Other than the potty issue, Chloë continues to impress us with her bigness and awesomeness and whininess. She seems to have grasped the concept of counting--where before she'd be faced with five ladybugs and count up until she couldn't count anymore, now she knows to stop when she runs out of ladybugs. We count toes and birds and flies on the window at her instigation. She can sing her ABCs, and most of Twinkle Star, and a lot of "Dowah do ha day," a.k.a. "Polly Wolly Doodle," her favorite bedtime song. She's got a few of her books mostly memorized, and will pull out random quotes from them to keep us on our toes. She loves the park and the zoo, and talks with interest about our upcoming "bacation," asking, "What will be at bacation?" and when I tell her, "What else?" She says things like "You should be more cartul (careful) next time. In the future," and "My toe hurts. Will a bandaid help?" and "Dora and Boots are in the car with us," and, when I inquire whether they're wearing seatbelts, "They are. They will come into the grocery store with us, too."
She's pretty good at please and thank-you, and sometimes astonishes me with her generosity ("Would you like a bite?" she said today, offering me part of the half-cupcake she had been asking for half the night; when eating her beloved string cheese she'll say "Can Maia have some of my string cheese?" and break off tiny portions for her). She exclaims, "What happened?" when something unexpected has occurred. She asks how my day was, and how I'm doing. When I ask her in return she says, "A little bit bad, but not much." I ask why it was bad, and she says, "Because Daddy told me no we couldn't go to the zoo today because it was raining." I love having actual conversations with her like this.
She's been helping me plant my garden this spring. First she helped with seed-starting; then watering the seedlings; then transplanting, as well as direct-sowing seeds outdoors. She's good at putting beans and peas into premade holes in the ground. Sprinkling carrot seed evenly across a row, not so much. Her favorite part of gardening so far is thinning, as she gets to eat the rejected seedlings. How do you get a two-year-old to eat raw kale and Swiss chard and choy sum? This is how.
She also repeats requests, a lot, even after we've acknowledged and agreed to them, if we don't snap to and get her what she wants instantly. "Mommy," she inevitably calls after bedtime in a droning monotone that drives me right up the wall. "Mommy." Then she wants her door closed, or the moon on again, or says "I'm uncomterble" and needs to be adjusted back to comfortableness. She's saying a lot of "I want X...I don't want X," notably with naps, driving Eric right up the wall. She's been much more reluctant to lay down for sleep (except for one notable night she asked to go to bed at 7!) and so may have switched to afternoon naps, but this past week she's been falling asleep in front of the TV when Maia goes for her afternoon nap, so that's obviously too late. A balance is still undiscovered. She's also saying "I don't like X" a lot, meaning "I don't want X right now."
She has been saying for the past few weeks that she doesn't like baths, and has backed it up by major reluctance and tantrums when we make her bathe anyway. But today, the first day after we packed up Boot Camp, she decided she liked baths again. I'll probably unpack this more in a separate post about how I'm going to have raised the first girl to go out for seventh-grade volleyball in Pull-Ups.
Maia is also a water baby (despite screaming whenever I tried to get her feet wet at the water park), and delights in standing at the tub, tossing in toys. She helps me undress her by stepping out of her pants, and seems to be learning "arms up!" a bit. She crawls around in the tub, chewing on toys, sucking on the peri bottle, and not protesting when I wash her head and face, unlike another little girl I know. Maia bathtimes are great. Before the "I don't like baths" business, we got Maia and Chloë in the bath together, and they loved it. Well, Chloë loved it. Maia may not have cared one way or another, as long as Chloë let her crawl on by to get to a particular toy, which Chloë did.
She's very big on "putting things in," and has...maybe?...responded to us a few times when we asked her to do it with a specific thing while cleaning up the living room. (I've started weeding out toys from the living room and the girls' rooms. They haven't noticed. I guess I've only removed one box's worth so far.) She loved playing with the potty when it was out, mostly putting things in it; one day we decided to see if a little big-sister shame would help and put her on it. It didn't ("See? Maia likes the potty," said Eric to Chloë. "Well I don't," said Chloë to Eric) but she was delighted by the novelty.
Chloë has started speaking for Maia...sort of...by saying things like "Maia wants that toy," or "She wants to go first," when talking about bath order. She seems to be making assumptions about what Maia wants based on Maia's actions at the time (which may or may not have anything to do with the question at hand), which I could do myself, but it's still pretty cute. However, Maia's showing her own independent spirit. Admittedly, a lot of that spirit is wanting to be held, or to chew her toy in peace rather than having it taken away and used to make a rocketship.
Maia's solidly eating solids now, pancakes and pieces of orange (with the thin skin off) and tiny bits of hamburger. We had Middle Eastern food yesterday and she loved my lentils and rice, and the tomatoes. Good lord the two of them with the tomatoes. She's officially okay to start cow's milk, not that she hasn't already had it in thieving plenty. We're still nursing, but mostly it's fairly perfunctorily. Then she pushes herself up and points at the bookshelf so we can read a Sandra Boynton book or B is for Bear or Llama Llama Nighty-Night. When I get home she reaches eagerly for me (and I for her) and gets screamingly unhappy about being put down until we've nursed, but I'm not sure whether that's hunger or habit. I know we're heading down the weaning road, but I'm not sure how fast she's going to take us there. I'm okay with letting her take the lead. She bit me once, but she got passed off to her daddy immediately afterward and she really didn't like that, and seems to have learned her lesson. (At least until I hit "Publish.")
She's making more purposeful noises now. Mostly "dah," with "na" and "muh" and "ba" thrown in for variety, and occasionally her usual birdlike screech or a noise like a car engine. She hates it when somebody nearby has food and isn't giving her some. At the table if there's something she wants, she points and babbles urgently, and if I say "more?" she'll assent...I can't actually say how she does, but I can tell. Trust me.
Still no walking, but much longer periods of standing. She loves to be flipped upside down--I have this shtick where I toss her over my shoulder (holding onto her legs) and say "Now where did I put that baby?" If Chloë is nearby she'll point and squeal, "There!" and I feel up her leg to her back and then flip her back down and say "There you are!" while she laughs. She's still a wigglepuss at the changing table, though the tube of Desitin can occupy her sometimes. I suspect the baby pictured on it helps. She's more interested in baby faces than she used to be. She's a funny baby face herself sometimes.
The neighbors whose backyard abuts ours let their brown standard poodles have a litter, and Maia is fascinated by them. They run around in the backyard most days, all seven puppies and their parents, and Maia stands at the office window, or stares out the kitchen window from our arms, and squeals and squeaks and exclaims. Sometimes Chloë joins her. We also put birdfood in the feeder out back, and they both love to watch the birds come around. They get along fine, and I love watching them watch the world together.