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Aaaah, toddlers. “Eighteen months to kindergarten is my favorite age,” I’ve always said.  My dear little girl Ellie Graye is proving that to me over and over and over.

There really is a reason why I never wanted to be a baby nurse, or care for kids who were teens or pre-teens.  I chose to be a “toddler nanny” because they’re just so damn fun. Thinking back to all the newly emerging personalities that I was lucky enough to nurture, I have hundreds of heart-warming stories, hysterical anecdotes, and amazing insights.  As each little face flashes through my memory, I chuckle at their incredible vibrancy more than I squirm at any difficult behavior.

So many people have said to me, “Ugh. The terrible twos,” and to that I say, “Start early.”  I really do believe that the “terrible twos” don’t have to be so terrible.  I’m not saying that I know it all, by any stretch of the imagination.  But I do know that I have lots of things that I found worked with any child, no matter what their personality.  “Consistency” is a word that we throw around a lot, and while consistency really is key, I also believe that respect and trust are equally important.  The child should respect and trust the adult, but the adult needs to do the same for the child.  Trust that your child will learn things on their own. Respect that they’ll have their own opinions.  Young babies and toddlers understand and perceive so much more than I think most people give them credit for – and much of their frustration is based on the lack of help they’re given to express that.

I know that the children that I helped rear in the past were not perfect. I know that they threw fits at inopportune times. I know that they had challenges sleeping through the night, eating well, and minding their manners.  BUT, I also know that they were respectful, followed directions, and were some of the happiest toddlers ever to grace the face of the earth.  I’m so grateful that I had so many “practice” toddlers, because I learned so much from their parents, my collegues, and from the children themselves.  My goal is to apply all this to my own daughter!

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel confident. I feel confident in dealing with the fits, with the questions, with the whining, with the constant need for interaction, with the frustration over the inability to communicate – and I LOVE it.  Her joy of learning how to use a rolling pin, her excitement of discovering how to roll the car window down, her thrill in getting a sticker at the grocery store: these are the things that make toddlerhood just so incredibly amazing to experience.  God, I love this girl!

Her way of getting out of a nap. Undressing herself!

Criminally cute.

Ok. Enough of the preaching (though I do have a list going of parenting pet-peeves that one day I just might post).

It was another rainy day today, so there wasn’t much work that we could do in the garden, though we did make a few trellises for the peas, pole beans, and started work on the cucumber trellis.  I love re-purposing things, and remembered that I had this fireplace screen sitting outside unused, and it is just PERFECT for the dwarf peas, plus it’s decorative!

Victor headed out into the bog and cut several of these branches from a downed tree to build the structures for the green beans.  We’ll add a few more on the sides, and voila a gorgeous trellis that was cheap, resourceful and eco-friendly!

Ellie Graye helping Mommy put ID tags in the seed starter

Even in the rain, the flower garden is beautiful.  We are so incredibly lucky to have all this!

The Dogwoods are just starting to come out

Our tulips have propagated a whole lot since last year

Here come the maple leaves!

Needs no caption

The highlight of the day was spending several hours of my day searching all over the house, all over the car, all over the garden, all over the barn, all over the pastures for my missing phone.  It wasn’t in the greenhouse, it wasn’t in the basement; it wasn’t in the tack room; it wasn’t in the manure pile (re-read that: it wasn’t in the MANURE PILE. That means I LOOKED there); it wasn’t in the trash; it wasn’t in the shop.

I called Phyllis who handles all the phones for the company and asked her to please order me a new one.  I figured that I had dropped it in the stalls when I was cleaning and it was gone forever.  And then…..it rang.  Apparently, Ellie Graye had decided to make a “call” (as she says) and had hidden it from mommy.  At least I now know everything about my horses’ poop, up close and personal!

Damn gorgeous

Chicken Shawarma was on the menu for dinner tonight. I have craved it since I made it last week, and it’s such a simple recipe it’s a perfect meal for just me.  Ellie Graye joined in on the process, as did Daddy (via the webcam)!

Climbing up on her station

Talking to Daddy

Her face while talking to daddy!

Yummy din-din

Ellie and I ended our day lounging in her room, reciting the entire swim class routine (including practicing our breast stroke and 4-beat freestyle), playing in baskets, and giggling until we snorted.  Aaaah. There really is nothing like the companionship of a special toddler….

Nigh-night, Ellie!

P.S. I miss Kino oodles on nights like tonight.


2 Comments to “Toddlers”

  1. Love the solution for the Dwarf Peas!
    Your Dad and I had a garden In Hermosa Beach where Hannah was born and than another in Big Sur. Your Dad did most of the work, of course. We kept it simple: beans, carrots, radishes, scallions and corn mostly.
    In Big Sur, up on the Partington Ridge property, we had a heck of a time with the Blue Jays. They would steal the seedlings the first dawn they peaked their heads out of the ground. They seemed to find the corn seedlings especially tasty.
    Your Dad used coffee cans, milk cartons, anything he could muster up to protect the tender greens until they were well established.
    Good times.

    Glad to see the white chair works!

    What’s Kino oodles?

  2. I miss a little guy we called Kino…..I miss him oodles.

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