Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sixteen Months

Dear Peeper:

You are sixteen months old today, and for the first time since your birthday, I don't have to start your letter by talking about you being sick!

You've actually (knock wood!) been feeling great all month, other than cutting all four of your one-year molars - three within five days - but even that actually went better than I was expecting.

You got a clean bill of metabolic health last week, and you will be seeing your cardiologist next week, and we're hoping to hear that everything is looking great with your little heart, as well.

At your checkup last month, I talked to the pediatrician about your speech, and wouldn't you just know it, the very next week, you started saying "baby" (baah-buh) and maybe "doggy" (duh-gee-duh-gee)!

I've not heard those much lately, but since then, you've added a few more words:

  • Eye - "aaah" - while pointing to yours, or mine or someone's in a photo
  • Apple - "aah-puh" - referring to both the real thing and pictures - or pumpkins
  • Night-night "ni-ni" - but I'm not sure you know what it means
You can also tell us that the monkey says "oo-oo-oo," the kitty says "eeyow" and the doggy says "ah-ah."

You especially like the monkey. Yesterday, you must have spotted your sock monkey in the toybox, because you said, "Oo-oo-oo" and walked over and got him out.

Then you nibbled on his hands and sniffed his booty.

I'm not sure what that was about.

After your bath last night, I picked you up and said, "Are you a monkey?" (You are especially monkey-like when I pick you up after your bath. Maybe you're holding on more tightly because you're cold? Maybe you just feel different naked?)

Anyway, I asked, "Are you a monkey?" and you answered, "Oo-oo-oo!"

I'll take that as a "yes."

Speaking of bathtime - we've been talking about pee-pee a lot lately, when you're running around the bathroom naked, before and after your bath.

The other day, I saw you squat over the floor heating vent and pee-pee in it, so I decided that you might have some idea that it's coming, and we might as well start talking about where you should put it.

I usually put you on your potty at least once before and once after your bath. You usually don't pee-pee in it, but usually go on the floor at some point.

Oh well, we're just getting started.

Tonight, though, when I put you on your potty, you put a few drops in it!

While I was rinsing it out, I handed you some toilet paper, and said, "Okay, now wipe your vulva and booty."

And you did!

Pat-pat-pat up front, pat-pat-pat around back, then (with a bit of encouragement) you dropped the paper in the big potty to be flushed!

The wiping itself was, of course, nowhere near the actual peedy parts, and was completely ineffective, but you certainly had the idea, you knew where those parts were, and you did it in the right order!

Then, after your bath, as I was about to get out of the tub, I looked over, and you were standing on the bathmat, pee-peeing straight out like a little boy!


Sigh. Baby steps.

You are now doing simple imitative play, like talking on the phone, patting your baby-doll on the booty, and "cooking" - which mostly consists of stirring.

It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally realized that one of the reasons you always start wanting me to hold you just as I start cooking might that you want to see what's I'm doing.

You like to watch from the sling, of course, but you're also pretty happy to sit in your highchair and keep an eye on things, if I'm using knives or splattery grease or something else from which you need to keep your distance.

You especially like to "help" me cook - not just the brownies that have already been well-documented here, but we also make sandwiches by spreading cream cheese on a tortilla, sprinkling grated cheese on top of that, and then smushing it shut.

(Okay, I do most of the work, but you do help with each step. You especially like the spreading and the smushing.)

You still love, love, love your books, and often seem to prefer them to your toys, especially if we're around to help you read them.

You point to the pictures, and sign about them (or, in the case of apples or eyes, use your words).

Sometimes you even sign about the coming page, or the illustration under the flap, before you see it.

You have several books in which the cover illustration is the same as one of the illustrations from the story.

When you get to the page with that picture, you almost always flip back to the cover, as if to say, "Hey, didn't I see that somewhere - yeah, there it is!" and flip then back to the page and continue reading.

Oh, and the signing!

At the same time that you've started saying some words, you've also learned about ten new signs this month - some of which you seem to have made up yourself, because I'm pretty sure I never taught them to you.

You're now getting to the point that you pick up a new sign immediately and begin using it.

You've learned "cookie" and "wash" (for washcloth), as well as "fish" (a sign you already knew) for goldfish crackers, that way in just the past couple of days.

I showed you "Cheerio" and "raisin" this evening. If you remember them tomorrow, I'll declare them to be part of your vocabulary, too.

It is just amazing how well you can communicate - not only your basic needs, but also just observations about your environment - with just the forty-five or so signs that you have.

And you are so observant!

Many, many times - especially when we're out and about - you have signed something and I've had to look around for a while to figure out what you were talking about, but I always do figure it out.
Oh, I see, that guy that we just passed is wearing a hat.

Yes, I do hear that baby crying in the next aisle.

You're right, those are bunnies on the balloons over there.

Sometimes I wish you were a little less observant, and didn't notice every single breakable or dangerous thing that you come across!

You still think that "no" is just the funniest joke in the world. We've realized that telling you not to do something only makes you want to do it more, so we're trying to pick our battles and try to casual distract you from the little things, so we don't just make the more attractive, and save "No! You absolutely can not do that!" for things that will actually hurt you or someone else.

For example, a while back, you were chewing on the arm of the rocker in your room, and I told you to stop.

Well, that made it just irresistible!

You would walk up to it, open your mouth and approach it in slow motion, all the while watching me out of the corner of your eye, and grinning.

A couple of days ago, I decided to just ignore it and go on about my business, like it wasn't even happening.

Now, you have absolutely no interest in rocker arms.

Of course, some things are non-negotiable, so we're continuing to babyproof to remove as many of those temptations as possible.

A couple of days ago, I finally gave up on repeatedly stopping you from unplugging the phone and trying to stick your finger in the jack.

I got out the packing tape, and thoroughly sealed that sucker to the wall. Now you can pull on the wire all you want, but it's going nowhere. I figure you'll lose interest in it soon enough, as well.

But (dare I say this outloud) even when we do have to stop you from doing things like that, you usually take it quite well.

You definitely know what you want, and you can squawk when you don't get it, that's for sure, but you to not "throw tantrums" or stay upset about it for very long.

(Aw crap, I have just totally jinxed us, haven't I?)

You are definitely a "high-touch" baby, and need lots of cuddles and lots of holding (or wearing) and want to be with your Mama or Mommy a lot, but we're down with that.

As long as your needs - and most of your wants - are being met, you really are a pretty happy, relatively laid-back kid, and a hell of a lot of fun to be around.

Every day you become less of a baby and more of a little person, every day you amaze me more and more, and every time you laugh or hug me or give me that big cheesy smile, my heart just melts, and I fall in love with you all over again.



  1. You know, the fact that she was sick so much for a while there might have slowed down some speech activity that was "supposed" to be happening in that period.

    I remember #1 having a certain number of words the first time he came down with a rip roaring, 104 degree fever ear infection; when he was finally well he seemed to have lost a few of those words and took a little while to get revved back up and going again.

    It does seem like now she is feeling better she is having a bit of a language explosion.

  2. When my kids were Peeper's age, I noticed that when they were learning something new, all their focus was on that new activity (such as learning to walk) and some of their previously learned skills seemed to get set aside for awhile. Then they'd pick those up again later.
    I'm so glad Peeper doesn't have tantrums. But if she does, when she gets into the "twos", remember it's normal. That might not help when you're in the produce department at the grocery store and she's having a meltdown. It's a stage and it will pass. (thank God.)


What say you?