After Shaun and I brought Sonja home from the hospital, Shaun wondered when we would get to see what she would “be like.” At less than one day old we had ascribed to her certain mannerisms, but it’s true that for the first few months there is not a whole lot to be said about babies, beyond how they are taking to the sleeping, eating and pooping routine. Soon enough, personality starts to emerge and now that Sonja has hit the 18-month mark, she is an unstoppable force of nature.
Sonja is a very active child, or so it seems to me, constantly exploring and pacing back and forth. One of her favorite activities is to take my sock drawer apart, one sock at a time, walking each individual sock over to me then walking back to get another. She’ll do the same thing with baskets of laundry or her diapers.
She is not quite running yet, but she’s definitely speed walking. She can walk on her tiptoes. She loves to walk everywhere, especially down the street to the neighbor’s house with all the swings and slides. Also extremely fun are the ramps at the mall. She will walk the entire length of the mall with no complaint, straying in to stores with loud music so she can dance. I almost never bother with the stroller anymore, knowing it’s just a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds, before she will insist on getting down. Or up. She knows both these words but she’s not sure which one is appropriate in any particular case. If we’re holding her and she says, “up!” we say, “you are up! Do you want down?” Then she nods her head and says, “down!” and we acquiesce.
Speaking of words, she has quite the vocabulary and is not afraid to use it. She knows a ton of animal names and animal sounds, she asks to go “ou-side,” and she knows the name of her cat which she likes to yell loudly “SIIIIIID!”. After he runs away in fear, she likes to chase after him. She’s getting better at pronouncing words more fully, like “rice” and “roll” and my favorite “haaa-aaam,” though cookie still comes out “coooo-kah!” and she’s only just begun to say “noodle” instead of “noo-noo.” She calls her binky “bippy,” her blankie “me-me,” and the newest addition to the “must-haves-for-outings” is a stuffed Elmo, which she calls “Elmo.” She is starting to form simple sentences and can say “all gone” and “all done.” She has just started to call for me by name in the morning. She understands a lot now, making it easier to communicate with her.
She’s still quite tiny, my piccolo baby, weighing in at approximately 18 1/2 pounds. We were encouraged at the last doctor’s appointment to add egg yolks, cream and butter to her diet to help her gain weight faster, but I have not been successful in doing so (the eggs give her a rash and she doesn’t yet like butter.) This is one of the things over which I feel tremendous guilt, worrying that perhaps my diet is not varied enough to be a good example or that I am missing opportunities to load her up on calories. Still, she is not shy about telling me when she wants to eat and what she wants, so I don’t know what else to do.
I remember saying several times during my pregnancy that there was no way I was going to get a child who was a good sleeper. I was a terrible sleeper, most of my life, really, and my mother-in-law swears my husband didn’t sleep until he was three. So how the two of us turned out such a good sleeper is a mystery. Even on the rare occasion when she fights bedtime, she doesn’t fight for very long. She could be standing in her crib and wailing when I shut the door, tired of negotiating, and she will wail for approximately 30 seconds. Then things go quiet and when I peek back in the room five minutes later, she is sound asleep. She’s great at sleeping through the night, though we did have a few weeks of late-night awakenings with party expectations a couple of months ago. I blame it on teething. Or her being too cold. Or sleeping too long during the day. Currently, we are down to one nap a day, in the early afternoon, which lasts between 90 and 120 minutes.
I have shown her the Muppets video for Mahna Mahna which she loves. She often points to my tablet and says, “na mena?” hoping I’ll show it to her again. Sometimes out of nowhere she will say “doo doo na mena” very matter-of-factly, and this is probably the cutest thing that any baby has ever done in the history of babies.
Yes, Sonja is a very happy baby, very talkative and very active. She may be small, but I’m not worried about her development. (I may even secretly think she’s a genius.) I wanted to throw her another half-birthday like I did last year, but Shaun didn’t think it was necessary. Indeed, getting to this point seems less an accomplishment than hitting the six-month mark, and I also think this particular six month stretch was far shorter than the interminable days between September and March last year. So I shall let it slide, though I may have to bake a cake because when I asked Sonja if she wanted a cake this morning, she nodded her head yes and kept saying, “cake” over and over again. I didn’t even know she knew that word.