red nail polish – a success story

In an effort to start blogging with some degree of regularity, I am using the events of yesterday as a springboard into getting myself writing again.  Because yesterday was a bit of a story.  🙂
 
After supper last night, Lyd left to go to the bathroom.  About ten minutes later, as I was putting supper dishes away, she came into the kitchen with tears streaming down her face.  She immediately put her arms around me and said, “I’m so sorry, Mom!”  I asked her what had happened, and she managed to choke out to me that she had taken out my red nail polish and somehow it had spilled all over the floor.  She showed me her hands, and they were covered in red nail polish as well.  (It initially looked like blood to me, and for a split second, I was wracking my brain, wondering how her hands could have gotten so bloody.  When she said it was nail polish, I was secretly, momentarily relieved.  Had it been blood, we would have been in Big Trouble.)
 
What she did was problematic on many levels.  First of all, she didn’t ask permission to use my nail polish.  Secondly, at our house, we make every effort to apply nail polish outside.  Thirdly, she now had red nail polish spilled onto my bathroom rug (an old vintage rug I had from my Grandma), it had soaked through the rug onto the natural stone tile on the bathroom floor, and there was red nail polish on the white bathroom sink.  Ack!  What a mess!
 
First things first: I tried to clean up the mess.  Lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with using natural cleaning products, namely baking soda and vinegar.  I had both of those products easily available in my bathroom, so after grabbing a roll of paper towels, I poured some vinegar on the stain.  (JJ had already taken the polish-soaked rug outside.)  The vinegar didn’t do very much, sadly.  I knew that baking soda is mildly abrasive, so I shook some of that onto the stain and scrubbed.  Lo and behold, the stain started to come off!  I was shocked.  I put on some more baking soda and vinegar, let it foam for ten seconds or so, and then scrubbed some more.  Unbelievably, with a bit of elbow grease (but not that much!), ALL OF THE POLISH CAME OFF THE FLOOR.  Wow!  I tried the same baking soda/vinegar combo on the sink, and happily, with a little scrubbing the sink became perfectly clean, too.  I was amazed and very, very relieved!
 
If we hadn’t been able to get that red nail polish off the floor, JJ and I would have been seriously unhappy.  While we have no immediate plans to sell our house, we do talk about it as a “someday” event.  And having a bathroom floor with a giant bloodstain-looking stain on the floor would not have been helpful for resale value.
 
Of course, the other problem was that Lyd was ignoring what she had been told.  We’ve had a lot of that from both girls lately.  They hear what we say, but don’t pay attention to it, or else they know what they’re supposed to do, and they choose not to do it anyway.  This has become quite a problem.  So, Lyd’s consequence is no nail polish for a month.  Unfortunately for her, later that evening she was told to help pick up the toys, she ignored the instruction (again!), and she thereby lost another month of nail polish privileges, so now she will be nail polish-free for two months.  I don’t know if that’s a strong enough consequence, but we’ll see.

Unfortunately, the rug is a lost cause.  We tried to scrub it with baking soda and vinegar today, but it did absolutely no good.  I’m not sure what will happen with that.  We’ll probably keep using it anyway, even with the stain on it, because our bathroom is not the company bathroom, and we do need a rug on our floor.  The floor space needing to be covered is a long rectangle, and this oddly shaped rug is just the right size for the space.  But, when the day comes that we move, we’ll probably throw out the rug, because I highly doubt we would get another house that would need a rug of that particular space.

Maybe we’ll just save the rug for Lyd to take to college with her.  Ha ha.  🙂

language development progress at 18 months

I’ve obsessed written in the past about Curious J’s lack of speech.  Well, she is 18.5 months old now, and I am happy to report that she is making definite progress in the talking department.  She’s learning faster all the time, and it’s becoming a lot of fun for our whole family.

