Language development continues apace. Two-word combinations are now old hat, and combinations of three words and more happen every day. In fact they are so common that I’ve stopped noticing them. She also learns new words at such a speed that my astonishment has worn out and I am simply accepting this miracle as an ordinary thing.

We’ve just spent two weeks in Estonia, and she figured out very quickly that Estonian is the thing that works with those people. By the end of the two weeks she was using very few Swedish words when talking to us. But for some words she took care to point out that pappa says something else. She might say muna about the egg on her plate, and then look at me and say pappa ägg. Bilingualism is obviously not going to cause any difficulties for her.

Some of the words she learned very early on remain in their early state – she still says “Ije” for “Ingrid” for example. Otherwise her pronounciation is now good enough that even strangers can understand some of what she says. As long as she picks the right language, that is.

I love all this talking. It’s so nice that she can tell me what she wants, point out things that she sees or hears or wonders about, or just express her thoughts. The best thing about it is the insight I get into what is going on inside that head, what she understands, what she is interested in, what she thinks she is doing. A window into her mind. Today, for example, she has been commenting a lot on noises she hears, such as airplanes, passing cars that she cannot see, PA announcements and so on. Had she not been speaking, I would probably not have noticed it, because it’s not something she can point at.

Puddle!

Her talking has also made it clear to me just how much she understands: concepts like soon vs. later, things happening quickly vs. taking a long time, “first we do this, then we do that”, etc. I’ve also realised how much she remembers, and thinks about things we have seen or done or read during the day. When we run out of milk during breakfast, and I tell her that we’ll buy more in the afternoon, she confirms this at lunch, and then mentions it again when we go out in the afternoon. At bedtime she may repeat the ending of a particularly memorable book we read in the morning, or remind me that I promised we would buy her a pair of rubber boots soon.

Ingrid is still very fond of books, and now it’s definitely stories she wants. Preferably stories with pictures on every page, and no more than a few sentences per page, so we don’t have to look at the same page for too long. Rhymes are also good. She has never yet turned down an offer to read a book. And while previously she would often begin the day by telling me “uuut!” (go out), now she is more likely to tell me “läsa bok!” as soon as we get up.

On a whim, while we were stuck waiting somewhere and she was bored, I started pointing out letters to her, and how they make up words. She loved the game! Then she would pick up a newspaper or some advertising material with big letters on it, and point at them and say “I, E, O, E” as if reading, to show me that she wanted to play that game again. We bought an ABC book and it’s a great favourite.

We’ve also counted things a lot. She has a firm grasp on the concepts of one and two, and often tells me, for example, that she is putting two berries in her mouth at the same time. But beyond that I’m not sure. I know that she knows that number words come in a certain order, and she knows how they are used, but her own counting often goes üks, kaks, viis, kuus, kümme, meaning “one, two, five, six, ten”. And it’s always those specific ones, plus sometimes kaheksa (“eight”) in the right place, too. She always, always skips three and four. I suspect it’s because she cannot say the L sound (the words are kolm and neli in Estonian) so she doesn’t like to even try to say those words.

Lifting, not pushing the wheelbarrow…

On the physical side, I’ve noticed improved dexterity. She can now eat quite well with a fork, and can build towers out of Duplo blocks. Long and slim towers, preferably of the smallest 2×2 pieces… But she still prefers large things and big movement. Climbing frames are great, especially those that are really meant for older children, so that she really has to stretch to reach. Otherwise it’s too easy, I guess. Kicking a ball, balancing on things, hanging from things… The best toys are the large ones, and the best use for them is to carry and lift them. We bought her a chair, and while she does sometimes sit on it, she mostly carries it from one room to another.

Dolls are begginning to become more interesting. Dolls get to eat cheese, and wear her bibs, and sleep in our bed, sit on our chairs. (One of them apparently needed a nappy, too, but unfortunately the mismatch in size was just too big.) She even let me brush her teeth without struggling when she got to brush a doll’s teeth at the same time. Dolls and toy animals all like kisses, too: give her two stuffed animals and they will soon be rubbing their noses together while she says “puss!”.