There’s so much going on, yet nothing amounts to enough for a real post (in the fantasy world where I have time to make real posts, of course). So here’s a bunch of blather.
While traveling with Gwen earlier this month, I tried something that had been recommended to me when she was much smaller: showering with her. Moms of newborns will agree heartily about the scarcity of showers available during that phase. I had a couple people tell me that they just brought the baby into the shower with them: put them at one end with a couple of toys, and Mom got some all-important preening time. When Gwen was that age, she HATED being in the water. Then it took her three months longer than expected to be able to sit unassisted, and by the time she did, she was completely in love with crawling and there was no way she’d hang out while I groomed and lathered.
When we took our recent series of swimming lessons, I showered with her at the pool afterwards. In that case, the shower was mostly about getting the chlorine rinsed off her: I showered at home later, preferring to use a water source that doesn’t automatically shut off every forty-five seconds. Anyway, she really disliked the showers at first, but by the end was quite accustomed to them and even enjoying them. Thus, one night while we were at my folks’ I brought her into the shower with me for a full-length Mama and Gwen Shower. It was a hit.
She loved it and I loved it. It is so incredibly convenient. I hate showering in the morning anyways, so usually the evening routine is a bath for Gwen, bedtime for Gwen, and a shower for me. By the time I finish my shower it’s nearly 8pm and then I have to do my hair and then the night is pretty much shot. Now we have a shower together instead, my hair dries a bit while I put her to bed, and then I’m all prettified again long before 8. I realize this is incredibly boring for the rest of the world but it is awesome for me, and Gwen seems to really love having a shower with her Mama. I can’t really share any pictures here though so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
When Chris picked Gwen up from daycare yesterday Denise asked if Gwen has a problem with biting. Naturally, this stopped him dead in his tracks. Every parent fears their child being the bully, especially the BITING bully. But it turned out that Denise meant biting food. Gwen doesn’t really bite her food. She just shoves as much of it into her mouth as she can and then chews and swallows it. She doesn’t use her front teeth in the process at all. Chris pointed out that most of the food we give her is either bite-sized or soft (or both), so she doesn’t get a lot of practice with this skill. (We do give her crackers and so on, but they just get shoved on in.) As an added bonus, while we were having this conversation, Gwen was in her chair eating a banana – which she had demanded, been coaxed into saying please, and then been given. She shoved about half of it in her cake-hole, and while chomping away with her jaws barely able to close around the mashed-up, masticated fruit, she demanded “MORE”. Okay, so the kid needs some table manners.
I never thought that biting lessons would be part of parenting – somehow figured it would come naturally – but that is what I found myself doing last night, feeding Gwen a Mum-Mum cookie and eating one myself (yuk) the better to demonstrate how to take bites with her front teeth: little bites, at that. “Little bites! Little bites!” I said, over and over, pulling the Mum-Mum a little further out of her mouth so that she’d bite off a half an inch instead of two inches. I’m still kind of stunned that this is on our curriculum, but okay, I’ll play along. Next time we’re going to eat something I like, though.
It was during this lesson and my constant repeating of “Little bites!” that Gwen said “big bite”. This might be her first actual sentence, as in, independently putting together two different concepts. Yes, she has said two words together before: “All done” is a great example, and as recently reported she often says, “I did it!” But my thinking is, she has no idea that “all” and “done” are separate words or concepts. She doesn’t use them independently. As far as she is concerned, that is one word. That’s a far cry from putting the word “bite” that she hears me using, together with the opposite of the other word she hears me using, to form the phrase “big bite”. It’s amazing to watch her development at this stage, it is just in full swing.
Chris also reports that Gwen may understand the concept of “two”. I forgot to put in my recent newsletter that Gwen likes to “count” occasionally. Her counting sounds like this: “zhoo ... zhee … zhoo … zhee …(etc)”. There is never a one, and never anything higher than three, and things might get counted multiple times, but whatever. It’s still adorable. But as I was saying, Chris said that when they were getting in the car yesterday, he handed Gwen two stuffed animals of the bovine persuasion (because she likes to have company in the car). She said, “Two cows.” Even if it was just luck and she doesn’t actually grasp the concept of two yet, that’s yet another sentence that she created without mimicking. Damn, kids are cool!