“Are you going on a boat today?”

At 16 months Elza has several words in her vocabulary. Your first official word was probably ‘more’, closely followed by ‘no’, which you deliver with extraordinary eloquence and conviction. And of course ‘Bobo’ is a delight to hear when you run into his room and shout at him while he’s still in bed.

Several others are starting to come but aren’t fully formed yet – cracker, bye, car, tractor. More impressive are your animal noises – moo, quack, roar and Aba says you do a terrific elephant impression too.

Boaz’s language exploded after Elza was born and it hasn’t stopped. People often comment on your intonation but I think they’re jealous. You can repeat the most complicated words beautifully, you’re curious about new words asking “what’s corridor?” and you can recall and use them even after several days.

You are incredibly insightful and curious – your ‘why?’ period came on quite suddenly a couple of months ago, but since we figured out how to cope with the incessant ‘why’s – either by turning the question on you or by ignoring you – it’s become easier to handle and more enjoyable to help you discover things.

We had a wonderful time at the cottage watching the thunderstorms and talking about seeing the lightening and hearing the thunder and how it was like watching a clap and hearing it. I find it’s easier talking to you honestly and truthfully rather than trying to make up something childish to appease you, at least that way I can remember what I’ve told you. Maybe I’ve learnt that from Aba – you asked him recently ‘why do we build houses?’ and he told you about how we needed protection from the weather and a table to eat at together and beds to sleep in.

And it’s amazing to see how all of this is helping you become more eloquent. We called Savtal and Saba this evening, they’ve just arrived in New York after spending a week on the Queen Mary crossing the Atlantic. The first thing you asked was ‘Are you going on a boat today?’. Saba was so surprised I don’t think he realised who it was. Then you were still awake when Aba called after playing football and you got on the phone to him and told him how you had ‘gone to nursery today and rode a big bike and that Saba and Savtal had been on a big boat’.

But the best part is that you’re starting to communicate with Elza. She thinks you’re hilarious and you often copy the noises she makes when trying to speak. You hop like a frog and say ribbed and instruct her to be a lion and she dutifully roars, you race round after each other squealing and laughing historically, you are often quite bossy, telling her ‘it’s not funny’ or ‘don’t do that’ but you also take her hand to walk with her or try and comfort her when she’s upset. You are each other’s best friends – always remember that!

Heartbursts

Not a word I thought I’d ever use. Mostly because it’s obviously made up but also probably because I never truly imagined myself being in this position. But it happened twice today. The first when Boaz ran all the way through the woods and home singing “driving really fast, driving really fast. Toot toot. Beep beep. Driving really fast”. Only slowing down to catch your breath when you occasionally sang the other verse “driving really slowly”. The energy and unbridled joy as you sped along in your ‘pick up truck’ was infectious and made me beam.

And then after a long day visiting Gnunu, playing at Southway and going swimming, Elza prompted the second heartbursting occasion when she fell asleep in my arms. You are the little girl that hasn’t stopped jumping since you were 9 weeks old. People always comment that you just don’t stop. I half jokingly tell them that’s how I stay so slim! For most of your 10 months you have so rarely been content with just being held, you want to look around, pick something up, get down, climb the stairs. So when you wrapped your legs around me and put your head on my shoulder and held onto my top, I just held you with one arm under your bottom and another gently on your back and held you and swayed gently in the dark. I didn’t even put you down when I heard and felt your gentle snores. Eventually though Boaz needed tucking up in bed, one last story and a goodnight kiss so I had to put you in your cot and for a while you lay in the same position you’d been clinging to me. Thank you for a gorgeous moment.

Just an update

Elza has now mastered her crawling and moves at quite a speed across the floor, scuppered only by slippery surfaces. You’ve also managed to figure out how to stand up in your cot while still encased in your sleeping bag. It’s half hit and miss at the moment so some mornings we find you bouncing happily in the dark before we have a chance to get you up and other mornings we’re awakened to find you face flat against the side and arms through the bars when you’ve misjudged the distance your feet need to be from the side in order to stand upright.

