Walking and Talking

There’s a whole host of milestones that parents go through. When children are young — such as newborns and infants — you sometimes have to look for the little things that mark growth and progress. (This is something, incidentally, that adults should sometimes do, too. We often get caught up in things that are too big and miss the small wins.)

Alex has a calendar full of these things, marking when Mi Niñita started eating solid foods, slept through the night, laughed, recognised herself in the mirror, and so forth. There’s lots of these. All of them contribute to the overall growth, but there are a couple that stand out as significant: Walking and talking.

Just before we left Canada, Mi Pequeña Niña (I’m going back to that from “Niñita” — I just love the sound more) started to walk. Not on her own, but with assistance. It’s quite funny to watch her walk, as it’s almost like watching a short version of John Cleese doing the Silly Walk. Just a little less professional and a little more jerkily.

The game is pretty simple: hold out finger (or thumb) on either hand. Mi Pequeña Niña reaches up, grabs with either of her hands, and hauls herself to her feet. Then it’s thump-thump-thump as she tries to walk in a reasonably straight line. Sometimes she can walk fairly straight if she has a particular goal in her sight (e.g. Alex or the cat). But she’s easily distracted, which causes her to weave erratically.

Yesterday, I took her out into the common grounds to walk on the grass. Unlike back home, where the grass is thin and soft, it’s thick and tough in the tropics and not nearly as much fun to walk on. As a result, we practised balancing. Not my idea — it was hers. She simply let go and tried not to fall over. Which, of course, she did repeatedly. Thankfully, she’s also back in cloth diapers so she’s got something soft to land on (beyond her butt, that is).

It’ll probably be at least another month before she can walk unassisted, but it’s a start. Then we just have to make sure that everything that could fall over (onto her) is secured. And that there’s a need for something soft around hard edges. Not that we have a lot of them, thankfully.

In addition to walking, she’s beginning to speak more coherently. The babblings of an infant are usually just practising vocalisation. But Mi Pequeña Niña is beginning to say things that are much more clear, and they’re not random anymore. So far, we’ve managed to get (with a fair amount of consistency):

  • “dah-dee” (usually referring to me, though she’s said it towards Alex a few times)
  • “mah-mah” and we’re hearing more “mah-mee” (always in need of Alex)
  • “kit-teh” (it sounds completely LOL-speak, but she’s learned who the cat is)

and my personal favourite:

  • “uh-oh” (which also seems to be her current favourite thing to say)

I figure by the time she turns 1 year old (in — gasp — 27 days!!) she should be able to say a few words that refer to food (I’m hoping for “more”, but that’s likely too much to ask), and by the time January rolls around, she might be up to simple sentences.

‘Course, I could just over-achieve and hope that she’ll be up to 500 word essays at that point.

She’s also swimming. Alex had taken her to “lessons” (which are really little more than water-familiarisation sessions) while I was on my first run into Costa Rica. So until the last couple of days, the closest Mi Pequeña Niña and I had been to being in the same water at the same time was when I gave her a bath.

But yesterday, we went swimming. The pool here is quite nice, and the kid’s pool is heated. (Not that you really need to heat the water here.) So far, she’s mastered splashing, which she had pretty well nailed down in the bath. There’s just so much else to teach, like blowing bubbles, going underwater (which I’m dying to try, but only when Alex will let me), and floating. Those are things that will take time, but I don’t mind trying. ‘Cuz then I can do the thing I always want to do — throw my kid in the pool. All kids love been thrown into a pool. Well, at least when they progress to that stage. I want to get to that stage. Might take a couple of years, though.

Well, nap time is probably not far from over, so I’d better go make sure my back is ready for another round of walking. Until she manages to keep herself up, it’s going to be a lot of bending over.

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