Language remains in focus here. Ingrid’s definitely picking up a lot of grammar now. She’s got the hang of both tense and person for verbs: mina söön, sina sööd, meie sõime, tahan süüa. She can do singular and plural forms of nouns in both Swedish and Estonian (as long as they’re not irregular) and knows that adjectives should change in accordance with the noun. In Estonian she’s learning noun cases: siin on emme, otsid emmet, annad emmele, emmega koos.
One thing she has not figured out yet is pronouns. Or rather, she can say “you” and “I” in both Swedish and Estonian – but she doesn’t understand how they work. She always says “you” about herself, and “I” about whoever she’s talking to. She seems to treat pronouns as names: “mina” is another word for “emme” and “jag” is another word for “pappa”, and “sina” and “du” is her name in Estonian and Swedish. I found it quite confusing initially, until I got used to switching viewpoints all the time.
H: Do you want to put on your boots yourself, or shall I help you?
I: You will do it.
Meaning: I can do it myself.
She comments a lot on what she’s doing, what she’s about to do, what she sees us do, how things ought to be done (“nii tehakse”, “så gör man” – “this is how it’s done”), and what she wants to do. She even comments on things she’s saying: “Du sa ’emme’” – “You said ’Mummy’”.
She expresses her wishes quite articulately now, if not particularly politely: instead of “nej inte” (“no will not”) she now says “ei taha” (“don’t want to”), and instead of “mera läsa!” (“read more”) she now tells me “üks lugu veel, ja siis aitab” (“one more story, and then it’s enough”). It’s like hearing an echo, because that’s what I tell her every evening when bedtime is approaching. Some other expressions definitely don’t come from us: “Nej, sa jag!” (“I said, no!”) must be something she’s picked up from nursery.
When there’s something she doesn’t want to do, or doesn’t want us to do, she tells us it can’t be done. I ask her to put her boots on, and she says “Du kan inte!” (“You can’t do it!”). Or, when she wants me to help her put on her leggings in the morning, and I suggest that she ask Eric instead, she tells me “Men pappa kan inte!” (“But daddy cannot do it!”). I guess she’s echoing what she’s being told all the time. When there’s something we adults don’t want her to do, we tell her she can’t do it. I try (when I remember) to say it as it is – “I don’t want you to play with this” – but I guess we still say “you cannot play with this” often enough for her to mimic it.
We count quite a lot, which is both fun and practical. I can now tell her that she gets three pieces of candy, and then we count them out together, and there’s no argument about getting more. I find that predictable, easy-to-explain rules like that work quite well with her. “I cannot carry you home because you’re too heavy. You can sit on my lap when we get home.” or “You cannot put that juice bottle in your bag. We need to go to the till first and pay for it, then you can put it in the bag.” She accepts rules.
As planned, I’ve started demanding more Estonian from her. When she talks to me in Swedish, I either say nothing, or just “hmm”, or ask her “what’s that in Estonian?”, or repeat whatever she said but in Estonian. (The choice depends on the situation, her mood, my mood, etc.) It’s worked quite well: she understands what I’m after and doesn’t mind repeating herself in Estonian. I have the impression that she is speaking more Estonian to me now spontaneously, and today at playgroup one of the mums commented on how much Estonian Ingrid is speaking.
Speaking of language, Teletubbies and Miffy have now been joined by Naksitrallid. She liked the look of the DVD box, and the sound of the word “naksitrallid”, I believe. In any case one day she wanted to see the movie. I didn’t expect her to like it at all. It’s kind of avantgarde for a children’s movie, and there’s almost no music, and some scenes should be kind of scary. But she really liked it. There’s no accounting for taste!
More physical activities include painting and play-do, and messing around with glue. I bought a pair of kids’ scissors and she’s learned to use those, better than I had expected. (And now she shouts out “You will fetch your own scissors!” whenever she sees I’m about to cut open some packaging.) She’s started practising using a butter knife and a table knife, too, but those are hard, because the butter is hard, and the food is often slippery. The dishbrush and the toilet brush are also very popular tools.
As for eating, her appetite still comes and goes in huge waves. Last week she was hardly eating anything (her breakfast might consist of three grapes and a square inch of bread). Then last Saturday she wolfed down two large pancakes for lunch and asked for more, and her appetite hasn’t waned since then.
Potty accidents keep happening at an average rate of one per day, especially in the evening. Often she can manage an entire day in nursery (or even at playgroup, including a train trip there and back) but then create a puddle or two in the evening. Frustrating, but I’m getting resigned to it and it bothers me less than it used to, even though it’s now been going on for months.
The end of breastfeeding led to an increased need for cuddling and touching. She became very fond of putting a hand on my chest, as close to my boobs as possible (meaning, as close as I would let her). Mostly it doesn’t bother me (I just remove her hand when it starts to wander too far). There was a period when she wanted to keep her hand on my chest all the time while falling asleep (and occasionally at night too), which got to be too much for me, so now my neckline is off the limits at night.