Seventeen to Twenty Months
There is less and less toddle in Lilly's toddling. She can stand almost motionless, without swaying, if she wants. Of course, she doesn't often want to do that. When I picked her up from day care today, she was playing on the jungle gym outside. She had to show me how she could go up and down the steps. She was hesitant to go down the slide but I was able to encourage her enough that she slid down on her belly. She liked it so much that she caused a bit of a scene when I had to drag her away so we could go home. Later at home, I noticed the tell-tale red face and straining. When I asked her, "Lilly, are you pooping? Do you want your diaper changed?" she walked out to the back room where her changing table is and tried to climb up. Once clean and dry, she resumed playing in the living room. This involved crumpling up Poppa's brand-new Wired magazine. I took it away from her explaining that it was a grown-up book. Lilly, of course, threw a fit so I asked her, "Do you want to look at one of your books?" She stopped crying, walked over to the bookshelf where her books are, grabbed a couple, and clambered up in my lap to read. Sitting there with her in my lap a thousand miles away from the terror in NYC, I realized how lucky I was to be home with my beautiful daughter.
We went over to our friends Will and Sarah's house around three. Lilly had a grand time running around the backyard and hamming it up for Momma and Poppa's friends. She did fairly well inside, despite the fact that house was certainly NOT childproof or baby-friendly. I think she was a little confused that Will and Sarah's dog, Hank, wasn't at all like her dog Hank. Around 6:30, we tried to put her down in a darkened bedroom but the excitement was too much and she giggled and squirmed until we gave up and let her stay up. Eventually it all caught up to her. By 7:30 (now an hour and a half past her bedtime) she was beginning to melt down and we beat a hasty retreat. Only a few minutes into the car ride home, crankiness lapsed into exhaustion and she was out like the proverbial light.
Lilly's latest thing is to move a pile of books or toys from one place to another. One by one, she painstakingly selects an item, toddles across the room, and places it carefully into Momma or Poppa's lap. Once she's amassed enough items and arranged them correctly, she climbs up and into the lap to play or read. "Reading" takes up more and more of Lilly's time. She is absolutely fascinated with books and loves to page through them, babbling to herself and pointing things out. The other night when we settled down to read our story before bed, I picked I Love You This Much. One page into it, Lilly slammed it shut and pushed it away. I asked her "Do you want to read another book? How about The Very Hungry Caterpillar?" She smiled and nodded enthusiastically. When we finished the riveting tale, she shut the book, pushed it away, and said "BUH-bye" (using her best David Spade SNL stewardess inflection).
Tonight after dinner, Lilly was running around the house drinking milk from her sippy cup. When she finished it, I asked her, "Do you want some more milk?" She nodded. I told her, "Go out to the kitchen so we can get some milk out of the refrigerator." She trotted off to the kitchen and tugged on the refrigerator door. I got the milk out and asked her, "Can you hand me your cup?" She giggled and ran away, circling around to the other kitchen door. She giggled some more and ran back around the other way. I said, "I need your cup if you want some milk." She walked over and handed me her cup. After a very frustrating 30-second wait she received her beverage and tore off for more adventures in the living room.
During a trip to Farm and Fleet today, Lilly kept grabbing baseball caps off the shelf and walking around with them on her head. This was not a new phenomena. She's been fascinated with my caps for quite a while now. So what's a parent to do? Why buy her her own child-size Carhart baseball cap, of course. Later in the day, we retired Lilly's highchair, replacing it with a booster seat strapped to one of the kitchen chairs. She took this sign of progress all in stride. The language thing seems well within her grasp as well. The other day as Hank was sniffing around her sipping cup, she shouted, "No puppy. My milk." The word "outside" throws her into a tizzy. She heads for the back door and asks for her "jacket." She's getting pretty good with her animal sounds too: horses go "neigh," cows go "moo," roosters go "cock-a-doodle-doo," and pigs make a snuffling noise that sort of resembles Momma and Poppa's "oink."
