Monday, October 23, 2006

Harper, Dada, and Bubbles

Harper LOVES the ocean-- calls it "bubbles". We had a great trip to the coast last weekend. We stayed in Cayucos at the Silvieras' beach house right near the shore. It was definitely a highlight of Harper's life. She enjoyed walking in the sand and playing in the waves with Mom and Dad (mostly Dad). When it was time to leave the water, she cried (both times) and reached out for "Bubbles!"

Two Ones!

In the bath this morning, Harper pulled the number one off the left end of the number line, and then snagged the one from the number ten on the right end of the numbers and said "one... one" as she pulled them off. Then she transferred them to just one hand and said, "two ones!" A few minutes later she pulled the six off and then the nine, rotated the nine to look like a six and said, "two six!" She's getting it!


Harper's got many colors down now. She can name and identify blue, orange, yellow, pink, black, green, brown, and red. It took her a while to transfer the learning from the pages of her book and the rainbow keys of her xylophone, but she started correctly identifying colors outside of those this weekend.

Fake Reading

Any time Harper recognizes that there are words (i.e. the words on the computer screen as I type right now), she points to them and fake reads. Apparently fake reading involves a lot of z's. "Zoogu bak za zib dood zuh..." I am sure this comes from the fact that the first word I ever pointed out to her was "zoo". It may sound random, but the reason why was because she brought me a book with that in the title and said "zoo" as she gave it to me. I responded excitedly and repeatedly pointed out the word on the cover. At first she generalized that and thought that every word was "zoo". Now she's beginning to understand that written words are like the words we speak and when she sees them, mimics speech.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Harper can now identify her numbers from 1-10 when asked to find a certain one, and she can also say numbers 1-10. She had been working on them for a couple of weeks (i.e. reading counting books, counting bites on her highchair tray, pointing out numbers when she saw them in the world, etc.) but things really kicked in when I threw these foam numbers into the bath. She was so excited! "Numbers!"

The first day she would pick up the six shape and call out "six" no matter how it was turned (even when it was upside down and thus a nine). When I sat down in the bath with her, I picked it up and showed her that it was a six one way, and when you turn it upside down and the circle is at the top, it is then a nine. I repeated it a few times but couldn't tell if it was meaning anything to her by her face. I simply thought it was worth pointing out, but I remembered that many kindergarteners often invert their letters and I wasn't going to be upset if she continued to confuse the two.

The next morning (yesterday), she sat in the bath, manipulating the six shape and calling it six when it looked like one, and then turning it upside down and calling it a nine. She did this by herself several times, as if practicing or reinforcing her new understanding. I was shocked! Today she never missed a beat when asked to differentiate those two numbers.

Quiz me! "Ask me!"

Harper wants to be challenged. In this photo, she is sitting among chalk shapes and asking (with the pointed fingers running over the field of options and an "uh uh uh!" sound) someone to challenge her to find a specific shape. Grammer Lynda began teaching her to say "Ask me!" last night during our date night so she could better articulate what she's wanting. We respond with some variation on "Can you find the _____? Where is the _____, Harper?" She excitedly (and with 100% accuracy) points out the requested shape. As the video showed a couple months ago, the girl has them down.

But the requests for quizzing don't stop there. She also asks to be challenged to find the foam numbers or to locate the animals on the page in her story book... whatever whenever. She's figured out that it is both a way to show her knowledge and be praised and also a way to get more information and learn. I've recently created a number line, a list of shapes, and a page with her full name "Harper Sequoia Dutton" for her, laminated with some packing tape. These are fun for her and she loves to be quizzed on them. She will also narrate if asked to tell what she sees.

She's an insatiable learner and honestly... I hope I can keep up! Ethan and I feel really blessed that we have the extended family that we do and so many resources to turn to with different perspectives and expertise to help us to provide Harper with the kind of learning and stimulation that she so craves.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Congrats to my two pregnant buddies, Katie Briemle and Erin Largoza, who are both expecting BOYS!

