Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dear Gwen: Month Twenty-One

Dear Gwen,
Today, you are twenty-one months old!

You have really astounded us this month with the changes in your development. You seem to be going through another language explosion, and have added so many words to your vocabulary that I can hardly keep up. You hit 100 words around 18 months, and I stopped keeping track at that time: it wouldn't surprise me if that number has doubled in the past three months. Here are some examples: splash, catch, Gwen's turn, I like it, have it, good morning, counting, colouring, snuggle, blanket, pick [a book to read], sing, big girl, movie, treat. That brief list also gives a glimpse into your personality and what you like to do! However, even with these improvements, communication still has its challenges. Sometimes, you will just say "more," out of the blue, and we have no idea what you're asking for! "More what?" we ask, and you say "more, please!"
You are much more reliable with saying "please" these days, which makes us very happy. You are now learning the cruel lesson that just because you say please, doesn't guarantee that you get what you want! Another development is your growing sense of self-awareness. When you see pictures of yourself, you usually say "baby," but recently if we respond with, "Yes, that's baby Gwen," you will point to yourself and say "Gwen". And your pronunciation of that challenging "gw" sound is pretty darn good!

One of your new phrases is "Help me," which isn't actually a request for help: rather, it is a request that you be allowed to help me with laundry, cooking, etc. After all, I usually say, "Do you want to help me?" so that is how you learned that phrase. I think one of your favourites is the laundry. We are a good team: I pass you the items, you put them into the basket or washing machine or dryer as directed. You really enjoy being a big helper, and I enjoy having your help!

On the whole, you are getting more independent. Over Christmas, we did some rearranging that included moving a lot of your toys from the living room into your room, so you now have a safe and fun place to play both upstairs and downstairs. You can happily play in either place on your own (with one of us nearby) for as long as 10-15 minutes, when you're in the mood. On the one hand, this makes us really proud that you are growing and changing and becoming your own person. On the other hand, there's a bittersweet sadness that comes with the realization that you are needing us less and less. WAAAAHHHH my baby, etc.

Our Mother Goose classes, a free class to learn songs, rhymes, and finger plays, started this week. We took this last year when you were just nine months old, and while it was fun for me, I don’t think you got much out of it. This round, however, I knew you would really enjoy learning the songs and the actions, and I was right! You love music and singing, and you absolutely love it when you get a chance to participate. I’m really glad that even though your dad and I both work full-time, we’ve managed to find a class that fits into our schedule.
You are becoming very interested in imaginative play. You are fascinated by the concept of your dolls or animals going to sleep, in particular. Over and over and over you will say "Ni-night," to a stuffed animal, give it a kiss, tuck it in with a blanket, and then announce to whomever is nearby that "[animal] sleepin." Then after a moment you will shout, "AWAKE!" and pull the animal out from the blanket, wishing it a "guh-mornin!" before starting the whole process again.

Since Christmas, you have eaten most of your meals at the new toddler-sized table you got from Grannie and Grandpa. It's sometimes a struggle to get you to stay in your chair during mealtimes, but on the whole you do very well. You often like to have your puppy on the other chair, and you will pretend to feed puppy some of your food. A few days ago, you found a small empty bottle meant for a single serving of salad dressing, and you went and "fed" it to puppy the way one would feed a bottle to a baby. The aspect of you sharing food with your stuffed animals, of course, reduces your dad and I to a tearful chorus of "awwwww!"

You are starting to show some signs of readiness for potty-training, though your dad and I agree that we are nowhere NEAR ready. I think the earlier we start, the longer it will take. For now, we provide you with the opportunity a couple of times a day to sit on the potty for as long as you'd like, which you are generally happy to do. I think you're starting to become a little more aware of your bodily functions, and that's enough for now.

Well, I guess that's it for now, Gwen. Your dad and I are so proud of you, and as always, we love you so much and are so excited about every stage of your development. We feel so very lucky to be your parents, blessed with such an amazing and adorable little girl.

1 comment:

Surprised Suburban Wife said...

Aww... so sweet. It's so amazing how quickly toddlers develop their imaginations concurrently with language. I always wonder if all those creative thoughts were in their heads in images and they just think "FINALLY I have words for the fun in my head!"


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