Lilly has begun to read to herself. She will drag a book up into a chair and page through it, babbling at the pictures and turning the pages. She is particularly enthralled with Go Dog Go, squealing when she gets to the big dog party on top of the tree on the last page. We've also been letting Lilly brush her own teeth. When it gets close to bedtime, we ask "Do you want to go brusha-brusha?" She always nods vigorously, heads for the back stairs, and bangs on the door knob. After we open the door, she clambers up the stairs and careens into the bathroom, clawing at the counter top. She mainly just sucks the toothpaste off, but she does attempt to imitate brushing motions. Momma or Poppa have to finish up in order to get something of value out of the exercise.
Another development, albeit a disturbing one, is Lilly's increasing defiance. She's always been headstrong, but her skill at manipulating her parents continues to grow. Sometime this defiance takes the form of hissy fits. Sometimes it takes the form of game playing. Sometimes both. For example, Lilly loves to get up into chairs. Initially, she'll scramble up, turn around, and seat her self proud as all get out. Then she'll start to stand up against the back of the chair. When we tell her to sit down, she giggles and does nothing until we move toward her to seat her properly. Then she'll drop to her butt and laugh some more. Then she'll stand back up. When we explain to her that we don't stand on the furniture and remove her to the floor, she screams bloody murder. At least she seems to have gotten over her frustration biting, but still...
Tonight's supper turned into quite the mess. It began innocently enough. Lilly was eating her yogurt with a spoon like a big girl. I turned my back for a minute and when I turned back, Lilly had decided to switch over to using her fingers. That wouldn't be so bad except that she was smearing it all over her hair. I let her finish and then scooted her straight upstairs to the tub for a bath. Splashing with her ducks, she suddenly noticed one of her hairs floating in the water. Fascinated, she played with it for a while and then suddenly grabbed at her head as if to pluck some more samples. Smart kid.
By noon we headed down town the Monona Terrace Convention Center (the mistake on the lake) for Meatless Octoberfest sponsored by Boca. We enjoyed the Boca bratwurst and Oktoberfest beer and Lilly enjoyed the oompah band. She ran right up in front of the lederhosen-clad ensemble and stood with a look utter fascination on her face. When the band kicked into a number, she danced (read: she furiously bent her legs at the knee and flailed her arms).
This afternoon we went to the pumpkin patch down the road. The farmer had his entire front yard lined up with pumpkins and Lilly wandered up and down the rows in a daze. She finally decided on the one she wanted; of course, it was about three times bigger than she was. She put all she had into trying to pick it up. We finally had to redirect her to one that was a bit more manageable. She may not know what Halloween is but she sure is enamoured with her costume. Lisa bought her plush spotted one-piece frog suit, complete with front flippers and a hood sporting bulbous eyeballs. It hangs on the door knob of her closet and she is forever grabbing it and draping herself in it. If we put the hood on and let the rest flow out behind her like a cape, she races around with an insane grin. She also thinks it's absolutely hilarious to put it on Poppa's head.
Today was yard work day. While Poppa tried to prune some of our 27 trees, Momma and Lilly romped in the leaves, chased the geese, and "helped" carry a few sticks to the road for pickup. She also rode on her Jeep in the driveway having just recently figured out how to press the button on the handle bar that makes it go. The fresh air and activity must have really took their toll on Lilly because not only did she take a two-hour nap, but afterwards she ate dinner and went right back down.
We headed to the home improvement expo today. While I attended a seminar on selecting a contractor, Lilly and Lisa visited every booth (more than once). Lilly was, of course, a hit, charming everyone she met and indiscriminately greeting folks with either "hi" or "bye." She apparently was really into the demo sunroom and amused herself by running in and out of it as well as slobbering all over the glass.
