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The Daily Sugarplum

Oh we love our daily dose of Sugarplum. She is days shy of 17 months old now. 17 months sounds so short and yet feels like she has always been. Our mad monstrous crush on her has yet to fade. The quiet, solemn, shy-smile of a heart has maintained its position in how she interacts but it is now only one piece of who she is with us.

She still sleeps in our room. I can’t quite bring myself to move her into the waiting crib in the girls’ room. Partially for selfish reasons- the need to keep our last baby close and partially for her own sake- of letting her continue to linger in dreamland come the rise of the morning sun when her energizer bunny of a sisterhood wakes and crashes into the day taking no prisoners.

She alternates when she goes to bed at night. I know you aren’t supposed to do that. And generally I’m all for having a consistent schedule so she knows what to expect. But, I’d like her to be included in story time and she often can’t quite keep her tired self content long enough to make it through Curious George’s latest antics.  We gather on the girls’ bed after each has picked a nighttime story and she wanders on and off enjoying the free reign of the floor while her sisters are captivated in the story. We try to have her sit with us reminding us all of our “story-time manners” but she has other ideas and will usually pounce on her sisters until we set her back on the rug to play. The nighttime cat crazies have curbed though. Her energy is waning by 8 and she’s ready to blow her moi-smacking  kisses to her sisters and be carried off to nurse and “Good Night Moon” the items in our room.

She knows what to expect and looks from the mirror to the family picture to the TV to the books to the lamp to her bunny lovey and settles easily into the pack-n-play after a nursing. What I really would love would be for her sleep all night. Lucky for her I’m too tired these days to enforce it. She will typically wake one time at night. She doesn’t cry. She starts by chanting Momma. Usually as I lean over to pick her up she’ll grab a lovey and reach for me. On the nights that I’m too tired to respond quickly though, she moves from the Momma chant to a steady cough to an all-out cry of despair.  If she’s sick or teething she may wake again but I feel safe calling her pattern of wakings single. Zuzu was still in our bed at this age and it was around now that she developed a habit of waking every two hours to nurse. If that pattern starts with Sugarplum, I’m guessing my motivation to get her out of the room and fully night-weaned will get much stronger pretty quickly.

Come morning when she is ready to get up though if you aren’t still in the room you’ll find her lovies and blankets oomphed onto the floor. Once she is ready to go she is generally pretty cheerful about it. It’s not uncommon to see her at some point in the day go back to retrieve a lovey or blankie from the floor and carry it around Linus style. As a former, blankie-lovie addict, I’m charmed to say the least.

During the day she still gets a cuddle-bottle with her Dad. It’s a special time for them. It hasn’t hindered her willingness to drink from a sippy cup and I can relate to not wanting to quite give up babyhood yet. We did at least finally move her over to a big-kid carseat. Granted long after she should have, but still she rides happily rear-facing now.  On the weekends though, just about anytime she toddles into a room and spies me at a computer, she goes over to where her boppy nursing pillow and an extra blankie are stored and manages to haul them out of their basket and drag them over to me, whether she’s recently eaten or not. The first time she did it I laughed in delight. Now, well I admit I wouldn’t mind some computer time on my own.

She moved into the one year old room at school and seems to enjoy her buddies, her teacher and the routines. She’s a pretty easy-going learner. She loves going to school. In fact just about the time anyone else gets ready to go anywhere in the house she runs to her shoe box and pulls out a matching pair, takes them to the nearest person with coordinated fine-motor skills, says “Shoe” and plops down to wait patiently for them to be put on her.

She’s been to the doctor quite a bit in this last month. Unfortunately when she gets sick she goes all in. A virus got her, shortly after a cold had gotten her and she was still miserable even after her fever had broke and her rash had faded. She’s had difficulty with her hemoglobin levels and since her 12 month check we’ve had to supplement her food with extra iron in the form of poly-vi-sol. This little girl is not a happy eater. She’s not a huge fan of sweets and generally stays to the meat flavored food variety, but still doesn’t eat her table food with much gusto. The supplement is helping though and at her last visit the hemoglobin level was back up around 11.2. In spite of all of this she’s managed to maintain good weight and height gains and at just under 17 months weighs in at 23.4 lbs and 31.25 inches so we aren’t too worried. Her VSD is almost gone. We had a brief moment of whooping joy thinking it was entirely gone when it couldn’t be spied on her recent echocardiogram, but unfortunately the good Dr. Lucas could still hear it. He said since we can’t see it though it has definitely made progress towards closing and might only be a hair’s width in size. Her functionally bicuspid aortic valve is behaving as well. Her growth since our last visit has been steady and the valve has kept pace. Apparently with type of congenital defect you often end up with some stenosis in the valve during the most rapid growth times, fortunately that hasn’t been the case for her. As she grows and her personality and preferences develop we’ll have to see and adjust how frequently she gets checked. If she is an active, athletic child we’ll stick to annual visits for activity clearance. If she goes the more quiet, scholarly route we may be released to every other year visits until she comes closer to her teenage growth spurt. For now, though she is doing well and is symptom free in terms of cardiac concerns. For that we are grateful.

Her other love that has developed over the summer is for that furry red guy known as Elmo. She’ll happily watch Barney with the Quail, but as soon as she spies the credits, she is up and chanting “More Mo” to anyone who can reach the remote.

And last but not least, is her chatter. She is willing to attempt to repeat on request just about any word you say to her. Diaper, Momma, Abby, Emma, Dada, bottle, diaper, more, all-done, nose, mouth, Elmo, shoe, shirt, bye are the clearest. She probably has a word for Maddie, but I’m not clear what it is. She often calls herself Momma and takes a little coaxing to convince her she actually is separate from me J Our girls are still her biggest fans and Zuzu takes pride in carefully carrying her from one place to the next. Which of course means that Zuzu’s mini-me wants in on the carrying action as well much to Sugarplum’s dismay. The Quail has to settle with just dressing her in a pint-sized apron and including her in her cooking class.

The other funny thing I’ve noticed is the difference in how the girls respond to discipline at their young ages. Sugarplum definitely share’s her sister’s rascally nature. If she gets ahold of an item that clearly belongs or is coveted by another family member she flashes a grin and a giggle over her shoulder as she toddles off with it. And that grin and giggle are there when she is lifted off of a table top and out of whatever cabinet she has taken it upon herself to empty. But her response to being told no is definitely more dramatic than her sisters. At a young age Zuzu did not respond to the word No with much emotion. No was a fact of life, but not one that upset her. The Quail, well she responds to knows with her most charming grin in hopes that you’ll change your mind in her case. Sugarplum though, has only to hear the whisper of no and the pressing of your fingers to the thumb in the signing of no for her spirit to crumble and the crocodile tears to wail out of her. She certainly is less accustomed to being told no. Most of the no’s in the house are directed at keeping her sister’s in line and on task, and she’s quick to lean in and shake a finger at them right alongside the parent in charge. So that response might fade over time, but for now, we try to keep our directives less soul-wrenching for her sake.

This sweet, spirited little sprite of a girl makes my heart soar as she blows her kisses, giggles her grins and nurses us both into a comfortable daze each day. We are so blessed.


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