Dearest, darling Emmie,
You are 18 months old! I can’t believe you are on your way to two, and yet I also very much can when I think of all the incredible, so very grown up things that you’ve started doing.
What a wonderful month. You are so funny, sweet, cheerful and just a delight to everyone you meet.
My favorite development of the month has been the advent of pretend play. It started off with a few seeds: me pretending to feed a baby doll with a plate, a new soft book of Madeline that let you pretend to brush her teeth. It quickly expanded within just a few weeks to include a pretend play schema of your very own (covering a baby with a blanket, patting her and singing-slash-making us sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”), as well as some pretend play between two objects (two toys kissing, feeding doll play food) and pretend play with no objects. The latter means we have to know that you are trying to “feed” us something when you hold out your hand, rather than handing us a practically invisible speck of dirt, as you also often do. The arrival of your play kitchen from Santa set off an explosion of the pretend play like I’ve never seen before. Without any real modeling, you immediately began opening and closing the microwave, pushing its buttons, putting on the tiny oven mitt and using it to take things out of the microwave and oven, and making all sorts of soups, stews, and cookies to feed us.
In addition to your favorite play routines above, some others are: putting things in the oven, then squatting down to look inside to see if they are done, then opening it up and taking them out; blowing on all the “hot” things from the microwave and oven; laying yourself down on the floor and saying “night-night.”
In other very exciting news, your speech is really starting to catch up to your sign. You still definitely use both to get your point across, but speech is rapidly gaining on sign now. Many days, you’ve simply woken up with a brand new word. One morning, immediately after waking and without a single word or prompt from me, you just looked at us and clearly said “eyes,” as you pointed right to them. It was like you had figured it out sometime during the night and couldn’t wait to share it with us.
You are so much more willing to try to say new words now too. Last month, we would try the “Say ___” game, and unless it was a single syllable word starting with a b, you would just look blankly back at us. Now you are game to try most things, even if 90% of them come out as only general approximations. But I am still thrilled because you can’t improve if you never try!
Words you use (new in italics):
Say: hi, Emmie (Mimi, usually), spoon (boo), bowl, stay (day), night-night, moo, baa, neigh, woof, row-row-row, oatmeal (om), Madeline (mah-my), dog (da), blue, help, up, nose, eyebrow (buh-bo), bubbles (pretty much perfectly!), pop, bath, Gigi (grandma), Bapa (grandpa), uh-oh, Uncle PJ (Bee-bee/Baby), Uncle Eric (Eh-ih), beep, phone (no), please, baby, wash-wash-wash (wab-wab-wab), go (do), snow (no), eyes, milk (mo), shh (means sleep), boo (Soothie), no, box, boots, shoes, ball, bye bye, bread, mama, dada
Sign: cheese, frog, horse, Signing Time, beep, slide, swing, play, mine/my, cookie, airplane, all done, avocado, baby, ball, banana, bath, bear, bird, book, bread, brush, bye bye, cereal, clean, cracker, daddy, dirty, dog, drink, ears, eat, eyes, fan, go, gorilla, hair, hat, help, I love you, lion, lovey, milk, more, mouth, nose, outside, penguin, please, rain, shower, sleep, sock, snow, Soothie, spider, straw, sunscreen/lotion, thank you, tree, water, wait, where, windy, work, yogurt
The past month has also seen something of a miracle for us. You are sleeping again! That is to say, you are sleeping in stretches that are WAY better for ME! After the hell of last month with all the sickness, you were waking up a lot. That went back to one waking at night to nurse, but it was *consistently* at 3 AM. Like, It would be between 2:50 and 3:10. Every. Single. Night. When you woke up again at 6:30 or so, that meant Mama was not getting very long stretches of sleep anymore. Thankfully, you performed a Christmas miracle just before the blessed holiday and started stretching that “snack time” later and later, until now you are just waking up for the day at 7ish! I am not planning on this staying forever, but I certainly am enjoying this time while it lasts!
