Monday, February 18, 2008


Anna has hit that stage of development that leads children to fixate on their favourite song and replay it until their parents go mad. Anna is on a full-on kick for Feist's fantastic "1-2-3-4." It was bad enough when all she knew was which CD to insist on and which buttons on the stereo to stab at until the song would play. Then, this being an multimedia age, we decided she might like to see the video on YouTube. (Anna doesn't get to watch any TV at all, so we indulge her love for kitties and horses and puppets and goofiness by letting her watch wee bits and snatches on YouTube.)

Now, after playing the song twenty or fifty times in a row on the stereo, she stands at the bottom of the stairs pointing up to where the computer is, humming the tune and doing a special Feist dance. She loves the video, with lots of people dancing to her favourite song in happy colours.

After her daily Feist-ival, she spent the remains of the day eating potatoes (she can eat a whole one even when I can't) and changing the diaper on her doll, who apparently was full of pee for a non-wet-ems type of doll.

Another milestone: she helped her mom make cookies for the first time today. She whisked the dry ingredients and hardly got any strewn around the kitchen, and she poured in the chocolate chips. She was very proud. She brought several cookies to her dad to show off her helpfulness. (Of course, she also memorized the location of the chocolate chips and snuck a handful later in the day when we weren't looking, but that's another story.)

The weather has been dreadful, dreadful this winter, going from bad to worse and back again, and she has been as prone to cabin fever as any of us. When she wants an adventure or just to get out of the house, she takes your hand and leads you to her snowsuit or sits on the floor putting on her boots.

She likes longer and more sophisticated storybooks now -- the kinds with actual stories in them, rather than just short rhymes and rhythms. She tells stories, too, though still not in so many words. She tends to save words for special occasions, such as "cheese" and "shoes" and "kitty" and "eyes" and "yay" and "yippee." Her favourite word is still "daddy," though she throws in a "mommy" now and then when the occasion demands. Her bottle is a "bobby" and her dollies are "babies." She has had lots of opportunity to watch snowplows and salt trucks this winter, and she loves them. She stands in the window saying "vrmm." She can pick pictures of large snow-moving machines out of the tiniest, blurriest pictures in the newspaper before we even notice them.

Anna has extra teeth, too -- at least fourteen now, with two new incisorry types on the bottom. (That might explain some sleepless nights a while back.) We assume she's growing, because she's eating like a horse. Today, when offered her favourite pasta casserole for lunch, she said "yay" after every bite. When I called home from work, I could hear her raucous celebrations.

She's up to so much these days, it's impossible to keep up. We're sure she'll really bloom when spring arrives and she can get out of the house more and enjoy the yard and the world's blooming things and returning birds and sunshine. (Are these possible? Hope so!)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sixteen months, and whadda ya get?

Anna is sixteen months today and is making the day last as long as she can by not going to sleep. Her father is taking a turn settling her, but all her "don't-put-me-in-that-crib" sensors are super-special-sensitive this evening, for whatever reason.

When each day is as full as Anna can make it, it is challenging to document her doings -- especially since I sometimes make an effort to hold down a full-time job or complete additional projects. But today is as good a day for a snapshot as any day.

Anna had a busy weekend, with five separate visits, parties, or activities. She had a chance to show off her social skills with other children her age and revealed, again, an odd admixture of Stephen's social style and mine -- quiet and observant for a long while, taking in all the activities from the sidelines (like Stephen) then being bossy when she finally gets in on the action. (We don't know where the bossiness comes from. Ahem.)

Of course, Anna doesn't interact with other children at all if she has an option to go up and down stairs. She has shifted her focus from walking and running (old hat) to climbing, an activity that led her to learn how to climb the furniture and stand in the windowsill over the Christmas holidays. She can climb her high chair in seconds, if the tray table is not there to block her ascent. She also has learned to move kitchen chairs up to the cupboard or the table or the sink to get what she wants to reach for.

Today, most of her climbing took her up to window-level to watch two big trucks from the electrical company repairing a damaged pole outside our house. This was endlessly fascinating, since Anna loves big trucks and plows and says "Vrmmm" happily to all of them.

At 10:30, the lure of the big trucks outside combined with a realization she hadn't been to a party yet all day, and she fetched her scarf and snowsuit and headed for the door. Once outside, she walked to the car and asked to be taken for a drive. With freezing rain in the offing, this was not an option, so we walked up and down the sidewalk, crunching ice pellets under her snowboots, and keeping an eye on the progress of the line repairs.

Later on, Anna would only eat her lunch with her hat and scarf on, just in case an opportunity for a party or other adventure might come up suddenly and without warning. Her diet these days consists of stuck together food -- casseroles -- especially those stuck together with tomato-vegetable sauce. She's still crazy about protein-rich foods like meat and beans and cheese and eats berries until they are all gone. Ketchup is a food group. Gravy can be eaten by the fistful when one is motivated sufficiently. And yogurt is eaten independently, from a grown-up bowl with a grown-up spoon.

Anna was helpful all day -- helping her parents by wiping the table (standing on a chair and swishing with her facecloth) and folding and putting away the laundry (dumping the clean laundry on the floor, crumpling up underwear, and "putting it away" by dumping it on the bedroom floor, just like her parents) and sweeping the kitchen floor (spreading the dirt around with a badly handled broom and screaming if the broom got taken away) and putting away the dishes (standing on a chair by the sink and handing dishes to me to dry -- or tossing them back into the sink if they didn't meet her exacting standards for cleanliness).

She tended her doll carefully today. She dressed her doll in a new outfit and checked her diaper and shared her cookie and washed her face with a cloth. Dolly gets a lot of rides on the rocking horse, usually accompanied by Anna and also dolly's teddy bear. And bunny. It gets a bit squishy.

Anna (and dolly) love books, especially ones with farmyard animals Anna can imitate. Today, Anna also learned from one of her books that kittens like to play with balls of string, so we found a ball of string and woke poor Moon, who was napping unsuspectingly and was roused to a game of chase the string by a delighted, squealing toddler. Anna waves her hands in the air when she gets excited now.

Anna did her yoga stretches in the tub this evening. She usually does them on the living room floor, but she didn't get around to it with everything else that was going on. When she meets someone new, one of the first things she likes to show them is her yoga routine, which is elaborate and runs from downward dog to triangle postures to lying-on-her-back-with-her-feet-in-the-air poses. Just like her mom, she loves to stand on her head, with a little help. And just like her mom, she avoids the "hero" posture, virasana, even though it's usually a natural for kids to flop down in.

Anna understands everything and communicates her needs very clearly, but her poor independent little heart wants words, now, and she is frustrated that they are slow in coming. She's very good at the words she has, but she wants a bigger vocabulary. If vocabulary displaces some of the high-pitched screaming, her parents will be delighted, but we figure we're in for more yelling more often for more months than we are prepared for. Today's new word was "baby," a word that well describes what Anna Sophia is not, anymore.