FIONA turned one-and-a-half this week. Currently we are enjoying the company of the Osterhouts in England while Rijen is in Africa, however before we left we enjoyed an early celebration. It had been so hot in Stuttgart that week it was really only pleasant to play outside early in the morning, so I put Fiona in her swimsuit and took her outside where we blew bubbles and took pictures. I would have liked to have gotten a picture of both activities at once, however it was too challenging to navigate the camera, Fiona and the bubble blowing at one time. So I stopped taking pictures and just concentrated on blowing bubbles for the rest of the morning outside.
This above picture is the only evidence of my attempt at a bubble blowing photoshoot. Perhaps when my assistant gets back from Africa we can try it again. Below are pictures from the steps in the backyard of our apartments. Fiona likes going up these to try and find the “Maow” (what she calls the cats owned by our Swiss neighbors).
Although it was fun playing in the backyard (the aforementioned neighbors own that backyard so I was kind of taking advantage of the fact that they are themselves on holiday in Australia) I am really looking forward to next week, when Fiona will be able to audition that swimsuit on a real beach…in Italy!
We are flying to Pisa tomorrow to meet up with Sara, Dani and Sam, and then we will all drive down to “the arch of the boot” as Sara calls it to stay in a beach house with Dani’s family. It sounds like it will be an adventure, and Fiona’s first time at the beach. (Correct me if I am wrong Rijen….?)
After playing outside, I had something fun in store for Fiona later that day.
Here are some of Fiona’s favorite things at the anderthalb mark:
Fiona loves to talk, whether it be babbling in her crib, English, German or her own invention. She understands both English and the German I speak to her, yet her own spoken language seems to be predominantly English, with a bunch of German and her own version mixed in.
This makes sense to me–while I try and speak a lot of German with her, I am hampered by my own limitations, plus certain words I actually like better in English (bike vs. Fahhrad; bellybutton vs. Bauchnabel). Also, since we go to an international but English-speaking ward, combined with the fact that we have had a lot of visitors and been traveling outside Germany ourselves, she probably hears more English than German currently. However, I try and expose her to as much as I can, since I think it is a good opportunity and fun besides. Here is a small selection of her favorites:
Words Fiona likes to say in English:
bike…closely followed by “hat” because she knows that she has to wear her helmet when riding on the bike.
Ni-Ni- night night when going to bed, which is then accompanied by another favorite word..
Back pat– meaning “back pats” i.e. to be patted on the back when in the crib
all parts of the face and some body parts, but “Eye, toe and bellybutton are her favorites
Words Fiona likes to say in German:
baden– to take a bath
bitte– meaing please
Geige– violin. She also uses this word for any stringed instrument. I have one Heather gave me I play for her sometimes and when Heather was here she played it for Fiona as well.
lala – Schokolade meaning chocolate
Booh– Buch/book… since this is a cognate and sounds similar, not sure if she is saying Buch or Book, however I tend to use the German word more often. We’ll see which one she adopts.
nein, nein- although she also says “no” at times as well
all parts of the face, but “Nase” und “Kopf” are favorites
Words Fiona likes to say in her own language:
geet – treat
noni– (from the german Melone)
mat-nen – (from the german Tomate)
Her number 1 favorite activity is probably reading. She loves being read to and pulling books out and reading them herself. She also has preferences about which book I read to her. Her favorite book is Tomi de Paola’s Mother Goose. This is one of many books I have preserved from my and Steffan’s childhood. Since this one was published in 1985, I am guessing it is yours, Steffan. Just let me know when the time comes, and I’ll send it back to you!
Just in the past month she has been able to climb up into the rocking chair on her own, where she will read books to herself. I was not exactly sure how she managed to get herself and that book up there, so I videotaped her the next time.
The combination of books and chairs prove to be an obstacle to her: a few days ago here at the Osterhouts, she put a book on the seat of a little kids chair, and then clambered up onto the chair. Perched happily on the chair, she was then faced with the problem that she was also sitting on the book. I probably could have helped extricate her from the problem, but I wanted to see what she would do. She grabbed the edge of the book and pulled hard. Nothing happened. She is very persistent so she tried several more times. Then she pulled really hard with great vigor….and catapulted herself face first on the carpet. Luckily it was carpet and not our hard slate floor. I consoled her and set her up the right way with the book and chair.
Our balcony has also been a really popular place for us to read now that the weather is nice. When Rijen was here he would go read out on the balcony and she would walk around out there with him. Since he’s been gone, I will pull up both chairs next to each other and we will read a little and enjoy the sunshine and cooler evening temperatures. Our fav summer reads you ask? I have been engrossed with Stieg Larsson’s excellent Millenium Trilogy, and Fiona has been reading Bei den Wikingern.
Other favorite activities include pulling things out- of drawers, cabinets, boxes. Sometimes she will put things back. Thresholds and climbing stairs are also very popular free-time activities for her. She loves going in the car, stroller or bike…unless she is tired of it, and then she wants to travel by one of the other modes of transport.
We’ve tried to do a few art projects, however she doesn’t quite have the attention span or fine motor control yet to really enjoy drawing or even finger painting for more than 5 minutes at a time. Melinda suggested playing with corn starch, so we tried that and Fiona did enjoy mixing it around, looking at the different colors and feeling it on her fingers.
Fiona loves music and dancing and has no reservations about dancing in public, much to the amusement of elderly foreigners in whatever country we are in. My favorite recent memory being in the Schloss Belvedere in Vienna where part of an exhibit involved beautiful classical music piped into a narrow room. For some reason (most likely a tour group) the room was filled with well-dressed elderly people many in wheelchairs, all listening to the music very seriously and quietly. Fiona stopped and did her dance where she bobs up and down and appears like she is scratching her armpits while also tilting her head from side to side. It was very incongruous.
She also has been much more independent lately, and although she allows me to dress her for the day, she often tries to augment her outfit with something else later. I am impressed at her patience to get her little arms and legs through the holes…although they aren’t always the right ones.
Lately she wants to feed herself which makes mealtimes a lot messier. Speaking of mealtimes…
Fiona is a very good eater and I rarely have to struggle with her at mealtimes, which makes our lives easier. She does seem to have some favorites, however and these include:
Bananas (one every morning…join us for Banana time on Skype if you in the US are up late…Steffan does!) She eats tomatoes every day, and I even accidentally fed her a bunch of onions at an Indian restaurant recently because they were in a light tomato sauce and I thought they were cut up tomatoes. She didn’t seem to mind, so I guess I”ll add raw onions to the list.
Melons, apples and strawberries. Beans- any kind. German Lyoner- like bologna rolled up. She has made the great discovery of chunky peanut butter and she has kind of graduated from licking it off bread to taking bites of a real PB&J. Of course she has a sweet tooth and knows that I keep mini chocolate chips in the freezer.
Well, I need to finish packing for Italy, so I will probably update this post later or do another one so that I can remember later what Fiona was like at this age. Rijen, I am sure I have forgotten some big ones, so feel free to add on…