Your aunt Suzanne called this morning to wish me a "Happy old year!" and I enjoyed that so much that I wanted to make it the subject of this year-end update letter to you, dear Daniel.
|This morning, you and Papa went outside|
to catch flurries on your tongues together.
The biggest development over these past months has continued to be your communication. You talk almost constantly and about everything. Your conversational skills rival many five-year-olds, and you've been known to give strangers in the grocery store funny looks when they approach you and try to use "baby talk" when striking up a conversation. (Like recently when asked about your baby[doll]'s "boo-boo" and "owie" by separate strangers, you patiently explained to them, "She got a scrape on her forehead and I put a band-aid on it.")
I've been particularly noticing lately that your pronunciation of many words is refining and changing a lot. For a while, you were repeating syllables of most words (melatonin became "mel-ta-ta-ta-ta-tin") or repeating the entire word twice (piano was "peeno-peeno"), but most of those have morphed into more conventional pronunciations at this point. The only repeating one I can think of that remains is "bit-it" as in "I would like to go outside for a little bit-it, Momma." (Also, your pronunciation of guacamole and noodle have not changed, as "mo-ko-cock-aye" and "nee-noo," respectively.) A couple other notable word shifts:
- Computer: One of your favorite things to play with, computer was pronounced "good-pee-do" (also known as "Papa's Rubin-con laptop good-pee-do") for many months, then it shifted to "good-puter," and finally to "computer" about a week ago.
- Daniel: For the longest time, you said your name like the word "giggle," but a couple of days ago, you started saying, "Dahn-yol."
|Checking out the other kids at the park.|
Similarly, you often use the opposites of the words that you intend (unlock when you mean lock; un-hang-up when you mean hang up) and you sometimes mix around the words in sentences, starting with the object of a verb, then the verb, then the subject of the sentence. You have a favorite book to read right now, Hands Are Not for Hitting, which you call "the Hitting is Not for book." I attribute all of these fun quirks to your mind working faster than your mouth can keep up, but maybe you can give me better insights to this at a later date.
Even though you can communicate all of your needs and wants verbally, you still love to use sign language. You often use it to emphasize a point: "Do you like the [signing] muuuusic?" You frequently ask if one of us knows the sign for a new word, and we're left to look it up or try to remember it from the courses we took in college. I appreciate that you're inspiring us all to continue to learn new things each day!
(As a side note, you definitely favor your left hand, and we've had several professionals tell us you're left-handed. That's been pretty fun and interesting to observe so far...and I guess we'll see if they're right!)
Secondary to your love of communication is your love of numbers. You can consistently count from 1 to 10 or 11 now, and fairly often up through 15 or so. For a while you would say "One-three-two-one-ten!" (like it was all one word) as a way to sort of "count down" to something you were about to do, like jumping off of the couch, or pushing off on a swing at OT.
|Lunchtime is always better with a little |
The last vacation we took was almost exactly a year before this recent one, and as I think back to that trip, I am even more aware of how much has changed with you through all the work you do in OT with Lisa each week. You are much more adaptable to new situations and new people now, and you'll even put your head upside-down without any coaxing (or upset, on your part) anymore. You're making strides with emotional regulation, and you're also developing some pretty darn impressive social skills. While it's still far easier for you to interact with adults (because they are more predictable than kids), you've begun to develop some relationships with other children, including Vulva Baby. We've also found a small indoor play place where you feel fairly comfortable playing near—though not quite with—other kids your age.
You've been having lots of trouble with sleep (and night-waking in particular) for a while now, but that whole subject is far too much to get into right now. We're all working on it (you most!) and I have faith that we'll all be getting enough sleep soon enough.
Another big development since my last update is that you are now potty independent. At the beginning of September, we saw a shift with your potty habits, and fairly quickly (within about a week) you went from using a diaper at nap and night time and having a few misses during the day to not using diapers at all. For a couple of weeks after, you still insisted on wearing your diapers at night time though. You would even come into our room in the middle of the night and ask Papa to put your diaper back on, after having removed it yourself to use the potty. Once it seemed clear that you were not having misses at night, we decided to put a stop to diapers altogether. One weekend at the beginning of October, we all helped to pack away the diapers and move the changing table to the basement for storage. Now you use the potty all the time with very little assistance!
One of the things that hasn't changed is your love of music. You frequently sing songs to yourself when you're playing with toys or blocks while I'm cooking in the kitchen, and you like to listen to music during the day while we're going about the business of life. You've developed a particular affinity for The Beatles, with your top favorites being "Yellow Submarine" and "A Little Help From My Friends." Papa has put together a song book with chords and lyrics for many of your favorite songs, and we sing together in the evenings while he plays guitar and you and I provide percussion backup. Sometimes you play your inflatable guitar or the piano, too.
The thing I enjoy most to do with you is to be silly. You're so receptive to me when I act goofy, and I get a huge kick out of making you laugh. Dancing together to music on the radio is a good way to bring out the sillies in both of us, and I love those times so much, Daniel.
We've had a big year with lots of ups and downs, and I'm sure that next year will bring many more of both. I'm most grateful for all the smiles, all the hugs, and all the love shared between us.
Happy old year, my love! May next year be at least as blessed as this one was.