We have most definitely entered the world of make believe. There are times when I watch her play and I know that she has created an entire little world around herself. It goes beyond pretending to feed the babies and stuffed animals. She now puts on makeup, gets herself ready with her purses and hat, loads her car and gets in it. She will run back and forth from the cabinet, “filling” one cup from various other cups to create a concoction only she can explain. Sometimes she pretends to throw things away – making trips back and forth to the garbage can holding invisible bits of trash. She also fills plates and bowls in this same manner. Dave tried giving her actual trash to throw away, but she ignored it in favor of her game. I love to watch her play this way and try to figure out what she is thinking.
She recently developed a love for coloring, probably due to the Sunday school lessons she’s been participating in. (Can I get a Hallelujah! about the fact that she’s stayed in Sunday school and Wednesday night Bible study for two weeks in a row without crying?) I set her up in her high chair with some paper and crayons the other night while I sat at the table and wrote thank you notes. She colored all over that paper, then put her crayons back in the box when she was finished (this is another topic entirely). We stuck her picture on the fridge and put the crayons away in the junk drawer. The next night, she scurried into the kitchen when we got home, pulled that picture off the fridge and went to the junk drawer for the crayons. Now we have two pictures on the fridge. I like this new interest; it’s creative and it keeps her busy, though she does get distressed when the crayons don’t go back in the box easily. The walls of my house will soon be papered with her artwork.
The child has developed a rather disturbing 16 month-old behavior. She picks up and straightens things. How will I be able to maintain a modicum of general disarray if both my husband and my child need every thing to have a place and be in its place? I guess I’ll rest easy in the fact that this new habit doesn’t seem to apply to her toys except in special circumstances. They are usually still strewn from one end of the house to the other. Seriously though, she made me do a double take when I saw her put her toys back in the hat box they live in, put the lid on it, and put it back on the stack where it stays at Grandma’s house so we could go home the other night. All with absolutely no prompting from anyone. When I saw her move the dog’s food bowl three feet from where it was to where it was supposed to be in a completely absent-minded gesture, I groaned inside. Then she followed her Da into the bathroom so she could straighten the rug he kicked up, and I later watched her pick up the couch pillows from the floor and put them back on the couch. All of these were sort of casual, absent-minded things she did on her way to whatever she was planning to do. Weird. Yes, she sees me do these things in the same absent-minded manner, but it took years of training and self-discipline to make me that way, and Dave will tell you that I still love a pile of clutter. He told me the other night that I will be in trouble when she starts cleaning up after me and I can’t find a thing. He’s absolutely right. Maybe she’ll at least put my things away instead in the middle of the bed where I’ll be forced to deal with the pile like he does.
Finally, though I believe it is a double-edged sword, I’ve been trying to teach her to dress herself. Mostly I just dress her while she stands or sits instead of on the changing table where she is contained. It makes the chore more interesting when I have to follow her around with her clothing, or trap her in my legs, but at least she’s actively participating now. Last night I wrestled her diaper on her, then thought, “What the heck?” and tossed her Tinkerbell shirt at her with instructions to put it on. When I turned back around from whatever I was doing, she had one arm in. She got distracted at that point, so I helped with the rest of the process, but I did tell her to pull up her pants and she did it for the very first time. This is double-edged because having the ability to dress herself is one step closer to potty readiness, but it will also mean she has the ability to undress herself. Since the child frequently asks to have her clothes removed, I’m thinking nakedness might present an issue in the future. In public of course; I couldn’t care less if she wears clothes in the house.