Monday, October 09, 2006


Ella has developed a new skill. When she was a baby, she never learned to blow raspberries. Her tongue was too attached and by the time that was fixed she had apparently missed the window of opportunity. I thought we were pretty lucky, considering the buckets of saliva that I would mop up everyday, that she didn't figure it out. I probably would have had to repaint the walls at some point. Or dress in a Hazmat suit everyday.

Perhaps Ella has been reflecting nostolgically on her babyhood, wanting to relive the best moments and experience thos things she missed out on. In any case, she is making up for lost time, in the spitting department. I had noticed her doing some sort of "sloppy breathing" for lack of a technical term. And once or twice she blew a raspberry at me, suddenly, for no reason and I thought she was just experimenting with noises and stuff. Then the other day, she was a bit over-tired and started to have a tantrum in the park so I put her in her stroller and told her that we were going straight home, the park was only for happy kids , if she wanted to roll around on the ground she could do it in her bedroom etc etc. She had stopped crying and yelling and I thought that she was just ignoring me. But then, she turned around, looked me straight in the eye, and blew a great big raspberry.

Now, at the time, I wanted to laugh because it was such a perfect response, if you lacked the ability to communicate in words. She is truly mastering non-verbal communication. But still, I convinced myself that she couldn't mean it like that, she's just a sweet little baby. Right?

Then yesterday I took her too the park and I saw that, in fact, yes. The raspberry is now her preferred means of communication. There weren't many kids there when we arrived so she had one of the climbing gyms to herself. When other kids started coming over to play, she freaked out. She stood at the top of the stairs and started yelling, "No! No, stop!" so I had to go over and have a little chat about sharing and convince her that she could still go down the slide. She played along, and then the other kid went down the slide while she watched with an evil eye. Then when he got to the bottom, she went over and spit at him (punctuated by loud "no"s) This was the first incident. Several others followed, before I dragged her home early.

But then we got home and she was as sweet as could be. B was building some new cupboards in our hall and she wanted to be right next to him helping out, carting stuff around for him. While I made dinner, she stood next to me on a stool and watched and handed me things and ate from the bowl of cut vegetables. She was, in a word, adorable. And that is what is so difficult with toddlers. The Jekell and Hyde Syndrome. It comes and goes with no warning and you are floundering around to figure out if you should be shouting or hugging at any particular moment because its not totally clear what exactly is going on.

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