Monday, March 13, 2006

18 Months Today!

Well, the Tenster is 18 months old today! I usually tell you what's new and what she's accomplished on these milestones, but today I thought we'd take a walk on the Dark Side.

1. An 18 month old should have a 15+ word vocabulary, should be able to pick up his/her toys and say "thank you". - Caring For Your Baby and Child, by AAP. Um, no. Not hardly. Tenley has probably uttered 15+ words, but most of them (apple, orange, lemon, puck, doggy, banana, fish, etc) have only been said once. Some, which might be considered useful (like: yes, done, more, again, eat, ouch, juice, drink, thank you, please, etc) have never even been attempted. Tenley's answer to most questions is "no" which is signaled by a vehement shaking of her head. If you do get an affirmative answer, it's a big smile and a giggle. The kicker here is that she understands almost everything that is said to her and is capable of following fairly complex instructions (if she feels like it). If you tell her "Go get your red shoes from under your bed so we can go outside" she will go down the hall into her room, get the shoes under her crib, bring them back to you in the kitchen and flop into your lap to have you put them on. I actually contacted our county's Early Start program last week to have her evaluated for speech delay. I haven't heard from them yet,which is no surprise since they're a county program, but if she's considered 30% or more delayed Uncle Sam will pay for speech therapy. Essentially, my litttle monkey could probably scale the Empire State Building like King Kong, but she can't tell me that's what she wants to do.

Tenley has no interest in picking up her toys, and if you pick up her toys and put them away, the first thing she does is get them all back out. If you tell her to pick something up like blocks or spilled crackers, she will pick up and put 1 back. Only 1. You have to launch into football peptalk for each individual item. She doesen't really do "put in" or "build", she only "unloads" and "destroys".

2. T-minus 6 months to 2 years old. And may God have mercy on us. Tenley has always known what she wants, and as she has become more mobile and independant some of those wants are not the best idea from my perspective. Increasingly, telling Ten "no" produces a bad reaction which ranges from fake crying and foot stomping to throwing herself on the floor and kicking and screaming in a full tantrum. For example: From day 1, Tenley has never liked to have her hands touched. Except now we're out for walks on the street and across parking lots, and that means holding Mommy's hand. Uh-oh. If you say "Tenley, hold my hand" she will shake her head no and try to run ahead of you. If you try to take her hand she will yank it back, shake her head no and try to run ahead of you. If you hold on so she can't yank it back, she will sit down, begin whining and screaming, and try to peel your fingers off of hers. In fairness, she is getting better on the hand holding: she has learned that crossing streets and walking in parking lots are non-negotiable hand holding areas, but I will allow her to walk independantly next to me if we're on a side street. This is just an example of one of the many wants in Ten's life that we routinely deny her like scaling the chairs to walk on the computer desk or kitchen table, playing with the video camera, opening and climbing in the fridge, "playing" with the kitties by hitting them with various objects, etc. The next 18 months are going to be a barrel of laughs.

3. Thou shalt have no sleep without Mommy. Don't think The Teninator has gone soft and wants to cuddle with her mum. No no- rather, she refuses to let anyone but me put her down for a nap or bed. That sounds nice on the surface, but it means that if she is with anyone else during the day I return to an extremely cranky over-tired child because she screamed bloody murder when someone tried to put her down. And I'd best be there at bedtime, because she will not leave Daddy's arms willingly, and if he pries her out and puts her in her crib she will scream as though she is being tortured until (2 hours later) he gives in and goes and gets her. The only option for most people is to give her a lovey and wait for her to drop over from exaustion wherever she happens to be. Sometimes a little spin in the car will do it, but you have to drive until she's really out, or she'll wake up as soon as you open the door. Grandma Suzie has sucessfully had her nod off on her shoulder once or twice, but this kind of thing occurs with the frequency of Hailey's Comet.

