Today at dinner Maxine used the word "you" for the first time that either of us had heard. It's only been a few hours, but I've already forgotten the context, just that we were both impressed. Until now it's always been "Mommy" or "Daddy". I think this marks a serious milestone in her thought and language development.
She's also becoming better at phone conversations. Feel free to call us if you'd like a demo. She can answer questions, and reply to some stock phrases like "Hello" and "I love you."
Oddly enough, she's become more whiny and prone to cry sometimes. I think she's starting to realize how restricted her life his, and it bothers her. She loves having a chance to make choices, and especially enjoys choosing "no".
My work, study and substituting has cut down on the time I can spend with her, I'm afraid. Tomorrow I sub from 7:30 until 3:30, then work at Wal-Mart from 5:00 until 10:00. Tomorrow is a Stephanie (day care) day, so Maxine will probably be picked up earlier than I leave, without really waking up, then get home about the time I get to Wal-Mart. And she might be in bed asleep by the time I get home around 10:30 or 10:45. If I'm lucky and get home quickly, and she doesn't go to sleep quickly, I'll get a goodnight hug and kiss. Tonight I was with her all evening and was refused the hug and kiss. Showing up at the last minute is really better for my chances, but it's not worth it. I got hugs throughout the evening, as well as a few times spinning around, reading a book together, and carrying her back and forth to the car from bell choir practice and the King Buffet. All in all it was a good evening.
When we first started bell choir practice in November, Maxine had a hard time with it. The director, Gretchen, has a little boy, Tyler, who is a few months younger than Maxine. Gretchen's husband watches the two kids, but it took Maxine a few weeks to warm up to him. She kept coming back to Horyon and me. I practiced a little while holding her on my shoulders, getting snot and tears in my hair as I tried to pick out my notes.
Now she plays with Tyler and his dad most of the time, only occasionally coming into the practice room to check that we are still there. Tonight Horyon had to slip out for a few minutes to change a nasty diaper, but other than that we can practice the whole time.
These days Maxine only wears diapers when she goes to bed and when she leaves the house. Horyon has successfully potty trained her! Granted, she is still working on the poopy side of the training. She has successfully used her potty for pooping only a couple of times. She still prefers to do it in a diaper. And though you may not relate to that in terms of the actual action, we can all relate to the tendency to prefer doing things the way we've always done them. I think that's what this is all about. Once she figures out that it's really more comfortable to not have your own feces being squished around in your drawers, she'll make the shift pretty quickly.
She even uses the potty at Stephanie's Day Care. Stephanie was impressed that from the first day Maxine started wearing panties there she hasn't had any accidents. She says, "My go potty," when she needs to, and that's it. She recognizes the sensation of needing to go, and knows how to hold it for the few minutes it takes to get to the bathroom and get her pants down.
The first stage of this has been keeping her little potty in whatever room she's hanging out in, whether it's the kitchen, living room, or her room. I think it's about time to start leaving it in the bathroom.
And in the last couple of days she drew pictures of Mommy and Daddy. They are not easily recognizable as such, but the intention was there. Horyon encouraged her to do them while at Small World, which has recently started back up.
As I mentioned earlier, Maxine's language has really been blossoming recently. She's added "maybe" and "I think" to her repertoire, sometimes both in the same sentence. She has also been mixing "Thanks" in her conversations. It's funny how it sounds so casual coming from her, compared to her very formal sounding "Thank you."
Horyon says she's been talking in her sleep a lot. The latest was, "No, mommy! That's MY DVD! Grandma Grandma DVD!" (Just so you know, "Grandma Grandpa DVD" is "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," one of her favorites.
She loves reading. One of her favorites is "Goodnight, Gorilla." It's a fun book, without many words. At one point many different voices are called for to say, "Goodnight." I read them in a variety of tones. Maxine reads them either as a high-pitched squeak, or with as much bass rumble as her tiny body can manage. Adorable.
Another favorite is "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?" by Eric Carl. She likes it because she can "read" it to me. It is very repetitious, and the pictures naturally suggest the key words that change on every page. It's fun to see the start of literacy.
And she loves singing. Even when she doesn't know all of the words, which is most of the time. Reminds me of her mother.