Lilly absolutely refused to eat tonight. She screamed when I tried to put her in her booster seat so I figured that we'd wait a while for dinner. Finally, she went back into the kitchen and rattled her chair. When I tried to install her again, she protested at an even higher volume level. I managed to get her buckled in but then she kept ripping her bib off. I finally succeeded in keeping the bib on and attaching the tray (no easy task with this kicking and screaming girl). Once I had her situated, I tried to give her some food. She was so upset and crying at this point that she wouldn't even shove things on the floor. In fact, she completely ignored the slice of bread with peanut butter. Something was definitely up. I never did get her to eat. Although she did quiet down when released from her booster seat, she still acted tired and fussy. Needless to say, I put her to bed early. At least she went down easier than she ate dinner.
Lilly was a pistol this morning. She asked for Shredded Wheat and then threw them all on the floor. I gave her some Golden Grahams and she crunched them with her bottle. I love my daughter to pieces but there are some days when I'm happy daycare has to deal with her instead of me. Unlike last night, she ate well tonight: cheese, beans, banana, and a slice of peanut butter bread. She was overjoyed when I presented her with the last item and, as expected, made a complete mess, smearing it on her face to lick off the peanut butter. After dinner, during free play, she climbed into one of the drawers of her toy box and buried herself with her favorite stuff toys: Piglet, Dolly, and Chicken. And, of course, Lamby; she loves repeating to herself, and anyone within earshot, "Ammy."
She's got her body parts down pat now. She says "nose," "eye," "ear," "teeth," or "hair" and then points out the right part on Momma, Poppa, and baby in quick succession. The rest of her vocabulary continues to grow as well: "coat," "plane," "duck," "socks," "shoes," "Hank," "my," "night-night," and "potty." The list goes on and on and expands daily.
Her grasp of her world is amazing to us sometimes. When Lisa tells her that they're going to go for a walk, Lilly goes to the back closet and gets out Momma's shoes. Now keep in mind that Momma has many pairs of shoes in the closet including two pairs of walking shoes. Lilly goes for the brand-new pair of New Balances every time. The other day, while Lisa was changing her diaper, Lilly grabbed a wipe and begin wiping in the appropriate area. While I was watching the news tonight, she screamed hysterically when she saw a commercial with lions in it. She heard an airplane outside and pointed out the window, exclaiming "plane." When she hears Poppa belch, she giggles and tries imitate it. She knows that brusha-brusha means that it's time to go upstairs to brush her teeth and wash her hands. What's next? Differential equations?
Lisa accompanied Lilly's daycare field trip to a local farm. It was cold and very windy so we bundled her up in her two-piece fleecy snow suit with built-in mittens. While the rest of the kids whined and cried during the hayride, Lilly happily played with the straw and pointed at the cows in the fields, correctly identifying them as "Moo." Next up was the corn maze. Again, her classmates screamed and fussed. Lilly happily ran around and off into the corn all the while smiling through her bright red cheeks. The trip was cut short by her whining peers, but not before all the kids got a pumpkin. When I got home from work, Lilly was very excited to show me her "bumpa." Lisa and I were talking later after the little one was in bed and we discovered that we had both noticed something different about Lilly. In just the last couple of days, she's become more aware; there seems to be something more going on behind her eyes than before. She interacts with us differently, more subtly, more intelligently. It's hard to pinpoint, but she's definitely a more developed person all of a sudden.
Lilly loves pancakes. She stuffed her face with an entire Cracker Barrel cake this morning at breakfast while charming the wait staff. Later in the afternoon we carved a Jack-O-Lantern out in the front yard. Well actually, I carved and Lilly and Momma watched. Lilly wanted to see what was inside of the pumpkin and kept sticking her face in the hole on top. She also wanted to help as I cleaned out the innards. I would pull out a spoonful of guts and present it to her. Lilly would gingerly grab a handful of cold flesh and deposit it into the paper sack we were using for cleanup. Sometimes she'd get confused and start putting the guts back into the pumpkin. At one point she was able to push the top back inside. When I got around to carving the the face, we had to watch Lilly carefully. She kept trying to stick her hands inside while I was knifing. Momma distracted her and pretty soon they were running around the walnut tree with the top of the pumpkin. We literally had to tear her away from the finished product on the front steps. As we were cleaning up for bedtime, the water was a bit warmer than usual and Lilly astutely observed, "hot; hot." I tried in vain to explain the difference between hot and warm.
