Friday, October 30, 2009

One and a Half

Kailey turned one and a half this month (I know, she turned 18 months a couple of days before my last post... so, this post is a little delayed. But, hey, we've been in other parts of the country - Portland and D.C. - for half of this month, so I am proud to be writing anything at all!). Since I have been so remiss to write anything as of late, I want to just catch up on all of Kai's latest tricks and treasures.

Kai is continuing to sign up a storm. We've stopped teaching her new signs (we're too lazy to look up all the words that she wants to be able to say). Not to be deterred, Kai continues to invent new signs for the various things she wants to communicate. She has made up a sign for Popsicle (licking her finger), drawing (acting as though her left hand is a tablet and scribbling with her right finger), washing her hands (rubbing her hands together -- which may be the actual sign, but we didn't teach her that), spider (waving her hands madly in front of her face... the way one does when they run into a spider web and are terrified that they have a creepy crawler in their hair... a reaction she has observed MANY times since our house gets overrun by spiders at about this time of the year), hot (she just blows... the way I do on her food when it is too hot. But, Kai will look at the heater and blow and then point to it and blow some more. It's pretty funny), car (pantomiming driving with one hand, just like Eric and I usually do... she also uses this for train, scooter, motorcycle... anything with four wheels). The ways she watches us and uses our own reactions and hand motions to make up signs is just incredible to me.

Indeed, Kai is a keen observer of everything, and she continues to demonstrate how closely she is watching(it's a little unnerving... what is she learning from us that we are really not intending to teach her?!) The signs are one indication of how much she is watching our every movement. But, she is watching more than us, of course. For example: this last week, we traveled to D.C. and while we were walking through the airport we passed the bathroom. As we walked past, Kai started signing that she wanted to wash her hands. "Later," I said. Further up ahead, we passed another restroom. Kai looked at the signs outside the restrooms (you know, the "woman" symbol and "man" symbol") and signed, again, that she wanted to wash her hands. I realized that she recognized that we were passing a restroom because of those symbols. I was totally blown away. How did she know what a restroom was?! Sure, we've gone in restrooms before (duh) -- but, I've never pointed out the little signs outside the restroom to her, and a week later, it continues to blow my mind that she noticed the symbol and connected it to the room and further connected that to the fact that she might be able to access some water in that particular room (you know, like a bathtub, only much smaller! Kai will do anything to splash in water for a moment.) Now, every time we pass a public restroom, Kai lets me know that - you know, if I would oblige her, we could go in there and wash her hands.

She is starting to talk a bit more. Her best word, by far, is "DOWN" which she demands, more than she says. It's more like "DDDOOOooooWWWWNnnnnnnnnn" while she points at the ground. She really doesn't like to be restrained. Shocking, I know. She also has started saying "turtle" -- more like "tur - tu". It's very cute. Actually, most of the words Kai bothers to say are animals and animal sounds (in addition to "DOOOOWWWWNNNnnnnnnn"). She says "duck" and when she wants to make the sound a duck makes, she moves her mouth like she's quacking, but no sound comes out. I am not sure what's going on there, but it's very funny. She does a very credible meow, bark, and monkey sound -- observe:

Kai has also become an avid dancer. She loves when Eric breaks out his guitar and starts playing. She immediately starts stomping and spinning in circles. It is so funny. Although, it involves a good deal of falling -- spinning in circles when you have the stability of, well, an 18-month old, isn't really the best idea. But, it really doesn't seem to bother her (the falling), so I try not to let it bother me. It just looks ouchie.

I think Kai has also decided that she is five, not one and a half. There is a park in our neighborhood that has a a toddler playground (specially designed for the 2 - 5 set), a "big kid" playground (for the 5 - 12 year olds), a duck pond, basketball court, etc. Kai has been playing in the toddler playground for some time now. She loves it. The slides, the sand, the climbing. What's not to like? But, unfortunately, the folks who designed the playground put the toddler swings in the "big kid" area. Kai LOVES to swing. She sits as far forward in the swing as possible, then she hangs her head down and spreads her arms -- anything to make it more like flying. The higher the better, as far as she is concerned. Every time Kai notices the swings, she squeals. But, until this week, she always ignored all the big kid play equipment around her. However, yesterday, she looked up from her swinging heights and realized there is a world beyond the toddler playground. She insisted she was done swinging and decided to go for the "big kid" slide, climbing up to the top. The slide looks a lot like the toddler slide -- it's covered and yellow. But, it's not a toddler slide. Luckily, right before she launched herself down (on her belly and head first), I hollered to Eric to come catch her (I was at the top of the slide making sure she didn't jump to her death from one of the many unenclosed platforms). Eric caught her head, right before it hit the ground. Turns out that slide was a very fast, very steep slide. Good thing he was there! Kai, of course, immediately signed "again" and started making her way back up the equipment. She also tried out the big kids swings, the monkey bars, and the balance beam. Five, not one, it seems.

