It’s been a big week. Big stuff happening!

– Her first birthday party! We had cupcakes and ice cream and a few friends over for kebabs and beers (for the adults). J didn’t really want the cupcakes or ice cream, but she had some peppers and squash from the kababs and a good time gnawing on her presents and helping open them. The dump truck and the dinosaurs were the biggest hits. The reptangles were a hit with the adults!

– She has also figured out how to sit down intentionally. It’s pretty cute to watch her walk up to my boppy pillow or a stuffed tofu, very carefully line herself up, turn around, and plop! down on her butt. She misses about 25% of the time, but when she lands just right she’ll often stand back up and sit back down a couple times.

– First dinner outing as a family (just us). I can’t believe it took us a year (okay, yes I can) to go out to dinner just the 3 of us. It was a great evening! J was pretty good, although she got impatient with sitting at the table long before Dad and I were done eating. I made a little barricade of chairs and let her wander around a little in that, then afterwards we went outside and she walked around for a while.

– Feeding others. I guess people are always putting things in her mouth, it’s only fair that she start to put food in other people’s mouths. Mostly mine, so far.

Some of the biggest things all seem to center around communication. It started last week with the pointing, and of course she’s been doing things like lifting her arms to be picked up, or holding out books for us to read to her, but there have been some big leaps!

– Understanding and following directions. She will sit down, come here, watch me, look there, give me what she has in her mouth if I say, “May I have that please?” It sounds like a list of tricks you’d teach your dog but they’re all very useful things with a baby too! Also, she will occasionally clearly understand you saying, “Come here please!” and choose to NOT come. Sometimes she seems mischievous about it and sometimes it’s plain that she just would rather keep on doing whatever she’s doing, thank you very much.

– Her understanding in general is so dramatic. She’s constantly pointing to things she sees, and seems satisfied if you tell her what they are. We have a bunch of foam letters and the other night she would hold one up. I would tell her what letter it was and then what sound it made. It’s hard to describe why I think this was more than just holding up various things and waiting for a response, but it really seemed like she was paying attention to the fact that I was making different sounds. Her favorite books these days are Pat The Bunny and any book with a variety of words. She just wants to hear them all.

– “Kitty” is definitely a word. I pointed out a dog the other day and she said “dog” back at me. She might have just been imitating, but I doubt it will be just imitation for long. We’re still not sure about “Dad”

– Signing! Holy cow is she signing now! At some point we were on the den floor and she was pointing at something in the kitchen. I told her I saw flowers and she pointed to the same spot again, so I told her I saw a cup. She grunted and pointed again, then looked at me and signed “milk.” Then I realized there was a bottle with milk in it sitting right next to the flowers! It was old milk so I didn’t let her have it, but I did offer to nurse. She will also sign for “play peek-a-boo with me” and when she’s “finished” with food/bath/etc. Just this morning she signed for “more” Cheerios! She had found one or two sitting in her carseat as I went to put her in, and ate them (It’s good for her immune system!). Then she looked at me and brought her hands together. I said, “You want more?” and she made the gesture again and gave me a huuuuuge smile and I swear I could see the excitement in her eyes. I called to Dad to bring a small handful of Cheerios. She was so happy to get them. The sign for “Cheerios” is very similar to how she signs for “milk” (and also how she waves hi/bye) so I should see if I can figure out a sign for Cheerios too.