Sunday, October 12, 2008

21 months

A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I looked at Adriana as she climbed onto a chair and looked over at us and we both had the same thought: she is such a child now. And a couple of nights ago as we put away the pouches that Lynn had returned to us now that her baby is getting bigger, we reminisced about the days when we would bounce Adriana to sleep in them, and Brian said, "It's like that was a completely different kid." I told him that the difference was that that was a baby and now she is a playful little kid.

Adriana loves to be chased now. She takes off on her way out of the park, running, hoping I'll chase her, turning back to grin at me and make sure I am. Peek-a-boo is starting to turn into something more like hide-and-seek. She is getting better at climbing ladders and she is starting to figure out that she can jump off of things (as opposed to just jumping in place). She puts together her puzzles with ease. Her baby and her monkey are still her favorite toys--she feeds them, diapers them, nurses them (she even puts a hand into the neck of her shirt, mimicking my action as I unhook my nursing bra before I nurse her), and dances with them. She wants to take them everywhere, and it can be a bit of a pain to try to keep track of this entourage, so one day last week I persuaded her to tuck her baby into bed and leave the monkey to take care of the baby when I was trying to get us out of the house for our play group.

These days, she is fascinated with drawing. In the past I had let her scribble with crayons in restaurants or at the church nursery where we go for La Leche League meetings. But her grandmother was drawing for her and letting her draw with a ball point pen on post-its the last time we had the grandparents here for a visit. Now Adriana grabs for pens whenever she can find them and goes running off to find a piece of paper. I am trying to discourage the pens, because she doesn't necessarily keep it on the paper. Instead, I have some washable crayons for her, but the best thing is the MagnaDoodle I bought for our recent long car trip. She draws and erases, draws and erases, and is so pleased with herself. And just over the past two weeks it's been interesting to watch how she approaches drawing develop. At first she would hand us the pen/crayon/MagnaDoodle and demand that we draw for her. Then she started requesting certain things. I drew approximately eleventy frajillion cats on the way up to Humboldt, but she would sometimes take the picture from me and scribble over it a bit. And now, while she still likes me to draw for her, she is more likely to sit and scribble without asking me for help, or scribble purposefully when I ask her to draw me a cat or a bird.

She has days when she eats well, and days when she still mostly wants to nurse. If I cradle her at all, it seems to remind her of nursing and she starts asking to, which in most cases is fine. I do catch myself offering her real food first, when she asks to nurse--not a conscious decision to move more toward weaning, although I suppose that's exactly what it is. Most of the time it fails, though; once she has asked for milk, milk is what she needs. She does eat fairly well most of the time. Less sensitive to textures than she used to be, she is willing to try a variety of foods. We are struggling with some food sensitivities--it seems that most fruits cause some eczema around her mouth--so we are trying to figure those out. It was one thing when it was berries and stone fruits, as those are seasonal and I figured we could wait until next summer to see if she outgrew them. But tomatoes and apples? Those are a way of life, so now we are considering our options.

Over the last month Adriana added two "words" to her repertoire: "nie," for "neigh" when asked what a horse says, and "Ana" when asked to say "Adriana." She says "moo" (well, "mmmmmm") when she sees a picture of a cow. She's been telling us what a cow says for some time now, but it's only recently that she has begun to volunteer the information. She's up to about seventy signs now, and she nods "yes." For a while she would shake her head "no" or do nothing. Now she has an adorable full-body nod. She is practicing to be two, though, so her first instinct much of the time is to say no. Then she will change her mind and nod, or just do whatever you asked her to do.

Sometimes I am counting down the days until November 11. I hear that at 22 months, kids start to even out--with their sleep and tantrums and clinginess and everything. There are days when I think we are already on our way there--on Saturday night we even managed to go out to dinner, walking downtown and back (with Adriana in the stroller, miracle of miracles) and sitting in a (child-friendly) restaurant without a single meltdown. And there are times when I wish we could slow down or go back in time. She snuggles on my lap after a nap or holds my hand while we walk down the sidewalk, and I want to hold onto this time as long as possible.

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