Sunday, January 19, 2014

Though She Be But Little, She Is Fierce

How to describe Zuzu at 18 months?  Little.  Fierce.  Funny.  Loving.  Active.  Happy.  Demanding.  Curious.  Imitative.  Hilarious.  Adorable.  Opinionated.  Snuggly.  Determined.  Exasperating.  Delightful. Expressive.  Cute.

She turned 18 months on December 29.  A half birthday already.  And we're coming up on 19 months!  Doesn't seem possible.  And definitely requires an indulgent little blog post about what she's up to these days.

Making demands...  Zuzu is a girl who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it.  Lately, her most frequent demand is "Uppa!"  She accompanies this with outstretched arms and a beseeching look on her little face, and sometimes an on-the-verge-of-crumpling-into-tears expression if she's really going for high drama.  Occasionally she'll say, "Uppa, PEAS!" which is utterly irresistible, even in the middle of a kind of frantic snowy morning when we're trying to get ready for work (because of course she wants UPPA when she knows we're distracted with something else--the girl prefers to be the center of our attention).

Food preferences...  I'll be honest.  Since she gave up the boob and started subsisting on people food, dinner has not been my favorite time of the day.  It's such a mess, and she tends to get SO whiny before/during, and she'll rip off her own bib and announce "All done!" even though No, you are NOT all done, you've only eaten part of one piece of bread.  She requests 'nanas a lot these days, but it can be confusing because she calls bananas and little cutie oranges both 'nanas.  She still loves Greek yogurt, all fruits, any kind of bread or tortilla or pasta, some cheese, and chicken and turkey.

She's not excited about green vegetables, particularly rejects peas, and doesn't really care for sweets.  She's a good eater generally, although she does her best eating at breakfast and lunch and can be finicky at dinner--some nights she'll chow down on a cheese quesadilla, other nights she won't touch the quesadilla and will beg for grapes (which she calls bite-bites--it's really insane when we're literally speaking two different languages and not understanding why we can't understand each other).

She signs "More!" when she wants something, although she's modified the sign a little so one hand is making the flattened O shape but the other hand is flat so she's impatiently hitting her own palm until we hurry up and give her "MORE" (or any) of whatever it is she wants.  Sometimes this is cute.  "More yogurt?  Sure!"  Sometimes this is frustrating.  "No, you don't get to drink out of Daddy's water class because we just watched you pour it down yourself."  Or "No, you don't get to write with Mommy's pens because they are not washable!"

She likes this Signing Time DVD that teaches baby sign language.  It's totally cheesy with this terribly catchy song, "It's signing time with Alex and Leah!" and when she wants to watch it now, she'll carry the remote control over to one of us and sign "More! More!" while making desperate whining grunts. It's not as cute as it sounds.  And yet it is really cute.  Especially because if we do cave and put the DVD on (David is way worse about this than I am), she giggles and claps her hands and is so damn happy. And it is precious to watch her do the signs along with the DVD.

She loves her dolls and carries them around with her, shouting "Baby!"  Often she loads them up two at a time, and staggers around with one in each arm, saying "Uppa, uppa" as she carries them.  She'll shove them in her shopping cart and push them around but her favorite activity is making them go "Night-night!" which is VERY distorted (and somewhat disturbing) version of our real bedtime routine, as her version consists of covering the babies with the blanket and repeatedly shouting, "Night-night!" at them.  (Seriously, I was genuinely worried that her perspective of night-night was something similar to the rather aggressive routine that her dolls endure, but I SWEAR it is nothing like that.)

Speaking of "night-night," that's also her term for her binky or pacifier.  She'll beg for her "night-night" or even walk herself all the way upstairs, muttering, "night-night," and pull her pacifier and her little blankie (her hane) out of her crib.  I think she started calling it this because she would gesture for it and I'd say, "No, it's not time to go night-night."  I'm fine with her having it for nap or bedtime, but I prefer that she doesn't have it in her mouth constantly.  Of course, there are also times when she's fussing or whining and I'll offer it to her to just give me a moment's peace but she will impatiently shove it away.  So she is choosy about it.  Sometimes she just needs it to kind of calm herself down and then she'll take it out and resume playing.  She wanted the comfort of the pacifier when she had her cold, which was super gross because it would get all coated in snot.

