Willow the Toddler | Personal

Willow the Toddler

When I was thinking about what I could blog, I looked back on my schedule and realized I haven’t posted an update about Willow in forever! I’ve never been one to stick to a regular schedule with this, but she has grown immensely since the last time I talked about her - in fact, she was just a baby in my eyes when she was last featured on my blog! Today she is a full-fledged toddler, and only a few months away from turning 2, which seems absolutely impossible as I think back on the 5lb 14oz baby I held just moments ago…

There were flashes of Willow’s personality that we saw from the beginning. She has never been a snuggler, and she has always been happy being held or played with by (almost) anyone. Even when she was tiny she had never met a stranger, and all this continues to be true. Willow is the extrovert of all extroverts (wonder where she gets that from?!) and is fiercely independent. She would much rather go outside and play in the dirt than stay inside and read a book - in fact, I can barely remember the last time we made it through a simple board book without her squirming away. Every day when I bring her to the YMCA she runs in with a big smile straight to the slide. She adores everyone she meets, says hi to everyone she sees, and is pointing out all the dogs in the neighborhood.

Willow the Toddler

It’s strange for her to be verbal and communicative for the first time. I couldn’t possibly list all the words she can say right here, but she talks a lot and understands even more. I can give her pretty detailed instructions and she will do them…depending on her mood :) She prefers it when doors are shut, loves pointing out her bellybutton, and is in the very early stages of potty training. She will dance on command, climbs as much as she can, and is pretty fearless. She would much rather play with older kids but is obsessed with babies. Funny story - her baby cousin is named Anna, and while she knows the word for baby she assumes all of them are named Anna and calls them that, to the confusion of said baby’s parents. Maybe one day we’ll meet another Anna and it’ll seem like she’s psychic…But either way, her love for babies extends to dolls and she spends a ton of time taking care of her three ‘babies’ at home, rotating between naptime, feedings, diaper changes, and playing with them. It’s pretty hilarious and very adorable.

I’m really excited to say that her surgery last year was successful, and every checkup has given a further seal of approval and more hope for no future surgeries. She also had ear tubes put in and though they have since fallen out, we don’t think we’ll need to redo that procedure.

Willow is a healthy eater and has tons of favorite foods - tomatoes, bread, bananas, beans, peanut butter, chicken sausage, peas, and of course milk, which she constantly asks for. She has shown a little pickiness here and there but will generally eat what we put in front of her, even if she only makes it a few bites in. She has learned the important lesson that a visit to Costco or Trader Joe’s means ALL THE SAMPLES, and she will literally get excited when we pull into the parking lot.

Willow the Toddler

As far as challenges, we went through a rough patch for a few months. She was just….really whiny. And not sleeping well. And difficult. It’s a weird thing as a parent to love your kid immensely, and not enjoy being around them for stretches of time. There have been lots of tears shed (and not just by her!) and lots of prayers for her. Thankfully, the last few weeks have been a welcome relief and my happy, good-natured little girl is back. I’m hoping this season is here to stay for awhile!

Every day is a challenge and a gift - sometimes the balance tips one way or the other, but I am still in disbelief at how much she has grown in less than two years. When she learns new words, when she can do something new, it’s just a reminder of how precious her life is, and how perfect she is for our family. My prayers for her now are that she continues to grow in gentleness and patience, and that God prepares her for the journey ahead as we welcome foster kids into our home. Let the adventures continue!

Maria Grace Photography

My name is Maria, and I am a wedding and family photographer based out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, but I am always excited about traveling. I love families who truly enjoy spending time with each other and living life together. I love couples that are looking forward to their wedding day because they are so excited to finally be married to.