Sweet sixteen

So Phoebe turns 16 months old this week ...

We've been reading how Month Fifteen is a month loaded with milestones. For us, I'd say that's pretty accurate.

She's always had a curious and fearless way about her. But now she's walking with confidence and strutting her stuff with authority, swinging her arms at her side. She pushes her baby doll's stroller or her push cart up and down the hallway and through the kitchen with not a care about what’s in her way ...

In the last week, she's also taken to a rocking horse Uncle Orrin gave her for her birthday in April. In fact, she didn't just take to it, she hopped on it without Kates or I ever helping her on board. She rocks on it, not like it's a gentle pony, but a bucking bronco – and saying "Weeee!"

"Weeee!" We hear that a lot these days ... Riding her rocking horse. Pushing the stroller around the house. Walking around the kitchen. Driving over hills.

She's getting better at running and jumping and climbing – which is both so fun and so scary. She scales staircases in seconds, and she's going to be climbing onto furniture any day now ... She already loves it when Kates or I lift her on to the bed or couch so she can jump on the furniture. ... Our bed, with its sea of blankets and mountains of pillows, is particularly amusing to her. After a couple hops on the bed – fully supervised, of course – she’ll dive into the pillows and explode into laughter.

She also loves being chased ... The other night, we got into a peek-a-boo/chase game in the hallway that got her totally riled up and left me out of breath. We'd meet in the hallway for an embrace and a brief game of tickling, then we'd both turn around and go to opposite ends of the hallway. She would step into her bedroom, I would huddle behind a blanket. Then, when she started back down the hallway, I rushed toward her again. She's burst into laughter, we'd embrace, I'd tickle her. Then, we'd turn around and start the exact sequence again ... We must've done it for 15 minutes. It's that repetition that toddlers apparently love. So simple, and so much fun.

She's becoming a pretty good helper ... Kates has had some success training her to help clean the floor after she’s dumped her Cheerios and carrots on it during meals. She's also started learning how to help pick up some of her toys. She likes to help me push the vaccum to the closet and back – she remains weary of the vacuum once it's turned on, however ...

Most of all, she looooves helping us close doors. The microwave door. The dishwasher door. The refrigerator door ... But not before she’s swooped in and walked off with the mustard from the refrigerator door. At times, she’s waved the bottle around the living room a couple of minutes before Kates or I can look up and realize her grand theft.

She's fascinated by whatever objects Kates or I pull from our bags or our shelves ... She also is magnetized by our landline phone or the old fan in our kitchen wall. Any time either of them come to life, she scurries toward them, points and studies them. Even if they're not working, she studies them and wonders – it's almost a worry, actually – why the fan's not blowing, or why we're not using the phone.

Speaking of objects on shelves. We've allowed her to play with small plastic jars of push pins and paper clips in our den area. They're on a shelf that's just high enough for her to reach ... Now, whenever we enter the den, the first thing she does is run to that shelf. She grabs both jars and proceeds to walk around the room, shaking both of them above her head.

She loves pulling glasses off faces … Which has become so annoying to me that I wait until after she’s in bed to take my contacts out at night, no matter how much they’re bothering me.

And she loves bringing me my baseball cap … If she spots it sitting on a desk or table, she pulls it down and brings it to me. If I’m sitting where she can reach my head, she even tries putting it on me. Once the task is complete, she walks away in approval. But if she catches me removing the hat, she’s back to help me put it back on – as if I need to wear it for my protection.

Keys – remember the lockout fiasco at the daycare – remain a fascination. Now, she even knows the word … “Keese!” she shouts and points whenever we come in the door and she sees a keychain on our hook.

"Baby" is probably her best and most used word these days – not only because it refers to her beloved baby doll, but also because I think she just enjoys saying the word …

She can say doggie, and off, and up … She hasn't been afraid to say "hi" to compete strangers in the grocery store, and she often walks around the house shouting “two!” – though we can’t be sure she knows what that means …

She knows "yucky" – which she pronounces "uggie," as in rhymes with Huggies – refers to things that are dirty and we'd rather not have her touch. Mostly this comes into play when she tries pulling things from our garbage cans ... But a couple weeks ago, I was leading her across our deck. She noticed leaf lying on it, bent down, pointed and said "Uggie!"

She says “all done” – which sounds like “all da” – and she can say “please” – which sounds like “peas.”

A few weeks ago she learned “Yeah!” … In the last week, she’s learned “no.” Though it’s a pleasant, dainty “no” – not a whiny, snobby “nooooooo!” We’ll see how long that continues.

Best word of all? … Kates and I were sitting at our table and finishing our dinner Saturday night while Phoebe was dancing and playing around the kitchen. All of a sudden, she started saying “Mommy” in this sweet, little adorable voice – in a way that only a 16-month-old girl could speak it. It was the first time she’d said the word, and she repeated it over and over for several minutes, as she went back and forth from a toy at one end of the kitchen to resting her head on Kates’ leg. … Kates and I just broke into laughter while our eyes welled up.

Sweet, sweet stuff.

Check out this video of her eating over the weekend ...

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