4. Slower than molasses in winter. At least when it comes to growing teeth and hair. She still only has 6 1/2 teeth, although we feel 3 good hard lumps on her gums (which could account for some of her recent crankiness) and we think we can see a spot of white emerging on one of them. It's about time- Amanda & Natalie have all their teeth, and James is four months younger and has more than she does! If she only wanted to eat applesauce & oatmeal I wouldn't care less, but this kid wants steak & granola. She still doesn't have much hair either. Her hair is very thin and really slow to grow in on top.

5. Tinkle Tinkle little star... Potty training?? HA! Tenley is still put out about having her diaper changed because she's busy, and she doesn't care if she's wet or stinks. She has evidenced absolutely no interest in what the commode is or does. She does think it's nice that we keep a water table in the house, and can't understand why we don't want her playing in it.

So there you have it. A random sample of the less than glamourous side to life with Tenley. There are good and bad moments in every day; and I know that one day she will speak eloquently with a full set of pearly white teeth and have a long mane of hair that gets in her way when she's trying to sit on the toilet or get into bed - and then I will have other things to worry about like paying for college and keeping her off drugs and in school. But for now, as the 1st time parent of a willfull toddler, this is the seedy underbelly of my world.


Karen said...

You are very good parents. If anything, I think possibly, that Tenley is so much adored and loved on, that she has no need to talk?? Her needs are met without talking. Also, others would agree that babies adopted from orphanages tend to regress and that is HEALTHY and normal as opposed to those that do not start their lives in orphanages. But, here are some suggestions:
-Learn baby sign language, and ask her in sign language if she wants something or not, and insist that she responds in the same sign language. We have some nice videos that we finally broke down and purchased, and have been practicing them aloud, or at least DH has been.
-If you don't do the baby sign language approach, then you can probably do the same thing with voice language. Insist that she tells you what she wants, and then reward her when she does.
-Read to her alot (although you probably already do).
-Some children take much longer to potty train than others. (this could be a sign that she is just normally not ready, or that she is regressing. I think my son was 2 yrs old before he was completely potty trained, and he is 22 yrs old now. I just kept telling myself that Im SURE he wont pee his pants when he is 20, and just accepted that he was in diapers..Guess what? He doesn't pee his pants now that he's in his 20s. We are expecting Cady to either not be trained or to regress after we get her, and she is close in age to Tenley.
-Remember that every child has their own timeframe in which to accomplish things, some are sooner and others are later.
-Also know that you are doing a teriffic job!!! Give yourselves a pat on the back. Tenley is loved and admired daily by her parents.

A Very Merry Un-birthday to you, Tenley!!!

Donna said...

Gwen is 20.5 months old and I could have written these same things about her. Our SW says there's nothing to worry about with the delays in speech. She says she sees this all of the time with the kids from China.



Kristin said...

Meigan didn't start repeating any words until she was almost 2 (that was last spring...she developed more physically first, then by summer of 04 she started talking and now, god she doesn't stop...

Tenely sounds a lot like Meigan...they're so hard, yet so funny...well, most times...

our oldest Catie, adopted at 13mos too, was saying "bye bye" by the time we left China....

I"m the only one who can put Meigan to's so hard...myhusband can read to her, but it has to be ME to do the final tucking in, final's exhausting...

both my girls potty trained by 2 1/2..quite easily...but Meigan still wears a night time she always wakes in the morning with a toxic filled diaper..

it wont' be long until Tenley starts talking..then you'll laugh and say "can't you be quite just for a second?"

she's really growing and is sooooo cute!


elizabeth said...

Please don't worry about the hair or the talking or the potty for that matter. Macy had very thin hair until around her 2nd birthday. I thought it would never grow. As far as talking, Macy will repeat words but only uses individual words- doesn't combine them yet except for a few. I read that kids should have 25 words at 18 months or something like that and Macy had maybe 5. As my mom said to me when I was worried about Macy, " Elizabeth, I couldn't wait for you to walk and talk and when you finally did I couldn't wait for you to sit down and shut up" . each stage has it's good and bads. I also recommend baby sign language. we did it for months and months with no success and then one day Macy signed for food. It was great.