Friday, September 08, 2006

Just growing

All of my few previous posts have marked specific events in Elizabeth's development - the first word, first steps, that kind of thing. Her progress in the past couple of months has been dramatic, but in a slow, relentless kind of way - there have been few occasions that I could point to as the first of anything.

Her vocabulary has expanded enormously, but you have to know her well to be able to discriminate between some words. "Daddy" is almost indistinguishable from "dirty"; "Mummy" is indistinguishable from "monkey". Last week, her first attempt (that I've heard) at pronouncing her own name came out as "Izabizef".

She's becoming very independent, and determined to do things for herself. Last week, after a nappy change at her Gran's house, she spent half an hour trying to put her trousers on, and screaming bloody murder if anybody tried to help. A couple of days later, she was equally determined to put her own nappy on. And last night, Helen cooked up an excellent stir-fry for us all, and Elizabeth wanted chopsticks. As luck would have it, we recently picked up a big bag of those chopsticks that come in pairs cut from a single piece of wood, to be broken apart before use. We gave her a new pair, still stuck together, and she proved surprisingly adept at using them as a fork, scooping up noodles and spearing chicken pieces.

Over the past couple of months Elizabeth's been playing with a couple of what the Early Learning Centre calls "liftout puzzles". My sister Elaine had given us a few of these things (or do I mean lent, with Poppy getting older and another on the way). Elizabeth's getting good at them, so good that I thought we ought to try her on a new one. So I nipped upstairs and got one that she'd never seen before (unless they have the same one at nursery). She took all of the pieces out and put them back in again, without hesitation. So I went upstairs and got the last one - but took all of the pieces out before she saw it. This one was a lot more difficult because all of the pieces were small, similar and nearly symmetric, but even so, and unseen, she rapidly put about 3/4 of them in place before she lost interest.

We've been to Finlaystone a couple of times recently. Elizabeth loves the swings and the chutes, the forts and pirate ship, and the little obstacles, like the 4-inch wide beams set a foot or two off the ground with occasional steps up or down. Of course, she needs a bit of hand-holding to negotiate some of these hazards, but she could do them all day, and doesn't ever want to stop.

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