Yet another month has gone by: Our beauty turned 16 months old yesterday. Wow… Just WOW! Time, slow down!
Sofia is growing into a beautiful little toddler. She loves to observe and discover. I can almost hear thoughts going through her mind: ‘How does this lock work?.. Can I climb there?.. What if I try to pull on this?..’ Ahhh… We are never bored!
At 16 months, Sofia is super active. She loves to dance to any music or even simple clapping, to walk/run around, to carry her heaviest and bulkiest toys. In addition, Sofia is always looking forward to her swimming classes. She even tries to put on her swimming cap on her own!
Our baby girl loves ‘coloring’ with crayons and doodling on her board. She’ll even come up to one of us, let us hold the doodle board while she is creating yet another artwork. Sometimes we wonder if she is left-handed because one day it looks like she has a preference, but then other days she uses both of her hands. I guess, it’s too early to tell and time will show.
Love for books has never faded away. Now Sofia chooses her book, gives it to me or Justin and then backs up to sit on our lap. *It’s actually super cute and funny!*
Last week she started showing affection. I mean, Sofia has always been affectionate. I love getting her hugs and she still bows her head to get a kiss when I say, ‘Kiss?’ However, several days ago, she picked up her baby doll, hugged and kissed her. Our hearts melted as we saw her do it! There was even a sound effect as she kissed the doll, which made it so much more adorable.
What else is new? There is one more tooth! It’s a top left 3rd or 4th tooth. I can’t tell yet because it’s kind of far from her middle teeth. I started ‘brushing’ her teeth with my finger just to get her used to a teeth cleaning routine and Sofia seems to love it. There are plenty of giggles as we do it. But don’t be fooled! It’s a super dangerous endeavor, my little trickster loves to bite on my finger with all her might… Let me tell you, it’s very hard to restrain myself from screaming in pain.
We are still very lucky with her sleeping habits. Sofia generally naps twice a day: about 30 minutes in the morning and 1-1.5 hours around noon. She has been falling asleep at around 7.30-8 pm for the past 6 months and waking up around 6-6.30 am.
We also couldn’t be happier about our daughter’s appetite. She eats very well at home and at the daycare. Her favourite foods at the moment are: pasta, bread, ice cream, yogurt and tangerines, but then again, Sofia eats pretty much everything.
I don’t think there have been any new words, but I am not worried. There are at least 2 languages (English and French) on a daily basis, plus Ukrainian and Italian occasionally. It’s a lot to take in, so we are very patient. Not to forget, Sofia is super expressive with her gestures and nodding a ‘no’ with her head. We understand each other!
I apologize I fell off the grid yet again, but our life has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride since July. But this doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any highs along those lows: I turned 30 *Yes, 30ies rock or so I tell myself lol!*, I ran my first half-marathon *a post soon to come* and even registered myself for a full marathon next year! *Yeah!*
And I can’t fully comprehend this yet *and I doubt I ever will*, but our little bunny is 15 months old today! I thank God every single day for having Sofia in our lives. Justin and I are totally smitten with her. She is our bright ray of sunshine that never ceases to make us smile.
14 months old
This was a big month for our baby girl! Sofia now measures 72 cm and weighs 9 kg. She’s got her first 2 bottom teeth + 1 top right. To celebrate the occasion and to test out newly acquired teeth, she made sure to taste lots of new foods such as a cucumber, shrimp, ice cream and honeydew (NOT all at the same time lol). Nonno’s pasta is also a big hit!
Our little rebel loves to climb absolutely anything! Parents bought a pack of toilet paper? Bring it on!
Sofia’s hair also got much longer. I even managed to do 2 little ponytails for my princess!
By the way, when I said that she likes to climb things, I really meant it! Sofia also likes seeing if she fits into things like this basket for her toys or a much smaller box for her books.
Family shots are always fun. She is a great poser. I love looking through all pictures we take, her facial expressions are priceless.
Sofia is also a great secret keeper. Look at that mischievous smile! Her face screams, ‘We’ve got you, mommy!’
She started imitating us, too! She’s all business with her daddy’s cellphone.
And as they say, work hard play hard… Sofia’s got that! Always in the center of action!
15 months old
Over the past month, Sofia has got yet another tooth: top left! Now she has 2 top and 2 bottom teeth just in time for apple season. Not only she can bite into those apples *which she totally LOVES*, our baby doll can walk on her own, too.
