Amen

1 year, 9 months, 16 days old

When we first found out at our twenty week scan that we were having a girl, we were warned about the independence. One friend told me I’d get really, really bored of hearing the phrase “I do it” as soon as it was utterable, as girls are independent creatures, whereas boys are happy to have you do everything for them. I can’t testify to the truth of the idea about boys, but I can tell you that Arwen lives up to the stereotype of a girl. And then some. The word I hear most during my day is “Arwen”, and not because I’m shouting it. Try to do anything for her, and she’ll shout her name at you to make sure you know that she wants to do it herself. It’s why getting dressed takes so long, why I’ve hidden books I don’t like as she always wants to choose what to read (bye bye Mother Knows Best!) and it’s why I had to give her an impromptu shower on Friday morning because of the yogurt-in-the-hair incident. It’s also why I have a headache by 1pm most days and the fact that she can’t actually pronounce her name properly (coming out with an “Armen” instead) is why strangers think we have a religious zealot for a daughter.

The love of books shows no signs of abating, and we’ve got to the point where today Arwen and I recited Room on the Broom almost perfectly in the car today without having the book with us. Come next week, she’s not going to need me to help her either. Her Little Miss Austen books are her favourites at the moment, and watching her act out all the emotions in Emma (an emotions primer based on the Jane Austen novel) is an utter delight, while she’s learning to count with the aid of Pride and Prejudice, or “Peddis” for short. The counting has gone very bizarre though – it’s as though the number four has completely fallen out of her head. She used to be able to count to five pretty easily, now she goes from three to five every time and looks genuinely surprised when she’s corrected. She even particularly like the page for number four as it’s “Four marriage proposals” and she likes to join in with Lizzie’s “No way!” when proposed to by Mr Collins. Though her favourite bit is obviously when I shout “Ten thousand a year!!!” in my best Alison Steadman voice.

Language paragraph alert I’ve been adding to Arwen’s list of words as often as I can, always noting down any new ones that she’s said. But it occurred to me this evening as I added more to it that I’ve put in all the nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs as they stand out when she speaks, but I’ve totally missed off all the little grammatical function words that she’s been able to say for ages. Until this evening, the list didn’t include things like a, it, on, some and mine. There’s probably loads more little words like this that she’s been saying for months without anyone noticing. Which goes to show what slippery beasts pronouns, determiners and prepositions are. And why I’m not an English teacher any more.

Happily Arwen’s chats at bedtime and especially on the loo are coming along strong. In fact, Daddy is attempting to get her off the toilet and into bed as I type and I’ve just heard the following exchange:

D: Have you finished?

A: Cake!

D: No, there’s no cake. Right, let’s get you down.

A: Nudey!

D: Yep, you’re nudey. Now let’s put a nappy on you.

A: Dog woof. Cake!

She likes to be unpredictable. This morning when I changed her and asked her to give me her foot so I could put her pyjama bottoms back on, she replied with simply “knickers!” and laughed her head off. Given that she’s too young to wear knickers, I’ve no idea where that came from.

But the main thing we’ve learnt this week is that the child is fearless. We went for a bike ride today, the first since last summer (I am not as fit as I would have liked.) Arwen has an awesome bike seat that goes on the front of Daddy’s bike (my arms are too short to steer when she’s on mine!) so she can see where we’re going as we’re riding rather than just look at one of our backs. I worried that she’d find it a bit scary as she’s unlikely to remember having been on it before, and the route was more bumpy than we expected. But the two words we heard most today were “WHEEEE!” and “FASTER!” We’re raising a little adrenaline junkie. Now, is she too young for urban exploring I wonder…

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