Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Twenty Months (Nineteen Month Recap)

Thrilled by the approach of the train (subway)

Nineteen months seemed somehow easier than eighteen. Fewer tantrums and power struggles, thankfully. 

I'm reading Happiest Toddler on the Block right now (thanks to Shannon for the suggestion), and it has some interesting ideas. The most well known, of course, is using "toddlerese" to echo what your child is feeling, to put words to their emotions to quell the tantrum. I tried it yesterday, when Calliope was throwing a fit over the idea of teeth brushing.

"Calliope mad! Mad mad mad! Calliope no want to brush teeth! Mad!"

She stopped mid-sob and looked up at me curiously. Tantrum over. 

I had to stifle a giggle halfway through my "tirade" because it felt so ridiculous, but still, the logic makes sense to me -- if I can name her emotions and make her feel "heard," she won't be so frustrated. 

And then I can brush her teeth a lot more easily. Win win.

Next up, pillow talk (my name and version of his idea). Talking with Calliope about three things that went well that day -- ideally a mix of things that were fun and things that she did well, like cooperating or listening, that I want to praise. I love this idea because I think it's a great habit to build into her childhood. I'd love to do this every night for years to come.

Tonight was our first attempt. I cradled her against me in the big chair in her room after reading her two stories, and I asked, "what were three great things about today?"

She sucked her thumb and leaned her head against my chest as she looked at me.

I realized I didn't really know all that much about the ins and outs of her day. Oh well.

"Well, you went to the library with Nastya and Ellie today. I bet that was really fun. And then you went for a walk this afternoon with Nastya and Ellie, and you pushed the doll stroller."

"Ellie?" she querried.

"Yes, with Ellie. And then you came home and you had mushroom tortellini for the first time, and you had a lot of fun peeling off all the pasta 'wrappers' before you ate them."

That felt like a good first attempt. I love the idea of her "already" always remembering doing this. Like already knowing her conception story, by the time she's old enough to understand what it is. (Right now, because it has a picture of Mommy on a horse, in her pre-baby life, Calliope thinks it's a story about horses. Because every book is about animals, in her view, these days.)

Next, I'm going to try the technique of "gossiping" to Calliope's toys when she does a good job of listening or cooperating. This feels a little ridiculous, also, so I'm building up to it.

Mostly, though, her disposition is quite sunny, despite her becoming more "determined" at times.

Taking a breather at the playground

So glad they made this little "seat" for me (aka footstool for the water fountain)

No problem climbing onto and off of park benches and couches!

Calliope doing squats, just like Mommy

Her language development continues to explode. I've stopped keeping a list, but I'm sure she's well over a hundred words now. Yesterday, apropos of nothing, she would say "toes" or "knee" and point to the appropriate body part. Two word "sentences" are still few and far between, though.

Sadly, she just started calling me "Mommy" instead of "Money." But Grammy is still called "Hello?" with her hand to her ear. 

She's obsessed with the squirrel that visits our fire escape (outside our kitchen window), and after spying it, will spend the rest of the meal asking "'Ko? 'Ko?" (That's "squirrel" for the uninitiated.) Seeing a dog outside on one of our many walks is a huge thrill. She also loves locating animals in her books. She seemed to think that her new book "Once Upon a Potty" was a book about a cat, because we could never get more than a page past the one that asks if the potty was "a milk bowl for the cat"? I would flip to the next page, start reading, and she would interrupt with "Meow? Meow?" and we'd have to go back and look at the cat again. Ad nauseum. Same with her other new favorite book, Snow, which she naturally calls "'No?" There's a page with a horse pulling a sleigh, and as soon as I flip to the next page, she asking, "Neigh? Neigh?" 

Makes for wearisome reading, sometimes! 

She also loves Llama Llama Red Pajama, which she calls, of course "Mama." Double L's are hard for toddlers, it seems. 

She hasn't nursed in ten days. She asked for "neh neh" this morning but was easily distracted with a muffin -- I'm still trying to bake pre-breakfast snacks for her. Her eating has definitely improved of late -- perhaps she's hungrier now that she's not nursing? She feels heavier, too. Last week, she ate several bites of turkey burger for the first time. And tasted rotisserie chicken -- this time I tried offering a wing and a drumstick instead of cut up breast meat -- realizing that the more interesting "delivery" system would make it more intriguing to her. She was definitely interested. She kept mouthing the knobby end of the drumstick, despite my best efforts to steer her to the business end. 

She's sort of running now. It's awkward and stifled, but she definitely has a faster speed now. It's so interesting to me that other kids started running practically as soon as she could walk, but she waited months and months to start. 

Running, kind of.

Her doll stroller was the best $16 investment ever. It makes her much less liable to wander off or stop when we go for walks, like it gives her a sense of purpose. When we get to the playground, she abandons it and then other kids are thrilled to take a turn with it.

Showing Baby Annie the sights... I'm so grateful for this lovely walking path right outside our building

I've decided to buy her a three-wheeled scooter for an early birthday present, in June, because she's fascinated by them at the playground. A friend just turned me on to the fact that you can buy a kit for a scooter so that it has a seat and a "O" shaped handle bar. You can even buy a strap to tow it. I can't wait to see her face when she gets it. This will be a distraction present when we go up to the summer camp on weekends in mid-June and I have to leave her with a brand new babysitter.

Her hair is coming in fast and furious, which I'm enjoying. I love putting it into admittedly puny ponytails. I never expected to have a child with fine, straight, light colored hair... I'm so curious to see if it stays like this.

I was just looking through my picture files at work to see if I'd missed anything...

One year ago today! 


  1. Love the update!! HTOTB has made a world of difference for Elena & I, so glad Shannon suggested it! I feel ridiculous using the techniques but heck! They work for us!!

    Pillow Talk! Love it!!

  2. She is simply adorable. I love her piggy-tails and her thumb-sucking break. It seems that she has a pretty incredible Mama too.

  3. How is it possible that she is already this old? Glad to her the toddler techniques are working well!