Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Brecklyn is 2 years old!

The baby of my babies - my adorable Brecklyn - is now two years old! She is an active, feisty little sweetheart, and I'm eager to share about her! There are so many characteristics that make Brecklyn special, so be warned that this post is looooooong!

Brecklyn is my average-sized girl. People often comment that she's small (and we catch ourselves saying that, too), but that's just because her twin sister is so big. Brecklyn wears size 18-24 month, 24 month, and 2T clothes, and size 6 shoe.

She weighs about 26 pounds (43rd percentile) and is 34 inches tall (55th percentile). This is four pounds less and 2.5 inches shorter than Brooke. However, she's about the same size as Brianna was at this age.

Brecklyn has worn a size 4 diaper most of the year, but we have recently potty trained both of the girls. My plan was to potty train Brooke first as I felt she was showing more signs of being ready. However, when I put Brooke in panties, Brecklyn had a fit to wear them, too. It took Brecklyn until about day 3 of the process to catch on, but when she did, that was that (in typical Brecklyn fashion!). After day 3, she has had far fewer accidents than Brooke.

First day in panties and SO excited!

We went through a phase with Brecklyn where she would take her diaper off. She even did this several times in her bed (making quite a mess!) Thankfully, we were able to break her of this after just a few weeks. One day after dinner, I went to take her tray off to clean her up, and found that she had undone her diaper. 

It's interesting to me that each of our children have a unique eye color. Brecklyn's eyes are a dark gray color, and she has the most beautiful eye lashes. Her eyes are big and round, and she knows just how to work us with them!

I don't feel like I have a photo that really captures her eye color well.

This is Brecklyn's signature "camera smile", haha. That scrunchy nose is just so cute!

Her sweet smile just melts us!

Everything about Brecklyn's physical makeup is dainty compared to her twin sister. She has long, thin fingers, long legs, and a more oval face shape. Even her hair is much thinner than Brooke's and also much straighter. She does have just a bit of curl on the end of her hair. 

Overall, Brecklyn is a healthy, thriving little lady. She does tend to get a cough fairly often, and she had pneumonia for the second time just over a month ago. 

We take all of the kids to our chiropractor once a month for adjustments. Brecklyn does great with this, and will even let Dr. Cory hold her for her adjustment sometimes! This is a big deal considering Brecklyn rarely lets anyone who is not Mom or Dad touch her. One day, she climbed up on the adjustment table like the big kids do, so he just adjusted her like that. She looked so big and it hurt my Momma heart a little!

All of our kids are pretty rough-and-tumble, but Brecklyn seems to always have the marks to prove it! 
Brecklyn's first black eye (17 months old)

She constantly has scratches or mark on her face. In this photo, she has a scratch on her cheek from falling in the yard, an older scab on her nose from falling in the house, and a new scratch down her nose from Brooke pushing her off of a toy. 

The twins went through a phase just after they turned one where they were biting each other a lot. For a while, we had an incident almost every day! I've heard a lot in twin circles that it's common for one twin to dominate the other twin resulting in frequent biting or other forms of violence. With my girls, it's pretty much equal. They both have their days where they are the more aggressive one, and this was certainly true with the biting! 

Brooke's bite mark on Brecklyn

Brecklyn's bite mark on Brooke (this was especially bad since it was right on her face)

Brecklyn can be a great eater, but - just like everything with Brecklyn - it really depends on her mood. She sits in a space-saver high chair with a tray, but we will soon drop the tray and push her up to the table. We serve her what we're eating for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She does eat a wide variety of foods, and some of her favorites include chicken, cheese, pasta, apples, grapes, oranges, green beans, crackers, spaghetti, and raisins. She also loves bean burritos.

She always insists on feeding herself and has since she could sit at the table and hold her own spoon. If we try to feed her something, she will almost always refuse and will often cry and be mad about it.

As you can see, Brecklyn is a MESSY eater. She likes to play in her food as much as eat it, I think!

Brecklyn is very slow-to-warm, especially with people. There are very few people that she allows to hold her even after she warms up a bit. She is a Momma's girl, for sure, and is often attached to my hip when we're out and about. 

She certainly gets excited to see Daddy after work every day, but she generally doesn't have a strong preference for one of us over the other. 

Brianna is always wanting to pick the little girls up, carry them around, and treat them like they are her babies. Brecklyn will sometimes play along with this game, but not for long! She might let Brianna pick her up for a bit, but she will quickly want down to go do her own thing. 

Brecklyn and Brenson are a similar in personality, so they tend to get along well. Once in a while, she will briefly want to snuggle or sit with Bren. He's a great big brother, and will usually let her until the notion passes :-). 