This month has seen the emergence of something that is clearly, CLEARLY an inheritance from your father. We call it “wab-wab-wabbing.” You, my darling daughter, like to be CLEAN. After each meal, you hold your hands out and say “wab-wab-wab” for “wash-wash-wash.” This, of course is lovely, especially since you rarely protest when we wash your hands and face. It becomes more of a problem when you can’t let go of the presence of some tiny speck of dirt. Say you notice an errant piece of oatmeal on your fingers during a meal. “Wab-wab-wab!” with hands outstretched. When you were finger painting with Uncle Eric, we were less concerned about you getting paint all over than with your ability to finish the painting due to your own concern over the state of your painted hands. Your daddy, when he was a baby, needed his hands wiped between EVERY BITE. I love you baby, but I’m not doing that. Also, because of my work, I see a lot of kids who are “sensory defensive,” so I work hard at making sure you are OK with being a little messy (which you usually are…until you realize you are messy).
You have some favorite topics of conversation now. When you wake up, the very first thing you do when I come in the room is blow (to tell me about the heater in your room). Then you usually point out the “boo” (Soothie) on the floor, and maybe point to your lovey and sign for it. Sometimes you wake up hungry and sign “eat” after telling me about the heater. You also love (LOVE!) talking about where everyone else might be. At least a hundred times a day we have the following exchange:Mama? Yes, baby. Dada. Dada’s at work. Mama? Yes, baby. Dada. Dada’s at work.
Sometimes we change it up and I ask you “Where you do you think Dada is?” According to you, he is usually sleeping, but sometimes you say “Bye bye” and wave, remembering how we say goodbye to him in the morning. You also really like to talk about Jasper (AKA “dog”). It’s so fun to have a tiny glimpse into your mind and what you find interesting.
Other than saying Mama a thousand times a day, your very favorite thing to talk about has to be possession. Especially when we are at the dinner table, you will point to your milk and say “Mo.” Then you’ll point to my milk and say “Mama.” Then you’ll point to Daddy’s milk and say “Dada.” What’s neat is that you only point out the things that are the same. If two people happen to be drinking water, you will ONLY point to all of the milks, and then you’ll point to the waters, as if to identify that those ones are different. When your Gigi and Bapa (Grandma and Grandpa from my side) were here, you would also point out their drinks, food, forks, knives, bowls, or whatever else caught your attention. You’ll even throw Jasper into the mix if he happens to be eating or drinking at the same time as us.
You’ve started to get a pretty funny sense of humor… well, at least the things you find funny are at least remotely humorous (tickles, surprising things). You also will do things to get a reaction out of us, like coming up behind us and tickling us. I’ve loved to hear the evolution of your laugh from and sort of open-mouthed/closed-velum chortle to a full-on LAUGH. I love getting you to laugh by tickling you or rough housing. You love being upside down so much I sometimes wonder if you are going to run away and join the circus.
Favorite things: music and dancing; crackers, pears, avocados, meat, anything except most fruits and all vegetables; helping mama clean; playing in your pretend kitchen; reading books alone or with someone (favorites: Goodnight Gorilla, First Words ABCs, Going to Bed Book); locating every “boo,” and sticking two Soothies in your mouth at once; carrying around your babies, covering them with a blanket, patting them and saying “night night”; Jasper (also your least favorite); dogs, penguins, elephants; running around the house while yelling; shutting all drawers and doors; saying “bye bye” to dirty diapers, trash, the toilet; your lovey (MUST have it before bed, or else!); wash-wash-wash (“wab-wab-wab”), washing your hands in the sink, cleaning up after a meal, washing anything that it dirty at all; knowing where everyone in the house is and what they are doing; playing with your Duplos; Baby Signing Time; opening and closing the microwave in your kitchen; snuggling Mama before bed (OK, so maybe that’s MY favorite!).
I love you, always and forever,