first of all, thank you everyone for all your comments and emails. I really appreciate the input. it was about half and half. part of me was hoping that everyone who had a response would say the exact same thing and our decision would be made for us. i suppose that is not realistic, but a girl can dream eh? so whilst we are still mulling over all of our choices, i will give you a 'my baby is awesome' post.
the little one is 18 months old.
she is awesome. seriously.
so much has changed in the last few months. i have a proper toddler following me around all day. she wants to do everything that i do. and whilst she is not always successful (i.e. running on the treadmill) it is adorable to watch her learn new things and explore.
here are some of the things that she loves to do:
-wash herself in the bath
-comb her own hair (we have some awesome hairstyles, let me tell you)
-take off her clothes as bath time
-attempt to put on her shirt in the mornings
-feed herself everything
-really trying to drink out of a regular cup. we have some spills, ok quite a few spills, but she has to learn sometime right?
-stack blocks. 7 blocks is the highest she has stacked before she knocks them over. i think that is pretty good though.
-count on her hand. she can count to 3. if you say four and five she holds up her entire hand for both. we dont quite have the 4 fingers down yet.
-read books. she loves books. and our 'your baby can read' flashcards. yeah, flashcards. (i know i am a dork)
-laugh. she just breaks out in giggles and if people respond with a smile or a laugh, she just laughs even harder. it is one of my favourite things to see.
-e loves her daddy. as soon as rhys walks through the door, nothing else exists. just rhys.
-run. i have never known a baby to run as much as eleri. sometimes she runs so fast that her feet get ahead of her and she falls over (hard not to laugh, it is so cute) but she just gets back up and carries on. run, run, run.
-other kids. little e is overly friendly. she loves her cousin, she loves our neighbours little boy, and she loves each and every little kid she comes across at welsh school or playgroup. she wants to pat them or hug them, even tries to give kisses. not every other parent appreciates the kisses, but e doesnt care. she is so happy and so friendly. very outgoing.
-hide and seek. she cant get enough, which is not always a good thing as you will see later on.
we are still not very far on the talking front. the past few weeks she has attempted to say whatever words we are saying. but they are not clear and it is not all the time. she has about 20 words that she says and out of those 20 about 12 would be clear to a stranger. meaning someone other than her mom who understands what it is that she wants.
but talking and vocabulary are two very different things i have finding out. eleri has a massive vocabulary. she understands everything that we say to her. she just chooses to not speak back. for example, she knows almost the entire alphabet. she will correctly identify and point to most letters when you ask her what they are. and they do not have to be in the correct order to do so. she will do the same with numbers 1-10. she wont say any numbers beyond 3, but she knows them up to 10. and the same with colours. she will only say blue clearly, but she knows the other colours, and will point when asked. as far as words that she understands...well, let me tell you.
i was never a fan of 'baby talk.' when i was growing up, i always remember my mom telling us the correct word for everything. it was never a baba, it was a baby. it was never a bow wow, it was a dog. in talking to her (because she knows everything) she explained that as we got older she would use proper sentences, not the shorten baby ones. for instance, instead of saying "baby go bye bye" it was "would eleri like to say bye bye?" or "time to say goodbye" something that got the point across without dumbing it down.
*disclaimer: if you are offended because you like baby talk, or shorten sentences- sorry. to each their own. you can do whatever you want with you baby. everyone is different. you can say/do whatever you feel is best- no judgement here.*
since eleri was born, we spoke to her the same way that we would speak to anyone. and now, at 18 months the amount of words that she understands is incredible. not just big and small, but gigantic and tiny. not hot and cold, but freezing and boiling hot. you get the idea. any adjective or descriptive word that i would use she understands. and she is responsive to the pronoun use as well. as we are in the toddler stage now, i am glad that she can understand and respond to regular adult conversation. it just makes it easier for us.
i wish i could remember every little things she does. all the incredible faces she makes. all the little ways that she brightens up our lives. the past 18 months have been the most full months of my life. i wouldnt trade a second of it for anything. cliche, i know. but it is the truth. having a baby puts everything into perspective. the good, the bad, the joyous, the fearful- it all becomes more real with a child.
like yesterday. i thought i had lost eleri. we were at tesco (UK version of walmart) and e was helping me get some long sleeve white t-shirts for her. i looked down for literally 30 seconds and when i looked up, she was gone. the panic that instantly set in was intense. i left the stroller, purse and all, and ran up and down the isles shouting and frantically looking around. store people were helping, random shoppers were helping, but eleri was no where to be seen. after what seemed like hours, i got my phone out to call rhys- to explain that i had lost our daughter- when i heard a little giggle. the rack of t-shirts that we had been looking at was right next to the dressing room. e had run into the dressing room, slipped under a door and was hiding. she thought it was a game. i did not. all in all the ordeal lasted about 10 minutes. but it took about 10 years off of my life. the panic of losing a child, there are no words. i couldnt imagine if she was actually gone. yeah, fear becomes real when a litte one enters the picture.
eleri is crazy, but in such a good way. i never knew the toddler stage could be this much fun (and scary). we have yet to encounter any massive fits or real defiance yet- perhaps that is coming the closer we get to two- but for now i will enjoy my awesome baby and the laughs that we share everyday. being a mom is great.
and my 18 month old is incredible!