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!

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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

          Avery’s 8th Month

          Guys, Avery is 2/3rds of the way through her first year. I know how often new parents are warned, “it goes by so fast,” but holy hell, I think time is speeding up with every passing month. 
          New This Month

                   Mobility/Gross Motor

          • Crawling is on the horizon. She scoots forward and backward on her tummy. She gets up on all fours and sways. She spends more time voluntarily in Cobra position than on her bum now. 
          • She likes to hand her toys to us, she reaches into her toy basket and pulls out what she wants, and she shakes her shaker to the beat.
          • She gives HUGS. Heart melting, arms around you hugs. She’ll reach over and wrap her arms around us, lay her head on an arm or shoulder and gaze up at us with a smile. 

                  Health

          • She has been teething on and off for the last 2 months, but no new teeth yet. Gums swell and white tooth tips poke through and then recede. 
          • Still battling eczema. Her body has been pretty much free and clear since 6 months, but her face and forearms were really bad (and constituted yet another trip to the doctor) through her entire 7th month. Now, with the help of a higher dose of corticosteroid (that we weren’t 100% comfortable with), her skin is usually a lot less inflamed. If we discontinue use of the higher dose of steroid, though, it flares right back up again. Not ideal, since it’s for temporary use only. 
          • First cold. It lasted 4 days and although there were some tough times to get through, she was super brave through the experience. 

                   Nutrition/Baby-Led Weaning 

          • She drinks water from one of those 360° anti spill baby cups, just to wash down food when she eats lunch and dinner. She skipped the sippy cup with the spout – never did get the hang of it. 
          • Takes the bottle!!! We went 7 months dealing with her outright refusal to take the bottle, but we kept offering it (and kept having to dump pumped, expired milk down the drain  😢), and then one day she just guzzled a bottle down. Of course now we’re kind of outgrowing the bottle stage anyway… But it will be helpful for the two upcoming bedtimes Mo will have to do without me (because of evening work meetings…) 
          • She can eat most meals without getting food on the floor. Baby led weaning has done wonders on her pincher grasp. She’ll grab things like a single black bean and get it right in her mouth. And if we try to help her out with a spoonful she ignores it and prefers to feed herself. She eats everything we give her. 
          • We think she is starting to sign “milk.” we’ve been doing baby sign language from the start (about 4 months) and we’re eager to see when she’ll have the motor control to start doing signs herself. She doesn’t do the whole motion for milk, but she holds her fist out to us and seems very excited when I respond by letting her nurse. 

                  Social

          • She and the cats are working their shit out. She grabbed a tail too tightly and the cat screeched at her, and Avery started to cry. Avery also cries if the one cat beats up the other cat, so I think she recognizes when a cat is being hurt or bothered and she doesn’t want that to happen. Since that interaction, she has been much more gentle. Still tries to grab them tightly if she gets too excited, but for the most part is happy to just watch them walk by. One cat even slept on her lap and she just smiled and sat quietly and enjoyed the moment.  
          • She has gotten over a lot of her stranger anxiety and separation anxiety (although I’m cautious about this one because I think it’s supposed to peak a lot later) and now lets almost anyone hold her if we give her fair warning. The only person she still seems to have a problem with is her 1 year old cousin… 

                   Sleep

          • She sleeps in her crib at night now after spending most of this month sleeping with me on the floor mattress in her room. She sleeps for 1 to 3 hours at a time on her own now before waking and crying for me. 
          • Naps are good – predictable and easy (nurses to sleep and I do the ninja roll away, or bounces to sleep in the carrier). She has 3 naps a day: 8:30-9:30, 11:30-1:30, and 4-5. This was her naturally set schedule that we supported and nurtured, rather than enforced. We’re now getting her used to napping alone in her room using the old floor mattress trick. 
          • Yesterday she napped in her room for 2 hours while I got a  bunch of gardening done in the backyard with the baby monitor in my pocket. Definitely a first for that kind of independent nap in her room. 

                Likes

                • She still loves music class. She loves music and dancing outside of the class, too. When we dance around the house to oldies she kicks her legs to the beat, and when we clap for her, she slaps her knees to the beat. I really don’t care if she pursues music lessons as a kid or not, but she comes from a musical family and I know her grandparents in particular would love it if she continued to get enjoyment from it. 
                • Some of her favourite new foods this month have been: asparagus, trout, broccoli and meatloaf (omg she loved that meatloaf…). She’s a savoury girl. She makes a sour face at even the sweetest homemade apple sauce (which isn’t what I expected given that my pregnancy craving was lemons!). 
                • Thank god she loves sitting outside with us, just chilling in the back yard, playing with grass. She loves grass, and has already eaten some when I looked away. And some dirt. We’re going to be spending a lot of time in the back yard this summer what with building our chicken coop (and caring for chickens) and putting in a full garden this year that I didn’t have the energy for last year in my third trimester of pregnancy. 