We’ve been working a lot on animal sounds.  She has caught on to how they work, and we’re expanding her animal vocabulary almost every day.  Her animal sounds aren’t always quite the traditional animal sounds, but they’re close, and she makes the sounds consistently, so we know she’s understanding what we’re asking of her.  When we ask her, “What does the ____ say?”, she now can do the sounds for a cat (ee-ow), dog (uh-uh), cow (mmmm), horse (nay), duck (ack-ack), bird (tee-tee), and we’re working on pig.

Recently my husband was greatly delighted to be able to teach J to not only give the referee hand sign for “Touchdown,” but to actually be able to get her to say it as well.  It’s even more cute that she follows this up by clapping her hands and going “Yay!” as JJ says, “Go Packers!”  This past week, he is even more delighted that he h as been able to teach her not only to say but also to do a (sort of) referee hand signal for “First Down!”  For this one, she sticks her right arm out and crosses it over her body to the left side, but her arm does manage to go straight out.  JJ is extremely pleased.

Besides just teaching her tricks, she’s getting some useful words, too.  She definitely says, “Thank you,” although her timing is still a little off :), she says “all done” when she doesn’t want to eat any more, she says “amen” and “hi,” and she’s starting to say “dog” besides merely making a dog noise.

She says “dada” for mama, “da-ee” for Daddy, and once and a while, she makes a sound that sounds a bit like her big sister’s name.  Tonight as the little sister was waiting in her high chair for supper, I called her big sister to come to the table: “L____!” Curious J echoed, “L____!” right back, which I almost didn’t even notice at first.  But, she WAS trying to say her sister’s name, and it was cute.

She also is getting better with some body language as well.  She now shakes her head for “no”, folds her hands when she hears our table prayer or the Lord’s prayer, and she is an expert at waving “bye-bye,” although she doesn’t say bye bye.

And she still LOVES music.  Oh, does she love music!  She loves coming to Music Together class with me, and she loves when I sing the songs to her at home.  Furthermore, music can often stop a tantrum dead in its tracks.  It’s really quite amazing.  She has always loved music, even in utero, and I’m excited to see what kind of a musician she grows up to be!

I’m realizing that I probably need to pay a little more attention to what she’s attempting to say, so that I can support her language development a little more.  Hopefully I’ll have more time to devote to that sort of thing while we’re on vacation over the next few weeks.  But, at the same time, it’s gratifying to see that she IS coming along with her language on her own.  She is going to become verbal yet!

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This isn’t connected to her language development persay, but it IS sort of a body language thing:  J loves going to the chiropractor.  She lays right down on her tummy on the table, and I usually massage her body while we’re waiting.  I’ve discovered that she loves a massage anytime, not just at the chiro’s!  The other day, I had her stripped down to nothing after changing a leaky poopy diaper, and for whatever reason, I decided to flip her over onto her tummy on the changing table, and give her a little massage.  She LOVED it.  She closed her eyes, relaxed her body, and lay absolutely still while I massaged her.  I’ve never seen anything like it!  Also, if I’m lying on my back in bed and I lay her on my chest/tummy and start massaging her, she instantly relaxes as well.  Today our chiro was amazed by J’s relaxed behavior during her adjustment.  Apparently, he’s never seen anything like it, either!

She’s a girl after my own heart in so many ways.  I adore this little girl.

18 months and full of love

Curious J turned 18 months old this past weekend.  This is such a nice age!  She is affectionate and happy, full of hugs and kisses for me, her Daddy, and her big sister.  For example, the children in our school are singing up in front of church for Palm Sunday, and this morning J and I went to the rehearsal (because I was asked to play the piano to accompany them).  Curious J saw her sister standing with the other children in the front of church, and she zoomed right towards her sister with her arms open, practically tackling Lyd in a hug.  Lyd couldn’t help but smile, and I think the other kids were wishing that they had a little sibling to show them that kind of love as well.

J is also very affectionate towards her Daddy.  JJ says that he doesn’t remember Lyd being equally affectionate towards him at this age, so he’s enjoying J’s displays of love.  What’s interesting about this is that she wasn’t a super-cuddly baby when she was born.  She was very attached to me, but I didn’t always feel this love from her.  So, we are all enjoying this new stage.  We hope it lasts!