Pretty much the only other person Brecklyn will consistently go to and let hold her is Grampy. She loves her Grampy!

Sometimes, I feel bad because others want to hold her, snuggle her, kiss on her, etc, but she just will not have it. Even with us, she's not one to snuggle much or really like to be held when we're just hanging out at home. She rarely lets me rock her to sleep and does not want to be held while she's sleeping. If she's not feeling well, she may let me snuggle her a bit, but even then it's pretty short-lived. I soak it up if she's in the mood, though!

Even though Brecklyn isn't one to really enjoy physical touch, she does want to be right where I am most of the time. Whatever I may be doing, I can often look down and see Brecklyn camped out not far away. If I'm sitting on the couch, she will almost always grab some toys or books and come sit right beside me . . . not touching, but close!

Editing photos one evening with Brecklyn by my side

Playing right beside me as I load the dishwasher

Brecklyn can also be very affectionate, especially with kisses! She gives the sweetest kisses, and loves to kiss us over and over again. 

Daddy was trying to help Mommy with putting up some Christmas decorations, but Brecklyn couldn't resist giving kisses!

Brecklyn is our on-the-go girl. She runs just about everywhere she goes and rarely sits still. I love to hear her little feet pitter-pattering across the house as she runs from one room to another. She doesn't necessarily have a knack for finding mischief like Brooke does, but she's active all the time. 

Even when she was barely walking, she was trying to RUN.

We keep a fairly solid schedule with eating and sleeping for our kids, and thankfully Brecklyn is a fantastic sleeper! I contribute this partially to the fact that she's always so active. She goes to bed at about 8:00pm each night and wakes around 6:30am. She is an early riser, so sometimes it's a little earlier than this. We generally just let her play in her crib until we're ready to get her up if it's too early, and she will play contentedly for up to thirty minutes.

Brecklyn has learned to sleep through Brooke's nighttime crying and carrying on for the most part (thankfully!) She is great to rarely wake in the night. 

Just like Brooke, Brecklyn likes having lots of stuffed animals and dolls in her bed. Her "must haves" include Roxy (her Beanie Boo raccoon) and her glow worm. 

She always wakes with a smile on her face and ready to start the day!

Sometimes, she will fall asleep in the car if it's around nap time. I don't worry about this too much though, because Brecklyn is a girl that wants to get her nap out. If she falls asleep in the car, she'll almost always transfer to her bed to finish her nap. This is SO nice for me! 

One of the very rare times she let me hold her while she slept

Brecklyn likes to tease us by pretend sleeping. Sometimes in the car, I'll ask the big kids if Brecklyn is awake, and she'll almost always close her eyes and fake sleep when she hears me :-). 

Bath time is something that Brecklyn generally really enjoys . . . until she doesn't, haha. She is very black and white about things, and if one thing goes differently than how she thinks it should, it can be a crisis in Brecklyn's world. For the most part, we see smiles from her during bath time, though!

As I mentioned above, Brecklyn is very black-and-white about things. She has strong opinions regarding what she does and does not want to do, and she can go from perfectly happy to throwing a tantrum in a second. None of our other children have quite been tantrum throwers like Brecklyn is, and it can get wearisome, for sure. Her tantrums usually come complete with stomping, screaming, crying, pounding, and sometimes even throwing herself on the ground. Sigh. 

If anything doesn't go quite like Brecklyn thinks it should - big or {seemingly} small - her first response is to cry. If a sibling takes a toy, she cries. If she doesn't want to put her shoes on, she cries. If she's frustrated by an activity, she cries. If she wants to do it herself, she cries. 

If she just feels like crying, she cries.

Brecklyn has always been our girl who cries a lot. She has actually gotten much better in many ways (and we've learned to get creative with our discipline to find what works to diffuse her), and we hope that she'll continue to learn to communicate her feelings and cope with the things that don't please her. One thing that I think contributes to her tendency to cry about everything right now is that she doesn't talk much. She is headstrong and does things in her own time. So far, talking isn't something that she's decided she cares to do. Until recently, she would almost never try to repeat words after us. This has gotten better in the past few months, but she will sometimes dig her heels in about saying "please", "thank you", and "sorry". She can say the names of everyone in our family and of her beloved stuffed animals, as well as a few other things like "no", "eat", "milk", "drink", "Bible", "doggy", and "mine". She is beginning to put two or three words together, but not too often. I have worried a little about her lack of speech, but then she'll pop out with something (like the other day, she told Brooke to "stop it!" as clear as day). I think she'll talk when she decides it's necessary. 

