Ready to trick or treat! Can you see the evidence of her self admiration in the mirror behind her?
For a person who is fascinated by child development and loves to see the small leaps that children seem to take, it was an absolutely incredible week. Annabelle has left toddlerhood behind almost entirely, though the super intense emotions remain. Perhaps that’s just a childhood thing, and not so much a toddlerhood thing? In any case. She’s awe inspiring. Elliot is becoming a curious, adventurous baby before our very eyes.
It has been obvious for quite some time that language is and will likely to be among Annabelle’s most apparent strengths, but this week she really wowed me. She has taken a real interest in what words mean, and picks unfamiliar words out of literature, music, and conversation, to ask their meaning. After NPR had been playing in the background on Sunday morning, Annabelle asked over breakfast, “What does foreclosure mean, mom?” She remembers these new words perfectly, and repeats them later on, “Mom, foreclosure is what happens when you can’t pay for your house, mom.” Another day that the radio was on, the questions were non stop, “What’s allocation, mom?” And what does funding mean, mom?”
She’s also very curious about “what happens when” or “what happens if…?” As I was helping her settle in for her afternoon quiet time just now, she asked, “What would happen if you were a tofurky sandwich, mom?” “And what would happen if you were a curtain, mom?” I’m not quite sure where she comes up with these things, but they keep life interesting. The concept of guessing seems to have caught on suddenly, too. While at our favorite coffee shop, I ran into our favorite server, who Annabelle knows by name. When I got home, I asked her, “Guess who I saw at the coffee shop?” She named someone we see there often, and when I answered, “no,” she made perfectly logical guess after perfectly logical guess until she got it right.
Annabelle was never big on singing, but in the past couple of months she has started to sing from time to time and this week we’re seeing it more and more. She doesn’t simply sing songs she knows, however, she plays with and changes them. At Rise and Rhyme, one of the performers often sings a song with the line, “Friends, friends, one, two, three. All my friends are here with me.” This weekend, I overheard Annabelle singing while eating a snack, “Chips, chips, one, two, three. All my chips are here with me.” And picking up on the part of a Woodie Guthrie song that involves letters of the alphabet, she repeatedly belted out, “A B C D E F Cheese!” She laughs and laughs at herself and her clever jokes, and we join in. On Sunday, she took her cone stacker apart and told me that each piece was an “instrument.” She brought them to me one by one and told me their names in complete and total gibberish. I took a bit of video to help me remember this new language, but the videography is terrible because I was trying to avoid showing Annabelle’s bottom half, as she was not yet dressed. You’re welcome to watch anyway.
It has been really fun to plan and decorate for Halloween, because Annabelle is fully aware of what’s happening this year and is excited and participatory. She decided she wanted to dress up as a tiger, so I got all of the things we would need for a simple costume and she couldn’t wait to put them on. She tends to shut down when placed in the spotlight, so the daddy and I expected her to shy away when it actually came time to try trick or treating. We were surprised and delighted by how much fun she ended up having, and the best part of all was her running commentary along the way. As we made our way around the corner to our house, she told us she wanted to be a pirate next year and also that, “I like trick or treating a lot!” She was just as excited about handing out treats as she was about accepting them, too.
Just for the record, this is NOT a demonstration of safe babywearing! He wiggled around while I was taking him out of the mei tai and had such a huge grin at the sight of himself in the mirror that I had to take a photo.
Elliot’s language development has been interesting as well. I got this video of one of our chats recently as well as some audio of what Andrew calls his “baby velociraptor” impression. By the intensity of his scream, you’d think he was very upset, but he’s actually thrilled with himself. He’s delightfully interactive now, responding to everything, reaching out, feeling and investigating everything he comes in contact with. In the past week he has grabbed and held onto a toy for the first time and has also been pulling his body forward on his belly to get to toys that he wants. He is so eager to get himself where he wants to be that I expect he’ll be mobile at a very young age, just like his sister. While he’ll play on his belly for a short while, he is still not interested in hanging out on his back, ever, at all. Interestingly, he will play in the stroller on his back, so I continue to be thrilled we have ours.
Instead of going in and out of sleep all day, Elliot has started to take three or four more clearly defined naps and to really engage with us outside of those. While he has feedings during the night, thanks to cosleeping, I never have to fully wake during the night anymore. I keep a pile of prefolds and a wet bag next to the bed and he sleeps in a prefold belt and diaper on an absorbent pad. This way I don’t have to disturb him to take him to the bathroom, but I still know immediately when he’s wet so that I can change him. With the belt, I’m able to change him in the dark while he’s lying down. It’s perfect! He seems to have inherited my extra sensitive skin, so it’s nice to have discovered a solution that protects him from having to sleep in a wet diaper.
I left the house without Annabelle and Elliot for the first time since his birth (unless you count the time I went to 7-11 with my sister last week), and it was so, so good. I love those children to pieces, and yet three and a half months without any more alone time than I can steal between their bedtime and mine was enough. I wrote, and I had a beer, and it was magnificent. It’s good to have balance, eh?
How was your week? Did your family celebrate Halloween? Tell me all about in the comments, and/or link up with a post of your own!
We were either preparing for Sandy or stuck indoors due to Sandy all weekend, so Annabelle spent much time in the world of her imagination.