I was so overwhelmed and stressed out when the 17-month mark rolled around that I neglected to commemorate it in this space. Now Missy is 18 months, and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do!
I suppose language is the most obvious place to start. I can’t possibly list all the new words she’s been saying, but I can record the highlights: down, out, dance, no, hot, moose, swing, music, milk, hands, scarf, door, open, eyebrows, towel, apple, bonk!, bird, pine cone, and touchdown! And she says her name! Her pronunciation of some words has improved, too. She now says “up” instead of “bup” and “Aba” instead of “Baba.” She’s been saying several words in Hubby’s language, including the words for car, water, cake, again, nose, mouth, clock/watch, and imitating lots of others as well. She imitates everything! I know which words and phrases I use most often by the frequency at which they come out of her mouth. “Oh jeez,” “hold on,” and “okay,” are among the most used and most adorable. Her favorite phrase is “more pleeeeease!” and once she even said “more cracker please.” She’s also learned, for the few words she knows in both languages, that if we don’t respond to her in one language, she’ll try the other. So if she sees a car, she might say “auto, auto,” and if I don’t respond right away, she’ll switch to “car.” It’s pretty amazing. I wasn’t sure what to expect, raising a bilingual child, but so far, she has blown me away with how quickly she picks up new words in both languages. I hope it continues, even as she spends less time with her Aba while he’s at the university all day.
Another big developmental milestone has been her ability to go up and down stairs. She’s a pro! And it’s one of her favorite activities. Our house has three floors, so she gets lots and lots of practice at home, but anytime we’re out, if she sees stairs, she’ll whine and cry, “up, up,” until we let her climb them. And then go back down. And then climb them again.
She also loves to dance and has been trying to jump. Her run looks more and more like real running. She has learned to feed herself completely on her own with a spoon (no more of mom pre-loading it and placing it in front of her), though it’s still very messy. She helps a lot with dressing and undressing, putting her arms through sleeves and her legs through pants. She often tries to put pants and socks on by herself and actually can put a shoe on, but only on her right foot!
Someone asked me recently if she’s a “girly” girl. I wasn’t quite sure how to answer that, as I’ve been trying very hard not to reinforce stereotypes, but I told the truth: She loves looking at herself in the mirror and is obsessed with shoes and purses. She also loves to run and climb and play in the dirt. And this person’s response (or maybe the other woman who was with her?) was perfect: Oh, so she’s a kid. Yes, she absolutely is.
The high- (and low-) light of the last two months has been our trans-Atlantic move. There were issues with both my and Missy’s visa application/approval. (I’m pretty sure her documents were lost in New York for a full two weeks after all of our visas were approved, and no one would have noticed if Hubby hadn’t kept hounding them with emails.) The move itself has cost more than the original estimate, and now, even though we’re in our rental house, none of our stuff is expected to arrive for another three to four weeks. It makes re-establishing a routine difficult, but Missy has adapted surprisingly well. Even the time change didn’t seem to affect her much. Of course, she’s sleeping in bed with us every night and is napping on my boob as I peck this out on my phone, so there is work to be done. Overall, though, our new home seems to be a very family-friendly place (with the exception of the couple of restaurants we’ve been to that don’t have high chairs, although it seems to be an issue of space more than not allowing kids). I’m excited to find new activities for us during the week and continue to frequent the two playgrounds within easy walking distance of our house.
Favorite things: Mommy and Aba, stairs, birds, swings, trees, Bear and Moose, sweets, mirrors, shoes, running, animal sounds*
Not-so-favorite things: being told “no” or “not yet,” sitting too long in a high chair (we have so been that family at the restaurant that gets the “I’m never having kids” look from all the young couples)
*One last cute thing: One night we were having dinner (in a restaurant, of course–I think we were still staying in the hotel at the time), and Hubby was having lamb. He asked Missy if she wanted some, and as soon as she heard the word (in his language), she responded “meh, meh.” It was both “clever,” as everyone who meets her assures her she is, and kind of sad, like eating Mary’s little lamb, or something. When she figures out the cuddly, meh-ing animal and the meat on her plate are one and the same, we may have a vegetarian on our hands!