Friday, November 13, 2009

An owl hooting, twirling monster, jabbering little daddy’s girl.

The other day I had a conversation with Stella. She spent the day with Opa. When I got home I asked her how her day was, did she have fun, did she take a long nap etc. Although I steered the conversation so that all she needed to do was answer with “ja”, An affirmative that she now has in her vocabulary. She looked at me as if she comprehended al that I was saying and answered each question with an exuberant ja.

This got me thinking about speech development. Some may think it weird to lead her like this. Practially putting words in her mouth. But I see this as just another piece in the puzzle. Showing her cause and effect, the interaction between to people and how to engage in a conversation. She beat the statistics that say she should have thrown a nein into the group. She not only answered my questions but is trying to learn and use new words

I know that children are like sponges and that they soak in everything that they hear and see. What astonishes me though is that Stella is doing this in a bilingual world. She is learning and comprehending two languages. You can see it in her face. I can ask her something in English, Maja in German and she gets it. Of course as we continue to increase the complexity of our questions, we have to help her out, but she’s getting it. She knows that an “Affe” and Monkey are the same, that on and off are the same as an and aus. She’s getting it.

One of our new favorite games is to search for things within the book. Reading the actual story has taken a sideline to the hunt and search. Questions like: Where’s the balloon, where’s the boy ,where’s the doggy, what’s the horse say, what does the owl say, etc. That’s her new favorite animal sound. The whoo whoo of an owl. And you see her search, and if she doesn’t point right away, you see her eyes find the item.

A new favorite book is a farm book. Yes we have lots of those. This one has big illustrations of different farm situations like the horse stalls, cow stalls and orchard. It has scenes full of characters and lots of flaps to find things under. Stella loves looking under these and flipping up all the flaps. The last scene is of the woods. Hanging on a tree is a big is a woodpecker. Stella taps her finger on the page to show the what the woodpecker does. Then I ask where’s Daddy. She happily lifts up a flap that is disguised as a tarp. Under it is a bear with a camera on a tripod. Guess she has me figured out. Then I ask where’s Opa. On the top of the page there’s a bear with a chain saw cutting wood. Opa’s favorite hobby.

While not yet using full on words, stella loves telling you stories or holding items up and describing them to you. She’s learned Heiss (hot) and says that for the oven, or food that is too hot. Also Nass (wet) when she dumps her drink all over herself. She definitely tries to communicate with us and you can see the frustration when she’s not getting through.

The Thyne’s left us a little wicker chair when bought the house. The seat is still a little high for Stella to pop a squat but it is light enough for Stella to lift and move around. She takes it all over the house. She’ll crawl onto it. Standing up with the aid of the high back then turn around and slide into a sitting position.

If she needs your help moving the chair, wants to show you something or simply take you somewhere, she will run up to you and extend her hand upwards for yours. What used to be a symbol of needed stability is now a sign of determination to bring us into her world as she drags you along trying to communicate with you.

Typically when I come home from work, Stella is extremely excited that I am there, shouting “daddy daddy daddy.” But when I open my arms to her she wants to stay with mommy. Not as depressing as you might think though. After dinner we’re playing and rough housing as usual. A new development is that she has now become a daddy’s girl. And I’m soaking it up. If we are in crowds or over stimulating situations, she knows there’s security being in daddy’s arms. And sometimes she even prefers it to mommy’s. Although I would say we’re 50/50 but it’s nice to be held up to the same level as mommy after so many months of mommy’s girl.

Maja and Stella have started going to a Childs gymnastics group twice a week where there are lots of kids and fun things to crawl up, over and around. She has brought this practice home by climbing on anything and everything, scaring her parents to death as you turn around and she’s at the top of her high chair, a moment ago she was on the floor.

An interesting personality trait has surfaced. Stella likes to observe from afar. If there are too many children at a particular object, she will watch from a distance and contently play at another not so crowded object. Once the crowd has died down, she will go over to the first object, explore and play.
This is not to imply that she doesn’t like crowds because she does, but on her terms. She loves the energy of everyone and runs around like wild.

At the end of these days, when she is home, she will quietly sit in your lap and hang out, apparently tuckered out. A stark contrast to her normal bee in the pants restlessness. Lately after dinner, it feels like someone flicks an overdrive switch on Stella. She becomes hyperactive, running back and forth, up and down, climbing on things and jabbering up a storm. This is some great fun if not also quite a challenge to wash and change her and get her ready for bed. Then she’ll crash into bed after her milk and book.

In our “guest” room we have a mattress lying on the floor. Before, this was a safe place for her to learn to walk and balance. Now it is an oversized trampoline. She loves to run in from another room and fall onto the mattress. She loves to roll around, flail her legs and spin like a tornado until she falls.
But all this energy is spent in things she enjoys. For things that she doesn’t, well you’d think we’re torturing her. Cutting nails is a two person effort. We’re lucky any more if we can get her on the potty and my gosh, forget washing or worse taking a bath.

Our once half fish now has the wicked witch of the west complex. She thinks that water is going to melt her. Stella will look interestingly into the bathtub and throw toys in there but as soon as you put her in, she starts screaming bloody murder. We have had to resort to baths once a week and it is basically a quick dunk to avoid permanent hearing damage. One time Stella screamed so hard while getting her toe nails cut that she threw up. Hopefully this is phase will end soon.

Needless to say, if you haven’t gathered form the stories above, Stella is at an awesome age right now. We feel so fortunate to have her and these wonderful experiences. Time is really flying (as you may have noticed from the lack of blogging the past month) I am going to try and get back to blogging regularly, stay tuned.


  1. keep that kid in gymnastics! she can take after her aunt beth. =]

  2. Wow! Great writing, Jeremy! I feel like I'm there watching Stella grow!

  3. Next best thing to being there. Keep it up.