I have been caught off guard frequently in the last couple of weeks by how much Anna is growing up, so I better capture a few more of the funny and sweet things she is doing before I forget!!
Anna is such a chatterbox. She is stringing together sentences all the time now and she loves telling me all about her day. I also always chat with her as part of her bedtime routine and tell her what we've got planned for the next day, both to get her excited and to get her mentally prepared for any new adventures we might be having. If you meet her and she deems you a friend, she will instantly roll off stories about her friends and the Y and school and anything else that comes into mind. Today she informed a receptionist that "this morning we made coffee and got in the car and Anna poo-poo", hahahaha.
Anna makes so many connections now and sometimes the associations she forms are pretty funny! For example, I dressed her in her pink swing coat to go see the animals at a kid event, and even weeks later, whenever she sees that coat, she thinks we are going to see the animals. We also had a night where our sweet neighbor Suzette and her daughters came over to babysit so we could have a date night, and I had explained to Anna that we were making crockpot BBQ chicken because her friends were coming over to play and that they were going to eat the chicken for dinner. And now, every time we pull out the crockpot, Anna gets all excited and thinks her friends are coming over to play! She also recognizes stores, and will shout "Fish!" if we pull into the Petsmart shopping center or "Shopping!" if we pull into the Target or Publix centers.
Anna loves ALL things elephant, Tangled, and Minnie Mouse.
Anna has formed quite an attachment to her two baby dolls and carries one of them around with her all the time. I got thrifty one day and pulled out a bunch of Maddie's preemie outfits to use as doll clothes, and they fit her Bitty Baby perfectly! I got a little teary thinking about how small Maddie used to be, although I didn't have too much time to be nostalgic because Anna wanted her baby to try on all of the outfits. Bean is hilarious with the dolls, and such a little mommy. She will tuck the dolls into bed, kiss them goodnight and even smooth their hair away from their eyes just like I do with Anna's every night. She marches them around in their doll stroller or her toy grocery cart, and she will sneak them into Maddie's rocker or car seat.
Anna is growing to be very protective of her little sister. Kids in the 2-3 year old range love babies and they naturally come over to meet Maddie whenever we are at a play place, especially if I am letting her play on the floor. As long as they are being nice and gentle, I don't mind at all them saying hi, but Anna does not want these children anywhere near "her" baby. She will physically sit in between them and the baby and if they try to touch her she says "NO!" and blocks their hand. I love watching how Anna embraces her role as big sister and I am so proud of her for standing up for her sister, even if all of the other kids do have good intentions!
On the other hand, I have noticed some of the sisterly irritations beginning to form. Anna gets annoyed when Maddie tries to grab toys out of her hand or tries to gnaw on the books at bedtime. She will look so exasperated and say "No, baby!!!". I never make Anna hand over a toy just because Maddie wants it, but I do coach Anna through finding Maddie a new toy so that she will leave Anna's alone. I also explain to Anna that Maddie is smaller and doesn't know better yet, so it's our job to teach her how to play properly! Anna is wonderful at helping, and will dig through an entire bin of toys to find a fun one to give to her sister. I think Anna is also starting to be more conscious of the fact that Maddie takes up a lot of my time and focus, and I am increasing my efforts to give both of them segments of undivided attention throughout the day in addition to joint play time.
Despite the beginnings of sibling rivalry, Anna is such a sweetheart to Maddie and adores her baby sister. She loves helping me give Maddie a bath, and she will sing her songs and "read" her books. I even let Anna pick out Maddie's outfit for the day - I will hold up two different outfits and Anna will contemplate them and declare a winner. Minor skirmishes are quickly made up with an exuberant "Soweeee!" and a big hug and kiss. Anna frequently asks "Baby hug?" and gives Maddie the sweetest, big sister hugs.
We have been doing a lot of spring cleaning around here and Anna loves to help. I gave her a spray bottle with water in it and a microfiber cloth and I set her to work...she loves spraying down the cabinets and the table and scrubbing away. I really need to teach her how to do the baseboards! I was pleasantly surprised the other day when I scolded Anna for scribbling crayon all over the nursery table and door, and Anna went and got a washcloth and set to work scrubbing it all off. Her excitement about it makes me even more cautious to keep the actual cleaning supplies carefully out of reach, but she sure does love helping her mama :-).
She also LOVES to help me cook. It is pretty much her favorite thing to do right now. She is definitely my little sous-chef. I will get everything chopped and cooked and sorted into bowls, and she will pull her step-stool or chair over and help me dump everything into the crockpot or casserole dish or pan. Like with the cleaning, we are on constant safety watch, and we practice "Hot, NO TOUCH!" a lot. Anna does well with the rules though and she knows that if she tries to touch something that is off-limits she will be out of the kitchen for the rest of the day!! She loves to help me measure things, and even helps me make the coffee every morning. Anna points out anything to do with cooking or baking in her books and loves to study the pictures and identify cooking supplies that she recognizes in the pictures.
Anna is very athletic and her gym coaches are always commenting on how coordinated and strong she is. She can throw a ball exceptionally well, and she never hesitates for a second when faced with a climbing challenge or the balance beam. Soccer is a huge thing around here and we are planning to sign her up for a tots soccer program in the fall. And hopefully a dance program too because I have been dying to have those girly ballerina moments!
We just recently took Anna for her very first dentist appointment. Dental appointments at this age are really all over the board - the official recommendation is to start biannual visits at 1 year of age, but it seems like the more common practice is to wait until they are closer to 2 or 3 unless there is a specific concern. Even our pediatrician said that she didn't think there was any rush. So anyway, we just took Anna now that she is 2.5 and the visit went just about as I expected it would - a little rough, a little overwhelming, but the pediatric dentist was wonderful and we were able to sit Anna in my lap and get her teeth counted, brushed and treated. I am happy to report that Anna had no cavities, no issues, and the dentist said we are doing a wonderful job brushing. And we only have 4 more teeth to go! Anna walked out pleased as punch, loaded up with stickers and toys from the prize wall and happily informed the staff that we would see them soon, haha.
I think this post has gotten long enough - I could go on for days with all of the funny things Anna comes up with, but you guys will just have to stay tuned until the next post for more! See you later, alligators.