During the past month, Clara's developmental progress has kicked into high gear. In addition to beginning to walk (see the previous post), Clara's ability to communicate has greatly improved. For those that don't spend much time with Clara, her verbal babble probably sounds like gibberish. However, it is apparent to us that she is trying to vocalize certain words with intent.
ah-gee = doggy
ah-duh = all done
muh-muh-muh = Mommy
da-duh = Daddy
ba-bee = baby
ki-kah = kitty cat
wee = wee (reserved for fun times on the swing during therapy and at home)
whoa = whoa (when the therapy swing goes too fast and she loses her balance)
up = up
Clara is also starting to purposefully use signs in concert with vocalization attempts. Her favorite sign is more. Since she first started to use the sign for more while she was eating, she seems to use the sign to tell us that she is ready to eat. We are working on the sign for eat and drink, but she prefers the sign for more at this point. She also purposefully uses the signs for all done, cracker, and yogurt. Clara waves at appropriate times to say hi or bye, and the girl is professional at blowing kisses.
During our IFSP meeting this week, one of the goals we established was to work with Clara such that she can communicate her desire when given certain choices. For example, at breakfast we will ask if she wants cereal or yogurt with the intent that Clara will learn to communicate her choice to us verbally and/or with signs.
Clara is also learning to do imitation play. On Saturday morning, she was sitting in her room with one of her baby dolls in her lap holding a small book in front of both of them and pretending to read a story to her baby. She was turning pages and babbling and having a great time entertaining her baby. She has also started to use random objects to pretend to brush the hair of her baby dolls. If she is playing with two dolls, she puts them together as if the two dolls were playing with each other in addition to playing with Clara.
On the negative side, Clara has decided that her job is to make the biggest mess possible if someone is not playing directly with her at all times. She will stand or kneel at a toy box and proceed to remove every toy by by immediately throwing it behind her. Keep in mind that she does not play with the toys before tossing them, she just grabs and tosses until the container is empty. Needless to say, Clara will be learning that cleaning up is part of her play time responsibilities.
Clara has also started to periodically hit. Generally she hits Owen when he is in her space or preventing her from getting what she wants. However, I have also seen her hit the dog and the sitter has said that she can sometimes be a bully with the other toddlers. Although she probably does not understand the concept, we have started to give Clara timeouts when we see her hitting. She is old enough to start learning that there are consequences for inappropriate behavior. Furthermore, it is important for Owen (and the kids at the sitter's house) to see that there is not a separate set of rules for Clara.