Sally Grace is 21 months old. She is precious. Absolutely precious. She is also so busy and hard. Ha!
She somehow got away from us in the mall the other day, and we had ten adults searching for her for about fifteen minutes before she was found. It was terrifying. At first I was calm, thinking she would come wandering up to us at any moment (I mean, how far away would she actually go from her parents?), but as five minutes became ten, became fifteen, I started to panic. I was in tears and so was Noah, and I don't think I've ever seen Ryan so desperate. Turns out she had run to the other side of the mall and all the way to the back of a department store by herself. She is so independent and not afraid of anyone or anything. When we finally found her, she wasn't scared at all. She was just sitting happily in the arms of the stranger who had found her. Oh my gosh, Sally--you are killing me! One thing is for sure, she will never be in a busy place like that without a stroller again!
Noah never wandered away from us like that when he was a toddler, and I am finding that Sally and Noah have really different personalities. He's never been very independent--he would prefer that I do things for him--but Sally is very insistent that she do things herself. She wants to buckle her own high chair and car seat; she loves putting on her own socks and shoes (putting on socks is her favorite thing, no matter whose they are--she looks pretty hilarious wearing Noah's soccer socks or Dad's church socks, pulled up high); when I try to help her with something, she says "no no no no no!" so emphatically in her tiny voice. The sound of her voice is the cutest thing on this planet.
She says tons of words now. Again, not like Noah (who was honestly speaking in sentences by this age--he was more interested in talking to me than wandering away from me, ha!), but she says new words every single day and clearly understands pretty much everything we say to her. I love it! I am always so delighted when I hear her say a word for the first time.
She has her own little language, calling my phone "bone," her blankie "menchie," and milk "meky." When you ask her if she wants something she says, "Mmmhmm" instead of yes. She says "Where are you?" like it's one word, and it's irresistible. I will hear her calling from her crib after naptime, "Mama, wa-ah-you?" She will also call this out if she is looking for a toy or trying to help me find my shoes as we head out the door.
She is obsessed with my "bone" and knows how to get to my photos app and look at pictures and videos of friends and family. This is one of the few things that keeps her quiet and still for a few minutes. Unfortunately, she sometimes gets out of the photos app and calls people to breathe at them. I sometimes get texts from my sister who lives in a different time zone, "Uh, Sally called me five times this morning at 6:30 a.m." Woops! Her favorite people to call are her Grandma and our friend Adrian Dayton in Buffalo. Ha! I think it's because his name starts with A and must be one of the first in my contacts list. Sorry, Adrian!
She will screech at me when I am talking on the phone because she wants to say hello. She grabs the phone from my ear and yanks it away and then just breathes at the person and smiles. She also tries to grab the phone away from me when I am sending text messages, and I've pretty much given up on having my phone out when she's around. I call her the Tiny Tyrant. I try not to let her get away with too much, but she's so stinking cute that it's hard to discipline her.
She tells knock-knock jokes. It's hysterical. She has learned this from her brother (who can go for a good twenty minutes telling me the worst jokes imaginable). She will say out of the blue, "Knot knot!" And she will keep saying it until I respond, "Who's there?" And then she just spouts out some gibberish and laughs at herself.
She loves to laugh. She is a joyful little girl. She still loves "slap-stick" humor, and if someone trips or bumps their head, she breaks out in guffaws. She also thinks bodily functions are just hilarious. If anyone is ever gassy in our house (not that that ever happens), she laughs and laughs like she is a middle school boy. Heaven help me.
Her dad is her favorite. No contest. He is the first person she asks about when she wakes up in the morning, and if he's already gone to work, she wanders around the house looking for signs that maybe he is home after all. She will see a pair of his shoes on the floor and say, "Dada! Dada!" and look around excitedly. When we pull into the garage, she always looks over to see if his car is there, and she often notices that he's home before I do. "Dada home! Dada home!"
She also adores her big brother. She hates holding my hand when we cross the street (again, Little Miss Independent), but she is more than willing to hold Noah's. In fact the other day when we went for a family hike, she kept saying, "Hand? Hand?" until Noah would reach up and hold onto her. Sweetest.
