Sunday, October 24, 2010

Status report: Month 15

What is Chloë like at fifteen months? Well, let's look at this morning. She woke up at 5:30, half an hour earlier than usual, despite having had only one nap the day before. I went in and told her, "It's too early to get up." She wailed and screamed and clung to me. I went and fetched her a bottle and changed her diaper while she drank it, and put her back in bed. She went without a whimper.

We woke again at 7:30. She put her arms up when I told her to, to get her pajama top off, and stood on first one foot and then the other while I got her pajama pants off. She helped push her hands through the sleeves of her shirt. She wandered away before I could get pants on her and came back with a book. "We can read that when you have pants on," I told her, and carried out that plan as stated. We read for a while, Chloë exclaiming "Ap-uh!" whenever an apple appeared. Or a tomato. she patted her diaper and walked across the hall to the potty and opened the lid, so I got her pants and diaper off and helped her sit. We read more books while she sat, and when she said "up," to signify she was done, I told her, "Okay, wait here while I get a diaper and a wipe." She did. (I don't think she realizes that she can easily get up from the potty herself.) We got her pants back on, though it required my King Roland (of Spaceballs) voice saying "Come to meee, come to meee," which always makes her laugh and run into my arms.

She walked to the end of the hall and pointed downstairs, so I held her hands while she walked down. I decided on French toast for breakfast, and while the pan was heating she helped me unload the dishwasher by handing up silverware, one piece at a time. When breakfast was ready, I told her, "Bring your sippy, it's time to eat," and walked into the dining room with our plates of food; and she followed me with her cup, handed it up for me to put on the table, and waited for me to lift her into her chair.

In summary: fifteen months is awesome. She's starting to talk, she excels at walking, she understands commands, she has a sense of humor, she knows routines, she's trying to communicate. We're starting slow on the words, but we're getting there--she has "up" and "dog" (sort of--whenever she hears a dog, or sees a picture of one, she pants like a dog, points out the window, and says "Da!") and "apple" and maybe "duck." And she's shaken her head once or twice when I've asked her something. I'm hoping she's catching on to what shaking her head means; it would be nice for her to be able to indicate "no." (I know, I say that now...)

She's removed her pants a couple of times, and the past day or two she keeps putting a hand down the back of her diaper. We can't figure out why; she doesn't have a rash or anything. Maybe just because she can? Unfortunately, because there is now no good time to cut her nails and she flails whenever I try, she's gotten some scratches back there. I wonder if the pediatrician will ask about them at her checkup tomorrow.

We're starting to wonder where she picked certain things up. One of her books lists the "Wheels on the Bus" song, and whenever we open to that page she twirls her arms around each other the way you're supposed to in the first verse. But we never did it with her until she started doing it. Likewise, she learned "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" mostly from her creepy singing dog toy, but she does the finger-and-thumb motion (or at least tries). She may have picked that up from me, but she does it awfully well. She does a lot of things well. She can stack four, sometimes five blocks, and recognizes the pictures she knows on them (apple, dog, duck--and she's starting to recognize C, because I always say "C is for Chloe!" whenever we come across it in one of her several alphabet books).

She's been very big on stairs lately. But instead of going up, the new attraction is coming down. She holds both my hands (or Eric's), and very carefully steps down each step. Sometimes she'll do it going up, too, but more often she crawls up one or two, swivels, and says "Up!"

The potty is a big thing this month. We're not serious about training her yet, just getting her used to it (especially since we're going out of town in a few days), but she does seem to understand that she should be sitting on it when her diaper is dirty--though of course we're going to have to help her figure out that it would be best to do it before the diaper gets that way. She likes to sit there, probably because we sit and read her books, or stage fights between her ducks. Well, I do.

She's very fond of jewelry; I gave her one of my old jewelry boxes, and almost every day she wants to look in it, try on her plastic and jade bracelets, and play with the old chain. She likes the bracelets especially, and will often pull on hair ties or a bag strap or her daddy's watch onto her arm.