She and Brooke do have a little language they use with each other that the rest of us don't understand. It's so cute (and interesting!) to watch them communicate!

Another trait that contributes to Brecklyn's tantrum throwing is that she's very particular about how things should be. She likes order. She likes her routine and her schedule. She will become engrossed in an activity, then get really upset if she is interrupted or disrupted by something. 

She received these colored dishes as a Christmas gift and loves to sort them according to color (she did this completely on her own). When Brooke comes along and rearranges them, it sends Brecklyn into a tailspin. 

One morning, Brecklyn found all the shoes that had been left out the night before and lined them up in a row. 

Brecklyn grabbed a book to read one afternoon while we were waiting to be called back at the Chiropractor's office, but was so hung up on this page being ripped that she never turned past it. 

She enjoys helping in the kitchen, but the muffin cups must be just so

I sometimes refer to Brecklyn as our "little feisty pants". As I said above, she's headstrong and knows what she does and does not want to do. She kind of marches to the beat of her own drum and is content to do so. We pray often that we will be able to help Brecklyn channel these traits in a positive way, because she can be unstoppable! 

She can be such a determined little girl! One day, she was determined that we were not going to take her picture (she doesn't like our big camera . . . never has). 

Finally, we convinced her to look at the camera, but this is the look she gave us, haha! She had no time for this foolishness!

We have many days where she doesn't want to be interrupted with picture taking. She's gotten much better about this overall, but there are still times that she has no use for it.

Sometimes, her look says it all. *shaking my head*

While Brecklyn definitely has her moments, it's certainly not tears and tantrums all the time with our sweetie. I think she's a girl who just feels extreme emotions because she can also be one to get super excited and giggly. Her excitement is contagious, and her giggle is the sweetest sound!

She is very observant and likes to take things in. 

She loves to share her discoveries with us . . . whether that's by pointing or putting something right in our faces or taking our hand and leading us somewhere. 

Just like her siblings, Brecklyn loves to read. She is great to sit for a few books at a time, but after about three she is ready to go do her own thing. She will sit and read independently for longer periods of time. 

Brecklyn (in teal) in the Book Nook with Brooke

Brecklyn (in hearts) reading on my bed with Brooke

Brecklyn (in lavender) sitting on the bottom step reading with Brooke

Brecklyn (left) reading with Brooke

Brecklyn (left) being read to by Meme

Brecklyn (right) being read to by G-Jo

Brecklyn (left) being read to by Brenson

Back when Brecklyn was still a baby, Brenson nicknamed her "Baby Ripper" because she would constantly tear up any kind of paper she came in contact with . . . including books. We have two copies of the book in the photo below. I caught her trying to rip one copy one day, so I took it away. A few days later, I put it back on their bookshelf only to catch her trying to rip it again. It was only an hour or so after taking it away from her again that I caught her like this with the other copy :-(. Thankfully, she has mostly outgrown this. 

Library story time is a favorite weekly outing. Brecklyn loves to groove to the music!

Along with reading, Brecklyn loves to do puzzles. Puzzles are probably her favorite thing to do as far as still and quiet type activities go. She is fast and efficient with her puzzles, and has even started to do ones that are a little more difficult. 

This is her "look what I just did!" face :-).

She loves her name puzzle and can put it together in seconds both upright and upside down. 

Brecklyn also enjoys coloring, 

painting with watercolors, 

and Play-Doh!

It's difficult to know what sort of learning milestones Brecklyn has achieved. If I try to ask her any type of questions or get her to say letters, count, sing her ABCs, work on colors, etc, she's not cooperative at all. However, she will pop out with things on her own when she feels like it. As frustrating as this is for me, I continue to work with her and teach her because I know she is retaining. Just the other day, she pointed to a letter A and a letter O and named them both correctly. Also, we were playing a game the other night, and Chris told her to grab the "yellow one". She picked the correct object with no hesitation.

Brecklyn can point out many body parts and loves to make animal sounds when asked, "What does the . . . say?" She can follow instructions well (she loves to help by throwing things in the trash) and is great to help pick up toys when asked. She certainly has no problems understanding language. 

We have recently moved the girls to the two and three year old Bible class at church. This hasn't been the easiest transition for Brecklyn, but I think she really likes her new class. For months, she would cry for just a minute when we would take her to her cradle roll class, but she outgrew that toward the end of the summer. I taught that class on Sundays, and sometimes she would even cry for me! She has cried once or twice with her new class, but the last few weeks have been better. I teach the two and three year olds on Wednesday, and I have been having trouble getting Brecklyn to participate. I worried that maybe she just wasn't ready for the older class, but last week she popped out with a few answers during class that surprised me. I didn't think she had been listening that much :-).