Our Miss Independent took her first 7 steps when Justin was picking her up from a daycare *I made sure to clarify that she hadn’t done this before with the educator the following day. Haha!*. I’m so happy that at least one of us was able to witness this big and important event + I’ve got to see it all at home!
In terms of talking, Sofia doesn’t say many proper words (yet, she is very expressive and can convey what it is exactly that she wants), but she started referring to any dog she sees as ‘De-lla’ after our Bella.
I can see how much my little girl has grown up because she started expressing her desire to hold a spoon on her own. I guess it’s all the Ukrainian and Italian food her grandparents are spoiling Sofia with is to her liking and she can’t wait to dig into it! Some of her favorite foods at the moment are: bread, honeydew, apple, pasta, yogurt, grandpa’s cakes, and grandma’s Ukrainian salad ‘Olivier’.
I know we are raising a very loving baby because Sofia is my biggest cheerleader! She gave me the best hug after I was done with my first half-marathon. On a side note, I think she’ll want to have one of her own medals soon because I’ve once spotted her walking around the house with my medal on her neck!
Sofia is a very active and curious baby. Honestly, she never sits unless she is tired and ready to sleep. I love this about her, her desire to learn and discover new things!
Even though Sofia is not a big baby, it doesn’t make her weak. Our love bug is actually super strong. She likes to pick up things and carry them wherever, be it my purse or a large toy. I was super happy she didn’t think of moving one of those big pumpkins as I was taking this picture of her!!!
Additionally, I am very proud to report that Sofia has already participated in her first 5 km race in a stroller to show support to her Nonna, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and all other women affected by this horrible disease. She was a great sport and wasn’t afraid of all other runners even a bit.
And here is some wisdom I’ve learned from our precious girl:
Cold doesn’t make ice cream any less desirable or delicious… Go for it!
Having 4 teeth is definitely more convenient than having none. Be happy with what you have!
Exploring new places is always exciting. Be curious!
Multitasking is fun but sometimes you need to focus on one thing at a time to truly learn something new. You just need to make sure to sit on your other toy, so it doesn’t run away from you.
Driving IS for little girls. Don’t be afraid if you hit a dead end, there is a way out of it.
Sometimes you need to walk up the slide to make sure that nobody else takes over it. Take advantage of all opportunities.
And most importantly, never fail to have a good laugh. You deserve it!
This week the night sky became brighter. Heaven got another guardian Angel, my beloved grandma…
It is sooo hard to lose people we love, and even harder when they are thousands of kilometers away. When you don’t even get a chance to say a proper goodbye…
But today I would like to celebrate my grandmother, one of the strongest women I’ve ever known and ever will. I refuse to remember her being fragile. I refuse to remember what three strokes did to her. I choose to remember my grandmother as a strong, beautiful and independent woman full of life that she was.
If you ask me what comes to my mind first when I think about her is her cooking. I can still recall the smell of her creations: pyrogies, pies, pyrizhky… You name it. She could make it all and it was delicious! She made salad wraps even before they became cool, just an FYI.
I remember her gentle hands despite the hard work she had done. She loved working in her garden. She planted everything from vegetables and fruits to berries and beautiful flowers. It was always such a treat to step into her world and pick whatever my heart desired or even climb a cherry tree or read a book in the shadow of its leaves.
She was a great singer. My grandmother was a part of a university chorus during her student years. People she met there became her lifelong friends that she kept on visiting every year until her health permitted. As a matter of fact, she even had videos made of her singing for my wedding that she couldn’t attend. It was her passion. I can still hear her powerful voice that always invited everyone to sing along…
My grandma was an early riser: she would be up long before dawn. She loved being on the go. My brightest memories are the ones of us swimming or playing badminton together. Our badminton matches lasted forever. You know, we just had that synergy thing going. Oh, and dancing! She loved to dance with me during cool summer nights to the music playing at the central square in Chernihiv.
We regularly went for walks at a big park right near her house. My grandma always let me climb the old canons there, and I thought it was soo cool.
She loved going to watch plays at the local opera. I remember us waiting in the hallways and me being mesmerized by pictures of actors. To me they looked like superstars, so dreamy and put together… We went to a children’s theater, too. I can’t recall any of the performances in specific, just the feeling of being completely and utterly elated. Way to spark up a child’s curiosity and creativity!