Today was Halloween at the Zoo. We got Lilly into her fuzzy frog costume and walked around looking at the multitudes of costumed kids. We didn't bother standing in line for treats from various local business, but instead went right for the animals. Lilly squealed at the emus and waved at the buffaloes and gazelles. She recognized the geese as the same animals in our back yard and greeted them with a growling "hooouuuh" sound. we beat a hasty retreat as she had her normal noon meltdown. Later in the day she heard several flocks of geese flying outside overhead and immediately did her growling "hooouuuh." Incidentally, this is the same sound she makes when sees a picture of snake or gets into her frog costume. A show on Animal Planet about cheetahs on the other hand elicited squeals of delight. Just before bedtime, Lilly amazed Lisa by emptying the laundry basket and announcing the owner of each item: Momma or Poppa.
Lilly hit the trick-or-treat trail by 5:00 p.m. First stop was the Roberts (home of Lilly's usual babysitters: Sarah, Molly, and Maggie). Their mother, Penny, had prepared a special Halloween gift bag. Lilly was excited by the book and the stuffed kitty, but a little unsure about what to do with the wrapped candy. Everyone oohed and ahhed over her frog outfit and the whole crew had to pose with the baby for a few pictures. We visited a couple of other neighbors and Lilly seemed oblivious to the treat aspect of the occasion opting instead for the trick: in this case walking into houses and exploring. With her bedtime fast approaching, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and headed for home and Lilly's bed.
I found Lilly out in the playground when I picked her up at daycare. She looked like she had been eating dirt, but according to her teachers, she had just "taken a header" which, of course, put her snotty nose into intimate contact with the sand. It looks as though it's the runny-nose time of year again. Tonight at bedtime, Lilly picked out The Rainbow Fish as her story. When she crawled up in my lap, she made it very obvious that she wanted first crack at it. She slapped my hands off the book and pushed at my face when I tried to read the pages she was turning. So I gave up and let her take charge. She paged through the book back and forth, "reading" out loud to herself. After a couple of minutes, she grabbed my hand and placed it on the book. Then she settled back and let me read to her until I was almost done. She shut the book, pushed it away and told me "night, night." As I tucked her in and sang to her, she told me "bye-bye."
I guess all small children enjoy playing outside in piles of fall leaves. Lilly is no exception. We spent hours rolling around in the yard and honking ("hooouuuh") at the geese down by the pond. In the afternoon we took Lilly to Culver's for an ice cream. While it was no surprise that the ice-cream cone was hit, Lilly also seems to have acquired a taste for ketchup. She hadn't really liked it up until now, but today I gave her a French fry dipped in ketchup. She tentatively sucked the ketchup off and made a funny face. Pretty quickly though, she decided that she liked the taste and asked for more. (By the way, asking for more has changed from "moh" to "my-mine." We're not sure how that happened or what it means, but there it is.) By the time we were ready to leave, she was using a spoon to scoop mouthfuls of ketchup out of the paper French-fry-dippin' cups. Yum, yum.
We ventured out to Whole Foods in search of a Tofurkey dinner for the upcoming holiday. Lilly initially enjoyed pushing a child-size cart around the store, narrowly avoiding a number of lawsuits for Momma and Poppa. She soon decided that it was more fun to just run up and down the aisles screaming at the top of her lungs and making a mad dash past the checkout clutching an as-yet-unpaid-for package of blueberries. Momma was somehow able to keep the young'n under control while Poppa grabbed the Tofurkey and we beat a hasty retreat (stopping first at the checkout to keep things legal).
