She's definitely an opinionated toddler, and we are learning how we can help curb her meltdowns. I make sure to have a toy or book or something to hand her as soon as we're getting into the car so she's got something to distract her right away. It seems to help the most when we give her warnings before we transition her from a place or toy. We'll tell her that she can keep playing, but we have to leave/put the toy down/give it back in just a few minutes. After we tell her that two or three times, she will generally do it without getting upset. We try to give her warnings even when we're in a familiar place or routine (getting her ready for nap time or picking her up from her babysitter's house). Depending on how tired she is, even normal transitions can throw her for a loop. Sometimes we forget. But just because she bursts into tears about getting into the car right now, doesn't mean that 10 minutes later she won't go cheerfully. Sometimes it's worth waiting that extra 10 minutes.
And like all females, eating regularly helps, too. :) We have reduced her milk intake and only give her a bottle before her nap and bedtime. So she's eating more food, although still not much most days. Her favorite foods right now are Gerber Graduates freeze-dried baby snacks, oatmeal with fruit, pasta, bananas, bread, scrambled eggs, and deli turkey slices. Depending on her mood, the time of day, and the alignment of the stars, she will also eat grapes, blueberries, apples, and cheese.
One of our very favorite things is that she's singing songs now. She has a great memory and can sing about 30 songs that she's picked up from videos, Sunday School, or home. She used to always love it when we sang along with her, but recently when we jump into a song she's singing, she'll stop and say "Emma's turn."And we'll say "Oh, excuse me, Emma. Please continue!" And she does. Cracks me up every time!
She can identify all her ABCs now, and loves to read the letters she sees. We take her to the park so she can play on the playground, and she'll spend 10-15 minutes reading letters on the plaque that tells who donated the playground equipment. We are beginning to teach her to read simple words. She knows the names of basic shapes and colors and she can count to 14. She still loves to read books and can "read" a few of them correctly all the way through because we've read them with her so much.
She speaks in full sentences now, and is constantly surprising us (and making us laugh) with a new phrase. The other day, she was trying to get situated on a seat and kept wobbling and almost falling off. When she finally stabilized, she said "Well, that was crazy!" I almost wet my pants laughing.
Another funny conversation we've been having every day for months goes something like this:
Emma: Play with Daddy's phone?
Dan repeats: Would you like to play with Daddy's phone?
Emma: OK! (In a "That's a great idea!" tone of voice)
It makes us laugh, because we're repeating what she says to reaffirm her, but we end up feeling reaffirmed because she's so happy we got it right. We understand what she says the best, of course, but based on my limited experience, she speaks very clearly for a 1 1/2 year old.
Some things she loves at twenty-one months old:
- She would watch TV almost all day long if we let her, and her favorite shows are YouTube videos of Pocoyo, Little Baby Bum nursery rhymes, Baby Einstein, and Sesame Street musical guests. We've tried to graduate up to kid movies and cartoons with more of a storyline, but she's not ready for those yet. It's just something else to look forward to when she gets a little older!
- Dan and I have small libraries of books in our cars. When we're driving, we'll hand her one book, she'll read it, then hand it back to us and ask for another book.
- She's become a serious Daddy's girl! For a few weeks, she wanted Dan to hold her all day and put her to bed every night. I love it, because I was a Daddy's girl, too. But as sweet as it is, it can be exhausting to be the favored one. Unfortunately, Dan hurt his back, and wasn't able to lift her comfortably for over a week. So she was forced to break her "Daddy only" streak.
- When I blogged about her a few months ago, she was going through a stage when she sometimes hated getting in the bathtub. She's done a full 180 and now she asks to take a bath almost daily.
- Dan taught her how to play hide and seek, which was hilarious! I would point her in the direction of the room he was hiding in, and she'd shriek with delight every time she found him.
- She also loves when we pretend to fall asleep so she can wake us up - very enthusiastically.
- She loves to say "That's my favorite (fill in the blank)!" when she wants something. One morning she woke up with a fever, so I left to buy some Infant Tylenol for her while Dan was holding her. He said that as soon as the door shut behind me, she said "Hey! That's my favorite Mommy!" So cute. :)
She got really sick with some sort of virus or flu during Christmastime, and would hardly let us put her down. Dan and I took shifts holding her while she slept so she would get the rest she needed. She would drink milk and that's it - she vomited any medicine we tried to give her. Poor baby!
When she's frustrated (or sick and cranky), her favorite things to say are "Hey! That's MINE!", "Hurt Emma, ouch!" and "Oh no!" When she was feeling sick in Virginia, she must've said "Oh no!" 20,000 times (as she's demonstrating in the video). She had all the Jesters saying it before we left.
She is such a good kid on flights! She loves to sit on our laps or in a "big girl seat," if one is available, and play games on our phones, read books, color, and take naps. We are so grateful that she makes flying easy on us.
She's just reaching the stage where she wants to try to do the tasks she sees us doing.
Taking a pretend bath. We still give her baths in her toddler tub on the floor, and it's one of her favorite things to do.
Her babysitter, Linda, made some play dough for her, and she has asked to play with it every single day.
I take her to a toddler play area in one of our malls, and she loves climbing in the cars and "driving".
Coloring with her friend, Ellie.
Dan is braver than I am about taking her on big playgrounds. This is a tunnel and bridge course at SeaWorld that is about 30 feet off the ground. She loved it, of course!
She loves sitting on the chair that Grandpa Jester made her. She just couldn't wait after her bath one night. Haha!
Dan and I celebrated my birthday a few days early with a date day. We went to a movie, shopped at the mall, and went to lunch sans baby. On my birthday, we all went out to breakfast before church.
We've discovered that Emma is a chocoholic! She definitely belongs to us!
Our little princess reading a book out loud
During the "all I want is my Daddy" phase, she insisted that Dan put her to bed every night. He was so exhausted one night, I had to go wake him up in the rocking chair so he could put her in the crib and come to bed.
We attended a wedding last weekend, and she looked so pretty in her fancy dress that was passed down from her cousin, Chloe! She brings us joy every day.