She's learned "arm" and "chin" and possibly "leg" this month. Still no "Mama." She does bottle, sort of, as "dobbul," and whenever she sees or plays with her ball she says "bob-ul," which sounds suspiciously like bubble to me. (Also "bauble," but I doubt anyone has used that around her.) She won't say "ball." Just "bob-ul." We do have a book that shows pictures of bubbles, but I don't think she saw it before she started doing this.

The same book has a picture of a drum, and she delights in my demonstration of how to use a drum--pounding on the book. Now she pounds the air whenever we open this particular book.

Regarding other uses for her mouth, she's still doing the Indian-war-cry thing sometimes, and enjoys making silly sounds, especially if we repeat them. She's still doing well with food, eating pretty much everything--especially if it's on my plate and I don't want to share. She also got her first taste of barbecue sauce the other day. She seems fond of it. She's not ready to dip her own chicken/tofu into it, though.

We've finally stopped nursing. Or at least as of this writing we haven't done it for a week, and she hasn't tried very hard or very often. She still likes to pull up my shirt to lay her cheek on my belly, though, or blow raspberries on it--though we've started calling them "zerbertz," Eric's name for them, because when we say "raspberries" she looks up expectantly as if waiting for us to offer yummy fruit, and the raspberry plants are done for the year. She seems happy with her bottles, and so we're now beginning our campaign to switch entirely to cups. I feel bad about this, but I also know she's a big girl, and she'll handle it just fine. Half the time she plays around with her bottle while drinking anyway, which just leads to spatters of milk and extra laundry. And that's if she isn't traipsing all around the house with it.

She's very fond of her daddy. Not that she isn't fond of me; she comes to the door every day when I get home and waits to be picked up. But then she'll often reach out for Eric. In the mornings, she'll hear the bed creak and exclaim "Dada!" On the weekends, she often goes into our bedroom to try to wake him, and she's always excited when I tell her "It's time to go wake up Daddy." I think being home with him has been good for them both.

It's been a crazy month, though in a different way from, say, a year ago. She knows so much! She picks things up from the strangest places! Where did she get her sense of humor? Why are her ribs suddenly ticklish when they weren't before? Why does she throw herself with such abandon onto my pillow when I leave it? When will she stop saying "up" when I've told her for the twentieth time "not right now"? Fifteen months is fun, and tiring, and educational, and a ride for all three of us. Just like a roller coaster--we're hanging on for our lives, and loving it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


A few words are now fully established in Chloë's vocabulary; among them is "apple" which, true to toddler form, is distinguishable only if you're very liberal with the pronunciation. How does one tell for certain it's established? Point at the apple on the counter: "['ɛ-ph]." Ask "where's the apple" and she points to the apple on the page.

So one of her books has apples on one page, and oranges on another page. After saying "['ɛ-ph]" to the former, she then looks at the following page... and says the same thing to the oranges.

I told her "You're comparing apples and oranges."

Which was then followed by a horrible groan from Jenny and "you have to blog this."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Potty mouth

We bought Chloe a potty seat over the weekend. The guidebooks all say she's too young, that kids normally aren't ready until 18 months at least, but she's shown great interest lately when we use the toilet and has started patting her diaper to indicate she needs a change. And apparently my brother and I were toilet trained well before 18 months. And wouldn't it be awesome if we didn't have to have two kids in diapers after all?

So we bought it, figuring we'd start slow, get her used to having it around, that kind of thing. She was interested in it right away: opening and closing the lid and the compartment for flushable wipes (did you know there were flushable wipes? I didn't), playing with the little plastic pee-screen for boys, pulling the seat and the waste receptable out of the base. It's a three-stage model: first a complete potty seat for first learning, then a stepstool plus seat-that-fits-over-a-real-toilet-seat for learning not to fear the toilet, and then just the stepstool. Lots of moving parts, so lots of fun for a one-year-old. I had to tell her the seat itself was not a chew toy.