Yesterday, Lisa reported that Lilly was a hellion. She colored with crayons on the kitchen floor, she repeatedly banged the window with her bottle, she refused to take a nap, she refused to eat and threw her food either on the floor or at Lisa. Her crankiness was surely due in part to the fact that she's cutting her eye teeth. The crankiness continued today. Daycare's assessment of Lilly's behavior began, "Lilly had a rough day today." Again, she wouldn't eat and wouldn't nap. On top of that she repeatedly tried to bite other children and one of the teachers. The lack of sleep was clearly evident as we tried to feed her dinner. She sat in her chair practically comatose, her eyes staring and glazed. Needless to say, we put her to bed early.
Lilly had her 18-month check up today. Doctor Whalen told us that at her age, she should probably have a vocabulary of about six words by now. She was very surprised when we reported Lilly's to be about six or seven times that. Physically, Lilly is right on track — her weight and height in the mid-70 percentiles. Her language and development however are far outstripping her peers, according to the good doctor. The grand finale of the visit was, of course, more shots. And, of course, Lilly screamed and we felt bad. We were consoled somewhat by the fact that these are the last shots she needs until she goes to school.
Lilly's diet has expanded to include vegetarian hot dogs (Not-dog) and peanut-butter sandwiches, which she insists on taking apart and smearing all over her face. She's still fascinated with geese, making her "hooouuuh" sound whenever she sees or hears them. Curiously, she makes the same sound when she sees our neighbor's Christmas lights. Go figure. Lilly hasn't wanted a bedtime story much lately. She'll either insist on reading all alone or dispenses with it altogether and tries to climb into her crib saying "night-night."
I am frightened by Lilly's intellect. Today when we arrived home from daycare, Lilly was in a state. She was owly and cranky. Crying for no reason; not happy with anything. Finally I asked her, "Do your teeth hurt?" She got up, went into the bathroom, opened the medicine cabinet, found the baby Tylenol, and brought it to me. Then, while I fumbled for the phone to check in with Momma, she tried to get the top off and, failing that, began chewing the rubber dropper end. With permission from Momma, I dosed her up and within a few minutes we achieved the desired analgesic effect.
Other feats of intellect aren't as alarming, but are, nonetheless, still impressive. When the phone rings, Lilly puts her hand to her ear and says, "Hell-OW." When we ask if she wants to go to daycare, she begins listing her classmates and teachers: Max (Mop), Brianna (NaNa), Josh (Jesh), Ben (Baa), Becca (Gekkah), Caitlin (heh-heh).
Thursday 22 November 2001
We hit the road at around 8:15 a.m. as soon as Uncle Chris arrived at our house. First stop was Elgin IL to pick up Great Auntie Ruth. The plan was to have Chris drive her car to our final destination in Michigan City IN. As an added bonus, Cousin Julie met us as well for a hook-up with Lilly's cousin Paige. We shared a cup of coffee (and some mash-potatos for the girls) at a convenient Boston Market. The little ones acknowledged each other but didn't really interact; playing in their own little worlds and interacting almost exclusively with the adults.
Two hours later we were in Michigan City. We found our rented beach house fairly easily and immediately walked to the top the dunes out back to get a glimpse of the lake. We had planned on going all the way down to the water but Lilly got distracted by the sand. She plopped herself down at the crest of the dunes and relished the feel of the super-fine white sand slipping through her hands. At Thanksgiving dinner that evening, Lilly largely ignored the Tofurkey but ate a fair amount potatos. She went down pretty easily in her Pack-n-Play and we looked forward to an uneventful night.
But around 3:00 a.m. Lilly began crawling out of her crib. We were awakened by the impact of her flipping over the top rail and onto the bed. We returned her to bed but she was not to be denied. Once, she managed to wedge herself, head-down, between the Pack'n'Play and the foot of our bed. After that, we had no choice but to take her into bed with us and, as a result, we got very little sleep. When we did manage to drift off, we were quickly awakened by Lilly poking us and pointing out the various parts of our faces.
