The most memorable change for Ingrid this month was the advent of two-word sentences. Now she often says things like “Ije baga” (Ingrid magama = Ingrid sleep), “toga pall” (stor pall = big ball), “atta ommo” (vattna blommor = water the flowers), “emme itta” (emme sitta = mummy sit) and so on. Sometimes when I say a longer sentence (“The boy is playing with a big ball”) she tries to repeat it by makes several shorter ones out of it: “boy play” plus “boy ball” plus “big ball”.
She also uses language in more varied ways now. She can point out things, and describe things, and ask for things – but she can also make suggestions, which are clearly less determined in tone than pure requests (“Ije?” while pointing at Eric’s sunglasses, meaning “could I play with those?”) and ask questions (“onu?” while pointing at a newspaper means “are there any pictures of people in there?”). (We’ve been focusing on people words such as “man” and “woman” and “boy” and “girl” recently.)
I’ve noticed is that she is more adept at listening, too. What I mean is that she notices which words are important to the speaker, which words are said with extra stress or attention or emotion. The one time one of us said a (very mild) swear word (“jäkla sniglar” = “darn snails”) she immediately picked up on the “jäkla” and repeated it many times with great glee.
Her pronounciation is a lot clearer (most notably P and K are now separate sounds, so a tree is no longer called a moon) but as you can see from the examples, her language is still very much in a state where only a parent would understand her. We generally understand most of what she says now, even though we sometimes struggle when she freely mixes Swedish and Estonian in a single sentence. Generally she knows the names of the most important things in both languages, but for other things she often only has one of the words. Sometimes, though, I suspect that she switches to a language of her own, because suddenly she says something long and fluent but completely incomprehensible.
A few weeks ago I wrote that ise (= myself) was a much-used word. And it still is, because she likes to try to do things on her own. She’s getting better at it, too: just this evening she managed to get both legs into her pajama bottoms, and her attempts to wipe up spilled food from the table now actually make the table slightly cleaner.
But the world is now less black and white: it’s not a choice between “mummy do” and “Ingrid do”. She has now added the word koos (= together) to her vocabulary and uses it when she wants us to do something together, such as sit in the sofa and read a book. Likewise she’s understood that sometimes ise is not best, and it is good to have some help, so she says aita (= help).
And of course, whatever we do, she wants to join or copy. Mummy takes a handbag when she goes out? Ingrid takes her bag, too. (The bag is one of her few important possessions right now.) Daddy climbs a ladder to pick cherries? Ingrid wants to stand on a ladder and pick cherries, too. I generally try to accommodate her as much as possible in these situations. When Eric is on a ladder picking cherries, the option of doing nothing does not exist: she would climb up after him. I could take her away so she cannot see that he’s climbing. But if I’m going to be busy keeping her out of his way, I might as well do it so that she is a part of the action: bring out the small stepladder and find a low-hanging branch that she can eat from.
In fact the surest way to make her angry is for one of us to do something that she can see, and finds interesting, but isn’t allowed to copy. And of course it must seem terribly unfair. The other sure way to anger her is to ignore her: to sit in the sofa and try to read, and tell her to play on her own. For everyone’s peace of mind we try to avoid both, if possible.
Of course it isn’t always possible. When I’m eating dinner, I’m not going to stop just because she wants to play with me. And then she gets angry. Being upset and crying is nothing new of course, but now she displays proper anger and sometimes starts hitting and throwing things. She has no other way to diffuse her anger, I guess. Sometimes she sits down on the ground and picks up whatever is closest and throws it, and then goes after it and throws it again, and again. It’s kind of funny when that thing is a small piece of crumpled-up paper… Less funny when she’s sitting at the kitchen table and we see she’s about to get angry, and the closest thing is a glass of water. (The glass gets quickly moved out of range.) But the violent anger dissipates quickly, and she calms down enough to come to us for a cuddle of consolation.
When she isn’t joining in our activities, we’re often out doing something active. We go to playgrounds (climbing, swinging, splashing in a pool), or kick a big beach ball around the garden, or simply run up and down the lawn. All of these are quite social activities: she quickly loses interest in the ball if I’m not there to kick it with her (and when my attention wanders she reminds me that it’s my turn now), and running is a lot more fun when she can hold my hand.
A relatively new favourite is spinning around in circles. Ideally she’d hold my hand and then we’d both spin until she is so dizzy she falls over. Unfortunately I feel nauseous well before we get to that point. I generally try to convince her to run around me while I sit on the ground and hold her hand.
Books are still popular. She’s now getting interested in actual stories, not just pointing out things that she sees. Some of the baby books are going out of favour, while others that she had ignored are now suddenly interesting, because they have a story. And she listens attentively to the bedtime stories I tell her. I’m planning to do some major book shopping when I go to Estonia later this summer.
Drawing is another nice indoor activity. She used to enjoy scribbling with crayons, but now she prefers to watch me draw, and then either guess what I’m drawing, or suggest things for me to draw. Her own scribbling used to be forceful but artless, focusing mostly on making as big a mark on the paper as possible. Now I think she has once or twice tried to actually draw something. At least she once drew a brown line and then a green one, and said “puu” (= tree), moments after I had drawn a tree for her with the same crayons.