It seems like the year between November 18 2007 and November 18 2008 has been the fastest of my life. But when I look back at the first pictures of our girl when she was slimey and furry and all mashed up from life inside, it seems like a thousand years ago. Yet another paradox of parenthood, I suppose. The first year is the one where you see the greatest change, as you can see in the slideshow in my previous posting. Aili has changed so much since the first days of her life. And so have I, although it’s far more difficult to articulate how.
So here are a few tidbits from the recent days:
Aili is not quite ready to walk, but she does love to push a walker or ‘cruise’ along furniture. Sometimes she’ll let go of her handhold and stand unsupported for a few seconds, but I don’t know if she’s consciously aware that she can do it. Perhaps another couple of months till we have a walker on our hands. This is totally in keeping with her being straight down the middle in terms of physical development – the average age for first walking is 14 months.
At our weigh-in I learned that Aili has still not broken the 20-lb barrier! She actually weighs less than she did last month, now 19 lbs 12 oz. She has now dropped from the 54th to the 42nd to the 31st percentile for weight. That being said, (1) she has an Asian parent and may end up being a thin person, (2) she was sick last week, and (3) she has proven to be a difficult eater. Her ‘tolerated foods’ are very limited, and she often rejects things before even trying them. I recently spoke with a dietician, who recommended that she shares our meals, and if she doesn’t eat them, she can wait till the next one – also known as the starvation technique. There may be some loud nights ahead, but I have my earplugs and am prepared.
In terms of communication, Aili is a chatterbox. She is talking all the time, and although unfortunately it makes no sense to me, she seems to think she’s a key player in dinnertime conversation, so we include her commentary. She does say ‘uh oh’ and ‘haaaaaai’. But it’s the signing that has exploded recently. It turns out that babies can understand language far sooner than they can verbally reproduce it, but they can both understand and mimic sign language. Parents have started using baby signing to ease communication barriers before their kids can talk, and I can now verify that it’s a wonderful tool! Kids who learn signing apparently have more complex language and vocabularies into early elementary school and some even think it raises their IQ. I’ve heard that some people believe that it slows verbal language learning, but that doesn’t make sense to me. That’s like saying that babies learning to crawl slows their natural instinct to walk! Plus all the kids that I know who learned how to sign seem more advanced verbally than their peers. I don’t know about all the evidence behind the pros and cons, but I’m so glad that I’ve made the effort to include signs in our life. Aili can tell me when she’s hungry, when she wants more food, when she’s ‘all done’, when she wants a nap (music to my ears!), and can identify a number of nouns and verbs including dog, cat, milk, water, flower, fish, bear, duck, and bird. It seems that her rate of acquisition is increasing and she now has to be exposed to a new sign only a day or so before it becomes part of her vocabulary. I feel that she’s both excited to learn but also possesses a natural human hunger for language, and feels satisfied by her achievements. There is no question that she loves to learn and use her signs!
She’s definitely got her favourite toys, and is now into kissing. She will kiss Daddy or Mommy or Katie or Leo or YellowDog if we encourage her to, but she also kisses for no reason at all. She is starting to dance (with the loosest interterpretation of the word) to music, and seems to enjoy climbing into my lap for a quick cuddle. She also has found a love of books (yay! she IS her Mommy’s girl!) and will flip through the pages unprompted.
All in all, Aili is a sweet and relaxed little girl who is easy to care for and easy to love. Some people have told me that she’s looking more and more like Johnny, but I think her energy and temperament are more like mine (except that she’s laidback like Johnny).
I wonder what the next year will bring?