Development and recent events [really: proud Daddy bragging]
Standing up, not quite walking
We had a bit of a scare recently when some doctors (including Freya's
new pediatrician here in Salem and Fritz's brother-in-law, Seward) became
concerned about a combination of factors: Freya's head circumference,
her still-open fontanel (the "soft spot" on the top of the head) and
the fact that she wasn't walking.
In particular, Seward was worried about hydrocephalus,
which can be quite serious if not caught early. Luckily, some data on
her Daddy's own fat head, a sonogram, and recent progress toward
walking have largely allayed our fears.
She's still not quite walking on her own yet, but she's standing up
while holding on and also "cruising" a bit. The fact that her progress
improved so much after the scare (and our subsequent reactions) seems
to indicate that our indulging her (by picking her up, etc.) had been
at least part of the problem.
Reading and counting
Freya's become quite the parrot recently, repeating almost everything we say.
She's also gotten very good at memorizing books ... and no wonder, it's the
first thing she wants in the morning (she crawls into her room and starts
pulling the books from her shelf right after she wakes up). Putting her
books up on a shelf in the living room worked tremendously to get her
to start standing (thanks to my Department chair,
for this suggestion).
As an example, she can go through her entire Ant and Bee
alphabet book, calling out the 26 "letter words" that are highlighted as
part of the story, even without the book in front of her (i.e., in response
to someone just reciting the story). And she recognizes the letters on
her blocks, other books, street signs, etc. Probably her first sign of
progress in this direction was learning to spell her name, which she
picked up from song (see below) and from the blocks carved in letter
shapes on her step stool. She also recognizes the numbers up to 10
(she has some trouble with "9") and can count in sequence ("One duck!";
"Two ducks!"; "Three ducks!"; etc. up to ten, with pauses. Any mention
by us of any number of anythings will usually set her off like this).
She's not just memorizing, either, but picking up on semantics, too.
The other day when she said "Car!" and "Truck!" during a diaper change,
I asked her what else had wheels, and she responded "Bus!". Finally, she's
also getting the hang of some pragmatic issues of conversation: last
weekend she implored "Read to me, Daddy!" (who can resist a requst like
that?). In another incident, after asking for and receiving her "F" block
("F, pease!"), she responded "Thank you!".
Let's just hope these manners stick through the toddler years ...
Another recent interest is song. Mostly this is a matter of her asking for
songs from us, usually in contexts where she's bored for lack of any books
or play distractions (e.g., in the car or in the high chair). It started
with her requesting just "Sing!", but she now asks for specific songs by
name. We also play games where we sing verses based on her choices
(e.g., she chooses animals or objects for "Old MacDonald"). She also
sings some songs herself, though not many. This started with "F-R-E-Y-A"
(sung to the tune of "B-I-N-G-O"), which she latched onto about the time
she started spelling her name. Now she'll start singing it whenever we
pass a "Fred Meyer" sign (a local retailer),
presumably because the letters look like her name.