Monday, April 25, 2011

Status report: Month 21

Chloë the 21-month-old is full of energy and words. “Dahhhhhhhhh!” she calls as she’s running down the hallway. “Dada sleeping. Dada wake?” she says hopefully in the mornings, and slides off her bed to dash to our bedroom when I say “Yes, you can go wake him up now,” if it's a reasonable hour. "Outside! Shoes on?" she says when we so much as hint at the possibility of going outside, and runs to the shoe rack. "Chloë tumble, naked while!" she says happily as she tries to turn somersaults on her bed in the time between clothes and pajamas.

She's so big! So tall! So smart! She's growing more clever, I think, or at least more facile with her words and actions. One day I was giving her a snack of cheese and crackers and she said "Wash hands?" (which she still loves to do) while I was preparing them. "Not until after you finish your cheese crackers," I told her, handing down a piece of cheese. She handed it back and said, "No cheese crackers. Wash hands now?"

"Now" is a notable recent addition to her vocabulary. (So are "coming," "time out," and "magic missile.") Mostly she uses it to make demands (e.g., "You can have more chicken after you eat some of your potatoes." One bite later: "Chicken now."), which are increasing in number. She seems to have gotten the hang of either/or questions, too; before if we said "Do you want grapes or strawberries?" she'd either nod if she wanted the strawberries or say "No," if she wanted the grapes; now she'll say "Dawberry" or "Grapey."

She gets frustrated very easily, such as when she's trying to play "peeky-boo" and a corner of the blanket is stuck under her or not falling over her face as she wishes it, but her meltdowns usually don't last long. Yesterday, at Mimaw's for Easter, she was exceedingly unhappy when she had to leave the house tricycle to go inside for dinner, and that was a lot of crying for her: a few minutes of inconsolable sobbing, stopped suddenly when she touched her cheeks and said, "Tears?" and then, seeing her Aunt Michelle start up the staircase, "Mimi upstairs?", her little voice catching on the remnants of her sobs. This is often how her fits of crying end.

She says "Chloë make?" hopefully whenever I mention making a meal or look through my cookbooks. When I say yes, she pushes the chair we have in the kitchen toward the counter and asks to be lifted up, and then when I'm getting things ready says anxiously "Chloë do," over and over until I hand her a measuring cup of flour and ask her to dump it into the bowl, or tell her to push the 'on' button of the scale. Then when we're done, she cries because she can't do any more. She runs to help when she hears us open the dishwasher, and asks "Turn on?" whenever we close it.

She continues to be a stellar eater. She'll eat an entire banana for breakfast and ask for more. She also asks for candy pretty often now, though it's almost always without actually naming candy--we just know what she means because she tends to specify what she wants otherwise. We keep it in a drawer in the pantry, and she goes over to it and says "Have some?" or "Have couple?" because we'll usually say "Yes, you can have some chocolate," or "You can have a couple of jelly beans," when we consent. She got an Easter basket from her Mimaw, which will keep her well-supplied for quite a while. I may steal the Milky Way egg, though. I'm not so sure about caramel for toddlers. She does very well with chewing things in general, though--she can now eat raw carrots, and whole grapes ("Bite," I told her anxiously the first several times I let her try this, and she looked at me as if to say "Duh, Mother"). Also, the other day she had raw garlic, and then the marinated spinach salad the garlic was going into, and asked for more of both. Eric winced and said, "I'm going to make you some bland food."

She's been enjoying drinking water from a Dixie cup the last week or so, and so proud of herself. She's improving with her fork, and we're now encouraging her to use it whenever possible. She loves dipping waffles or pancakes in syrup or chicken in barbecue sauce or pretty much anything in ketchup, and while she favors using her fingers she's now pretty good at stabbing food with her fork to dip--that is, when she doesn't try to dip her fork directly. She's already pretty good with a spoon. She doesn't understand the concept of cutting things with it, but that's okay. We introduced her to ice cream--well, to ice cream in her own little bowl--and she needs to have it in pieces that she can scoop up to eat it successfully. She's very keen on ice cream. She and I had some the night of my birthday, after a special run out to the store to get it, and almost every day since she's asked "Eye keem?" We say, "Not until after dinner, and not every day," but it doesn't stop her from asking.

She can name the baby in Mama's belly, and knows that the quilt I was working on until yesterday is Maia's. She kept saying "Koë banky" anyway, and wrapped it around herself while I was finishing the binding, but she didn't object when I put it away when it was finished and had her snuggle in her own quilt. We bought her an I'm-a-big-sister book, Best-Ever Big Sister by Karen Katz (we have two other Katz books she likes), and it's at currently the top of her to-be-read list, crowding out even Elmo and Green Eggs and Ham. At naptime and bedtime I routinely ask "What book do you want to read?" and she routinely says "Big Sister." Then, when we finish, she says, "More," or "Again." It's a different story depending on whether Mama or Dada reads it to her, since we modify it differently--for example, Eric skips the "I can poop in the potty" page, while I read it and explain that she'll learn to do that soon. Because she will. Right?

She's started trying to brush her own teeth, especially in the mornings when I brush mine (we only routinely brush hers at night), and wants to hold the floss holder when Eric flosses her. She also wants to brush her own hair, which is less successful since (a) she tends to stroke the flat part of the brush against her head and (b) her hair is a tangly flyaway mess most of the time anyway. Baby brushes are just not cutting it. Combs and my brush (the kind with small balls at the end of the bristles) work much better, but she doesn't like the pulling. So half the time the back of her head is a nest of frizz. She can also climb into the car into her carseat--well, mostly; she needs a boost to get turned around, at least in my car--and likes to click the carseat harness together.

She's definitely fully settled in her new room, though she still occasionally wants to go into the nursery for a change or to jump in the crib (we just say no, and she accepts this). The singing I used to do for ten minutes or more to get her settled for sleep is now down to one or two songs, if any, and she glories in having a bed that's also a playspace. She loves when I sing "Pop Goes the Weasel" and make her monkey dance around her and "pop" into her face or the air. She slides out of the bed expertly, though climbing up still mostly causes her to ask for help (though she can do it herself if she's determined enough). She's been waking up early, and so very tired by the time bedtime rolls around, but we're not sure what to do about it. For now, I'm going to bed earlier so as not to lose sleep, and trying not to worry about it. She's still happy and energetic and smart and so very, very cute; a few hours of lost sleep won't hurt her any.

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