Saturday, January 16, 2010

Lola grows up.

It's official. Little Lola is no longer little. Over the past month, she's really focused on learning how to walk: standing independently for longer periods of time, taking small steps, then taking lots of steps, now changing directions and turning around. All she wants to do is practice walking and she starts to fuss if we're not paying attention to her and helping her when she stumbles. Last night she walked 8 feet, turned around, and walked back the 8 feet without falling. It was a triumphant moment for Lola, and we all celebrated.

Lola also has realized that she can feed herself. Raina made this realization early, but since it's so messy, we delayed and delayed with Lola. Now she mostly refuses to have anyone else feed her and she happily fingers all her food and bangs with two spoons on her tray. We moved her high chair from the dining room back into the kitchen as a result -- lots of Lola's food ends up on the floor. But she's happy, so we cannot complain.

Lola sleeps on a cot at daycare. Each time she wakes up from her nap, she crawls off her cot and into the playroom, and then happily plays until an adult comes and retrieves her. She's fiercely independent, and I can imagine Lola thinking "well, who needs those adults anyway? I can get to the toys myself!" and doing just that. Lola also plays independently at home for multiple hours; we interrupt her to change her diaper and occasionally feed her, otherwise, she's content to explore and learn by herself.

Reading Books with the Girls

Raina always has loved books. She enjoys cuddling with an adult, snuggling under a blanket, and reading stories. We have pictures of Raina at 4 months with relatively long children's picture books, so Raina has been a fan of books for a long time. Her independent reading is developing and she brought home a library book yesterday that she could read all by herself! She has read it to all of us multiple times now, and she's intensely proud of herself. I remember re-reading the same book over and over again as a child, and just marveling at the magic of understanding words. Raina is on the brink of the same discovery, and it's wonderful to watch and experience second-hand.

Lola, on the other hand, has not been a fan of books. Lola has concentrated so much on gross motor development -- sitting up, now crawling, now walking! -- that slowing down to cozy up with a parent never appealed to her. Our Parents as Teacher coach assured us that made Lola "normal" and that Raina was "exceptional," but it really was no comfort. I actually started to worry that Lola would never show an interest in books.

But recently, Lola turned a corner and she's become a book enthusiast. If she sees Raina sitting with an adult and a book, she crawls/walks over to be part of the action. She'll also say "buh," grab one of her books, and deposit it in reach of a parent. She also has clear preferences of what she wants. If we select the wrong book, she shakes her head no and then goes and retrieves the correct book. After we've read it a few times, she'll place it on the table, grab another book, and start the process again.

Last night, I read with Raina for 30 minutes (until her bath) and then read with Lola for 30 minutes (until her bedtime). This is such a huge switch from before, because she didn't have the patience to look even at one small board picture book. I'm so overjoyed and relieved that Lola is expressing a real interest in books.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Teeth!

Lola has had eight teeth for a long time and she proudly displays them when she smiles. Unfortunately, she's been in a lot of pain for the last few weeks because she's growing her molars. Her back gums are very red, swollen, and hard. The teeth are visible through the gums, which is a disturbing thing overall, and she often tries jabbing something in her mouth in the hopes that it will help the pain. She spends most of her time with her hands in her mouth and now both her hands are red and chapped and painful too. Poor Lola. We're hopeful that her teeth cut through soon so she can be in less pain.

Raina has had twenty teeth for a long time and she also proudly displays them when she smiles. Soon, though, she'll have nineteen, because Raina has a loose tooth! One of her front bottom teeth wiggles when touched and she's so excited about it. She enthusiastically wiggles the tooth for any willing onlooker. (She caused Samantha to flee in disgust last night, which was funny to watch.) So she learned about the tooth fairy and we all shared "losing teeth" stories. Raina is eager to start losing hers.

Forts

Raina loves forts. She often asks for an adult to make one for her and then she happily plays in her fort for hours. Over winter break, Eric crafted a monstrously large fort that claimed two couches, two tables, five chairs, a bookshelf, couch cushions from upstairs couches, and lots of blankets. It was amazing and she played in it for over a week. She had to take it down at the end of winter break, which she begrudgingly did, and then something amazing happened. Raina decided to make a fort all by herself! She stacked up lots of pillows, put a blanket in between them and the couch, added a chair for support, and happily put all her loveys in the fort. She even let Lola play in it, which is a rare thing indeed. We were thrilled and were quite proud of Raina.

Lola loves a baby from Fiji!

One of Lola's favorite books is Global Babies, a picture collection of babies from many nations. She happily looks at all of the pictures, turns the pages, and lets someone read the story to her. But she always, always, stops at the Fiji baby, leans her whole body in to get a better look, and she tries to lick him. Ten-months-old love is adorable.

Lola communicates!

You loyal readers may remember that we attempted to teach Lola the baby sign for "more" and we failed miserably. So we started again, with a new sign for more, and have been using it on a more diligent basis. Over the winter break, something clicked in Lola's little brain and she started excitedly using the sign. Or, more accurately, she's using a modified sign. She claps frenetically when she wants more of something and then cackles gleefully when she gets rewarded. What she wants more of, all the time, is food and we're not certain if that's because she's exceptionally hungry or if she's just so enthusiastic that she can communicate with us. Needless to say, she's plumped up even more. She also asks for more books and cuddling and baths.

Lola understands the word "no" when she hears it, and she stops her errant behavior. What's even more amazing is that now she prevents herself from doing the bad thing. She'll be tempted and will crawl over to the item (like Mama Cow). Then she'll shake her head furiously at it, look at it, and shake her head NO! again. She also shakes her head to say "No more of this food!" or "No diaper changes, I hate them!" or "No, I don't want to be put back into my carseat!" She gets upset when we selectively refuse to listen to these "no" requests.

Lola also gives high-fives. She raises her arm and hand up to ask for one, and she responds appropriately when another person does the same. Just now, Samantha gave the high-five motion and Lola crawled across the room to reciprocate. And at a restaurant the other day, Lola tried to high-five all the neighboring patrons. Very cute.

One of her favorite things is to have air blown on her -- on her belly, her face, her feet. Now she crawls over to adults, blows air out of her mouth, and then giggles in delight when the other person forcefully blows back.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A lull in blogging ...

The Whompton home computer, whose two responsibilities are to store all pictures of Raina and Lola and then upload them to this blog, contracted itself a virus. Actually, it has multiple viruses and malware and all sorts of bad things. Our three-pronged solution has been to remove its internet access, burn copies of all the pictures and videos, and then stamp out all the badness. Unfortunately, we haven't banished all computer infection, so we cannot upload videos of Raina's Winter Concert or Lola's First Steps or Fun Times over the Winter Holidays. We promise to do so eventually.