When I begin to type in the subject for these monthly updates blogger always anticipates the subject based on previous ones. So when I typed 21 what it suggested was 21 weeks. 21 weeks.... what was that... five months and a bit... wow. We were amazed then at how much Caroline had changed, but now... at 21 months... SO DIFFERENT!
The last two days she has been blowing us away with how cooperative she has been. I've been taking Fridays off thus far this semester, an attempt at sabbath now that I'm preaching most Sundays (actually need to hit the road in a few minutes, but thought I'd get this started.) My intention is to spend the mornings doing fun things with her and the afternoon resting. This past Friday first she and I went to the Y together. She was SO excited to go. When we said Y, she said and signed "friends" repeatedly. How fabulous! She helped push open the door to the Y and greeted everyone with an excited "HI!" and then made her way straight to childcare where she tried to open the door herself. Even before we left in the morning she kept saying "Parker! Parker!" Parker is the 8 month old son of our friends Jenn and Sean and is one of the two babies for whom Kev is caring on a regular basis this semester. Caroline is smitten. He only comes over two days a week which is disappointing to her. Alistair, a 3 month old baby, comes over four days a week. He's cool! But Parker moves! She was a bit sad that only Alistair and not Parker came over before we left. So imagine her delight when she found Parker in child care at the nursery! "PARKER!" There were LOTS of small babies in child care on Friday morning and apparently Caroline and one other toddler were being excellent little helpers with the babies. Aww... we were a bit nervous about how she was going to adjust to sharing her daddy, but she has been so excited to have babies around that it has been FINE. And clearly she's learning a thing or two!
When it came time to leave the Y she was happy to do so. She said a quick "Buh-bye" and, this time with prompting, "Tank you." And then we made our way to the car. The plan was to go to the Monkey's Treehouse (a great play area for which Pa and Eepa bought us passes) and then to an athletic shoe store to buy running shoes for me (birthday present to self) and then to Las Paletas for popsicles and then home for a nap. When we arrive at the treehouse her eyes widened as she realized ALL the fun she could have there. I realized that it had been awhile since we checked the cloth diaper so I said (externally enthusiastic, though internally skeptical) "Caroline, we need to change your diaper before we can play, but I promise that as soon as your diaper is changed we'll come out and play." She didn't fight or resist this at all. We walked straight through all the glorious play areas to the bathroom in the back. She helped put down the changing table as if to say "Alright, mom, let's get down to business." We changed her diaper. She happily waited through hand washing and drying (she still loves to do this!) And then off she went to play! And, for the most part, she played independently. She wanted to do some courageous climbing for which she required my spotting, but otherwise she flitted here and there, happy as a clam. I wanted to get pics, and I did get a few, but she was just moving too quickly. There were two little girls in dress up clothes who told me that they wanted her to be their baby for whatever pretend game they were playing. I told them that if she wanted to play with them that was fine with me... but... she wouldn't stay anywhere for more than a few minutes. The girls were disappointed, but I wanted to say "Girls, this is what it means to have a baby! Chase her!" In any case, she played beautifully there. She was getting a bit fussy/cranky after an hour or so, and I realized we better go if I wanted to get my shoes without too much drama. I thought the departure was going to be rough for her, but so long as she got to slide a few more times, and do other things once or twice, we managed to get out without a meltdown. She almost stole a turtle on her way out the door. She had be fingering through various small animal toys for sale, right at toddler height, right by the door. She kept picking them up and putting them down and I kept telling her to leave them be and to say goodbye to them that we needed to go. She seemed to finally absorb this and head for the door saying a triumphant "buh-bye tuhtul" and I thought we were escaping clean, but the woman working saw she was taking the tuhtul buh-bye. Oops. For $3.50, nope. I'd rather buy popsicles. But even putting the turtle back didn't trigger a meltdown.
She fell asleep on our drive to the shoe store. It took me awhile to find the store which was probably a good thing as it gave her more sleep time. I was wishing a friend were with me who could stay in the car with her so she could keep sleeping (napping has been an issue lately with Kev's childcare responsibilities- it's hard for her to settle down when she might be missing something!) but no such luck. I quietly tried to take her out of her car seat, hoping she'd stay asleep. But she woke right up- happily, in awe of the flowering tree under which we were walking. She sat up on the bench next to me in the shoe store and entertained herself with a little light in a bucket next to her. She was calm and patient. The salesperson encouraged me to take the shoes she was recommending out for a little run, but I wasn't sure what to do about C. I said "Do you mind watching her?" She said "No problem." I told Caroline I would be right back. I did a quick run, came back and she was still happily sitting there playing with the light. She did a bit of exploring of the store before we left, but we delightful from start to finish. Wow.
We then went for popsicles. I think I left her sippy cup at the Y or the Treehouse and she had been asking for water for awhile. She was actually MORE interested in drinking water than eating popsicles. That's my girl. She knows what she needs! But she did eventually enjoy the popsicles.
And then home... and she was even cooperative on a quick grocery stop. Wow. Wow. Wow.
She did quite well at the birthday gathering at our home. She crowded the babies that were there a bit, but our five year old guest crowded her a bit. In fact, the five year old, Ella, played BEAUTIFULLY with Caroline and we were able to enjoy adult conversations. What a concept! We will definitely be spending more evenings with that family!
And yesterday we went up to Kentucky to see friends Matt and Jenn, and join them on a trip to Mammoth Cave. I needed to study so I didn't do the cave tour, but Caroline did. And apparently she was a champ! She was fascinated exploring the cave on a two hour hike.
Though she has rough days, and though she continues to be an INTENSE child, she has SO MANY good days and this is SUCH a delightful stage.
She seems to add 10-20 words a day. She signs like a champ. She is incredible.
Exciting language developments- YES!; correct pronunciation of "broccoli"; saying her name more; more intentional about her use of language in general, and putting things together "more please" said with puppy dog eyes is a favorite; lots of animal sounds; LOTS of colors... oh I don't know. So much. She says so much. She likes to hide things behind her back and say in a very curious tone "Where it go?" She might have picked up a swear word... or maybe she's just emphatically saying "Shirt!" a lot.
That's all for now. Pics maybe later. 21 months. Wow.