Owlet napped while we decorated the Christmas tree, and when she came out she stood there and gazed at it for a while. Then she took a deep breath, and said, “Wow!” I taught her how to lie under it and look up through the branches to see all the lights twinkling off the ornaments, and she and Sparky did that for a while together. She tried to reach out and touch an ornament with a finger, but I said, “No, we look with our eyes, not our fingers.” She put both hands behind her back and leaned forward as far as she could, as if she was trying to touch it with her nose instead of a finger, and repeated, “Wow,” very reverently. She put together her first word combo while looking at the tree later, too. “Purple ball,” she said, pointing into the branches at the single tiny purple bauble we have. I’d never even heard her say purple before. And a few days after Christmas she pointed at the top branches and said, “Buhd.” As we have about four birds in close proximity up there, we’re pretty sure that’s what she was saying.
Oh, the words. The words are tumbling out of her at a surprising rate. (Well, okay, it’s surprising to me because Sparky was atypically talking up a storm at ten months, remember.) Apart from “purple ball,” we had “purple bottle” (also unprompted, while looking at a book), “haus” (“Bye-bye, haus,” she said one day as we were heading out), and “awl” (her pronunciation of “owl”) has become “ah-wuh-ull.” She has become obsessed with pretending things are telephones, and holds random things up to her ear and says, “Haow, Dad-eh! Haow!” She can say “Ada,” and suddenly started saying “Papa” very clearly on New Year’s Day over at her grandparents’ house. She started saying “peese” and “ah! oo!” or “tans” voluntarily at the correct times (although she still needs prompting if she moves directly to stuffing whatever she’s asked for into her mouth), pointed to the moon in a new picture book and said “moon!”, and says “cookie” very clearly (sigh – fortunately, graham crackers are her cookies). And there are others that I am completely forgetting because I don’t write them down quickly enough and my mind goes blank when I sit down to write these posts. Physically, she’s getting better and better at controlling her body. She has started colouring reliably with crayons instead of eating them, and finally managed to stack two blocks carefully instead of banging the top one down on the bottom one and sending them both flying. Her use of forks and spoons is improving. She learned how to say “cheers!” and clink her glass, right in time for New Year’s Eve. She can now climb up on the living room chesterfield, the last seat she was having difficulty with.
One morning she was trying to yank open the child-locked pantry door and getting frustrated. HRH said, “Come away from there, you’ve already had your breakfast.” She wound up a whine, stopped; started a frustrated cry, stopped; made a grr sound; then stood there and looked at him, and said, ”Peeeeeese?” He opened the cupboard and gave her three goldfish crackers. She was very pleased with herself, and said “ah oo” when prompted.
There are still moments where she is all toddler, though. While waiting in line at a store before Christmas, she was saying, “eh, eh, eh” and making her little grabby-hand signal to get me to give her some more corn puffs. I prompted her for the please, I got a muffled “pss,” and gave her a couple of puffs. As I did, I said, “What do you say?” Her enthusiastic response was, “YAY!”
We’ve had a couple of toddler meltdowns these past couple of weeks, too. I think I’ve finally figured out the root of it. After not showing any desire to help, Owlet suddenly and out of the blue wants to hold everything and feed herself. First it was holding both the container of yoghurt and the spoon, and feeding herself. Then it was holding the little bag of crackers and feeding herself, instead of me putting some in her bowl a little at a time. She’s never had real tantrums before, and these are full-blown screaming, red-faced, throwing things, arching the back breakdowns. She’s getting more aggressive about demanding snacks from the pantry, too, and melting down when I try to portion it out one serving at a time. I can’t give her the entire box of crackers or Cheerios, or the entire carton of juice, though.
One of the adorable milestones this past month: first ponytails!
The weekend we saw Santa, she had a three-hour nap in the middle of the day instead of two naps lasting a hour and a half each. This could be a very useful development, giving me more time to get things done both when she’s awake and asleep, making it easier to schedule stuff, and actually allowing her a bit more sleep since I won’t be trying to get her down by two, having her fuss till two-thirty, then waking her up at three-thirty to go get Sparky after school. That said, attempts to shift her morning nap later for a midday nap start time worked, but she still only slept an hour and a half, which made for a wholly strung out toddler come about four o’clock. So we’ll stick to the two-nap schedule for a bit longer.
What bit of nursing that has remained has been decreasing bit by bit, at Owlet’s pace, and is for comfort only. She dropped her good-morning nursing session about a month ago, though she’d beetle over and ask to nurse after HRH left for work every couple of days or so, but that stopped in the middle of December. She usually snuggles and comfort nurses to sleep for a couple of minutes before her morning nap, but she dropped that a few times over the holiday, and I suspect it’s not long now before she just snuggles with her soother till she’s in a doze. We settle down to do the same thing for her afternoon nap, but lately she’s refused to nurse and asked for a bottle, and even then she hasn’t been able to get to a doze on my lap and I’ve had to put her down awake, which she grizzles about for a few minutes before banging around and then falling asleep. (Did I ever share what she calls nursing? She asks for “neyneyney.” I don’t know where she got it from, because we always called it just milk (or “the milks”). But she’s called it that for a few months now.) The holiday schedule has been really distracting, to say the least; wake-up times are a bit different, and everyone’s home, and Sparky is watching cartoons or playing video games or running around with her, and she’s very stimulated. Naps have been frustrating for everyone.
Now that her last molar is in (and a weary parental huzzah for that), we need to start switching that night bottle to a cup. We tried it about six weeks ago, but the molar gave her too much trouble both with the drinking motion and the unsettled being-on-edge mood. The bottle was more familiar and soothing.
The only thing better than reading in a laundry basket is sharing the laundry basket with the cat, right?
The other day she was feeding Gryffindor with the small wooden spoon I’d given her for her kitchen, after stirring something up in a little bowl. I’d noticed that the mums in my online group were talking about how their children were developing nurturing relationships with their dolls, feeding them and changing them and so forth, and just yesterday I kind of shrugged and said to myself that maybe Owlet just hasn’t clicked like that yet. Most of her preferred toys are animals, and while she sometimes undresses her girl doll or giggles at the belly button on the little boy doll she inherited from Sparky, she doesn’t seem to have a specific connection to them. And then I saw this happening, and thought that it was just adorable. And the cat was being so patient with her. He is also very patient with her full-body hugs, and her attempts to hold her pretend phones to his ears.
I am so glad we decided on giving her a play kitchen. She has spent a significant amount of time at it since Christmas. So has Sparky, who does little crazy cooking shows. So much so that we have to remind him not to crowd Owlet out and to let her play in her own way with it, even if it’s wrong according to how he knows a kitchen works or according to his plans for whatever he’s ‘making.’
And finally, here is the first use of the full snowsuit, in the situation for which it was designed: