This month has been all about independence – using the fork and spoon by herself, walking without holding on to my hand. Our little Peanut has found that along with walking and communicating, she can reach some independence. And independent she is.
On independence: Peanut loves to do everything by herself this month. She refuses to let us feed her, but will spend eternity using the spoon to “scoop” (dip) the food into her mouth. She’s attempting to use a fork as well, but this mostly consists of her holding the fork while eating with her hands.
She’s also mastered the whole walking thing and has even learned how to fall. She used to lose her footing or balance and fall kind of sideways, resulting in lots of boo-boos and a lot of crying, but this month Peanut has learned how to extend her hands out and catch herself. It’s great because she hasn’t had a good fall lately and it’s given her the boost in confidence she needed. She is now walking around everywhere (sometimes she walks very quickly which kind of looks like running) and if she falls, gets right back up and keeps going. And with the new confidence also came new independence. She refuses to hold my hand when we are walking someplace (unless she wants help on stairs) and spins out of my grasp any time that I try to catch her. Funny – yes. Heart wrenching – a little bit.
On communication: Peanut is starting to get the hang of sign language! We aren’t too adamant about it and her day care doesn’t teach it, so we figured that it was a lost cause (but for some reason, I kept it going). Then, a couple of weeks ago she started signing. At first we thought it was an accident – Peanut kept bringing her hand to her mouth when she was hungry or hanging around me in the kitchen. Then I noticed that she was doing the “finished” sign when she didn’t want to eat anymore and wanted to get down from her high chair. Finally, last week she started signing “more.” She still seems a little confused and very unsure about it, but she’s getting there. It’s been a great outlet for some of her frustrations, especially around meal times.
This month we’re working on “dog”, “please”, and “milk.”
If you’re interested in baby sign language, this is one of my favorite resources (http://www.babysignlanguage.com).
On her defiant little ways: Oh, my little Peanut. You are a character.
We can tell that her little brain is working almost constantly, trying to figure out what’s what in this world. Along with that comes the boundary pushing. Lately she’s been testing the “no standing on the couch” rule to its limits. She thinks it’s the funniest game and we don’t help much because it’s so cute. Last week I tried my best not to bust out laughing as she learned that I will count to 3 before taking her off her chair (the soft one) if she continues to stand on it. At the count of 2 she grabbed hold on the handle and gave me the most evil little smile, as if saying, “try to pull me off, mommy.” Of course, the appropriate reaction would have been to keep my face straight and to pull her off. Instead, I tried my best to compose myself, ended up laughing and tugging her off, which in turn made her laugh and repeat it 3 more times. Peanut 4, mom 0.
On her sweetness: Just when I think that she’s all about being a defiant little toddler, Peanut will sneak up behind me and wrap her little arms around my waist and put her head down on my shoulder. Moments like these make my heart skip a beat and bring tears of joy. Along with testing her boundaries, Peanut’s learning affection. Whenever I’m sitting on the ground, she will climb up on my lap and put her head on my chest, hugging my whole body. When Jon and I say, “Peanut, can I have a kiss,” (and she’s in the mood) she will run her little legs over and give us (an open mouth) kiss. Book time before bed has turned into the cutest cuddle time as our little Peanut will lay down on my chest, raising her hand only to point out a dog or a “moo” in a book. Then she promptly puts her head back on my chest and sighs.
On routines: Peanut still loves routines. In fact, most activities have turned into a routine of some kind. Nap time? She knows what time is nap time and will walk over to her crib and point to her pacifier. Then she starts getting drowsy as we change her diaper and settle her into the crib. She doesn’t fight any of it – but instead will play a little in the crib and then fall asleep for an hour or two. Time to go outside? Upon hearing that Peanut will walk her way over toward the door and point to her jacket. She then holds on to her jacket and sits patiently on the couch while I put on her shoes and then put on her jacket. If I’m not ready quickly enough, she will stand there and bang her little hands on the door, hurrying me along. Dinner times? Peanut will make her way to the kitchen when I’m getting dinner ready and play with a puzzle that we’ve placed in one of the cubbies by the kitchen. If I’m taking longer than usual, she’ll get bored of her puzzle and pull at my pant leg, signing “eat” and pointing to the microwave. I laugh and try to avoid giving her scraps like a puppy (I don’t usually succeed).
All in all, Peanut is still a very curious, happy, smart little toddles.