Curious J has now achieved 17 months old. As this blog is the closest thing to a baby book that I’ll ever do for her, here is a written portrait of my baby at 17 months:
She loves music. Oh, my, does she love music. JJ and I have realized that when we have an inconsolable or super-fussy daughter on our hands, the surest cure is to take her into the living room and start playing the piano. (JJ usually plays hymns out of the new Hymnal Supplement. There are some lovely tunes in there!) This tactic hasn’t failed us yet. She loves music.
She also loves coming to Music Together class with me. When Lyd was this age, I couldn’t take her with me when I taught, as she was too clingy and too shy. Curious J, on the other hand, sits in my lap very nicely (often with a big smile on her face) but will also stroll around the circle as suits her fancy. She seems to want to know where I am, and when we all stand up to do some kind of large movement activity, she wants to be held in my arms (as do most other kids her age in the class!), but she isn’t clingy and she isn’t demanding or fussy. It is extremely easy to teach with her, and both of us get so much enjoyment out of being in class together.
Singing and music also work their magic charms when I have to get her dressed after a bath. J would prefer to stay in the buff and practice stepping up and down on her stepstool all night long, but eventually the clothes have to be put on. Music Together songs work VERY WELL to ease the trauma of becoming clothed, and they transform the moment from a power struggle into a bonding time. That’s my kind of mothering. 🙂
She is determind to be on the move; this past month she has been working hard on her climbing skills. She loves to climb up on couches and chairs. Once or twice she’s fallen off, but luckily she’s needed minimal to no soothing from me; she’s mostly been just surprised. She squawks for a few moments, realizes she’s okay, and tries once again. She now also can scoot down a staircase on her bottom. It’s not fast, but it works, and she hasn’t fallen (yet). I haven’t felt the need to put up our makeshift baby gate up at the bottom of our stairs for almost two weeks now.
She is really, really good at feeding herself. Perhaps she’s just average-ly good compared to other children her age, but Lyd didn’t feed herself until she was well past two years old. (For whatever foolish, first-time-parent reason, JJ and I always fed Lyd ourselves. However, suffice to say, we learned our lesson.) But had Curious J been our first baby, she would never have allowed us to make such a foolish mistake; she has demanded to feed herself from the time she realized that she could. I am amazed how well she does. Of course, after a while she gets tired of it, and she starts sticking her whole hand into whatever she’s eating and squishing it around. It’s all about texture and sensory experiences, you know. 😉 I can’t wait until she’s two years old, old enough for me to take her to a My First Art Class or, better yet, a Messy Art Class. She will LOVE IT.
She continues to adore and attempt to emulate her big sister. I can’t tell you how utterly and completely heartwarming this is. Ahh. Watching my girls together, makes everything I went through to get this baby totally worth it. Of course, this is not to say they have a perfect relationship. Because J wants everything her big sister has, there are some struggles that occur. The time is soon coming where J is going to start having to learn the nasty five-letter word called SHARE. There have been tensions between the girls, to be sure. But when I see them completely happy together, and feeding off each other’s energy and excitement and happiness — it’s all totally worth it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m so happy they have each other.
