10 Reasons My Preschoolers Smiled Today

You know all of those posts about Why My Toddler is Screaming? There’s even an entire blog devoted to it. We’ve all read them. And we’ve probably all laughed (or cringed) because we’ve been in the same boat as the parents taking those pictures.

But you know what? There’s an equal number of reasons that my preschoolers have been smiling lately. Here are just the first 10 that come to mind:

1. Tickle fights. This one is a little bit obvious, but there is nothing that gets my kids laughing like being tickled. Except maybe getting to tickle mommy.

2. Doing something new by themselves. Both of my older kids are fairly independent (shocking, I know), so learning a new skill tends to lead to excited exclamations like “I did it!” accompanied by a big grin.

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The Best “Job” in the World

How can my baby girl be almost 2? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was getting up in the middle of the night to feed her instead of her baby brother? Now, my 3 am snuggle time is spent with our son instead of our daughter. It’s our son who’s learning how to roll over, discovering his hands and cooing when I make silly noises.

Lulu, on the other hand, seems to learn something new every day. Her vocabulary is constantly expanding, and she’s starting to put words together. Last night, I gave Lulu her bubble bath and read her a book. After saying her prayers and singing our nighttime song, I gave her a hug and laid her in bed. As I was leaving her bedroom, she said “Nigh-night. Love you. Buh-bye.”

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The proof is in the picture

I keep telling people that the Gibster is a happy baby, but most of our family and friends see him most often in the evenings. And since the “witching hour” is a real thing, they see him at his worst.

But here! The proof is in the picture. I promise – he really is a happy boy most of the time. Just look at this great smile:

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Happy kiddos make for a happy mommy

I wish I had brought a tape recorder with us to dinner tonight. Out of nowhere, Lulu started saying the word happy. Other than mommy, dada and nana, this is really the only word that she pronounces really well.

Ha – pee. Ha – pee. Ha – pee.

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Back to work a second time

Well, I did it. I went back to work this week. On Wednesday, I left my precious babies at daycare, drove to the office, and did my job.

This is another one of those mommy things that everyone seems to have an opinion about. “Wasn’t it so much easier the second time around?” was the most popular. Another good one was, “You’ve done it before, so it’s old hat, right?”

Wrong.

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The swing really is a wonderful thing

When Lulu was a baby, Hubby and I didn’t fully appreciate the swing that my parents gave us as a gift. I’d heard other mothers extol the virtues of this “baby must-have,” but Lulu didn’t really like it. She was happy enough to be in the swing, but she was just as happy to lay on her play mat or be held.

At one month old, Lulu was entranced the bright colors of the animals on her play mat.

Exhibit A:

1 month-old Lynn on her playmat

In fact, now that we’ve pulled it out again for her baby brother, she loves climbing in next to him to play with the hanging animals and turn on the music.

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Multitasking Mama

There’s one thing that every member of the Mommy Club probably had to figure out how to do well: multitasking. If my kids are home, even going to the bathroom tends to involve entertaining a child at the same time.  Most mornings I find myself doing at least two things simultaneously, but at one point this morning, I was doing 5 things at the same time.

Lulu has been going to gymnastics on Friday mornings since I’ve been on maternity leave, so I needed to get both kids and myself ready to leave the house by 8:45. I managed to feed the baby and grab a quick shower before Lulu woke up (that’s definitely a win!). After getting her out of bed, dressed and started on breakfast, I found myself engaged in literally five activities at once:

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Sleep: It’s a wonderful thing

Newborns have simple needs: feed me, change my diaper and hold me. That’s pretty much it. Unfortunately, those needs don’t take a break during the night. I guess that explains why most parents are very familiar with sleep deprivation. You just learn how to function on less sleep, but that doesn’t mean you wouldn’t love to get more sleep if you can.

As a breastfeeding mom, I’ve been handling the overnight feedings. Of course Hubby’s offered to help, but I would still have to get up and pump, so it’s just not really worth it in my opinion. For the last few weeks, the Gibster and I have been waking up every 3 hours or so for him to eat. But we recently had a breakthrough.

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Baby Boy’s Arrival

Well I promised you a birth story, so here it is. You should probably know that Lulu arrived one day before her due date. By the time we got to the hospital with her, I was already 7 cm dilated, and she was born about 2 hours later.

The Gibster proved that every baby is different, even before we got to meet him. Remember how I said that a nurse practitioner got my hopes up that he would come early? Well, she was wrong. As we got closer to his due date, I was convinced that each day would be the day. Once January 21st came and passed, I had definitely had enough of being pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, but I was so ready to hold our baby boy in my arms instead of my belly.

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Stranger Danger has begun

For the past 15 months, I’ve constantly said that Lulu isn’t afraid on anyone. And that’s still mostly true … unless of course she’s right next to me. Then she seems to be seriously afraid that I am going to leave her with this other person.

For example, we were at the park last week. Hubby and I were sitting on a bench watching Lulu play in the sand when she got up and walked clear across the park without looking back. Of course, Hubby and I followed fairly close behind, but she must have been 60 yards away before she even considered looking to see where we were.

And if there’s a dog in the vicinity – look out! Since Tank is so good with Lulu (and such a big dog), she isn’t afraid of any
animals. Unfortunately, not every animal likes little people, so we have to be very careful that she doesn’t walk up and start petting strange dogs, especially in the park.

All of that said, she’s started acting like the world is going to end when she meets new people lately. We were at the Wok (a restaurant we’ve been eating at since college) when one of the owners came over to say hello. She tried to play peek-a-boo with Lulu, but my normally brave little girl screamed, climbed out of the high chair and buried her face in my
shoulder.

For a solid five minutes after, she wouldn’t let me put her down. Every time the owner came over, Lulu would cry and turn away again.

So I wonder why she’s developing a fear of strangers now. I know nothing scary has happened while she has been with me in public, but maybe she’s just becoming more aware of her surroundings. I guess it’s probably a good thing that she isn’t quite as fearless as we thought.

How ‘bout you other mommies? Did your kids suddenly turn from very outgoing little ones to bashful toddlers?

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