Friday, March 2, 2012

Claire at 18 months

This past week our amazing little one turned 18 months old. For many reasons, I almost missed it. However, thanks to the countdown timeline on this blog, I was reminded of the milestone. So to commemorate this moment (and because I am doing a terrible job of keeping track of her milestones), I wanted to post a bit about our youngest (for now).

I know many people make this statement, but it is proving to be true for us as well. It is amazing how different two children in the same family can be. Claire is one busy girl. She is the type that if you don't hear her or see her, she has probably A) opened the front door and walked out, B) thrown all the shampoo bottles in the toilet, C) pulled all the DVD's out of their cases, or D) all of the above. She is very interested in exploring everything, such as every cabinet and drawer that she can reach, tasting most anything that will fit in her mouth (and some things that won't), and not missing out on what everyone else is doing. Her level of observation and then mimicking that action is absolutely uncanny. Even conversational gestures or inflections that you don't realize you are making, she repeats impressively.

She is definitely a foodie. We have recently discovered that she likes feta cheese, raspberries, sourdough bread, and coconut-almond milk, but her favorite foods are bananas and cheddar cheese. We rarely have to worry that she is not eating enough, she regularly finishes her food and then visits most everyone else at the table and samples off their plates. On that note, she knows the signs for and regularly uses the signs for "more" and "all done". Her language abilities are progressing quickly. She does not have a lot of recognizable words, but a few are becoming common around the house. "Balalalala" - banana "mama" "dada" "bahbah" - bottle "cheez" - cheese "wa-wa" - water "shhhh" "shoos" - shoes "bye-bye" "night-night"

Despite these minimal verbal cues, Claire's ability to communicate and understand are incredible. There is no doubt what she is trying to say when she is wanting you to get off the couch and dance with her, or she wants her shoes on, or she does not want to have her teeth brushed. On the other hand, she understands a great deal. If you ask her to take something to the trash or to put her toy in her room, she is able to do it.

She is just now developing recognition of animals, body parts, and songs.  She has started to realize that everything has a name and spends time everyday pointing to items and having us name them. Books are becoming more interesting to her because of this. She is starting to identify animals by their sounds, especially elephants, lions, horses, ducks, and dogs. She can point to many parts of her body correctly, eyes, mouth, face, hair, feet, toes, hands, ears, top, bottom, inside, and today she showed me her elbow. She likes music and she loves toys that make noise. Whether they talk or sing to her, or she can push buttons that produce a sound or she can beat out a sound, she enjoys them all. She loves to come across the songs "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Hakuna Matata", and "If You're Happy and You Know It" and stops everything to participate. When she is not listening to sounds, she is making sounds. She pushes around cars saying, "brum brum" or she asks for her toothbrush with a "shs shs", complete with brushing action.

Her physical abilities seem to be far advanced as well. She is a climber, she needs no help getting from floor to dining chair, to dining table. She balances precariously on chairs and couches just fine most of the time (much to the frayed nerves of those around her). Her fine motor skills are well developed too. She can open ziplock bags unaided, use silverware fairly accurately, grip a writing utensil correctly, and get into a box of crackers with no help at all.

She is just about fearless. She walks right into the crowd of older children to participate in whatever is going on, she will try to pet most animals, and as I mentioned before she will climb onto anything she can.
She loves people. Whether it is hugging a grandparent, requiring attention from a favorite aunt, or being held by the nearest tall person, she loves all of it. What is even more amazing is that she loves to make people laugh and she is good at it. Usually through mimicking someone or having an amazing sense of timing with a well placed "yucky" or "shhh", she often can lighten the intensity of a situation (especially if she is the one getting in trouble).

As you can see, this precious girl keeps us on our toes. She is growing so fast and learning so quickly I wanted to make sure to capture this unique moment in her life before it becomes a distant memory. I love you Claire and we are so blessed to have you in our family.