J now sleeps through the night beautifully, although when we got back from SoCal, she did 2-3 nights of waking up screaming at 1:30 a.m. Not knowing what else to do (and being half-asleep), I got up, checked the diaper, nursed her a bit, replaced the nukker (pacifier), and put her back to bed. Thankfully, the 1:30 wake-up calls stopped, but now the last 2-3 mornings she’s been waking up screaming around 6:30 a.m. Again, I’ve gotten up, changed the diaper, nursed her, replaced the nukker, and put her back to bed, even though the sun has been up. But I Do Not Get Up At 6:30. God bless you mothers that do; you are far more ambitious than me. But I just don’t do that, so as far as I’m concerned, J needs to go back to sleep. The good side of this is that apparently, she’s all ready for Daylight Savings Time to begin next week. I’ve been trying to get her to bed by 7 p.m. this week, not only because she’s been tired and whiny, but also because of the impending “spring forward.” And theoretically, when you put your child to bed earlier, they sleep longer in the morning. I’m not sure if that’s working yet for me…
As I mentioned before, yes, I’m still nursing J. It’s not much these days; once in the morning, once at bedtime, and sometimes once more before or after the nap. There’s not much milk there, and she can skip a nursing time without her (or me!) being too bothered by it, but she always seems eager to nurse when I give her the opportunity. I’m not sure when I’m going to quit, although my plan is to be done by the time she’s two years old. I don’t know how much longer my body’s going to keep making milk with this slow pace. My body might just sort of dry up the pump between now and then, and that would be okay, too. I could end it myself, but I know that if she were to get sick again or get asthma in the future, I would feel guilty for not having nursed her longer. So, I’m just taking it one day at a time. I don’t know when I’ll be done, but it’s not bothering me or her, so I’m not messing with it for now.
Finally, to the topic of talking. J is talking a little more, but I would not say she is truly Talking. Her vocabulary consists of:
- Wow! (a good example of her saying this was this morning as she looked out the open garage at the rain pouring down.)
- Uh-oh! (always said appropriately — and amusingly.)
- Ee-ow! (her version of meow, said when she sees Pepper)
- Hi Da! (said to her Daddy, most famously said loudly and repeatedly during a quiet evening Compline service in the echo-y North Hollywood church two Sundays ago as Daddy stepped to the lectern to read a scripture lesson.)
- Ah dah! (I only recognized this for the first time today, and I’m not sure if it is what I think it is. I think it’s her way of saying “all done” after a meal. We’ll see if she continues to say this in the future.)
Thus concludes the list of what J currently says. But, when the whim suits her, she will follow simple commands that I give her, most notably to “put your nukker down [on the shelf]” and “put the toys in the bucket.” And, pretty much anytime I tell her to “come here,” she runs the other direction. So, I would say that she understands words just fine. 🙂
She also has started “praying” this month. Following the philosophy promoted by Music Together, JJ and I have never folded J’s hands for her at mealtimes. Instead, we’ve always demonstrated a good example for her. This month, our example paid off, as she started joining in on her own! She folds her hands at mealtimes now, although her hands usually don’t manage to stay folded for the length of the entire prayer. But the cutest example of this was during church a few Sundays ago. While the rest of us were standing up for the Communion liturgy, she was sitting on the pew writing on her slate. When the Lord’s Prayer came up, I noticed her jerk up her head in surprise, drop her slate pencil, and quickly fold her hands. When the prayer ended, she picked up her pencil and picked up where she had left off. She hears the Lord’s Prayer every night as part of our bedtime prayers, and it was SO neat to see her respond like that in church, outside of the normal bedtime setting!
I am eagerly awaiting the day when she figures out this “talking” thing. Right now, there’s an awful lot of whining coming from her on a daily basis. Since she can’t talk, this has become her way of telling me what she wants. For better or for worse, I usually know what she wants, and I give it to her (all the while using MY words to tell her what it is she wants and what I’m doing). This is my first time experiencing this kind of behavior; Lyd started talking around one year old, and her vocabulary steadily increased. Lyd was never a whiny child, but J certainly has her moments. Yet I know that “this too shall pass.” I am beginning to strongly suspect that when she finally DOES start talking, she’ll start talking in sentences right off the bat. Hopefully the whining will taper off then, too.
And, oh my, is my baby growing! Now that my taxes are done, one of my tasks over the next week or so is to switch her over to the next size up of clothes! Time for the 18-24 month bin! She’s still got her chubby little “Buddha Belly,” but she’s growing like a weed. She’s really not a baby anymore, but I still keep calling her that. I probably always will, until the time (if and when) I am blessed with another child.
She is a blessing, my little Curious J. I can’t imagine life without her anymore!