My sweet little girl is a whole year old! Technically she’s now 14 months. We tried to get photos back closer to her birthday in November, but the kids were all sick on and off for 6 weeks so we had to cancel two different photo dates. Eventually we had to wait until after Christmas, so here we are!
Anyhow, life marches on and McKenzie is doing great. She is such a happy, sweet baby with lots of personality. She’s really independent and will totally just play on her own a good bit of the time. But when she wants your attention, she lets you know. She’s not afraid to give you a little scream when she’s unhappy and she’s definitely not afraid of her older brothers, LOL. In fact, last night Ashton started to pitch a little fit when I gave him crackers instead of chips (gotta love 3 year olds) and when he turned to run away from me, he ran right into her and knocked her down. She wasn’t hurt, but she was not happy that he knocked her down. She grabbed onto his legs, started shaking them (as much as she could given her small size) and yelling. I literally had to pry her off of him. He just stood there and looked at me like, “What do I do?” It certainly stopped his fit, LOL.
Speaking of her and her brothers, they really are pretty good with her. They definitely are learning about being gentle with her and sometimes like to do things like pour a box of toys right over her head, but there are lots and lots of times when they really love to play nicely with her. One of the best times is in the mornings. They love having her sit on the couch with them and they take turns snuggling with her and giving her hugs and kisses. They really try very hard to be sweet and gentle with her. It’s pretty sweet. So regardless of the normal kid stuff where they love each other sometimes and hate each other sometimes, you can tell they all love each other and already are forming pretty cool relationships. Considering how close Ashton and Brooks are given that they are twins and total best friends, it’s really awesome to see how much they love and enjoy their sister too. And my gosh, she thinks they are the most amazing things.
So last time we “talked”, McKenzie wasn’t quite crawling yet, but I’m pretty sure it was only a matter of a few weeks before she was. She was 8 months when she started and it didn’t seem like walking would be far behind. She seemed pretty determined. But then in September she got Covid and I think it wiped her energy a little bit. She basically had congestion and a very runny nose and was super tired. She’d stay awake for about an hour at a time and then sleep for 3 hours – and then she’d still sleep through the night after sleeping most of the day. She also had a low grade fever for a couple days, which was her first symptom. But it all really only lasted for 3-4 days and then she was fine. But I do think it took a little time to get her energy back.
Not terribly long after that, her brothers got sick and just couldn’t kick it. It lasted about 6 weeks and started with a sinus infection. Over time they ended up with pink eye (don’t even get me started on the torture that is trying to put drops in their eyes), which McKenzie ended up with too. They all had ear infections – Ashton had one ear, Brooks both and McKenzie just one – her first. Then the boy ended up with a cough that was intense. It was awful. Poor Ashton would cough all night long and he was miserable. Eventually Brooks got going at night too. They’d cough so much that they’d end up throwing up. It lasted for what felt like forever. We were all exhausted. Then they both got fevers again and Ashton’s spiked like crazy (this was after being on his 4th antibiotic) and went up to almost 108 when we were snuggling on the couch (it came right back down to 101 after the hubs put him in a luke warm bath), so both boys ended up at urgent care. They finally gave them a fifth antibiotic. That one was finally doing the trick, but wasn’t quite for long enough. Fortunately at this point I knew that they needed a few more days on the medication or the coughing would be coming back (as it had done every time before), so the pediatrician agreed and we got a few more days and it knocked it out. But it was rough. Ashton still gets a little wiggy if he ever wakes up at night because of coughing. He remembers. It was brutal.
Anyhow, I think all the sickness and not feeling well threw McKenzie off and she waited until 13 months to start walking. Basically it was the week before Christmas when she started. Everyone was finally better and she had interest again and within about 2 weeks, she was walking and hasn’t looked back.
So eating habits – we did make it to a year on breastmilk. I did a lot of nursing, but as she got more mobile, she was less interested in nursing. We evenly just switched her to a sippy cup because she didn’t really need the bottle and was pretty over nursing. It ended far sooner than I expected. This girl is independent, for sure. Plus, for some reason my supply just kind of decreased. I still had enough to get us to a year, along with frozen milk that I had, but the lack of excess added to McKenzie’s loss of interest in nursing, I think.
