Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Smart cookie, tough cookie, good egg

Since I started blogging in part to record for posterity Helena's development, I should get on with it:

Helena is simply magical. 17 months today.

I diligently recorded her firsts — first laugh, first time rolling over, first teeth. Changes are registering with me in a different way now. Though there are still many lightbulb moments, changes tend to be a gradual evolution, the foundations already laid. The achievements are so natural, so obvious, they don't hold the punch to run to phone, "Guess what Helena just did?!" (or to run to the blog for that matter). The accomplishments, however, are more remarkable, more awesome than ever.

She's really toddling. Those months of careful study really paid off. She's fast, coordinated, confident. She picks up objects and totes them easily. She's comfortable on all surfaces. She's a natural. The only hesitation she shows is in negotiating the half-inch step from the hallway to our bedroom.

She's experimenting with using objects (armrests, tabletops) as a kind of handrail (walking alongside, rather than facing something and walking sideways). I don't know why.

She doesn't like being led by the hand.

It's a bit unnerving — from our playing she's learned to Frankenzombie walk and make monster noises (if high-pitched). Admittedly it's more fun than regular walking and talking, but I wonder if I'd devoted the energy to these practical life skills they might be a little better developed.

She says "pen." She says "pen" in reference to a pen.

She's successfully mimicking both vocalizations and gestures. If I "la, la, la" a couple notes, she'll return them. If I make her toy bear dance, she tries to make it do the same.

She holds her hand out, palm up, awkwardly, and makes "kitty" noises to call the cats. (They don't come.)

She loves to sing. I don't recognize any melodies, but she's trying. She particularly enjoys singing along, "la, la, la," with the national anthem, before the hockey game (go Habs!) or at the 6 a.m. station sign-on when she turns the TV on in our bedroom before we've fully hauled ourselves out of bed.

She insists on helping me clean the tub, run the bath. She's figured out the faucets. (She figured out the drain stopper weeks ago.)

I set meals down in front of her and it's unusual to have to spoon anything into her or otherwise encourage her. She's been feeding herself for months.

She loves playing with the Fisher Price Play Family House that I played with more than 30 years ago. (Part of me fears she's a little young, that the pieces are swallowable.) She insists on putting the 1970s-style kitchen furniture in the garage. I can't say I blame her.

She's developed an obsession with the cutting boards. (We have one each of blue, orange, white, black.) She pulls them out of the cupboard, sits on them, spins on them, slides along on them. She tiles them in various configurations in the middle of the kitchen floor.

From her pile of blocks, Helena sorts the squares out to one side and stands them on end. The triangles are pulled out to the other side. I think this is really weird actually, even if brilliant.

Simply magical.

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