I just have to say that 14 months is SO MUCH BETTER than 12 or 13 months. I mean, I survived those months. I am here to tell the tale. But I am so much happier now. Of course, I'm not sure that what's changed is Adriana. I think a lot of it is that I really needed to adjust from babyhood to toddlerhood, and I don't adjust very quickly to change. But with some time, I can manage it, and I have. So I am handling my toddler better and because of this, or because Adriana is getting better at expressing herself, or perhaps because of the alignment of the planets, life is seeming pretty good these days. This is not to say that it's all sunshines and rainbows and unicorns around here. But now our daily routine is something along the line of sunshine-tantrum-rainbow-tantrum-unicorn-tantrum-tantrum-chocolate- tantrum, rather than just tantrum-tantrum-tantrum-tantrum-tantrum-tantrum-hey- I-know-what-let's-have-another-tantrum-tantrum-tantrum. See how that's an improvement?
Adriana loves to read books. I had been afraid for a while that she just wasn't going to enjoy reading (because a child's behavior at one year old is surely an exact predictor of her behavior for the rest of her life, right?), but now it seems that it's all we do. Her favorites from last month, Good Dog, Carl and Doggies: A Counting and Barking Book are still at the top of her list, but we also spend a fair amount of time reading The Little Engine That Could and The Paper-Bag Princess. A lot of the time we read only a page or so before Adriana goes wandering off, but other times she will sit quietly through the entire story--and then sit through it two more times in a row. Sometimes I think she could sit here and read books all day, but we're also spending a lot of time at the park. She loves to watch older kids play, and she'll try to hug the other toddlers who are close to her size. She climbs up the play structures and sometimes will climb down carefully, although usually she wants to hold my hand or go down the slide on my lap.
Another favorite thing is music. It was one of Adriana's first signs, and almost whenever the house is quiet she will go to stand by the stereo and request that I put on music. She claps with the audience on life CDs and dances to bouncier songs. She seems to be a big fan of the Dixie Chicks, Erin Mckeown, and the Clash, in particular, but she'll dance to pretty much anything peppy. sometimes when we're reading her a book she'll take a "dance break" when a song catches her attention, and will stand up to bounce to the music for a few seconds before returning to the story.
She still doesn't have any words, although she is babbling a bit more, but she is continuing to sign. She signs "dad" when she hears someone coming up the steps in the evening (and will pitch a mighty fit when she realizes that it was our neighbor and Brian isn't actually home yet), and "mom" when she hears me in another room or sees any female figure in a book. She signs "dog" when she sees a dog in the park (unless it's a really small one, in which case she signs "cat") or when she hears one bark outside. She's starting to put together series of signs, such as "eat" and "ball" when she wants a grape, and she recently threw her sippy cup to the floor, telling me "all done water" with signs before raising her arms to be picked up and signing "milk."
Her sleeping and eating have improved a great deal in the past couple of weeks. One night, after a visit from her grandparents, we sat down to dinner, and Adriana devoured her food. We kept bringing her more because she kept eating. She woke up once that night, and I thought I was in heaven. The next night she repeated her eating and sleeping, and I thought I was living some sort of charmed life. On the third night, Adriana refused to eat much and I didn't worry about it, until that night when she woke up every two hours and I discovered that even after a year and a half of interrupted sleep my body had quickly become enamored of more solid sleep--I could hardly function the next day. So our evenings are now rather tedious as we spend several hours trying to get the baby to eat. I don't do too much coaxing, I hope, and I try not to let myself get too emotional about it (you may think I'm kidding, but this is my ability to sleep we're talking about here), but I do follow the baby around and give her bites of food every time she gives me the chance. I do worry about the habit of not feeding her only at the table, and not making her sit down with us, but putting her in the highchair when she doesn't want to be doesn't seem to make matters any better. Plus, I figure any habits she has this week, good or bad, are likely to change within two weeks, so I just go with whatever works.
She is more willing to eat a variety of foods these days, and she doesn't make horrible faces whenever she tastes something new, but it must be food she can feed herself. She eats a lot of beans, asparagus, carrots, grapes, rice cakes, and cheese. It may not be the best or most varied diet, but at least it's relatively healthy. I haven't noticed her nursing much less, except at night of course, but losing those night nursings did seem to affect even my daytime supply, making nursing painful for a few days last week. The problem seemed to be solved with some fenugreek. So now I smell a bit like pancakes, but there are worse things to smell like, and now nursing Adriana doesn't leave me in pain and her frustrated.
Best of all right now is the way she seeks out cuddles. She leans her face in for a kiss, gives hugs and pats, tugs on my jeans when I'm standing, so I will sit down and make a lap for her to sit in. After her nap, she likes to sit in the armchair with me and snuggle for a bit while she wakes up. We don't read or listen to music or anything. It's one of my favorite times of day.