I am consistently amazed with how much Staley knows and understands. New words emerge on a daily basis. (So far today, her new words have been shampoo and pears.) And as proud as I am of her talking, I am also astounded by what she understands and how she pieces things together. She has done several things over the past few days that have impressed me. Each time I see her make a new connection or understand a new concept, it makes me smile. I never want to forget this time in her life. I never want to forget these small happy moments that make up our days.
When Staley and I are home alone, she will play in the bathroom while I shower. (Today she began emptying out my make-up drawer that I didn't think she could reach. Guess I'm going to have to do a little bathroom reorganziation.) As I was drying off (after confiscating a lipstick tube with the cap partially off), she looked at my towel and said 'hat.' Since she doesn't say 'towel', I thought she just might be confused. I said 'towel.' She looked at me expectantly and said 'hat.' And as I wrapped the towel around my wet hair, she smiled big and again said 'hat', and I realized that she put together the fact that the towel I was drying off with is the same one she loves to see on my head.
One of Staley's favorite games is the empty-mom's-purse game. It is fun for her, keeps her happy and occupied, and doesn't ever seem to get old. The only rules for this game are that she is not allowed to play with the hand sanitizer (because I'm worried she might get it open and drink it) or my pencil (to avoid puncture wounds.) Yesterday I was in the bathroom putting on make-up and Staley was in my room emptying my purse. She suddenly crawled into the hallway carrying the hand sanitizer from my purse, held it out to me until I took it, and then crawled back into my room to continue with her game. I hope this willingness to follow the rules even when I'm not present continues through her teenage years. (Fingers crossed!!)
We do a lot of counting with Staley. We count her snaps when we snap up her onesie. We count objects in her books. We count bites of non-preferred food before she can have something else. Yesterday, I was beginning to count her toys as we were putting them away. I said 'one' and Staley immediately said 'two.' It took me by surprise, so I followed up with lots more counting games. Staley doesn't say 'one' or 'three', but anytime we say 'one', she now follows up with 'two.'
Staley is also starting to participate when reading her books. She has always liked turning pages and opening flaps. More recently, she enjoys pointing at objects and labeling what she sees. But in the past week or so, she has been helping us read a few of her favorite books. One of her all-time favorite books is called 'Baby Talk.' It has pictures of babies AND flaps to lift, so it's got lots going for it. The first page says "This little baby is hiding" and then you open the flap and read "Peek-a-boo." Or "This little baby is happy" and the flap reads "Hee hee." Now when we read the book, Staley will do the flap parts. So I read the first part and Staley opens the flap and says 'hee hee' or 'mum mum' (for 'yum yum') or 'boo' for ('peekaboo' and 'boo hoo') or 'mama'. Staley has another book where Mickey and his friends get lost on the way to the beach. Each page has a different setting and asks "is this the beach?" and Staley will answer correctly with a shake of her head and a smile. She can independently read her little 5 page book that just has a picture of a daily action and the word that accompanies it (eat, build, play, ride, hug) by saying each word without prompting when she sees the picture. And she has two books that ask her to do something, like 'point to your tummy' or 'say cheese' or 'stick out your tongue', and she often does the action before we even say it.
With each day that passes, Staley's world is expanding. In Staley's world, towels are more fun as hats. The only important number is 'two'. Hand sanitizer is not a toy. There is nothing better than a good book. Cows still say 'booo.' And I've determined that Staley's world is my absolute favorite place to be.