At 17 months, Sloane has preferences, and she lets us know it.
She has preferences about what song she wants to hear at a given time, what book she would like to read and what food she wants to eat. When we get in the car, she'll ask us to put the music on ("uh oh! uh oh!" she'll say, motioning to the CD player if it's silent). If it's not the song she wants to hear, she'll say, "no!", until we get to the song she means, and then she'll say "yeas" with a smile, and then proceed to hum, sing, and sound out along.
She knows all the sounds of alphabet and loves singing along to the Busy Beaver alphabet songs. She randomly points out letters and makes out their sounds when she sees them in catalogues or packaging. She loves books. I can usually stop a tantrum dead in its tracks by asking her if she wants to read a book. "Yeeaaaaasss!" she will wail, in between fading sobs.
She is a dancer. Not only does she love to dance, she likes a good dance party and wants others to join in on the dancing. We laugh about how bossy she can be about getting us to join in on the dancing. She is bossy in other ways, too. Sometimes I come back home to Ken and Sloane after being away for a couple of hours and Ken greets me by saying, "she made me do things!"
She is developing her willpower. I guess this is our ascent into the world of tantrums and discipline; we are learning as we go. She is gaining knowledge of the world in exponential leaps and bounds but since she can't communicate exactly enough and can't understand fully enough yet, it can lead to frustration and a crying spell that can last for too long. Sometimes, once I realize that explaining won't work, I just let her cry it out, and then it's over. Also, it appears that the more aware she is of things, the more desires she has, and the more desires she has, the more reason to whine. Oh, the whining.
She has intentions. When she picks up her little stool, it's not just to do it, it's so that she can move it right up against the coffee table, bring over her box of crayons and paper, come over to me to take my hand and bring me over, order me to sit down and then sit herself down on the stool in order to draw her masterpiece.
And there was that time she told me to lay down and then she tried to change my diaper.
She can think ahead. One time after she handed me a clementine to peel, and after she did her happy dance at the prospects of getting a clementine, she went to the trash to open it up and said 'trach!' For a second I didn't understand, and then I realized she was telling me to hand her the peels so that she could put it in the trash.
Later that night she noticed Rusty was sniffing at his empty food bowl and called me to it, frantically pointing and letting me know that I needed to fill it because he wanted to eat.
While putting her to bed, she does this sweet thing of putting her head on my shoulder when I'm singing to her. She will often sing along, but the song she is singing is vague and out of tune.. The other night when this happened, she was doing this with such passion in her voice, I got a bad case of the giggles and had a hard time calming myself down.
The other day she came up to me while I was washing the dishes and said a string of sentences - that weren't a request or complaint - she just had a real serious look in her eye and afterwards she walked away, nodding. She apparently had something important to share, but I couldn't understand any of it…
She says "papa" or "baba" to call Ken, and sometimes she refers to me as "mama" but then she would also call me "baba". I'm not sure if she thought she was saying "mama" when she was actually saying "baba" or what, but then recently she learned the word, "mommy" and seems to like that word better. "Momeeeee!" she will squeal, with pure joy and adoration lighting her face. It fills me up in such a way.
One hilarious development that has been happening over this past month is that she is showing signs of having a mother who takes too many photos. Whenever the camera appears, she puts down whatever she is holding, faces the camera and says "cheeeeese" with the biggest cheesiest smile. When I take out my phone to take a photo, she asks me for it with the camera setting on and proceeds to walk around house pointing it at different things and looking at what things look like in the frame of the phone's camera lens. When she's done, she'll bring it back to me saying, "momee, momee". She also knows what a self-timer is. Today, she brought over a couple of lego blocks that were attached together and put it on the bench. I saw her set it down, check it carefully, back slowly away facing the 'camera', and then say, "cheese!" Then she ran to the block, examined it carefully, said "uh oh!", and then proceeded to back away again for the 'camera' to take another photo. I realized she was running back to the pretend camera to check the picture, deciding it wasn't a good one and taking another. Then she ordered me to come stand next to her to be in so many pictures. I sure did get a taste of my own medicine.
While I was taking these photos, she insisted that we get her blanket and then asked me to spread it down on the floor for her. She laid teddy bear down and then laid down next to him. She told me to go on my way, so I walked a few steps away to the kitchen and watched as she lay there silently for a few minutes, reveling in the satisfaction of laying down on the bed that she made. After a few moments, she called me back and wanted me to bundle her up and hold her like a baby, so I wrapped my big toddler up in the blanket, craddled her in my arms and swayed her side to side like the baby she will always be.