Dressing up in winter clothes for one of the cradle roll units was always a big hit!

Speaking of dress up, Brecklyn loves to dress up at home. She especially loves wearing hats and backpacks!

Looking cute in Bren's bike helmet

Trying the fire hat on for size

Looking sweet in Bren's ball cap

Again with the fire helmet . . . :-)

She has her own backpack, but Brianna's is much more fun!

It's almost as big as she is, but that doesn't stop her. 

She also likes to wear other peoples' shoes.

Sporting Brianna's tennis shoes,

Bren's play shoes, 

Brianna's boots,

and even plastic baggies on her feet! Lol. 

And, sometimes, a girl just needs some good accessories. 

Wearing Brianna's scarf

Being silly in Brianna's play glasses 

Looking fierce in Bren's superhero mask

And, even trying his shorts on for size

Another special little thing about Brecklyn is that she absolutely loves animals. Her excitement level when she sees an animal is over the top! She will often just screech out of sheer delight when we see an animal, and this includes stuffed animals, too. Brecklyn adores her stuffed animals (much like Brenson), and will shower them with love and affection. 

She was elated when she opened a new stuffed animal for Christmas. 

She immediately hugged it and started kissing it!

She was pouting in the photos below, but you can just see how Bren's stuffed dog brightened her up.

A stuffie to hold makes it all better. 

Breckyn is very sensitive to others crying or being upset and can often be found bringing Brooke a stuffed animal to hold if she's sad. It's such a sweet thing!

In Brooke's post, I talked about how she has knack for finding mischief. Brecklyn isn't so much like that, but she will sometimes follow her sister into trouble. 

These two can make a mess in a hot second!

I'm not completely sure who instigated this disaster, but I was not happy. 

Brecklyn obviously followed Brooke up the side of the banister. 

As often as not though, Brecklyn will hang back a little and just watch what Brooke is up to. When Brooke got herself stuck in the dresser drawer, Brecklyn came running to get me and let me know what was going on (I was loading the dishwasher). 

And, when Brooke got into the sticky mouse trap mess, Brecklyn came running up to me first saying, "Momma! Momma!" Then, she kept looking at Brooke like, "Sister . . . what have you done?" Haha.

That's not to say that Brecklyn never finds trouble of her own because that's certainly not true. 

One day, she decided to redecorate the bathroom in toothpaste. It was such a mess!

She didn't mind though . . . she was having herself a little snack!

She has also been known to push an object over to the cabinets to help her reach something,

or sit in a laundry basket of clean clothes, 

or climb into the toy box then cry because she couldn't get out, 

or climb up a step ladder to see the world from another perspective. 

These few photos pretty much sum up Brecklyn's climbing adventures, so obviously very mild compared her twin sister. 

Other things Brecklyn likes to do include:

Playing with hair (but not having her hair played with), 

playing with Snap-n-Style dolls and Minnie Mouse Boutique dolls, 

pretend ironing or cleaning, 

playing in the laundry basket

or just a plain old box, 

riding on her play car, 

building with blocks and Legos, 

cooking and serving food in the play kitchen,

and climbing into tight spaces (and getting stuck!)

Brecklyn also really enjoys playing outside. 

She loves to just run in the yard,

or ride on/in Bren's car.

If there's water involved, that's all the better!

The splash pad was one her favorite places to go this past summer.

She's definitely not afraid to get a little dirty!

She loves playing in our playhouse,

swinging on our swing set, 

going down the slide, 

and especially chasing bubbles in the yard. 

A few more things about Brecklyn:

She can be a cautious or a little reserved about things, but if she sees Brooke do something then she is easier to convince that it's okay. She adores her LeapFrog Violet dog who sings, says her name, and talks to her. She plays with her constantly in the car. Mickey Mouse, the Paw Patrol pups, and Elmo are her favorite characters. Names she will answer to include Brecks, Breckie, Breckie-Boo-Boo, Sarah, Sares, and Faithy-girl. 

Even at home with just our family, she will sometimes get shy if we're all looking at her and tuck her head or hide her face. She HATES having her teeth brushed. When she wears pretty dresses, she struts a little. She almost always takes off her shoes and socks when we're in the car, and no amount of discipline has stopped her yet. When I ask her how old she is, she will say, "Two", and do her best to hold up two fingers. She loves riding on her Daddy's shoulders and will kiss his head over and over again while she's up there. 

Happy 2nd birthday to our beautiful, feisty, loving, tenacious, intense, sweet Brecklyn! You are a delightful piece to our family, and we thank God for blessing us with you!

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