There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad, she was horrid.
That pretty much describes Curious J these days. And she even has the curl in the middle of her forehead! Of course, she also has a bunch of ringlets in the back of her head. They’re gorgeous; she has no idea how lucky she is.
I’m pleased to report that we are continuing to see progress in J’s language development. Here are some highlights:
- She says “Hi!” with enthusiasm and frequency, and she does it appropriately. She also says, “Bye-bye!” with enthusiasm and frequency and appropriateness. And she continues to love to say “Thank you!” It is a pleasure to take her places she is familiar with when she is in a good mood.
- She counts to ten, more or less. She loves it. I think this comes partially from me counting the steps when I carry her upstairs. She loves counting!
- She also loves the alphabet. I think she knows all the letters, but she definitely knows S-X in order. She also loves the letter K. She loves to point out big letters, if she notices them.
- She still pretty much says only the first sound and/or syllable of words. This means that she’s usually pretty hard to understand. However, it’s slowly, slowly getting better. For some reason, I think that physically making the words in her mouth is tricky for her. But, I’m sure it will come.
- She’s great at the end of prayers, saying “Ah-mem!” It’s her reliable two-syllable word. She also does it in church. Loudly. 🙂
- Once in a while, if she’s upstairs and I’m downstairs, she will call out to me using some variation on the word “mama.” I like the fact that she can actually use my name. (Although, to be fair, when she looks at photographs of people, she’ll point to each person and say “mama.” So, there’s still development to be done with that word! ;))
- We have a little batter-operated alphabet toy table. When you push a lever, the next letter of the alphabet shows up, along with the computer saying the name of the item. Today, I was playing with her and the toy and she said the words, “joo (juice), lah (lion – she followed up with an appropriate “rarh!”), mah (mouse), eh (eggs in a nest).” But, with her only saying the first sound of these words, you can see why she’s still difficult to understand.
- She does have one multi-syllabic phrase that she tries to say, which is, “See you next time.” It comes out sounding only mildly like that, but I do believe that’s what she’s trying to say. She always says it to the garage door when I let her push the button to close the garage door.
I’m noticing advances in J’s musical development. While she has yet to sing a note, she can keep a steady beat about 50-75% of the time. It’s quite amazing, especially for me as an early childhood music teacher, since children don’t usually achieve Rhythmic Competence until 3 years old at the earliest. When we play music games together at home, games that are meant to practice keeping a steady beat, she does very, very well at them. Plus, she’s great at imitating whatever I do. For example, if we’re playing with our rhythm sticks and I start to drum on the floor, she will do the same. If I click the sticks together, she does the same. If I use the sticks to make funny ears, she does the same. No matter what I do, she will try to do the same, and most of the time she will succeed. (Lyd NEVER did anything like this!) Curious J never says a word, but she physically does thm, so I know her little brain is working away. 🙂
Knock on wood, she’s been quite healthy lately. After her strange reaction to her last homeopathic remedy, she has been doing great. She did wake up with sniffles two mornings, I gave her a few doses of Thymuline, and she was all fine! I’m glad to see her having a longer period of health.
Curious J is becoming like me in an interesting way: She gets low blood sugar if she doesn’t eat on time, and when that happens, she gets extremely cranky. When food is finally put in front of her, she usually refuses to eat it. So, her father and I have to find ways to trick her into eating, making it into a game. I don’t like doing that, but if it’s my fault for not getting the meal ready when she needed it, I don’t think it’s fair to punish her for acting out in a way that she can’t control. It’s amazing, because once she starts eating, it takes about 20 minutes on the dot for the food to start hitting her bloodstream, and then her mood dramatically changes back into the happy, cheerful child she usually is. So, I am trying to be better about feeding her snacks and meals in a timely manner.
She is quite helpful, too. She’s good at putting things away. When I say, “Time to get out of the tub. Put the toys back in the bag,” she almost always stands right up and starts putting things away. She certainly didn’t learn this behavior from her big sister, or from her parents!
But, she can throw a good tantrum, and at unexpected moments, although they’re always worse when she’s hungry or tired. We try to ignore them as much as possible. At times we even have to not chuckle at her, especially when she lays herself carefully down on the floor before throwing a bit of a fit. The other day she wasn’t as careful: she was laying on our hardwood steps, and she threw back her head in anger, clunking it hard on the floor. I was right next to her when this happened (she was angry at something I had told her to do), and when she clunked her head so hard, her father came running, wondering what had happened. “She did it to herself, and I was right next to her,” I answered, shaking my head and laughing while I hugged my child and rubbed her head. So, that happens. I think when she can communicate better, her tantrums will decrease. I am almost positive that she sometimes throws fits because she’s trying to tell me something, and I’m not understanding her. Frankly, if I was in that situation, I would throw a tantrum, too! 😉
Most of the time she is a big sweetheart. She is completely easy to put down for naps and bedtime. I used to think Lyd was easy, but J is even more so. It makes up for the 15 months of not sleeping through the night that we endured. She waves bye-bye to me as I leave the room and even blows kisses to me. Part of this magic is achieved by the fact that I still give her a pacifier at sleeptimes. Perhaps I shouldn’t, but man, it works, and I’m in no hurry to upset the apple cart, so to speak. Eventually, this too shall pass. At least I’ve gotten away from using the pacifier during church. Now, she ONLY gets it at sleeptimes, and I’m okay with that.
What makes my heart swell with joy the most is that she and her big sister are becoming better friends all the time. Since I last wrote about them, they are able to play for longer amounts of time together, just the two of them, than they were before. J is getting better about copying her sister, and L is getting better at helping J be successful at whatever they’re doing. One phrase I have used a lot with Lyd is “Find a way to play with your sister so that she can play, too.” Apparently, repetition works, because Lyd seems to be finally getting the message. I don’t always agree with the method she chooses to play with her sister, but if it works, I try not to intervene too much if they’re having fun together.
Lyd has said more than once that “J is my best friend.” And when I have the girls say good night to each other, J is eager to give her big sister a hug and kiss. I absolutely love seeing the two of them bonding in this way.
Lyd loves sharing a bedroom with her little sister, too, although, with J usually the first person to wake up in our household, I think L would prefer if her sister slept in a little longer in the morning. Thankfully,when J wakes up too early, I can almost always go into her room, give her a pacifier, tell her “It’s sleepy time – lie down,” and she happily plunks her little head right back down onto the pillow and rests. I don’t think she ever actually goes back to sleep, but it does buy our family at least half an hour more of quiet time.
Curious J is adorable and wonderful, and I’m finding more to love about her all the time. I’m going to break my own rule by posting this gorgeous picture of my girl at the park: