It’s obvious that the semester is back in session since we haven’t written for a month and haven’t taken many pictures either! Elisa continues to develop new abilities and preferences and lately has enjoyed many around the house chores!
Elisa is gaining new words (not very clear yet!), but her major mode of communication at this point is to come to us, sign please while making an insistent whimpering sound until we take her hand and follow her to whatever she wants. Raisins are a current favorite and she will take us to that cupboard (she knows which cupboard most things are in!) and ask for “Rayuns” – it isn’t really two syllables, but an extended vowel sound. She spontaneously signs please when she wants something and when asked to say thank you, she often blows a kiss since she confuses the sign for thank you with this. When asked to say goodbye, she sometimes responds with a wave, other times with blowing a kiss and often plays dumb.
Elisa adores the dustbuster and frequently goes to pick it up and pretend to vaccuum. She asks us to turn it on and then pushes it around – although she hasn’t figured out lifting it to get an angle. She regularly watches what Daddy is making in the kitchen from her highchair and asks to get up and look into things while dinner is cooking. Yesterday, she wanted to stir the noodles and had to be distracted by her own bowl and spoon elsewhere. She has tried to help with snow shoveling as well. Recently, she got hold of the reusable shopping bags and carried ALL of them around her playhouse.
Elisa is also learning to mother. Over Christmas, she force fed her cousin Ellie with a sippy cup. Apparently, she is also helping the younger baby (~8 months) who is babysat with her – putting away the sippy cup where she thinks it goes and fetching it when asked.
While she hasn’t learned to put back toys without prompting, other things have a definite place. She will let us know when we haven’t hung up our coats yet, bringing us to coat and insisting we do something about it. This morning, she took books and DVDs that she found out of place (she actually put the Veggietales DVDs out of place) and put them onto the appropriate shelf, sliding them right into place. She also has started carrying dirty dishes to the sink and putting dishes (and not just silverware) into the dishwasher.
Elisa is developing her own sense of style. She is mostly particular about shoes and socks. For a while, she would choose which pair of shoes. Recently, it is a question of socks – and white socks have become boring enough to throw fits about (argh). Sometimes we end up with layered socks and although the bright colored socks we’ve invested in help ($6.50 for 10 pair), we may still need to find more creative socks! Only once has she complained -in fact, threw her biggest tantrum yet – about shirt or pants. After calming her, we modeled the correct way to ask for a change.
She also plays dress up. Largely, this has to do with hats since this is what is actually laying around for her to play with. She likes putting on her various hats in various ways. Occasionally she just wants to wander the house in her snow pants. I think she accessorizes with stuffed animals and dolls – this week she has brought a different doll or stuffed animal 4 of 5 days in the car. A week ago, she rediscovered the pacifier she never really used and seems to treat that as a way to change her look, too. And whatever the look (either clothing or expression), she monitors it in the mirror regularly! One thing closely related to dressing up is her deep joy all month at getting her parents under a blanket with her and seeing them in this “secret hideout.” We get a lot of giggles that way.
At the beginning of the semester, Elisa moved to one long nap after lunch. Mommy tries to get away from school at least one day a week right after lunch to pick Elisa up. Elisa falls asleep on the way home, surfaces slightly as she is carried through the cold and has her shoes and coat removed, and then goes back to sleep – usually for a total of 2.5-3 hours. Her bedtime is back to 7:30 and she usually wakes up between 6:30 and7:30 (it usually gets later as the school week goes on – her naps at daycare aren’t as long because she can’t bear to miss what the other couple kids are doing!) At this point, Elisa is usually pretty happy about being put into her bed for nap or bedtime. She will often carry her blanket to the crib of her own accord, and once in will lift her arms so we can tuck her blanket around her. She may yell for a few seconds, but then will either fall straight asleep or talk to herself happily for a while.
While Elisa has always enjoyed water (especially in her face and on her head), she recently has found new ways to enjoy water. Always fascinated by water bottles, she has recently learned to drink from them and even from cups if given very small amounts (and yes, there is plenty spilled – she is still learning about the inevitability of gravity if she turns the cup upside down.) She has also started to enjoy pouring water in the shower/bath so Mommy decided to pour a little water over her head. Of course, she has experienced rain and loves the shower that is a part of every bath, but this was a true thrill as the water came over her in concentrated force – she kind of shivered in excitement and laughed all at the same time. (We always knew she was a bit of a thrill seeker). She kept asking for more water over her head and tried pouring water over her own head. She is not yet able to lift the large container we are using over her head with water in it, so she kept pouring the water down her front rather than over her head. She knew she wasn’t getting the container high enough, so she leaned sideways in the bath and tried again.
We have one other not-so-happy milestone: 2 weeks ago, Elisa was the first of us to get the stomach flu. She was a real trooper, not showing any real fussiness before food came back up and when we picked her up to control where the returns landed she made her only complaint. Otherwise, she was just cuddly, trusting and even happy between bouts. We gave her a bath to clean up and she got another round and we gave her a bin to use in the bathtub – and she knew exactly what to do with it, even returning to it when she lost more. She went to bed and other than one more mouthful that necessitated a change, she slept the rest of the night and was sluggish the next day, but otherwise recovered.
We are very blessed by the positive attitude our little girl has as she encounters new situations in life. She is a blessing to us – full of deep joy at the little things in life and a constant surprise.