Claire turned 22 months old on the 8th. Each day there is more expression, more knowledge. Watching consciousness bloom is a marvelous thing. Lately she is attracted to the sounds of certain phrases in her story books: “Roo drooped.” “Everyone gasped.” “The bees are suspicious.” “The snow’s so deep.” She loves to make “mouth noises” and silly expressions.
She’s also getting more autonomous. Lately if I kiss her, she sometimes says adamantly, “No kisses!” Sometimes I forget myself and kiss her shortly after she has made this request and she’ll get really mad. Or if I remember, I’ll ask if I can give her a kiss, and sometimes she says no.
When a child grabs a toy from her hand these days, she says, “I can’t share!” meaning she wants the child to give it back. She has never been physical about holding on to items — no grabbing it back, no hitting or shoving — now she uses words, but the other kids don’t understand her yet. Most times a mother is around to mediate and instruct her child to return the toy. Now an interesting development has occurred. The other day at the park we were playing in the sand with her toys, and a little girl joined us. Our practice has been to welcome anyone sharing as long as they don’t wander too far with the toy, but this time Claire said, “I don’t want to share!” Now, I make sure to bring two buckets, two shovels, etc. so that Claire will still have one set and the other can be shared. I explained to her that at the park, the way we make friends is to share our sand toys. She repeated her statement but didn’t get upset. I managed to distract her a little and it didn’t become an issue.
I believe that one can share only when secure in the fact that she possesses something to share. I think it’s a mistake to negate a child’s desire to keep something by saying, “you MUST share” and forcing the toy out of her hands. It is good to share and take turns, but this is a learned behavior that takes time. It’s important to keep reinforcing the message that sharing helps us to have fun.
Here’s another example of the move toward self-direction. Last night, Husband read Go Dog Go to her once, and of course she said, “Again!” He doesn’t like the book, and he asked if they could please read a different book. Her response (exact words): “No, I want to read this book again.” Very determined, this child!
Claire likes to play other games too. The other day, Claire played with her Elmo doll, wrapping him up in a baby blanket and “changing his diaper.” Then she had me lie down on the floor, and she would take the same blanket and say, “I tuck Mommy in, make you cozy.” Then I’d pretend sleep and snore, and she’d “startle” me awake. This is greatly amusing for her for many, many minutes.
The oddest concepts catch her attention. Getting dressed the other day, Husband explained to Claire the image of the Longhorn on one of her t-shirts. (It’s a shirt with the colors of UT Austin and a Longhorn emblem.) He said that he had gone to school in Austin and had been a Longhorn, and this generated a morning’s obsession with Claire saying, “Wanna be a Longhorn, wanna go to school!”
Claire still loves her gym class, where she mostly likes to walk up and down big foam wedges and dance. Her upper body strength is slow to develop; her hands are so delicate and small she can’t get a good grasp on the bars, and she won’t keep a grip. She’s not much for climbing ladders at the park, either. However, Claire can jump straight up and down with two feet, and also off of things, which is a skill that usually develops a bit later. She’s quite the hopper.
Since she was ill recently, she has gotten reluctant to “scooch” down the stairs by herself. She’ll climb up herself, but she wants me to carry her down. We play a game where I stand a step below and open my arms, and she leans forward and falls into my arms, hugging me tight. I don’t mind this regression. I love hugging and holding her, and she won’t be this way forever. Claire is also really good at holding a hand in public, when we’re walking down the sidewalk or at a strip mall. I sometimes wonder if we are too protective in that way. I see other parents letting their children walk by themselves; sometimes Claire wants to also, and we permit her if it’s not a trafficked area. But she often automatically reaches for our hand, and I like the companionability of that.
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And now I must get chores done, and take the birthday cake for Husband out of the oven (he gets officially older tomorrow). Happy weekend!