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Once again, looking back at the blog entry that I wrote about Elisabeth three months ago, I’m struck at how much she’s changed in those three months. Of course we see her learning new things constantly, but the difference in those two snapshots — Elisabeth at 17 months and Elisabeth at 20 months — is still quite striking.

In that last entry, I wrote that Elisabeth stil wasn’t walking on her own. Exactly a week after I wrote that, she was toddling around at church like she’d been walking for a long time! Having her start walking by herself was a bit of a relief as it meant she could walk around the house without me always having to come with her. Hooray for more independence! People warned us that once she was more mobile, we’d have to worry about what she was getting into, but since she’s not a very mischievous kid and the house is pretty effectively toddler-proofed, I don’t have to worry all that much if she’s in one part of the house by herself for a while. It’s been great! The main downside is that she frequently gets tired of riding in her pushchair and wants to walk. This really had a big impact on the week we spent in Paris in the middle of July. Elisabeth wanted to walk EVERYWHERE, so we went a lot of places very slowly making frequent stops for her to explore, watch people or dogs, or just look around.

We’ve also had about three months now of consistently sleeping through the night, which is another thing that feels like it has just changed our lives. Being able to rely on getting a good 7-8 hours of sleep at night myself just makes a world of difference! Elisabeth generally goes to bed around 7:15-7:30 and wakes up around 6:30-7:00, although she usually doesn’t make any noise when she wakes up and will play or lie quietly in her cot until we come get her, sometimes for as long as an hour or more, so it’s hard to know just when she’s actually waking. At some point we walk into her room, and there she is, standing up in her cot just patiently waiting for someone to come get her. She goes for an afternoon nap sometime between 12:30 and 1:30 and usually sleeps for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Elisabeth loves music, singing and dancing, and we frequently hear her singing to herself. There are quite a few songs that she can sing all or mostly by herself including:

  • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • The Alphabet Song
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • 1-2-3-4-5 Once I Caught A Fish
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • Ring A Ring O’ Roses
  • Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • Incey Wincey Spider
  • See Saw Margery Daw
  • Throw, Catch

We go to singing time at the Wood Green library most Monday mornings and at the children’s centre around the corner from our house most Wednesdays. They do a lot of singing at Elisabeth’s nursery too.

I long ago lost track of how many words Elisabeth knows. Her vocabulary is huge. She surprises us daily with words that she knows. We have to watch what we say too, because she repeats a lot. She’s been using more 4-5+ word sentences like “Ah-bess play ball park” and “Ah-bess owwie on her head”. (“Ah-bess” is how she says her own name.) She can count to 10, and she can recite the days of the week in order. She learned both of those things at nursery. Makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth! While she chatters all day long at home, she’s pretty shy around other people and takes a while to warm up to them. It’s almost impossible to get her to “show off”. When we Skype with my mom, it always takes her 10+ minutes before she’ll talk at all and she steadfastly refuses to sing or count or show off other things she knows.

One of her favourite things is pushing her “baby” around in the doll buggy. She loves taking her baby outside for walks which usually means going to the park. It also means that occasionally we have to take the doll buggy along folded up on Elisabeth’s pushchair, so Elisabeth can push her baby wherever it is that we’re going.

Her other favourite things right now include drawing/colouring with crayons and coloured pencils, going to the park (any park, but mostly Chestnuts Park just down the street) and playing with buckles and cream. Elisabeth is kind of obsessed with buckles and cream. If there is a buckle, she wants to buckle it. If there is cream (suncream, nappy cream, lotion, etc), she wants to open it and rub it on her face, arms, etc. I guess every kid has their own thing, right? At least with the buckle thing it’s great for improving hand-eye coordination.

Eating hasn’t improved that much other than the range of fruit that she’ll eat expanding a bit again. She was down to just bananas. Now grapes are her favourite. She’ll also eat apples, raspberries and sometimes oranges or clementines. She still won’t eat any vegetables. She’s definitely a grazer. We can get her to sit in her high chair for meals, but she generally doesn’t eat very much during those meal times and she wants to snack a lot throughout the day, usually asking for crackers. She’ll also snack on Cheerios, raisins and fruit. Every now and then she’ll eat some of the pasta or rice or other food that we’re eating, but we definitely can’t count on that. She does seem to eat better at nursery where she’ll usually at least sample whatever they’re having for lunch.

Elisabeth is still for the most part a sweet, happy, fun kid although in the last months tantrums have definitely become a lot more frequent. She has very clear ideas of what she wants to do and how she wants things to be (and what she wants James and I to do) and if things are other than how she wants them, she will scream and cry. Thankfully her tantrums rarely last longer than 2-3 minutes, and usually we have the time and patience to let her try doing things on her own, pre-empting some tantrums. She always wants to try to put her shoes on by herself. Often she wants to try to open the front doors with keys by herself. She hasn’t reached the point of wanting to dress herself yet, although she’ll sometimes resist getting dressed at all.

We’ve had the little potty in the bathroom for about 8 months now and have often encouraged Elisabeth to sit on it before she gets in the bath in the evening. So far, though, we’re taking a rather casual, relaxed approach to potty training. Elisabeth really likes sitting on her potty, although she doesn’t stay there very long. She has three times done a poo in her potty, but that seemed to be more due to the fact that she just happened to be sitting on the potty when the poo came out (in one instance, I quickly pushed her on the potty when I saw the poo starting to come out of her bottom!) than her actually trying to do it. In fact, every time she got quite upset when she saw the poo in the potty and repeated, “Uh oh, potty!” We had to work quite hard to convince her that it was a good thing and she’d done really well!

It’s been a very busy summer with lots of visitors and travelling. Elisabeth has been an amazing trooper through it all. But I’ll save that for another blog entry…

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