Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Status report: Month 14

I've been trying to write this post for a week, but the necessary energy and mood haven't been there. If you haven't yet heard, there's a reason why: the Overlord will, in about seven months, have competition. Let me tell you, dealing with first-trimester fatigue, nausea, and dizziness are not as much fun with a toddler as without. Even when the toddler is as awesome as Chloe has been this month. Why didn't anyone tell me one-year-olds are so much fun? And so much work.

For two days running last week, Chloe ate an entire tomato at dinner. We're not talking small tomatoes, either; these are big, meaty heirloom tomatoes from the garden, thick with sweet, meaty flesh. She eats them like candy (or, I guess, the way she would eat candy if she had ever had any). She asks for them the way she asks for everything--by pointing, and saying "dzuh?" in her best video-game sound-effect voice, and if we're not quick enough, by whining. She's getting very good at the whining. Also the screaming and kicking her feet. She's fourteen months old but she acts like a two-year-old, at least when it comes to tantrums.

She is such a big girl now. We can hardly remember when she couldn't walk, even though it's only been about six weeks. We went out to the community college where Eric teaches a class today Monday, and she and I walked all around, looking at the grass and the trees and tile in the floor and the hawk flying overheard. She hesitated at the steps, then decided she would crawl up them, and then took my hands to step down them afterward. She doesn't run, but she walks awfully darn fast. She loves to walk around in the grocery store now, but it usually takes two of us to let her; she dashes this way, and she darts that, and if we're not constantly keeping track she's likely to end up in the cereal aisle while our cart languishes in produce. Unless she decides to push the cart. It's great when she pushes the cart.

She understands and--mostly--obeys instructions we give her, and she seems to understand things like "I'll be back in a minute." She's very fond of nodding. It's not totally reliable, since she'll nod when I point to Guess How Much I Love You and then push it away when I start reading, or when Eric says "Would you like an alligator for dinner?" But she knows it's a way of communicating. We've just got to get her to figure out how to shake her head as well.

There are still no words, though she does have a special way of saying "Uh" when she's trying to get me to pick her up that I'm thinking may be her attempt to humor me when I tell her, "Say 'up,'" before I'll lift her. I'm not as worried about this as I was. She definitely understands, and she definitely communicates. She's taken to patting her diaper when she needs a change. She points to the TV to watch her show. She pulls at our shoulders to get a piggyback ride. She twists up my shirt when she wants to wear it as an apron.

One of her books is a book on opposites, with little slide panels to show the opposites. One of them is day/night, with a cloud on one half and a partial solar eclipse on the other, which perplexes us, but Chloe's favorite is the happy/sad one, which features a little girl who looks a little like her, smiling on one sad and crying on the other. Today Tuesday I said "Happy girl!" in a bright voice when the smiling girl was showing, and "Sad," in a syrupy sad voice when the crying one was showing. Chloe moved the slider back and forth as fast as she could to hear me do the different voices, and kept switching back and forth until we were both laughing.

She can point to Daddy, and Mama, and Chloe, and her ear, her eyes, her nose (if she has trouble, I say "beep beep" and she knows exactly what we're asking for), her mouth (she stuffs her hand into it), her belly, and her toes. Eric keeps working with her to add on different body parts. She can point to Mama's or Daddy's toes or ears, too, though it's best for us to have our glasses on if we ask her to point to our eyes.

We've started telling her to be "gentle" with things, and whenever we say the word "gentle" she smacks herself on the side of the head. Some things we didn't teach her.

She loves her bead necklace and bracelets, and sometimes she plays, carefully, with the one-year ring that my mom gave me and I gave her. She adores seeing herself on our phones and the camera, and gets upset when we take them away. She's started showing interest in the posters on her walls, too. We need to get her a good big family picture.

Bathtime is still our great tribulation. She won't sit down, even though she does it when we ask her other times (for example, when we need to put her socks and shoes on--she plops right down if she thinks it's time to go for a walk in her shoes). She screams when we hold her down, and if we don't hold her down she walks around, lifting one foot in the air and stomping on it. Sometimes she falls. She hasn't had a bad slip, but it's going to happen. We're going to get a bath chair tomorrow.

Otherwise, ordinary life is going just fine. She loves her Baby Galileo DVD; she likes to play with her blocks--she can stack three sometimes, if her placement is lucky--and her popper and her balls. She still loves being held upside down, and getting raspberries on her belly. Today apparently she kept rubbing her daddy's belly--for the fuzziness, we think.

We're winding down nursing, for the reason mentioned in the first paragraph. We've gotten down to only-when-she's-really-upset, which I'm hoping will ease into never, and I'll have the R.I.N.D.S. to myself for a couple of months at least. She's loving almost all foods, especially tomatoes, fruit of all kinds, cheese, and dried seaweed (the kind you use for sushi). She doesn't like being denied a bite, even if it's something you wouldn't think a girl with only eight teeth could handle. One of her favorite pastimes in the kitchen is gnawing potatoes, and the other day when I was taking apples out of the fridge to make apple pie bars with, I set them down on the floor before moving them to the counter, and that was a mistake--a delicious one, for her.

She uses a spoon, more or less, and has made forays into using a fork, but her hands are still her preferred method of food transfer. Luckily she likes washing her hands. I have this habit of sucking water from my fingers when I wash my hands, and now she's picked it up, to the point where she doesn't always wait for me to rinse the soap off her hands before sticking them in her mouth. Or mine. I'm working hard on teaching her about the rinsing part.

She's a curious girl, a loving girl, a girl fascinated with life. Fourteen months is all about being independent, for short stretches, and then running back to mama or daddy for snuggles or help getting her leg off the play table or yet another read of How Are You Peeling? or Little Cloud. I love that she's learning to entertain herself, and I love that she knows she can rely on us to be there and to help out with her difficulties. It's a beautiful age. Eric got all sentimental the other day and told her firmly, "Stop growing!" But she won't, and I think I'm glad, because she gets better every day.

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