Several times lately, I have looked at my girls and realized that they are becoming more 'big girl' than 'baby'. It's the little things that make it hit home the most...those things that I almost don't even notice, or that sneak up on me unexpectedly.
At 21 months, Addison and Mackenzie are doing new things constantly. They are loving their new 'big-girl' toys from Christmas and are playing on their own for longer periods of time (hallelujah!). I am a bit amazed at the level of pretend they already understand, as they spend a lot of time cooking and stirring and feeding us concoctions from their kitchen.
The other day, Mackenzie grabbed the little potholder and picked up a plate with it to go in her oven. I was shocked to see her mimicking that act so well...I don't cook all that much when they're around, particularly using the oven, since it can sometimes be hard to keep four little hands away from the heat. It was a stark reminder that these girls are watching and soaking in everything we do, whether we realize it or not.
Mackenzie's vocabulary is growing at an astounding rate. She will try to repeat anything and everything we say, and she remembers many words for later use. The other day, she was pointing at a chair, telling someone to "sit, sit, sit", only it sounded like...well, you can guess what it sounded like. Oh, the fun of listening to children pronounce quasi-dirty-words.
Addison is trying to say more and more as well. She gets the rhythm of most words down, even if her pronunciation is not quite worked out yet, and she can match the tune of just about any song. She's my little music lover, and she loves singing and dancing along to her favorite songs. That girl is a pro at "Itsy Bitsy Spider", and she recently learned how to do the little "Here is the church/Here is the steeple/Open the doors/And see all the people" rhyme. She will hold up her little hands and wiggle those baby fingers to tell me she's ready to do the rhyme for the 100th time this week.
Another thing I am amazed they have learned already, without my even trying to teach it, is the use of possessives. We have had only a few instances of "mine" from Mackenzie, and even those have not really been directed at taking something from her sister, as I am sure they will be eventually. What cracks me up is that they have started naming the owners of different objects around the house. They point to the iron and say "daddy's" (which, ha! How funny is that? He actually does a LOT more ironing than I do, since he has to iron a uniform for work every day.) The coffee pot is "daddy's", the Diet Dr. Peppers and the Kindle are "mama's", and so forth. It's so cute to see them putting these concepts together in their little heads.
The girls got new potty chairs for Christmas, and I was encouraging them to sit on the potties before bath a few nights ago. What do my crazy children do? They bend over, stick their heads in the potties and stick their tongues to begin spitting and slobbering. I would say they are imitating someone puking, but I don't think they have ever seen that before. Who knows where these crazy ideas come from? They think it's hilarious and they remembered it the next night, so there was a nice little buildup of spit in the potty chairs. At least they're being put to good use for something, right?
They are still using their sign language very well (which I don't think I ever posted much about, but I am so, SO glad we used, even though we didn't start until about 14-15 months), but I have noticed that all of a sudden, they are saying the word along with the sign. They tap their hands together and say, "Moh, moh" (more), or bring a hand to their mouth and say, "eat". We are working on using "please" and "thank you" appropriately. The challenge comes, for instance, in teaching Mackenzie that sweetly saying "thank you" does NOT make it okay to snatch a toy out of Addison's hands.
They are demanding little girls, these kids of mine, constantly asking to "see", "play" or needing "more". But I love, love, love how our level of interaction increases at each new stage of development. I feel like I can actually make them understand some things now, and we can have primitive but real conversations. We are relating, and compared to the months and months of stress, little to no actual communication, and not understanding at all what they needed from me, it is just amazing. I feel like I am finally getting to know my children, and maybe, just maybe, finally becoming the kind of mother I hoped I would eventually be.
Edited to add: I mentioned the potty-spitting, but tonight before bath, Addison PEED IN THE POTTY!!! We may have scarred her for life by all the exclaiming we did, and at first she said "uh-ohhhh" like she had done something wrong, but I think she finally understood that we were happy about it. I am not getting my hopes up about how our potty-training experience might go, but still, I'm excited. She peed. In the potty. : )