...going on 18, I think. Natalie continues to amaze me with her, um, vibrant personality that comes out a little more each day. I think we're hitting the almost-two's in full stride. The top ten things you should know if you stop by:
1. You should not expect to pick up my daughter. You should, however, expect to either get her patented head-down, eyes-up glare or a full-blown fit at the insinuation you might want to hold her.
2. Unless you're a guy. If you're a guy, you should expect to be flirted with shamelessly, prepared to give a few high-fives and fist-bumps and hear, "up peeze" on repeat.
3. If Natalie needs to be strapped into something (say, a carseat or highchair), don't think for one second she needs your help. If you deem it necessary to help her, you'd better figure out a way to plug your ears at the same time because that scream is coming.
4. If there's music, Natalie will be dancing. You might not recognize it as dancing, but that side-to-side swaying is definitely dancing. And if you're lucky, she'll be singing, too. She's a remarkably good mimic of sounds.
5. If it's good enough for her brother, it's good enough for her.
6. If you're looking for one of my children to do something daredevilish with you, it's her, not him.
7. Don't even mention the words "outside", "shoes", "go" or anything similar within earshot of Natalie. She will bolt from whatever she's doing, shouting, "oos! oos!" and head straight for the shoe cabinet, from which she will find her own shoes (usually crocs unless she's feeling fancy) and deliver them to you. If you don't respond, she will put them on herself and head for the nearest door whereupon she will stretch her little body as tall as it can go in attempts to turn the knob.
8. If she's hungry, she'll let you know by saying, "eee, eee" and heading to the pantry to seek out what she wants. Gone are the days that she'll eat whatever you give her, too, so you'd best get her approval on what you plan to feed her or it will go uneaten.
9. If you need assistance, just ask Natalie. She's a helper like this house has never seen! Emptying the dishwasher? Get ready, because she's going to be right there, handing you (breakable!) plates and glasses, perhaps faster than you can take them from her. Laundry? She'll be ready to close that dryer door, so be ready. If you're not? Well, ask for a picture of my black fingernail and let me tell you how it feels to have a dryer door spring shut on your hand. Wiping the table? Better get her a rag or she'll get one for herself.
10. If you leave something out that she thinks needs to be handled, don't be surprised to find it missing. She's really into independent thinking on these matters.
Natalie's vocabulary is growing daily (as is typical for this age - I remember this from Wyatt where every day we're just amazed by what's happening in that brain...not that he isn't still providing those moments for us) and I love, love, love the excitement on her face - and on Wyatt's - when she comes out with a new word. Some of my favorites:
tash = trash, (always whispered)
aye-yah = Wyatt
bah-bah = brother
dah-eeeee = Daddy
nana = her little blanket
ny-ny = night night
eee? = Millie
tish = fish
buh-buh = buckle
pow-ow = powder, (requested at some, but not all, diaper changes)
by-buh = diaper
poo = yep, poop
ah-ee = Natalie
ah-ah-ah (singsongy) = there he/she/it is (always used when looking for something)
buh! buh! = bird
ah-bah! = airplane
Other things I don't want to forget:
she's capable of saying Mama but never actually says it; she cries when we drop Wyatt off at school; she LOVES being outside and will happily putter around out there with or without company; she loves 'riding' the trike; she gives a shout-out to John as soon as we open the front door; she gets mad when strapped into shopping carts (not fun for me); she is obsessed with her daddy; she cries if Wyatt's still napping when she wakes up; she likes to ease into her waking state and needs about thirty minutes of transition time to hang out in her crib before being retrieved; her smile is a winner; her hugs and kisses are harder to earn than Wyatt's were (or are) but they are so very worth it; she loves books and chooses where we read them, sometimes in her rocker and sometimes on her couch; she has just noticed all the fish on her sheets and it's like they're new to her each day, she has to point them out with glee each morning; she loves throwing herself around in her crib before she gets up; she steals my hairbrushes when I'm not looking; she loves brushing her teeth but wants to do it herself; she still won't leave a clip in her hair for more than a couple of hours; she is 24 pounds of joy, delight and fun.