Well, my beautiful girl. You have learned so many new things in the past month. You started doing the sign for “all done” at the end of a meal. Then you added “So big!” and waving “bye-bye” to your repertoir. Then you learned to do the sign for “more” (although your “more” looks a lot like your clapping – you do both by moving one curled hand into one open hand). You initiate peek-a-boo anytime you have something appropriate in your hands – including the bottom of your bib after I take your high chair tray away. You also know to clap when we sing, “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” – and doing so elicits a huge grin from you.
You still don’t crawl or pull yourself up but you are getting awfully good at walking (with assistance). And whereas a month ago you would happily take a few tentative steps around when prompted by us, now you are actively asking to be pulled up onto your feet and are off and walking, often for relatively long distances. You just need improved balance and a little more confidence and you’ll be walking on your own.
You have gotten much more verbal in the last month – both in the variation of sounds you make and the frequency of them. So far the word you use correctly the most consistently is “Hi”. You say, “Dada” and “Daddy” a lot and sometimes they are definitely directed at your father, but you also use “Dada” for me and for other people or things that you like. You often say “Dada” when you look at the photos on the refrigerator and when you see pictures of yourself or look at yourself in the mirror.
Your favourite “toys” to play with are books. You LOVE books! You will sit and let us read 10+ books to you at a go and if there are books nearby when you are playing by yourself, you grab them and open them and try to page through them. It sometimes sounds like you are “reading” them out loud to yourself. If we are walking around with you and wander over to your basket of books you usually want to stop and try to pull books out of the basket. Your favourite books are still mostly those with flaps (which you are getting better and better at opening yourself) or different textures. We get a lot of books from the library because you seem to get bored of reading the same books over and over everyday.
Your other favourite thing to play with are refrigerator magnets. You love pulling them off and sticking them back on again. I put about half a dozen near the bottom of the refrigerator at your level. Sometimes I’ll sit you down by them while I’m doing things in the kitchen and you’ll happily entertain yourself with them for quite a while.
Eating has its ups and downs right now. There have been plenty of mealtimes when you throw more food on the floor than goes in your stomach. You will still reliably eat bananas and bread with peanut butter but anything else is a crapshoot. Some days you love cheese, other days it all goes on the floor. Same with melon and grapes. Some meals I wonder how you fit all that food in your tummy and other meals I’m fretting about how little you’ve actually consumed. I’m trying to be a little more relaxed about it all.
You now have three teeth – two on bottom and one on top! (It’s possible you have four at this point – it’s hard to get a good look/feel of your top gum.) The two bottom ones came through with almost no difficulty. You would hardly even know that you were popping out some teeth. And then came that top tooth along with three weeks of trauma. You would wail any time we tried to put you down, you were cranky a lot, you didn’t sleep well and turned into an early riser – sometimes waking up as early as 5:00 am. You had two weekends in a row with intermittent fever, listlessness and lots of sleeping. The two days before the tooth came through, we were really worried about you because you seemed so ill and miserable. We had an NCT class reunion and all you did most of the time was lie on your Daddy. And then the next morning you woke up much happier than you had been in weeks and – lo and behold – there was a new tooth. Since then you’ve once again been your old happy self, you can play contentedly on your own again (for a limited period of time – you’d much rather have Mummy or Daddy play with you), you are sleeping better and you’re not waking up so early anymore either. Your parents especially appreciate being able to sleep until 7:00-8:00 in the morning once again. We’re really hoping that all your subsequent teeth don’t cause that much drama. It’s exhausting and it’s really hard to see you so miserable!
Another big change in your life is that this week you’ve started going to nursery two afternoons a week. We’re easing in to daycare, primarily because I’m still looking for freelance work. But I think it’s a good thing for you to have more time around other kids as well as other adults. The nursery is very nearby (we can walk there in five minutes) and the staff seem really good and nurturing. I shed a few tears the first time I left you there on your own, but when I came to pick you up at the end of the afternoon you had obviously been having a good time.
You are getting more and more independent and you certainly have a will of your own. I already see the beginnings of a lot of typical “first born” traits in you. You are a remarkable kid, Elisabeth. I am so proud of you and I love you so much! (Now, you just need to learn to say “Mama”…)