She also loves to wear her brother's sunglasses and sit in his booster. He is her hero!
Wow. It's just wow. We have to lock our bathroom door during the day because faucets are her favorite thing and she has dumped so much water onto the carpet in our room that it's starting to smell of mildew. She keeps me sooo busy. I am hoping that she will love the water table and baby pool in the backyard this summer--she can dump as much water as she wants out there!
She's not really interested in toys. She doesn't have a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or doll. She just likes to destroy things and hang on her mama's legs. After an exhausting day recently, I spent some time Googling ideas for keeping a toddler happy. I now have a list of simple ideas that may interest her (such as building towers and knocking them down, playing hide-and-go-seek with a stuffed animal, and rearranging the condiments in the side of the refrigerator). I will let you know how it goes. ;)
Though she doesn't have much interest in stuffed animals or dolls, she is obsessed with live animals and babies. She is very forceful in her affection toward both (like a true Westover girl!) and I often have to restrain her from smashing dogs and cats in her hugs and mauling babies with her kisses. This past weekend we saw her baby cousin Gracie, and Sally could not get enough. I was holding them both on my lap, with Sally looking at photos on my phone. Sally suddenly started to jab her arm behind Gracie's shoulders, and I thought she was pushing her away in jealously, but I soon realized that she was putting her arm around her. She pulled Gracie close and tried to show her the photos she was looking at.
When she sees her beloved doggies, she will say "Rah rah rah!" instead of "Ruff ruff." Cutest puppy sound ever!
I know it's too early to tell, but she seems to be athletic like her dad. She has a good arm and can already throw overhand (Noah still can't do that--ha!). She loves a song called "Hop Little Bunnies" from a show we watch on YouTube, and she will hop around the room while she watches it. I've noticed that she jumps with both feet off the ground, which I think is an advanced skill for a kid her age. (So basically, she's going to be an Olympian...haha!)
We're not sure yet if she has inherited musicality from the Westover side of the family. I sing her Edelweiss every night at bedtime (my mom always sang it to me), and she puts her head on my shoulder and bellows it out along with me. It's my favorite moment of the entire day. Most of the words are gibberish, but boy is she trying! She did this yesterday at church too. In the middle of the opening hymn, she just started bellowing gibberish along with everyone. I wasn't the only one in the congregation who was laughing.
She is still an amazing sleeper, and I love her for it. With how busy she is, I need my daily break when she takes an afternoon nap! She never protests when I say it's time for nap or bed, and she waves goodbye to Noah as she walks straight to her room, ready for her book and song.
Sadly, she is going through a bit of a mean phase. She pushes over other kids and then looks up so innocently when I scold her, like "Who, me?" She also bites when she gets frustrated, and I know I have to be ready to dodge her chompers if I take something away from her and she's super angry about it. I'm hoping as she gets older and has more ability to communicate, she won't feel the need to lash out to express her frustration. For now, we do stern talkings-to and short time-outs. Seems to make no difference but hopefully over time she will grow out of this!
At her core, she's still a sweetheart. She is hard because she's busy, not because she's cranky or contrite. She's a good little girl and so likeable. When anyone walks into the room, she shouts, "Hi!" over and over and uses their name. I am surprised by how many names she knows of the people we see regularly.
She takes her prayers seriously, especially if she is praying over her favorite food, guacamole:
You can't turn your back on her for one second at the dinner table. There's a reason her nickname is Menace!
Watching the laundry churning is the highlight of her life, but I can't let her do it very often because she won't stop pushing the cycle buttons!
She's my favorite daughter. We are completely obsessed with her. When I am holding her in my arms, she will pull my glasses down to the tip of my nose and say, "Hi, Mom" when I peer over them at her.
I love seeing her little diaper bum in tight stretch pants as she runs along the path when we go for family walks. I love the mischievous twinkle in her almond-shaped eyes when she knows she's done something naughty. I love her nose nuzzles and soft kisses at bedtime. I love her dimple and how cute she looks in her straw hat.
She exhausts me, but I am so lucky to be her mama. Losing her for a few minutes the other day in the mall brought that into even clearer focus. I don't know what we would do without her!