Friday, August 03, 2007

Dear Fern (part XVIII)

Dear Fern,

You're a year and a half old today, and we're going to call this one "manipulation month." I mean that in every sense: you're making connections between cause and effect at an increasingly sophisticated level, but that also means you're learning that you can make us react when you make demands of us.

You've had your first real tantrums this month. Nothing major -- a few minutes here or there when you didn't get your way -- but we're trying our best to teach you that tantrums are not a tool. You got a timeout this week, a minute by yourself in your high chair in the kitchen, and, astoundingly, it worked. Your mom and I are also practicing our toddler communication skills: we acknowledge that you WANT something at your level and at your volume, even as we let you know you can't have it. To our surprise again, that also seems to work.

Those challenges are still few and far between, though, punctuation marks to huge stretches of development that amaze your mom and me daily.

  • You love to put things away in their proper place. For what I'm sure is the last time in a decade or more, we can come into a room where you've been playing and find it neater than it was before.
  • While rocking you to sleep, your mommy asked you to close your eyes, so you reached up and closed them with your finger.
  • You've begun noticing when Carson the cat's food or water bowl is empty and ask to help fill it. You squat next to her bowl, scoop up some kibble, dump (most of) it into the bowl, pick up the pieces that scatter on the ground, and hand feed them to her, all the while scrunching your face up in great concentration. We're not quite ready to let you loose with the water pitcher!
  • You've quickly become an expert "babysittee." You lead your babysitter around the playground, telling her it's time to play on the swings now, but now it's time to look for bugs... she reports that you don't give her a minute's rest! 
  • You really recognize your friends now, too, like your park buddy Erwan. You can say his name, and you know how to entice him into a game of "crash" or buddy-sliding.
  • What began as a few scribbles has turned into a real passion for any kind of marking device on any markable surface. (Thank goodness for washable crayons.)

And so at eighteen months we find you a confident, excited, personable baby, turning quickly into a little girl who makes new discoveries and embarks on fresh adventures with each passing day.

Keep it up!

We love you very, very much,

Mommy & Daddy