You’ve come a long way baby!
Don’t mind me… I’m only a day late for the 18 month milestone post…!
Niamh. My ‘Neeva’ – or ‘Diva’ if she’s being one – or, most frequently, ‘Viva’, which I think I latched onto because of her amazing joie de vivre. She has enough of that for all of us, I think! Finn has of recent times dubbed her ‘Miss Snuv’. Not sure why, and despite stumbling across a ‘snuv’ or two in a Dr Seuss book, Finn tells me he made it up himself. Sort of cute, though probably not something she’ll want to be sticking around in a couple of decades.
She is pure energy, this one. Slightly scary, yet inspirational, in her absolute fearlessness. She was climbing before she was walking, and she has never stopped, forever pushing the limits of what I’ll allow her to scale before I intervene. She’s incredibly sociable – kids seem to flock to her in the playground, and she frequently seeks out some other mother’s lap to occupy during library storytime. Raising such an extrovert is a completely new and fascinating experience for me. She’s incredibly headstrong, as well, and already, I foresee a somewhat, uh, challenging couple of years ahead. That’s not all. I start to feel rather faint whenever someone mentions teenagerhood.
Niamh doesn’t talk a lot. At 18 months she has only a few clearly recognizable words, and a smattering of other funny little half-words – ‘du’ for duck, ‘mi’ for milk, ‘be’ for bed, ‘mir’ for mirror, ‘muh’ for more, and so on. Oh, and she has a respectable collection of animal noises too! None of the ‘No, she’s not talking yet’ conversations are worrying me at this point. Here, at least, she is practically identical in development to Finn. At 18 months, we feared he would never talk. Six months later, we feared he would never shut up (we were right!) Because we anticipated this with Niamh, I started doing a little sign language with her at about 9 months. We borrowed the ‘Tiny Talk’ book and DVD from a neighbour. Tiny Talk is partly based on Auslan (Australian Sign Language), and partly based on signs babies naturally make. (Both my kids practically came out of the womb making the sign for ‘eat’, for example).
‘Milk’ and ‘eat’ were the first signs Niamh and I used together (oh, and ‘done’, which was just a sign Niamh came up with naturally), and really I didn’t do much more until some time after she turned one. At some point she picked up on the ‘more’ I had been signing to her a bit, and signed it back. That’s when I realised what excellent potential there was for communicating. Niamh now recognizes (and uses most of) about 20 different signs. Most helpful are ‘milk’ (which she also tends to use for generic ‘drink’ now that she’s no longer breastfeeding), ‘eat’, ‘done’, ‘more’, ‘help’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please/thankyou’ (the same sign, though she only consistently signs for please), and ‘down’. ‘Ball’ and ‘duck’ (accompanied by a very commendable quacking noise) are two of her other favourites. The other day she was scribbling on a bit of paper, when she turned to me and informed me that her drawing was a ‘ball’. It was an excellent moment. Signs give her ‘words’ for telling us things. Even though Finn understood everything we said to him at the same age, and could demonstrate a lot of his knowledge, he didn’t actually have ‘words’ to just tell us stuff – communication with him was a lot about reading body language, and often guesswork on our part.
This impromptu impersonation of Charlie had us all in fits. This was pizza night about six weeks ago, and we had been playing with sequins earlier in the week, sticking them on our noses and whatnot. Niamh plonked this piece of olive under her nose and (obviously) though it incredibly hilarious. Her sense of humour is wicked.
My beautiful girl. You are a wonder and a delight to know. Happy One-And-A-Half!