I've been thinking a lot lately about how amazing it is to live with a toddler. I can see how so many people view it as an awful challenge, but really, it's got a lot to do with perspective.
We've made a huge effort in providing a safe space that Lily can explore without needing to hear "no" at every turn. I'm thankful that she's got a healthy level of curiosity without the death wish that some kids seem to have, but then again I'm also not policing every open drawer or every over turned box. For the past few weeks she has spent most of her time pushing my laundry basket around, filling it up with everything from bowls to dolls to diapers to every single item we attempt putting the in the recycling bin. I'm pretty convinced we could donate all of her toys at this point and she would be perfectly content with the recycling bin and laundry basket.
Her ability to communicate is growing both with sign and speech. She says: momma, dadda, hi, hello, bye, more, all gone, thank you, fish, food, meow, gecko, cracker, banana, ball, and likely a whole lot more that I'm just not thinking of right now. Of course they're totally said in toddler-speak, meaning Art and I have to translate for most people, but I am so amazed with how much signing has helped her to tell us what she wants--verbally too! If we sign a word she is ten times more likely to try saying it. She signs: more, thank you, please, food, fish, cat, dog, bird, light, fan, ball, banana, water, cracker, milk/nurse, and of course the ever-important iPod :)
Anyway, perspective. Lily is 71 weeks old (according to "Circle of Moms" from Facebook...Ugh...It should be called "Seventh Circle of Hell for Moms That Are Literate"). Okay, so she's going on a year and a half old, and while she's starting to really grasp things we ask of her and is able to communicate better and better, I am constantly reminding myself that she still doesn't have the foresight to know the effects of some of the "trouble" she finds. So, instead of yelling, spanking, or even attempting time outs, I pretty much stick with simple explanations ("Pet the kitty nice!" "Dog food is for dogs!") or just plain redirecting or removing. She's not trying to break her neck; she's using her body to climb. She's not trying to scare the cockatiel; she loves when he squawks. She's not trying to break the doll stroller and get hurt; she wants to sit in a chair her size.
So, in summary, Lily's amazing, and is continuously teaching me more about myself (like my patience!) and herself (like her insatiable curiosity!) every day. And she's pretty cute too :)