The holidays are about to descend upon us with full force, but before that happens, allow me to recap the last couple of months. Hayley just continues to become the most amazing kid. I know I sound like a broken record, but she never ceases to surprise me, day in and day out. There have been so many areas of growth and individual moments of awesomeness that it's tough to cover everything, or to know where to start.
Hayley has turned into quite the little helper. She already does so much for herself, but she rarely misses an opportunity to assist the people around her. She loves to pick out her shoes before leaving and put them back after coming home. She makes sure to give me my keys and wallet from the drawer that is so conveniently at her level by the door. She attempts to clean various things, either with the baby wipes that she is now obsessed with (completely my fault) or the kid's broom we got for her. She desperately wants to help us put away the dishes or sort/fold laundry. She even lent a hand (and a million sprinkles) when mama made some brownies:
Along with that industrious side, Hayley's creativity continues to blossom, mostly in the area of music. Her sense of rhythm is getting better as she plays with her drums or her friend Luca's drum set, and bops her little head along to the music playing in the car. She still dances her heart out when she really likes the beat. She sings along with the 'la la' parts in her favorite Fresh Beat Band songs. She rocks out on her cute little keyboard and guitars.
Hayley also loves to draw with her crayons, but we don't have a great setup for drawing, nor do we have many supplies. We plan to correct this with a cool xmas gift (you'll see). In the meantime, we got her a small notebook for collecting stickers (which I hope she will keep up with for a long time). So far, she loves it:
Two other fun new acquisitions include a pair of rain boots that Hayley seriously fell in love with at the store, and her first Build-a-Bear, which we named Coco:
As always, family is a huge part of Hayley's life, and as she grows and gains new social skills, her family bonds just get stronger. She has gotten a lot closer with her cousin Dylan, who really warmed up to Hayley in recent weeks. I don't think he realizes what's in store though, because she basically thinks he is the coolest person ever. Seeing them together is unbearably cute; hearing them talk about the other one when they aren't together is even cuter. It will be interesting to see how their relationship evolves as each of them gets older.
Probably the most significant change for Hayley is the rapid increase of spoken words over the past 2 months. Miranda has been covering this in other posts so I won't repeat those, but we are both continually left speechless (ironic?) at the explosion of words coming from Hayley's mouth. Of course, she still babbles all the time and uses plenty of signs, but the progress is undeniable. Just this evening, we finally got her to say 'please' instead of signing it (or more accurately, while signing). Along with how much she is saying is how much she is understanding. The number of words she actually knows has got to be in the hundreds at this point. We are so proud and excited to be supporting Hayley in her linguistic journey! Now if I could just get her to smile for pictures instead of pointing at her mouth and saying 'teeeeeth':
Of course, with the good comes the bad. Hayley is really hitting her toddler stride lately, with tantrums and attitude aplenty. As (relatively) new parents, we are still figuring out how best to handle it. Thankfully her sweetness far outweighs her sourness, but some days she is a 3-foot-tall teenager:
Anyway, Miranda and I are big fans of this time of year, for many reasons. Despite the often unseasonably warm weather, this year has lived up to our expectations. And it wouldn't be a successful autumn without some classic seasonal activities. We got our fall on in many ways, including visiting various pumpkin patches (complete with hay rides or train rides), enjoying lazy weekends cuddled up on the couch with some hot coffee, spending the day at the Cupertino Memorial Park (aka duck duck park), eating the delicious baked goods that mama makes, or simply stomping on the fallen leaves outside.
Which brings us to the main event of the season. Although this was her second time celebrating Halloween, Hayley got her first chance to really experience it this year. Dressed in her stunning Snow White costume (the official one from Disney), Hayley joined Cleopatra and Marc Antony (aka mama and dada) at a kid-filled costume party at our friend Clara's house. We took her out on her first ever trick-or-treating that night. After some apprehension and awkwardness at the first few houses, she started to get the idea (I get candy for being cute!) and was an old pro by the end of it. Her super cool apple bag (custom-made by Auntie Kati) was full of candy and we were full of joy. The night really couldn't have gone any better.
Mostly we've just been trying to have as much fun together as we can. Sometimes that means wearing silly wigs even though it's not quite Halloween.
Since I posted the list of words Hayley can say I've been keeping track of all her new words so I could periodically update the list here. When I get to ten or so new words I'll post an update- which might mean a ton of word updates because this kid is learning new words at an amazing rate! Here's what sh'se learned since my original post (9 days ago): shout, deer, Coco, stroller, corn, quack, meow, door, toes, keys, sharks, shoot, Belle, dip-dip, phone, bottle, baby.
The last few days I've found myself counting down the minutes until your bedtime. Not because I want you to go to sleep, but because our bedtime routine has become so sincere and sweet and in those moments I remember just how lucky I am to be your mother.
After your practical routine of a diaper change, vitamins, jammies and brushing your teeth, I lift you up and we go about the apartment looking for people in all the rooms. I really have no idea how or why this started, but you insist we do this each night. Then I place you on your daddy's lap while he sits in the rocker and I get to your level to tell you I love you and thank you for another great day together. I ask for a kiss and you always oblige- and always lean up to make sure daddy gets one, too. When I tell you I love you you look me straight in the eyes and tap my nose- the way we taught you to sign "I love you". I then get up and leave the room, closing the door behind me.
Traditionally you've called out for me, "Mama!", and I quickly open the door and make a funny face or noise and we do this a few times before you lose interest and are ready for daddy to read you your book. Lately, though, you've wanted me to come back into the room and sit with you so we can have a few beautiful moments together. You're getting some new teeth so you'll smile, point with both hands to your cheeks and say "teeth!" with great pride. I get really excited and tell you how beautiful your little teeth are and tell you you're doing such a good job growing and building your little body. Then you look at me, so rare are the moments when you're truly still enough to give your full attention to someone, and we stare at each other in silence as you rub your hands along my shoulders and pat my back. You look at my eyes, then my lips, back and forth, before initiating a good night kiss. You gently hold my face in your little warm hands and I feel your little finger go tap, tap, tap on my nose. I try to hold it together and revel in your sweetness before once more getting up, saying goodnight and closing the door behind me.
I stand in the hall way, waiting. "Mama!" I can't help it. I go back in and we do it again.
Lately Hayley has been more and more willing to say new words and I want to be sure to record her progress here along the way. Here are all the words (that I can remember right now) Hayley's said so far with varying frequency and accuracy: