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posted by [personal profile] madelinekelly at 03:08pm on 24/03/2015
I've had a half-written post on my desktop for many months. It's called "River at 3-and-a-half". She is now nearly 4-and-a-quarter. Oops. I could spend the rest of her life updating that post and never actually putting it up here, which would just be silly. I'm also horribly out of practice with writing. So, new year, new attempt at more regularly maintaining my... no, I really need to learn the lesson that I shouldn't make any resolutions about posting here more: I'll only end up feeling guilty when months fly by without a post again.

Willow has been in a sleep regression since October. I am so *%($*£* tired. This month marks the five-year anniversary of my sleep deprivation. My mood is frequently low, memory faulty, thoughts muddled. But! I have recently started feeding Willow to sleep in bed at night (was staying up with her on my knee, as she was just constantly feeding and our lying-down latch can sometimes be painful) and creeping downstairs on tiptoe once she's soundly asleep. It's worked a handful of times. I've been able to knit! And twice I've made bread dough and left it to rise overnight! Truly amazing. I have hopes of one day doing the same with her afternoon naps, giving me a couple of hours every day in which to move around and do things. So exciting! **UPDATE A MONTH LATER** She now takes so long to go to sleep at night that I end up just rolling over and sleeping myself as soon as she's closed her eyes. On the one hand, no time for "me" time downstairs, but on the other hand, I'm getting a bit more sleep and am no longer quite so cranky or exhausted.

Anyway, back to my girls. River is now 4, which is far too old, frankly. She is a proper person now with the ability to act rationally on occasion. I can discuss things with her and generally assume that she understands what I'm talking about. She can also be a vengeful, name-calling, screaming, sulking, whining little ball of anger. But so can I so I can't really judge. I think I will dig out that unfinished post and put it up here. There's just too much to say about her. No photos, though. It's time to start respecting her privacy.

Willow is 19 months old. She learnt to walk a couple of weeks (**UPDATE: months) ago. After witnessing the first wobbly steps, River excitedly exclaimed, "She's a toddler!" She's still not really talking -- so weird to think that River was mastering adjectives and plurals at this age. Willow can say "ap!" which we thought meant "apple" but apparently means any kind of fresh fruit or veg. "Apu apu apu!" means "apple" most of the time. She quacks for birds. "Momma" means either that she wants me or just that she wants some other thing in particular -- basic wantingness, I suppose. "Ba-Byeee" is used at the appropriate time with a cheerful wave of the hand. "Dadaaaaa!" for "daddy". "Wawa" for River. "Rah-n-rah!" for "round-and-round". "Hiya!" for "hello" and sometimes just because it's fun to say.

But even with her spoken language skills being so scanty she's excellent at making herself understood. She loves to sign, and is delighted when given a sign for a new thing. So it's quite possible to have conversations with her where she will explain that she was playing upstairs with daddy on the ride-along car, or that she did a poo in her potty and then washed her hands (she started potty training herself a few months ago, which is nice and convenient for us), or that she was running round-and-round and fell and bumped her head, or that her teeth hurt, and so on. She also talks a lot but it's just a stream of consonants and vowels.

We've noticed recently that her temperament is very like Matt's, ie. sulky. After even just a very mild rebuke (eg. saying "Willow!" and frowning slightly when she's spat or hit River or something) she will move away and avoid eye contact. Once she face-planted onto her high chair tray for 2 whole minutes.

She doesn't laugh very much, but is generally very smiley and happy. She sings, and seems to love all music. She tries to do everything that River is doing, which often ends in failure and anger. She's quick to kiss, rub noses, cuddle. In fact, she loves to cuddle and has more than once mended my broken day by climbing onto my lap and hugging me.

She enjoys small world play (something River had no interest in until she was 3) -- making little Lego minifigs go on adventures, taking various toys (and, once, a wooden block) to bed and tucking them in. And she will build towers with anything nearby.

I had resolved not to make comparisons between her and River but I find it endlessly fascinating, just how different they are. Willow's "behind" in some things but way ahead in others, and always her own little person.

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