A few of my favourite Avery-isms right now

The way she exclaims, “woooow!” at things that impress her. Example, our new neighbours put up a fence dividing our back yards over a weekend we were away, and when Avery walked into the back yard to see it for the first time, she said, “wooow!” with such a sense of awe and wonder. Seeing me cleaned up and dressed up also gets a “wooow”, which says something about how I usually look…

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How she kisses my “ouchies” so lovingly. Since we started “kissing it better,” she finds any little red mark on our skin, says “ouchie,” and kisses it better. This started in earnest with hand-foot-and-mouth disease when we all had a lot of ouchies 😣

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Just started saying “love you” in response to us saying “I love you.” But she’s also in a repeat-after-me phase where she repeats pretty much everything we say, so she might not know the meaning of it yet.

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Although she knows the word “outside,” she still usually asks to go outside by saying “boot, mit, hat?” Even though we’re in sandal (and definitely not mitten) season right now… She does the gestures of putting on boots and mits and a hat, too. It’s cute.

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She tickles us. She wiggles her fingers all over our bellies and laughs and laughs at the hilarity. I hate being tickled – I freak out and instinctively will punch or kick someone who is tickling me. But when Avery does it, somehow it’s cute.

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Naming her toys. I’ve been waiting for the day when Avery would be into playing with animal figurines. That was always my fave as a kid. Not only is she super into her animal figurines now, but she named one of them, ALL BY HERSELF! She has been really into horses lately (her grandma has horses), so I surprised her at daycare pickup one day with a plastic horse figurine (Tractor Supply Store has great ones), and as she accepted it she said “wow, horsie! Umm, Apple!” Apple is the name of one of the horse’s at her grandma’s place. The toy didn’t really look like the real Apple, but she decided that her toy horse needed the name. When you ask what her horse’s name is, she says Apple.

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So smart

This post is not meant to make other parents feel concerned if their kid of the same age is not doing the things Avery’s doing. I don’t even know if Avery is ahead of average, or if I’m seeing her through a parent’s rose coloured glasses. And it doesn’t really matter, either. Like all kids, Avery excels at some things and she struggles with others. She didn’t walk until 15 months. But there are some things she’s doing and saying right now that I’m wildly impressed and amazed by, and I’m going to share them here.

1. She knows all the main colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, white, black, brown. She can identify them with 100% accuracy, and she can say them with 50% precision (e.g., “reh,” “owan,” “eh-ow,” “reen,” “bue,” etc.)

2. She knows all the animals. Her daycare provider told me how shocked she was that she even knew less common animals like alligator and giraffe. She can say a lot of them with the same precision as the colours (e.g., “raffe”) and others, like alligator, she just points to when you ask where it is. I think she’s at about 50 animals now that she solidly knows.

3. She can count to three. Like, she points to all the ladybugs in a book and counts “one, two, ree!” When there are more than 3 of something, everything after three is two again. “One, two, ree, two, two, two, two!”

4. She can write the letter A (it’s messy but it’s legible), and she can half spell her name verbally. When we write her name down, she points at the letters and says “A, E, Y!” Just missing two letters….

5. She’s starting to use adjectives to describe a noun; e.g., wet sock; mommy boots (to get me to take her outside); three yellow ducks (“ree eh-ow duck); etc.

6. She’s really into the moon. It rises around 4pm here these days, so on our afternoon walks she always finds it and tries to walk toward it. She points it out in any book, whether it’s a full, quarter, or crescent moon, and shouts “moon!” with glee. At the Aquarium we visited recently, a giant model Earth rotated above our heads and she saw it before anyone else did and exclaimed, “moon!” Now, it’s not the right colour, but how did she know that the moon is also a rotating sphere? Blows my mind.

This kid blows my mind every day. Every month older she gets becomes my new favourite age to witness as a parent. This is all so worth the hardest months of my life when she was a new baby.

Dirty

Avery’s new word of the week is “dirty.” Her rainboots recieve the most critcism about being dirty, and although I try to explain to her that dirty rainboots is a good thing – a sign that she had fun splashing in puddles – she freaks out over the dirt and wants them washed.

There’s also a lot of dirt on our floors right now because I’ve been too sick and tired to vacuum. If Avery’s barefoot, every so often she’ll sit down and hold her foot, inspecting it just inches from her face, whining “dirty!”