While Kai is absolutely fearless on her own terms (at the playground, at the gym, etc), it turns out that she is not completely fearless in all aspects of life. I've taken her on two merry-go-rounds recently, and both of them completely freaked her out. As soon as the carousel animal started going up and down, Kai's eyes got huge and she started clawing at me to get off the crazy beast and into my arms, where I preceded to hold her the rest of the ride. No more merry-go-rounds for us in the near future... it's hard to hold a terrified toddler while spinning in circles.

So, those are little glimpses into this last month. I need to try to go back to writing more frequent updates so that, when I do write something, it isn't such a mish mash.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Beds and Bottles

This month is a little crazy. We were in Portland last week for a week, and leave on Friday for D.C. for another week. In between we've been running around like mad trying to keep up on house projects and work. Like updating/redecorating Kai's bedroom including getting her a new bed!! I mentioned awhile back (at least I think I did) that Kai managed to climb out of her crib (well, she didn't quite complete the task because I caught her in the act). Combine that with the fact that, at 18 months, we have started to scheme about ways to get Kailey to sleep in her own bedroom, and we decided to buy a toddler bed. She LOVES it. I mean, not to sleep in, but as a toy - it rocks. Here she is the first day we set it up in her room.

And, today, she is napping in her bed!! Next up - nighttime sleeping on her own... at least, that is our goal (realizing, of course, that nighttime could be a bit of a process.. but napping is a big step for us. Very exciting developments, I tell you what).

In addition to starting to sleep in her own room (I love how I count one nap as sleeping in her own room), Kai has also given up bottles (before 18 months - woo hoo!!) I only note the age because our doctor kept telling us to wean the bottles before 18 months, and as we were approaching that deadline this month, I had more or less given up on the idea. Kai EMPHATICALLY asks for a bottle at night, and the few times I had tried a sippy cup instead, she completely lost it and it took more than an hour to get her to sleep. I figured she'd wean herself when she was ready, and this was a battle I wasn't very interested in fighting in the meantime. It's not like she was sleeping with the bottle, she was just drinking a bottle before bed. But, when we went to Portland this last week, we decided to just leave the bottles behind -- and with all the excitement (and exhaustion) of traveling, Kai never really noticed. Now that we are back at home, she has taken to sippy cups before bedtime and it's no big thing. Success and before the deadline! Now I won't have to lie at her 18-month check up this week... big smiles all around!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Catching Flies

(this picture has nothing to do with this story... I just find this picture amusing)

Kailey is developing more of a sense of humor, which is hysterical in itself, even if the things that Kai finds funny are really, well, not. Her newest joke is pretending like she is catching flies. We ate most of our meals outside for the last couple of months, enjoying our new deck and the late summer the Bay Area is known for. At one of these meals, there were a lot of flies and mosquitoes, which is really not that common, but it was a particularly hot and buggy day. So, I kept swatting at the flies and clapping my hands together at the mosquitoes to try to catch them. Kailey thought this was Hy-ster-i-cal. She couldn't eat anything she was laughing so hard. I didn't really get the joke, but was cracking up watching her crack up -- and, of course, I started swatting at imaginary flies and mosquitoes just to get her to laugh again.

A few days later, we were sitting outside and Kailey started clapping her hands. But, not clapping like she does at the end of a song (in true appreciation of the fine rendition of I Like the Flowers we just listened to). No, this was random, sporadic clapping. She would clap above her head and then clap in front of her. She was looking at us and trying not to crack up. We just looked at her, densely. "Are you clapping?" I asked. Kai got an exasperated look on her face and shook her head, "no". She then swatted her hand around, again trying not to crack up. "Ohhhh... you're catching flies," I said. Kai started laughing in response, and clapped at another imaginary mosquito, so pleased with the joke she had made.

She has been repeating this joke at various intervals throughout the day ever since. I never really got the joke to begin with, but, every time she does it, I crack up... so, it must be a pretty good joke.