I’ve figured out what it is about this age that has my heart doubling in size. I’ve loved Grace for a long time now. And I feel like since this winter, I am feeling all of the love back from her. She’s actually engaging with us now. Reaches for my hand while looking up at me with her sweet voice—”mommy”!
She plays with us, and gives us the sweetest hugs and cuddles. When I have her on my hip, she strokes my arm or back with her little hand. It’s just been the most precious age yet. It’s when our mutual bond began.
The kind of moments I want to remember forever:
Recently when Grace took a very short nap one Saturday, I ended up grabbing her and bringing her into my room to nap with her. She didn’t end up falling back asleep but was laying with me. I noticed that she turned her head towards me so I closed my eyes to try and get her to follow suit. I peeked an eye open a minute later to see it worked and she was just staring at me. I couldn’t help but smile and it made her smile so big, too. It was THE sweetest moment ever. Sometimes my heart cant take how pure and incredible this little person is.
Every morning, when Matt gets out of bed, he goes to his drawer and grabs a pair of his sweats to throw on before heading into the kitchen to feed Scout. Grace has been enjoying helping him with that and then giving Scout his dente bone afterwards. We were all cuddling in bed and Grace climbed over Matt and pointed to our bedroom door—”outside!”… she hopped out of the bed and walked over to Matt’s pj drawer, grabs his sweats that she noticed he reaches for every morning, closes the drawer, and brings them over to him in bed. We were dying. She is just too funny! She really doesn’t miss a beat these days.
I sent a question form out on Instagram for curiosities or questions about motherhood—and since so many incredibly thoughtful notes were sent my way, I want to dive into a bunch here:
What is Grace’s personality like?
She has the most vibrant and hilarious personality! Do you guys remember the Deniro nose scrunch? First sign at age 6 months that this girl is a *character*. She is such a goof, always making us laugh. I know that when she’s full-on talking, it’s going to be ridiculous.
She has a ton of energy, most likely the only kid at gatherings that barely sits still. Which makes sense because that’s how she was in my belly. She is super sensitive (wonder where she gets it!). Compassionate and caring—we get notes from daycare regularly how she comforts the other kids when they’re upset. So smart—her memory is insane. I’d film her more and share snippets but anytime she sees me doing this, she stops what she’s doing and comes and plops in my lap and says “Grace”! She loves to see pictures and videos of herself… a touch vain! The time will come— I would love to share a tiny bit more of her just for comedy purposes.
I’m just so proud of who she is—in her purest form!
What has been the hardest thing about parenting a toddler?
You can’t fully trust them at this age, so you have to constantly be watching them so they don’t hurt themselves. Grace is a little dare devil… #notchill
When did you feel “back to yourself” postpartum?
This fall/winter. It took me a long time, but I was going through a lot—not just postpartum, but other big life changes that had all happened in parallel. I spoke about it a bit more in this post!
How do you manage work / motherhood balance?
Grace being in daycare has really helped. Truthfully, I have always had a hard time with the nature of my work and disconnecting. Only because the reason why I started blogging 2 decades ago, was that I loved to document moments that excite me. So on a week night or weekend if something speaks to me, it’s hard for me not to run with it in some form. my eye is always “on job” and ideas circle my mind all day.
Something that I am working on now (and having a new teammate helps!) is to be as productive as possible while Grace is at daycare—so that I walk away from work feeling accomplished and proud. Staying ahead and keeping my plate clear, so that when I pick up Grace, I can just focus on our time together as a family.
Being strategic and time-sensitive was not *as* crucial for my work in the past, and now it is.
What are your “lifestyle” training tips?
SO many of you asked this, haha! So, first of all. I must share where this concept came from: puppy training! Back when we got Scout, we had a trainer come over, and she mentioned it to us. About how it’s really important we get him used to partaking in our world and the activities we like to do. I used the phrase, somewhat of a joke, on stories when I decided it was time to reclaim my coffee table styling back! However, it works with toddlers, too.
Similar to how we potty trained Scout—taking him out every hour so to give him every opportunity to not go in the apartment, watching his every move for a few days, and then rewarding when he did what he was supposed to do. We had been barricading, padding, and clearing out parts of our living room when Grace was crawling and learning to walk, but once she was a stable walker, I decided to start to integrate our things back in, and teach her to be around them.
At first, it was a daily thing—no touching, G, just say hi! After a week, she got over the books and whatever else we store on the table. I had so many readers reach out to me when I was pregnant when this topic came up saying their parents had homes full of antiques, etc. and how they grew up learning to respect what was not theirs to play with.
