It's my spring break this week from my classes, and I finally have some time to post! I'll make it a little more detailed to compensate for my long absence from blogging. :)
Eighteen months is a big milestone. Vanessa's definitely been doing a lot of new things lately. For one thing, she's started jargon-ing -- stringing together very long strings of semi-words in what sounds like sentences. She's been doing a LOT of pretending lately. Her stuffed animals, especially her doggies and her bunny, are getting some turns talking on the phone, drinking water, brushing their teeth, and getting their diapers changed. She's been interested in much more complicated books, including "Caps for Sale" and "Blueberries for Sal," two of my favorites. She's also memorized her numbers (she can go stand on the 3 on her number mat, for example), and she seems to be able to recognize some sight words, like Vanessa, Mama, Dada, Nana, book, no, my, and moon. When we read books to her that have those words in them, we pause to let her say the words she knows, or she reads those words when we're writing them for her.
We finger-paint directly on the kitchen table after breakfast and sometimes after other meals too (gotta love washable paint), and she asks for certain words or pictures to be painted. Sometimes she sees animals or letters (or the moon, of course) in what she draws or paints (and sometimes she's sort of right!). She's definitely her father's daughter, and wants to spend at least some time on the computer every day. Mostly she just wants to Google for images of animals and the moon. She's gotten pretty great at stacking blocks and putting shapes in holes. She's also been practicing throwing (still needs some work on this, though), catching, playing golf (just putting, no driving yet, thank goodness), and standing on one foot. A couple of days ago, she played, "As big as a house, as small as a mouse, as wide as a bridge, as thin as a pin," which involves four separate ways to stand in sequence, and I thought that was pretty great following directions. She loves music and asks for specific songs by using signs that we use while singing them. She asks for music just about any time that it's quiet (another trait she gets from her daddy).
I think Vanessa's been learning a great deal from playing with some older girls that I've been watching for some neighbors. I've been watching Grace two mornings a week and Maya two other days a week. Grace is just a couple of months older, and Maya is 3 and a half. Both girls have really been teaching Vanessa to share and to wait, very important and difficult skills. I've been enjoying watching the other girls a great deal. I think it's good for Vanessa and good for me to practice having another little girl in the house demanding some of our attention! It's easier than I thought it would be, and Vanessa thrives on the interaction with the girls. This week we've been sick and couldn't have any other girls over, and Vanessa clearly missed them, asking for them frequently.
Here's Vanessa wearing my jacket. She's been especially interested in zippers lately.
In trying to get Vanessa to intake more whole milk in a day, we've tried giving her a little cold cereal. There's a very small raised circle in the middle of this type of bowl that Vanessa loves to find when the level of her milk gets low enough.
Sometimes drinking the milk out of her bowl helps her find the raised circle a little faster!
Smile, Vanessa, you have cereal in your hair!
Vanessa and Grace decided that they both wanted to browse pictures on the computer together. They did a pretty good job of sharing the keyboard and mouse. (I swapped the real keyboard for one that wasn't plugged in here, and I think Vanessa was just starting to catch on in this particular picture.)
Our whole household has just had a bunch of colds this winter. Even the doll seemed to be catching our last cold! Good thing Vanessa was there to help her wipe her nose.
Vanessa poses for her 18 month photo with Miss Dee.
As far as baby number two goes, she is more active than I remember Vanessa being in utero. Boy, I think she has a future in martial arts. We have an ultrasound coming up this Friday to check out one of her kidneys that, even though it's within normal range, might be just ever so slightly enlarged. I'm not worried about it in the least, but I'll try to update the blog with news about it in any case. The doctors say they won't really address most kidney problems until after the baby is born, so I'm not sure why I'm going in for an ultrasound, but hey, I like the extra time looking at our new baby-to-be anyway!
As for me, I'm doing great. At six months pregnant, my tummy is starting to bulge pretty clearly, so that other moms haven't been afraid to ask about my pregnancy. At the same time, I don't really feel any more tired (unless staying up too late for classwork) or awkward than usual (though some might argue that's quite awkward indeed!). I'm really looking forward to the warmer weather of spring. I think James and I are both ready to be healthy and to have some outdoor play time with Vanessa!