Jaclyn has learned a secret—when walking, she can use her arms to carry things—that all-important blankey, her favorite black-and white pony (only slightly soiled), and books that she likes to toddle along with. Back when she used to only crawl (what, just a few weeks ago?), her arms had to be used for ambulation. Now, when she wants to carry something, she can stand up and teeter along with it in her hands. Her record for walking without plopping back down on her little bee-hind is about one room-length. But she’s almost always got that “Look at what I can do” beaming face when she does make it that far.
The other day she got her shots—two shots in each chubby leg. She must have cried for 40 minutes. I fed her little scoops of ice cream—it’s what my mom and dad used to do for me when I was hurt, only I think I got fudgesicles—I was probably older at the time. Anyway, even the ice cream didn’t work, so you know it’s for real. Then, a dropperful of baby Tylenol, and off to the crib (after I had snuggled and rocked her while singing every lullaby I know at least 15 times). When she does go to sleep, then it’s a chance for Mama to do some writing (paid and otherwise).
Every month I write these Jaclyn's Progress letters, but this month I am late. I had a deadline-from-hell with my writing work. A 163-page manual that had to be rewritten. I grossly underestimated the time it would take to complete the project, and right now my supervisor is none-too-happy with me. Let’s hope he still sees my other good qualities and that they continue to pay my biweekly invoices! We depend on those to pay for the luxuries—you know, like diapers, dog food, and gasoline.
We loved the Olympics this time—seems that the coverage is getting better. We don’t think Paul Hamm should have to give up his gold medal for all-around gymnast, do you? We recorded many of the nights it was on and watched bits and pieces of the events when we had time. Jaclyn watched a little of the gymnastics—she seemed to especially like the women doing floor exercises. Maybe that’s because that’s Mama’s favorite event and it’s what she actually got to see. One can never be sure with toddlers, though.
We have to get used to calling Jaclyn that—a toddler. Isn’t the criterion that once a child can walk, he or she is officially a toddler? If so, well, we have one of those now. Oh, she’s not stable and steady on her feet, but she sure is cute as she circumnavigates the kitchen, the living room, and the sunroom—her domain.
We enjoyed spending a day at the Ventura County fair a couple of weeks ago. It was Jaclyn’s first experience of turtles, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, and chickens—you know, all those creatures that inhabit her books and for which we as parents embarrass ourselves repeatedly trying to duplicate the noises of (except for turtles, naturally). We’ve been working with her on animal sounds, and she’s got crow down, and also does a fairly convincing sheep baaaaaah, although she tends to overapply it. She does a lion roaaarrrrr too. In fact, pretty much every other animal, from cow to mouse, is imitated with a deep, un-baby-like growling roar from her. Close enough, baby.
She’s added lots more words, though. In fact, she may actually be remarkable, and not just because her parents think she is. I found out on the Internet that most babies her age have a vocabulary of about five working words (words that are used appropriately and not just as sounds). She knows maybe 40 working words (see table on next page). But she’s only JUST added Mama to her repertoire—for which I am decidedly a pushover—“Up, Mama” will definitely get her a trip into my arms. Whereas “Up” is subject to refusal without notice. Perhaps I am mistaken, but she may sometimes call me Bah-bah, the word for bottle. Because if she’s REALLY hungry, she will point to me and say “bah-bah.” As a new talker, you have to prioritize what’s really important. For Jaclyn, that’s up, book, bah-bah, Dah-dah, and the universally applicable dat.
So Jaclyn is our little tender spout we are trying to nurture well (that means Mama simply MUST give up cursing, effective immediately!). Mama is often worried about baby, er toddler, because she tends to be a little on the slim side. Dah-dah seems to think that Jaclyn is normal and that other babies are bit on the chubby side. Anyway, you decide (see photos).