I probably should have begun doing this long ago, but better late than never — I’ve started reading stories to her recently on a regular basis.  Our current favorites are “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” which my youngest brother gave to her for Christmas, and “Hippos Go Berserk,” a Sandra Boynton counting book that is quite adorable.  J is also doing well with non-board books.  I recently gave her a copy of “Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” to look at in her crib while I took my morning shower.  She was very careful with it, and when I read it to her later, she loved it!  She will often grab a book, find a chair to sit on, and “read” the book to herself.  I don’t remember Lyd doing this at this age, so it’s neat to see her picking up on what she sees around her.

Her bangs are getting quite long now, so I’ve started putting a small ponytail on top of her head, Pebbles-style. 🙂  (Remember Pebbles on the TV show “The Flintstones”?)  To my amazement, she doesn’t pull the ponytail out, so as long as this continues, I am going to try to grow out her bangs.  She has such lovely curls that her hair looks much better without bangs.  And, yesterday (sigh) I trimmed off her mullet at the nape of her neck.  She’s had hair ever since she was a baby, but the hair at the nape of her neck was always longest, and it made her look like she had a bit of a tail in her hair.  It was cute, it was curly and all, but I decided to cut it yesterday.  Unfortunately, even though I tried to compensate for the curl by leaving a little extra hair when I cut, I still didn’t leave enough, and now it’s a slightly bit shorter in the middle than the rest of her hair.  Luckily, it’s all curly, and it’s really not noticeable.  And, it will grow.

She’s begun to follow simple commands lately (when the mood suits her, of course!), the most notable being to put her dirty diaper into the diaper pail.  I have an old Diaper Champ, so when you put the diaper in on top, you have to turn the handle 180 degrees to make the diaper fall into the pail.  Wouldn’t you know it, Curious J knew exactly what to do when I asked her to do it!  I was so proud of her.  She also is completely stable going both up and down the stairs, so I put our makeshift baby gate away.  She doesn’t walk up and down stairs yet, but she crawls up stairs, and usually scoots down the stairs on her butt.  Very cute!

She knows what she wants these days, which inevitably means that we see some tantrums at our house, too.  Lyd was not a tantrum-thrower, so this is a bit of a new world for me.  But, we’ll get through these days, too.  I do sympathize with her; sometimes I still wish I could throw tantrums when things don’t go my way!

She still isn’t talking much, but she is definitely communicating.  To JJ’s INFINITE DELIGHT, her first recognizeable word is “touchdown!” complete with raising her arms into the air.  JJ is already calling her his little Packer Fan, as Lyd is more interested in Princesses than Packers these days.  However, her only other real, recognizeable word is “hi.”  She is learning more animal sounds:

  • What does the kitty say?  “Eee-oww”
  • What does the doggyie say?  “Uh-uh” (She moves her chest and pushes out a bit of air in an “uff-uff” sound (think a German umlaut over the “u,” but without the “f” at the end.)
  • What does the cow say? “Ooo” (This one is not as predictable.  She only learned it this week.  It needs more practice.)

She waves “bye-bye” very well too, but still waves with her hand towards her face.  She also has a super-cute trick of giving me her plate when she’s done eating and saying “ah-dah,” which is her version of “all done.”  Sometimes, when she doesn’t like the food I’ve put on her plate, she’ll say “ah-dah” and give me back the plate of untouched food, so we have some issues there, but most of the time she’ll give it to me when she’s eaten her fill.  JJ and I think it’s hilarious when she first puts the extra food that’s fallen onto her high chair tray onto her plate, and then gives the plate to me.  It’s such a stitch!  I’m not quite sure how I trained her to do this, but at least it means that she’s no longer throwing food on the floor when she’s done!

She now knows exactly what to expect and what to do at our chiropractor’s office.  When we get there, she lays down on the table on her tummy, and she relaxes until Dr. Joe comes in.  She especially likes it if I give her a gentle body massage while we’re waiting.  She’s so good during her adjustments!  The doctor said he rarely sees babies as relaxed as she is.

