18 months, a proper toddler, growing more independent and opinionated every day. And more cuddly and affectionate. She loves to give hugs and kisses now, to the point she will rugby tackle or headbutt someone with her enthusiasm. She is unstoppable.
Her personality shines through. She loves to be around her siblings, but will happily play on her own as long as she knows where I am. If I leave the room or as soon as I get out of the car she's asking me 'Mama?'. She doesn't want to be left behind and will often follow me around like an eager puppy. She'll also get offended if you try to do other things when she wants you. My laptop gets pushed out of the way and she stand next to the cooker and dinner demanding to be picked up. But she still prefers her own space and will want to be put down almost as soon as you pick her up.
Her language development fascinates me. She has seemed to start speaking much later than her siblings, except Foo who had some pronunciation issues due to his SPD. But now that I think about it she just seems to be going about it in a different way. She makes lots of sounds, but few of them are words. She does the typical animal noises 'woof' for dog, 'hoohoo' for a monkey, but won't try any of their proper names. She has some simple things like 'ni ni' for good night and 'done' for when she's finished eating. Her other words seem to be in categories and this is what fascinates me as she refused to shift from these categories for months. All food was 'num nums'. Everyone in the family has been 'dada' for ages, except me who finally became 'mama'. All dolls, babies and young children are 'baba', even herself now that she finally recognises her face in photos and the mirror. All cuddly toys are 'row row', after the sound 'roar' that the bears and lion toys we have make. All dinosaurs and dragons are a hissing noise.
But recently she's began to expand her categories. Anything to do with her nappy area is 'bum' whether it be a nappy, changing her nappy, doing something in her nappy, sitting down (because we sometimes say 'sit down on your bum'), chairs, pillows and stools that can be sat on. She also began to separate all fruit and veg from her num nums as 'na na' and this week she figured out how to say apple so all fruit is now 'apple'.
She's been demanding to learn what the name of things are, even if she won't try to say the words themselves. We've been working on facial features and she now knows mouth, ears, eyes, nose and hair but won't say any of them. Tonight we started on arm and leg. It was like watching a scientist make an exciting discovery. She actually began to say 'arma', but she wanted to figure out exactly where her arm was. She made sure first that her legs were not arms by alternately pointing to her legs and arms asking 'arma?'. And once that was sorted she went along her arms, trying to see how much was her arm and what was her hand and fingers. We could have gone on all night but I had to put her off so she would go to sleep.
She is cheeky and knows how to make Mama crazy: runs away when you call her, blows raspberries when you want a kiss. One of her favorite games is to blow raspberries into exposed skin or on your stomach if you're not paying attention.
She plays nicely with her siblings, leading them around on leads like dogs, chasing them around the house, climbing and throwing herself off their cushion mountains. She's fearless and threw herself down the sledging hill without a sledge repeatedly, laughing as I tried to catch her before she smacked her head. She also took off running across the ice rink while I was helping her brothers skate.
We weaned her off breastfeeding last month and amazingly she is sleeping much better; the first of my kids whose sleep actually improved once they weaned. She sleeps in our spare room in a regular double bed. We've bought her a single bed and put it in Bump's room but she's not ready for it yet and as it often takes her an hour to calm down for sleep I don't think the two girls should be in a room together just yet. I can see they're going to be a handful together.
Eighteen months and her personality reminds me a lot of Foo's. Where Mouse and Bump are a little more serious, always gauging the room and the situation, she just explodes into a room and fills it with light and laughter. Luminous.