I’ve always loved styling my home, so this is something that is important to me. To teach Grace young how to care for things in our space. She walks past vases of flowers now and will gently lean towards the vase just to smell the flower and then walk away. It takes a little time and patience, but if it’s important to you, it can happen.
What are the hardest and best parts of motherhood for you personally?
Best: I find myself in awe quite often, just looking at her. I feel like every two weeks she’s different, again. You see them everyday, but changes happen so fast. It’s hard to keep up! I love watching her blossom and her personality shine through. Also, I have this thought pop up all the time—we have a whole life ahead of us together! So much to look forward to. It’s just crazy, this is the beginning of a lifelong love and friendship. I feel so lucky.
Worst: I am just going to be brutally honest. Brutal, really, because it’s hard for me to think about this as I feel like it’s just recently behind me now. I wanted *so desperately to feel like myself again. And it just takes time. I will be gentler with myself the next time around. To be at ease and just surrender to the chaos is the way to go. I feel like I was trying to force myself back—like trying to push a square block through a round hole. The more friction, the less likely things will unfold as you hope. Just breathe, trust, and let go.
Time is fleeting, things will happen, but you must be patient.
What are you most looking forward to in toddlerhood and what are you the saddest about saying goodbye to in this first chapter?
Grace’s vocabulary is really good. She’s putting sentences together now, too. I love hearing her little voice! I so look forward to her expanding her vocab so we can get down to talking more! We call it “G Chat”. I also am so excited about this spring and summer. She is in awe of life right now and I know that she is going to lose her mind when she first gets to play in a pool. She loves being outside, a true summer baby, so I know it’s going to be so fun for her.
Saddest saying goodbye to those fleeting baby moments! Parenthood is wild and a lot of it in the beginning feels like survival mode. I think in my circumstance as well, I just had so much stuff I was dealing with—and it took me a long time to sort through it all. So, looking back—not like we didn’t savor her baby days—but sad that I didn’t have a clearer mind to really live in those moments with as much peaceful presence as possible. You only have a handful of months to experience your infant… so try to really enjoy it, even through the hard days!
How do you maintain who you are while also allowing motherhood to change you?
When you become a parent, time is different. You have to revaluate what is important to you. I asked myself recently, what do I really want right now—what do I want my life to look like. Before thinking about having a child, the answers looked very different. So, when you ask yourself these things, align your free time with the things that you want for yourself, the things that matter to you—so when you have the time you know where to invest it. Parenthood does change you, but you also must take care of yourself and nurture the excitement towards your curiosities in life!
Can you share the password to your birth story again?
Of course. Here is the post and the password is ‘havinggrace’. When I launched this, I was still feeling a little bit raw, so decided to password protect it.
How did you navigate child proofing when Grace started crawling / walking?
Oh my god, we used couch cushions, pillows, Matt bought this set… our house looked like Gymboree for the first year of Grace’s life. Our second kid is gonna have to figure something else out, because we got rid of the cushions and I don’t think I can do all that again, haha! By the time the next babe is here (hopefully), our fireplace will be gone, which is a main worry—and we will have a playroom. You just gotta get through!!!
Does Grace sleep well?
She has always been a really good night sleeper. She was doing 5 hours in the early days! She sleeps 11 hours on average at night now. Nap times have been a bit different, she is a really good napper at daycare (apparently the first to go down and the last to wake up….) but at home it’s been 40 min? She *just started to nap about the same times as daycare as of last week, though… so we will see. She is running and non-stop these days, so it makes sense to me she’d need that longer nap to recoup!
Something you wish you could have told yourself when Grace was born?
I feel like there are so many places you could go with this question, but I want to share one sentiment that I think is really important.
When you are with your child—fully present with no to-do lists circling your mind…things are just easier. Your time together is more special and meaningful. You are more patient and relaxed.
If you set expectations on yourself—chores that need to be done, or an email you’ve put off for too long—it’s easier to get overwhelmed or frustrated if they’re having a hard day. Nothing is more important than being with your child when you have that dedicated time together. Remove expectations and just enjoy it.
What gets you through the tough moments?
Besides the fact that the beautiful moments with your child *always outweigh the heavy ones—the reminder that life is too short always grounds me back to a state of calm and gratitude…
Also… taking care of myself! Working out, getting good rest, reading, doing things I love to do so that my cup never runs empty. xx