Friday 23 November 2001
Bleary-eyed we arose to meet the day. First order of the day was to open Christmas gifts. Since we wouldn't be seeing the Hall side of the family at Christmas, we celebrated early. Lilly's favorite gift, without a doubt, was her plastic shopping cart from Aunt Beth and Uncle Tim. Cousin Sarah took a special shine to Lilly and the two of them circled the house endlessly pushing the cart brimming with stuffed animals. In order to get Lilly to take nap, we first had to solve the Pack'n'Play problem. Finally we ended up putting the basinet into the crib and tenting the netting with a length of dental floss (mint-flavored) tied to the curtain rod. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.
Later in the afternoon, we all went down to the beach. Lilly was absolutely fascinated by the water and kept slapping the freezing waves. Eventually, she began sitting down on the wet sand. This inevitably led to waves washing over her feet and legs. By the time we got back to the house, I had to strip her down to her diaper so as not to drag her wet and sanding clothes inside. Later Lilly spent a remarkably long time sitting with Auntie and reading "The Wheels on the Bus."
Saturday 24 November 2001
The night passed without any successful Pack'n'Play escape attempts. However, Lilly wasn't really happy about her new sleeping arrangments and vocalized her displeasure at various points throughout the night. Lilly was very interested in Cousin Adam's raisin bran. She wanted some too and ate like a big girl, doing pretty well with a non-suctioned-cup bowl, milk, and a real metal spoon. The morning (and as it turned out, the whole day) was rainy and cold so we headed out to the children's museum with the South clan. It turned out to more of a play room than a museum, but no matter, Lilly loved driving the huge ambulance and playing with the vast array of puppets.
After a couple of hours, we all hit the Olde Country Buffet. Buffets are never of high culinary quality, but they totally rock for kids: you don't have to wait. The afternoon brought more laps with the shopping cart and Lilly's first video. Adam, Sarah, and Lilly were glued to the TV while The Very Hungry Catepillar crawled across the screen. It hardened our resolve to allow videos only as a special event and to never allow them to become a babysitter.
Sunday 25 November 2001
Just before departing Michigan City, we decided to take a walk on the boardwalk. As we started out, Lilly seemed intoxicated by the the wind and the waves. Barely 50 yards out the sea wall though, Lilly, like the rest of us, had had enough and we retreated to the warmth of the van. By the time we got home at around 3:30 p.m., Lilly was ready for her own toys and her own bed. So were we.
After a trip to Target for the requisite lights and Christmas decorations, we headed to rural Waunakee to buy a tree. Lilly giggled and pointed at the Reindeer in the pen out back and seemed reluctant to be dragged away to select a tree. We toyed with the idea of cutting our own but one glance at the squirming little cherub in our arms disabused us of that notion. With a tree and a wreath stuffed in the van, we headed home to deck the halls. After we completed the tree, Lilly sat on the couch for a reasonably long period and stared in wonderment. This was the first Christmas tree I'd ever bought and had in my own place. Even though we were still heading out east this year, we wanted to start some sort of tradition for Lilly. Funny how priorities change, eh?
Around this time Lilly started to say "thank you." Of course she pronounces it in her own incredibly adorable way: "henk yoo" or, if she's in a hurry, "eee-ooo." She's started to string words together to create rudimentary sentences which give startling insight into her grasp on things. The other day when I went to pick her up at daycare, she emphatically said, "No night-night," indicating, of course, that she understood full well what happens when we get home.
