It is fascinating watching you grow as little by little (and occasionally leap by leap), you become an individual to be reckoned with and one who asserts her own personality. Especially now that you are starting to experiment more with language. You have pretty much just grasped “No” at this point but you say it with regularity and alacrity and on occasion, a certain amount of vehemence. I am not completely convinced that you know exactly what it means. I think sometimes you like to say it because your father and I seem to find it funny but it does always tend to come out when you are displeased.
It’s not the only thing you try and say though. Sometimes you like to chatter to yourself and you have great conversations that we don’t understand at all. We assume that we know when you are trying to say words like doggie, birdie or bottle but the sounds you use for these are pretty interchangeable. Which is fair enough I’ll admit, because they are very close. There is a specific word or phrase that comes out frequently however and we haven’t got a clue what it means!
You have started to say “a-tao” with the “ao” being the vowel sound in “ouch”. Given the various places you have said this, we are convinced that it is not an object. And given the either plaintive or occasionally demanding tone of voice in which it is delivered, we think it is a sort of request. My best guess is that this is either an “I can’t do it!” or a “help with this”. That would seem to fit with most situations. Whereas other parts of your speech seem to parrot sounds that we give you though, we’re pretty clueless as to where this came from. However, we usually understand each other. Eventually… I think. Some things leave us in no doubt though.
You have a new way of telling us that you are hungry. You go the cupboard and pull out your bowl or your plate, you choose a bib for yourself and if we still haven’t responded, you go and sit in your high chair. It’s very cute. You can’t put the tray table on by yourself but if you could, I am sure that you would clip it on so you could start banging on it. And possibly singing “Why are we waiting”. Not that you are demanding at all. Much.
We had your first toddler tantrum this month. Which on the whole I guess is not all that surprising. We had gone away for the week which involved a lot of time in the car. We were busy each day so any sort of routine was an impossibility (or rather your father and I expected you to go with the flow). We were also staying in a house with your grandparents and without Reuben so it was never just your immediate family. You were sick and you were overtired so when we wouldn’t let you watch the television with your face less than 20 cm from the screen, you let it rip.
You lay down on the rug and writhed around. You screeched and cried. You thumped your legs on the floor repeatedly and you kept this up for a solid five minutes or more. Everyone else in the room ignored you. However, we did monitor you. We made sure that you weren’t about to hurt yourself. Had you taken to your alternate method of venting frustration (head butting the floor), I might have intervened but as it was, we just let you tire yourself out. I started reading one of your favorite stories and when sitting in my lap seemed a better option than crying alone on the floor, you decided that we must have learned our lesson by now and you could forgive us for the tv thing. Or whatever else we had done to annoy you.
Our holiday away wasn’t all bad for you though. You enjoyed spending time with Gigi and Grumps who were always in the back seat with you as we went from winery to winery. Gigi would also sing songs to you such as incy wincy spider and she taught you round and round the garden on your hand which you now initiate with me since we have come home. You are not actually that ticklish at all so its not something that sets you into fits of giggles but you like the action of it (you will also do it to yourself if we are watching) and the interaction with us and it always makes you smile.
Something else that tends to make you smile is that healthy dose of schadenfreude that you have. I often hear you chuckling at your dad if he stubbs his toes or bumps his head. And then I hear your dad do whatever it was that made you laugh again. On purpose. I am assuming that this is a love of slapstick that you are developing although at the rate you and your father are going, he may end up with a few bruises. You are always there to give him a massage though to make him feel better. This is a new part to the bath time routine.
The bath time routine in our house is a little crazy. There are a number of parenting books that suggest this should be a time for calm and quiet. For gentle voices and soothing lavender scented water. A time to wind down before bed and begin to get drowsy. We threw that suggestion out the window a long time ago. There is usually give or take 5 minutes of pre-game warm up that happens before anyone even gets wet. There is a lot of chasing and a little bit of wrestling on the bed. Or the floor. Or wherever. There might be some poking or some peek-a-boo and various stages of undress. Then there is the bath.
I’m not sure who splashes more in the bath, you or your dad. You two have a ball though. Every night. You especially like it when he sings or plays games with you and you demand that he does it again and again and again. You have learnt the meaning of quid pro quo though. You will get him to do whatever you want and when he stops, you make him move so that you can get past him and pat him on the back to give him a massage. Then you make your way back around to face him and demand that he do whatever it was AGAIN! Your dad thinks this is hilarious.
So it’s fun being your parent because you have so much love. Not all of it is for us though. Some of it is for dancing which you now do on occasion. Some of it is for shoes. You Love shoes. Some of your love is for a teddy bear that I believe is actually bigger than you are. Somewhere along the line though is an abundance of love that is for us because you have a beautiful heart. I hope you always keep that.