She wanted help sitting down the first few times, but once she sat she was content to stay, reading books or having her toes counted. We need to get her a tiny chair. I wasn't planning on even trying to have her sit without her clothes, just get her used to the sitting. But yesterday, she came to Eric and pointed at her diaper, and then at the potty. He figured, "Why not?" and removed her diaper and helped her sit down. And she used the potty! Only a little, because some had already gone into the diaper, but enough.

Eric heaped praise on her (once he got over his surprise), and we're wondering if we should be offering some kind of reward. The problem is, she's too young for stickers or similar, and toys or books would get too expensive, and food isn't a good idea. She's sat a couple of other times and hasn't produced anything, which is fine, so maybe it won't be much of an issue for a while. (It also helps--or hurts?--that she can't say "potty" yet, so it's a judgment call on what she means when she pats her diaper. She's working on "apple," though. Still no "mama"--the closest she gets is "danma.") Still. My baby girl is starting to learn to use a potty!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Time to go home pregnant.

Do you people HAVE to talk about this stuff? The smell of reheated fish is bad enough, now you're talking about cooking eggs in the microwave at work and eating chili with pickles?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The good stuff

We put Chloë to bed together these days--it takes two of us to brush her teeth, and that's the last step before bed. Last night I carried her from the bathroom into the bedroom while Eric turned on her ladybug planetarium nightlight and put her stuffed puppy back in her crib (she likes to throw things out of her crib if we're not quick enough to get her after naps).

"Good night," I told her, and hugged her. She hugged me back and gave me a kiss, and then leaned over to kiss her daddy, too.

He held his arms out, and she went to him for a hug and a last snuggle before he set her down and turned on her aquarium and I spread her blanket over her. She is the sweetest girl in the world.

Monday, October 11, 2010


First, Chloë sends a shout-out to her new cousin Aubrey, born yesterday. Welcome, Aubrey! You may have been born even bigger than Chloë at birth, but you've still got a lot of growing to do to catch up, so get to it!

Second, Chloë's potential new sibling is still smaller than a thumb but already causing trouble. I spent most of yesterday either sitting down or lying down, panting. This out-of-breath-ness is a new thing; it didn't happen when I was pregnant with Chloë. Of course I wasn't toting around or chasing down a toddler when I was pregnant with Chloë, either (except for a couple of times we were with our nieces and nephew Addie, Cindy, and Steve Jr.). For some reason yesterday was especially bad; I had to lie down after my shower, wasn't up for taking Chloe outside, couldn't stand terribly long. It's a good thing Chloë has started wanting to be changed on the floor rather than the changing table.

In the meantime, she's really taken to "up." I'm wondering if she's generalized it from "pick me up" to "Mom, do something for me." It's seemed like it a couple of times. We'll have to pick a new word to work on. "Drink" would be a good one. She mainly indicates she's thirsty by pulling up my shirt. I don't think she's serious about nursing half the time; that's just the only time I know to ask "Do you want something to drink?" And "drink" starts with D, which means she's halfway there already. Eric is still trying, with more hope than success, to get her to say "Mama." She persists in calling me Dada, just like him. We're wondering if she figures "Dada" just means "parent." I mean, as well as "book" and "tree" and "outside" and "deoxyribonucleic acid" and such.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Warm and cozy, if restrained

Lately I've been more aware of whenever Chloë wakes up in the night. Generally this means I stumble out of bed toward the door, lean against the doorway while I wait for the dizziness to clear up, and then realize that I'm not actually supposed to be responding to her right away anymore. But often I go in, and usually the problem is she's cold. Wednesday night she woke me up at 12, and 1, and 3, and 4, and 5. Thursday, I decided I'd had enough, and got out her Sleep Sack.

