Today you are seventeen months old. You are like this amazing miniature person running around our house. I am pretty sure that if I said "seventeen months old" to you three or four times, you'd be able to repeat it back to me, because you have turned into this insane learning machine. Your vocabulary and understanding are growing by leaps and bounds, and we have to be very careful about what we say and do when you are around, because you pick things up very quickly.
Some of your new words this month are apples, keys, pretty, and back - as in, "put that back". You have learned not only the word, but the concept, and are often quite insistent on putting your books and toys "back", exactly where you last saw them. You also take items out of your mom and dad's hands and do the same thing, which is amusing, if somewhat inconvenient. I'm glad you're tidy, but sometimes you have to wait for us to be finished with the item first, okay?
You have also started saying 'itz' (which means Fritz - your grandma and grandpa's dog, whom we are looking after while they are in Europe) and 'i'belle' (Isabelle, your friend from daycare). I am so excited about the fact that you are learning names - this seems to indicate a new level of cognitive development. You can say your own name, too - 'G'n' - but usually when I ask you to "say Gwen" you respond "me-me!" You really love to talk, and sometimes you will just repeat every word you know, all in a row, just for the sake of hearing your own voice. Your Grandpa Ron would probably say that reminds him of your Auntie Sara!
My favourite of your new words is Mama, which you now use for me quite consistently. Currently, I am the Parent of Favour, which I don't mind at all, though it does mean I have to be careful. For example, your dad gives you a bath every night, and if I happen to stop into the bathroom to discuss something with him, you will immediately insist that I pick you up. I've decided that my presence is far too distracting, and that I have to just wait until bathtime is over.
You still love to play patty-cake and you are mesmerized by any of the Mother Goose-type songs, rhymes, or games. You are starting to learn some of the actions and words, too: If when playing patty-cake I pause after "mark it with a ...." you will chime in "djee!" (That's a G, by the way.) You also love to dance, and often the first thing you do when we get home after daycare is walk over to the stereo, point at it, say "datz" and wiggle your butt a bit until we get the message.
Your imagination is continuing to develop. You will often mime eating invisible food out of my hand or your own, with no prompting from me. If you see a picture of food in a book, you'll pretend to pick it off the page and eat it, complete with "num-num" noises. Clearly, you are a genius. A genius who likes to eat.
Speaking of eating, we are in the midst of our first attempt to modify your diet - we have taken you off dairy foods, at the suggestion of our naturopath. You have had a bad diaper rash for several months now: bad enough that sometimes you scratch it and make it bleed, which is a heartbreaking sight. The rash sometimes fades, but never disappears, and always flares up again. So, the doc suggested dairy might be a culprit. You are taking well to rice milk, and I am grateful that you are not a picky eater, as doing any kind of elimination diet when a child is already limiting her own intake is a real challenge! We'll know in a couple of weeks if dairy is in fact the culprit for your sore bum.
I got to take you to Strong Start a couple of weeks ago, for the first time since April. That was a lot of fun! It was really cool to see how you played with different things, and in different ways, than you did last Spring. When I last took you there, you were just barely beginning to walk. Oh, how life has changed! It was wonderful to introduce Miss Kathy to the new you. I hope we will get to go again soon.
So, that is what you're up to these days, my girl. As always, I am so proud of you, and so grateful that I get to be your Mama. I love you so much and am so excited to celebrate your big milestone of eighteen months in October!