Two Wonderful Girls. One Day At A Time…

Archive for November, 2006

The Great Communicator

As Iris gets older, each new phase becomes my favorite, but I think I will look back on this age as one of the most exciting.  Before our very eyes, she is learning to communicate new words and ideas every day.  It’s incredible!  I’m realizing a newfound interest in the science of childhood development, leading me to read What’s Going on in There, a book on brain development from birth-5yrs old, written by a neurobiologist mom who studied her own 3 children as they grew up.  What a great way to combine work and parenting!
For a few months now Iris has been babbling very expressively, moving her arms and emphasizing “words” as if giving a presidential speech.  We’d respond as if understanding, but really have no idea what she was trying so hard to say (kinda how we feel about president Bush’s speeches).  Suddenly at 13 months she is becoming a little person, expressing her needs and pointing out fascinating things to us through new sign language and speech every day. (though… we still don’t get president Bush…)
Dad is one of the main attractions.  She talks about her dad even when he isn’t in the room – a few minutes before he usually comes home, she’ll point towards the door with her thumb to her forehead to sign “daddy”, as in “when is daddy coming home?”  or she’ll hear the shower turn off in the morning and give me the “daddy” sign, as if to let me know he’s in there.

Iris’ first communicative words:

  • Dog – pronounced “daw” and signed with hand patting her leg, she loves pointing to dogs around Greenlake, to her stuffed animal dog, and especially to get me to read Doggies, a book by Sandra Boynton that requires us to demonstrate 10 different types of doggy barks.
  • Milk – her favorite sign, for awhile her only sign, and the one with the most immediate gratification.  How could I say no to that?
  • Daddy – sign, sometimes with verbal “dada”, combined with HUGE smile when he comes home
  • Hi – verbal.  Peeking around a wall at us to say “hi!”  adorable!
  • Fishy – sign while saying “fshyfshyfsh”.  Pointing to the aquarium at the zoomazium, the fish page of one of her books, daddy’s shower curtain, or even the fish on another baby’s shirt!
  • Bye Bye – verbal, with a wave, and sometimes long before our guest was planning to leave (oops!)
  • Cat – sign.  inspired by the Halloween balloon with black cat at Ian’s house, along with their live cat, she now signs “cat” while pointing to live cats or cats in books
  • Rain – sign along with “shhh” sound.  How could she not learn this word after it rained every day of November?
  • Bear – sign and “ba” sound.  Points to Pooh bear on the picture on the wall or the stuffed animal, or the bear on the car window decal.
  • Dance/music – a clear favorite for Iris.  If I dare let the music stop, she will walk over and point to the cd player, give a little dance, and do a version of the sign for music (which she learned at Tchaikovsky for Tots symphony last week).
  • Belly button – saying “be bu”.  This is her latest fascination, she loves poking my belly button, or her own, or daddy’s…  so we got her the book  Where is Baby’s Belly Button, which she wants to read over and over again, flipping up the flap that is baby’s shirt to reveal her belly button underneath.
  • Book – sign.  Iris loves books, and will bring books of any size and shape to me from across the room.  Even daddy’s heavy computer programming books!
  • Shoes – sign.  Iris loves trying to put on my shoes or her own (or even daddy’s), and in the morning she’ll point at my slippers next to the bed, then go get them and bring them to me, and try to put them on my feet.
  • Diaper change – I’m amazed that she is starting to do this sign, since she often protests and rolls over when I try to change her diaper. 
  • Thank you – sign.  Yes, our little bully (oh, should I call her “assertive”?) might actually be learning some manners.  She’s starting to sign “thank you” (hand to chin) in response to my ‘thank you’ to her.  very sweet.
Sandy says she’s even verbalized the word “water” to him a few times now, pronouncing it very clearly.  I haven’t personally heard it yet, and find it hard to imagine that she can already pronounce a word that complex.  Then again, I’m sure there are many more words and ideas forming inside her brain that just haven’t found their way out her mouth yet.  I can’t wait to hear what’s next!

These Boots Were Made For Walking

Iris has been walking up a storm for the last month or so.  She spent most of the summer walking with help, grabbing on to any available adult’s finger as a balancing mechanism more than support.  She was pretty much like a high-wire act hanging on to an umbrella as she slowly calculated her steps.  She all but refused to try to walk without help as I think she had taken one too many spills and preferred to err on the side of caution. But in the past month, she regained her confidence and no longer needs adult supervision. Every time I see her walk, I am reminded of "March of the Penguins" in the way the penguins bob left and right as the waddle along.  Meanwhile, she’s still a really good crawler.  This crawl/walk combo has created a newfound mobility that has certainly opened up new experiences as a parent.  She is a speedy little gal and you can’t look away for more than a moment.  I feel like I’ve used the phrase "Hey Iris, where did you go?" more this weekend than in her first year combined.  Not to worry–I usually knew where she was.  Still, we’re thinking about getting a cow bell to put around her neck.  Thankfully, Cherise has baby-proofed the house.  Of course, there’s "baby-proof" and there’s "Iris-proof" and we’re still figuring out what she can do.  As for Iris, she has gotten much more independent and she seems more content as a result.  When she’s done playing with something, she has the mobility to go do her next thing. I suppose the next wave of this will be at age 16 when she gets a driver’s license (little does she know she’s not touching dad’s keys until she’s 21, except to play chuaffeur for the family)…
Of course, once you start walking, it’s all about the shoes.  Now, I’ve never understood the female fascination with shoes (I used to think Prada was an 80s soviet news service) and with a wife who isn’t really into shoes herself, I may never get it.  But let it not be said that Iris isn’t establishing herself as a fashionista.  She has herself the coolest pair of boots on the block.  They are these multi-colored leather-looking ankle high boots that are pretty practical in that they are durable, but I gotta admit that they are pretty nifty. They have actually drawn an automatic reaction from anyone that sees her. Every time we visit with friends or go to parties, the shoes are bound to come up. Even strangers at coffee shops comment "Nice boots!".  Sine neither Cherise nor I are really fashion conscious, perhaps we’re promoting something we’re not quite ready to handle.  Fortunately, she also has her Nikes and I’m hoping she will see the fashion value of sneakers when she is older…

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