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I wrote this draft in the month after my little girl turned 2, but haven’t had a chance to finish it yet! I still wanted to say more about her little personality.

On the other hand, it’s probably already waaaay too detailed! So let me just post it now to break the blogging drought. Also, she’s doing new things all the time, so this is already a bit old! I’ll add the notes on ‘who she has become’ and what a sweet big sister she is later one.

Physical development:

Size-wise:

  • She’s VERY tall.  She was 93.5 cm tall on her 2nd birthday (Oh dear!) and weighed 13 kg.
  • Her head circumference was 48 cm on her 2nd birthday.  Her head was far below the 2nd percentile at birth – only 31.5 cm.  (That was pretty small, even for a 36-week pretermer.)  She caught up beautifully, as 48 cm is on the 75th percentile for a 24-month old girl.
  • The shoes in her cupboard range from  a kiddie size 7 to a kiddie size 9, so let’s say my little hobbit wears a kiddie size 8 shoe.  Sjoe!

Health history:

  • She has never been on antibiotics and has only been sick maybe three or four times.  Once with a tummy bug (we were travelling at the time of course..), once with a cough and stuffy nose and she had a runny nose once or twice.

Sensory development:

  • She has always had sensory issues and remains somewhat tactile defensive, e.g. you shouldn’t casually put your hand on her thigh or around her waist if she’s sitting next to you.  She’ll tell you not to do that.  (My DH jokingly says he’s been teaching her that..)
  • Her sensory issues affected the way she developed in that she didn’t do much weigt-bearing on her arms and hands when she was a baby, e.g. she started sitting without support without ever having supported herself on her hands, and also before she started rolling over.  She hated being prone too – I think she didn’t like the sensory feel of this position?
  • She hates it when we wash her hair (lots of screaming, I’m afraid) or brush her teeth (more screaming).
  • She eats well and doesn’t have issues with the textures of food, but often dislikes it when her hands are sticky, e.g. when she gets peanut butter on her hands.
  • She likes hugs and kisses; and is fond of sitting on my lap though.
  • She wasn’t ticklish as a baby, but did become somewhat ticklish somewhere along the way.

Gross motor skills:

  • She throws a ball with such accuracy that it’s fun to play catch with her.  She kicks a ball with good accuracy too.  She can catch – or rather grab hold of – a big ball thrown into her arms.  She has always loved playing with balls and would always notice even the smallest ball in the furthest corner of a room (or shop!).
  • She jumps enthusiastically and has in the past month or so started lifting both feet off the ground – before that, she had this one (cute!) sticky big toe for months.  I’m surprised at how high she can jump by now!  She also jumps forward with both feet together.
  • She’s always had pretty good balance, e.g. she never felt insecure when I played with her on a giant gym ball.
  • I currently find it hard to take photos of her, since most of them just show a blur of activity – except of course for those photo’s where the child is no longer in the frame by the time you take the photo!

Fine motor skills:

  • She had ‘thumb-in-fist’ posture of her hands, especially her right hand, for what seemed like forever.  She used to crawl with her right hand in a fist, maybe partly due to her tactile issues?  The thumb of her right hand remains too flexed for my liking to be honest. When she waves goodbye or slaps a high-five, her right thumb is curled against her palm.
  • Her fingers are very flexible and tend to hyperextend in funny ways.
  • The functional use of her (funny little!) hands seems fine, although I am a little worried that she might have underlying problems that will crop up later on. Let’s hope not.

