September 2013

It’s hard to get a video of Allie doing any substantial talking, because as soon as the cameraphone comes out, she goes mute. I found a way over the weekend — catch her while she’s distracted by something else, i.e. reading a book with her dada. My mom, by the way, had major objections to sharing this, since Mr. W is just in a pair of shorts, but this is posted with Mr. W’s permission. “All you see is my hairy legs,” he said.
I didn’t catch Allie saying some of my favorite things, such as “Let’s see. Hmm. How about…this one? Hmm.” But I caught a lot more stuff than I had before.

Now you can see how well you understand AllieTalk. Mr. W translates behind her for every line, tho. BTW, we don’t regularly “read” any specific book with her, since her whims on what she wants out of her vast library changes minute-by-minute, so almost everything you hear from her, we’re guessing, is stuff Jayne worked with her on. Colors, etc.

Look at the difference in just 5 months.
a big difference in 5 months

There must be some kind of mental leap that happens around now, or maybe it’s that the mental leap has already happened but the language skills just suddenly caught up. Either way, we finally have a good grasp on what’s going on in Allie’s little noggin, and it’s astounding.

Allie will bring up something that happened, or mention someone, dating back to BEFORE she could talk about it. But she remembers it. She’ll reference things we’ve not talked about in months. She looked at the sidewalk chalk drawing in the backyard that my brother-in-law’s girlfriend Karen drew for her when they visited in early August, pointed and said, “Look. Horse.”
“Did Allie draw this horse?”
“No…Karen draw horse.” We hadn’t mentioned that name in almost 2 months.
She watches sports on TVs in restaurants, and would identify the sport. “People play basketball.”
I said to Mr. W, “Whoa, how did she know it’s basketball, as opposed to baseball or football?”
Overhearing me, Allie shook her head and said, “No. Not baseball. Basketball.” I can’t remember the last time we’d referenced either basketball or baseball.

I like her sudden use of words that hint at the abstract shades of gray in her understanding. Words like “almost,” as in, “Allie’s almost done. Mama’s almost done eating.” “Too,” as in, “Over there! More lights there, too!” “Later,” as in, “Allie go to dance class. Go to gong-gong, po-po’s house later.” (Funny story; we were driving to my parents’ house last weekend and traffic was so horrific and slow-going that it took twice as long, and Allie said near the end of the seemingly interminable ride, “Gong-gong po-po’s house, where are you?”)

I had thought Allie spoke in the third-person like Elmo does because that’s just what people do, but now I think she does that because she thinks she’s supposed to. She actually used the first person today and then corrected herself. She pointed to her fuzzy bear that she sleeps on, which she’d dragged into her princess tent house in the living room, and told us, “Mister Bear in my — in Allie’s house.” Also today, she referred to Mr. W as “you” and then quickly corrected to “Dada.” I joked that Allie’s already smarter than Mr. W, but he agreed. He said smart kids are difficult to raise later on. Well, he’s been wrong about a lot of stuff, why stop now? *hopeful*

Allie still enjoys her motor skills, too. She loves running, she likes doing the Three-Legged Dog pose in yoga, she loves jumping, climbing, swinging hanging by her hands. She likes kicking her ball (she’s getting very good at directing her kicks), rolling over them, and is starting to catch them. The hands are still a little slow so we have to give her a head start by having her hold out her arms first. And of course, she loves her dance class. Plié, passé, coupé, etc. She still loves her backyard swing and will take my hand, pull me up and say, “Mama, stand up. Mama, come outside. Push Allie. Swing swing.” As strong as she is, it seems the only thing keeping her from getting into a lot of physical trouble is her sense of self-preservation. She plays pretty conservatively. Her movements when she’s out on a playground are deliberate and careful. I think her desire to not “go boom, doctor doctor” is what keeps her from vaulting out of her crib.

Happily, this kid does not like sweet. She doesn’t like things that are too salty. And she can identify a remarkable amount of produce by sight and by taste. That part is always something I’d wanted in my “dream kid” but didn’t really expect to happen. I know she’ll be eating crap with other kids later on; I’m just trying to expose her to as much healthy food as possible so that she’ll eat that as well for the rest of her life.

