I realize I've been writing a lot about Helen lately, and not so much about Alice. I promise you, that girl is the biggest ray of sunshine. She wakes up with a smile on her face, and sometimes she even falls asleep that way. She spends her breakfast time giving me the biggest grins, and she is so proud of herself running around the house and climbing stairs and chasing her sister, that she smiles the whole way. She gets so many compliments whenever we go out - "Oh, what a beautiful baby!" complete strangers will say. The clerks at the grocery store love her. She is one sweet little girl.
Sometimes she fusses about being picked up or having a toy taken away. That's her job, as a 13-month old, to let me know in no uncertain terms how she feels about things. And when she doesn't have the words, it's very easy for her to wail.
That's right. Alice doesn't have many words right now. Basically, she can still say "tickle" and sometimes she says "Da-da," after a ton of prompting, and "Ma-ma" after a ton more prompting, and a couple of times earlier this month she told me "Hi." A new word about 2 weeks ago was "Kitty." She says that on a more regular basis than anything else these days, but only after a lot of prompting. So she's a repeater.
I am not sure why she is so much farther behind Helen's development on her speech, but I'm not complaining about it right now. I have one 4-year old who talks enough for the entire family, so a quiet toddler is just fine. I know the pediatrician has an expectation of how many words she should have in her repetoire, and I know Alice is behind that curve right now. Again, it doesn't worry me. They both walked at about the same time, and she's a happy kid, eating well and growing like a weed. I also know that younger kids might not follow the same path as the older ones. They concentrate on walking or talking, and Helen has clearly focused her energies in one area for a very long time. It's evident from all the bruises on her shin from bumping into everything - walking is just not a priority to her. She talks and sings all the time, just to hear herself make noise. At dinner, while we're eating and Brian & I are talking about our day, Helen will say, "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?" until I finally ask back, exasperated, "HELEN, I AM TALKING TO YOUR FATHER AND YOU ARE BEING RUDE TO INTERRUPT US. WHAT DO YOU NEED?" She will respond, after a slight pause, "I love you."
Clearly this was not what she originally planned to say. She wanted my attention for something, and getting it in an angrier fashion than she expected, she switched tactics. Surely, her little kid brain told her, I can't possible argue with a daughter's LOVE? Grrrr.
I may not ever teach Alice to talk.