My grandma was, is and will always be an undeniable part of my identity as a grown woman. I am so grateful that she had a chance to meet Justin and see Sofia, even if only on Skype… But for now, I have to say goodbye… Please, hug grandpa for me and watch over us and Sofia…
Another month has gone by in the blink of an eye, and our little peanut turned 13 months old today.
First tricycle ride
One of the big achievements this month was getting over the fear of balloons. *LOL!* Even though it was an important accomplishment, Sofia has reached even bigger milestones.
My favourite tippy toes
A few days ago Sofia was able to make a few steps on her own while trying to get to me from Justin. Both of us were astonished! Lately we’ve been noticing more and more her standing without any support. Our little daredevil will be walking on her own in no time!
Look how excited she is!!!
Other than that Sofia looooves walking *more like, running!* while holding on to her Minnie car. Climbing stairs, or pretty much anything for that matter, is another hobby of hers. Maybe it’s a different kind of a cardio exercise for parents when your heart litterally stops and then starts beating extremely fast from fear. *Just kidding! It would make sense though, right?!*
Ready to do some splashing around!
Another big milestone was growing first two bottom teeth. So ‘no more’ to a toothless smile around here, and ‘hell yeah!’ to nibbling on a slice of honeydew!
Our vocabulary has improved a bit too. Now Sofia can say ‘ma-ma’, ‘da-da’, ‘boobay’, ‘nomnomnom’ and various syllables like ‘beh’, ‘meh’, ‘dee’,etc.
Some of Sofia’s various activities are dancing to favourite tunes, doing ‘nice-nice’ to Bella, turning on and off the light, splashing in a bathtub, doing peek-a-boo.
Our baby girl also likes to play with her toy car track and a kitchen set, as well as to put balls into a small opening in a toy basket.
Did I just hear someone say ‘ice-cream’?!
And the very last but definitely not least: ICE-CREAM! Should I say any more? 🙂
It’s been a little over a week since our little princess turned one.
As a first-time mom (not sure it will be any different in the future though), it was an emotional day for me. I was very happy, yet nostalgic.
This year went by waaaay too fast. It feels like it was yesterday when Justin brought Sofia to my face so I could see her and kiss her for the first time as doctors were stitching me up. I still tear up at the thought of hearing her cry for the first time and not being able to see her for a couple of minutes because of the screen. I remember how she stopped crying the very same moment she was reunited with me. She was so tiny and wrinkly and I was in love.
Sofia has grown so much! And so did our love for her. She is our perfect little girl and we couldn’t be any prouder. She now weighs 19.5 pounds and is about 71 cm tall.
Educators at the daycare don’t stop telling us how independent Sofia is. She is always on the move, touching things, exploring the world around her. She likes to spend more and more time standing up and to walk around the room while holding on to furniture, walls, doors. Sometimes she lets go without realizing it and stands on her own for several seconds. I’ve learnt to keep my excitement in not to scare her off.
Sofia likes to play peek-a-boo among other games.
Sofia loves eating cut up fruits and berries, and cheese… She’ll eat cheese anytime! And if she likes you, she’ll even share!
I still breastfeed her, and I’m loving every single moment of it!
For her first birthday party theme we went with Minnie. She had a blast, and so did we. And I’d like to share with you some memories of her special day. ENJOY!
Guys, I refuse to believe it: My little princess is turning 1 year old this week! Where did the time fly? I mean, it’s insane!
Today I’d like to reminisce about the past 2 months and share with you some of her milestones.
10 Months Old
The day Sofia turned 10 months old was a very significant day for her and our family as a whole: It was her first day at a daycare. She was supposed to start a month later, but since I made a decision to go back to work from a maternity leave sooner than expected because I got an amazing opportunity with my company.
Dropping her off for the first time was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.I had a big lump in my throat. Thankfully, Sofia integrated really well pretty much from the get go and it made the process so much easier for me as well.
At 10 months, Sofia loves to climb absolutely everything, especially the stairs, and step on her tippy toes the heater to look out the window.
Clicking buttons of a musical center and pulling out books is another fascination of hers.
Sofia started to show her dancing skills. Watching her bounce and shuffle to songs is incredibly funny. I can tell she’s listening to lyrics too, because she’ll wave ‘hello’ and ‘bye-bye’ when she’s supposed to.
Sofia can already eat finger food. She enjoys eating grapes and rusks, and pretty much all fruits. She can drink through a straw from her sippy cup and says ‘da-da-da-da-da’ non-stop.
