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.
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.