Sunday, December 7, 2014

Let's talk about Sally

Just by looking at her, you can tell a lot about what kind of 15-month-old Sally is.  She's always got a bruise or two on her noggin. She's not particularly clumsy, she just has no concern for her own safety. The big bruise in these pictures happened at daycare when she dove headfirst over the back of a toddler-sized couch.  She also recently dove headfirst out of Sean's arms, and would have hit the floor, but (fortunately?) hit the wall instead, with such force that she bounced right back into Sean's arms.  She's never been disoriented, no signs of concussion or serious injury.  But she scares us, routinely. When we're able to stop her before an accident happens, she insistently goes right back and tries to do it again.

We gave a penguin-shaped icepack to Sally after she hit the wall, and tried to convince her to put it on her owie by having the penguin kiss her forehead.  She decided the penguin's name was Owie, and will now, with great delight and desire, ask for him by name, saying, "Owie! Owie!" and pointing and gesturing emphatically.

When she has a close call--almost hurting herself, but managing to stop or minimize the damage--Sally says, with the perfect cadence, "Whoa!"

If I'd managed to write a 14 month round up, I probably could have made a decently accurate list of Sally's first words.  Now, it just feels futile ... the girl talks all the time, breaking out new words without breaking a sweat every day.  She repeats words back to us, too, which makes the list almost limitless. She's still mostly communicating at Curious George level, I'd say.  We're big fans of the animated Curious George series on PBS, and George doesn't speak, per se, but imitates speech in a way that's very communicative and easy to interpret, with some of the words ("Ok"and "uh huh" for example) being almost perfectly formed, and the rest a very intelligible mix of monkey and English.  We understand our little monkey perfectly much of the time, and some things anyone meeting her would be able to understand, while others would require a bilingual interpreter (me, Sean or Walter, usually.)

Some of the things Sally likes to say (not a comprehensive list!):
Bubble (one of her first words ... she loves washing her hands)
Thank you
More (this is her word for nursing, too, but sounds more like "Mo" when she's using it to mean nursing and not just more of something else.)
All done
Waba (Walter)
Pop Pop (still working on "Grandma")
Please (she uses sign for this one, along with the word)
Moo (What does the cow say?)
Baa (What does the sheep say?)
Woof woof (What does the dog say?)
*sniff sniff* (What does the bunny say?)
Ball (this was also one of her first words)
Row row
Diaper (she tells us sometimes when she needs a new one, and signs diaper, too.)
Fishy (she uses this to mean fish and shoes, too.  It sounds like, "Ishies!")
No (a fan favorite.)
Uh huh
Here you go (said as all one word.)
Uh uh
And almost anything else you prompt or ask her to say.  She will try it! She's game.

Sally's game for most new things, in fact, which makes her a lot of fun to be with.  She loves all kinds of foods and eats cheerfully and heartily in a totally undiscriminating manner.  She likes meeting new people and going to new places; she's almost always up for an adventure, even if she's tired or not feeling well.

It's (not quite, technically) winter in Wisconsin, so of course she's not feeling well.  She got tubes in her ears a little over a month ago, and that seems to have ended the endless ear infections.  She's been sick since then, but hasn't needed antibiotics.  We're currently monitoring a nasty cough.  Her upper molars are almost all the way in, and her bottom molars are close behind.  She's got canines peeking through her top gums, too.  It's kind of remarkable how cheerful she is given all of this, and the frequent head injuries, too.

And Sally is very cheerful ... and very, very sad.  Oh, the sad.  I was explaining to our friend J., who's expecting his first baby in February, that the sadness of toddlers is real.  She cries real tears, and she means it when her face crumples and she starts to wail.  But, if you give her a little space and not a lot of direct attention, she gets over it just as quickly as it comes on. The trouble comes when you have to intervene and pay attention, because she's doing something naughty or dangerous.  The will is strong with this one.  Very strong. And she's not open to being reasoned with at all, or being distracted or redirected. It makes a person tired, sometimes.  Other times it's kind of funny and cute ... the way she rolls her eyes and sticks her chin up in the air, shaking her tiny butt and singing, "No! No no no!" as she walks away from me and toward whatever gaping chasm she's interested in at the time. She's very charming, Sally.  But we try not to let on too much when her defiance strikes us as especially cute, looking ahead to days when it might not come in such adorable, relatively safe, forms.

