Before proceeding, I should begin with a little background. The television is not a part of Lauren’s world right now. When LP is awake, the TV is off. An occasional exception would be if there is an OSU football or basketball game on and we do tune into the evening news which sometimes leads to Wheel of Fortune if dinner is running late. We have watched parts of “A Bugs Life” on the way to my parents’ house but that pretty much wraps up Lauren’s limited exposure to TV. Recently while Lauren was busy making sure her last few minutes before bath time were jammed packed with as much play as possible, we turned on the TV to check out the guide for possible shows to record. Just as we were about to turn it off a girl who was auditioning for American Idol started to sing. Lauren immediately stopped climbing on the sofa and focused in on her. She listened for a few seconds, sitting completely still, and then began to sing along. While she had no idea what the song was, she kept up fairly well raising and lowering her pitch as the girl on TV did. After the song was over, we clapped for LP as a huge smile brightened her face – she was so proud of herself. Lauren and I sing all day long (well, mostly me as LP listens) but lately she has been showing more interest in our usual songs. She likes to try all of the movements to “Itsy, Bitsy Spider” and “I’m a Little Teapot”. She also chimes in at all of the “ups” and “downs” in “The Grand Ole Duke of York”.
A few weeks ago while dining out at a Mexican restaurant, Lauren eagerly reached onto my plate of nachos for a slice of green onion and popped it into her mouth before I could stop her. I was sure it would come out as fast as it went in but to both Ryan and my surprise LP kept chewing on it. Without swallowing, she reached for another and then another – continuing to chew vigorously but not yet swallowing. Since it appeared that Lauren was enjoying the green onions, I thought I’d help her out and picked a few off of the plate myself – I’d say by this time she had close to 10 pieces of raw green onion in her mouth…chewing, chewing, chewing but still no swallowing. Every once in a while you’d see a peculiar look appear on her face and in retrospect I can say with certainty that it was one of question, “Do I really like these things that I’ve been chewing on for so long?” “Should I actually swallow them?” Finally she reached a decision. Unaware of how to discreetly spit out food in a napkin but I guess in an attempt to not cause a mess she grabbed my hand, put it under her mouth and spit a goop of liquefied green onions into it. I thought, “Well…okay.” I wiped it on my napkin as tactfully as I could but only had a few seconds before Lauren was reaching for my hand again…another glop and then another. She was determined to get every bit of those green onions out of her mouth no matter how tiny. I have to admit, Ryan and I got a good laugh out of it at poor little LP’s expense – bad breath and all.
With each month comes more excitement in our daily lives as Lauren develops new skills as well as the ability to better communicate her likes and dislikes. Lauren continues to be such a mild-mannered child, but don’t mistake her gentle nature for passiveness – she loves being in the middle of it all…that is as long as she knows you.
LP’s vocabulary has continued to increase over the past month. It’s close to impossible to not melt when she looks at you with those big eyes and with the sweetest voice says, “peasss” (that’s “please” for those of you who don’t speak 17 month old English). She is getting really good at imitating animals and their noises. She does a monkey complete with her hands in her armpits, mimicking their chatter and impersonates an elephant’s call as she uses her arm for a trunk. She heard a bird singing outside her window this morning and sang along with it. She “hoots”, “baas”, “moos”, “gobbles” and even “hee haws” to name a few. I just can’t wait until zoo weather again!
In addition to her becoming more vocal, she’s become quite the little water baby. We’ve had to move bath time up because Lauren wasn’t getting enough play time in there before we had to soap up. It’s just so cute seeing her face inches from the side of the tub, concentrating with her tongue out, as she draws with her new crayons. She’s also an avid splasher. Not only does she get those waves going by smacking her hands into the water, she now will get both her hands and feet going at the same time while lying on her back. Every single time, it makes her laugh and with the water swishing around in the tub so violently, she drinks quite a bit…and then chokes, but only putting a brief halt on the splashfest. There are many times Ryan & I get almost as wet outside the tub as LP does inside of it.
Our walks – or should I say strolls – through the neighborhood have also evolved. We are outside at any glimpse of good weather and now Lauren is all about taking walks but not as before where she rode in her stroller. We will walk down by the pond, around the cul-de-sac, and down the sidewalk hand in hand. Before we limited her to walking in the yard but now that she’s gotten a taste of other parts of the neighborhood on her own two feet, we routinely steer out of that familiar realm into uncharted territory. Both LP and Hailey are in heaven on those unseasonably warm winter days and I must agree we really do have so much fun! Of course, fun pretty much describes our days whether inside or out.
Hide-n-Seek has become a daily staple as the cold weather generally has us homebound – well, it is Hide-n-Seek LP Style. She’s got the seeking part down with no problems, always scurries around upstairs looking behind doors and furniture until she finds me but it’s the hiding part that she’s put her own spin on. I will start counting out loud in the corner and I can hear her little feet shuffle off. Each time I know exactly where she’s going to be before I turn around but go through the whole process – I’ll look in the game room, the office, the bathroom, the guestroom and then finally start towards her room…there she is just standing in the middle of the room, leaning against her ottoman. I act like I don’t see her but as I get closer it’s as if she just can’t stand it any longer. She smiles, squeals, and then darts full speed at me for a hug as she laughs uncontrollably. Of course, it makes me laugh every time as well and I absolutely love the hugs so I really don’t mind her interpretation.
Check out some of LP’s 17 month photo shoot, click here. (It actually spanned two days – Valentine’s Day and the 15th.)
Lately Lauren has been all about dipping her food, and her choice of dipping is quite vast. There is the group that I would call outstanding: cookies in milk, chips in dip, fresh spinach & tomatoes in salad dressing, waffles in syrup, broccoli in cheese and blueberries & strawberries in yogurt. There’s the somewhat acceptable group: tomatoes & avocado in cream cheese spread, cheese in cheese, Chex in cottage cheese. And then there are those which should have never, ever been attempted – much less tried over & over: peas in vanilla pudding – YUCK!! Check out Lauren’s dipping technique.
Last week Lauren took a dive, face first, into her bath water for the first time…and hasn’t looked back since! As soon as we sit her in the water, she flops right onto her belly, rolls over to her back and just lays there enjoying the nice warm water – all smiles. She’s always loved her baths, but now she can’t seem to get enough! I’m not quite sure what brought on this sudden need to lay down in the water but it sure is fun to watch. She will even kick her feet as if she’s trying to swim. It looks like we will be enrolling in some swimming lessons this summer!