Sunday, February 26, 2012

Status report: Chloë, Month 31

Today Chloë wanted porridge for breakfast, because Goldilocks eats it and so does Papa Bear in The Berenstain Bears' New Baby. I'd have just fed her oatmeal, but she knows what it is and claims not to like it (the same way she's claimed she doesn't like potato-cheese-broccoli casserole two nights running, but she hasn't gone to bed hungry), so I racked my brains and the pantry cupboards for a substitute. I came up with bulgur wheat. Somewhat dubious, I cooked it, added some milk and sugar, and served. She tasted it. "I don't like porridge," she said. Then she had another bite. "Maybe I do like porridge," she said, but she didn't eat any more, concentrating on strawberries instead.

I went to make some toast for myself, and asked if she wanted some. "Yes," she said. "With peanut butter and apple butter." (Eric's been feeding her PB&AB sandwiches at lunch this week.) I was in the kitchen waiting for the toaster to go off when I heard her say, "Mommy, I'm done."

"The toast is ready," I called back, and she said, "Maybe I'm not done after all."

Chloë is a hoot and a pain these days. She's so eloquent and interesting to listen to; but then she's also always contradicting, protesting our edicts with "But I like X," or tears, or both. She only occasionally gets truly "I'm absolutely not going to do this thing you've told me to do" rebellious, but that may be in the future. Bedtime and naptime are more of a trial than they used to be, as well as the end of anything she likes. We're getting more tantrums over things she wants to do but can't, rather than just misunderstandings. She's also taken to saying "I don't like [food x]," a lot, usually when she just doesn't want it at the moment. "I don't like juice" is patently absurd.

We introduced her to a table knife recently, but haven't had much opportunity to expand. I've also started giving her a "big girl cup" at dinners, and she's done very well with them--and is proud of herself for doing so, which I'm all for. Her straw cups squeak a lot. 

I love her imagination. A lot of it is derivative, but then a lot of it isn't, either. She's got Dora and Boots, and P.B. Bear, and other characters tagging along when we do things; but then on a walk today she said, "Look, a snowman!" pointing to the air, and said, "The snowman is following us. Run, snowman!" as she began running herself. We made the box for Maia's new carseat into a spaceship, and she loves to play in it. She also loves wearing a string of beads, say, or a scarf, and will call it her helmet, or her guitar, or her motorcycle. (What's with the motorcycles?)

I read somewhere that developing imagination also means developing fear of what might happen, and we may be seeing that; she's afraid of being alone now, and of going down the stairs by herself. She's pretty clingy to me, but that's normal. She has started to be more defensive of her property, and more intent on appropriating anything she's interested in, like a proper two-year-old. Mom and Dad sent some gifts for Valentine's Day, and she loved her beads and seemed to understand that the ducks were for Maia; but she keeps calling them "my duckies," and when I gently correct her she says, "But I like them! It's okay for me to play with them!"

She can draw "smiles" (faces, actually usually without a mouth), moons, circles, and balloons now, and loves to draw maps, though I'm never sure what's actually on them. I've drawn several things inside her spaceship, upon request, and she likes to color them in. Drawing isn't as big as it used to be; now it's mainly pretend games and some running and shouting. That's fine. Reading is still important, and the stories are longer now, which is nice--though she still enjoys shared storytime with Maia, too, especially Maia's big ABC book with the different textures.

Potty training...oh potty training. We decided on the stepwise approach, with reward chart: first go in the bathroom, then in the bathroom without pants, then in the bathroom without pants and on the potty, then in the bathroom without pants or diaper on the potty. We did great until it came to sitting down. She got two prizes and was very pleased with them; but now she simply won't sit on the potty. She will on my lap, so there's something, and I'm going to see if I can get her to sit on the potty at other times, to try to work around this. It's good, in a way, that she's not having control or recognition issues. She's been excellent about telling us she needs to go, and holding it until we get to the bathroom and get her pants off. But except for once a couple of weeks ago, she doesn't want anything to do with the potty itself. I'd hoped we'd have started saving money on her diapers by now, but in fact we're using more than we used to because we're changing them every single time she pees.

She loves singing her ABCs, both by herself and with me, Eric, or her Leap doll that Aunt Karolyn gave her. She can't keep in tune or in time, but it's great to listen to anyway, though her imitation of Leap's laugh is a bit disturbing.

She still likes to hear a song at bedtime, but the big thing now is bedtime stories. We started with Goldilocks, and I haven't been able to branch into any other fairy tales, but we're reading a lot from her Disney book, and I've also been making up Dora adventures, usually with her in them. So we've got the Dora space story (in which Chloë gets a ride to Pluto to get a spare engine), the ice cream story (in which Dora and Boots help Chloë get to the ice cream truck so she can treat them all--I realized after I made it up that last year we told Chloë that was the "music truck" and intended to deceive her in this way as long as possible), the naptime story (in which Dora and Boots get told by Dora's mom to take a nap) and so on.

She's interested in the things we do; she helped me start some seeds the other day, and has started putting the silverware away independently (I mean, once we set her up on the chair and such). She's keen on baking, but wants us to play her candy cane game more than anything. She's growing more independent and complex and infuriating, and we love her that way.

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