I hope she’s just exploring ways to use her new word, and she won’t actually continue to be so averse to dirt. For a kid who dislikes dirt so much, she sure is a magnet for it!

Toddler Talk

Avery’s not forming sentences yet at 19 months old (well she is, but they’re in baby-gibberish), but she’s beginning to say some pretty cute things. Here are my top 5 favourite cute things she’s saying these days:

1. “Ay-ah, teet!” (Which means Anna, treat!). She loves giving the cats treats, but one hides upstairs while the other tries taking them out of her hand. So she runs to the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs holding one reserved treat above her head away from the greedy cat, and yells for Anna to come down and get her treat.

2. “No”. It’s not the fact that she’s saying it that’s cute – it’s how. The upward and then downward inflection makes her sound desperate to be listened to. Also cute, we heard her talking in her sleep over the baby monitor the other night: “nOo. nOo. nOo.” I think she was probably having an innocent dream that we were making her put her shoes on or something.

3. She says whale like, “way-oo.”

4. She says mommy like “muh-yee.”

5. And a truly classic in toddler talk, she says please like “pwease.”

18 months

Height: 33 inches

Weight: 29 pounds

Clothing size: 2/3T

Eighteen months is kind of a milestone for me. I had the idea that Avery at 18 months would be happier, easier to communicate with, more fun, and more independent. And she is all of those things!

As with any age and stage of development, though, there are ups and downs. Let’s start with the awesome things she has started to do that make life more enjoyable.

She asks to colour, or to play with playdough, and she’ll sit at the table doing these independent activities, by herself, while I do dishes or make a meal. We go for walks outside without the stroller, and she splashes in puddles and crashes through the snow. And at this wonderful age, she happily holds my hand without a fight.

She sits down and takes off her own boots, mits, hat and coat (although she still gets stuck in her coat).

If she spills something, she gets a cloth off the kitchen counter (yes, she’s that tall) and wipes it up. She picks up garbage laying around the house and carries it to the garbage can (did I just admit that my house is littered with garbage?)

Her language is starting to develop more rapidly. One day she could suddenly say “Cheerio”, and the next day she had mastered “turtle”. She can identify and say (more or less) a few colours now: pink, blue, purple, yellow and orange.

She has gotten scary good at animal sounds. She even does the elephant sound using her arm as the trunk, and cats are now called “Meow” instead of “cat”. My favourite is the monkey sound: “ooh ooh ooh ooh!” and sometimes “ah ah ah ah!” I hope I always remember the adorable way she pronounces things right now. My favourite is whale, which she pronounces “whay-oo.”

Her favourite song is row row row your boat. She asks for us to sing it with her (and do the rowing motions) by starting us off with “row row row.” We watch a music video to this song on the YouTube channel Super Simple Learning Songs and she demands it on repeat. I have to say, I approve of her rather peaceful choice in kid music.

She can also repeat the numbers 1, 2 and 3 and can identify them whens she sees them in print. We’re pretty sure she knows the letter A. When we write her name she points at and says “A“. Interestingly, she just recently started talking in her sleep, too. Language is definitely blossoming.

Although her mind is burgeoning with new information, there are some challenges to this age as well. For starters, her sleep and separation anxiety haven’t changed much. She is still incredibly glued to me, and is going through a phase of waking as soon as I leave her side. Thank goodness we invested in a comfortable twin mattress for her room…

And on the flip side of her loving to wipe up messes, she can’t stand it when her toys are confined to a basket and she needs to dump everything all over the floor, even if she’s not playing with it. When she’s done colouring she whips the crayons across the room, or sweeps them all on the floor with one, agressive arm motion. She is also the messiest eater our daycare provider claims to have ever seen. She has diverse interests – cleaning and making messes.

She has entered the picky eater stage. Her favourite foods are less favourite and more like tolerated. Those are: Pickles, goldfish, berries, bananas, and sometimes peas. She has a particular affinity for gherkin pickles and will stand at the fridge saying “pee-ls? Pee-ls?” until we get her one. She’s a bottomless pit for pickles, and we usually stop her at 3.

Finally, the biggest challenge with this age is the boundary pushing and the refusal to listen. We’re trying to take it all in stride and appreciate this new behaviour for what it is (a natural part of developing as an autonomous person), but boy oh boy does it wear us out.

