Earlier this week, Geoffrey came out of Sloan's bedroom holding one of her old diapers, with one of her current diapers for comparison. The ones we used a year ago are almost half the size of her new ones and so small that they fit on her Cookie Monster doll—it's almost impossible to believe she was that tiny once. At this point, these moments, where I realize just how quickly Sloan is growing, occur almost daily. One day, she'll say one word to denote something she wants (usually, "mas") and the next she'll say a complete, albeit Spanglish, sentence (usually, "Can I have mas grapes please?"). Even after coming back from our week in Japan, she somehow looked noticeably older. Here's what she's been up to, as a 26-month-old:
Sloan has a lot of "babyisms." Have you noticed any of these going away? Are there any you'd wish she'd keep? By the time we got back from Japan, Sloan's vocabulary and stringing together of words had improved dramatically. It's funny how, for months, she was just learning new words and then all of a sudden, she's putting them all together and conversing like a little girl. It's also clear that she's beginning to really hear the things we're saying and then repeating them in similar situations. The other day, when I had just finished getting ready for work and came out of my bedroom, she said, "Mommy looks so cute!" She's now mastered a lot of the words she used to struggle with, but I'm guilty of discouraging the proper pronunciation of a few of my favorites that I kind of never want her to learn ("roga" aka yoga, "buh-yuh" aka butter, and "she-she" aka smoothie). We're just hoping that she masters her name sometime soon, as "Sahhhn" doesn't quite have the same ring as Sloan.
What does Sloan's daily routine look like? Has it changed significantly in the past few months? We try and keep our mornings and evenings pretty similar, as Sloan is a big fan of routine. In the mornings, she wakes up anywhere between 6:15 a.m. (oof) and 7:15 a.m. She's content chilling in her crib while she talks, sings, and entertains herself. We like to encourage her to be independent and not just fly in there the moment she starts calling for us. We get up and then make breakfast—it's often her biggest meal of the day and the one in which she eats the widest variety of foods. We'll do either a waffle with yogurt, cottage cheese and banana, a smoothie (packed with lots of different potions and powders to offer her nutrients she doesn't get a lot of), or cereal and milk. Sometimes all of the above, when she's having a growth spurt. Her daily activities vary between going to the park with friends, the library for story time, to the preschool for an hour, or to an indoor play gym. She's at a fun age where she's playing with her buddies, not simply hanging out alongside them. Our evenings consist of "baking" in her kitchen, taking a bubble bath together, reading books, doing puzzles, and then eventually singing before putting her down for the night, at around 7pm.
What's the most recent thing she's done that made you laugh? She makes me laugh all day. She has such a funny little sense of humor. But my current favorite was from this morning when she sang one of the songs she learned at school, but improvised with her own lyrics to the same melody.
What are her strongest personality traits as a two-year-old? She's cautious, sweet, bright, playful, and observant.
What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead with Sloan? Her being able to converse more. She's already able to communicate most of what she wants to, even if it's done in slightly broken English, but I look forward to having full-blown conversations with her.
What is your favorite thing about Sloan being two? The way she learns something new every day. She really does seem more like a little girl now and less like a baby. I feel when we go do things together—whether it's having a picnic outside, riding in the car, or even reading books—it's more like we're hanging out, not just keeping an eye on her.
Does she have any bad habits? Ha, plenty! She still erupts into a tantrum when we don't clearly understand something she wants (yesterday it was me not knowing the exact song to sing to Sloan's baby doll), she kicks off her shoes when we're out on a walk, and she oftentimes makes the bathroom look like it's under water after she's taken a bath.
What’s the biggest thing she’s learned to say or do in the past few months? Speak in (more) complete sentences. She used to ask for things just by one or two names "more yogurt?" and now says, "mama can I have more yogurt?" (and then "please" once prompted).
What personality traits of hers resemble yours right now? And Geoffrey’s? We were both exceedingly shy, timid kids, which is something we've apparently both passed down. I also see a lot of my anxiety reflected in her. It's hard not to feel some semblance of guilt about that, even though I never display any of those signs in front of her—some things are purely genetic. As for G, she shares his love of '80s music.
Does Sloan have a friend group? A baby boyfriend, perhaps? Yes, Sloan's crew runs deep. She talks and sings about them constantly when they're not around. And we also joke that Sloan is also in a committed relationship—she certainly has a favorite.
What is Sloan currently loving? Is she as obsessed with The Lion King as ever? The Lion King (the movie, the soundtrack, and her Simba and Pumba stuffed animals) is still quite popular in our house, as are her cookie play set, Disney books, chalk and crayons, and anything sticker-related.
Sloan used to be a picky eater—has she grown out of this at all? Not a ton. But I try to focus on the fact that the majority of the few foods she does actually eat are full of good nutrients—hummus and pita, scrambled eggs, cottage cheese, beans, yogurt, and all fruits. The whole vegetable and meat thing (as well as anything green) hasn't been fully embraced.
What do your weekends with her look like? We approach our weekends differently, based on a variety of things: whatever we have planned (either individually or as a family), how much of a break we need, and what the weather's like. Some weekends, G and I commit to different days with her. So he'll have a whole Saturday to himself—he can sleep in, go for a long bike ride, grab lunch with friends, etc. while Sloan and I go on our own adventure to the beach or to discover a new playground. Then on Sundays, I'll do my own thing: go to the farmer's market, dance class, brunch, and then take care of some errands. Then when G and I come together at night, it's really fun to catch up and make dinner together or watch a movie. Other times though, we'll hang as a family and do something like go to the carousel at Griffith Park, visit a playground, and then grab lunch.
What's the biggest challenge you're facing as a mother right now? Finding that elusive balance that's so often expected of working moms. We have a lot of great things happening with the company right now, but that means I'm spread even more thin than usual. A couple of weeks back, I felt like I wasn't doing anything particularly well—G was putting Sloan to sleep while I stayed on my computer until 11 p.m. I wasn't making enough time for friends, and I had zero free time. I recognized it pretty quickly though and made little adjustments where I could. Even if there's a time I know I'm going to have to work late, I'll make sure to stop working long enough to take a bath with Sloan, read her stories to her, and put her to sleep (at least on the nights when she's not demanding that G put her down). G and I will eat dinner together, even if it's just eggs and toast some nights, and not talk about work at all. I'll still sometimes have to jump back onto my computer, but at the very least, I feel like I'm finding a little more balance and that makes all the difference. My family will always be my number one priority, so even spending a little bit of time with both G and Sloan makes me feel reenergized and reminded of what really matters.
What instantly makes Sloan happy? What instantly makes her upset? Seeing garbage trucks on our walks, swinging at the park, dancing in the kitchen, "cooking" in her kitchen, and when my parents first arrive at our house all make her instantly thrilled. As for what instantly makes her upset, that's one of the most difficult things to predict when you have a two-year-old: It can be playing the wrong song she's requested to telling her it's time to leave the playground when she's not ready to go home.
Is she afraid of anything in particular? There are a lot of things that make her nervous, but the two that top the list currently are the cats' toy mice and squirrels we see outside.
Is there a moment you were most proud of Sloan in the past few months? The fact that she was such a happy girl when we were in Japan with my parents. We talked to her a lot about the trip before we left, so she never questioned where we were, but obviously there were moments when she missed us and was sad. But when we came home, she was even more independent and I think that gave her a lot of confidence knowing she was okay without us around.