Ila is an actual little person now. She walks around the house with a real sense of purpose, even if her mission seems to be nothing more than to pick up a sock from the bedroom, carry it to the dining room, back to the living room, before leaving it on the couch in order to knock over a stack of books. I sort of wish she could write a "to do" list. I'd like to see that list. She's obviously very busy because she walks around with her hands resting on her back, like she's surveying all the work to be done around her.
One important task is to find every shoe in the house, point to it, and say, "Ah ha ha ha" like The Count from Seasame Street. Kiyomi started this by saying, "One shoe, ah ah ha ha; two shoes, ah ha ha ha" whenever she removed Ila's shoes. Ila likes to actually bring me any of my shoes she finds, doing her impression of the number obsessed vampire all the while. I thank her, though I'm usually already wearing a pair of shoes. I feel like I should do something with the shoe as she looks up at me expectantly. How many times can you change shoes in a day, though?
Along with her shoe-spotting call, she still does her fish impression - popping her lips open and closed like a fish - and moos like a cow, well sort of like a cow, maybe a cow just learning to moo. Actually she moos for pretty much every animal. But, we're not picky around here. Who's to say giraffes don't moo? I don't know what giraffes sound like, may as well say they moo. She also has added a fairly reliable "no" head shake. She has been shaking her head when I say "not or "no" or "don't" for a while, as well as nodding when I say "hmmm-mm" or "yes." However, she recently started shaking her head in response to questions from me. As in, "Ila, let's go potty. Do you need to go potty?" She shakes her head.
Well, I say her head shaking is "fairly reliable" because yesterday, after putting her on the potty, asking her if she needed to pee, and taking her off because she shook her head, I got peed on. Yup, about 60 seconds after taking her off the toilet, before getting her into a new diaper, she just peed on me. Right down my stomach and leg. Warm pee, hmmmm.
Actually, she's been a little resistant to the toilet of late. We are not really potty training exactly; we've just been putting her on the toilet a number of times a day since she was about eight months old. She often goes on the toilet, and we don't try to pressure her or congratulate her or draw a lot of attention to it. We just read aloud, hang out, and she goes. It's been very mellow and pretty successful in introducing the potty and keeping her cued into her body.
She has, for many months, gone poop mostly on the toilet. But this week, she has not signed or wanted to go on the toilet. She seems to want to go in her diaper. Very interesting. I sort of think she is very distracted and excited by her increasing abilities to do things...so she doesn't really want to take a break to go to the bathroom. Anyway, I just keep reminding myself it doesn't really matter that much, but I can feel the worrier in me trying to claw her way to the surface of my thoughts. "Maybe we're overwhelming her. Maybe she feels anxious. Maybe she is angry." I can't exactly trace the logic of these worries necessarily...
In addition to her "no" head shake, she added the milk sign, we call it the nursing sign, to her repertoire. This has become a favorite sign, especially when she's already nursing. While on one breast, she makes the gesture and points to the other breast. She wants access to both I guess. A few times she has popped off one, sat up, nursed for a second on the other before returning to the original. She'll do this a few times in a row. I laugh, but I feel like maybe I should be discouraging this?
In fact, I find myself wondering this about a lot of things lately. Should I tell her "no" when she climbs up onto the couch or the chair or the bed or basically anything climbable? (She's hit her climbing groove, I think.) Or, should I just try to show her, over and over and over, how to sit far away from the edge once she's climbed up? And, how to get down backwards and safely? And just try to always be there to spot her? Parenting certainly gets more complex as a child gets older.
I find myself wondering, in particular, what her brain is capable of even learning. Obviously, a lot. The human brain, even at the age of one, is an amazing, amazing learning machine. Still, some concepts are just impossible at this point. To use the climbing example, I'm pretty sure that she does not learn from a fall. She climbs on the couch, bounces around unsafely, launches herself off the front first rather than using a safer method, falls, is upset...and she will do the same exact thing 5 minutes later. She is obviously not "learning from her mistakes" at this point. (Does anyone ever?) I think what she's learning is something else entirely. What that is is up for debate. Gross motor skills in the form of mad couch dismounts? Like, she'll do this over and over until she can stick it?
Whatever it is, she is certainly all about developing physical movement and coordination at this point. She has begun to dance standing up, she used to do the bouncing on her butt form of dancing. Now she spins, flaps her arms around, bounces, sways, and - my favorite - does a little backwards walk...maybe a baby moonwalking move? She knows the word "dance," too, and will sway or bounce when dancing is suggested. Very charming.
In reality, she's very into aping all kinds of things she sees us do. Carrying around a bag, putting things into it, patting her stuffed toys and making a "mmmm" lovey sound, hugging, kissing. It's so weird to think this little creature who loves to do what her mamas do will one day be an adolescent who needs to break away and run the opposite of what we do. So bizarre. I particularly love how she copies sounds we make. Let's say I'm frustrated with something and I heave an irritated sigh. She often copies the sighing sound, which makes it hard to continue to be so aggravated. She copies the sound of nose-blowing, coughing, grumbling, groaning. It's pretty hilarious. My personal favorite is when she copies us saying, "wow," like the in the video below. (Also, check out how she's rockin' an unbuttoned onesie without a diaper. Kind of the baby equivalent to a wife-beater, no?)
Two of my favorite new develops are her new desire for interaction with other little people and her cuddling. As soon she started to really walk around - for transportation rather than sport - she became more interested in the other small children she encountered. She's definitely graduating to the age of interaction and play with other little ones. It's exciting to watch. She is less grabby than I thought she would be. She used to grab other babies faces as her go to move. Now, she likes to give kisses and pats. It's all pretty adorable. As far as cuddling with us, it isn't really new for her, but she has just gotten to be sort of skilled at it. She loves to snuggle in the mornings, and this is probably one of my favorite things in the entire universe. Ever. Spooning her as she nestles into me. Kissing her; being kissed by her. It's so sweet and lovely, even if her kisses are still crazy, sloppy open-mouthed affairs.