Bedtime routine consists of a bath every other night and potty and tooth-brushing when the parent in charge of bedtime remembers (ahem, David, ahem).  She doesn't actually pee on the potty, but she does just practice sitting on it and saying "hooray!" every night.  Then we read three or four books, which Zuzu is very insistent about picking out herself.  Right now her favorites are Daddy Cuddles; Good Night, Arizona; Llama, Llama Nighty-Night; Good Night Moon; What Makes a Rainbow; and The Snowy Day.  Then we sing our regular lullabies each night--"Forever Young" and "You Are My Sunshine" and then--as long as she's not fighting a cold--she generally goes to bed with no or very little fuss.  Bedtime routine starts around 7, she's usually in bed asleep by 7:30pm and she gets up around 7am.

We know and appreciate how lucky we are that she sleeps so well--especially after last weekend when she was sick.  I had just commented to David how it makes me feel like a good parent when she goes to bed without fussing at all, which is so silly.  But when she was sick with a bad cold bedtime became a huge ordeal.  The first night she cried and cried and cried.  We would rock her and comfort her and then anytime we tried to lay her down, she'd scream and scream.  She didn't fall asleep until after 9:30pm!  I was beside myself.  Fortunately, regular bedtime came back as soon as her cold cleared up, but man-oh-man.  Made me doubly appreciative for her sleep habits.

She loves to go "bye-bye!" and she still loves going to school each day.  Her teacher says she runs the room, but she loves to talk about her friends Bea and Aria.  She struts into the classroom each day and we are so crazy about her teacher and the care and attention she gets at school.  I love to see all the creative activities they have the kids doing.

Bathtime is still fun time, and we plan to get her back in swimming lessons this spring (and maybe gymnastics as well!).  She's such a little fish and so content to play in the tub.

We're always laughing at the way she babbles and babbles, each word incoherent, but with pauses and emphases that suggest she's actually speaking a language that we just haven't caught onto yet.

She had her first full-out roll-on-the-floor-screaming temper tantrum last weekend because she wanted to go in the laundry room and mess with Cooper while he was eating and I closed the door so she couldn't go in.  OH THE HUMANITY.

Over the weekend when she had her bad cold she also ran a fever (poor, sad little punkin) and so David stayed home with her on Monday.  When I got home from class, she was watching for me at the front door and her face broke into a huge smile as she waved at me.  I can't even describe how my heart just filled up, seeing here there, and watching her get excited as I walked up the front walk.  I can't believe we've had her for an entire year and a half and I can't believe she's only been part of our lives for a year and a half.

Sometimes I find myself exasperated and even annoyed with the whining or the neverending demands (No, you don't get to give Cooper another liver-snap treat because you keep chewing on them and spitting them out yourself and that is disgusting).

I know that sometimes my patience is not limitless and sometimes I have to remind myself that dinner won't always be this messy, but everyday I try to make sure she can feel my love.  She loves to dance, to play peekaboo, to be tickled, to give kisses, and to tease Cooper.  Her giggle is contagious--even when she scrunches up her eyes and nose and fake laughs.

Every night I tell her that she's our sunshine and it never escapes me how very true that is.


  1. I am jealous of that bedtime. 8:30 on a good night and 10 on a mommy gonna tear out her hair night. And then he's usually always up before 6. My overly dramatic toddlerese has rewarded me with TWO nights in a row of a clean kitchen at dinner. I get up and dance and yell "mommy happy mommy happy no mess no mess" and shower that little guy in kisses. Hope it keeps up. Oh how they change. Zuzu is becoming a little girl right before our very eyes. ~M

  2. Oh that tantrum face! Poor babe!

    It makes my little heart happy that one of her favorite books is What makes a rainbow :) you do, Zuzu!

  3. She sounds absolutely perfect.

    it's really insane when we're literally speaking two different languages and not understanding why we can't understand each other).

    Isn't it, though? We have the added fun that Gwen is also learning a language that we ourselves don't know very well. When Gwen says something very definitive and insistent and I don't understand her, I never know if it's because she's mispronouncing something English or if she's trying to say something in German, and mommy and daddy are just too stupid and monolingual to understand!

  4. What a cutie pie! I love hearing about Zuzu's personality. And your title is perfect. In fact, I (I mean Santa) got a shirt with that quotation for my Miss M for Christmas -

  5. So beyond adorable, I LOVE the many faces of Zuzu!!!

  6. It's so funny how much Zuzu and Mia act alike. Mia ALWAYS has to pick out the book we read at bedtime. If I would let her, she would stay in the bath all night. When she gets her mind set on something, believe me it's gonna happen come hell or high water! She eats really well at breakfast and lunch but dinner is the worst part of my day pretty consistently. Mia is a championship sleeper, we only have issues when she's sick. And they are both stinking cute :)