Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Status report: Month 18

[Pictures to come. You know frustrating it is having a computer that works, but not reliably? For two months?]

Yesterday morning Chloë came down to the kitchen with me while I was getting ready for work. She patted my coat and said, "Bye-bye?" I said yes, soon, and put the coat on. She pointed to my head and said, "Hat." (Note: I'm translating here, not transliterating.) I said, "I don't have a hat. I lost mine." She pointed again and said, "Shadow."

You have to understand here that all cats are Shadow, because her Memaw's cat is Shadow, and especially her own black stuffed cat (which used to be called Shroedinger...sorry, Tom and Su). And I have an old hat made of pretty much the same black fake fur as her cat. So she calls it Shadow, too, though she knows it's a hat.

So I admitted, "Yes, I suppose I do have my Shadow hat." Whereupon I went and got it, and wore it to work.

Chloë at eighteen months is in the middle of a Big Bang of vocabulary. She can't say her Ss or Ls or Fs, but she does surprisingly well--at least to us, her parents, who listen and translate every day. She can ask for oatmeal (oh-me) and yogurt (ohh-guh) and crackers (khraaahgu) and grapes (grapeys). She knows her sippy (jippy) and her water (how-uh) and her juice (ju). She's been having trouble ending words with a consonant, but she can say "cup" and "duck" very clearly now (also sock is often "dock" instead of "da"). She asks for her bath and her bubbles and her turtle and her scrubber, and her moon and stars (oh my god, the moon and stars, all day with the moon and stars), and points out the window and says "ghaou [clouds]" and "ghky [sky]." She still points out balls and babies, but she also likes cars and circles (which sounds remarkably like "googoo") and snow ("'noh") and of course dogs and cats. She knows hot and cold, though is a little iffy on their application. Yesterday she started saying "number" to identify one of her counting books. She asks for help, or to get down or up, and to get on my shoulders and touch the ceiling by saying "geeleeeleeeleeee," which is "ceiling" only she seems to forget what she's saying by the time she gets to the end and trails off into her native Baby.

And she's very good at "no."

She identifies her Halmoni in pictures, and remembers that the one baby on the fridge is Aubrey, and recognizes her cousin Addie and of course her Dada and Mama. When she points to herself in pictures, it's "Baby," but she points to herself when we ask "Where's Chloë?"

Her favorite occupations are still watching TV (all CDs and DVDs are "doh," show), playing with Duck and Oppy, playing with buttons, and reading. At the convention we went to she watched a father wrestle with his children, and for the next day or two she would imitate them, throwing herself to the ground and tumbling, then looking up with a grin. She met other toddlers to play with, a seventeen-month-old and some twenty-one-month-old twins, and did reasonably well sharing toys and space. The last time we saw the twins, they were reading a Baby Einstein book with their mom, and Chloë pointed and said, "Show?" Apparently logos really do work.

(She also saw a man dressed in a white lab coat with a duck on his head. "Duck mamm," she called him, and "Duck mamm" was all she wanted all weekend. She's still asking about him.)

She's slowly, slowly learning to drink from a regular cup. We bought a couple of little plastic cups, and sometimes we bring water or milk to the dinner table and practice drinking. Sometimes she asks for help right away, or accepts it when I steady the cup for her; sometimes she's all about doing it herself. Last night she picked up the cup, and I reminded her, "Drink very slowly." She tilted the cup up and took a perfect drink of water and set it down. We praised her, and she grinned and applauded herself. Then she grabbed the cup, thrust it at her mouth, and dripped a bunch of water all over her front. She asked for help after that.

Potty training is slow. We try to get her on it several times a day, after meals and when she wakes up and anytime she mentions it, but she's not as gung-ho as she was, after several days of no success. She also doesn't like the idea of sitting on the potty for, er, number two. I came upon her just starting to strain the other day and said, "Are you pooping? Let's get you on the potty."

"No," she said.

"Yes," I said. "If you're pooping, you need to be on the potty."

"Nooo," she gasped, her face turning red. (Later, she will kill me for this passage.)

She had her eighteen-month checkup today, and is 75th percentile for height, 90-95th for weight. She's a big girl. We've been talking up the big girl aspect a lot lately, with the advent of potty training and a baby sister on the horizon, which means she's going to get moved to a big-girl bed in about a month. She's changing rooms as well, to get the nursery clear for L.E.O. the Sequel, and her new mirror and moon light and bed rail are all sitting in the spare room, waiting for her. I'm sad about having to force her into this transition so early, but I think she'll do fine. She really is a big girl.

Tantrums are ramping up, at least the small ones, and we're having more power struggles than we used to. But she's also good at following instructions and being helpful--for example, fishing a button out from between the bed and the wall after accidentally spilling them all over; carrying her plate into the kitchen; helping to pick up her toys so I can vacuum.

She still goes down to sleep well, for the most part, though she's been waking up around midnight, sometimes screaming for a bottle or juice, sometimes just wanting a snuggle and a re-tucking-in. She routinely wakes somewhere between five-thirty and six-thirty, takes a bottle, and goes back to bed for another hour or two. I'm really, really hoping she breaks this habit soon. It might help if we (I) let her scream a while before responding to her, but now that she can say "up" or "bottle" or "mama" and I know exactly what she wants, it's so much harder to let her cry. I must say, I'm rather enjoying being able to tell what she wants because she can tell me.

She's started using some of the signs in her baby signs book. She uses "bath" most, but she also likes "apple" and "more" and "milk," and has even started using "thank you," which is nice since she's good at please but has never attempted thank you before. I think this is the one instance of her using a sign that she doesn't already know how to say--except maybe milk, but to her bottle and milk are synonymous. But since she's getting her morning milk in a sippy now, that may be changing.

She's a sweet girl, a funny girl, and a heck of a lot of fun. She comes running when I get home from work. "Mama mama mama," is the first thing I hear. When she gets there more than likely she says something like "Shadow," pointing to my hat, or informs me, "duck." But she's happy to see me, and I'm happy to see her. Eric keeps saying, "What a big girl she is!" and "What a cutie!" I think we're in agreement.

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