Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Toddler Tales and Tails

The subtle transition from infant to something more advanced snuck up on us. One day Grace was sitting in her high chair being spoonfed pureed green beans (nummy) and the next day she's Brett Favre, flailing fully-formed beans across the kitchen. The quarterback comparison suits her because those tosses are often intercepted (by a pug : ) Her appearance has changed from having just enough fine hair to cover her little noggin to sporting wavy curls which are often in pigtails. Grace has gone from watching the pug do ... well, whatever it is that pugs do in their free time ... to interacting with her, encouraging her to chase, share her meal or come downstairs to play.

All this has has made me realize, and this may sound odd to some, but I don't see Grace as being mine. By that I mean the following: When I watch Grace, I see her as this little individual person learning, chatting, absorbing the world around her. Sure, I'm her mom and need to parent her by giving her direction and guidance, but it's her individuality that makes me feel the most like a mom. When she puts a bucket on her head or hands me a sample of the substance coming out of her always runny nose or runs after a ball saying "giggity-giggity" like a crazy little wind-up toy, I am proud. Sometimes grossed out too, but still proud : )

This pride is often mixed with those melty mom moments when I realize how much she's made me grow. This often happens at bedtime. As I cradle and cuddle her in my arms before placing her in the crib, I am now aware that this tall girl will soon be too big to be held that way. While she might outgrow my cuddle capacity, she'll never outgrow the space she's created in my heart for her.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Smarty Pants (pun intended)

Even though Grace has moved past being on all fours for transportation purposes, she still is quite the doggy imitator and that started early on in her life. One of the first things she learned as a baby was a response to the question, "What does a doggy do?" Here's how it happened: I initially thought that I was going to teach Grace some baby signs to help her communicate and so we started reading her a book that showed her different ways to "say" common household objects -- one such object that was common in our house was the dog. The sign for dog was to stick out your tongue. I added panting noises for emphasis (and entertainment : ) Not too long after that Grace was making the association, and when asked what a doggy does, she'd pant. Never mind that Ella doesn't pant unless she's really in a hurry, such as when a Cheerio has dropped on the floor.

Grace also learned to pet Ella nicely pretty early on, a lesson she sometimes forgets when she gets excited and starts bopping the dog on the head. We have a very patient pug when it comes to Gracie. I think she recognizes Grace is great provider of nibbles and tidbits as you can see by the photo.

Oh, yes, I can't forget this. Our daughter fetches. We have always played a game of fetch with Ella where we toss a stuffed toy (named Mr. McFurry) down a hallway and Ella scampers and brings it back to us. Grace has loved to watch this and squeals with excitement as Ella trots past her as she retrieves the stuffed animal to me. After about five tosses or so, Ella tires of the game and Mr. McFurry is abandoned at the end of the hallway. At that point, Grace looks at me, looks at Mr. McFurry and then toddles down the hallway to bring the lonely toy back.

As you can tell, we think our daughter's probably the smartest toddler in the world. We were very proud when she pointed at the dogs on TV when we were watching the annual Westminster Dog Show this spring. She panted to demonstrate that she knew what they were. We were very impressed ... until she pointed and panted when we showed her the deer grazing in our front yard. Good thing this little doggy has time to learn some new tricks.