... No mismatches, Mother ...

(4). Blinds: We were playing in her room today and Kayleigh made it quite clear that (after the music was turned on, to a suitable song ... we went through at least 15 before she found one that fit her mood ... the lights were lit to her liking ... her lamp lights in pieces or all at once and she only wanted certain colors on) she would like the blinds up so she could look out the window. Because it's difficult for me to reach over her brother and the headboard, I simply threw open a few blinds that didn't cause me discomfort. That was a mistake. We spent the next 20 minutes "fixing" them so that all of the blinds were open to EXACTLY equal height. This kid was pointing, whining, (and then when she realized the words), saying Up Up until the blinds (covering all 4 adjacent windows) were perfect. Then she nodded her head, clapped her hands, and gave me a "hi momma" as if to say "thank you."

(5). **** This is easily my favorite of the 5 B's *****: BLAGH ... It's Kayleigh's word for anything disgusting. And there are many things that are disgusting to Kayleigh. One is a pacifier that she has had in her mouth for too long. She doesn't like the spit that comes off of it and will insist that you get her a new one that isn't "BLAGH." ... She also finds her hands "blagh" after snacking on Cheerios, falling in the dirt, wiping her own nose and will come running to Mommy with her hands out, screaming and crying until they are wiped down. She was MOST distraught this morning when we painted a picture for Dadda (posted below) and Baby Brother (not posted because his name is on it); she had paint on her hands, her chest, her face, her feet..???, everywhere. It was a near meltdown until she realized Mommy could take care of that too. BUT my favorite blagh of the morning came when she was contentedly playing by herself. She came over to hug my leg and I said, more out of habit than anything, "What are you doing, Kayleigh?" Imagine my surprise when she looked me square in the face and said "POOP." I started laughing, sure that she had picked up the lingo from her father or me during some random conversation. I made a mental note that we MUST stop using any more foul words lest she pick those up. When ... I smelled it. She hadn't just been throwing out a new word, she really told me what she was doing. I looked at her and said, "Did you dirty your diaper?" Again, looked at me with the same intentional face and nodded ... "BLAGH ... dipper" Potty training, we aren't far away ... :)

My Little Communicator

by Kristi Van Dyk in

Kayleigh makes me laugh about a thousand times each day. The way she is learning so quickly to communicate, to share her thoughts, to learn new words is incredible. I'm convinced by the time she's two she'll be easily rattling off full sentences; right now she's combining phrases and learning approximately 5 new words per day. It's hard to remember them all to even cherish on the blog! I feel like I'd have to blog several times each day just to catalogue all that she's describing. It's been several days since I updated on any of that, so perhaps I should catch up.

1. She's increasingly good at following directions ... to the point where I have to watch myself when I'm narrating our day. She has no concept of later, or in a minute, only NOW at this moment. It's excellent for things like: pick up the trash, Kayleigh, or it's time to get in the car, Kayleigh. BUT it's difficult when I say, No, we'll go for a ride later. All she hears is go for a ride. And then is completely distraught when I don't follow the procedures for doing just that. After all, in her mind she heard ... GO FOR A RIDE ...

2. I believe she is a neat freak .. which will be difficult since neither Steve nor I really care much for keeping things clean. Shameful, I know... both of our mothers would be distraught but ... it's the truth. I think it skipped a generation. I had to watch my patience the other day because I was ready to get going somewhere. We were running a little late and Kayleigh was in clean up mode. We COULD NOT think about going for a ride because we had to pick up all of the "tash" (most of which were empty water bottles, Mt. Dew cans and things strewn about that we don't always pick up right away). After the trash, she insisted on turning OFF OFF both of the fans (can't have them running when we aren't in the room). AND we had to clean up all of the papis (pacifiers) from underneath her crib. She WOULD NOT be derailed (well, I could have carried away a screaming, tantrum baby, but I decided there was a lesson for me in this too ...). So, we picked up the trash (she insisted on doing it all herself), turned off the fans (she needed a little boost) and picked up the pacis (after I moved the crib so she could do so). Then, we could leave ... curiously, she doesn't have the same problem with her toys; they can be strewn about ... just not trash, or fans, or pacifiers.

