Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Little Abbey at 18 Months

After eighteen months of writing Little Abbey updates, my mind is having a more difficult time in differentiating the past from the present. So many new things, lots of them subtle many of them not, that I had a hard time remembering if she has been able to do that for two weeks or two months. I fear that I might start repeating myself at times so much so that I offer up the warning, if I have previously mentioned it, just skip ahead. So in no particular order.

Little Abbey understands a large amount of words though she speaks just a handful of them that two scientific minded parents can understand. Gradually we have started figuring out that the babble she says does bear some resemblance to the word banana or doll. But she does understand more of what I say to her than what I can of what she says to me. For example, if I ask her to help me load the dishwasher, she carries me stuff to put into it, closes the soap door lid after I had added some, pushes the tray into the machine and closes the door. If mom asks her for the newspaper, she will go to the door where I have put the paper on my way to work, retrieve it and bring it back. We have even been working with her so that when we tell her to wash her face or blow her nose, she will get the appropriate item, i.e. napkin or kleenex, use it and then throw it away. She almost always gets are verbal commands right these days but occasionally she makes a mistake. Last week, we asked her to go get her broom, a small miniature version we bought a while ago, to help us sweep the floors. She went off into the other rooms and eventually came back with her push trike that we have called her vroom-vroom. I can understand her confusion.

Other things Little Abbey has learned to do without being asked. Whenever she spots a piece of kleenex or other debris lying around, she will pick it up and throw it away. After she has been changed, she will throw away her diaper too. If we are putting on our shoes getting ready to go somewhere, she will go get whatever pair of shoes she wants to wear and put them on too. If we don't get ready to go fast enough to suit our tastes, she will go stand by the door and let us know!

As Geri mentioned in her blog, at this stage of life they are just perfectly proportioned. Not to thin, not to chubby and so full of character that I can't help but see her as a mini adult. There is no longer any sign of the baby that once slept in my arms over a year and a half ago in the hospital.

Little Abbey has mastered her utensils enough where she feeds herself all the time now. We set down a bowl of whatever we are eating in front of her and let her go to town. Sometimes it takes her a little longer when we are having something like spaghetti but with a little help with her left hand, she manages. She has twelve teeth in now, 8 fronts and 4 molars, and is working on her two lower canines now. With all that biting power, she loves eating apples now along with her other favorite bananas, as long as we get the apple started for her. We have found that apples take her so long to eat, that they are guaranteed to keep her occupied for at least an hour. Imagine, a babysitter that grows on trees!

Speaking of babysitting, my wife and I were sitting in our great room enjoying a fire with a candle burning on the cedar chest between us. We don't normally use them down where Little Abbey can reach them, but we did on this day and for the most part, Little Abbey had ignored it other than to stare at it for a few minutes when first lit. So it was shocking when my wife's frantic shouting of fire while slapping at Little Abbey's hands roused me from the book I was reading. I thought Little Abbey had started her clothes on fire but my wife started dancing on the floor still shouting fire. I leapt out of the chair and rushed around the chest to see a burning kleenex ineffectually being stamped on by my wife's tiny feet. So I put my big feet to work and stamped it out within seconds. Evidently, Little Abbey had found a kleenex, held it on the candle setting it on fire, and tried showing her accomplishment to mom. My wife had slapped it out of her hand and started screaming. Fortunately, Little Abbey wasn't burned, the hardwood floor wasn't scorched and judging by Little Abbey's reaction as she hunkered out of the way watching her parents jump on the fire, I don't think she will do it again anytime soon. Even if she wants to she won't get a chance, as all lit candles will be well out of her reach in the future.

Little Abbey seems to be well into the mimicking stage. When my wife is painting, Little Abbey is creating works of art with watercolors and washable markers. When mom is baking, Little Abbey sits on the counter and helps her stir or add ingredients, often times dipping in a finger for a taste… or four. When taking a bath, she helps by pouring water from a glass over herself to rinse off. When sweeping a floor, she 'helps' with her broom. Little Abbey and I have this mimic game going that keeps getting more complex. She will come up to me and stick a finger in her mouth. I will do the same with mine. She will them move her hand onto her mouth and then move it back and forth to create her war whoop and I will do the same. On we go doing everything from patting our stomachs to lifting both feet high into the air. It is funny when we have done this game for a while and she runs out of ideas for my to mimic. She will pause and you can see those wheels in her head turning for a few seconds before she comes back with something, most of the time just repeating something occasionally with something new, like sticking her finger up her nose. I am forced to comply.

I don't remember how long ago I modified her crib so that she can get in and out on her own but she loves it. In the mornings, she will just get up, open her bedroom door and come into our room to check on us. On the weekends, when I am there, she will hand me my glasses, fetch my slippers and do about anything to get me to get up. My wife tells me that occasionally when she gets up too early and my wife wants a little more sleep, she simply ignores her efforts and she will either go back to her bed to lie down for awhile longer or find something to play with until my wife wakes up like mommies makeup or a roll of toilet paper. We haven't heard a tear in the morning in ages. It is also nice for taking naps so that she can just come downstairs when she wakes up and saves us having to go fetch her. We thought this might make it hard for Little Abbey to stay in bed at night when we put her to bed despite her wishes. But she seems to know that it is bedtime and stays there even though she will put on a show of protest stating that she would rather be playing downstairs.

I could go on but this post is already too long so I will close with one of Little Abbey's specialties now… the flying kiss. Mmmmmmmmm-ah (the sound effect that goes along with it.)

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