The next time I update on Avery’s development will probably be when she turns two. I have no idea what life will be like by then, but for now, I want to fully appreciate all that makes my 18 month old who she is. She’s friendly and loving, she thrives being out of the house and around people, she gives kisses to mere photos of any kind of animal, and she tries her mightiest to get calm snuggles with her face nestled into the cats’ fur. She’s loud, she makes hilarious and strange noises, and she talks constantly (even though most of it is still gibberish). She loves to make people laugh, but she can also be intensely serious. She can give a wicked evil glare, and she has an evil laugh to go along with it. She is a seriously awesome little person. Happy 18 months, Avery!

Avery’s 10th Month

This has been a challenging month. It’s been fun and full of new experiences for all of us (new milestones reached in mobility and communication), but it’s also been an incredibly whiney month… Avery definitely knows now that she can wield some control over getting what she wants (or getting out of what she doesn’t want). 

New this month

Language – OMG the language this month… 

  • Official first word! She calls me mama. Once even mama-ey (we’re aiming for mommy). She has also made attempts at Mo (what we’re calling my wife), but it comes out as Ma with a short a. It is clearly intentional though, and not just random sounds anymore. 
  • She also makes a Mah sound when I ask if she wants more food. I think she’s trying to say more. 
  • She nods her head yes in response to questions like “do you want to eat?” or “do you want up?” 
  • She still uses the sign for milk, but despite us using the signs for eat and water, she has made up her own that she uses for both of those – she smacks her lips together like she’s kissing. She also seems to be trying to sign “more”, but it’s more of a hand flapping motion. It’s a slightly different hand flapping motion than “all done”. 
  • I want to make an extra note about her language comprehension this month. She really seems to understand a lot of what we are saying all of a sudden. She even handed my wife a pair of socks when asked “Avery, may I have those socks?” I guess I’m going to have to stop talking bad about people behind their backs sooner than I thought… 

Gross motor

  • She crawls anywhere she wants to go, and fast. I blink and she’s in the next room, pulling everything out of the kitchen cupboards. 
  • She has started pulling herself up on furniture and on the baby gates, but she just gets up on her knees for now. 
  • She can hold herself in standing position with balance help from us for what seems like an unlimited amount of time. Won’t be long before she combines the pulling up with her leg strength and starts running laps around us. 

Cognitive 

  • Spent most of the month with a passion for destroying things (towers of blocks, puzzles, etc.) and this past week she has started showing an interest in putting things together. I believe this is consistent with the Wonder Weeks Leap 7, right on schedule. 

      Likes 

      • Books. Still really into touch and feel books, and will sometimes bring me a book and cuddle up on my lap of her own accord so I’ll read to her. 
      • Favourite foods this month: Pickles (doesn’t even make a sour face), canned peaches, and as always, beef. 
      • Balls. She has a couple of different balls in her toy basket, and when she gets a hold of them, she refuses to let go. I once let her hold one while I changed her diaper and she held onto it without a single fumble as I changed her, took her out to the car, drove to home depot, shopped with her buckled into the cart, buckled her back in the car seat, took her in the house, and unloaded the car. It’s also adorable when she has a ball in each hand and you present her with a third ball… She tries valiantly to hold all three at once using her arms, her chin, whatever she has to do to not let go of a ball. 

        Dislikes

        There are many things that Avery dislikes right now. She is a very opinionated tiny baby. What sets her dislikes apart this month from previous months is how she shares with the world that she’s displeased. She used to cry. Now she whines and screams. A blood curdling, angry scream. If she was someone else’s kid I’d have no patience for that kind of temperament, but she is my kid, and I somehow love her for it. Not only in spite of it, but for it. She has such a strong sense of what she likes and doesn’t like, and she isn’t always the easiest to please. She demands a lot from the world. Good for her. 

        My dad recently told me about a second cousin twice removed who has this happy go lucky baby, always smiling, never gets upset… “what a lovely baby to be around. He’s so easy.” And there’s my baby having a terrible-twos-esque tantrum on the floor because she didn’t like the way someone looked at her. So yeah, my baby has a lot of dislikes right now. They have little to do with the subject of her dislike and a lot to do with her developing high expectations of the world. 

        Avery’s 9th month

        Nine months in, nine months out

        Height: 28″ (65th percentile) 

        Weight: 21 lb (93rd percentile) 

        She actually turned 9 months on Wednesday, but I wanted to wait for her Dr appointment today to update with her growth stats. 