Finally, she’s still breastfeeding about three times a day: morning, afternon, and bedtime.  However, with her improved overall health and with the fact that the homeopathy I’m doing with her has been quite successful, I’ve decided to start weaning her in May.  We’re traveling to Wisconsin later in April, and I don’t want to start changing things while we’re away from home.  But, the time is coming.  I’m a little sad about this, but I know that as one stage of life closes, a new one begins.  Life is full of changes and transitions, and I don’t need to be afraid of them.

Whether she weans now or later, J already IS changing every day, and I for the most part, I am really enjoying those changes.  I am looking forward to her speech really beginning.  I can’t wait to hear what she’s thinking inside that cute curly head of hers!

17 months and counting

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!

16 month old who won’t talk – help!

(Warning: This post written under the influence of hormones, too many homemade cranberry-date bars, and a bit more general life stress than usual.)

Why isn’t  my child talking yet???

I spent a little quiet one-on-one time with Curious J this afternoon.  She had just gotten up from her nap, nursed a bit, and was now walking around her room.  She pointed at the humidifier, made a sound, and looked up at me.  “That’s a humidifier,” I responded, tired and bored. “Humidifier,” repeating myself a few more times for emphasis.  She made some sounds in response, but they sounded nothing like “humidifier.”  She walked over to the heating vent on the floor, squatted down, patted it with her hand, made a sound, and looked up at me.  “That’s a vent,” I responded.  “Vent,” I repeated a few more times.  She made more sounds, none of them sounded like “vent.”  I walked over to her and patted the bed, saying, “Bed” a few times.  She laughed at me, thinking this was a pretty fun game, and went back to the humidifier, the vent, and the bed again.  But none of the sounds she made sounded anything like what she was “supposed” to say.

I don’t know if she’s trying to speak or not.  She makes sounds, lots of sounds, sounds that I can’t find ways to write down.  But she does. not. talk.  I cannot understand what she says.  And many times, it sounds like she has interesting things to say, but I have no idea what they are.

It is immensely frustrating for me.  I don’t understand a word my 16 month old daughter says.  This afternoon, I was ready to cry over it.

She has two reliable phrases:

1) Hi cat (although the cat is more like “dat”)
2) uh-oh! (said when something goes wrong)

She waves hello differently than she waves goodbye, and she’s been doing those actions a bit more on her own and at appropriate times.  For instance, she recently began waving goodbye to her pacifier after naps, although she usually tries to re-grab it again.  Go figure.  And sometimes when she hugs me, she sometimes pats me on my back/shoulder.  When she started doing that to me, I couldn’t figure out why she was doing that until I realized that I’ve always done that to her when I’m giving her a big hug.  So, when she pats me like that, I interpret that as her way to tell me she loves me.  I like when she pats me.  🙂

For the most part, it seems that she understands what we’re saying.  I just have this gut feeling that something is wrong with her speech, and I can’t shake the feeling.  Her tongue seems to be very forward in her mouth when she speaks, which makes the sounds she makes impossible for me to put into words.  I started to wonder if something was different about her tongue back when she was first born as I was nursing her.  Her breastfeeding latch has always been weird, and when she was a newborn, it always hurt.  I asked more than one lactation consultant as well as my doula and my pediatrician if something was wrong with J’s latch, but I was always told that it was okay.  It MUST have been okay!  She got plenty of milk out, had all the wet and poopy diapers she was supposed to, but regardless, her latch always felt weird.  It finally got less painful when she was 2 months old; apparently my nipples finally toughened up enough.  I’m not sure if the way she nurses now was the way she nursed as a newborn, but she does this thing where she pulls my nipple out and suckles.  I always thought that the baby’s mouth was supposed to cover as much of the aereola as possible, but she pulls out and doesn’t have that much aereola in her mouth.  Yet, it works.  She gets the milk.  But this weird nursing makes me wonder if something is unusual about her tongue, and if there really IS something “off,” I wonder if it’s affecting her ability to talk clearly.  And sometimes, I wonder if her inability to be understood is as frustrating for her as it is for me to not understand her.  I keep on wondering if I should be “doing” more, although I have no idea what I could do more.

