As Tye reached her first birthday, she moved into several new stages of development. With a background in Early Childhood Education, I see each step in relation to other developments and emerging skills. Watching a child grow and reach new milestones is always miraculous, and I know I'm not the first parent to observe my child's changes in complete awe. This past month has been a huge one for Tye.
Of course, the most obvious recent development is Tye's ability to walk. While walking itself is a major milestone, it also opens a child to a whole new world of learning opportunities at rapid-fire pace. When Tye moves about now, it's on two feet as she uses her hands to explore freely.
Tye has also expanded her functional vocabulary. In addition to mama and daddy (adapted from the original dada), she now says doggie, woof, uh-oh, Ziggy (our cat's name), eye(s), hi, and Woof Woof. Along with these new words has emerged categorization in the form of overgeneralization. Tye first learned doggie and would say "doggie" whenever we saw a dog on a walk or whenever she heard a dog bark (and then she would "woof" back). Now, all animals are doggies, from her stuffed moose to illustrations of elephants and hippos. But, only animals are doggies, proving Tye knows that doggies, moose, elephants, hippos, and a variety of other creatures are all animals. That they don't all say "woof" will come later. Along the same lines, as of right now, all body parts are labeled expressively as eyes (although Tye knows both eyes and nose receptively- in other words, she can accurately point to each upon request, even if she can't yet say the word nose).
Perhaps my favorite new development is Tye's fascination with stuffed animals and dolls. She loves to empty her bins of plush toys, pulling each one out separately and hugging it tightly before she tosses it aside to hug the next. This isn't just a hugging skill, though. Tye has formed special attachments to a few of her toys, like the plush Santa in her first walking video, a Beanie Baby puppy that looks like Mico, and a yellow and blue Swedish-looking moose.
Oh, and were you wondering earlier what Woof Woof might mean? It's the name bestowed upon Tye's absolute favorite stuffed animal, a blue corduroy dog that followed us home from Seattle- or perhaps more truthfully, was dragged to Chicago by a little bald girl with a new obsession.
Woof Woof is Tye's newest source of comfort and companionship (a happy new recipient, considering my breasts are not always available for cuddling). Since she first clutched his soft blue fur, Tye has barely let go. He's been through airport security, on car rides, in shopping carts, and snuggled in the Ergo beside Tye on errands and dog walks. Almost every time Tye nurses to sleep now, whether it's for a nap or the night, Woof Woof is clutched in her arms. It's a sweet attachment that shows Tye's emotional development and emerging play skills. She's morphing from baby to big kid right before my eyes.