Thursday, December 29, 2011

Status report: Chloë, Month 29, and Maia, Month 8

I walked in the door last night after work. Chloë, standing in the kitchen, looked up and pointed. "Mommy, are you home Mommy?" she said. "Is it snowing outside?" Meanwhile, Maia sat in the opposite doorway and spotted me. By the time I'd put away my bags and taken off my shoes, she was there at my feet, grinning her "Pick me up!" grin. I love my girls.

Chloë grows ever more verbally mature these days: complicated sentences, complicated reasoning, advanced memory. "That is for the water park," she said knowledgeably of Maia's new life vest (...thing; it's not quite a vest proper). We haven't talked about the water park for months. "Mama, what day is it?" she asked a couple of weeks ago, and when I told her Friday, "Are you going to wear your sneakers to work today?"
 "We will use more sprinkles at our next Cookie Day," she says. Cookie Day was, admittedly, a pretty big hit with her. She got to wear an apron, just like Mama and Mimi and Addie, and was very, very useful in cutting out cookies and decorating with sprinkles and rolling balls in sugar. Who knew two-year-olds were so good at snickerdoodles?

 She's been climbing in and out of the bathtub "all by myself." In the tub, she still lies down to get her hair wet and now helps to soap herself up (bar soap is her newest fascination). Then, when she's all soapy, we turn on the showerhead. I have to use the head on her up close to get her hair rinsed, or she won't do it, but then I replace it and she cavorts under the water until I force her to come out. We're contemplating going to a water park again this winter with some friends, and if it works out I can't wait to see how happy she'll be.

She's been doing a lot of crawling lately, which I think is due to reversion because of Maia getting so much attention for it. (Except for the crawling she's doing in her Play Hut.) She wants to be held, and to "nuggle" quite a bit, too. I'm not sure if it's jealousy or insecurity due to getting to be a bigger girl, or what. I'm happy to hold her, though. And Maia is happy to play with her when she gets down on the ground, or try to steal her sippy.

 And for some reason she's been trying to lick people. It's mostly stopped after she got a time-out on Christmas night and a threat of not playing with her cousins if she kept it up.

Now that we're better at understanding her, her unhappiness escalates even faster when we don't. She also gets her feelings hurt easily--if I tell her I don't want to play with the guitar, or to stop saying "No Maia" endlessly ("I was just telling Maia not to pull my hair"), or snap at her to get something out of her mouth (especially when it wasn't). But she's still a happy girl, loving her shows, playing with blocks, wanting to read books and bake muffins and go outside.

She's playing imagination games like there's no tomorrow. Maia's bouncer is a motorcycle. The area by the front door is a park that she drives the Play Hut to. She made imaginary strawberry and blueberry pies in the bathroom out of cups and other toys lying around. She actually cooperated picking up the living room for once when she decided she was taking Tiger (actually a leopard) shopping and piled things from the floor into her cart for him to eat or play with.

She'll recite her favorite color (green), animal (snake), food (banana, though we think tomato is probably the true favorite). She knows how old she is, how to play Ring Around the Rosie, how to sing her ABCs, how to count to ten and occasionally beyond, how to sign "I love you." She also knows how cute and awesome is because we tell her all the time.

Potty training is de-escalating again, and we need to work on getting her to put on her own clothes--and be less frustrated when taking off a short-sleeved shirt, as she has trouble with those. And between Halloween and Christmas candy, she's gotten into the habit of asking me "Mama how much did I eat?" at every dinner, meaning, "Did I eat enough that I can have some candy?" which she'll then ask for by saying "Maybe I can have something after this." And every morning she says "I want some eggnog in my milk." She's going to be a sad, sad girl when the eggnog runs out. (Though we've restricted the eggnog aliquot to once a day and she still drinks milk at other times throughout the day.)

Maia can do high-fives now: put up your hand and say "Baby high five!" and she baps at your hand with hers and grins, probably because we've been so delighted she does it. Now that she's crawling, I've been across the room from her and gestured with my arms, saying "Come here!" and she moves her arms too in windmill fashion, and I can't tell if she's excited or imitating me. Or maybe just mocking.

She's expert at pulling herself up to stand, and can now easily reach the top of the coloring table, to our chagrin when we were trying to wrap presents on it. She's attempted cruising a little bit, though mainly in a specific effort to reach Eric or me. She likes to bounce in my arms, and to sit with her sister.

She persists in disliking purees, but she snapped up some stage 3 chicken dinner Eric offered her, and she loved last night's pre-chewed potato chunks and chickpeas. And she adores picking up her own Cheerios and puffs and yogurt melts and sweet potato chunks. We're going to give away the stage 2 foods and be selective about stage 3s, and move to "real" foods as much as we can--and mash as we can, because prechewing all her food is annoying. (Especially when she gets upset that it isn't coming immediately. As I tell her, milk is the only food my body manufactures on-site; everything else has to be imported and processed first.)

She loves to laugh; she's much more of a giggler than her sister was at this age (or ever, really). She's very happy, even when she's got a poopy diaper, which is actually a bit inconvenient at times. She makes up for it in nighttime unhappiness. I've got more work to do on nighttime feedings, as I've gotten back in the habit of settling her for a nursing and then falling asleep, and if we do that she wakes up every couple of hours after that, which is no good for either of us. Especially if Chloë's waking up with a nosebleed or a bad dream in the meantime, as she occasionally does.

Chloë likes to get in Maia's face when she's eating, and Maia likes to pull Chloë's hair, but they do really well together. They play together on the floor; Chloë lets Maia play with her toys, even her favorites like Elmo and Newborn Baby and her new electronic ones (until Eric and I ruled otherwise). She asks us if a particular toy, or a particular snack, is okay for Maia (generally yes to the first, no to the second). I keep finding her stuffed animals in Maia's crib. I don't think I've ever seen her try to lash out at Maia, even after hair-pulling or similar offenses; she just cries "No do not pull my hair Maia" in a teeny pained voice and waits for it to end. We may have to do something about that once Maia is big enough to understand "no" better. But right now it's very convenient to have such a patient big sister to such a sweet little sister.

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