On Tuesday you'll be 19 months old. It seems impossible that so much time has passed since I first held you in my arms, and yet paradoxically I can't remember when you weren't a part of our lives.
Lately it seems as if you've had an explosion of growth. Not physically- you're still just over 15 pounds and wearing size 6-9 month clothes.
But as far as development goes, you have just taken off in the past few weeks. I don't know what happened, but somehow you seem determined to learn something new every day. Without us even pushing you, you're setting new goals for yourself and making sure we know you deserve the praise for it by clapping for yourself after each accomplishment.
Case in point: standing.
We haven't really been focusing on teaching you to learn how to stand, because your therapist, Karen wanted us to work on a few other things with you first. You haven't quite mastered the concept of bending at the knees to sit from a standing position- as a consequence you plop right down, stiff-legged on your little toosh. This doesn't seem to hurt you- yet. But the older you get, height and gravity are going to turn that plop into a giant thud, and we don't want you to hurt your back or bottom. So we've been working on getting you to bend at the knees by placing a small stool behind you while you're standing by the couch or a chair. You're forced to bend your knees and sit when you're done standing. Another trick we use is to a drop a toy on the floor while you're standing, holding onto the couch... if you want to reach it, the only way to do so is to bend your knees and sit down on the stool behind you.
We also didn't want you to start walking until you gained some arm strength. Walking, as with any toddler, is going to mean falling at first. We want you to be able to catch yourself, to protect your head...arm strength and coordination is a must for that. So we've been suspending you from the floor in a blanket around your tummy and "walking you" along the ground- you bear your own weight on your arms and knees, and we move you along. Muscle memory is developed, with the added help of forward motion- as we move you forward that muscle memory kicks in, and you learn that your arms need to do the work of holding you up.
But somehow in the midst of all this therapy, you decided to throw caution to the wind and try standing. For the past few days I've been interrupted a dozen times from whatever household chore I'm doing by shouts of, "MAMA! COME QUICK!" As soon as I find you, surrounded by your siblings, you're proudly standing, plopping, then cheering and clapping for yourself. You are so dang proud of yourself, and it is just adorable to see your fan club yelling with glee at your accomplishments.
This morning Noah came running into my room, yelling at the top of his lungs again for me to come see what you were doing. Without any prompting you were pushing yourself up to a standing position from the middle of the living room floor. Nobody helped you get up, and you didn't pull yourself up on anything- you just perfected that little trick you've been working on for weeks- the four point stance, toosh-in-the air trick. Only this time instead of plopping to the ground, you STOOD UP and threw your hands in the air with sheer determination mixed with astonishment. I don't know that I have been that shocked when any of your siblings stood- I had no idea you had the organizational skills or the strength to pull that off.
Once again, you're teaching me to expect, not accept.
Another area that has just really taken off is language.
Each day it seems like you're picking up new consonants. You've said mama and dada for a long time, and sometimes bababa, but lately you've added an s an a th and an r to your repetoire...it sounds like you're saying "this this this" when you're pointing to toys or pages in books...in fact you're singing it right now as I type..."ah baaaah this this this." I love your little voice and your animated expressions as you use it.
It used to worry me a little bit that you were so timid... it seemed that your movements were slow and deliberate, as if you couldn't quite make your limbs move fast enough. It took you many months before you started reaching for objects, and even then it seemed that your little arms didn't quite obey what your brain wanted them to do. But lately I've watched you army crawl across the floor in three seconds flat to get a toy you want, or throw your arms quickly up in the air in excitement or to answer our question, "how big is Lily?"
You used to sit complacently in the bath or the pool, calmly staring at the water or gently moving your fingers through it. But now you are a like a little fish in the water- you splash and kick and smack the water with your hands and feet, laughing the whole time at the resulting waves.
You've got the funniest little sense of humor now. You make these silly faces or play peek-a-boo with us, or you try to get our attention by grabbing us- and then you squint your eyes and chuckle- HUH HUH HUH HUH! until we're laughing along with you.
And none of us can resist your chubby little kissable cheeks.
You love to be read to. You sit sweetly on our laps and listen as we read your favorite stories, stopping us every now and then to point to a picture or turn the page yourself.
I remember crying when you were first born, because I thought you would never read. I have a feeling you're going to prove me wrong on that one, if your current love for books is any indication of the future.
You've always loved food, but it had to be in small pieces. If I gave you a cookie or a cracker before, you didn't seem to know what to do with it..you might hold it in your hand, but for some reason you wouldn't chew it. If I placed pieces of a cookie or cracker or dinner roll on your high chair tray, you would pick them up rapidly, one by one...but now you've decided you're a big girl, holding a biscuit in one hand and delicately nibbling it til it's gone...
...but when green beans and sweet potatoes come along, followed by red velvet cake, table manners are tossed to the wayside!
Good thing you love your baths~ you need at least three a day.
19 months is a pretty small amount of time, considering, sweet Lily. You've gone from a pint-sized preemie to a pudgy little toddler, from a fragile newborn to a daring and energetic ball of spunk...and oh, how we love our big girl.