Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Ella's latest milestones

Home sick
Originally uploaded by nicole_gt.
Originally, I started this blog so that I would be a bit better about keeping track of Ella's milestones. In fact, I'm still not that great at it. I keep thinking of things I should write about and then by the time I sit down, I can't remember for the life of me what it was.

This afternoon, I decided to keep her home from garderie again. But look at that sick little face- I had to put her to bed. (This is actually a photo from before she got the eye infection, trust me, she's not a pretty sight). I really need to get out and do a few errands (have decided that I need to run into Gap and see if they still have any of the Roland Mouret dresses left. I would love the red one with balloon sleeves for this weekend) but she fell sound asleep and I can't bear to wake her up. Its probably the more "neighborly" thing to do as well- they say that conjuctivitis is incredibly contagious and rather than start an epidemic at the garderie and hope that all the other parents don't decide to stone me, I'll just keep her with me. For one more day.

So, milestones. I think we have talked enough about the First Eye Infection Milestone. More noteworthy is the fact that she has started saying "Please." It actually sounds more like "Peee?" but a good start. I have to be totally honest and admit that the only words that she says absolutely clearly are "Maman" and "Daddy". She will repeat after me really well when she's in the mood and sometimes I can figure out what she is trying to say when I listen to her jabbering, but it seems that we have gone backwards a few steps in the language development. I'm not worried, because she is bilingual (and clearly understands us in both languages) and these kids tend to take longer to start talking. Still. I'm so jealous when I hear other children her age talking so much more. I suppose its a bit of the Competitive Mommy in me but also, I just want to know what she is thinking. I'm dying to talk to Ella and start listening to her funny baby logic and little baby monologues. Soon enough. I'm sure that when we are in the States and she is surrounded by English she will improve like she did this past summer.

She is a total monkey and loves any sort of physical challenge. Her favorite way to watch tv is with her arms propped up behind her back on the sofa and her toes on the coffee table, making a bridge. She adores hanging from the bars on the jungle gym and can out hang most kids twice her age, she must have the strongest little grip of any 20 month old in town. She did jump out of her crib once but hasn't tried that again so I think she scared herself pretty good. She does yoga with me in the morning and has mastered the Sun Salutation. But she only does it if I am already in the pose, so I can't get a photo! It is so cute it kills me.

Her favorite toys are her crayons, her blocks, and the musical instruments. She likes to drag stuff on electrical cords around (I have bought her rolling toys but its not the same. Extension cords are a million times more interesting). She colors like a star, and will do circles and lines but not too much coloring in. She has colored on nearly every wall in this house- thank god for those fantastic Vanish sponges. When she writes on a wall, she quickly comes to get me and pulls me over to the spot, then points to it and says, very gravely while wagging her finger, "Noooo." So, she gets it, but she doesn't quite get it.

Which brings us to her behaviour. She is generally lots of fun, a bit rowdy and noisy, very interested in her games, and she doesn't fight with other kids over toys. Whenever I ask at day care if she has been aggressive with the other kids, they insist that she is perfect. I only ask because I see that when a bigger kid tries to take something off her, she jumps right into the fight. But so far, she's all defense. She has got a pretty rotten temper though (this is where the similarities between us are the most obvious), but we have been pretty liberal with the Time-outs and I can see the benefits. Now, if she throws a toy and starts yelling, all I have to do is ask if she needs a Time-out and she calms right down. When she does go into Time-out, she might yell for the entire minute, but when I go to ask her if she is ready to come out, she always smiles and gives me a kiss and it is over.

That is actually a huge milestone for us- she will finally give hugs and kisses on demand. We tried and tried to get her to do it before and it was very much on her terms. She was never a really cuddly baby, she wouldn't really fall asleep in my arms or in bed with us. She always wanted to be facing outwards when we held her, more interested in the world going by then in either of her parents. This is a fantastic stage because she is still enough of a baby to carry around in our arms but its fantastic the way she will run up to us and throw herself into our arms when we get home. Unadulterated love. Its why you become a parent, isn't it? And I have a feeling that it doesn't last forever...

She will hardly eat these days. She loves a bottle of milk morning and night. She will eat a yogurt in the am and sometimes in the evening if I hit on just the right thing, she will eat a good meal. I've totally given up on lunch. The other night, she loved the vegetable potage with rice that I gave her but the night after, she wouldn't touch it. Broccoli and fish was great one night but I had to force it down the second time it was offered. Generally, gnocchi, peas, and hotdogs are great, but it really depends on her mood. She's not exactly picky, since she's eaten nearly all the different things I have tried to give her, but she acts like she is just not hungry most of the time. Of course, she still refuses to eat potatoes in any form (although she did eat a few fries the other day.) She doesn't like cookies or cake which is something to happy about. On the other hand, she adores chocolate- not so much that we can bribe her to do something but almost.

She likes to pick out her own clothes and will sometimes throw a fit if I try to insist that she wear something particular. She loves Dora anything. She likes to ride the metro and always picks out someone in the crowd to wave to and smile at. She loves to go into my dressing and try on all my necklaces. When we put her to bed at night, we lay her down, close the door, and give her a tetine and a stuffed animal and she goes to sleep like an angel.

And then we miss her so much that we sneak in and watch her sleeping, pointing out to each other how sweet she looks, with her curls stuck to her forehead and her little chubby hands clutching her puppy and her fat little legs thrown over the covers. Its probably at those times that we love her most. I don't know if its because we can finally relax and forget all the responsibility that goes along with a baby - she's not moving, she can't hurt herself, she doesn't need anything. Or maybe its because she is still and we can finally really look at what we've got. Doesn't matter why I suppose. There are probably too many reasons why all that love just suddenly balloons up inside your chest and squeezes everything else to the side. But what a perfect way to end the day.

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