Recently, Leila has become an interesting case study for the child psychology class I took about 8 years ago. I know I have already been through these developmental stages with Gabrielle, but while Gabrielle seemed to develop in a natural and predicatable pattern, Leila seems both unpredicatable and a tad bizzare. As if knowing that she is now two, it seems like she's decided to step up to the plate and become older. Some classic examples of her recent behavior include:
1. Sudden jump in language acquisition. Up until about two weeks ago, Leila seemed right on track as far as talking goes. She said her first word when she was around 8 months old. She learned to sing her ABC's by the time she was 14 months old (which is not unusual in my house as it was also Gabrielle favorite song when she was little), and from the time she was 18 months onward, you could tell that her vocabulary was rapidly increasing with new words everyday. This is all very typical and to be expected. However, just suddenly, she's decided that words alone are not good enough. Even better are 3-4 word sentences like "Mommy, go play dollhouse?" or "Time to wake up!" or "Leila no like it." I guess it just kinda sprung up on me. One day, she's saying a few words here and there, the next day, she's telling stories. It's amazing! and a little bit bizarre from my standpoint. At the rate she's going, she's going to be able to hold full blown conversations in a couple of months.
2. The Paci Dilemma. I make no qualms nor am I ashamed to say that Leila uses a paci or multiple pacis. She's used them from the day she was born. And when we moved her to her own bed, I'd put her to bed at night with 3 or 4 of them. Yes, that may sound excessive, but it keeps me from having to get up a 2 a.m. when she's realized that her paci fell on the floor. In addition, Leila is a bit of a spirited child, not easily calmed down and has always lacked an ability to soothe herself. Once she gets worked up, she doesn't know how to stop. She's always been like that. . . ever since that first night when she came out crying for 3 hours straight! But a paci usually does the trick and so I always keep a couple in my purse. Well, within the past couple months, she's gotten away from using them during the day, which is good because I want her to be off of them by the time she's 3. And since the beginning of the month, she's started leaving her pacis in bed when she gets out, so now she knows that they're strictly for bed. Two days ago however, I had two clean ones sitting on the counter in the kitchen. She comes along while I'm washing the dished and takes one, which is fine. Two seconds later though, she comes back to get the other one. "Wait a minute," I say. "What happened to the paci you just took?" Leila's response: "Paci yucky! Throw trash can!" Then she opens the trash can and chucks in the paci to join the one that's already in there. When asked why she threw her pacis away, Leila just insists that they're yucky. I still can't understand for the life of me why she threw those things away. But when she went to bed that night there were no pacis in her bed, and she asked for them. When we reminded her that she threw them away (yes, we still have more), she said "okay" and seemed determined to go to sleep without them. But in the end, she couldn't calm herself down and we gave her one, sayin g that this was the last paci that she has. I'm not sure but I think that eventually it will find itself in the trashcan too, and maybe by then she'll be old enough and really ready to get rid of them. I'm not too concerned either way. And while I am glad that she's able to realize that she doesn't want to use them anymore, isn't it just a bit strange that she just randomly decided to throw them away??? (I should also note however that strangeness may run in our family as Gabrielle did the same thing when she was about four months older than Leila. Threw her pacis in the trash can one morning on her own personal whim, and that was the last we ever saw of them.)
3. Projection. This has been Leila's most interesting development lately. Also with her sense of communication, and perhaps an understanding of good and bad, right and wrong, has come her ability to project things onto inanimate objects. The most memorable examples are when she went poop in her diaper. She brought her Hello Kitty stuffed animal up to me, and said "Hello Kitty poo poo. Hello Kitty change diaper." How coincidental that she had gone poo poo too and also needed a diaper change. The night that she tried to go to sleep without a paci, when we tried to convince her that she didn't need one, she told me that her lovey, Sprinkles, needed a paci. Just in past couple of days, I've changed a Hello Kitty's diaper, given a rubber ducky a bath, and cleaned a teddy bear's face. This whole projection thing is new to me as Gabrielle has never done that (although she does have an imaginary friend), and I'm interested to see how it may develop.
Leila never ceases to boggle the mind. Mostly my mind because I have only ever raised one other baby/child, and she is so invariably different from Gabrielle. The way that they think and operate are completely opposite. Gabrielle is definately more of a rationale, think inside of the box kinda girl. Leila on the other hand, is always able to put a new twist or idea to something old and established, and isn't really bound by a sense of desire to be obediant or to please. Where will this lead to down the road? I am both curious and afraid to find out.
And now that I have written an entire write-up on my kids, which you probably had neither the time nor the inclination to read about, I'm gonna call it quits.