At about a year, she started drinking regular whole milk. I had wondered a little how that would go because she did seem to have a bit of a dairy sensitivity early on. She had a touch of eczema too, which are two things that apparently to go together for babies. I’d been told that babies often outgrow both things by a year old and that’s definitely been true for her.
As for solids, she has been SO different than the boys. The boys were such good eaters of fruits and veggies and everything for so long. They’ve really only started hating on their veggies in the last 6 months or so. But McKenzie just has not been into veggies – like at all. She’s more of a bread and pasta kind of gal. She will do fruit, but not the way the boys would. They will still devour fresh fruit if you plop a container in front of them. She is hit or miss. She’s actually relatively picky and it’s kind of tough because I end up feeling like I need to fix different meals for her, the boys and us parents. I try to do that as little as possible though.
She’s also into snacking, which is definitely her brothers’ influence. They are less into meals these days and more into snacks. Goldfish is a HUGE favorite for all three of them. The boys will go to the pantry and start grabbing things and while I’m trying to sort through it all with them, she’s already grabbed her bag of goldfish and taken off with it. She really is a character and wants to do everything her brothers do. It’s adorable. But it also highlights for me how different it is when a child has an older sibling (or two) to look up to. She learns and does things so much quicker. She’s a very smart little girl.
McKenzie is also working on talking. She’s been saying “mamamamamama” and “dadadadadada” for quite a while, but that’s becoming more distinguishable as “mamama” and “dadada” now. The hubs would say that “dada” was her first word because was was doing “dadadadada” first. He believes the boys said “mama” first, so I guess that’s fair. She’ll also point to things and say “dat” for “that” and we heard her say “nigh nigh” in response to the hubs when he said “night night” the other night. So she’s definitely working on some words and it’s very clear she understands A LOT.
She’s also got a bunch of teeth. The front 4 on top and bottom are all in – so a total of 8 there. And then her two molars on top are in, for a complete total of 10. Just waiting on the bottom two molars.
As for things she loves, outside of her mama, dada and brothers, she loves her monkeys. She has lots of stuffed animal monkeys and they are her faves. She also loves riding around in any kind of car. Motorized ones, ones you push her in – you name it. She sits back and relaxes and screams as soon as you try to take her out when it’s time to be done. Girl can pitch a fit already! She will run away (in her cut little baby run) screaming and throw herself down. She also loves slides and swings and playing in the bath.
She also LOVES dogs. Any time we see a dog, she points and wants to see and pet it. And she’s very gentle. Strangers will tells us how much she needs a dog and it’s true…
Which brings me to some sad news. Our black lab, Jessie, passed away in August. She was almost 11. It was super sudden and a touch traumatic. Over the last year, we’d taken her to the vet several times telling them that she didn’t seem like herself, wouldn’t do much and she seemed to be in pain. They told us every time that she was just getting old and they would give us 10 days worth of pain medicine and send her home. It didn’t really seem right to me, but she was my first dog I’ve ever had so I really didn’t know. I tried getting her an orthopedic dog bed for older dogs to try to help with the joint pain she supposedly had. She did seem to like it. But eventually she started to have a hard time getting down stairs to go outside to go to bathroom. There’s stairs every way out of our house, so I started taking her out where there were only two to try to help her. Then she stopped eating. It was kind of hit or miss for a week or so and we finally took her in when she wouldn’t put weight down on her leg one night. The hubs took her while I stayed with the kids. They did an x-ray to check for bone cancer and when they didn’t find anything, they told him it was old age – again – and sent her home with some pain meds. The meds helped and she started eating, but a few days before the medication was gone, she stopped eating again. I called the vet and made an appointment. I had also started to notice that her belly looked swollen. This time I took her. They said they could do another x-ray and I said you need to do an ultrasound of her belly. They agreed to do it, took her back and almost immediately came back and told me she had tons of cancer in her organs. It was bad. They told us we could take her home and say goodbye, but that she didn’t have much time. This was a Wednesday. We made an appointment to put her to sleep Friday after debating a bit. It felt SO FAST. It was hard to believe we were all of a sudden putting her down after being told over and over that it was old age. But she wasn’t eating and was clearly in pain and as much as we didn’t want to say goodbye so quickly, we now knew that she was suffering and didn’t want her to suffer anymore. So Friday came and as we were loading her into the car, she started vomiting blood. When they gave her the injection, they had barely finished and she was gone. Our poor girl was just so tired. It’s still so hard to think about. I just hate that she was in pain and we didn’t really know it. She was such an amazing dog and our first baby. She was the best.
