Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chloë - Status report: Month 22

Chloë's twenty-second month was punctuated by the arrival of her new baby sister Maia, and that's been the big story of the month: working out how life with a baby sister works. She's been a champ mostly. She was so patient while we were in the hospital and she stayed first with Mimaw and Omi and then with Grandpa and Halmoni--though Grandpa tells me she was getting sad and bewildered by the end. She hangs on my legs whenever I'm nursing Maia, and tends to ask for food and drink and books and hugs more often during those times. It's heartrending and also slightly annoying to see her plead for a hug when I'm in the middle of nursing the baby and she knows quite well by now that I'm not going to move for the next forty-five minutes unless it's an emergency.

She's definitely jealous, but she's also our "big helper," fetching things and putting diapers in the diaper pail and being pretty good about our constant injunctions to be gentle around the baby. And she seems to like Maia herself (though I'm not a hundred percent positive that this isn't because we praise her whenever she shows signs of affection); she's always asking to see or hold her, and likes to kiss her head and stroke her hands. She's started chanting "Dubuduba Maia" in the car (when she tends to babble nonsense, for some reason). I vaguely wonder if she's using it as an epithet, the way I say "Oh brother," but it's adorable anyway.

She seems to have developed a favorite color: green. She has a pair of green shorts, and now that it's finally warm enough to wear them, she's obsessed. "Green pants?" she asked multiple times. "Green pants icky?" she said sadly when we convinced her that they were in the wash and couldn't be worn. We went shopping recently and bought her a bunch of 3T summer clothes (also bathing suit and hat and life vest in anticipation to a water park trip with family later this summer), and looked almost desperately for more green shorts, but there were none. Today we went to Target to get, among other things, blackout curtains for her room, and after she picked out the ones she liked (green) I spotted a pair of green boy's shorts. I pulled the 3T size off the rack and waved them at her, saying, "What do you think?" She responded, "Green pants!" and started to pull down the shorts she was wearing.

She's become more interested in her clothes recently; she often picks out her pants or shirt, and often her socks. She likes playing with her jewelry box and the bracelets and earrings ("ingy") inside. One thing I've noticed is that her memory is better than it used to be, and it shows up with the jewelry--she keeps her earrings in a little bag, and if I ask her where they are, she can tell me if they're in the bag or on her bed or what. She can take complex instructions now ("Put down your sippy, then pick up that green ball beside your coloring table, and put it in the box."), but is also showing more willfulness. She has a hat and sunglasses and hairclips and various other things, but it's anybody's guess as to whether we could actually get her to wear them for appropriate lengths of time; it's all we can do to get her to wear them long enough for pictures.

Her language continues to develop at an astounding rate. It's incredible how quickly she picks up words and their meanings, just from hearing two people talk--I mean, I know it's not just us, she hears other people and watches TV and such, but still, it's amazing. She's up to four-word sentences ("No go see Mama," "Chloë have some yogurt raisins?") and is game to repeat pretty much anything. She discusses the people she sees ("go see people?" she said excitedly when we mentioned a shopping trip the other day) and when things fall or roll, and who's coming down the stairs, and what's going on in her shows, and what she's doing, and what we're doing, and on and on and on.

She's fascinated with computers and cameras; as Eric said earlier today, while he videotaped her turning somersaults ("tumbling"), it's difficult to capture the native Chloë because when she sees a camera, she wants it so she can look at the pictures. She wants everything these days. She's constantly saying "Chloë have some-a?" which is her way of saying "I have the munchies." If we have something, she wants a bite. If we bring out something new--a pen, say, or an old toy she's forgotten--she wants to hold it and play with it. At Target we stopped in one of the toy aisles to look for tricycle pedal blocks (no luck) and she wandered to a nearby stand of cheap toys. She picked up several things in turn, squeezing them and saying "Chloë have yellow ball?" "Chloë have red ball?" and just "Chloë have?" when she couldn't identify the object (it was a mold for sand at the beach, so fair enough). We didn't respond to these requests, if they were requests, and she didn't object when we walked away without any of them, but I don't know how long that will last.

Now that it's warmer she's finally been able to go outside more, which has been great. She still likes walks and just wandering around the yard; she loves the sidewalk chalk she got for Easter; and Grandpa and Halmoni bought her two early birthday presents: a tricycle and a slide. She's too short for the tricycle (thus the need for pedal blocks) but loves being pushed around on it, or even just pulling it behind her as we walk. She loves the slide, too...theoretically. We've gone to the park several times lately, and while she talks excitedly about the swings and the slide, she's had a hard time actually using either one on her one. On our last visit she finally used a swing by herself for a couple of minutes, and was eventually coaxed into going down a baby slide by herself. (She likes going down the really big slides on Mama's or Daddy's lap, though.) She hasn't yet gone down her own slide. We're thinking we may need to have her cousin or her friends model for her.

Eric's been talking a lot lately about how big Chloë is, and how sweet, and how autonomous. Having Maia around as comparison helps, of course, but she really is seeming way more grown-up and more a person than she used to be, even than last month. She can do and say and understand so much, and she has her own little quirks, some adorable and some maddening, and she's so loving and so fun to be around when she isn't driving us crazy. But we'll take the crazy, and the love. We're all about both of those in this family.

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