Everyone keeps telling me not to worry about it, including JJ and Grandma Violet.  But my mommy-intuition tells me that something is wrong.  I don’t know if there is anything to be done for her at this age; I’m guessing there is not.  It seems that two years old is the age when speech interventions begin.  If she’s still not talking much by 20 months, I’ll take her to the pediatrician again to see what the doctor thinks.  I know she hears just fine.  Her large-motor skills are great and improving daily.  She is smart as a whip, and she watches activities around her intently.  She loves music class, and is already showing beginning signs of rhythmic development as well as sense of pitch.  I’m sure I’ve heard her match pitch with me a few times!  (Thankfully, my Music Together training has taught me the early signs of musical development in small children, and I can definitely see it in my daughter.)  I KNOW she’s smart!  So that’s what makes me think that there must be something wrong physically.

One thought I had (reinforced by something I read online) is to try sign language with her.  I have heard good things about Baby Sign Language from other people, but I was too lazy to try it.  Lyd talked easily and right on schedule, so I figured that would happen with Curious J, too.  But, since the talking is hitting a bit of a snafu, perhaps I’ll give sing language a try after all.  I read somewhere that at her age, J might pick it up pretty quickly, as long as I’m consistent.  (Ah, there’s the rub!)  But if I could even teach her a few signs like “more,” “all done,” and “food,” and see her respond back, that would be nice.  And a bit of a relief.  At least she’d have some way to communicate with me!

Have any of YOU had any experience with this kind of thing, a sixteen-month old who doesn’t talk intelligibly?  Any experience, either personal or that of someone you know, would be helpful.  I am freaking out just a bit, and I don’t know if I have reason to be freaking out.

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In happier Curious J news, I de-cluttered the love seat in our family room last week.  (You don’t want to know how long the same pile of crap was sitting there!)  Ever since, J has found great pleasure in climbing onto the love seat, turning around, and climbing down the love seat.  Up and down, up and down.  Find a toy and climb up.  Find a book and climb up.  Or hang halfway off the seat, kick your legs, and laugh!  It’s essentially a brand-new toy for her, and since she’s into climbing right now, it’s perfect.  Much better than TV!  🙂

the second daughter at 16 months

Second children are so INTERESTING!  And in a lot of ways, she’s the opposite of her sister.  Let me elaborate:

She handles a spoon and fork so much better than her big sister did at this age.  However, this is partially her personality of “I want to do it myself!” but also our own parenting.  When Lyd was this age, JJ and I were very focused on keeping Lyd clean.  We wanted her to stay clean when she ate, so we fed her ourselves.  Lyd didn’t mind; she liked being fed.  However, this carried on much longer than it should have, and it became quite an effort on our part to convince her that she needed to learn to feed herself.  In hindsight, feeding her for so long wasn’t the best idea.  But Curious J’s personality is so different, so independent that we couldn’t help but let her learn to wield her own utensils.  And it utterly amazes me that she can actually DO it!  She actually gets food on the fork/spoon and into her mouth! (most of the time)  It’s pretty cool to me.

She sleeps through the night now.  (insert angelic choirs singing “Hallelujah!”)  It is SO incredibly lovely.  Like most important life lessons, Curious J was not on board with the training, but it happened, she learned, and life is even sweeter than before.

She still doesn’t “talk” or say anything that we can really understand, although she does seem to say “Hi cat!” although not consistently.  Yet she jabbers all day long and in syllables that I cannot find alphabet letters to express.  There’s the basic “da da” sounds, but more of it involves her tongue, the back of her throat, and other non-consonant types of sounds.  Perhaps I should be worried (and a part of me is), but most of the time I just chalk it up to her being a late talker.  Time will tell.  Regardless, she does make herself understood, and she understands much of what we say to her.  So, that’s good.

