Fair warning. This is a post dedicated to unabashedly bragging about our typical, 18-month old, Addy.
Addy turned the big one eight last week. But if you ask her, she tells you she’s two. No, she insists that she’s two. The conversation usually goes something like this:
Me: Addy- how old are you?
Addy: (holding up two fingers) Two.
Me: You’re not two- how old are you?
Addy: (giving me a crusty for disagreeing with her) I TWO. (more emphatically holding up two fingers.)
Me: No, Addy, you’re ONE. (I hold up one finger.)
Addy: (siiiigh) TWO. (holding up one finger on both hands.)
She’s still a little bean; at about 18 pounds, she’s about to be bested by her five month old cousin in the weight department. Have no worries, though- sometimes I think all I do is feed the child.
I started her in gymnastics this fall because she needed an outlet for all of her energy. She was constantly (literally) climbing the walls in our house. She was getting frustrated and naughty which is a dangerous combination when she’s creative, cunning, and persistent. I liked the idea of gymnastics, which is more physically demanding, than, say, dance. And our local recreation district has a gymnastics class just for kids from walking to two; it was perfect. She l-o-v-e-s it. She hangs from bars, swings from rings, climbs, jumps, she can walk across a higher 6” beam and a lower 4” beam with no assistance. The only part of class that she didn’t particularly enjoy was the singing songs part (head-shoulders-knees-toes kinds of things.) That is, of course, until I figured out that she didn’t like it because I was too “hands on” for her liking. Now when we get to class, she walks in by herself, finds herself a place to sit on the mat to start stretches, and does all of the songs and motions by herself. She’s much more apt to stay in the circle now. Go figure.
Addy is a child who is simultaneously fiercely independent and overly clingy. I still have a hard time deciphering what it is, exactly, that she needs. When she’s had a busy day, it’s usually followed by several days of being my fifth appendage. But, man oh man, when she wants to be independent, she will be independent. No greater example of that than the fact that she’s potty trained. Fully. She requests to go. She’ll take herself (although getting her pants down by herself is still a work in progress, which makes taking herself significantly more inconvenient for me than me taking her…) She started asking to go potty on the big potty in August, right before Piper got her tonsils out. That was, obviously, not a good time to start training, so I said that we’d start once Piper got settled into school. That never happened before Piper got sick and was in the hospital, sooo… A few weeks ago, she insisted on training. I figured there would be some amount of work involved since she’d never gone ON on the potty before, but the first time I put her on the first morning, she pottied. Of course, when she gets busy, she does occasionally have an accident, and I remind her lots when we’re not home because I don’t want her to have an accident (she had on at my mom’s on Thanksgiving; I found her hiding in the corner because she was embarrassed…), but, really, I’m pretty pleased. The most amazing part of all this is that her behavior has gotten ten times better. Her outbursts are fewer, tantrums are less involved, and her listening has improved. I had no idea she was so frustrated over this…
Frustration is a pretty common thread with her. She has a lot of things that she wants to be able to do, but physically just isn’t able to yet. Like getting dressed. Riding bikes like Piper. Standing on top of a big ball or changing the light bulbs in the ceiling (yes, I’m serious- these are the things of Tantrum Supreme, folks, Tantrum Suuuuupreme.) A biggie, though, is talking. Don’t get me wrong- the kid talks, but she’s not able to get her point across like she’d like to. I joke that she and Piper have a kind of twin-speak going on; I can decipher Addy because I’ve spent so much time deciphering Piper. I counted the words she uses unprompted, frequently, and correctly at her 15 month appointment- it was around 150. I assume that she’s working so hard at acquiring more words that she’s not paying as much attention to the quality in which she says them, but I’m not sure at what point we’ll need to pursue some help for articulation. Guess we’ll see. But even with the few hundred words she uses, she doesn’t always have the word she wants. And she’s not really good at using her words when she’s upset; I’m working on getting her to talk instead of cry. It’s rather slow going…
I’m also having a hard time keeping up with things to keep her stimulated. My most recent purchase was several nine piece interlocking puzzles. They’re certainly not easy for her to do, but gosh by golly, she’s starting to get a few of the pieces together all on her own. I usually make it a six piece puzzle for her; that seems to help.
One big problem I have with her is that she’s impossible to baby-proof against. She can do zippers and buttons, ziplock bags, and she’s even been able to undo the baby locks on our cabinets a few times. Putting stuff up high doesn’t work because she’ll figure out a way to get it down (moving chairs to where she wants them, climbing, opening cabinets to stand on the shelves…) Thankfully, thankfully, I feel like we’re finally breaking the threshold to where she understands what she is and isn’t allowed to do. I don’t know if it’s coincidence or not, but it did seem to happen at the same time she potty trained. I don’t care what it is; I find myself saying “NO” a lot less than I had been.
Addy has the benefit of learning from what we’re teaching Piper. So, she’s starting to identify numbers, count, and telling us what letters make what sounds. Piper doesn’t seem to mind right now, but I wonder if she’ll get to a point when she doesn’t want her little sister learning what she is. Piper teaches Addy a lot in this way, too, which is so awesome to watch. Where Addy is just starting to pick up on some of these things, Piper’s got a pretty good grasp on them. I think it gives both of them incentive to learn.
She’s also yet to sleep through the night. Things have gotten better, though, and we’re at least to a point where I think we can live until she does. She’s typically only up about twice, and one of those is before we go to bed. While I stayed at the hospital with Piper, she also learned to let Luke deal with her at night. The best part of that is that Luke can just lay her back down. If I get up with her, it’s usually a 30-45 minute process.
Addy is certainly not an easy child. I think the best way to phrase it is that she’s high maintenance. She seems to always want more, and I don’t always know how to keep up with her. But good grief is she a sweet kid. She’s always game for hugs and kisses, is affectionate, loves her sister, constantly loves on the dogs… She loves to play, loves to talk to people, is inquisitive, and ornery. She’s all girl and insists on doing her (nonexistent) hair, pretends to put on makeup, and loves to play dress-up. Her favorite accessories are shoes and necklaces. Cute? Uhhh, yeah. That’s my kid!