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20-Month Update
sword
tiger_spot
The Morgan creature, she is a wonderful creature. She's active and curious and affectionate.

She's getting into art now -- she likes crayons and sidewalk chalk and paint. She still just scribbles, but sometimes she identifies the scribbles as dogs or Papa or what have you. Occasionally she'll start a drawing and then ask a grownup for help with that drawing (rather than asking the grownup to draw a new thing, which she's been doing for ages). That's kind of a fun exercise in figuring out how to incorporate the existing lines, so I hope she keeps doing it.

She likes wearing the grownups' clothes and decorating herself and others with stickers. She has definite opinions about which of her own shirts and pants and pajamas and hairclips and hats she should be wearing at any given time -- and she can remember what all she has and make these decisions without actually looking at the clothes, which personally I find impressive. She loves her rainsuit, and jumping in puddles. She likes purple a lot.

She is very interested in doing what other kids are doing, especially slightly older ones. She doesn't always try to play with them, but she carefully watches what they're doing and if they do something new and exciting will go over and repeat the action, like a very attenuated game of follow-the-leader. She also likes to order people around -- parents, other kids, the chickens, the dog. (These last don't listen.) At the library the other day, Morgan and another little girl were sitting next to each other working on puzzles, and Morgan decided that the most efficient thing to do was say "Baby help!", pass her pieces to the other girl, and point to where she ought to put them. So I guess she's practicing her leadership skills....

Her language is astounding. She's picked up a lot more Spanish in the last month or two, and her English vocabulary is... well, at this point if she needs a word she probably has it. She's started using more verbs. Her recent interesting concepts include "everybody" ("Brooks chin. Morgie chin. Mama chin. Ev'ybody chin!"), "somebody" ("Suzi car!" "No, that's a different blue car." "Somebody car."),
"probably" (::phone rings:: "Who dat? Prob'ly Mommy. Prob'ly Papa."), and "last night", which appears to indicate the past in general ("Walk the doggie mama last night," when I only walk the dog in the mornings). She's trying to figure out past tenses -- she only uses them for a few verbs but she tells a lot of little stories about things that happened (For instance, we brought a new toothbrush to FOGcon, so now it is the "hotel brush". "Hotel brush! Went to hotel!" "Papa toast burn! Doggie woof!"). She's also doing a lot of planning and breaking things down into steps ("One book. Then feed the bocks [chickens]. Then breakfast."). "Who dat?" is a constant question. We're trying to train to use "What's that?" for things that aren't people, and she'll happily parrot it but I guess "Who" is easier to pronounce, so that's always what she starts with.

She's really into testing limits right now. Not in the sense of trying to get away with breaking rules, but really clearly looking for edge cases. For instance, I told her it was not safe to stand up in a restaurant high chair and she needed to sit down, so she tried sitting on the back of the high chair with her feet in the seat, to see if that counted. Testing is a really interesting process -- it reveals a lot about both her thinking and my assumptions. If all goes well I will quickly learn to predict some of the edge cases she'll come up with so I can pre-classify them into okay or not okay and I won't have to think it through on the spot so much. She likes applying the rules or usual procedures (putting things away when she's done with them, insisting that she wants socks, shoes, a jacket, and a hat before going out even when it's not actually cold enough to need the jacket and/or hat, etc.). I frequently end an activity by saying we'll do it X more times and then move on to the next thing, or if she's asking for something like a hug while I'm making dinner I'll tell her I'll do it once but only once, and now "One book" is a proposal I will likely hear about seven times a day as we transition between various activities. (I usually go with it unless we have unusual time pressure, but I do keep it to one book. I can be bargained with, but no changing the bargain in the middle!)

She's still into counting. If she's counting on her own it usually goes "One, three, jump!" but she likes to tap each thing in a group while an adult provides the counting numbers. She's also starting to look through books on her own, pointing out things in the illustrations or repeating phrases she's memorized. She is startlingly good at keeping the titles of even very visually-similar sets of sequels straight. She likes Todd Parr, Mo Willems, and Sandra Boynton particularly.

When we pass a bunch of cars in a parking lot, she likes to pick out the one she wants to drive. Sometimes she assigns other cars to other people, too. She's surprisingly happy in her car seat, although prone to motion sickness. She loves going for rides in the bike trailer.

There is no more baby left. She is all small child now. It is a little disconcerting sometimes.
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Sounds fun. The boundary testing gets ever more festive. You seem more calm than me. Hopefully it goes easier. :)

Ah, the amazing joys (and challenges)! Everything sounds as lovely as it can be.

They are pretty amazing in their intelligence and decision-tree testing...

Our smaller one, now four, will throw off her clothes, and say, "I want to wear this", and we occasionally get to try to persuade her, sorry, it's not practical for what we're doing today...

We have one easy sleeper, like Mom, and one night-owl, as bad as Dad, who we're trying to train into early sleeping.

Never having been primary caregiver for a child that age, I'm loving reading about your observations. I remember a small niece in a borrowed high chair at lunch with extended family, being told "Sit down. Sit down, Keira. Down on your bottom" and then she got a look on her face that could have been interpreted as "Aha I have found a loophole", turned about, and planted her diapered butt on the high chair tray full of scattered food. The uncles, aunts, and grandparents all roared with laughter because it seemed to us like a perfect smartarse response, but afterwards I thought, no, why would she know that her parents didn't want her to sit there, they didn't say that.

Oh my god, the testing.

DAMN good thing they're cute.

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