Luca is turning 20 months old tomorrow. The past month has been full of fun, family, friends, and all kinds of new adventures for her.
Physically, she's a running, climbing, dancing machine. She definitely has her mom's white girl dance moves, but she dances with such abandon it's heartbreakingly precious.
Luca's brave too, and while it should probably make me nervous that she's so fearless, it makes me pretty damn proud instead. She scales ladders with no fear, and when we take her to the park near our house, she breezes right past all those 'baby' slides and goes right for the big dog. She even tried to climb the ladder up instead of going the long way around, just to get back to sliding faster, but didn't have much luck. It DID make for some cute pictures, though!
She's getting more and more independent, which has its ups and downs. The ups are that she really enjoys feeding herself (even eating Cheerios out of a bowl with a spoon!), she puts herself to bed quite frequently, she's awesome at keeping herself entertained, and she's inching closer and closer to being potty trained thanks to wanting to be a 'bid durl'.
The downs are...well...the same downs any toddler parent could lament about: temper tantrums; excessive use of the words 'me', 'mine', 'no', 'stop', and 'all done' (atop and all done being orders to us); testing boundaries by throwing things and tormenting the (ever so patient and very saint like) dogs; and not wanting to share. We're pretty lucky, though, and we know this. She's easily tamed and distracted thus far, and most of the time it just takes a gentle touch and a calm voice to get her back on track. She has learned to say please (Peeeeeese?), Thank you (tay too), and sorry (sowwy), which softens the blows of toddler naughtiness quite well. And she really is sweet with other kids, which is a nice bonus. Her daycare provider even assured me she is 'always so well-mannered and sweet', which is good to hear from a woman who's been watching other peoples' kids for as long as I've been alive.
Language-wise, she blows us away every day. She's speaking so many words I cannot even keep track anymore, and is stringing together 3 or 4 word sentences. Even though I categorize it as naughty, I can't help but laugh when Darrick starts singing and she looks at him in earnest and says, "All done, Daddy." She's best with 2 word phrases (all done, come on, get up), but she mimics like nobody's business. This, of course, means I am on high alert at all times, making sure to keep my profanity usage under control as much as possible. It also means my days are littered with conversations about potty, poo poo, bums, pee pee, puppies, being nice-nice, what we do and don't do (We don't hit people. We do say sorry.), and lots and lots of simple sentences. I was emailing a story to friends about Luca's first time peeing in the big girl potty, and after writing it down, I realized it was in toddler code, going a little something like this:
"Luca went pee on her potty today!!! We went to get a carwash/oil change, and when we got home, she was tooting in her carseat. I asked if she needed to go poo poo and she said yes. So we came in and took off her jeans and diaper, and she sat on her potty. A minute later she asked for a 'clean' (her word for clean wipe) and when I gave it to her she rubbed her leg with it (we'll need to work on where we wipe....). I didn't smell poo, so I had her stand up, and sure enough while there was no poo, she had gone pee!
I told her how awesome she is, and she clapped and said "Good girl!". Then she wanted to sit back on the potty for a bit. When she decided she was done, we took the potty up to flush the pee, and she said bye-bye to it."
Yup. I officially speak Toddler. AND I have a Master's Degree. I'm waiting for Obama's offer of a Cabinet position.
In other Luca news, we had a blast celebrating Christmas this year. She was the belle of her own ball, getting spoiled beyond belief by our families and opening every gift with abandon (even one of Uncle Bob's). She has so many new toys we haven't even opened all of them up, and she's still got a swingset that needs to be put up in the backyard from her Grandma. Not to mention her big girl room, which her other Grandma completed for her. Did I mention she is spoiled?
We did some park trips and a zoo trip this month as well. We have to take advantage of our amazing weather while people across the country are at home shivering. She's really loving the zoo these days, as she recognizes more animals every time, and can even tell us what sound most of them make. She loves riding in her wagon around the zoo, and getting ocassional breaks to sit on Daddy's shoulders.
It's been a great month, and a big one, for Luca. Between her new words, her new big girl room (and bed!), and her growing independence, she's more kid than baby these days. On one hand, it makes me sort of sad, as I look back at old baby pictures of her and marvel at how it's been 20 months already. On the other hand, she makes me SO proud my heart feels like it might explode, and I know the best is yet to come.
Happy 20 months, Luca!!