I started writing this post a few months ago and now coming back to it, the truth is she is changing soooo fast cognitively that it’s absolutely useless to be writing a post about it. Things that impressed me yesterday are old news and now she’s doing something even better. So I’ll put down age next to each item as I write them down for reference.
Obviously by this time she understands about 80% of everything we say (daily stuff) and 99% of everything we say to her.
She hears things we think she wouldn’t understand and reacts to them. Many times daily I think to myself: “I can’t believe she did/said/understood that. I need to write it down.”
But then by the end of the day I can’t even remember all the things that happened.
A while ago ( maybe at 12-13 months) she signed a sign for hurt for the first time. The kicker is that I had never signed it to her before. It was something Lexitwin’s mom signed to her daughter once in Alexis’ presence and I didn’t even see Lexi paying attention. It’s a pretty cool sign btw, especially for pre-verbal toddlers. Every time she’d fall, she would sign hurt instead of crying. Crying is a form of asking for attention, so the signing worked even better.
I also love it when she drinks from the tap in the bath like mommy. Or better: fills her palms with water and then tries to give that water to me. Or my favorite: after having drunk some water from the tap while we are hanging out in the bathtub, I ask her to give mommy some water, expecting her to fill her palms with it and bring it to my mouth. Instead, the silly girl bends down, fills her mouth with water and then puts her mouth on my mouth and tries to give me water that way. I almost fell out of the tub from laughing.
Role playing started about at this age and has progressed with each month to add sounds and interactions with stuffed animals, for example when making imaginary tea.
At 13 months we introduced the potty and she had great success pooping (100%) and peeing (60%) it it for a week. Then the newness wore off and she pushed back, so I backed off. At 18 months now we are back on with the interest in potty training on her own, but that’s another post for another day.
Her memory is amazing. She remembers what she put and where from days ago, even if she placed it into a box in a room at the opposite side of the house.
One day I was in the bathroom and she was hanging around me (as usual). She heard that I was done peeing, so she came up to tear off a piece of toilet paper for me, like she usually does, however there was no toilet paper and no holder (what do you call this white springy thing that you put the toilet paper roll on). We looked at each other quizzically and I asked her where the toilet paper has gone. She walks out and brings me a roll that was laying somewhere in the bathroom and tries to attach it. No luck, the “springy holder thing” is missing. I ask her if she knows where it is, fully realizing that she probably doesn’t even know what I am even referring to, especially considering I didn’t know what to call it so I kept saying “Where is it while looking at an empty spot for toilet paper?”
She starts to walk away and I follow her thinking she moved on. Except for, she leads me to her bedroom where apparently she had “stashed” the toilet paper holder thingy sometime in the last few days. We have 5 bathrooms, so we didn’t know it was missing for a day or so since we were apparently using other bathrooms. It absolutely blew my mind that 1. she knew what I was talking about 2. that toilet paper couldn’t be put onto the holder without the springy holder thing, 3. she knew where the holder was.
So needless to say there have been numerous occasions where I’ve been absolutely blown by her level of understanding and her memory. It takes one event, one time for her to see/hear something to be able to recall it.
Toddlers are amazing.
Knowing where nesting dolls are in our neighbor’s house after sort of seeing them once and going there confidently with a goal in mind. That’s just too funny.
Speaking of laughing, it’s still pretty hard to get a smile from her, but we have a development of sly smiles. OMG they are the cutest thing in the world. When she’s pleased with something, she will give me this sly smile, like she’s happy but she’s trying not to show it. Ah!
And here we go again, things changed literally a week after I wrote this. She has now figured out the art of “fake laughing” or laughing on command, so she goes crazy laughing when she’s having fun or just when she WANTS to have fun. Also when she’s showing off in front of people. It’s really funny!!! I am going to try to videotape it soon, as well.
She’s long since figured out some of our routines, like that daddy puts his hat on before walking outside if he hasn’t taken a shower yet. So if she wants to go outside, she’ll do the following steps: ask daddy to pick her up, tap on his head and her head indicating the need for a hat, when the hat is on, she will motion towards the door.
Her shape sorter has been mastered for a while now, but she has a very interesting way of doing it sometimes. She will often “pretend put” the shape she is holding into the wrong hole while watching for my reaction and waiting for me to say “Noooo, a square doesn’t go into the circle hole!” Then she will proceed “trying” it into every hole until there are no more holes but the right one. Now the thing is I know for a fact she knows the right one and she often even reaches for it automatically until she remembers that she wants to play the “wrong hole” game. She shows this pattern of trying every answer that she knows is wrong before going to the last right one in a lot of different games and I find that very peculiar. She won’t always do it, sometimes she is in the mood to just answer it the right way immediately, but I still see that pattern once in a while.
Iphone pro at this point. She’s always been fascinated with the iPhone because we use it so much and we have been allowing her to interact with certain apps that I deemed appropriate and educational. She quickly picked up what each button and icon does and has been able to freely navigate it on her own, including going to YouTube channels, turning on and reading e-books on auto-play,watching animal video apps, language apps. Starting from 15 months, all we would need to do is hand her the phone and she would navigate and turn on whatever she feels like at the moment. My favorite is when she would navigate to her e-book folder, turn on one of the book, select auto-play out of the three options presented, click arrow button when tired of the book, navigate back to the bookshelf, scroll to the side to find the next book, turn it on, flip pages if the book has no auto play function. Whoa! That’s a lot for a 15 months old.
She can put her shoes on and fasten them (with velcroes) and can ALMOST put her bottoms on.
She adores wearing jewelry and putting on new clothes on, running to the mirror and literally twirling in front of it smiling at herself. She gets so proud of herself when she wears something cute and we gush over her.