3.  Label everything ... we are at the stage where everything has a name, and my daughter must know it. If she knows it she will shout it and label it for you, no matter where we are. She can see a ball off in the distance and shriek BALL BALL BALL before any adult has come even remotely close to finding one. If she DOESN'T know the names she resorts to her favorite word of all MAMA >>> MAMAMA... MAMAM.. with increasing volume until I say, "yes, Kayleigh?" THIS? THIS? THIS? and she tries to discover the name for whatever new object she can find. She's lightning fast at repeating ... and doesn't take long to re-recognize it in a different context. It's always fun to hear and see her translate her knowledge to a new environment. She's big on "uh-ohs" usually when she drops stuff. BUT she doesn't hesitate to use it when Mommy does, Daddy does, or random stranger at the store does. We were searching for grad cards at Meijers and some unfortunate employee dropped a vase of flowers. We couldn't see it, we just heard the crash. As the manager walked down the same aisle, my baby girl did a HUGE surprise face (mouth wide open in the "OH" expression) and said, UH-OH ... MOMMMA .. UH-OH ... UH-OH. The manager laughed and laughed because she was so worried about whatever had just crashed down.

4. **warning: slightly gross: ** Kayleigh knows all the parts of her face as well as many other items' names that she uses for comfort. We were driving home from the zoo on Thursday and she sneezed. Now, my child can handle sneezes and coughs (she usually laughs) BUT if the sneeze produces any amount of snot on her face she freaks out. Sometimes it's so bad that I have to pull over, put on the hazards and clean up her face or she won't stop screaming. I wasn't able to pull over at this particular juncture, so I said, "Kayleigh, I know you have a "blaghc" on your nose. Can you wipe your nose with your blanket?" (Now, I know ... gross to wipe it on the comfort tool, but .. pulling over on the S curve was not an option). She looked at me, wanted to cry for the gross-ness of it and ... wiped her nose with the blanket. Just for good measure, when she was all "cleaned" up she said in her sweetest voice ever, "Momma, blaghc" It was like she was telling me, "Mom, that was gross."

5. Logic and reasoning ... I think this is the part of communicating with Kayleigh that makes me the most excited .. when she understands me. She was having a wretched night the other night ... up for 3.5 hours straight just moaning and whining (I think she got the cold from the Ipema's ... totally fair since they received at least one this year from her too!). When she was sufficiently drugged and had had plenty of chances at comfort we decided it was time for the firm parent approach. Mom got that job. So, I walked in (at approximately 5:45 a.m., after having been up almost all night). I squatted next to the crib and looked her in the eyes (a similar tactic I used on my middle schoolers). I said, "Kayleigh, what is wrong, honey?" She responded, "Momma ... blagch" and pointed to her messy nose. I gently cleaned it off with her rag and then said, "Okay, all clean. Now it's time to sleep. Can you lay down?" She vigorously shakes her head now, whimpers and says, "Out, Momma, out!" I said, "No, Kayleigh" and she whimpered and whined and cried and tried twice more to say that she wanted out. Each time I just said, "No, Kayleigh" until the third time when I figured it was time she knew I meant business. I said, "Kayleigh, Mommy needs you to lay down. If you don't she has to spank you, and Mommy doesn't like that." Kayleigh took one more pathetic little shuddery whimper, hugged me tight around the neck, put her paci in her mouth and didn't make a peep until at least 9:45 a.m. ... We just had to establish that her desire wasn't happening and that sleep was. Once she learned it, she gladly complied. Sigh ... I love being able to talk to her ... it's so much easier than battling the scream out until she drops to sleep.

Well, I suppose that's enough for now on my sweet baby doll. I've been seated long enough. The tingling in my feet and fingers from our exceedingly long walk has finally  subsided. I'm starting to feel slightly more comfortable, and I THINK angelface is ready to be done napping :) ...