Elizabeth Suzanne Livingston
You are 18 months old and this stage you are in right now is so great! I never thought that I would be the kind of mom who is enamored by her little girl (isn't that a trait reserved for the daddies?). But I am the one who has a harder time disciplining you and refraining from laughing at your ornery antics, and your daddy can be thanked for keeping you in line.
You are turning into such a little girl, and much as I want to keep you as my baby you are growing up. It's a good thing, and very necessary for you to be developing in all of the ways you are, but I'm a sap - especially when I'm pregnant - and so these days you make me cry a lot (in the good way).
The best thing about this stage is that you love to snuggle. You crawl up in my lap a hundred times a day and ask me to read you a book, or simply want a soft, quiet place to rest and suck your thumb while you recharge before your next activity. Before I lay you in your crib for naps and bedtime, you sweetly look up at me with your big blue eyes and beg "rock you?". We sit side by side in your rocker and you lay your head sideways on my chest and drift to sleep. Sometimes I kiss your face and whisper over and over how much I love you, and you try to say the same back to me while you suck your thumb. I love these moments and am so thankful for them.
You are a pretty confident walker now - you really gained your footing through the month of December, and now you rarely crawl anywhere. In the evenings when daddy comes home from work, he chases you and your brother around the circle in our house (living room/kitchen/foyer) and jumps out to scare you both. You love it, and it pushes you to try and walk faster as you chase each other. Sometimes your gait is a little stiff and you remind me of a pint-sized Frankenstein, but it is so endearing.
You are very independent - you eat all your meals in your booster seat at the table with Robbie (that's not new) but you are diligent about using utensils. You eat everything I give to you and you clean your plate most of the time (with the exception of raspberries). You try to drink out of a dixie cup at night when you see your brother doing it, and I've caught you on numerous occasions helping yourself with the aid of the step stool in the bathroom (in the dark, of course). You've taken to 'helping' me wipe when I change your diapers. And you are quick to unload the dishwasher if I leave it open. You search the pantry for the snack you want and nag me to open up a granola bar or graham crackers or fruit snacks once you've made your selection. When thirsty, you call out to me as clear as day, "sippy cup!". You are great about saying please and thank you, often unprompted. Such a little lady.
You still cry when I drop you off at the church nursery, as you ARE a mommy's girl. But you always settle in and enjoy the playtime until we pick you back up. Reuniting reminds you of how much you missed us, and you usually start back up again with the crying as the nursery workers promise me that you were happy the entire time! Let's be honest, as a mom it's nice to be wanted and I'm not bothered by this behavior of yours.
I trimmed your hair just before Christmas and it continues to grow in with gentle curls, which we all love. Your sweet lips have been especially dry this winter, so I've indulged you with swipes of my own Burt's Bees chapstick, which makes you feel very grown up and special, judging by your reaction. You have the drill down - I ask if you'd like some chapstick, and at the mere mention of it you dry your lips with your sleeve and pucker up, and smack your lips together afterward to distribute the balm evenly. (Ha!) To say that I'm excited for the day you seem old enough to hold still for me to paint your nails would be an understatement.
You are still a great sleeper - you take one 2-3 hour nap during the day, go to bed at 6:30pm and wake around 7:30/8am. Lately your nighttime sleep tends to be broken and I'm convinced it's because you are teething ALL of your eye teeth as well as your remaining top 2 molars. Ouch! If you seem restless in your first few hours of sleep, before we go to bed for the night I give you a dose of Ibuprofin and that has seemed to help.
You play independently for much of the day, and of course with Robbie as well. You love your new dollhouse and know how to move the people around inside of it, put them to bed, feed the babies, give them baths, etc. You also can be found sitting quietly, paging through a book or figuring out a puzzle. You love finding chairs your size to sit in and will take a rest in them with your lovey or a stuffed animal and watch Robbie play nearby.
You are growing in your relationship with Robbie and the two of you get along more and more each day, it seems. He is learning to share with you and frequently hands toys over to you willingly if you screech for them while he's playing. He loves you, but lately he can't help himself and in his annoyance will push you down from standing position to sitting with one finger if you threaten his beloved trains. Your ego is most wounded by these assaults and you love to put your head face down on the ground and protest with a fake cry. Again, I shouldn't laugh - but often I do. You are definitely dramatic and it's so funny to me! (Don't worry, I come to your side ready to console you each time.) Your favorite way to needle your brother is to swipe his paci right out of his mouth or to pull on the blanket he's snuggling under in an attempt to steal it. You never really want these objects themselves - you want Robbie's reaction, and he gives it to you every time. The paci steal makes him laugh but when you mess with his blanket he gets mad at you. I think I must referee these interactions 2 or 3 times a day!
You will repeat just about anything we ask you to try and say, but your everyday well-used vocabulary seems large to me. You voluntarily say or identify the following on a regular basis:
Mommy, Daddy, Robbie, Ellie
Jessie, Mima, Papa, Collin, Kelsey
(Aunt) Rachel, (Aunt) Cheryl, (babysitter) Erika
No, no, no
I did it!
Necklace / Earrings
You know the sounds these animals make:
Fish (you make the face)
You sing along or know motions to the following songs:
Jesus Loves Me
Deck the Halls (you chime in on the Fa-la-la-la-la part!)
Rock a bye Baby
The Blue's Clues theme song
The Caillou theme song
At your last pediatrician visit (Jan 4th... I was a little late getting you in because of Christmas!), your stats were:
27 lbs 6 oz = 79th percentile
33 3/8 inches tall = 92nd percentile
19 inches head circumference = 91st percentile
And thankfully the doctor didn't ask to measure my head to see if your large noggin is just genetic or cause for concern. Yes, very glad those days are over.
We love you Ellie! You are sweet and spirited and so much fun to watch as you grow into your own little person. We hope and pray that we are nurturing, loving and disciplining you in ways that are honoring to you and bring glory to God!