Hello, and thank you for reading about my child for an entire year! You must be quite devoted.
Claire Helen turned one last Wednesday, amid very little pomp and circumstance, which is just the way we wanted it. I am sure if we had asked her she would have preferred a clown and possibly some dancing elephants, but the great thing about having a child whose longest sentence is 3 words long and includes the word juice is that she cannot demand entertainment. Also I am not sure she has ever heard of a clown. Shhh. Don't tell her. Clowns are freaky. Instead she got a from-scratch hippie natural carrot cake which she liked just fine, but was no impediment to her begging for the tomatoes on our plate. As well as the smaller pieces of cake we had.
She got lots of presents and got to have a party with her friends(if you define friends as people who have mutual hair pulling arrangements) a few days later.
For posterity, this is Claire Helen at a year:
You may not remember this, but 10 months ago I described her as "quiet, sensitive kid, and a little shy." This is still true. I might add focussed and cautious, but her mellow demeanor was largely fixed at birth. We are quite pleased with ourselves for not screwing it up.
She has a long attention span and can be very determined(what toddler isn't though, right?)- a blessing when we are reading books together, a curse when she wants to get whatever sharp, glittery object you have in your hand into her mouth. We probably read for an hour or two a day, and have spent several full afternoons looking at animal books. She points, I name, then reverse. I tend to peter out before she does. She really likes animals, except for cows, menacing milk monsters that they are. She has really started to put things together in the last few weeks, too. If I hide something, she remembers where it is hours later. She can open doors (even the front one! Oh no!) and is getting good at categories. If we're playing with a train, she goes to get a train book, and the train puzzle piece. If I'm drinking from a coffee cup, she'll get her tea cup and pretend to drink with me. I find it endlessly enthralling to see what she puts in what category. She knows which animals are which in books, for example, but at the zoo she thinks most quadrupeds are dogs.
She's also very communicative, and if I had to assign her a "thing," I think it would be this. When we get to a new environment, and the other babies get down to crawl around and explore, she will sit for a while and watch the adults talk. She really wants to know how to do this- talk, I mean. I think she is motivated by nefarious mama-bossing purposes, but she is motivated nonetheless. She has probably 3 or 4 dozen words and a few sentences (all related, of course, to mama-bossing), and maybe 8 or 9 signs. She suspects if she could only find the magic sentence, the kitties would come rushing to her for tail grabbing, and all her meals would be cherries.
She is not a picky eater (hurrah!) though she does appear to have inheirited the dreaded Harrington snacking gene, meaning no matter how much food I put on her tray for a meal, I will have a little chirping beggar at my side 30 minutes later looking for some food. "cheese? peach? juiceplease?*" I spend a bit too much of my day dealing with finger foods.
Oh, sleeping. We don't do a whole lot of that. She appears to have also inheirited the dreaded Morris insomnia gene. She has a knack for waking up hysterically just as we parents are drifting off for the night. But we are, as always, working on it. Certainly we are doing better than this time last year. Haha.
She loves to be in the water more than anything else, even kitty tail grabbing. We got her a puzzle for her birthday, and she's pretty good at it, though I have doubts about it actually remaining together for very long, as she is insistent that the taxi (it's a transportation themed puzzle) belongs in her hippo-walker. She will travel the distance between her room and the living room to right the situation if the taxi dares show its face away from the hippo. She is still best buddies with Betty, although Betty is beginning to have her doubts about the friendship. She thinks her dad lives in the phone, and will ask "dada? iiiiii? dada?" into any phone like object she comes across.
She is definitely not an agressive toddler (at gymboree she tends to be the knock-ee rather than the knocker-downer), but she can be very possessive, and will crawl to a far corner to protect her loot if she feels threatened. Walking is going well, but, of course, cautiously. She does not like to fall, and will look at you to see if she should be mad whenever she does.
She is gleeful all of the time. We have had the best first year, and we are so pleased we get so many more with her. Her personality gets bigger and sweeter every day.
* one word. She doesn't know "please" yet, except as the tail end of "juice," which, no, she does not get. But don't think that stops her from asking 128392 times a day.