Can you tell I've been planning to use that post title almost since my daughter was born? Less than three years to go now before I can use the "What Katie did at school" title…
Anyway. On New Year's Eve, while reading back over the-year-that-was in my blog (or what little of it I actually had time to report on), I noticed that it was the one-year anniversary of both Katie's first unsupported step and her first word. It seemed an apt moment to record how far she'd come since then. Well, apart from my utter lack of time to do so right then. So, here I am, at a marginally less apt moment a few days later, blogging about some of the advances my daughter made in 2009.
Walking: Katie now walks, walks backwards, walks sideways (while exclaiming 'Crab! Crab!'), walks in an awkward bended-knee shuffle that is, I gather, an alternative attempt at impersonating crabs, walks downstairs (a skill she applies selectively to times when she's meant to be staying upstairs, seemingly losing whenever I actually want her to come down the stairs), climbs up and down the bunk bed ladder, and has just graduated from the walking-to-two-years Tumbletots class to start the 2 – 3-year-old class at the beginning of this year. (Which has, incidentally, been a milestone I've been looking forward to for months, as it'll make our schedule on Tuesdays substantially easier.)
Talking: After her first word, Katie seemed to be going on most promisingly to pick up more, and then, a couple of months down the line, stopped using them. This, of course, led to me spending a lot of time wondering whether I was going to end up having two autistic children instead of one autistic and one neurotypical (a combination I'd been particularly looking forward to, so I wasn't thrilled about the thought that it might not come to pass). However, my gut feeling about her was that this wasn't really a sign of anything out of the ordinary, and so I never did take her to the doctor. This isn't a decision I can defend logically – I know that having a child lose words they knew is a red flag, all the more so in a case where there's a family history of autism – but it turned out to be the right one. After a while – I'm not sure how long, but I'd guess another couple of months after that – Katie started picking up words again. Interestingly, these proved to be different words from the first time around. Her first word from Learning To Talk, Take Two, was "'Narna", for 'banana'.
Other early words, from my memory and from an e-mail I sent to a friend when she was twenty-one months, included (in no particular order):
Mama (I've always referred to myself as 'Mummy' when talking to the kids, so this endearing little touch of the Victorian era was entirely her doing. I almost wish I'd gone along with it and changed the way I refer to myself.)
Bee (Beep. Used to mean 1. beeping sound, 2. thing that makes a beeping sound, 3. interesting-looking thing that looked as though it might potentially make a beeping sound if Katie could just get her hands on it. Or, very occasionally, 'bee'.)
Bah (Bird, bear, or ball)
She moved on in due course to two-word sentences ("Daddy draw!" "Mama draw!"), and three-word sentences ("Nana draw trac-trac!") and four-word sentences ("Bih bruh pla' pia'" to comment on Jamie bashing away on her toy piano. Or the time I was reading her a book with a character who splashed in the bath and commented on how her big brother also liked to splash in the bath, didn't he? "Kay spla' ba' TOO!" she informed me firmly, thumping her chest for emphasis. This is not a child who likes to be left out of anything.) And now, she's talking a blue streak. A lot of it is still too garbled to understand, but she can come out with longish recognisable sentences. (The latest, today, was "I put 'no'baw Mummy' blue car!" while playing in the snow. I mean, how good is that? Six-word sentence with correct use of first-person pronoun, subject/verb/direct object/indirect object structure, and adjective. Oh, and she knows her colours.) I must say, it's an absolute delight having a toddler who learns how to talk normally.
Katie's other current skills and interests include:
Counting to fifteen with the seven, twelve, and thirteen omitted.
Being able to fit two jigsaw pieces together, occasionally even the correct pieces in the correct orientation.
Drawing passably recognisable bunk beds. (She also loves having things drawn for her, as you may well have gathered from her earliest examples of sentences, above.)
Singing 'The Wheels On The Bus'. ("Weebuh go roun'roun'! Aww day lon'! Wi' buh' go swi' swi'…")
Recognising the letter 'K' (my mother taught her when she visited for New Year).
Eating with a spoon.
Sitting on the potty – or on the toilet. I had a week off around her birthday last November and, as she'd seemed very happy to be put on the potty regularly over the previous month, had a go at training her, but she didn't seem that interested in going of her own accord and started to resist the whole thing. I put her back into pull-ups for the time being, but, in recent days, she's started yelling "Want sit potty! Want do poo!" at least some of the time when she wants to go. This past couple of days, she's decided she wants to sit on the toilet instead, which leads to some conflicts between her and Jamie but does bode well for getting toilet-training done successfully in the foreseeable future. We shall see how it goes.
Washing hands. This child is in training to be an OCD sufferer when she grows up. Let her stand in front of a sink with a running tap and a piece of soap and she'll amuse herself for ages. If you don't turn the tap on for her, she'll yell until you do.
She loves bananas and cauliflower and couscous and gravy (quite possibly all at the same time). She also loves cake, but she has apparently heard and taken to heart the old saying about not being able to have your cake and eat it as well and has decided that, if that's the choice, she's going to go for the former option. A week or so ago Jamie made some Dora the Explorer cupcakes from a pack and the two of them had one each after dinner for the next six days, and, while Jamie finished his off quickly, Katie licked the icing enthusiastically off hers and then hung onto the rest of it, apparently trying to consume the rest of it via the occasional lick, and howling indignantly when I dared to suggest that, given the amount of time she had spent sitting there not eating it, perhaps she could leave the sticky remnants of it and come upstairs with her brother so that we could make a start on preparations for bed.
She was 87 centimetres tall when we measured her on her second birthday, which converts to more conventional measurements as two feet ten and a quarter inches and gives her an es
timated adult height of a respectable 5' 8.5". Her hair is well past her shoulders now – it's the kind of fine, straight hair that looks really obviously uneven if cut crookedly (unlike Jamie's tousled mop, where a bit of uneven trimming would have probably passed unnoticed), so I don't really want to take her to get it cut until I'm sure she's old enough to understand and follow along with sitting still for the duration. So it's getting very long and easily tangled, which is a nuisance. Barry's mother showed him how to twist it into a neat little knot on the back of her head, which makes her look adorably sophisticated, two going on twenty-one. My beautiful little daughter, who's spent the past year growing from a baby into a wonderful little girl.