We swung by our friend Tony's house to drop off some musical equipment. He had a gift waiting for Lilly. After we started the process for her, she ripped off the wrapping paper with glee. The wrapping gave way to a book ("Giraffes Can't Dance") but Lilly didn't stop. She was so zealous that we had to quickly intervene to save the dust jacket from the fate of the gift wrap. The new book kept her enthralled all the way to Momma'a favorite restaurant, Red Robin, where Lilly enjoyed a nutritious lunch of Saltines and French Fries dipped in ketchup.
We dunked Lilly in the tub first thing to get her cleaned up for the long drive to New York. She was in remarkably good spirits for most of the 13-hour drive with only a few fits of screaming brought on by the discomfort of the carseat and interminable boredom. We had planned on stopping for the night at some point along the trip, but when Lilly fell asleep at around 5:30 and we were making such good time, we decided to go for it. We arrived in Canandaigua at around 10:30 p.m. and were greeted by a swarm of Lilly fans. Despite the fact that it was now WAY past her bedtime, grandparents and aunts and uncles could not be denied. We had playtime in front of the fire where Lilly proceeded to charm everyone, making it very difficult for us to spirit her away for bed. We finally got her down by midnight.
Lilly is in heaven here. She loves the attention and adoration. I guess that's the way it's supposed to be... Grandpa sneaks into our room every morning and snatchs the little one out of her crib. By the time we get downstairs, Nanny and Grandpa are already squabbling over who gets to hold the baby. Sometimes no one does: she's an independent girl. Lilly also has gone ga-ga over her Uncles Joe and Eugene. She loves crawling all over them and loading up their laps with her animals (maa-moos). Aunt Sandra is quite popular with Lilly as well. Especially given that Sandra loves taking Lilly on outings: stroller rides, trips to see the horsies and lights at Sonnenberg Gardens. On returning from one particular trip, Sandra expressed considerable consternation over the fact that Lilly refused to wear any of her cold-weather gear. In short order, she shed her mittens, hat, and coat. Then she screamed to get out of her stroller. Poor Aunt Sandra had to carry Lilly and push the stoller all the way back. We're just preparing her for motherhood.
Lilly has begun playing make-believe. She plays "night-night" for hours by arranging her stuffed toys and covering them with dish towels. It's kind of nice to be able to enjoy a cup of coffee and conversation while Lilly entertains herself. It's a bit sad that she doesn't want our attention all the time, but it's exciting to see her becoming more independent and self-sufficient. One of the pieces of Nanny's toy collection was a Raggedy Ann doll. Lilly was extremely enamoured with Annie and spent considerable time and effort diapering her, including pulling baby wipes from the pop-up box and using them on Annie's bottom. This fascination with diapers coincided with her growing awareness of what was going on in her own diaper. With growing frequency Lilly informed us when she had "poop" in her pants. Sometimes she'd even lead us to her changing area and lay down.
One of the highlights each night, at least as far as Grandpa was concerned, was the naked-time dance. As we began to get ready for night-night, we'd let Lilly play in her diaper for a few minutes. Eventually this turned into a dance routine accompanied by clapping and shouting from the whole family. Lilly would twirl, prance, kick, bend, and gyrate, sending her entourage into paroxysms of delight. When she started slapping her chest and belly and grinning wildly, Uncle Joe observed that she might be part mountain gorilla. For her grand finale, she would rip off her diaper and scream around the house in her birthday suit. When we finally caught up with her, it was definitely nighty-night time.
It was a green Christmas; still no snow. It didn't dampen anyone spirits though and Lilly was showered with an immense number of presents. She did fairly well opening her own gifts though she did tend to get distracted with all the boxes from time to time. Her favorites appeared to be a small stuffed St. Bernard, the Playskool farm, a stuffed horsy that neighed loudly when squeezed, a hand-crafted wooden rocking horse, and a Madeleine doll, which occupied much of her time over the coming days.
Snow finally. Nanny, Grandpa, and Aunt Sandra took Lilly to Sonnenberg park to go sledding. Despite the near-blizzard conditions, she loved it. She squealed and smiled as the snow flakes stuck to her her eyelashes.