Her singing is getting much better. She hits most of the vowel sounds in “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” although the lyrics are more like, “Tinkle, tinkle little stah, ha I wondle *mumble mumble* ah. Upuh buh sky so high, *mumble* diamonds in the sky. Tinkle tinkle little stah, ha I wondle *mumble* ah.” She’s on pitch, though. And it’s fun to play the “Guess what song” with her because it takes her maybe 3-4 notes before she gets it. She doesn’t always know the title of the songs, but she’ll make a reference so you know she’s identified it. She may tell you the singer, or a key word in the song, or the next line, or where the song’s from (such as “dance class” or “Dinlan” [Disneyland]).

She’s still taking a nap a day, starting a bit past noon and lasting anywhere between 1 hour 45 mins to 3 hours, depending on her needs. She’s woken up at around 6:45a on weekday mornings, and goes to bed between 7p and 8p, depending when she’d gotten up from her nap. We feel bad about waking her up so early every morning, so we let her sleep in on weekends and if she does (she sometimes wakes up on her own early), it usually wouldn’t be later than 8:30a. I think she’s doing fine; she gets between 12.5 and 14 hours of sleep daily. I read that kids her age still need up to 14 hours, but that most don’t get more than 10. At least we’re doing better than 10. She’s still a happy kid in her crib and will roll around and play in there, singing, sometimes jumping, sometimes practicing new knowledge (the other day she was wrapping her head around the concept that people have different names outside of what she calls them, so we overheard her saying, “Mama’s Cindy, Dada’s [Mr. W], Allie’s Allie…” going through the stepkidlet and the stepkidlet’s boyfriend, too), until she finally rolls over and goes to sleep sucking her thumb.

She’s still not potty-trained. We asked her and she wants to wear diapers, although she will tell us when she is going pee-poo or poo-poo. I have no doubt she CAN use her little potty; she just doesn’t want to, yet, much to the chagrin of my parents, who’d wanted me to potty train before she was 1. I’m not too concerned; she’s not going to be a 6 year old who can’t use the toilet.

Non sequitur:
Allie got a lot of attention at Disneyland on Sunday in her “I’m spoiled by daddy” full-on authentic Snow White ensemble, but NO ONE saw the humor in my letting her walk around eating from this bag of apple chips. Come on! It’s FUNNY! It’s the modern-day Snow White toxin! Not an issue for Allie, though, because these apple chips are organic.

My cousin Jennifer told me about a Groupon for a photography session where an out-of-state studio, Portrait Scene, dispatches a bunch of photographers in different locations all over the country and does photoshoots by appointment in outdoor locations. The reviews weren’t that solid for the company, but I figure, it was just $20. Even if it were mass-quantity, mall shop quality, it’s fine for $20. The package includes an 8×10 print, two 5×7 prints, four 4×5 prints, eight wallet prints (presumably all 1 pose), plus a CD of digital proofs of other images that we can order from in the future. I made my appointment and Jennifer’s appointment back-to-back and that was Saturday morning. (I’d timed it so that we’d have photos ready in plenty of time to make photo holiday cards, plus it was shortly before both girls’ 2nd birthday [1 day before Alexandra’s; 2 months before Allie’s] so they were also great year-marker photos.) We had selected Mason Regional Park for our location (there were 2 locations near us to choose from). There were 2 photographers on-site, doing photoshoot after photoshoot by half-hour increments from morning through evening. Our photographer, Sasha, was GREAT with kids, and after doing our family shoot, and after finishing Jennifer’s family’s shoot, she called us in together and did a dual-family session for no extra cost. I can’t wait to see the photos, since she had us in some really cute poses (and I noticed our poses were different from Jennifer’s poses). They will be ready to view online in 10 days.

While we waited for Jennifer’s shoot to finish, we goofed off and took some of our own on my cameraphone. Here are some favorites:

Allie with Dada. She’s waving to me and saying, “Hi, Mama.”

Allie with Mama. If it looks like I’m in mid-jump, it’s because I am. It makes her laugh.

A series that I made into a collage. Spinning, spinning, until one of us got dizzy or broke an ankle. Guess who was risking breaking her ankle.

Since I was playing with collages on my phone, I discovered “filters.” This is an antique filter. Very cool effect.

Here’s one I took over the photographer’s head. It’s just hilarious because the dadas were trying so hard and the girls look…seriously unimpressed. Typical. Haha!