Boaz has had a bit of a thing about his light being left on at night. You’re still perfectly happy to stay in bed but I’ll come up an hour later and you’ll still be awake, talking to a train, your fork lift truck or dog dog. Aba’s solution was to give you a torch rather than leave your lamp on, which sometimes works and we’ll find you fast asleep with it still on. But to be honest I eventually decided cold turkey was better and just turned off the light despite your protestations. I thought it had worked a treat until Aba just found you still in your sleeping bag (you spilt water on your duvet and pjs just before bed) curled up in the floor by your bed. I didn’t hear a bump so I suspect you climbed out to play in the dark and fell asleep clutching a slipper that was hiding under your bed. I gently scooped you up and put you back to bed. Aba has been at his office Christmas party so I am taking his duties tonight!

And she’s off!

Having mastered the backwards crawl pretty quickly, on Saturday 1st December Elza showed us her front crawl too. And very impressive it is. Not quite the speed of when you’re in your walker and we have to jump out of your way to avoid being run over (which your brother hasn’t quite mastered yet) but a definite forwards movement.

We’ve even taken the chair out of your room so you have more space but to be honest all you still want to do is stand up and walk around. Mostly holding onto people’s hands and going up the stairs but you’re quite happy holding onto the bed or bath and just standing and bouncing with that wonderful smile and laugh!

What I say…

When asked what he wanted to do after lunch today Boaz told me, “play for just 5 minutes, then sleep”. Then just before your bath you run off in just your towel and say, “in a few minutes” and hide under it. You have also started to tell us, “no, I don’t want that” or “I don’t want any more”. And the classic “these socks are yucky”.

Considering you had just one word to your vocabulary back in January – we think it was train but it might just as easily have been anything starting tr – it has veritably exploded since then. We reckon you had about 50 words at 18 months – including aba and ima, banas (sic), train, truck and track.

Now it’s well over 200 and your sentences are coming along beautifully. ‘Bus’ turned into ‘red bus’ then ‘big red bus’ and now ‘big red bus drives down road’.

But the funniest is how you learn from listening to how other people talk. As well as mimicking reasonably difficult words that you obviously don’t understand, you also pick up phrases like aba’s ‘uh, uh, uh’ and my ‘god’s sake’.

You have become surprisingly bossy with your new found dialect especially towards your little sister, “no, Elza don’t touch those trains” and “Elza, don’t do that”.

And definitely the most confusing has been trying to teach you ‘mine’ and ‘yours’. For weeks you’ve been saying, “it’s yours, it’s yours” you mean ‘it’s mine’. And then when you finally get it right we cheer and say “that’s right, it’s yours” which throws you back into confusion.

Silly billys! (Clever clogs, bossy boots!)

All fours

Elza is on her way to crawling!

Having done a great job of sitting at around 6 months you’re now starting to move onto your hands, manoeuvre yourself from sitting onto your knees, stretch forward – and so far that’s about as far as you’ve got. But like everything you do, your determination is great and you keep at it which means you’ve already made great strides in just a week! I think the lure of reaching Boaz’s toys is the best goal.

Hurrah for the sling

Elza is the happiest and giggliest little baby. You’ll crack a smile for almost anyone if they take the time to talk to you. Boaz has already discovered that he can stand and laugh right up close to your face and you’ll indulge him by laughing back. And you love joining in conversations – chattering away in your beautiful sing song voice.

But up until now if I’ve tried to put you in a sling, the screeching is more than I can bear. You do not like to be held in a cuddle, you much preder to be held facing outwards, sitting on my hip is also fine but add a sling and the howling erupts.

Finally, almost 5 months old I figured we should try facing outwards again and it’s been a revelation. You love looking around, seeing what’s going on, bobbing around strapped to my front and I’ve for 2 hands free to get on with things like chopping veggies and emptying the dishwasher – how domesticated. You’re yet to fall asleep on it though which is what your brother loved doing, I think it was the rocking, a bit like a train!

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