dear ashelyn (15 months)

Posted on: 30 June 2013

New spoken words this month: 姑姑 (Aunt Sally), 舅舅 (Uncle David), no, meow (for cat), moo (for cow). New “signed” or understood words: mouth, down, blink, 笑一个 (smile), smile.

Melting in Glendale, AZ.

Melting in Glendale, AZ.

That’s right, you say “no” now, but not in the defiant-toddler way where it’s a default response to everything. When you say it, you’re either mimicking us or pre-empting us, because we’ve either told you not to do something, or you know we’re just about to. You’ll shake your head, wag your finger, and say, “No-no.” Aunt Sally gets the credit for teaching you that trick. Now I can’t help myself; sometimes I wag my finger at you for no reason at all, just to hear your matter-of-fact “no-no!” (For the record, telling you “no” or “stop” isn’t terribly effective at getting you to stop whatever it is you shouldn’t be doing.)

You totally light up when you see pictures of babies and children in books or magazines or flyers, pointing and giggling “baby!” as if those images were a well-delivered punchline. You enjoy perusing photos of yourself, too, and you’ll make clown faces at your reflection in the mirror.

Operetta face?

Operetta face?

I swear I never set out to teach you tricks; it’s all you! In addition to your previous repertoire of funny faces, you know how to pout, blow a kiss, bat your eyelashes (cue: “blink blink”) and do this:

You react with great drama whenever the doorbell or phone rings, or when the timer goes off for the toaster oven or microwave. Perking up, eyes and mouth wide, insistent “Ah! AH!” You know it signals something – probably something momentous – and you expect us to go get it already!

You love visitors, and scramble to show them all of your things. Seriously, you’ll dig everything out from under the exersaucer (where I store them) and present each toy, one by one.

You’ve started showing an interest in erecting towers, as opposed to only knocking them down. You can balance blocks on top of each other.


But more often you’re into “nesting” things and gathering small items into various receptacles. You’ll put your rock collection into a tupperware container, stir sticks into a paper cup. Then you’ll take them out, one by one, and transfer each object into another makeshift container.

There’s also the sneaky planting of “surprises” around the house. Like one of your rocks in the diaper bag, or crayons in the kitchen cupboards alongside the pots. Or maybe in a pot. Surprise!

For someone who rarely ever stays still – somehow I manage to dress you while you’re running away – you’re surprisingly cooperative when I put your shoes on. My theory is you’ve figured out that shoes signal going out, and you’re always up for that. Once, because we had a bit of a cold snap, I broke out your socks; once they were on you headed straight for the front door. (This shows that, one: I’m probably right, and two: I don’t do socks in the summer.)

Crayons are good for more than just eating.

Crayons are good for more than just eating.

You understand and obey when I point across the room and say, “Ashelyn, go get me that.” I always say it offhandedly, vaguely, not really expecting you to respond with comprehension. But you do! You think it’s fun to blow my mind, obviously.

You’re able to unscrew the caps off bottles and jars, provided they aren’t twisted too tight. You even unscrew the tip off the water spritzer I keep at your change table.

The other evening I saw you pretend to punch numbers into the iPod touch (it was on the passcode lock screen), then hold it up to your ear and say, “Hi!”

Let me push my own stroller!

Why sit in my stroller when I can push it?

Seems like we have a phone hog in the making. When either of your grandmas are on the line, you’ll completely hijack the call, drowning out our end of the conversation with your fluent – and loud! – gibberish. Inevitably it becomes a dialogue between you and grandma. Yes, a dialogue – you leave space for her to speak, listening and responding like a seasoned conversationalist, albeit a slightly frenzied one.


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