Allie was playing with one of those non-spill toddler bowls (Gyro Bowl, as seen on TV) earlier in her tub when she dropped it as I carried her across the bathroom and it separated into its 3 components. “Uh-oh,” she said. “Broken.”
“It’s okay, mama can probably fix it later,” I told her.
“Allie fix it?” she asked, reaching, so I let her have it while I finished her post-bath routine (lotion, dressing her, etc), figuring it’d keep her busy so she wouldn’t get up and run away while I was still putting her pajamas on. She tried a few times to put the bowl back together, but couldn’t get the tabs to fit in the holes at the connecting joints. Finally, she said, “Broken. Allie did it. I’m sorry, mama.”
We don’t make her apologize for things (she normally doesn’t do things on purpose that would warrant apologies), so it was a surprise she did it on her own, and knew how to use the phrase properly. “Hey, did you hear that?” I called to Mr. W.
It was cute the first time, but it got sad as she kept failing in her attempts to snap the bowl back together and kept saying, “Uh-oh. I’m sorry, mama. I’m sorry, mama. I’m sorry, mama.”
“It’s okay, baby, mama will fix it later.”
“Yeah. I’m sorry, mama.”
When I finished what I was doing and put the bowl back together, she said, “Yay! Mama help Allie. Fix it.” And she applauded me. It’s kinda nice to be her hero. I’ll enjoy it while I can.

Allie was in her high chair having dinner earlier when she pointed out the window to the backyard and said, “Ball? Allie get ball?”
I asked, puzzled, “Ball?”
“Uh-huh.” She nodded.
“Outside?” She nodded again. “There’s a ball outside?”
“How did a ball get outside? Did Allie bring it outside?”
“Yeah.” I was really just stalling since I just wanted her to finish her dinner. But she kept at it. “Allie get ball. Allie get ball!”
“Mama will get the ball for you,” I offered, walking to the window and looking out. I didn’t see a ball. I walked to the sliding glass door and looked there. No ball. “I don’t see a ball,” I told her. “Maybe Auntie Jayne brought it back in for Allie.”
She was quiet for awhile, seeming to be satisfied with my response as she speared some green beans with her fork and put it in her mouth. Then she brought it up again. “Ball, ball! Allie get ball!” She was looking teary-eyed.
“Which ball? Is it big or little?”
“Big.” Well, that rules out the tennis ball and the little water ball that’s sometimes kept outside.
I looked out the window again. “I don’t see a ball, baby. I don’t think it’s out there anymore.”
She looked me pleadingly in the eyes and said, searching for each word, “Big. Toy. Toy ball. Pink.”
“Toy ball? Your pink toy ball?”
Mr. W said unceremoniously from the kitchen, “She makes stuff up.”
The image of her swirly-patterned pink bouncing ball came to mind. It’s the size of a soccer ball and is usually in the living room. I went and looked in the usual spots, with the intention of showing her that it was in the house and not outside…only the ball was nowhere to be seen. “She might be right,” I told Mr. W, returning to the dining room. I went out into the backyard, looked around, and saw pink peeking out from behind a bush, where it was not visible from the windows. I walked around and there was that ball. I picked it up and brought it into the house, where Allie grinned and reached out to me, and I said to Mr. W, “See what happens when you call your daughter a liar?”

This is right in line with Allie’s new “thing,” where she announces who’s responsible for what action. If she drops something, even if it’s just food from her fork, it’s “Uh-oh. Allie did that. Mama help Allie.” If I dropped something, instantly I hear from behind me, “Mama did that! Mama did it!” My little spy is almost ready.

