Tuesday, October 07, 2008

16 Months

I haven't done one of these in...I don't know how long. It was long enough ago that I could still keep track of the weeks. I have no idea how many weeks old she is now. I haven't even had time to write down for myself all the things she does. There's so much I've already forgotten.

The past three (or so) months have seen an astounding word explosion. She learns new words every single day. It's still amazing to us when she pops out with new ones, because hey, we did not explicitly teach her that!. Her little brain is like a sponge right now. She's learning not only the words but also what they mean, which is the thing that floors me. One day I'll ask her "do you want your jacket off?" and the next day she starts screaming "OFF! OFF! OFF!" and tearing at the zipper when she gets too hot. We bought her some Halloween books, and by the third day she is pointing to pictures and words and saying "Witch. Pumpkin. Bats." Whenever I open the fridge, she grabs things out of the door shelves and lines them up on the floor, then picks up each bottle of marinade or jar of jelly and puts it back, all the time saying "Back. Back. Back." She says this when we clean up her room, chanting it as she hands me books and toys to put back in their proper bins, boxes, and shelves.

Yesterday Ryan stayed home from work, felled by a wicked head cold. When he heard Piper stirring in the morning, he went in to see her. When she opened her eyes and saw him, she grinned, kicked her feet, and gave him a big smacking kiss. "Awesome," she said.

She can call the cats by individual names now; so far she knows Fritz, Beckham, Ellie, Joon, Mei-Mei, and sometimes Chick. She really really loves animals, cats and dogs especially. We had to tell her to "be nice" a lot at first, so now whenever she says "nice" it is always accompanied by a petting motion. It's more common these days for her to say "nice one" when she is petting an animal. I don't know where she got that, since it's not something I recall saying to her.

I hear her chattering to the cats in the kitchen sometimes: "Kee ("Kitty"). Fritz. Kee. Nice one. Eyes. Nose. Mouf. Kee. Kee. Ears? Kee. Nice one." I usually come in to keep watch and make sure she isn't poking the cat in the eyes, yanking whiskers, or body-slamming the poor creature. Some of the cats will let her do this kind of stuff, but their tolerance only goes so far.

She likes to comfort us. "Mom-mai?" She says. "Up." So I pick her up and she gives me little reassuring pats on the back. "Mom-mai. Mom-mai," she says as she lays her head on my shoulder. Sometimes when I'm really frustrated with her, she climbs onto my lap and gives me a hug or kiss. "Awright, Mom-mai. Awright." No matter how pissed off I was seconds before, it's impossible to stay mad.

In truth, I don't find myself as irritated and angry with her as often as I used to. I think her new communication skills have helped; she can tell me what she wants most of the time, instead of standing there clenching her fists and shrieking because I don't understand. She seems to have also realized that sometimes Mommy just needs a little space. I can tell her to go play in her room for a few minutes or say "no not right now," and she'll usually comply. It gives me a few minutes to simmer down when I feel like I'm getting near the boiling point.

She's really pretty fun right now. I love watching the things she labels "awesome" (like when I read her favorite books or she hears a song she likes). I love watching her dance. She really likes music and we've watched the evolution of her dance moves over the past few months. The opening credits of Freaks and Geeks had her raising her arms and head-banging in the middle of the floor; classical music makes her bob up and down and flap her arms; Zydeco, the theme song to How I Met Your Mother, and her beloved Cuban music inspire frantic marching in place; the closing credits song for Numb3rs causes her to do this strange routine where she puts her arms behind her back with her elbows sticking out at the sides, sticks out her belly, and does a slow, undulating walk around the living room, sometimes turning in circles on the spot. It is the most hilarious and cute thing I have ever witnessed.

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