Every evening when Adriana is in the bathtub or I am putting her in her pajamas, I talk to her about her day, reminding her of all the things she did and who she saw. Without spoken language, it's hard for me to know what she remembers, but I'm pretty sure everything is just being saved up in her head. And she does let me know that she remembers things that happen. A couple of nights ago, Brian was in the room as I was changing Adriana into her pajamas. She pointed at the nearly healed scrape on her right knee, from a tumble she took when we were in Southern California for Halloween, and then signed "cat." "Yes, you had a Hello Kitty band-aid on there," I told her. She nodded and signed "monkey." "And before that you had a monkey band-aid." "Grandma," she signed. "Grandma gave you the monkey band-aid." She nodded again, and I loved that she remembered all that and was telling me about it. Brian laughed and said that he thought I was the only one who would have understood why she was signing all of those things. He's right. But it's still fantastic to know that she is narrating things to me like that, and to see how much she remembers.
I think she is starting to talk more. Do I say that every month? But it does seem that she is babbling to herself more as I carry her through the farmers' market on my back, when she is riding in her carseat, and when we are playing together, although she still is very quiet when she plays by herself. Her newest word is "boom," which she says as she drops something or knocks something over, either on purpose or accidentally. But if she says "boom" (or anything, really) she wants it said back to her. So she says "boom" and we echo her, and she giggles. The other night the game happened over and over, with Adriana giggling every time we said "boom" to her.
I think the frequency of tantrums has decreased, which is nice. I mean, they still happen, and there are days when they happen a lot, but overall, I think she's doing better. I also think she's doing better because I am doing better--I am remembering to pay attention to when she needs me to focus wholly on her and figuring out more about what she likes to eat and when, now that she is becoming a better eater.
I am impressed sometimes by how well Adriana eats lately. There are still days, especially when she's not feeling well, when she really prefers to nurse, and because she nurses upon waking in the morning, she usually doesn't want to eat breakfast. But she is starting to cut out some feedings, most noticeably the ones between her nap and bedtime. She always nurses down for her nap, and usually nurses when she wakes up, but most days now she doesn't nurse again after that until bedtime. I know she's not ready to wean yet, and I'm not really ready either, but it is nice to see that she is starting to ease up a bit on her own. We are also very lucky that Adriana really seems to like healthy food, gobbling up chard sauteed with onions, steamed carrots and green beans, black bean soup, yogurt, raisins, and bananas. Not that she doesn't like sweets: at a party on election night, she picked up a cookied from the table, gave me a sly little smile and took a bite. Instantly the smile became a squinty-eyed grin and she scampered her feet, she was so pleased with the treat. And how can I deny her treats when they clearly make her so happy?
She is very interested in babies. Real live babies at the park or the store always catch her attention, but dolls definitely do the trick too. She was given a new doll recently, and that doll has gone everywhere with her since. It was a doll that came with a change of clothes, a couple of rattles, and a sippy cup, and she usually wants those to come with us too (I limit her to just bringing the sippy cup). She still needs help changing the doll's clothes, and she'll bring me a blanket to help her swaddle the baby in. She wants to feed and nurse the baby, and when we read stories, the baby is right there with us. I am a little surprised by the doll play. I wonder if it comes naturally because she is a girl, if it's something we've taught her because she's a girl, or if it's just part of her personality. I suppose it's a bit of all three: most (not all) of the little girls we know more interested in dolls than (most of) the little boys we know; we think it's cute that she takes good care of her baby, so we've encouraged it; and even though she also has other toys, it has always been dolls that she picks to play with.
She does also play with other toys. She likes to throw and kick a ball around, and she is getting interested in blocks. She makes towers seven or eight blocks high, and then pushes them over, telling me "boom." Over the weekend she spent a long time playing with a set of Duplos, putting a stack of them together, taking them apart, and then putting them together again. Her grandmother bought her a tricycle, and while she is still working out how to pedal, she spent most days that we were visiting Grandma and Grandpa riding that trike or dragging it around, and signing for bike whenever she wanted it and it wasn't right there.
As much fun as I have playing with her, bedtime is still my favorite time of day (well, the successful ones, where she goes to sleep without a fight at a respectable hours, anyhow). After she is bathed and in her pajamas, we snuggle up in her bed and read stories (favorites these days are Stellaluna, The Runaway Bunny, and Papa, Please Get The Moon for Me). Then I turn out the light and she nurses, while I stroke her hair and she rubs my arm, and she dozes off. After being busy all day and realizing how much she is a little girl instead of a baby now, I love that chance to relax with her and have her still be my little baby.