Harper is very in touch with her feelings. Yesterday, the two of us went over to the new house to meet the Blinds, Etc. staffperson who was going to measure and order our window treatments. We were playing and wasting time when Harper darted over to her favorite spot to play: the kitchen. She loves to open and close the doors, and pull out the drawers as well. The night before Daddy told Harper she couldn't play with the cabinets because she was getting a bit rough with them (i.e. trying to close a door when the drawer was extended). So when she ran over to play again, I stopped her and told her, "Daddy said we can't play with the cabinets, Harper." She shut the door she'd opened and had a saddish expression on her face. I paused and then asked, "How are you feeling?" Harper sighed and said, "Frustrated." I crouched down to her level then, and said, "Yes... do you feel frustrated because you want to play and DadaMama told you no?" Harper replied, "Yeah," and looked longingly at the cabinets. I then explained to her why Daddy had told her to stop the night before-- that she'd been playing too roughly, that she needed to be gentle with the new cabinets, and I modeled for her how to open and close them, how to extend the drawer and that it needed to be closed before trying to close the door. She watched and repeated what I'd done. I allowed her to play with them as long as she handled them gently. She, of course, did.
Harper can also tell you when she's feeling sad, confused, tired/sleepy, happy, scared, excited, and sometimes even lonely (like when my arms are full or I'm busy and she's wanting me to pick her up). I appreciate her ability to describe her emotional state like that and I encourage it by naming her feeling when she starts to get upset. This all began with a book we got from the library; I can't even remember the name of it now, but it named many different emotions and gave an example for each of why a person might feel that way. We read it many times, and began trying to make the faces for each emotion. Then, when Harper would get upset about something I would try to describe what she was feeling... "Oh, hon, you don't need to be sad. I think you're confused because..." or "Yes, you're feeling sad because she has your toy. Let's try playing with this instead..." or... perfect example!
As I was typing this, Harper was sitting in the big office chair and she tried to bounce in it. The table was behind it and it made an (unanticipated) noise. Harper said, "Harper bumped," with a sad/scared look on her face. I asked, "What did you bump?" She said, "I don't know. It makes Harper feel sad." I replied, "I think you bumped the table because it was behind the chair. Mama moved your chair so now you won't bump it. Mama fixed it. If you want to bounce again, it won't make that noise." Harper said, "Harper doesn't want to." I told her, "Ok. You don't have to, hon." Harper said, "Harper was scared." I said, "Yes, because it made a noise that surprised you. But you don't need to be scared because you're safe with Mama."
And then, a picture of an Asian baby came on the screen of her TV and she said, "It looks like Isaiah!" She's referring to our half Philipino baby friend, Ed and Erin's child. Harper is just constantly making unexpected connections.