Nora Kathryn is just a few days away from being 26 months old!
(Is it even cool to still refer to your kid's age by the month once they turn two? I mean, should I just say she's two until she turns two and a half instead of saying, "Oh, she 37 and a half months old"? Yeah, that's confusing. I'll just stick with two. Two years old!)
Time seems to be flying by so quickly these days with my two babies. I've found that we are busy at home and enjoying just being together as a family. Nora and Liam are so mutually fond of each other, and I get more and more excited about them being best buds as time goes on. It is just the sweetest thing to watch the two of them interact!
Even though Nora is out of the stage of life where she is hitting "milestones," I still want to be diligent about recording the things that are going on with her. She is blossoming into such a little girl! So, here are some of the new things going on with Nora:
***Nora loves to spend time with me in the kitchen! She likes the "help" me cook and bake, but we have to be careful when she does so. When she wants to get in on the action, she'll take a kitchen table chair and push it into the kitchen up to the counter. I try to involve her as much as possible! After all, I love to cook and I would love to spread that love to my girl!
***Nora is turning into quite a servant/helper. Now, this is obviously not all the time, but there are more and more occasions where she is so willing to help out with little things. For example, last week I had just finished folding a pile of laundry then moved on to do something else before putting the clothes away. I was in the kitchen, I believe, when I heard the bathroom cabinets opening and closing over and over. Typically, being in the bathroom cabinets is a no-no, so I hurried into the bathroom to get her out of there. What did I find? My little Missy Mo was putting the washcloths away! All on her own! Another example is from Saturday night. Jonathan came down suddenly with a migrane, so after supper, he went to bed and I got the kiddos cleaned up and ready for bed. I think Nora was very aware that Jonathan wasn't feeling well and that I was doing the normal bedtime routine by myself. She was so attentive to me and so caring. I sat down to feed Liam, and outloud, but to myself, I said, "Oh man, I forgot a burp cloth." She immediately jumped up and ran into Liam's room and said, "I get it. I get it." Sure enough, she came back with a burp cloth!
***Nora LOVES music. We are currently enrolled in a Kindermusic class for this semester that meets once a week for about 45 minutes. It is a very basic music class for kids Nora's age and is geared toward learning songs, beats, playing with simple instruments, and learning some cognitive skills through the tool of music. It is a wonderful class, and Nora just loves it! We sing songs all the time and listen to music everyday. It is such a joy to hear her sing songs that proclaim God's word and the truth of the Gospel. One of Nora's favorites that she has memorized is the "No No" song found on the Seeds of Faith worship CD. The words are, "My soul finds rest in God alone. My Salvation comes from Him." Nora will repeat the first line over and over again, singing it so loudly in her precious voice. Every time I hear it, I pray, "Lord, may those words be the song of her heart and not just words coming out of her mouth!" I pray that the Lord uses music as a means of drawing Nora to Himself.
***Nora is getting much better at independent playing and pretending. Around the time that Liam was born, I started to come to the realization that Nora was not so good at playing by herself. I am sure that is my fault as we spent most of our time together before Liam was born, and I just never incorporated a time for her to play by herself into her schedule. We always played together or she just did whatever I was doing. However, with Liam around, I am not able to tend to Nora constantly or entertain her all the time....WHICH I SHOULDN'T. I don't necessarily think Nora should be so dependent on me to keep her company ALL DAY LONG. So, through the advice of some experienced and caring mommy friends, I started incorporating some independent playtime for Nora in our day which we call "Room Time." (Have I blogged about this already? Probably. Pardon the repetition.) Nora cried a bit when we first started this and she began with 3 minutes of playtime in her room. After the second day, there were no more tears and she began to ask for "Room Time." After several months of "Room Time," Nora is now up to 40 minutes of independent play in her room. She is doing so great and I really think she enjoys it! I have also noticed that Nora is becoming so great at pretending! I guess it is her age, but she loves to pretend to be a butterfly, a cat, a worm, etc. And she is finally starting to get into the whole babydoll thing. It's so sweet to watch her grow!
***Nora is still by petite girl! Even though she is 2, she is still wearing 18 month clothes this fall season. I anticipate that she will grow between now and through the winter months, so I am buying 18-24 month clothes. In fact, she's able to wear some of the tops from last winter. I think she's grown in length, but she is still as thin as ever. I don't know how...this girl eats!
As Nora grows and matures, we are seeing her independent nature surface more and more. She definitely knows what she wants, and is very good at communicating her desires. We are trying to be consistent in training and disciplining her which is humbling and exhausting sometimes. The Lord has been so kind to remind me lately that her behavior is directly related to her heart. I have to be praying for her because it's not just about her behavior, it's about the state of her heart.
One of the areas where this really hit home recently is with teaching Nora "please" and "thank you." We've incorporated these words and the correct usage of them for a long time now. However, I still have to prompt Nora all the time to ask for things using please and then to answer with thank you after she's gotten something. As most mommas know, this can get REALLY OLD. "How do you ask kindly, Nora?" "Nora, are you demanding or are you asking kindly?" "What do you say, Nora?" I use these phrases all day long. One day recently, I was thinking about this and complaining to myself that I just wish she would get the hang of it. My thoughts continued on and the Holy Spirit quickly spoke to me. I began to think about how teaching kids manners is such an important dynamic in society and how almost every parent wishes that their kids would speak with manners. But what is my goal, really? Do I just want her to get the hang of it so I don't have to prompt her? Is saying please and thank you what it's really all about? No. Absolutely not. What I really desire for my children is that they will love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, and souls. I want them to have manners, yes, but more than that, I want them to have hearts that are grateful and are full of thanksgiving for God's grace in their lives and for the gifts and blessings He alone has given them. This is not something that I can develop in my children on my own. I can teach them manners, yes. I can talk about the Lord and teach them God's word, but it is the Holy Spirit at work in them that will give them grateful and thankful hearts. Not my teaching.
So, the most important aspect of parenting my Nora girl is my prayers. So I am praying for her and for my Liam! They are such precious gifts, and I am so in love with being their Momma. I am so thankful for the Lord's gentle reminder that it is He who is in control, not me.
Thank you Father for your mercies!