So yea, McKenzie doesn’t have a dog anymore, which is a bummer because she is a BIG dog lover.
As for things McKenzie absolutely does not like, the list is short. She will not stand for ANYTHING on her head. Nothing. A bow? Not having it. A hat? Even one to keep her warm? Don’t even think about it. She’ll rip that thing right off and if it won’t come off quickly enough, she gets angry. She doesn’t even want a towel on her head longer than it takes to quickly dry her hair off a bit when she gets out of the tub. It’s so funny too because the boys LOVED hooded towels. They’d put them on after a bath and run around in their little towel capes and laugh and have the best time. She has no interest at all. If it goes on her head, it’s a no.
She went down to one nap at about 11 months. She kind of just did it on her own. She’s really been kind of an amazing sleeper since birth. The boys were always a challenge. They didn’t get down to one nap until about 18 months and that was with A LOT of effort. McKenzie just does the sleep and nap transitions effortlessly. It’s quite lovely, but I can tell you it’s really just something about the individual babies. I’ve done much of the same things with both the boys and her, but she just does things without me even having to try.
McKenzie really is a great baby and is quickly becoming a toddler, I guess. She’s doing so well. Healthy as can be, feisty, fun and sweet. She’s got us all smitten.
The boys turn 4 next week, which is hard to believe. They have a Spiderman party coming up this weekend. They’ve been watching Spidey and His Amazing Friends on Disney and love it. So they are growing up and doing great. They started preschool back in the fall at a church down the road. It’s just two days a week for a few hours, but they are enjoying it. I just signed them up for next year and they’ll start going 4 days a week in preparation for kindergarten (what!?!?) the following year.
Those two boys truly have endless amounts of energy. And HIGH energy. With LOTS of noise and destruction and wrestling. But they also have really gotten into imaginative play and since they always have a best friend with them, they play with each other all the time in really cute ways. Their favorite is to pretend that they are “Aunt Iola” (my husband’s sister) and her dog, Ruby. They put Ruby to bed, feed her, take her on walks around the house, etc. Brooks, who is the dog, will even come and lick you. It’s a scream. Ashton is always “Aunt Iola”, while Brooks is “Ruby”. They also pretend to be a baby and his daddy, dinosaurs who like to destroy all the things, and Catboy and Gecko from PJ Masks. They are definitely into costumes, like their PJ Mask costumes from Halloween. It’s fun to watch them when they are doing those things. Their little conversations can be so cute and funny. One night Ashton even put “baby Jesus” on a blanket and wrapped him up because he’d just been born in Bethlehem. They are adorable and a handful all at the same time.
As for me – I’m doing pretty well. Working on the losing the weight I gained with pregnancy and postpartum – always my favorite thing – only not. I try to wake up before the kids get up to work out, but the boys are such early risers, that’s hard to do. Ashton is typically awake by 5:30 am and Brooks usually isn’t far behind. We had stopped using the Hatch time-to-wake light for a while, but have gone back to it recently. It turns green at 6am so that I can just barely have enough time to wake up at 5am and try to get a work out in.
But most days, I’m just trying to survive, LOL. There’s the ever growing to-do list to balance along with wanting to spend time with and enjoy my kids. Isn’t that parenting in a nutshell? We are fortunate to have a wonderful nanny that we all love to help make things go a little more smoothly. Our first nanny actually left right before McKenzie was born, so we had a couple different ones over the past year before our first nanny actually ended up coming back. Finding the right nanny for your family isn’t an easy task and we definitely hit the nail on the head the first time. After being separated for a bit, we realized we wanted to be back together and it’s been great.
So yea, we are doing well, McKenzie is great and we are just trying to navigate this crazy world we live in right now. It’s hard having young kids and wanting to be able to expose them to life, but having to hold them back because of everything going on with Covid. They go to school, swim lessons, church and the park, but otherwise don’t do as much as I’d like. Hopefully that’ll change sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we are thankful that we have young kids that don’t really understand it all and are enjoying being their parents. I won’t say it’s easy – we are permanently exhausted – but we love the heck out of them and wouldn’t have it any other way.