Hooray for more good men in the world, mothered by sensitive, smart, beautiful, talented teachers who will raise them to have integrity and moral courage! I can't wait to meet your new sons!

Monday, October 9, 2006

Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 5, 2006

"Phone Balones": short form of "phony bologna"
This is Harper doing her "Phone Balones" face. She says a babyish form of "Phone Balones" and then makes this face and a semi-plaintive, semi-jokey mmmm sound. Another of her funny jokes.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006


Harper has talked in her sleep twice in the last week. I've always wondered what her dreams were like because from the time she was only days old, it was clear she was dreaming. Sometimes she would smile and light up in her sleep, looking happy. Other times she'd grimace and look sad. The content remains a mystery, but some recent light was shed by the girl as she fell back asleep in the middle of the night. The first time it happened, I heard her say, "Nanas... mmmm!" so she must have been dreaming of eating bananas! The other night I heard her through the monitor, "Book! Mama! Mama!", probably dreaming of trying to cajole me into reading another book.


The girl squirms in your arms and asks to be put "Down!" everywhere we go now. She wanted to explore Costco this way the other day, and she'd prefer to be on her own two feet at every store if it were possible. It's fun to walk alongside her while she holds onto your finger and imagine her perspective. I am always worried that people will walk right into her because she is below the normal line of sight so I keep right by her side. I want to encourage the independence and adventurous spirit she's showing, but also keep her safe-- wow, isn't that a nice summary of the challenge of parenthood?

Time to Sleep/ Goodnight Moon

When Harper was about five months old, we started to establish a bedtime routine of getting a new nappy, putting on PJs, reading books in low light, music, and then breastfeeding. I always read the same three books: Time to Sleep, I Love You as Much, and I Love You Through and Through. On her first birthday, Harper received Goodnight Moon from Amy Silveira and that has now replaced the last of the three and Ethan's now taken over the role of reading the books. It is so nice to sit on the ground and watch as he reads them to her while she leans back in his arms in the rocking chair, holding Hop. She anticipates the next page now, and helps him narrate the books. He pauses for the words she tends to fill in. Time to Sleep follows animal mothers as they put their babies to sleep, and it has a little rhyme to it. Harper either says the name of the animal or the sound it makes as he turns the pages and she looks down at me sitting on the ground with a wide, proud smile. I laugh and act amazed that she knows all of the animals (even though it's not surprising at this point), which probably contributes to the proud look on her face. After books are read, we put Hop in the crib and say goodnight to him, kiss Dada and say "love" to him, and then breastfeed to sleep.


Harpers always tried to make us laugh. When she was only a couple months old, she'd make funny noises and laugh and I'd say, "That's her 5-month-old joke!" or she'd muffle her noises with her hands, making a "Wadawada" sound and I'd say, "That's a funny 8-month-old joke!" Well, lately, she pulls one leg up in her highchair and looks at me, saying "Whoops!" with her palms up. She waits for me to say, "Silly old leg! How'd that get up there? Oops! Better put that leg down! That's so silly!" at which point, she puts it down... only to lift it up again and say "Whoops!". She loves this game/joke.

Conductor Harper

Harper also loves to cue us to entertain her. For example, she will point to Ethan or me and make a sound that she wants us to say, like "Boo!" if she wants us to pop out and say "Boo!" or "ooooup! Peekaboo!" if she wants that one. She also cues me to sing her favorite songs. She'll say "Bus" for "Wheels on the Bus" and between verses she'll shout out the next thing she wants me to sing about on the bus. "Talk talk talk" is the Harper on the bus, "moo" for cow, "horse" for horse, "bok, bok" for chickens, etc. etc.


Harper's learning her colors right now, but she can't really say, "What color is this?" when she wants to know so instead she'll say, "blue?" It's very charming. She's learning the concept of color, and she can correctly identify blue, purple, green, and orange things (and can say those words). It's also neat to watch her problem-solve to make the language she has work for her.