It's been a while so there's tons to report. Harper continues to be a very sensitive, smart girl and she never stops amazing us. She is learning to be polite, using the words "please" and "thank you" when appropriate. She speaks in short phrases and sentences more and more. For example, she'll hand me a book and say, "Farm book. Read it to me, please." [The "Read it to me" part is sort of a blur of eedit me sounds, but the other words are perfectly clear.] She also narrates just about her entire life so we'll hear her say stuff like "one orange spoon" while she eats dinner, or "more pickles" or "dirty hands... wash", etc. etc. Speaking of dinner time, Harper is an olive fiend! She would eat an entire dinner of green and black olives if allowed.
ABC's and 123's
Harper knows the difference between letters and numbers, and enjoys being quizzed to show her knowledge. Harper knows all of the letters by sight and can even give you a word that begins with the particular letters when asked. For example, she'll say "M... Mama" and "D... Dada... Dutton" and "F... fox... flower", etc. When playing with her we'll ask her about specific letters, like, "What is the H for?", to which she'll reply "Harper!" We've always asked her this way, but this morning while E changed her diaper, I heard him ask her, "Harper, what letter says 'Mama'?" and she paused and said, "M!" He went on to review many letters this way. I thought it was cool that she could reverse her thinking and she understood what he was asking. When we say our letters, Harper will often know what letter is next, although she isn't yet singing the song. Harper counts to thirteen currently, and we're adding a number every few days lately.
She also enjoys putting her shapes into her shapes puzzle. Each time she gets a shape correctly placed, she claps for herself. Once completed, she tries to extend the fun (and praise) by removing a piece and asking me, "Triangle go?" to which I am supposed to say, "Where does the triangle go?" Then she'll replace it in the proper spot and clap again. We also showed her a couple more shapes (octagon and diamond) and she learned them instantly. It's super cute to hear her say "octagon"!
Speaking of her words, her vocabulary has become too large for me to continue to chronicle. Suffice it to say that she says just about everything you want her to, and even everything she overhears. One of her new favorite words is "awesome!" She says, "Dada's awesome! Mama's awesome! Pasta's awesome! Sat Tatz awesome!" (For those who don't know, our calico is named Sadie Katz and Harper calls her Sat Tatz.)
Harper is becoming more and more attached to her Dada as well. A couple weeks ago while Ethan was out of town for a board retreat, I tried to stay the night at the Ertls for fun. Harper loves her cousins and they treat her like she's the most special little girl. Although we had a great time playing throughout the evening, after bedtime was tough. Harper would not sleep. She would doze for about an hour at a time, sniffling the entire doze, and when she'd wake, she'd ask, "Dada at? Soon?" I always tell her "Dada's at work. We'll see him soon." so she crafted the question form of this to try to figure out what happened to her Dad! It was tough because she could understand that he was missing but couldn't really understand my assurances that he was returning soon. Finally, at 4 AM I packed us up and drove home. On the way home, I told her "We're going home, baby. It's night time and we need to sleep!" I figured, even if we got in bed at 5 AM, there was a chance I could get 3 hours of sleep out of the night and that would be better than none! From the back seat, Harper replied, "Dada home?" Needless to say, we were relieved when E returned home the next evening.
Harper surprised both me and Grannie the other night while Grannie was talking to her on the phone. Harper began actually talking back to Gran! She said, "Hi Nana! (pause... listening) Love you, Nana. (pause...) Bye bye Nana!" Since then, she is pretty good about talking and listening on the phone. That reminds me-- one of Harper's favorite children's songs is by Laurie Berkner and it starts out, "I called you on the telephone, ring a ling a ling, you weren't home..." Harper pretends to hold a phone to cue me to sing that song, stands up on the entry rug on the tiled, stage-like step, and stomps her foot to the beat, dancing. When we get to the next verse, "Went to your house knocked on the door, knock knock knock, and I knocked some more..." she turns and knocks on our front door behind her. Harper's a performer!
This kid loves attention and is used to getting it. Dr. Nagatani asked if Harper is throwing any tantrums yet and I suppose she has started to get angry and frustrated when she doesn't get her way. His advice was to ignore it if she did and that's basically what Ethan and I try to do. She usually gets upset if she wants "up jeear, Mama!" (jeear= there, me to pick her up) and I can't do it right then. Over the last three weeks or so, however, she's started to show a little patience if I tell her, "just one minute". Often, she'll stop protesting and wait for a while.
One of Harper's favorite ways to initiate play is to run around and say, "Catch you!" Her face lights up, and her mouth stays open wide when she's really excited and running with Mom or Dad. She loves being "caught" and ticked, turned upside down, and then set back down to chase some more. She pops around the sides of the couch to surprise you and gets a little scared when you pop around the side and surprise her. She loves to play this way. Harper likes to be physically active, run, tumble, dance. She likes to walk together outside, holding hands to get the mail and then play in the fallen leaves in the driveway for a while before going inside. She's beginning to lose some of the rolls on her thighs (frown) because of all of this running. It's sad to see them go, but her hair is getting longer and those bouncy ringlets as that happy girl runs around assure me that each new stage of her growing up will be full of beautiful surprises.