My sister asked me at Adriana's birthday if now that Adriana was two I would stop referring to her age in months? I said that yes, I probably would, but then I started thinking about how I sit down and write a blog entry every month on the 11th (or soon after!). I suppose she's not changing as much every month as she used to, but I love having this record of what she was doing when.
Even if she's not changing as quickly these days as she used to, the past month has brought startling change as Adriana's spoke language develops. For some time I've kept a list of Adriana's signs, so I always know how many she has (nearly 100, now), so I decided to create a list of her spoken words--not the words she just echoes at the end of our sentences, but the actual words she uses to describe objects and actions. At eighteen months, that list would have had only three words on it. Two months later, she was up to five or six. Now she has almost 50. The majority are words that she also has signs for, but for the most part she doesn't sign as she speaks. I wonder, though, if I were a better signer, if she would; one is "supposed" to sign as the word is spoken when signing with kids, but I am lazy and once Adriana has acquired a sign, I stop using it. That means her signs never really improve, but I still understand her, so I don't worry about it too much. It's a good thing that I naturally continue to use words as she acquires them, because her pronunciation isn't great yet (not that it should be): "k" and "s" sounds at the beginning of words are "d" or "t." Although that comes in handy when we utter certain words that we would rather she didn't parrot back to us. ("Um, I'm afraid I taught the baby her first swear word," Brian confessed to me a couple of weeks ago. And then I heard Adriana in the next room, shouting, "Dap! Dap!" "Kick" is also a bit of a problem it turns out.) There are times when, after hearing "no" for the 5,478th time in an hour, I start to wondering why it was I wanted her to talk so much. But it's still wonderful to hear her voice, and I think it's adorable to hear her versions of "please" and "all done."
Adriana has been fascinated with babies for some time, but now she is watching the big kids at the park carefully. She still notices every baby and loves to go investigate (and stare when one is nursing), but now she is watching how the four- and five-year-olds clamber up the play structures, jump off of swings, and chase each other around. She climbs ladders with relative ease at the park these days, and her fear of slides after a fall this spring is long gone--she goes around and around on even the biggest slides at the park. Sometimes she does want me to go along with her, but after one or two tries in my lap or by my side, she pushes me away to do it by herself. Having mastered jumping with both feet off the ground a few months ago, she has now moved to jumping off of things. She spent an hour on Christmas Eve (after a short, late nap in the car, which was enough to keep her up until almost midnight), jumping off of the armchair into Brian's arms, yelling "dup" for "jump" each time.
It's fun watching her play with all her new Christmas and birthday toys. Santa Claus brought her a new doll with a stroller and a diaper bag, and she loves pushing that stroller around and diapering her baby, but she is also quite enamored of her Duplos and bristle blocks. She will play quietly building towers by herself for close to an hour.
She is my little helper, although sometimes she's more of a "helper." One day last week I was folding laundry, and every time I folded a piece of her clothing, she took it from me and ran off to her room to put it away. I thought that was excellent, until I walked into her room and found all the clothes unfolded and in a heap in front of her dresser. But she does do a nice job sorting socks, dividing them into three piles and exclaiming, "Mommm," "Da," or "Ana" for each one.
She picks her own outfit most days. Sometimes I pick out two different outfits and let her choose one of them, but other days I just let her open the drawers and choose. There are days when she ends up at the park in blue and orange striped pants and a pink polka dot top, but because I pick outfits she often finds things that she knows she's worn together before. And she is enamored of tights for some reason, so she wears a lot of dresses these days. That may be a problem this summer when it's too warm for tights and the slides are too hot for bare legs, but for now it's cute. She is determined to put her shoes on by herself, so she prefers to wear mary janes rather than sneakers, because they are easy to do by herself.
Sleep is sometimes an issue for us still, but I suppose that will just go on for some time. We've experimented with night weaning (starting it out of desperation one night when she was nursing for 30 minutes out of every 90), and while it seemed to go well at first, it now seems like more trouble than it's worth, so we're backing off a bit, and just being grateful that she does sleep better than she used to and that she still takes a nice nap most days. She did skip her nap altogether for the first time the day before her birthday, and while it didn't go badly, I would miss my quiet time after lunch if it disappeared altogether, even if it would make weekends easier.
I know these are supposed to be the "terrible twos," but I think I am enjoying this stage more than I was a year ago. I love seeing how independent Adriana is becoming and playing games with her. I mean, I do miss the baby days sometimes, the way I could just pop her in a sling and tote her around wherever I was going without having to think about food and nap schedules and whatnot, but getting to know her as a person is one of the best things I've ever had the privilege of doing.