She loves playing tea time and making us food and then pouring us tea. She always makes this funny sipping sound when she pours anything into a tea cup or a bowl. Often you’ll find her pouring lots of toy oilve oil into a bowl without running water sound (SSSssshhhhhh!!!) and then shaking some pretend pepper into it before stirring it all together. So cute.
The concept of a toddler bed was introduced at that age with really good success. She would point and happily crawl into her toddler bed that is currently in a sidecar position to our mattress on the floor where we co-sleep. She often ends up in our bed towards the morning, but likes to start off in her toddler bed. However, sleeping in her own bed has not influenced her sleep patterns for a second.
She has begun displaying more frustration at events that she doesn’t like, however no tantrums so far. She cries, of course, but mostly when tired or hungry and never uncontrollable, for which I am grateful.
The drumming and singing that I showed here has been taken to the next level. She eagerly takes the microphone and belts out sounds into it. With drumming she has learned through her Video Touch app that you tap your drum sticks together 3 times before playing and will do that before going crazy at the drums. Of course she knows they have to be turned on first and goes to attempt to turn on the amplifier 🙂
She has been showing a lot of interest in boys and men. She will flirt with some men and be scared of others (usually with facial hair and those who don’t smile back). But when she sees a little boy, she get giddy. It’s hilarious to see. She will run in place in excitement and fake laugh while covering her mouth. I am not sure where she got all these gestures from but they are so funny to watch.
She follows directions pretty well, unless she is busy and is not interested in what I am telling her. When she is paying attention, she will follow exactly what I tell her without protesting. Even her most favorite things like the Iphone or crayons or drumsticks ( yes, those are her three favorites) will be handed to me willingly if I ask nicely.
She learned the concept of baseball glove and ball and has been walking around with her little glove on her hand, throwing the ball in and taking it out like a pro. The same happened with the golf clubs, she often runs to me with a club, hands me the ball, points to an exact spot on the floor where I am supposed to put the ball, and then attempts to hit it with the club ( she has about 60-70% success rate).
There are plenty more going on of course, every day brings something new, like getting obsessed with stickers, or drawing like a mad woman and actually asking to be sat down for a longer period of time to draw or move crayons from box to box.
Oh and she is actually announcing what she is drawing now, mostly with sign language. She will show the sign for spider and proceed to draw a decent imitation of an oval body and a head ( very crooked and angular) and then start tapping the crayon around it to draw its legs. Her favorite two things to draw are itsy bitsy spiders and hearts (which she signs by hugging herself and twisting from side to side to show love – her own invented sign)
At mealtime, if she sits with her cloth doll, she will feed her all her food ( messy but too cute to stop)
She often likes to see what we say no to. Since crayons are some of her favorite toys, she will be walking around with one (knowing full well that she isn’t allowed to draw anywhere else besides paper), and touching it to different surfaces waiting for me to say “No, sweetie, you should only draw on paper”, and then proceeding to put it on another surface without taking her eyes off of me, waiting to hear the same sentence. She can do it many many times in a row until the game gets old.
These two are from the physical development, but I needed to write them down before I forget. I am thinking about resuming monthly updates, since too much happens each much and it all is easy to forget.
She is really close to swimming on her own. I am too afraid to let her go but she works her legs and arms and swims like a little fishy with only half the support from me.
At her gym class she has shown great aptitude in coordination and gymnastic ability: climbing, tumbling, hanging off the bar (she even attempts pull ups) and walking on the balance beam, so once she turns 2, I’d like to send her to a gymnastics class and she if she likes rolling around there.
Finally, there are 3 semi-recent things I’d like to include that sort of blew my mind.
(Age reference: 18 months) Since she isn’t a huge talker (on target according to our recent check up, but not way ahead of the crowd or anything), sometimes it’s hard to judge how much she really knows or what she thinks. About 2 weeks ago I discovered that she knows both the Russian and American alphabet. We weren’t focusing on letters since she didn’t seem to show much interest in them a few months ago, so I wasn’t specifically pointing out letters or asking her what they were unless she did it herself.
A few weeks ago, I asked her where a certain letter was when we were looking at some flashcards,fully expecting to have to answer my own question for her, when she reached out and pointed it to me. Curious, I asked her to show me another letter and she found it. We went on and on like this and she pretty much got every letter right (she has more trouble with the last letters of the alphabet due to less frequent exposure). So then I pulled out our Russian alphabet app and put a quiz game on and she got every letter right, except for a few random ones. Mind officially blown. Again.
Yesterday, she walked up to me from the back and spelled out ROXY written on my back (“AAAAAAAARRRR” “OOOOOOOOOOUUUUU” “SSSSSSSSSSSS”), she can’t pronounce X well so she does SSSSSSSS. Obviously, Y still eludes her. So that makes it ROXY as the first almost read/spelled word ever! How cool!
I know she learned this from her iPhone songs and games and her Alphaberry and this is something I will definitely be writing about and will be happy to recommend the apps, toys and flashcards Lexi has been using to learn the alphabet on her own.
(Age reference: 17 months) The second thing that impressed me was her understanding of and skills at the memory games. We have a Russian memory game on the iPhone ( there are English versions too), where you are supposed to open 2 cards at a time and find a match. She finishes these in no time, progresses to next level and claps when the level is complete. She completely understands the concept of the game and what she is supposed to do. She can’t strategize well yet, but definitely remembers where the animal she is looking to match was and goes for it until she has completed the board.
And finally, my most favorite recent thing ( 17 Months) is acting out songs. She acts out and dances to Wheels on the bus and Itsy Bitsy spider, Happy and you know it and When we wake up in the morning. I can never get the camera in time to record these things well, but I did catch one little moment while at the pool.
Obviously, she just turned 18 months and there are going to be a ton of changes this month alone, but I couldn’t wait any longer to write it all down and post.