I started gathering ideas for this blog post months ago. Time is a valuable good, I’ve come to learn in the last fourteen months. There’s never enough of it. I can’t believe how fast the months have gone by. We had a nasty winter, but then a very long summer, and for the first time ever, I actually agreed to what people around me kept saying: there was no spring this year. People keep saying there’s never a spring on Cape Cod. I don’t feel that’s true. We usually have a beautiful spring with weeks of temperatures in the 50s, lots of rain, beautiful spring flowers, colorful gardens all around. This year, and mind you I’ve lived here for 8.5 years now, was the first year that I felt we indeed went straight from winter to summer. Come May we started having temperatures in the 60s, while back in April it was still freezing cold. There was barely any rain at all throughout May and June, and flowers took a long time to raise their little heads and show us their beauty. By the time June rolled around, temperatures were in the high 60s most of the time. It’s been lovely to wake up to summer every morning. The freshness in the air, the sun peeking through our window. After the long winter, it was a welcome relief.
My amazing three year old little girl has been and still mostly does ask for permission for literally everything. If she doesn’t ask using words, she gives me an inquiring look, as if to say: is this okay? Do I need to stop? Or can I continue? She hesitates until she gets reassurance from me, by word or by look. She’s been doing this for months, which makes me quite proud of her.
Here’s something funny Savina has taking a liking to doing: She offers you something, for example during pretend play, she’ll say, would you like an egg, too? And if you say, yes, she’ll say, well, you can’t have one. So basically, she offers something by asking “would you like” or “do you want,” and when you answer, she goes, “well,…” and crushes your wishes either direction. If you say, no thanks, it’ll be: well, you’ll have to, for example. It’s hilarious.
Similarly, she often asks permission for something and then blows me off. So, for example, she’ll ask: Can I play with this? And if I say yes, she’ll say, well I don’t want to! Or she’ll ask, can I eat that? And I say yes, she goes, I don’t want to. It goes the same way in the opposite direction, if I say no, she’ll say well, I want to. Of course that part is quite normal, but when I say yes and she decides to instantly change her mind, it’s as if she WANTS me to say no… thinking about it, maybe she does. Maybe it’s her way of looking for limit setting. Children do need healthy limits, and god knows I don’t set enough for Savina, or didn’t use to anyway, because most things never bothered me. But anyway, this goes into the AwP topic, and that’ll be later.
Savina’s German is definitely improving. In an environment where everyone around her except one person (me) talks English, it’s not surprising that she chooses English to be her preferred language. She does understand that there’s another way of saying things though (German), and she does practice. She is now starting to form sentences (finally!) in German! She will say things like “Ich habe Hunger” (I’m hungry) and try to make sense of the grammar, for example a few days ago she said: “Ich habe tired.” (I’m tired, but in German you need to say “ich bin” not “ich habe” in this case). So she’s working on it, and I’m happy that she’s progressing. Her language otherwise is incredible. For the last few months she’s been speaking like a kindergartener. Sentences of 20+ words, clear and understandable. Growing up with two languages, I’m impressed to say the least.
As most of you know, Savina started pre-school a few weeks ago. She now goes to Waldorf three times a week for four hours each day. She enjoys it, even though she’s still a little scared when I leave, and today she had her first crying moment, not wanting to let go of me. She’s fine. What I find interesting is her napping has been affected a great deal by going to school. She’d been phasing out of napping completely. She’d nap only 25% of the time anymore, but since she started school, it’s shot back up to 90%, even on non-school days!!! This truly seems to take a lot out of her.
Kimiko grows by leaps and bounds. First, let me tell you about her eating habits. This child is unbelievable. No food is safe when Koko is around, I promise you that. She finds it, she eats it. You leave something lying around on the chair, the floor, the bed, the table, anywhere, she takes it and she eats it. Bam. Gone. Frustrates the hell out of Savina, who likes to take her time with her snacks and often leaves them lying about, just to find Koko snatching them every other minute.
Koko is an extremely laid back child. She loves to lounge I tell you. Often, she just lies down on the floor to play, or just lies down for the heck of it. When she’s tired, she’ll lie down, doesn’t matter if it’s in the middle of the dirt where Mommy was pulling out roots just a moment before. A few days ago, Koko grabbed the book I was reading with her at bed time, rolled off my lap, lied down on the bed next to me, held the book up, opened it and “read” it. Some sight that was.
