20 months

We have a 20-month-old now.

This might have been the most exciting month of Phoebe yet …

The little girl, it seems, is learning new words every second, and she’s stringing them together in three, four or five-word phrases … Several days ago I was escorting her to the back door, having just brought her home from the daycare. We were walking onto the deck when I dropped my house keys. Without missing a step, Phoebe said, “Daddy daubummed the kees.” (“Daubummed,” you may remember, means “dropped” in Phoebe-speak.)

She’s also counting -- to 10. … A few weeks ago, Kates was traveling with Phoebe when, out of the blue, she began counting. Kates told me about it that night while we were eating dinner, and again, Phoebe started counting to 10 -- one, two, wee, woe, why, six, deben, eight, nine, ten! And every night since then, we’ve counted on Phoebe entertaining us with her non-stop counting, clapping her hands to the beat of every number …

The last couple days, she’s even started counting to 20 -- sort of. After 10, she skips to debenteen, eighteen and nineteen. … We’ll get her counting straight through eventually. For awhile, she was skipping seven and nine, too.

* * *

For Phoebe these days, it’s all about repetition. She loves stacking her blocks into a tower and pushing it to see it tumble onto the floor. She loves playing with her puzzles, pulling pieces out and putting them back in repeatedly. She also loves coloring -- still -- which consists of her pushing crayons across the page a few times. Then she steps back, gazes upon her work, considers it good and flips the page to start the process again.

She loves opening and closing doors. Some nights we’ll catch her walking down our hallway just to close all the doors to the bathroom and bedrooms. Once all of them are closed, she’ll return to the living room to continue what she was doing.

Phoebe also can be found pulling her spoons from the bin where we keep her cups and utensils, and laying them in rows on the floor. When she’s finished, she collects them in her hand and -- starts the process again. She does the same thing with her diapers.

She loves watching “Baby Einstein” movies -- repeatedly -- no matter how nuts the dingly music and flowery narration drives me. Watching them has become so routine for her that she’s learned how to turn them on. She says “TV on!” and knows exactly the buttons to push on our TV, DVR and DVD player to begin her movies. Or, she says “Moo on” and “Tiger on,” referencing the animal puppets that star in each video. … I‘ll admit, however, the videos are a wonderful distraction for her. She’ll sit on the couch, motionless and watching intently, so Kates and I can take care of other matters.

* * *

We can converse with Phoebe now in ways we couldn’t before.

She can tell us what she wants with simple words like “no!” or “yeah” or “yep” or “ok!” Or with foods -- like milk, chicken, apples and crackers. She calls Cherrios “ra-ros,” and, one of our favorite Phoebe words is “na-ma-nae” for watermelon.

She’s climbing stairs like a champ. She loves twirling in circles until she's too dizzy to stand. She runs and she gallops through our hallways. And she loves climbing on the “big bed” to read stories before she goes to bed.

She’s growing fast, and there’s no slowing her down.

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