Sally and I were having a serious disagreement about markers the other day... a disagreement that is actually ongoing (she keeps testing, giving me the look, to see if I'm going to stop her from writing on non-paper surfaces again.  Persistence over the course of days, weeks ... that's Sally.)  The disagreement made both of us crabby with each other.  I have a strong will, too.  Walter observed all this, and eventually said, "Mama, do you still love Sally?"

"Of course I do!  With my whole heart, just like I love you!  No matter what, right?"

Walter nodded, looking thoughtful.  He's still not entirely convinced.  So, we keep telling him, and her, and trying to show them in every way we can.  The truth is, they are easy to love.  Even when they are at their most difficult.

I pick Sally up and cover her in kisses. Walter makes funny faces and makes up silly words.  Sean calls her "Salamander" and gazes lovingly into her eyes.  She rolls her eyes at us, but, obligingly, smiles.

She knows.

Ok, so immediately after I posted this I thought of like a million more favorite Sally words (or rather, I heard her say them after she woke up from her nap.) So:
Bye bye
Hello (Hi-Oh!)
Nose ("no")
Snow (also "no."  Context is all.)
Agua (we kept correcting her and saying "wawa," until I heard her daycare teacher repeat it back to her as "agua." Bilingual baby. Noted!)
Hat (usually said while patting her head. "Hat hat!")
Arm, leg, hand, toes ... great at identifying and saying the body parts
On! ("On on on!" This can mean she wants something on, or that she wants something off, something open, something closed, etc.)

With all these actual words to choose from, she also still really likes chatting to herself saying, "dibbadibbadee."

Great example of Sally's persistence and planning and Walter's advances in Executive Function from tonight: Sally wanted to play in the "bags and wraps" drawer, full of expensive bags and sharp edges for tearing plastic wrap.  After a struggle, I diverted her by opening the rag drawer and asking her to clean the floor, which she did.  Walter joined in and they were very industrious together.  Walter even disappeared for a few seconds and came back with a damp rag he'd taken to the bathroom, wet, and wrung out himself.  They got lots of rags dirty and had a good time. Walter didn't even want to stop for Advent wreath and cake time. As soon as we all had cake in front of us, Sally told Sean she was all done and wanted to get down ... and immediately went back to the forbidden drawer. Her plan all along had been to wait until we were distracted, and the cake provided the perfect opportunity.  When Sean stood and ate his cake in front of the doors, Sally relented.  And asked for some cake.  As soon as Walter was done with his cake, he went over to the drawers, and I watched him think about which one he was going to open.  He chose the rag drawer, and resumed his task, very pleased with his good decision.

I was pretty impressed with both of them!  Sally's learning how to hatch plots, and Walter's learning how to delay gratification.  I watched him stare at a spoonful of whipped cream at Thanksgiving, waiting for the coffee to be ready so he could put it in the coffee, wanting to eat it right away but willing himself to wait. And he did it.  He got his hand painted when we went to see Santa this weekend, and stayed perfectly still and did not touch the painting until it was dry.  It was amazing to watch.  And even though I don't like the contest of wills that often comes with it, I love watching Sally persist, and plan, and come up with all kinds of different problem-solving strategies in her quest to get whatever she's after.

Proud mama.  Headed to bed before I think of any more words to add!

1 comment:

3d8th said...

we are raising very similar children (which makes sense, as you said). It's highly amusing because Walter lets me know what to look for next in E and Sally reminds me of what E did in the past. =)