Thursday, August 31, 2006

Walking with Two Ponytails

Harper continues to practice her new skills, but she gets frustrated pretty easily. We're trying not to pressure her to do anything she doesn't want to. It's so fun to watch her walk! It's hard to contain the excitement when she does get up the nerve to try it again. She still does her funny crawl most of the time, and you can tell she is taking her time with the walking because she gets upset that it doesn't come easily. If she falls down, she kicks her legs and her cry sounds mad.

She's also teething again. She's got three big molars, but her bottom left still hasn't poked through and all four of her incisors are coming in, causing her grief. The other night she was acting very whiny and clingy and of course we thought about the teeth, but also chalked some of it up to general neediness due to the walking. A lot of babies have extra separation anxiety while learning to walk, and being the sensitive (and very attached) girl she is, we were blaming a lot of the whining on separation anxiety. When we returned from dinner out and set her down on the ground to play with her toys, she cried out again. I ran over to her and it seemed like she was mad at her sippy cup, so I asked her if she wanted a drink and picked it up. When I looked at the spout, I saw that it had some blood on it. Poor thing! She doesn't allow you but a half second's glance at her teeth and gums so it's hard to know for sure, but I think her bottom left incisor is just starting to break through the gums, which might have been what the blood was all about. We're all looking forward to the end of the teething.

Surprisingly, Harper is sleeping better these days. She went down to one nap a day (around 1 PM) last week, and although it is still a bit of a stretch during the daytime, she is sleeping a lot better at night. She gets tired around 11 AM but we stay up and play, read books, and eat lunch until 1 o'clock, when I nurse her and she conks right out. At night, she's been giving us nice stretches of 4-6 hours (the first stretch) of sleep. She's been joining us in bed anywhere from around midnight to 2:30 AM and I nurse her when she joins us. The rest of the night she tends to wake more often, but until 6 AM, I don't nurse her. Instead I say, "It's night time. Time to go to sleep." She begs a bit, but generally calms right down and settles back to sleep. Then she nurses between 6 and 7 or so and we get up for the day. A few months back, it was so tough for me to figure out how to get this kid to sleep for longer stretches. We were worn out!

I am so glad that she has grown up enough now that I can reason/ talk with her and it works! She knows she's loved, she doesn't have to feel afraid and cry it out alone to learn how to sleep. Patience went a long way, and I am so glad that I didn't jump onto any bandwagons in my frustration. A lot of how I parent, I've learned from Harper. I generally follow her lead. She is needy at night? I meet her nightly needs. Now she understands what I am saying? Now I can tell her what to do and my consistency pays off. She is an insatiable learner? I will continually teach.

Harper continues to talk all the time. Harper's favorite phrase lately is "There it is!". She figured it out one day while I was changing her diaper and asking her where her belly button was. When she'd find it, I'd exclaim, "There it is!" She'd mock me, and now she uses the phrase when pointing to her belly button, as well as other contexts when she finds something she wanted. For example, she will stand up, holding onto her toybox in front of her stereo, and reach her hands up in the air to signal me to play "Bushel and a Peck". I know this because she and I always do the same motion, with hands up high opening and closing our fingers, for the "do do do do do do" part of the song. Once the tune starts, she'll often say, "There it is!"

Another favorite word lately is "Cheers!" I taught it to her one day while we were playing with her stacking cups. She'd hit hers against mine, I'd say :"Cheers!" and then I'd pretend to take sips out of it. Right away, she started to follow suit with the pretending-to-drink. A couple days later, she was demanding that I clang whatever-was-in-my-hands with her sippy cup before every drink and shouting "Cheers!" all the time. She's mellowed a bit about it now, not quite so demanding, but it remains one of her favorite expressions.

She puts words together more and more. This morning, she dropped her book while I was changing her on the changing table. She said, "Mama... whoops... down!" and pointed to the book. She'll also describe the book she's holding when I say, "What's that?" She'll reply, "bear book." She is also saying "on" and "off" now, mostly referring to lights. She also says "wash" now and rubs her hands together. It was funny today after lunch. She told me she was "all done" using the sign, pulled on her bib to tell me to take it off. I did, and then I lifted her out of the seat and she said, "up!" She she told me to "wash" her and rubbed her little hands together. We walked over to the sink and cleaned up. She is increasingly interacting and sometimes I wish she wasn't so clear! For example, the other night on our way out, she pointed to her shoes and did the sign for "all done" and said, "off!"-- clearly asking me to take them off her. I was half-way wishing she didn't know how to make such a request as I explained that she had to keep her shoes on while we were out. Crazy! I honestly don't put anything past her.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Harper took her first unassisted steps today! This morning, she took one step after balancing for a while. And just minutes ago, Harper stood up between my legs and got her balance, let go of me, and when Dada called her to come to him, she turned to face him and took three steps, right into his arms! Pretty exciting! It will definitely be a while before the walking takes off, so to speak, but Harper is on her way!

