17 months and climbing

Phoebe turned 17 months old over the weekend.

Month 16 sure went fast, and for a time I wasn't sure there was a need to offer a monthly update ...

But there have been some interesting developments the last couple weeks ...

Phoebe has become a little daredevil.

I guess she’s always had a hint of that – what, with the way she romps recklessly on her rocking horse and says “Weee!” with that mischievous smile. God, I hope she doesn’t grow up to like biker dudes …

Over the weekend, Kates and I were having a conversation when all of sudden we stopped and caught Phoebe twirling in circles, looking to the sky and saying “Weee!” She twirled and twirled until she was so dizzy she flopped onto the floor … And after every fall, she got to her feet and tried it again. One time she made herself so dizzy she tripped and fell backward, knocking her head against a cabinet. Without missing a step – to our laughter – she got up and started twirling again.

Recently, she’s learned to climb furniture. And she loves to jump on it, too. Like a trampoline. And she loves falling into the pillows. With laughter … Once in awhile, Kates and I have allowed her to jump around on our bed for fun, as long as we’re present and keeping a close eye on her. But now, having the experience of looking in from another room and suddenly seeing her jumping on the couch has us rethinking that game …

It also has us discussing toddler tumbling classes for her.

The worst is her fascination with our living room rocking chair. It’s a rickety old thing that Kates picked up at a resale store for her first apartment, but it’s a good-looking piece that sits in a “reading corner” of our living room, between the TV cabinet and a coffee table. Phoebe has figured out how to pull herself on to it, using her right arm on the TV cabinet and her left arm on the chair’s arm. Then she swings her legs around and pulls herself upright on the chair, and the jumping commences.

And that leads us to the tantrums, which, as toddlers go, have become more, um, entertaining … If she wants to jump on the couch and needs help getting on it, she’ll scurry to us and say “Up, pees.” If Kates or I decide it’s not a good idea to allow her up, we’ll politely tell her no. The “Up, pees” requests become more intense and heartfelt, we don’t give in, and Phoebe stomps away with an avalanche of screams and groans, before collapsing into her beloved blanket.

Or there’s the complete meltdown, like we had the other night when it was time for Phoebe to go to bed and we took away the keys she was playing with … As I’ve mentioned before, Phoebe is fascinated with our keys. So Kates and I were sitting with her at the back door as she played with a set of keys and worked at inserting one of the keys into the keyhole. (She’s just like her daddy and her grandpa in that sense. When she wants something, or has to figure out how to make something work, her focus is on that – eyebrows furled, mouth agape – and nothing else until she gets it right …) She did get it a few times, and Kates and I applauded her for it. But after about 20 minutes of watching her, we decided it was time to start preparing for bed. I gently took the keys from her, we told her it was time for bed, and the meltdown began …

Loud screams, stomping feet, huge tears, she crumbles onto the floor. Often, she gets herself so worked up, she’s bordering on hyperventilation and it takes what can seem like an eternity to calm her … She sure does have a set of lungs on her, though – which I suppose bodes well for any singing aspirations.

Aside from the tantrums – although that is all part of the fun – our nights with Phoebe, after a hard day’s work, have rarely seemed dull or vexing.

More and more lately, Kates and I have taken to nightly walks around our neighborhood with Phoebe, and a stop at the park down the block. Phoebe’s at an age now where she can find the fun in running all over the park and climbing – again, the climbing – on the play equipment. And it’s oh so delightful to watch … Over the weekend, we took her to the park and finally got her over her fear of slides. (Any previous attempt to put her on a slide resulted in kicking and screaming) … When I took her back to the park last night, I couldn’t keep her away from the slide.

Her interest in books keeps growing, too. Before we put her to bed, she never fails to pull a handful of books from her shelf and set them on our laps to be read. … Any Sandra Boynton book, “Skippy John Jones” and “Good Night Moon” are guaranteed to get a look every night.

On TV, “Sesame Street” is her absolute favorite … She points out and shouts “Elmo!” or “Ernie” every time they appear in the screen, and she watches intently as ever whenever we put the show on … Our only problem now is finding a way to keep her from standing to close to the TV while she watches it.

Guess the last month has been eventful, after all.

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