Katen and I are having such a great time staying home together. It's rewarding to see her grow and change every day. She learns things very quickly and really has begun to immitate me in several ways. She tries to say many of the words I say to her. Some of the interperatations are pretty comical really.
She also likes to act like we do. We have to give her a cell phone of her very own if we want to be able to talk on ours. Otherwise she begs to talk. Once she gets a hold of it she loves to push the buttons and hold it up to her ear. He says Hello! and Bye! Then she hands it to us.
She's also begun showing empathy. First it was with the cat. She's constantly harassing the cat whom she dearly loves. (And Cat is definitely one of the clearest words she says.) The first thing she asks to see when she wakes up is "cat!" When we get home from an outing she has to run to find "cat" and once cat is found, it's all she can do to be gentle as we've asked 1,000 times. Really she'd rather grab the cat's tail and hold on for dear life. The cat's been known to pull Katen into a faceplant in a last ditch effort to get away. When the cat meows out of frustration, Katen gets all sweet and meows back in a high pitched voice. It's hard to explain but very cute.
The other behavior that I'm now working to un-teach is hair pulling. She pulls with all her might and it's hard not to yelp in pain. However, It's difficult to tell Katen "no" because if you say it sternly, she thinks it's the most hilarious thing and will belly laugh. (UGH!) In an effort to appeal to her "softer side" I started acting like I was crying when she pulled my hair. It did work. She's let go right away and chatter at me in her high pitched concerned voice and then give me kisses. The problem is that she enjoys being sympathetic so it backfired. She'd pull my hair just so she could nurse me back to health. (For the love of Pete! Who would have thought?) So now I'm trying a new approach based on a few of the books I've been reading. It works somewhat but needs some tweaking. A few nights ago I'd just been telling Daddy that we need to not make a big deal out of saying no, but do it firmly, tell her why, and then remove her from the area. Daddy took that to heart and the next time Katen pulled my hair, he quickly went and picked her up. Unfortunately she still had a hold of my hair. ...lovely.
On a good note, Katen's taken an interest in the potty chair. About 80% of the time, when I take her diaper off and sit her on the potty, she'll go. We're not pushing full fledged potty training just yet but it sure does save us a few diapers here and there. She especially likes the song the potty sings to her. Yes... we have a singing potty. Don't you wish you had one too?
Some of the things we're learning and reinforcing right now are shapes, body parts, and animal sounds. She's especially fascinated with belly buttons and tries to say it but it comes out "beowy butta." Her other favorite is the nose. She's got to point out her nose, Mommy's nose, Daddy's nose and Swiffer's nose. Swiffer is pretty thrilled about that. Her favorite animals are cows and Sheep. If she hears anything remotely Baaa sounding she'll repeat "Baa Baa!"
Some of her favorite activities around the house are riding in her carrier while I vacuum, going Bye Bye, climbing the stairs ("nairth" in her words), dancing with Mommy to her music, and watching baby sign language videos. She also likes to help sweep. That's great because we end up having to sweep after almost every meal and snack. She's very insistent when she decides she wants to do one of these things too. I'll bet she pulls out her carrier four to five times each day asking to ride with me. When I put it on she gets all giddy and giggles until she's strapped in. She'll also go find her towel and ask for a bath or climb the baby gate in front of the stairs pointing and asking about those "nairth." Once I lift her over the gate she climbs those stairs like a crazy lady giggling the entire way. I love the sound of her laughter! I also never thought that she'd sit still for a video but I've downloaded a few 2 minute long videos of baby signs that she didn't know yet. She absolutely fell in love with them and asks to watch them all the time now. I think they're more appealing since one of the signs is "cat." As I said, she loves all things cat. Actually all animals that she points out are cats initially. Even if it's a horse, or a dog. We're working on that. Ha!
Needless to say, Katen and I are staying fairly busy. We've made our rounds to many of the area's story times and visit the libary often. We have a group of moms that we try to have lunch with once a week and we've even been to the Botanical Center for story time and a scavenger hunt. (which reminds me that I still have several pinwheels in my coat pocket from that adventure. She found a bunch!) Sometimes we go to a local gym to play on the toddler gymnastic equipment and other times we play at the mall playground. I try to keep the playground to a minimum though because of germs but there are plenty of other things to do. If we run out of stuff to do outside of the house there's always crafts and coloring. We finally found some colors that she likes. It's the best when we can get outside on the unseasonal nice days though and go for real walks and play at the park. The fresh air does us both good.
On the days we can get outside Katen takes a nice nap too. She's moved to one nap a day in the afternoon. This is no surprise since she's never been a big sleeper. There are too many discoveries to make and she doesn't want to miss anything. If I'm lucky, she'll sleep for 90 minutes or even 2 hours on a day when she's really tired. That gives me an opportunity to pick up the house, do a little cleaning, plan the meals for the week or prep for dinner.