For the past three days, the New York Thruway has been closed due to all the snow in Buffalo. Finally the snow in Buffalo stopped after accumulating eight feet and the Thruway opened. We set out at around 1:00 p.m. in sunshine. As we approached Erie, Pennsylvania, we encountered drifting snow, white-outs, and 30-mile-an-hour traffic. With daylight failing, we decided to spend the night in Erie. Lilly was all about our Hampton Inn room. She was bouncing off the walls when it should have been her bedtime. We put her down so many times I lost count. Of course, it didn't help that we were trying to watch a movie but she was so wound up, I honestly don't think there was anything we could have done. She finally fell asleep, exhausted, at around 1:30 a.m. Oh well, we tried to console ourselves, she'll sleep in the car tomorrow.
And in fact she did, at least when it counted. After a breakfast in the hotel lobby where Lilly ran around and charmed nearly everyone, we hit the road. The road, however, was still snow covered and the snow showed no signs of letting up. We crept along the road to Cleveland at 30 miles per hour over a bone-jarringly rutted Interstate. Three hours later we emerged into sunlight and saw nothing but dry pavement ahead. Lilly was a bit cranky but again slept through the congestion of Chicago.
On New Year's Day we took down tree. Lilly helped out by unpacking each box as fast as we got them packed. We had to make more than a few quick grabs to wrest the fragile glass balls away from her little hands. Lilly's attention span seems to be getting longer. In addition to long bouts of the nighty-night game, she'll now sit very quietly as I read her bedtime story. And we're talking long stories here. I've been reading her things like the 60-page tome, "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish." She also seems to be speaking more clearly with more acceptable pronunciation. On occasion, she'll say "please" (peece) much to delight of her ever-proper Momma. That's all well and good I guess but I've been noticing how she gets more and more beautiful each day.
When Lisa took Lilly to daycare today (the first day back in nearly two weeks), Lilly ran up to all her classmates and gave them enthusiastic hugs and kisses. Her little friends were happy to see her too and ran over with all her favorite toys. I'm beginning to wonder if she rules the roost there. Lately, when we get home I let Lilly push the button for the garage-door opener. This delights her to no end; almost as much as when I let her flip the switch to turn the light off when we go night-night.
The "night-night" game continues. Lately it's evolved to the point where Lilly carries a stuffed animal into the kitchen and selects a suitable dish cloth for a blanket. She brings the animal-blanket combination back to the living room and hands them to me to line up and tuck in. She watches intently as I cover the animal, pat the blanket, pronouce "nighty-night." Sometimes she makes a minor adjustment to my placement and then careens off to the kitchen with another toy.
This morning while taking her bath, Lilly decided that she wanted to put her duckies up on the shelf in the tub. She got agitated when a duck wouldn't sit sqaurely on its flat base and made absoultely sure that all the duckies were arranged neatly in a row, sitting upright. I've also noticed recently that Lilly now makes a point of orienting her stuffed animals correctly while playing: feet point down and heads point up, fronts face forward and backsides face backwards. Lilly refused to take any kind of nap yesterday. Despite that, she was in remarkably good spirits, not counting the fit she threw in Target when we had to drag her away from the car seats and exersaucers.
Today it seems as though naps may be a thing of the past; no naps today either. Momma slept in late so Lilly and I had a grand time playing by ourselves and with our houseguest Amy Teske. Lilly turned on the charm hamming it up for Amy. Her interpretive dancing continues to evolve and she starts gyrating as soon as she hears music. I was in the bathroom this morning when Lilly bashed open the door, marched up to me, and proclaimed "I potty too." She just went pretend potty of course, but it seems clear to us that potty training is just around the corner. Later, while she was fooling around in the bathroom, she headed for the medicine cabinet. Just as she was about to yank it open, she turned aside, shook her head, and said "no, no, no, no, no." I guess we finally made our point about the medicine cabinet being off limits.