Cognitive development

Cognition

  • She is able to focus unbelievably well. This strikes me as one of her biggest strengths, as this ability is likely to benefit her lots throughout her life.  From the time she was about one year old, she could easily sit down and listen to stories for half an hour, or sometimes even longer.  (She’s always LOVED books. Yay!)
  • She’s been asking me about the words and letters on the pages, so I have taught her some letters of the alphabet, including ‘e’, ‘o’, ‘s’, ‘a’, ‘m’, ‘i’.  She knows these very well and will point them out everywhere: in her books, in the text on the Marmite jar, on my Kindle..  She catches on quickly, but I don’t want to overwhelm her by introducing too many letters too soon.
  • She’s known ‘all’ her shapes for what seems like forever.
  • She can sit down and sort 40 cards consisting of 20 identical pairs into the correct pairs.
  • She knows all her colours, including primary colours, secondary colours, white, black and brown.  (Red and pink are her favourites!)
  • She’s not big on counting, although she can point to objects one by one as I count out loud.  So she has a basic understanding of how it works.
  •  She can identify quite a few different bird species in the wild and/or on pictures and most of them by sound only too!  Viz. hadida, hoopoe (hoep-hoep), bulbul (tiptol), dove (duifie), fish eagle (visarend), penguin (pikkewyn), guineafowl (tarentaal), lapwing (kiewiet), owl (uil), starling (spreeu), crow (kraai), grey lourie (kwêvoël), crested barbet (kuifkophoutkapper) and white eye (glasogie).
  • I’ve always tried to help her come up with solutions to problems and am quite pleased with the way she tackles problems.  E.g. when a toy falls and disappears under the fridge, she’ll fetch something like a golf club to try and fish it out (which is usually not successful until I help a bit though, to be honest).
  • She’ll come up with advice on what I should do when her baby brother is crying, e.g. if I say he might be teething, she’d suggest I give him some ‘pink medicine’ (Calpol).  If he’s crying, she might say that I should pick him up, bath him or give him a turn on the swing.  It’s so cute!
  • I love the pretend play that’s part of toddlerhood!  E.g. the other day she folded the square cover of a (kiddie) CD into a cone and announced that it was an ‘ice cream’.  Too cute, especially since she’s never actually had an ice cream cone!  (I know, I know, strange and strict mommy that I am!)

Language development

  • As baby, my liefietjie was friendly, but very quiet.
  • She had a tiny, soft voice.  We could go out to dinner and even if she cried, it would not really be audible above the din in your average restaurant.  (Unlike the piercing roars of her baby brother!)
  • Her understanding of words and commands ‘always’ seemed good, but I took her to a Speech Therapist when she was 20 months old.  I was worried that her speech was lagging behind.  The therapist said her receptive language was good for her age and her expressive language was age appropriate.  In the next three months, she started speaking in sentences and suddenly had a word for ‘everything’.
  • When she started talking, I would sometimes hear her practicing her pronunciation after I had put her to bed in the afternoon/evening.  It was so cute!  She actually still does it sometimes and it still melts my heart.
  • She loves it when I sing and often asks me to sing to her (something I do all the time while I’m busy around the house anyway), but she hasn’t herself figured out how to sing yet – which I find a bit surprising to be honest.    (Mind you, her dad has not yet figured out how to sing either.)

Emotional Development:

  • So far, the terrible twos have actually not been as bad as I feared.
  • When we go to the shops, she’s allowed to hold toys or things she like while we’re in the store, but once we leave we say ‘bye-bye’ and teddy, toy duck, soccer ball, or whatever goes back to its ‘home’ and ‘friends’ (in the store).  Saying goodbye to a ball of any kind is always the hardest!  We’ve never had a hectic tantrum at the shops though – not yet, I guess!
  • We’ve had some spectacular tantrums at home.  My word!  I’ve wanted to clap and shout: ‘Bravo!”
  • She can get terribly whiney, I must say!  Especially when she’s tired. And also when she’s not! 😉
  • She is mostly very eager to please, although I also make sure I don’t hit those buttons that are likely to bring out that obstinate little banshee inside!

The quiet little cherub that was content to view the world from a particular spot on the bed or floor is now a distant memory. During shopping trips and outings, my little ‘babaliefie’ is now a squirming little octopus that’s magically able to reach far beyond what seems humanly possible.

At 9 months, my little fairy is already 75 cm long (as long as the average 13 month old baby girl), yet weighs in at a petite 8.3 kg. She loves her food and is also drinking 2 to 4 bottles a day. She seems happy, healthy and (if you ask me!) gorgeous.

She’s never slept well, but we’ve had an exceptionally trying month. Since breastfeeding came to a halt (due to the downward spiral of lack of demand and lack of supply), she started waking up at night and would simply fail to settle again, sometimes for as long as two or three hours! If I would turn on the light, she’d be so incredibly happy and excited to see me. Exasperated, I started giving her a bottle in the night and that seems the only way to get her asleep again. (She has NO teeth yet, so at least I’m not worried about the effect of this on her teeth..)

It’s also been harder to get her to fall asleep. Lately she pushes herself into sitting when I put her down in her cot at night – and then she just wants to play some more! I’ve come to view the time it takes to get her drowsy as our special time together though, so I don’t mind ‘working’ a bit to get her asleep.