We are still a breastfeeding duo at 16 months.  She’s nursing about 3-4 times a day: first when she wakes up in the morning, next before her nap, another one sometime in the late afternoon (when she has the afternoon “fussies”), and finally before bed.  It takes a while for my milk to let down, and I don’t think there’s much there, but she seems to be happy with what she’s getting.  I nursed Lyd until she was one week shy of 16 months, so I have now nursed J for longer than I did her big sister.  I’m planning to get to 18 months and see how things are going.  So far, her health has been good, and if that keeps up, I’ll be more inclined to bring our nursing days to a close.  If her health problems flare up again, then we’ll continue nursing.

She absolutely adores Lyd.  I can tell that she wants to be just like her big sister.  I have heard of this happening, but it’s neat for me to witness it for myself.  It’s so cute!

She’s coming to Music Together class with me on Tuesday mornings, now, and she LOVES it.  She’s like a poster child for MT – she sits on my lap but also feels free to venture out into the circle.  She loves the instruments, she loves the dancing, she loves all the music and rhythm.  It’s so wonderful to have this musical time with her every week.  She always has loved music and rhythm; even when I was pregnant with her, she would get very excited anytime there was music going on.  She especially seemed to love when I would play the organ for church on Sunday mornings – then she would really kick away!  Interestingly, Lyd became extremely quiet in utero when I was involved in a musical activity.  I even sang “Carmina Burana” with the San Francisco Symphony Chorus during the 2nd trimester of my pregnancy with Lyd, and she never moved a peep during all of that.  I was very surprised.

I noticed recently that despite the fact that JJ, Lyd, and myself are all liberally speckled with moles (birthmarks) on our bodies, she’s mole-free.  I have not found a single mole on her body.  I find that really interesting.

She adores our cat Pepper.  She is quite often overly affectionate to Pepper, and Pepper endures it patiently.  Unless J is sitting on her; then Pepper takes off and finds refuge elsewhere.  But Pepper has never hissed or scratched or done anything “bad” towards either of my girls.  What a fantastic cat!

She is curious and inquisitive about many things.  It will be interesting to see how this trait grows and develops as she gets older.  But even as she’s curious, she’s also shy around strangers.  Lyd was never shy like that, but J is.  Once she warms up, she’s fine, but she is definitely a “momma’s girl” who prefers to be with me over anyone else.

She doesn’t sit still in church.  Not that any 16 month old does, but she is extremely active during church.  It is the only time outside of her sleep time where I give her a pacifier.  I need to do something to calm her down!  I believe, however, that I now have her trained to stay on the pew during church.  So far, so good.  Lyd was definitely not like that either.

When Curious J was born, she and Lyd were given the book Sisters as a gift.  It first tells how two sisters are different, but then it goes on to say how the two sisters are alike.  It ends by saying that they were most alike in that they loved each other so very much.  It’s amazing to me how that book almost perfectly describes the relationship that is developing between my two daughters.  I can already tell that they are going to be each other’s best friend and worst enemy.  And I am so utterly delighted for them!

affirmations of love

As parents, you pour so much love and care and attention into your child — and you really get so little affirmation back.  The first smiles are greeted with delight, and the first time the child raises their arms up to you asking to be held are great moments in parenting.  “Finally!” we think.  “My child loves me!”

At 15.5 months, Curious J is finding new ways to demonstrate that she loves us.  Lately, when we’re giving her hugs, she will sometimes pat us on our back, the same way that JJ and I often do with her when we’re giving her a hug.  This evening while I was nursing her, she gently patted my face in that same manner.  It was so beautiful to see her trying to hug me like that.

In another first, tonight, for the first time, as I put her down in her crib for the night, she waved goodbye to me with her chubby little hand.  I never wave goodbye to her at nighttime, so her actions were completely unsolicited on my part.  It was so wonderful to have her communicate something to me that was an emotion rather than a need.  And, of course, it was so cute! 🙂

I still can’t stop smiling.  It’s wonderful to be loved by my baby.