I read somewhere not long ago that the earliest children generally start pretend play is around 18 months. Savina took quite some time before she started pretend play, not sure if she did it at 18 months yet–can’t really remember, but it wasn’t early. Kimiko has blown me away, before I even knew what the common age for pretend play is. Koko was about 9 months old when I first saw her pretend play. She took a remote control, held it to her ear, and said things like “hi,” “ya.” I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen and heard it myself. But she didn’t stop there. Several months ago, she started taking Savina’s Little People and walked them around, saying “hi.” A few days ago, she held her water bottle close to her chest, hugging it, and saying, “babyyyy.” She has whole conversations on pretend phones now, complete with “ummm” pauses and that distant thinking look. Kimiko is just about 15 months old.
Another amazing development is her language acquisition. I thought Savina was ahead when she had over 15 words at 15mo old, over 40 words by the time she was 16mo, and held a conversation with the doctor, surprising the pediatrician herself, at her 15mo well visit. Kimiko tries to repeat almost everything we say. Often it sounds like she repeats whole phrases/sentences. She can already say two words together since months, such as “all done” and “all gone.” She already knows at least 30 words that I can instantly think of, and makes four distinct animal sounds. Her signing is exploding as well. Her sign for “more” is finally correct, and she can do many many signs upon request. She signs only few things of her own accord though, like “milk” and “outside”. While I find it extremely hard to believe that Kimiko can already understand the meaning of “why,” I’m getting more and more the impression that she actually does, because she says “why” every time at just the right moment! She’s also said/asked “what?” a couple of times.
Koko is also a big time climber. She likes to be high up. She likes to climb anything and everything she can find. She started climbing our little slide outside by herself about 6 months earlier than Savina did. She can safely get on and off Savina’s bed and our couch, and she wants to go up and down steps 24/7. While her sister has always been more of an observer, Kimiko is definitely a doer. You can see this in every aspect, too, for example Savina prefers to sing, whereas Koko prefers to dance.
Lastly, I just wanted to briefly touch on how we’re doing on our AwP journey. It took me about two years to fully understand AwP, but I’m so happy that I finally do, because it has brought me and my girls closer together, and it brings much harmony to our house and our relationship. I mentioned attachment play in one of my earlier blog posts, and how it had reduced Savina’s tantrums by 75%. I was getting busy, preoccupied, maybe just tired and exhausted and let our attachment play go by the wayside a little bit. Her tantrums shot straight back up, and finally came down again when I reintroduced a little more attachment play, and found more time to actively practice AwP tools such as staylistening and present time with her. Holding has made the greatest difference, mostly because it allowed Savina to finally let the tears flow she’s been holding back for so very long. We’ve been doing a lot of emotional healing and are on a wonderful path now. Probably the most amazing part is that I can see how she is doing emotionally just by looking at her physically. Once she got a lot of stress and emotional hurts out after we started Holding, she went dry overnight. Just like that. And when we had a huge break in connection, causing emotional distress, she began to wet her bed again up until she was able to heal from that break. It’s been a few weeks since we started Holding, and since she’s become dry, and every time there was an emotional stressor, her bed-wetting started up again. I must say, I’d never had the intention to train her for night time. My goal was to get her fully potty-trained during the day by the time she turned three (mission accomplished by the way). Night time, bed wetting, was not even on my mind really–I figured this I wouldn’t be able to train her in until closer to five or six years old. Imagine my surprise when I started Holding. And, as I said, every time something stresses her emotionally that she can’t fully heal from right away that day, she wets her bed again, and once we’ve gone through some healing, lots of raging and crying, and laughing, she stops wetting her bed. It is incredible how closely connected she is physically to her emotions.
What I’m really happy about is that I really started to fully understand AwP when Kimiko was still an infant. Kimiko is very balanced emotionally thanks to that. There are hardly any control patterns in her–never during the day. During the day, instead of control patterns she chooses the healthy alternative: crying. Only at nap time does she occasionally use a CP. (she pulls her hair), but even that is not consistent, and when I encourage her to cry, offering to listen, she stops doing it. I assume this stems mostly from me being too tired at night time to listen to her, and sometimes just trying to calm her, or distract her, so that everyone can go back to sleep. I’m trying more and more to listen to her at sleep time. She also is very communicative about her need to cry. When she’s not done, and I can tell, and I ask her if there’s more, she’ll usually say yes, but if there isn’t she’ll say no. If she says yes, I’ll say go ahead, I’m listening, and she’ll instantly continue crying. It’s a wonderful dance of trust.