Yipeeee! The baby has become a toddler!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Good Cognitive Skills!

Harper can now say her own name! For the past three days, Harper responds with a "Hapah" when asked, "What is your name?" Super cute! For the past month or so, when she saw a photo of herself, she would point to it and then point to her own chest to communicate that the photo was of her, but now she will point to it and say, "Hapah!" (When she woke from her nap a few minutes ago I was holding her in my arms and she saw a framed photograph of her when she was four months old. She perked up and said "Hapah!" in recognition. She amazes everyone with her ability to recognize and identify people in photographs, even when the picture doesn't look like the person does today. She can also correctly identify baby pictures of Ethan or me, even ones that she has never seen before!)

Other newish words include the following:

shhhh! (with index finger over mouth)
choo-choo (with hands clasped together and bouncing them vertically)
push! (said when she wants to push blocks through their corresponding hole in the lid of the box, i.e. circle in the circle hole)
zoo (says while holding out "Put Me in the Zoo" book)
whoops (says she's holding a book entitled, "Whoops!")
uh oh
toots (said when she or someone else toots)
and many more... it's tough to keep up with this kid!

Harper is also starting to put words together and make small sentences. For example, the other day while she was eating at Grandma's house, she pointed to her placemat and explained in sign language "kitty cat sleeping". Indeed, the picture featured in the center of the placemat was of a sleeping cat. This morning she was talking to Dada in the other room and I overheard, "Va Dada Mama"-- translation: I love Dada and Mama. She also does the signs for "sleepy" and "baby" to tell me she's tired sometimes because I've always said, "Are you a sleepy baby?" She also asks me to play a specific song by sitting in front of the stereo and doing the sign for train (a sign, by the way, that she made up) and saying, "choo choo!" (The song she's wanting is "Little Red Caboose", sung by Laurie Berkner.) She can even find the H in her LeapFrog Phonics Radio toy and tell me it's for "Hapah". It's so fun to watch her express herself so confidently and effectively.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Harper and Hop, photo taken during today's AM nap

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Vocabulary Explosion!

Ethan and I were becoming aware of Harper's growing vocabulary, but were having a tough time estimating just-how-large it could be, so we started a list. The following words are ones Harper can communicate, ones she consistently represents the same way every time she intends. Some of the words are very clear or very close to the way an adult would say it, and are recognizable by anyone listening. Others are sign words, which I've marked with a star. Others are words she communicates with a sign/gesture combined with a sound, which I've explained in parenthesis.

dog dog
ruff ruff
hi *
bye *
duck (sounds almost like a 'quack, quack')
kitty cat (scratches her face by her mouth, says a high-pitched mmmm sound)
all done *
sleep *
phone *
flower *
tree *
silly *
yay! *
bad cat!
food (says mmm, as if enjoying yummy food)
love (sounds like 'va')
kisses (makes an mmmmah! sound while kissing her hand)
cow (moos)
lion (roars)
monkey (says ooo- ooo)
giraffe *
bee (makes a zzzzzzah! sound)
snake (makes an ssssss sound)
bird (pinches finger and thumb, says 'tweet, tweet')
mouse (makes an eee- eee sound)
elephant *
brush *
shoes *
baby *
owl (makes a whoo- whoo sound)
hop (for bunny rabbit)
po po
hair *
curls *
hug *
yawn *
boob (said when she wants to nurse)
one * (holds up one finger when asked, "How old are you?")

I believe that's 52 words... and counting. Every day she says something new. It's fun to find which word will miraculously pop out of her mouth today.

We did not include her receptive language here, words she clearly understands like "dance" (she bounces when told to dance) or "scratch" (she scratches surfaces when prompted to), etc. She knows lot of her body parts and can identify them when asked. She can follow commands like "go get the hanger and give it to Mama". She started to play along with the "How big is Harper? sooooo big!" game recently, too. She seems to understand most everything we're saying. She's even sensitive to inflection and gets teary when she thinks she's in trouble or has done something she shouldn't have. We're careful not to sound too harsh when we're telling her to stop what she's doing, or not to drop food on the ground, but she is a sensitive girl and gets upset if she thinks she's disappointed us. There was simply too much receptive language to be able to count. But this list represents the words she can express at her whim... a lot for a girl who just turned one year old!