        This past month has been a tough one with the 8 month sleep regression, the colds, the nap transition, the teething, and the new mobility milestones that have been more frustrating to Avery than useful at this point (i.e., army crawling backwards). But her personality continues to develop in amazing ways, and she is finally growing hair… 😉

        New This Month

        • Crawling. She started the backwards scoot at 8 months, and on the day she turned 9 months she took her first few crawling steps forward. Now she’s unstoppable (but still seems frustrated by how hard it is). 
        • Teething: OMG the teething. After 2 months of teething (and black and blue bruised gums) she finally cut FIVE more teeth all in the last two weeks. Both upper central incisors, an upper lateral incisor, an upper canine, and a lower lateral incisor. It’s been fun… She now has 7 teeth and I’m so proud of her for growing them 😊 Unfortunately she seems to be working on a molar because she crams things way back in her mouth to chomp. 
        • She gives kisses. She gently presses her open mouth against your face and it is clearly an intentional kiss. So far she has given kisses to her Mo and I, as well as to my mom. She also gives air kisses where she actually makes the lip smacking noise. It’s freaking adorable. 
        • Language developments: Talks to the cats in call and answer. She meows at them, they meow back, and on it goes. So her first word is a meow. I don’t think we’ll count it… On the other hand, she’s also practicing with new consonants and stringing them together to make adorable gibberish. We try to get her to repeat “Hi” back to us and she says “aaiii”. 
        • Whining. This is a new sound as of last week and it is not pretty… I’m trying to ignore it as much as possible, work hard on our signs so she can communicate in other ways, and use positive reinforcement when she tries to communicate in non-whiney ways. I’m accepting tips from my readers too if you have other ways to deal with whining. 
        • She had a growth spurt. We had just nicely settled into a 12 month wardrobe, and all of a sudden the pants no longer fit her in length or girth. We bought her 12-18 month summer clothes. She’s a big baby. 
        • Her hair is growing, but it’s still pretty short. She has a good Mohawk going on, and long whisps of hair above her ears that stick out over her ears in the most adorable way. 
        • Transitioned to 2 naps a day. It made her pretty cranky at first, but the signs were there that she was ready, so we spent pretty much all month slowly transitioning her away from the 3rd nap. It’s so nice to have a little more time to do things with her before she needs to be back in bed, but it also means I have a lot less time to get work done while she sleeps… 
        • Not new, but confirmed from last month that she is indeed signing for “milk”. It’s much clearer now, and this month there’s no mistaking it for random hand and arm movements. 
        • Starting to point to things. This was confusing for us at first because it looked a bit like the milk sign, but she has started sticking her finger out a little more now when it’s a point. 

        Likes

        • Playing with hair. She gets so engrossed in playing with chunks of my hair, teasing out one strand at a time.
        • Touch and Feel books. She finally gets it that she can feel different textures on every page, and she’ll turn the pages herself when she’s ready to feel the next thing. Her favourites are: That’s Not My Kitten (thanks to a fellow blogger for that one!), Tails, and Touch and Feel Zoo. 
        • Food. This months some of her favourites have been her burgers that I loaded with onions and chili powder, blueberries (great for baby-led weaning), and those flavourless rice puffs that we stick in the diaper bag for hangry emergencies when we’re out. She uses both hands to shovel them in her mouth. 

        Dislikes

        • When someone coughs or sneezes. Which was a problem when we were all sick. She doesn’t easily startle at anything else, but coughs or sneezes set her off into a really scared cry that is hard to calm her down from. 
        • Hates getting into her pajamas at night, but Mo came up with a game that really helps: she pretends to bite each finger as it comes through the sleeve. Avery trades in crying for hysterical laughter at this game. 

          Photo Spam! 

          From our nine in nine out photo shoot

          From our themed monthly photo shoot

          Those baby blues… Her eye colour beat the odds. Our donor has brown eyes and I have hazel. 

          The army crawl

          Grandma letting her taste the difference between this year’s new leaf growth and last year’s dead leaves… She’s really enjoying being a nature educator to her granddaughter.

          Eating berries and chunks of banana for breakfast with baby-led weaning

          That face though…

          Breakfast on the go, stroller walk to soak up the sun

          Spends most of her time up on all fours now