That's her favorite expression lately, "all by yourself." Sometimes, it's "Charlotte do all by yourself." She wants to dress herself, walk up and down the stairs solo, push the stroller, make my coffee,... The strange thing isn't that she wants to do all these things, it's that she CAN. There are so many things she can suddenly do that I wonder how long she was able to do them before learning to express her desire to do them for herself. She puts on her pants, only needing help to pull up the back. She puts her socks on so expertly that when she awakens from a nap, I assume she kept her socks on the whole time. Then I notice later that they're on different feet (a design on only one side of each gave that away). She finds her sleeves herself while putting on a shirt, and unless the neck is really snug manages to pull it over her head too. She WALKS down stairs now without holding my hand- not that she's suddenly tall enough to fully use the railing, but she's figured out how to lower herself on one leg until the other foot reaches the stair below. And going up, which she's been doing on her own for a long time, she's no longer happy with herself if her knees touch the steps. She dances on her own when music is playing, no longer demanding to be in my arms as we both bounce around the room. She opens packages, puts her hats on, stacks blocks and knocks them down... "by yourself. No help Mommy." She even wipes her own nose.
A few other milestones have been hit in the last couple of weeks. She finally caught some air while jumping off a door mat at the paint store (she'll jump off anything... especially likes the thresholds between rooms in our house). She's on her way to potty training herself, requesting a trip to the potty on a few occasions when she really did have to go- entirely on her own, without any training or suggestions from us, and not only when we're trying to get her into bed. Her speech is incredible, not just in the number of words she uses, but how she uses them. Asking for something, she knows how to say please and how to be specific, or vague, when it's appropriate... "Please Mommy, watch Abby Flying Fairy School on TV?" "Please Mommy, watch something on TV?" She conjugates verbs, not always correctly, but logically... "Charlotte waked up from nap." She tells us what's polite or not-so-nice... "Somebody sneeze, say 'bless you.'" She says "Thank you" for just about everything... "Thank you babies!" after swim class every week, "Thank you, Uncle Dan" whenever she wears an outfit my brother gave to her. She thanks the mailman for stopping at our mailbox, the sun for shining, and trees for giving her pine cones to play with. She tells me what she loves (hot dogs, spaghetti sauce, Mommy, Daddy, Maggie, the cat) and all the things that other beings love ("Reilly loves Charlotte." "Mommy loves Charlotte sooooo much." "Daddy loves pizza."). She explains things to her babies (her dolls)- "Poopie diaper smell yucky." "No eat socks." "Mommy Charlotte go bye-bye, you sleep here." "Knuckle on cheek sign apple." And she still comes out with words that she learned from who-knows-where.
Sleep-wise, she's suddenly having a hard time with naps. Yesterday, she was demonstrably tired, but played in her crib for two hours before crying for a couple of minutes then falling asleep. For 25 minutes. I usually put her down around 12:30, and until recently she'd go right to sleep and wake at about 3:00. It was heavenly, having those hours in the middle of the day when I could get something done and take a nap myself.
Nighttimes are still a breeze, but we've changed our explanation of how to know when it's time for bed. We used to tell her she could read 3 stories, or build some number of towers, but she would find ways to stall- refusing to knock over a tower (so we couldn't build the next one) or select a book, sometimes requesting we read a different book when we were halfway through another one as if an incomplete book didn't count against the bedtime countdown. So, last week I introduced her to her clock. I told her that it would be time for bed when the slow hand was on the 3. Stall as she might, the clock kept on ticking and it was bedtime before we'd finished even a single book. I showed her the clock, and she didn't argue with me! For a week now, we've wrapped up our bedtime routine based on the clock and it's gone well. Some nights, she gets 5 or 6 stories, plust time to build towers. Tonight, she got one story and one song and that was it. And she went down without a fuss. It's fantastic! And it only works because she knows her numbers.
Speaking of which, she can consistently count things up to 3, sometimes as high as 5 but usually just to 3. She can recite numbers through 12. She recites the entire alphabet and can identify about 10 letters consistently. She knows her colors and her shapes (well, not octagon, hexagon, pentagon, etc. Those are really hard). Every week or two, we return books to the library and check out some new ones. She always picks one book as her favorite and wants to read only that one, over and over. She sings songs, currently including "Jingle Bells," "You are My Sunshine," "Twinkle Twinkle," "Itsy Bitsy (complete with hand gestures)," and "It's Raining, It's Pouring." She follows along with instructions within songs (i.e. "Feel the rhythm in your hands and go clap-clap-clap"- and she claps).
We can't help but compare what she does today with things she could do 6 months or a year ago. It's amazing how much she's grown as a person. She has an incredible confidence about her- not an arrogance, but the confidence in herself to walk into a room full of kids she doesn't know and to make herself at home there, to find a friend or a special toy to play with. I hope she never loses that.
4 years ago