the second daughter at 16 months

Second children are so INTERESTING!  And in a lot of ways, she’s the opposite of her sister.  Let me elaborate:

She handles a spoon and fork so much better than her big sister did at this age.  However, this is partially her personality of “I want to do it myself!” but also our own parenting.  When Lyd was this age, JJ and I were very focused on keeping Lyd clean.  We wanted her to stay clean when she ate, so we fed her ourselves.  Lyd didn’t mind; she liked being fed.  However, this carried on much longer than it should have, and it became quite an effort on our part to convince her that she needed to learn to feed herself.  In hindsight, feeding her for so long wasn’t the best idea.  But Curious J’s personality is so different, so independent that we couldn’t help but let her learn to wield her own utensils.  And it utterly amazes me that she can actually DO it!  She actually gets food on the fork/spoon and into her mouth! (most of the time)  It’s pretty cool to me.

She sleeps through the night now.  (insert angelic choirs singing “Hallelujah!”)  It is SO incredibly lovely.  Like most important life lessons, Curious J was not on board with the training, but it happened, she learned, and life is even sweeter than before.

She still doesn’t “talk” or say anything that we can really understand, although she does seem to say “Hi cat!” although not consistently.  Yet she jabbers all day long and in syllables that I cannot find alphabet letters to express.  There’s the basic “da da” sounds, but more of it involves her tongue, the back of her throat, and other non-consonant types of sounds.  Perhaps I should be worried (and a part of me is), but most of the time I just chalk it up to her being a late talker.  Time will tell.  Regardless, she does make herself understood, and she understands much of what we say to her.  So, that’s good.

We are still a breastfeeding duo at 16 months.  She’s nursing about 3-4 times a day: first when she wakes up in the morning, next before her nap, another one sometime in the late afternoon (when she has the afternoon “fussies”), and finally before bed.  It takes a while for my milk to let down, and I don’t think there’s much there, but she seems to be happy with what she’s getting.  I nursed Lyd until she was one week shy of 16 months, so I have now nursed J for longer than I did her big sister.  I’m planning to get to 18 months and see how things are going.  So far, her health has been good, and if that keeps up, I’ll be more inclined to bring our nursing days to a close.  If her health problems flare up again, then we’ll continue nursing.

She absolutely adores Lyd.  I can tell that she wants to be just like her big sister.  I have heard of this happening, but it’s neat for me to witness it for myself.  It’s so cute!

She’s coming to Music Together class with me on Tuesday mornings, now, and she LOVES it.  She’s like a poster child for MT – she sits on my lap but also feels free to venture out into the circle.  She loves the instruments, she loves the dancing, she loves all the music and rhythm.  It’s so wonderful to have this musical time with her every week.  She always has loved music and rhythm; even when I was pregnant with her, she would get very excited anytime there was music going on.  She especially seemed to love when I would play the organ for church on Sunday mornings – then she would really kick away!  Interestingly, Lyd became extremely quiet in utero when I was involved in a musical activity.  I even sang “Carmina Burana” with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus during the 2nd trimester of my pregnancy with Lyd, and she never moved a peep during all of that.  I was very surprised.

I noticed recently that despite the fact that JJ, Lyd, and myself are all liberally speckled with moles (birthmarks) on our bodies, she’s mole-free.  I have not found a single mole on her body.  I find that really interesting.

She adores our cat Pepper.  She is quite often overly affectionate to Pepper, and Pepper endures it patiently.  Unless J is sitting on her; then Pepper takes off and finds refuge elsewhere.  But Pepper has never hissed or scratched or done anything “bad” towards either of my girls.  What a fantastic cat!

She is curious and inquisitive about many things.  It will be interesting to see how this trait grows and develops as she gets older.  But even as she’s curious, she’s also shy around strangers.  Lyd was never shy like that, but J is.  Once she warms up, she’s fine, but she is definitely a “momma’s girl” who prefers to be with me over anyone else.

She doesn’t sit still in church.  Not that any 16 month old does, but she is extremely active during church.  It is the only time outside of her sleep time where I give her a pacifier.  I need to do something to calm her down!  I believe, however, that I now have her trained to stay on the pew during church.  So far, so good.  Lyd was definitely not like that either.

When Curious J was born, she and Lyd were given the book Sisters as a gift.  It first tells how two sisters are different, but then it goes on to say how the two sisters are alike.  It ends by saying that they were most alike in that they loved each other so very much.  It’s amazing to me how that book almost perfectly describes the relationship that is developing between my two daughters.  I can already tell that they are going to be each other’s best friend and worst enemy.  And I am so utterly delighted for them!

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