Our baby girl loves to spend time outdoors: going on the swing and looking out of her stroller are definitely at the top of her list.
11 Months Old
Sofia weighs 19 pounds. Can say ‘ma-ma’ and ‘da-da’. She started saying ‘da-da’ about a week before saying ‘ma-ma’.
Hearing her say ‘ma-ma’ was so special and precious because my mom got to witness this with me. My heart melts to even simply think about that day…
At 11 months, Sofia got over some of her fears: She is no longer afraid to go down the slide or to touch the grass. She loves playing ball with Bella and has fun pulling on toilet paper when mommy’s not looking.
Sofia is an independent little girl. Occasionally, she can even stand on her own without any support for several seconds. Also, walking while holding on to couches, walls and chairs brought house exploration to a whole new level!
At the daycare educators are fascinated about how calm she is, always keeping herself busy roaming around and making new friends. Of course… PFFFF… Sofia’s our daughter, no wonder! *wink, wink*
Food-wise, the new favourite snack is cheese! Eating cheese, berries and fruit on her own is exciting and… messy! Oh well, Bella doesn’t mind picking up stuff off the floor, so I guess at the end of the day everyone is happy!
If you’ve missed previous check-in’s, here they are:
Last weekend I had a brunch with a great friend of mine. We had a very interesting conversation. It had to do with what we are passionate about.
Before I had Sofia, I was really apprehensive about being on maternity leave for almost a year. I loved being surrounded by people, so the thought of being home all this time kind of scared me.
Fast forward 9 months. I’m loving it. Of course, I LOVE spending time with my daughter and seeing her grow. But what’s even more, I feel like I’ve never been so comfortable with myself. I’ve learned so much about myself.
This may sound selfish, but I really don’t think it is. We are normally so caught up with work, groceries, this and that, that we barely spend any time to think and reflect about who we are and what it is that truly makes us happy. Yes, it may seem pointless, but it is a truly rewarding process.
By knowing yourself better, you will be happier. When you are happy, your happiness passes onto others. It is the best gift you can give to yourself and others.
Yet… I can’t believe that our little chunky monkey turned 9 months old last week!
Over the past month Sofia has learned a lot! Now she crawls on all four as opposed to sliding on her stomach. Honestly, it’s the cutest thing! She knows her way around the house, so she moves ahead with determination. *If you know what I mean.*
She stands up everywhere. And I mean, EVERYWHERE! The most favourite place at the moment is my bookshelf. Sofia is fascinated by my books, and they MUST be pulled out if possible! *That’s how I know that she’s a mommy’s girl! Haha!* Also, our baby girl enjoys to walk with our help. I wouldn’t be surprised if she soon starts walking on her own.
And everything has to pass the taste test!
The funniest thing is when Sofia is in her stroller or on a swing *another favourite place to be*, she loves to hold on to it with one hand. Imagine you’re driving your car and stick one hand out. That’s how it looks! Too cute for words!
Obviously, she does a bunch of cute things like waving ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’, doing ‘high five’ and clapping her hands. We are head over heels in love with her!
Sofia now ways 17.8 pounds and measures 72 cm. That’s a lot of happiness right there!
If you’ve missed previous check-in’s, here they are:
This post is so long overdue! Sofia and I did the Mother and Baby dance class from October to December last year. We started it just a couple of weeks later after a baby yoga class. *Read more about it here.* Needless to say, it was a blast!
Surprisingly, I had never heard about this kind of class before. And I am eternally grateful to a friend of mine who simply sent me a message to see if I would be interested to check it out. It didn’t take much convincing. I watched a video online and I was sold. This is the exact reason why I wanted to dedicate a post to this baby class. I wanted other moms to be aware of it. Not only it’s a great way for new moms and their babies to bond, but also have fun, relax, while socializing with others.
My instructor, Eryn Dace Trudell, was absolutely amazing. And even though I can’t call myself a great dancer, I felt right where I belong!
Sofia was only 10 weeks old when we started the class. She was really responsive to everything that was happening around her, especially at the beginning of the class when we snapped fingers and clapped to create our own ‘music’. In addition, she enjoyed being in my arms as we danced around and moved past other babies in a class. In the second part of the class, we put our babies in carriers. Sofia was asleep within the first few minutes, while I focused on learning new dancing styles and techniques.
I asked Eryn if she would do an interview with me because I wanted you, my dear readers, to get the most information out of it. And she kindly agreed.