We used these last winter to great effect, and the last one I had bought was enormous, good for up to 28 pounds and 18 months. I wasn't sure how she'd react, since she can stand now and likes having her legs free, but I wanted a good night's sleep and we don't have any footie pajamas. So I put her into it just before we laid her down for bed. She yelled a little, but then she settled down. She whimpered a little bit an hour or two later. Then I went to bed, and heard nothing until morning. I may go get a couple of fleece pajamas, so she can move her legs around, but I think I know how we're dressing her for bed until she learns how to pull her blankets up.

Friday, October 8, 2010


We have achieved words! Chloë's first words appear to be "dog" and "up." We asked her Aunt Michelle to watch her for an hour or so a few days ago, and by report she walked into Michelle's house, pointed at the beagle, Maggie, and said, "Dog!" We weren't sure we believed that, since she says "Da" all day long and probably in her dreams, and maybe it just sounded like "dog." But the other day, Eric says, they heard the neighbor's dog barking, and she pointed out the window and said "Dog!" So that's that. So much for "Mama" and "Dada." I mean, she does say "Dada," but she says it for everything, so it's hard to be sure she actually means her daddy. We think she's trying to say "duck" sometimes, too (when referring to her rubber ducks and the ones in her books), but it comes out "dun" and "dut" so I guess we just need to be creative listeners.

And "up" is definitively Chloë's first word to me. I've been encouraging her to say it for a while now, and gotten attempts in the form of "uh" with outstretched arms. But she's gotten better at it, and more consistent. Yesterday she decided to climb the stairs twice after I got home. Each time she decided in the middle she'd had enough and reached out to me, saying a distinctive "up!"

The second time I told her "Oh, no. You're the one who decided to climb up. You can finish." She glared at me and said "Upupup!" So I had to carry her the rest of the way. I'm already wondering why we were so eager to teach her the power of words.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Overlords are not like cakes

Yesterday was a beautiful fall day, and while Eric went grocery shopping, Chloë and I went outside. I intended that we'd take a walk; but after we crossed the street a few times (she's getting better about having her hand held in the street) what she really wanted to do was crawl up and then be helped down the porch stairs. Over and over. Occasionally she'd vary it by walking to the front door and walking back, or walking down the front path to the driveway and back, but mostly it was up and down, up and down, up and down.

Eventually she grew tired of that game--momentarily; we wandered to the backyard and then it was the same with the back porch. Then she spied the container of drying onions and elecampane roots I had on one corner of the porch. She examined them with great interest. She picked up an onion--these were all baby onions, smaller than a golf ball--and bit into it.

"Ugh!" I exclaimed, as she got this unhappy look on her face. I pried the bits of onion peel out of her mouth and wiped the dirt off her chin. "Now aren't you sorry you tried that?"

She looked at me, and looked at the onion, and bit into it again with a crunch. Then she picked up another one and did the same thing.

I let her do it. Who am I to argue with a girl who likes to eat raw onions?

Monday, October 4, 2010


Chloe was uncooperative at bedtime last night, probably due to a long walk tiring her out early. She didn't cry much when I put her down for bed, but she didn't go to sleep immediately. After a while I went in to put her blanket back over her, since she always tosses it off and it's not like she doesn't need it; there have been times when I've woken to her cry at four AM and found her lying there, uncovered; I shake out her blanket and spread it over her and the crying stops at once. When do toddlers learn to pull up their own blankets?

At any rate, a few months ago I wouldn't have dared go in until she was asleep, but she's been better about accepting that my presence in the room after bedtime doesn't mean it's time to stand up and beg to be lifted out. So I went in. She was lying on her back, uncovered, as I thought. She rolled her head a little to see me, and handed me her pants.

I took them, noticed her bare legs as I hadn't before, and then I left the room so I wouldn't startle her with my laughter. When I was recovered, I went back in and put the pants back on her. She didn't protest, so presumably that was what she wanted. I covered her up with the blanket, whispered a good-night, and left the room. As a friend of ours once said about his son: the nekkid years have begun.