But in reality, these milestones are actually more like hurdles on a REALLY long race, and parents are in the stands placing bets. Our competitive culture has become so twisted that we actually brag about our baby when he gets over the hurdle either a) before he should or b) before someone else's baby. Apparently, if your baby develops faster than another, that makes him superior. There is absolutely NO medical evidence to back this up, mind you, but that doesn't matter, does it?
So, our baby is superior. I knew that anyway, but now I have her fast development to back that up. Of course, most days, I almost wish she'd slow down a bit. But at least I can be comforted in knowing that she is better than the kid down the street who didn't crawl until she was 1, but who will grow up to find a cure for cancer.
So what is our baby doing now? Is she still ahead of the game? Let's find out.
According to What to Expect: The Toddler Years (yes, I bought the whole series), She SHOULD be able to
- wave bye-bye (check)
- stand alone (check - she is the cheese)
- put an object into a container (check)
- use mama/dada intentionally (check, although she says dada more, dammit)
- follow 1-step verbal command without gestures (check)
She should PROBABLY be able to
- bend over and pick up an object (check)
- walk well (check - she's almost running)
She MAY POSSIBLY be able to
- dump an object in imitation (I have no idea what this means, but if it means she can spill and throw stuff, then checkity-check)
- use 3 words (depends on what you mean by words - see below)
And she MAY EVEN be able to
- build a tower of two cubes (check)
- use six words or more (again, see below)
- run (almost)
- walk up steps (omigod yes)
- follow a 2-step verbal command without gestures (well, one doesn't really know if she can't or if she just won't... so we'll say no just to be safe)
See how superior she is?! Now she can get herself into all kinds of trouble whenever we turn our heads for just one second. And again, I can be so happy for this because I know that she is SUPERIOR!
So about that talking...
She is speaking Japanese, I believe. She talks ALL the time, but mostly in little two-syllable bursts. "NEE HU!" she says. Then, "Ba No," followed by "Tee Da," and then closing with her favorite (while pointing at something) "ME!" She also seems to know how to say "Mine," and frequently reminds us of the seagulls in Finding Nemo... "mine mine mine... mine mine!"
This new speech she has developed has me really confused. We now KNOW that she is trying to tell us something and we know that she is equally frustrated that we don't seem to understand. (I have figured out "me" and "mine," incidentally. Their meaning comes quite naturally to me.) But much of the time, I feel like I am standing on a street corner in Osaka, trying to get directions to the post office.
I will say that she has become more and more clear in her meaning, even if her words are still rather primitive. The other day, she and I were cleaning up the nursery, and suddenly Athena picked up her pacifier, poked it in her mouth, looked at me and pointed to the crib. "Oh!" I said. "Are you tired?" And at that moment, the look I got said, "just wait until I am a teenager and I can actually roll my eyes when you ask such stupid questions." To which I reply, "Well, I won't have to wait long at the superior rate that you are developing!"