I’ve been quiet lately as juggling motherhood, work and part-time studies is taking its toll. After a bad night, I sometimes feel as if I’m hanging onto sanity for dear life! DH is talking about ttc number two, I feel exhausted just thinking about that.

Still, I can never wait to pick up my ‘babaliefietjie’ from daycare in the afternoon. It’s my favourite moment of the day – seeing her little face again after all those long hours apart.

DH and I love her with wild abandon, this perfect, funny little angel of ours.

Day-care is going sooo much better! My baby angel still sometimes cry when I leave her in the morning, but it seems she’s fine the rest of the day. When I pick her up in the afternoon, she’s always happy and content – and very pleased to see me. I’m so relieved that she’s settled now at day-care, but I’m also wondering whether she misses as much as I miss her every work day?

Now if only I could get my baby to sleep at night! The past week or so has been hectic and the past two nights have been the worst! Lately we’ve had to pop her dummy in what feels like a gazillion times per night. The past two nights she also wanted 2 feeds and last night I even got up and gave her a bottle of formula after the second feed. Growth spurt, maybe? Whatever it is, I just hope I get to sleep again someday. I feel like a zombie in a car wreck every morning when the alarm goes off.

She’s eating well and loves her food. By now she’s even had home cooked dinners a few times (pureed mince and lentils with veggies and pureed spaghetti bolognaise – no sugar or salt added).

In terms of her development, my baby is doing things her way. She’s always had very strong extensor muscles and has loved doing full weight bearing in a standing position even when she was only a month or two old. This helped her achieve unassisted sitting so relatively early (for a late pretermer) and at a time she was not even rolling over yet.

By now (6 months 3 weeks unadjusted for prematurity) she’s rolling over like a champ and if she’s on her tummy, she’ll try to reach a toy that’s just beyond her grasp by rolling over towards it. Up to now I could leave her on our bed when I was getting ready in the morning, but now I have to put her in the cot for those moments when I’ve got my back turned.

I’m slightly concerned that she’s not getting enough experience of weight bearing on her elbows and hands, as she completely skipped assisted tripod sitting (i.e. sitting propped up on her hands) and does not love being on her tummy. Yes, as a former paediatric Occupational Therapist, I’m sure I’ll always find something to be (at least) slightly concerned about!

She now displays fear of strangers, particularly directed towards ‘ou omies’ (older men). Admittedly, ‘ou omies’ sometimes scare me too! And lately, if I hand her over to a friend, she’ll look up at the lady’s face, start looking uncertain and finally begin to cry till I take her in my arms again.

She’s generally a quiet, cheerful little baby. She doesn’t ‘talk’ that much, but she’s always smiling. She loves it when I sing her songs and when we play games. She’ll look into my eyes and touch my face with her tiny hands – and pull my hair, which is a bit less endearing. She loves bathing and showering. She loves it when we go shopping and she’ll smile at everyone looking in her direction (as long as she’s in my arms or in her Kanga carrier).

She’s started playing peek-a-boo with her blanket. As she pulls it over her head, she becomes a bit anxious and starts breathing more quickly. Her legs will kick energetically till she finally pulls it off her face again. Hehe, she seems to enjoy the rush of those ‘scary’ moments when she’s under the blanket! Funny ‘klein Liefietjie!’

Lastly, as far as cuteness is concerned, my word! I didn’t even know babies come in this cute. How I love her, this perfect little baby angel of mine.

DH and I took LO to the paediatrian on Tuesday for her 6-month check-up. She was 5.5 months old, but I wanted to get the visit over before we started work on Wednesday.

My word! Has my beautiful baby grown since her 3-month visit! She’s about 71 cm tall, so above the 99th percentile. Her weight is slightly below average at 6.65 kg (about 30th percentile), so she is one tall, dainty fairy.

I was a bit worried she might be too thin, but I suppose she wouldn’t have grown so tall if she were malnourished or getting too little calories? Also, apart from a slight cold once and recurrent hayfever, she has never been ill, which must be a good sign.

The doctor looked at my DH and myself and basically said that he’s not concerned about her weight – it’s clearly in our genes, lampposts that we both are.

The rest of the visit went very well. ‘Liefietjie’ played along nicely and showed the doc what a clever, healthy and bouncing baby she is.

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