                Dislikes

                • Sharing with her cousin. Although she’s happy to hand her toys over to her Mo and I, heaven forbid her 1 year old cousin tries to play with a toy she’s holding… One of the books we’re going to read in an upcoming parenting book club meeting is It’s ok not to share. I’m really curious about this book. I was always a terrible sharer (and still am… I’ll stab your hand with my fork if you think you’re sharing my food), but it’s important to me that Avery learn to share because I think it’s a part of being kind and compassionate to others. 
                • Bedtime. Her bedtime routine hasn’t changed, but now when she gets to the pyjama part of the routine she starts crying. Then she’s usually happy to brush her teeth, but cries wildly again when it’s time to settle in the dark. Maybe she really understands that it means sleep time now, and she is fighting sleep? 
                • Putting her arms through sleeves. I’m paranoid that she must have had her pinky bent back a few times and has built up this association with putting sleeves on. We can’t get a sweater on without tears. 
                • Sour things. She isn’t a big fan of kiwi or pineapple or off season berries that are sour. She’ll eat them (this girl never refuses food…), but she grimaces through it. Hopefully as we come into fresh spring berries in our back yard and at the market she’ll like them. 

                  Phew, this was a big update! She is developing so much every day now that the changes from month to month seem huge. And now we’re seeing more personality developments and big mobility milestones, which is even more exciting than the earlier months (although first smile and laugh were pretty epic).  I can’t even fathom what I’ll be writing about her this time next month. The changes are so individual to her unique personality and developmental trajectory now. It just gets better and better…. 

                  Avery’s 7th Month

                  Avery is a happy baby. She deals with everything from being overtired to getting bumps and bruises with so much more patience now. She’s also a super active baby. She gets in her bouncer or jolly jumper and bounces like it’s goin’ out of style, laughing the whole time. 
                  THIS is what I had hoped having a baby would be like. She’s my little buddy, my best friend, my adorable accessory, my reason and reminder for having fun in life.

                  New this month

                  • Started baby music class – oh my god she LOVES it. She starts giggling as soon as we sit down in the circle of other babies and laughs and kicks her way through all the songs. 
                  • She’s sitting up so solidly that I can leave her sitting on the floor if I need both hands for something. Good timing, because she has outgrown her swing and chair. She actually climbed out of her chair and I found her on the floor. Good thing it was only a couple of inches off the ground. 
                    • She eats solids like it’s going out of style. We spoon feed her only the runniest of foods (like prunes or soup), and for the most part have given in to the ways of baby-led weaning. She grabs for whatever we’re eating, and we usually give her at least a taste, unless it’s really unhealthy… She even had French fries (well, a fry and a half) at the pub. 
                    • Separation anxiety has kicked into full gear this month. Her stranger-danger has gotten worse, and now I can’t even go to the bathroom without her crying (unless her Mo is with her) 
                    • She’s working on her leg strength and is getting pretty good at supporting her own weight. Still no sign of crawling or even rolling over from front to back. She’s learning things in her own time. 

                      Likes

                      • Food. Her favourites this month have been Oxtail soup, liver pâte, and lentil dal. 
                      • Music class. She’s got the rhythm in her. 
                      • Bath time. She doesn’t want to get out of the tub now that she has toy boats to play with. 
                      • The cats. Still obsessed with the cats. Gets pretty upset if one walks by and she doesn’t get to pet it. 

                      Dislikes

                      • Separation from her moms. Even just for a second if I want to go to the bathroom. Hurry up and learn object permanence, kid. I will come back, I swear. 
                      • Being held by anyone else. Right now my mom is the only person besides my wife and I who can hold Avery without her crying, and that’s because she visits frequently enough and we work on positive voices and body language for the whole visit before she tries to hold Avery. 
                      • Not getting what she wants. Er, we may have a bit of a spoiled baby on our hands already. I’m pretty sure it’s just a phase. Can’t pet the cats? Cries. Can’t have our cell phones in her mouth? Cries. Can’t touch the hot coffee? Cries. At least she’s still easily distractable!