Mali on Fire

I have been trying to write this post for four weeks now. During that time Mali has gone from lurchy tottering to confident ass hauling. She has gone from not saying my name for a spurt and making me freak out about language loss, to saying "Hi Mama!" incessantly any time I'm even partially in her field of view.

She is a funny looking but absolutely charming, adorable baby. We are so lucky, so blessed.

Here's the mishmashed post regarding the last month's Mali-ness. If you're not interested in reading overly detailed fawning about toddler development, then I suggest you exit now, as there will be extensive documentation of Miss Mali's incredibleness--mostly because I am not taking one whit of it for granted, so it is doubly amazing to me.

So this is what it'’s like to have a typical kid. I had totally forgotten how much and how quickly they learn. Mali is gaining on Leelo in many things, and has surpassed him in not a few. She already plays with Iz more than Leelo does.

Things fifteen-month-old Mali already does spontaneously that five-year-old Leelo won't do at all, or without a whole lot of prompting:
  • Turn to people when asked,"Where's So-and-so?," and say, "Hi, So-and-so!" with great eye contact and enthusiastic waving.
  • Constantly comment about her environment. Although for the moment this commenting manifests in joyful greetings rather than mere labels: Hi bus, Hi car, Hi Kitty, Hi tree, Hi [Name of person]. (She is starting to say her siblings' names, too)
  • Point at objects of interest. For instance--and with a frown--Leelo after he's just toppled her.
  • React to a puppet as though it's a living being, with hugs and kisses and conversation.
  • Imitate from observation: Yesterday after she saw me watering plants with a watering can, she found a kiddie watering can and went around pretending to water the same plants.
  • Pretend play. She makes her baby doll wave hi, too.
  • Nod yes and shake head no.
  • Use "no" as a general negation, rather than as a situation-specific one.
  • Repeat actions that make other people laugh (e.g., holding onto the side of the tub and splashing the water with her bottom).
  • Demand that people read books to her, and repeat out loud the parts she knows
  • Say "all done" when books or meals are finished
  • Give clingy, heartfelt hugs and kisses.
  • Demand to be with other people rather than play by herself.
  • Bite off pieces of food rather than tearing food into bits and then eating pieces.
She also uses "Bye bye," as in, "Bye bye, yogurt." She picked this up from her brother, as "Bye bye, X" is how Leelo proclaims project termination. I like that she is able to put two words together independently and functionally (Leelo didn't do that for a loooong time).

It is wonderful to see her on what looks like a very typical developmental trajectory--but the contrast with her brother truly spotlights his delays, and makes it harder to tell ourselves that he's doing well. Even though he is, by his terms.

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