All hail development! Someone has finally figured out the putting-things-inside-other-things game! It’s a nice change from the dumping-things-out game. I gave her an empty Kleenex box this morning, and she put her Fisher Price Little People inside it, one by one. Every time she dropped one in, she’d stand up and clap, looking at us so we’d clap too.
We have words, too! Some of them were one-shots, but in her regular rotation are up, down, meow, woof, moo, neigh, owl, whoo, bye-bye, hi, all done (“ah dahn,” said with a hand motion), peekaboo I see you (adorably rendered as “peeabooh, seeyoo”), banana (“‘nana”). Sometimes we get a very clear “thanks” or “taa ewe,” but it isn’t consistent yet. She said “kitty” very clearly when talking with her Nana, which was a surprise because we don’t use it (we say “cat” instead). And the other day, the surprise was “rass berr ees.” I’d asked her to come to her chair so she could eat her toast and raspberries, and she started walking toward me, her head down looking at whatever she was playing with in her hands, and she said it so casually and clearly. It’s so odd, hearing perfect words come out of tiny mouths you’re more accustomed to uttering babble and jargon and weird twisted pronunciations. My other favorite is “’gin,” her way of saying “noggin,” which is what we say when we gently bump foreheads (it’s from the Crush and Squirt scene in Finding Nemo).
She adores Gryffindor, who is so good with her. She can lie right on top of him and he just stretches out and purrs. She often gets too excited and starts bonking him with her fist or whatever she’s holding, but when we say, “No, no, gentle, softly,” she says, “Soh, soh” very seriously and pets him very carefully. Gryff gets lots of Owlet-cuddles, which she does by laying her cheek on him. That’s a very common way she shows love: she lays her cheek tenderly on a cat, a parent’s knee, a favourite book. She kisses things a lot, too.
She has a word or sound she says over and over: Bao, bao, bao. She lengthens it a bit, so it’s kind of like ba-aho. It sounds a bit like her “meow” word, but it’s a very different sound at the beginning. We’ve been trying to figure it out for ages. She doesn’t seem to be aiming it at anything in particular, and sometimes just wanders around saying it, so we thought that it was just a sound she liked. The other day HRH suggested that she was saying “book.” We’re still not entirely sure, but it’s very possible, seeing as how there are bookcases everywhere, so no matter where she is she can see books. It may also be bird. Who knows?
One of the awesome developmental things is how she can now follow directions. And not just one-step directions; directions that have several steps implicit in them. For example: “Where’s your spoon? Can you get your spoon?” She looks down into the pocket of her bib, sees the spoon, looks up at me to confirm that she has found it, then reaches into the pocket and pulls it out. And, “That’s Sparky’s toy. Can you find Sparky and give him his toy?” Watching her look down at the toy in her hands, turn it over and over, then look up and locate her brother, walk over to him, and push the toy at him is just incredible. (Then I have to gently remind Sparky that in order to reinforce what we’re teaching her, he needs to take it even if he doesn’t want it, and say thank you to her, too.)
We’ve been trying to get her to use utensils at supper, and while she’s very happy to hold a spoon, she’ll eat with the fingers of her free hand. The other day I bought a set of metal cutlery for her and showed her how to spear things with the fork. Suddenly it was so much easier! She very proudly ate a piece of penne she’d speared by herself that first night. We applauded her. She’s been so frustrated with the clumsy, thick, plastic spoons, because they just don’t pick up anything other than yogurt very effectively. Meals are generally a fun time, because she loves to eat. It’s fun to watch her attack a grilled cheese sandwich, which she usually peels apart first. She motions for a napkin or her damp washcloth when she’s done eating, and wipes her mouth and tries to wipe her hands.
Let’s see, what else does she do? She loves to drink cool tea from my mug, and alternates between sticking her fingers in then licking her hand like a cat, and tilting the whole mug up to slurp it. She has become much better at handling paper books, paging through them relatively handily. The pages do get creased or crumpled when she gets excited, but at least she doesn’t tear them out. She is mimicking how we touch pictures of things when we count, and counts on her own by striking her finger against the pages of her Pride & Prejudice board book. (Enough people have cooed over this idea that I am sharing the link with you. The whole series is fun.) All brushes are for hair, including clothes brushes and toothbrushes (even when they have toothpaste on them, ahem). She likes to push chairs around the kitchen.
The evil upper molars have finally appeared! They were huge, swollen lumps up top, no wonder she got cranky last month. The right came through first, followed by the left about a week later. She had a dreadful cold last month, too, her nose streaming thickly for about two weeks straight, all snorty and snuffly, waking up at night unable to breathe. The double whammy of teething and the cold dampened her usually sunny disposition.
We dress her in tights or leggings and jumpers over t-shirts, and she’s just the most adorable thing ever. Her soft curls around her ears and the base of her neck are killing. Her lovely blue eyes have greys and greens to them, like her dad’s. Her face has changed in the past month, slimming down and becoming even more like a little girl’s. She can just barely see above the top of the kitchen table now (uh-oh). She’s fearless; I am having to fend her fingers off while I cook, and that makes me nervous. She loves to duck between people’s legs, and the taller she gets the more awkward and hilarious this becomes. The other morning she opened the pantry on three separate occasions and helped herself to crackers, organic corn puffs, and fruit puff stars. Coincidentally, cupboard locks and other safety stuff was 25% off at Toys R Us. So off we went after lunch, and there was a minor meltdown. Apparently we have reached the age where we now understand that a toy store is full of toys, and we want all of them. (Yes, the pantry is now locked.)
She has taken to spinning slowly in place on locked legs, giggling as she makes herself dizzy. To dance, she shuffles in place, occasionally throwing in knee bends and bobs, or one of those stiff spins, sometimes holding her hands up by her shoulders with palms cupped toward the ceiling. The easiest way to get her to dance is to put on the Tangled soundtrack. As soon as she hears the opening guitar of “When Will My Life Begin?” she starts bobbing up and down and shuffling her feet with great concentration
The secondhand fitted diapers that we’ve been using for the past year are finally biting the dust, the cotton just wearing out and falling to pieces after being washed every two days. (And to be fair, Owlet is the third child they’ve been used for, so they have had very good return indeed.) So I scraped the money together and ordered fourteen pocket diapers. They’re cheap pockets, but we really needed them. I’ve never used pockets before—I’d discounted them from my options because they seemed so much less adaptable than prefolds or fitted and separate covers, since you have to wash the whole thing plus the insert every time—but by day two I was a total convert. They come out of the washing machine after a second spin practically dry, and only need an hour or so on the rack, which cuts down the amount of actual doublers/liners/stuffing things that go in the dryer by over half. I’m thrilled. I may order another set of fourteen, since I only paid just under $3 per diaper (yay, direct from manufacturer on eBay!). And as the pocket diapers are so much trimmer than the cotton fitteds or all-in-ones that are part of our rotation, she can go back to wearing size 2T pants (although the 4T jeans we picked up at the thrift store last week are handy when she does wear the AIOs.) I’ve had to sort through all her clothes again, and bring up the 2T fall clothes.
She is such a happy child. Along with this developmental leap her sunny, laughing nature returned. The teething and nasty cold are past; this level-up has been accomplished.