Evelyn is getting more of a grasp on language now, and says many understandable things. She’s really good at ‘bubble’ and ‘bread’, and ‘wa-wer’ consistently means ‘shower’. We get ‘more, more,’ whenever she wants, well, more of something. She makes a sort of ‘jooossss’ noise which clearly means ‘juice’. She makes, upon request, the correct noises for a variety of animals, including dog, cat, elephant, snake, monkey, sheep, and cow. She says ‘eye’ while poking me in it. There are plenty more, but those are her best and clearest sounds. She’s becoming quite the chatterbox!
I took the girls to the playground across the road this morning. Well, it’s across the road, we go there a bit. As recently as yesterday, Evelyn hesitated to climb the steps. But this morning she was racing up them, running across the wobbly bridge, and half-falling down the slide with reckless abandon! As I recall, Elspeth was about three months older than this when she started doing that circuit, so I guess Evelyn has benefitted from having an older sibling to watch and learn from!
Evelyn’s vocalisations are becoming increasingly complex. She still doesn’t make any sense, but she sounds like she should! She just said to me something that sounded like ‘Boyd Attaway!’ and I was like, ‘Ok, who’s that?’ She replied, ‘Feed the boy!’ Long babble-sentences are becoming very common.
Nonsense babble, of course, but she can say a couple of words reasonably clearly. She was saying ‘cat’ a lot yesterday, because we were in a house with one. She also managed ‘bus’ a few times, as they passed us. She is currently playing with the buttons on my pyjama top, going ‘Bwa-bay! Bwaaaaa-boo!’, which I’m going to interpret as attempts at ‘button’.
She’s also using body language more effectively. For quite some time she’s been shaking her head emphatically to indicate ‘no’, and she’s recently started nodding for ‘yes’ as well. She will also grab my hands and put them where she wants them; she’s been trying to pull them off the keyboard and put them into a hug around her while I’m typing this!
One way and another, she is very adept at communicating; there is rarely any doubt as to what she wants!
For quite a while now, of course, Evelyn has been making a wide variety of sounds. She uses ‘ma ma’ to mean me, and ‘da da’ to mean Aidan. We can tell when she wants something, when she’s hurt, and so on, from the sound she makes. But until two days ago, she really hadn’t applied many real words deliberately to real objects. (Mostly just ‘woof’, but that seems to apply to lots of animals, not just dogs!)
And then she said ‘cheese!’ It was sort of more like ‘zeez’ at first, but her pronunciation got better the more she tried. And she was pointing at the cheese at the time.
She’s also showing increased comprehension; she seems to understand most of what is said to her, even if she can’t respond in kind. She can point to various parts of her body when asked, and she responds enthusiastcally to the mention of foods she likes.
As I mentioned in my last post, my parents took Elspeth away with them on Thursday. This has given Aidan and I a little bit of peace and quiet and relaxation. However, there has also been another unforeseen consequence of the absence of Elspeth.
Evelyn, deprived for the first time of her older sister, has become a completely different child. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with her normally, but now she is showing so much more confidence, she is less needy and clingy, she smiles and laughs and plays more, and is just the sweetest thing!
Under normal circumstances, Evelyn is a very mummy-centric child. If I’m around, she generally just wants me to hold her. Now, though, she is equally happy to be with her daddy or to play alone. It’s as though she sought me out to escape the overwhelming presence of a three year old, and now the house is hers to explore and enjoy.
It might be my imagination, but I think she’s talking more too – well, babbling. Making a greater variety of sounds, and making them more frequently. There is space for her voice!
Elspeth returns tomorrow, and I hope Evelyn is able to retain this new-found confidence in herself and her place in the household.
Today, Evelyn decided she could walk. For a little while now she’s been cruising around using the furniture and walls for support, and for a couple of days she has been taking several unsupported steps.
But today she has been tottering around the house astonishingly well, unhesitatingly leaving the security of a chair to wander the wide wasteland of the living room. She went from the dining table to the study this morning, a straightforward jaunt in a single direction of about seven metres. Later, she took an epic journey, almost completing a circuit of the house, which may not be much further in distance, but involves more turning and thus more effort.
She now seems to see walking as a form of transport equally as useful as crawling, or even more so. Although I must say even her crawling is amazing; she gets up a fair turn of speed, and her bum wiggles madly as she goes. She’s also started getting around on her knees, which I’m not sure whether to call ‘walking on her knees’ or ‘crawling upright’.
Here is a short video of Evelyn walking. It’s not her best effort, but she keeps falling over on camera, then putting in the real miles when the camera isn’t handy.
I’ve gotten used to knowing that my other fully mobile child, Elspeth, also knows how to do things like not fall down steps. But I’d forgotten that babies learn mobility long before acquiring a modicum of common sense. I will have to watch Evelyn very closely now that she’s so free-range, to be sure she doesn’t hurt herself or go missing!
Evelyn is nearly eleven months old now. I can’t believe it, that’s nearly a year! So here’s an update of how she is growing.
She is a champion speed-crawler, I am always amazed at how fast she goes. She’s also cruising around very effectively on her feet, using furniture and walls and people and whatever else she can reach. She’s got a walker – an upright toy with wheels and a handle – and she races around the house behind that. She’s pictured here pushing Elspeth around.
Evelyn is also beginning to sleep really well. I’ve got her down to one nap during the day, and that has helped her sleep through the night. We haven’t had a ridiculous o’clock wake up for about a week now, so I’m confident in saying that’s it.
She is still eating wonderfully. She eats anything, everything – except egg. She only has two teeth, but it’s amazing what she can do with them! She was managing big chunks of coconut last night.
She is also becoming really communicative; even though her vocalisations are still mostly ‘ba’ and ‘ga’ and ‘da’ and so on, she can make it very clear when she wants something. For instance, she points at food she wants. She headbutts me in the mouth when she wants a kiss. She screams when she wants attention – but stops and entertains herself if I ignore her!
She and Elspeth are getting much better at playing together. I hear more laughs than screams now as they frolic. I still think Elspeth is too rough with her, but as long as Evelyn is laughing, I figure she doesn’t mind.
All in all, I’m pleased with how she’s going. I think she’s going to be another smart cookie, like her big sister, so I’m in for a hell of a time when she starts talking!