Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Z at 18 months

I know that Z is actually 21 months at this writing. I'm behind. What else is new? This is more or less the story of my life, so I'm patting myself on the back for getting it written at all.

Our Z is now 18 months! How the time has flown by! We were blessed to adopt Z's brother in February. We named him J, for my late father. She had a little trouble adjusting to another baby in the house at first, but she loves him now and is very tender toward him. She especially likes to help him find his pacifier and get it in his mouth!

She has grown in all of her teeth except for the molars and she is eating anything that comes her way, although she is now somewhat skeptical of any “new” food – meaning food she hasn't seen lately. Her bar-none favorite is cookies, but she only gets those in moderation. Her favorite everyday food is no longer the banana – it's probably a tie between apples and pears. She loves to eat chicken and “noon -ells” (noodles) and nuts and if it were an option would probably have macaroni and cheese with every meal – even breakfast! She and I usually share a bowl of oatmeal or cereal or yogurt and berries in the morning, and then she eats whatever we're having for lunch and dinner.

She learned to walk in May, on Mother's Day, in fact. We were over at Rose's parents' house for dinner when Z finally let go of the couch and walked clear across the floor from Rose to Rose's sister, Simona (Aunt Mimo – Z pronounces it Moomoo). We had noticed that she was much more brave about trying out standing and taking steps when she was on a carpeted or soft surface, so a month or two ago we decided to put a colorful foam mat down on our wood floors in the living room. That's the room where she spends the most time, and it really encouraged her to practice her free standing, bouncing, and cruising. So we're excited that she's walking now, and she definitely appreciates the soft landing she gets when she trips. She's also an excellent swimmer. We took swim lessons in the spring and she can now swim up to 10 feet or so from person to person, or to the wall and back. She loves to be in the water and to swim and play.

She does a wonderful job of talking and signing with us and it seems like she picks up a new word every day! She can do signs for all of her favorite foods – apples, pears, oranges, berries, carrots, milk, bread, and juice, and can say something that you can recognize for pretty much all of those things, too. She loves the song “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and there's a hip-hop version from an artist named Basho that she especially likes. She loves to watch movies of herself and her new brother on my cell phone, and she calls them “mini-moos”. She also really loves the song “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” - which she calls “Go! Go!” for the part where they sing “Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go!” and “Lime In The Coconut” which she calls “Nutnut”. She loves to dance and “The Hokey Pokey” is a big-time favorite. Before she could stand, we would do that song with her sitting on my lap and I would pick her up and spin her around during the “turn yourself around” segment. Now she stands up and spins on her own until she's so dizzy she's giggling and all but falling over. It's a huge joy to watch her growing and learning.

We went to a family reunion last month in East Texas. It was the first gathering on my Dad's side of the family since he passed away. It was bittersweet for that reason – so good to get to see all the aunts and uncles and cousins and all their growing families – so sad to miss Daddy during all of it. Z and J were the youngest ones there, and were quite the hit. Everyone from the aunties to the kids-of-the-cousins wanted to get to snuggle them and play with them. Z also got to go and spend a week staying with her cousins in Katy, TX while my sister, Bebe, and I were packing up our house to get us ready to move. We've been talking about moving to Austin for years, and we're finally getting ready to put the house on the market. We'll continue to be back in Dallas regularly, though, as Rose's family lives up here. We let Z go stay with the cousins while we were cleaning up and staging everything because her favorite trick right now is emptying containers. It's hard to pack when a toddler is going behind you and undoing all your work! She loved visiting with the cousins, swimming and eating popsicles and drawing with sidewalk chalk and dressing up like a princess.

She finally got her first cold in February. Aside from that, she's been a picture of health and is still pretty much average for height and weight. She usually stays between 40th and 60th percentile for both, although she was a little on the tall side at this last checkup. Learning to walk has slimmed her down a little bit. She was a very pudgy baby until then, and now she's burning off so much more energy walking everywhere. She does great with regular cups, and is starting to get the hang of forks and spoons, too. She loves to try, whether she succeeds or not, and most of the time leaves her plate or bowl sitting on the tray. Food does fly occasionally, but not too often. She takes one good nap every afternoon, though it takes some convincing now to get her to go down. We have most success either walking her in the stroller or going to run an errand in the car. Either way, being buckled into stillness helps her fall asleep. She still usually wakes once or twice a night, but is sleeping 10 or 12 hours a night in spite of that, so she gets great rest, for which we are so grateful.


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