Jayne told us she’s teaching Allie the days of the week, and the concept of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I think Allie’s getting it. On Saturday, we told Allie that “tomorrow,” we were going to Disneyland. Sunday morning, when I went to get Allie from her crib, she was already standing up holding onto her crib rails. “Let’s see, what should Allie wear today?” I asked, opening her dresser drawer.
Allie jumped up and down and chanted, “Mimi dress! Mimi dress! Mimi dress!”
“You want to wear your Minnie dress?”
“Yeah! Mimi’s house!”
“You want to wear your Minnie dress to Minnie’s house? I don’t know…I think it might still be too big.” Jayne had bought her the dress about a month ago, knowing it was too big, but couldn’t resist because Allie is such a Minnie Mouse fan.
“Noooo, not too beeg, leetle! Leetle!” Allie insisted. I laughed and tried it on, and of course, given all Allie’s growth spurts, it now fits. Even when I was pulling it over Allie’s head, Allie was still making her argument. “Leetle! Leetle!” It wasn’t little, it was actually still quite roomy, but it worked. So here’s Allie on Sunday morning:

(The stepkidlet took the above photos and made the collage. She said, “Look! Twins! Can you imagine if there’s TWO Allies? Oh, I wish!”)

We met up with Laurel and her son, Jonathan, at Disneyland. Jonathan recently turned 3, and was finally a kid whom Allie didn’t tower over. Jonathan was shy the entire morning, but they did ride a bunch of rides together. Well, not together the way Allie and Alexis rode rides together, sitting next to each other. Jonathan was mostly too shy to interact so Laurel held him most of the time. He did come out of his shell a little in New Orleans Square, which is long enough for me to shoot this video of them dancing. You can tell that the toddler class really helped along the dancing skills…for Mr. W.

I love how Allie seems to actually be torn when the beads were tossed at her feet. She didn’t know why the man did that, but she knew she’s not supposed to pick up random things from the floor, and she also knew it wasn’t hers (when she approaches another kid’s toy on the ground, we tell her, “That’s not yours, Allie,” and she freezes mid-reach). A cartoon question mark seems to almost appear and float over her head.

She loved wearing that Minnie dress. We came across a catalog picture of a child in a dress-up princess gown, and Allie pointed to the photo and said, “Oooh, putty dress. Like Allie’s. Like Mimi dress. Putty!”

This morning:
Allie: Mama go bye-bye?
Me: Yes, mama’s going to work.
Allie: Dada go bye-bye?
Dada: Dada’s going bye-bye, too.
Me: What’s Allie going to do?
Allie: Play.

Earlier, I was sitting at work listening to a trial about commercial rental property damage & something about wood flooring. Meanwhile, back at home…

Jayne texted me these photos of Allie making good on her plans today to play.

“The days are just packed.” ~ Bill Watterson, via “Calvin & Hobbes”

I’m befuddled how babies like my 21-month-old learn grammar and context, since that’s not something I know how to teach them before the baby’s proficient enough with the language to understand what I’m teaching. Things like…

The endings of verbs:
At dinner earlier, Allie observed Mr. W’s glass of carbonated water and said, thinking a bit before deciding on each word, “Bubbles…coming…out?” I would’ve understood her if she’d said, “Bubbles come out,” but she decided to change the tense to “coming.”

Plural “s” vs. possessive “‘s”:
Allie pluralized “bubble” to accurately state “bubbles,” as she does “apple chips,” “babies,” “One ball; two balls,” etc. But she also says, “Baby’s milk.” “Allie’s potty.” “Dada’s coffee.” Her full statement re Dada’s coffee this morning was to point at the clear glass demitasse of espresso Mr. W was sipping and say very seriously, shaking her head, “Dada’s coffee. Not for babies. Not Allie’s.” Then she pointed to the open baby bottle half-filled with the smoothie Mr. W made for her this morning (the bottle’s lightweight, plastic, less likely to spill than a glass; we just stick a straw in it for her in lieu of the nipple) and said, “That’s Allie’s.”

“Like” as a verb vs. “Like” meaning similar:
I wore a necklace this morning with a pendant featuring 3 Tahitian pearls stacked like a reverse snowman. Allie fingered it and said, “Allie like. Mama like neck-lace?” I assured her I did like my necklace. Then she asked her dad, “Dada like neck-lace?” This evening, she expressed a desire to sit on her training potty, and tapped her extended index finger on the adult toilet across from her potty and said, “Like Allie’s. Like Allie’s potty. Mama sit here. Like Allie.” Then she backed up into her potty and sat down, still pointing to the toilet looking at me expectantly. (Bossy, telling me when to pee.) Even when we’re out, she’ll randomly spot a kid with a toy that looks like hers and she’ll say, “Look, mama. Bike [meaning tricycle]. Like Allie’s.”

