Anyone who has taken care of an infant or toddler knows that their development is not a straight-line graph. New skills solidify over a few days, even though the child has been working up to them for weeks or months.
I was reminded of this again when ABC, who turned two earlier this month, returned home from several days away with her mom and aunt. She is suddenly speaking most often in full sentences. She had been using an occasional short sentence, but now she is making longer sentences and using them to explain things or ask for things.
Except when she says, “No!”
That’s a one-word sentence all on its own.
We decorated our Christmas tree today. While many people put their trees up right after Thanksgiving here in the United States, we usually wait until closer to Christmas and keep it up until Epiphany. This year, knowing that daughter E and granddaughter ABC will be heading to the UK mid-month for the holidays, we decided to decorate early in order to observe St. Nicholas Day on December sixth for exchanging gifts and opening stockings.
At almost eighteen months, we weren’t sure how ABC would react to tree trimming. We went through our considerable cache of ornaments and chose all the indestructible and child-safe ones for the bottom half of the tree. ABC was delighted with all the rocking horses, bells, animals, musical instruments, angels, etc. and ran back and forth with them. She wanted them on the tree and then wanted them back off to play with them, but, eventually, we got the whole tree decorated. We are sure there will be lots of opportunities to re-hang ornaments after she decides to play with them again!
I love our Christmas ornament collection, which includes ones that came to us from our families, handmade ones, and many that we have collected while travelling. One special one that we added this year is a handmade downy woodpecker, which we bought to commemorate the one that our daughters tried to rescue.
The woodpecker’s new bear friend is one that we have had for decades.
And two of ABC’s words are “bear” and “bird”, even if they do sound a lot alike when she says them.
I admit that, with so much going on this past year, I am having trouble feeling in the Christmas spirit, but ABC’s delighted squeals with each new ornament certainly helped.
“Ma” is one of the first syllables that babies say, often when they are sad or upset, which is a bit of a bummer for moms to whom this sound is usually attached.
ABC is about to turn eighteen months, so we have been treated to the evolution of “ma”. Right now, it is the sound she makes when she is giving kisses, whether or not these involve physical contact.
It is so sweet at bedtime or other times of the day when she walks or runs over to give a kiss – Mmmmmmmaaaaa!
She and daughter E will leave mid-month to spend four weeks with dad/spouse L in London, where they will have holiday celebrations with her other grandparents, aunt, and extended family.
We will miss them and ABC kisses over the holidays.
Maybe she will kiss the computer screen when we visit digitally as we have seen her do many times when she sees her daddy on the screen…
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “ma”. Join us! Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2018/11/30/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-dec-1-18/
B and I finally carved out time to see Incredibles 2, the long-awaited sequel to one of our favorite Pixar movies. I’ll try not to have spoilers in this piece, although, with world-wide box office receipts around a billion dollars, there are probably not many people left to spoil.
Like all Pixar features, Incredible 2 is preceded by a short; Bao, written and directed by Domee Shi, is the first Pixar short to be directed by a woman. It covers decades of family life in a few short minutes in a rich, culturally significant context. I would not have imagined an animated dumpling could be so adorable!
Incredibles 2, like the original film, is also built around family life. Superheroes with special powers still have to deal with adolescent angst, homework help, division of paid and unpaid work, and child care and rearing. Because we have had grandbaby ABC living with us for most of her almost fourteen months, I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Incredible baby Jack-Jack, who is still very much a baby in his behavior, movements, and reactions, superpowered or not.
I also appreciated the themes of the use/misuse of media and celebrity. Although the script must have been written years ago, these issues are especially salient right now.
As always, I recommend staying for the credits. While there is no bonus scene, there is a great medley of superhero theme songs. I especially enjoyed Elastigirl’s.
I did a One-Liner Wednesday post (with adorable picture) for ABC’s first birthday.
The next day, ABC and her mom, our daughter E, left London, where they had spent eleven weeks visiting dad/spouse L, his parents, sister, and extended family, to return to our home in upstate New York.
The following day was daughter T’s birthday which we celebrated at one of our favorite local restaurants. ABC charmed the staff and other patrons as we celebrated both birthdays.
ABC managed not to have a problem with the five hours’ worth of jet lag, although the trip was much more taxing on E.
We are settling back into being a household of five. T and B had taken charge of childproofing prior to ABC’s arrival and we have managed to avoid any major catastrophes so far.
One of the things that happened while E and ABC were in the UK was the move of my mom, known here as Nana, to Mercy House, a nearby hospice residence. Everyone loves ABC’s visits as she toddles down the hallways and around the common area and in and out of Nana’s room. She brings smiles to everyone and has made some new friends.
One of her new friends is a resident. He is only twelve years old. His presence here reminds all of us to treasure each day that we are given, that youth is not a guarantee of good health, and that the presence of family and friends and care of staff and volunteers can bring peace even in the most difficult circumstances.
Happy First Birthday to my granddaughter, known here on my blog as ABC!
Join us for Linda’s One-Liner Wednesday! Find out how here:
Earlier this week, daughter E and granddaughter ABC left for an almost three month stay with son-in-law L and his parents in London.
The trip itself was not without drama. A four-hour layover in Detroit stretched to twelve. Fortunately, the waiting passengers bonded in support of those traveling with young children and ABC gained a number of honorary aunties and uncles.
After having ABC with us for nine months, other than her prior three week visit to London, it was difficult to say good-bye, especially for great-grandparents Nana and Paco. As if to give us all a gift before she left, ABC showed off her new mobility skills, doing a bit of crawling and some of her first unassisted steps when we were visiting with Nana and Paco.
For the past couple of months, ABC has wanted to be on her feet, often only holding on to one of our fingers. She was impatient with being down on the floor, so we thought she might never crawl, but she decided to both crawl and walk at the same time!
Walking at nine months is on the early side developmentally, especially given that ABC was born almost a month early, but ABC is strong and determined!
Fortunately, L had prepared with gates and other babyproofing measures.
L has been visiting with E and ABC nearly every day via video chat. Now, we will need to do that (though it won’t be daily), bolstered by photos and video clips that E posts. We will miss E and L’s birthdays and ABC’s first Easter and first birthday, all of which will be a preview of living on opposite sides of the Atlantic when E’s visa situation works out and she and dual-citizen ABC move to London permanently.
For now, we just need to get through the next eleven weeks.