Go-to music: For classes I use: Snatam Kaur, Oka, John Hughes, Ali Farka Favourite dance style: Contact Improvisation, Skinner Release Technique (of which I am a certified facilitator) Dancing tip: Breathe and let go
Eryn, could you tell us more about yourself and your fitness background?
I have a BFA from The Juilliard School, and so my original training is in classical ballet and modern dance. Since studying these classical forms, I began exploring new dance and post-modern dance techniques. I love the somatic approaches such as Alexander Technique, Body Mind Centering , Feldenkrais and all their developments. I am a certified facilitator of Skinner Releasing Technique and a practitioner of Contact Improvisation.
How did you come up with the idea of a Mother and Baby dance class?
I had the privilege of witnessing a professional dancer trying to present at a choreographic workshop while her child tried to upstage her. It was the most beautifully authentic dance I ever saw. She eventually brought the child on stage with her to continue the presentation.
As necessity is the mother of invention, when I became a single mother in 2006, MamaDances was the solution to finding a way to support my little family by applying my skills and experience. Sensitive to competition I wanted to create work for myself that would offer a complementary revenue source and demographic to the profession of dance.
Could you walk my readers through your everyday class? What can people who attend it expect?
We begin with rhythm and socialization studies to loosen up the intimidation factor and get to know each other. Next we do a floor warm-up including lower back release and abdominal strengthening. On the first day we move with our babies in our arms within a study called “ Soft feet”. Technically, we are learning to let go of holding patterns in the knees and the feet to allow fluidity to come into the body through the contact and dialogue from the floor through the skeletal structure to the head. The principal being taught is the idea of letting go into the direction of movement. This creates availability and a state of readiness to respond with suppleness. This exercise seems very simple but there is a lot going on.
What impact does music and dance have on a child’s development?
I am not specialized in this area of knowledge. I have no academic background in child development. In fact I am only beginning to embark on this area of research now. I only know from experience that the babies enjoy it. My own children who have been exposed to a musical and movement environment are very tuned in musically. My oldest daughter now plays several instruments and my younger daughter has an amazing ability to replicate a tone and sing musical phrases.
Sofia and I really enjoyed dancing with you! Can you tell us more about the philosophy behind dance classes for babies and moms? What sets you apart from other baby classes out there?
When I began MamaDances in 2007, there were very few activities for mothers and babies. I had heard about Salsa Babies, but there was only one class being offered in Montreal that I could see. Mom and Baby Yoga was just beginning. Cardio-Pousette [cardio with a stroller] was happening at Parc Lafontaine. Since, then many activities have been introduced to the market, particularly things like Music classes.
MamaDances merges many of the concepts you will find in other classes, such as music and rhythm awareness, and stimulation for the babies. Plus , stretching and strengthening like in yoga and pilates. And then the fitness comes in, when we realize we have been moving non-stop for 60-80 minutes without even noticing. The material is integrated in a way that the movement of the moms and the babies becomes a synergy of expression and connection.
Can moms with no previous dance experience still have fun in your class?
Yes. All the material is prepared to be equally beneficial for those with or without experience. That is one of the biggest challenges of creating material for a class. There is a huge range of ability and experience in a class.
Do you teach any other classes apart from Mother-Baby class?
I teach Contact Improvisation and Skinner Releasing Technique. I also have a Parent and Child Program which is a development of the Mom and Baby program.
What are your goals for this coming year?
I have a lot of inquiries about this method from people in other parts of the world. I am hoping to create an online teachers training program and to begin sharing and expanding MamaDances globally.
Finally, any fun stories you’d be able to share with us? I am sure you had quite a few laughs with your members during the class.
The obvious is that we are putting one of the most aesthetic practices, dance, together with the most fundamental, maternity. The dance of eternity. I love it when a mother finds something that her baby really loves and the babies start laughing and so Mama starts laughing and then it’s all quite funny. We can’t take ourselves too seriously, yet here we are now responsible for another human being in the world. It’s a wonderful dichotomy.
Thank you very much for your time and an incredible, one of a kind, dancing experience with my daughter!
If you are a new mom in Montreal area, definitely check out MamaDances website to register or to get additional information: www.mamadances.com. If not, see if you have similar classes where you live. You’ll have the time of your life with your little plus one!
*You can read more about my postpartum fitness journey here.*
Have you tried a dance class with your baby? What was your experience?
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