The other night I was eating pasta in my plate that was identical to what she was eating on her plate, except hers was cut up. She wanted the food from my plate, and I said, “This is what Allie has, too. It’s the same thing.” I pointed to her bowl.
“Om om,” she persisted, reaching for my plate.
“You want mama’s? But you already have some,” I said, pointing again to her bowl.
She shook her head. “Mama’s. Mama’s. Om om Mama’s.”
I pretended not to understand her and kept eating my own, imitating her with, “Mama’s? Mama’s?”
She clarified, pointing to my plate, “Yours!”
I said, surprised, “What? Mine?”
She pulled her hand back and touched her own bowl and said, “Mine.” She reached out to my plate, hand opening and closing to indicate she wants it. “Yours.”

I think Jayne’s been giving her tutorials. (Side story: Today when we returned from work, we came into the house to see Jayne’s older daughter visiting. This daughter had recently dyed her hair hot pink. After they left, Allie said the daughter’s name. I said, “Yeah, you played with [Jayne’s daughter] today, huh?” She said, “Uh-huh.” I said, “What color is [Jayne’s daughter]’s hair?” Allie said, “Pink.” Then she pointed to my head and said, “Mama’s hair brown.” Jayne’s definitely been working with her on colors, because it wasn’t us who taught her “brown.”)

Diana and I were just texting about my diplomacy, which I think I usually keep pretty well controlled, and then 10 minutes later I lost it. Completely. And I’m about to lose it again by reposting my social networking site rant, because this is how fed up and pissed I am about moron Americans and their proud ignorance. (I didn’t mean to say Americans are proudly ignorant and moronic — just that there are some Americans who are submoronic cretinous idiots, and they’re loud and indignant to boot, and THOSE are the people I want to scream at.)

All this anti-presidential talk of “no evidence of gas use,” “no evidence presented to Congress,” “it was all made up so the President can start another war,” blah blah… SOMEthing had just seriously effed my Marine husband up after he watched what was presented to Congress, when President Obama said he didn’t feel the American people are directly threatened enough for him to declare war on Syria but that there was enough evidence Syria violated Convention rules. I’d listened to Syria’s president al-Assad say over and over in the interview with Charlie Rose (CBS) that “there’s no evidence.” Rose insisted there WAS evidence because SOMETHING was presented to Congress. Assad denied it, said, “Then where is it? Show the American people. Your polls show that most Americans are against starting this war. You haven’t seen the evidence because there IS no evidence.” (paraphrase) Well, the evidence is out, now, and my husband couldn’t get all the way through it, and I wouldn’t let him describe it to me beyond, “…just regular civilians, not military rebels… watching the cameras, wide-eyed in agony, and dying in front of the cameras and there was nothing they could do. There were little kids, a baby barely Allie’s age –”
I don’t want a war, either. I’m with the President when he told Congress he has “no interest” in entering another war and he wanted a diplomatic way out of one, if at all possible, so he was going to keep trying to resolve this with Syria peacefully. I’m hopeful for a peaceful resolution, but I don’t have a lot of faith in the integrity of al-Assad’s words that he will turn over all such nerve-gas and reveal their production plants, given that he’s made broken promises before (in agreements to previous cease-fires and didn’t follow through), but will you people just for goddamn once use your eyeballs and ears and look at the information before you go picking up someone else’s propaganda and wave their banners and signs without knowing what the hell you’re talking about? This is life. This is us, this is them. This is real. Al-Qaeda is sponsoring ONE of many rebelling Syrian groups, yes. But fucking inform yourselves, and after you do, if you disagree with me, I will still high-five you for coming to your own conclusions.
Stop being a blind partisan, and hopefully I’ll never have to write like this again.

Yeah, I’m PMSing, but that doesn’t change my opinion; just the strength of it and my control over its expression.

Allie: Walk walk walk? Walk walk walk. Mama, walk walk walk! *kicking*
Me: You want to walk?
Allie: Yeah!
Me: Where do you want to walk to?
Allie: Walk THERE! *pointing*

(Irrelevant update: Earlier in the week I noticed during her bedtime flossing that her lower left second molar has come in. The front half of it, anyway. I didn’t even know that she was teething again because I wasn’t expecting more teeth so soon. The second molars aren’t due in until 23-31 months of age. So she’s early…again.)

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