Sunday, June 8, 2014

James and Julia 24-28 Months, Part IX: Julia, My Cheerful, Flirtatious, Demanding, Sociopathic, Clingy, Independent, Funny, Puzzle-Loving Girl

Here is Part VIII: James, My Mechanical, Anxious, Papa-Fixated, Frustrated, Non-Compliant, Creative, Musical Boy


Cheerful and More
Compared to her brother, Julia is harder to get to sleep but generally is easier. While James tends to be negative and is often fretful or frustrated and prone to melting down, she is the opposite: positive and cheery, with a smidge of mischievousness.

Julia is my cute girl who loves saying “hi” or “bye” to everyone, and she’s particularly on her smiley game in restaurants. 

Julia makes eyes at Gaga.
Mark captures the essence of a Julia restaurant visit here (which I wanted him to blog about at the time):

I usually leave the baby blogging to Kathy but this was a cool moment and I’m not even sure she was present for it.  

We had just eaten dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Menlo Park and were on our way out. The babies can walk on their own now, so I held Julia’s hand and guided her towards the exit. Standing in the foyer was a party of 7 or 8 people which we had to cut through -- mostly adults, but there was a teenage boy (maybe 16 years old) among them who was lounging on a bench.  

Julia can be pretty charming when she wants to be (and she did her fair share of this during dinner) but, as you can guess, teenage boys aren’t exactly her target demographic when broadcasting her Cute Baby program. We stepped slowly through the crowd and, just as Julia was nearly face to face with the boy (he was half-reclining on the bench and so his face was not too much higher than Julia’s), she turned to him and squeaked in her high-pitched but confident voice, “BYE!”

The waiting party melted. There were several simultaneous “awww”s and even the teenage boy got a big smile on his face. It’s times like these I wish I traveled with a helmet cam.

Julia turning on the charm per usual in the Su Hong foyer
Julia always wants to engage you in a game. She particularly loves “Where is Julia hiding?” (hint: she’s always hiding in her corner of the kitchen), 1-2-3 Hug, and Peek-a-Boo, where her eyes just light up when she’s “found.” For a month we have a big cardboard box in the family room and she prefers to drink her milk in it. She can’t get in herself, but somehow can get out, and she enjoys me putting her in so much (I lift and lower her by one hand: “Airlift!”) she immediately scampers out and has me do it over and over again. Julia also likes engaging me in pretend play, handing me food and we pretend eat.

Drinking milk with Daddy in the cardboard box
Sometimes she gets upset when I take a picture of her, but other times she’ll pose and say, “more pictures.”

Demanding and Opinionated
When I cuddle the twins at the same time, I sit with my legs straight out. Julia always grabs the position closest to me and is mad if James takes it instead. She discovers she can climb into our dining room chairs but then yells to us to get her down, ad nauseum.

She is opinionated and starts giving input on her clothes (pink pig pajamas!) and the color of her washcloth (for a time, pink only). Her hair is like a rat’s nest after a nap but I can’t control her bedhead. She doesn’t like pigtails (I think I pulled a little early on) and fights barrettes.

Julia becomes obsessed with a page in No No Yes Yes where one of the “no” behavior examples is “hurt people.” She walks around the house like a sociopath saying, “hurt people.” She also enjoys standing on Mark’s chest and then jumping down and landing on her butt, announcing, “hurt!” (See video.) One day Julia tells Mark while being changed, “hurt people,” and then kicks him and declares, “more kicking.”

Julia enjoying climbing on/hurting Mark.
Mark reports that when I’m at Target one day Julia cries for me off and on while I’m gone. At the end of February Julia wants me to walk her by the hand everywhere, this includes walking to another room or even the changing table. It’s sweet but time-consuming when I have to do things like go back to her room to walk her to the kitchen. She’s really affectionate and slightly more prone to giving kisses and hugs than James. Julia loves 1-2-3 Hug and gives kisses with a fish-like pucker. Often I read to her before naps and she will let me hug her close while I sing to her.

Independent and Helpful
Julia loves “helping” and assisting us with chores like unloading the dishwasher and putting toothbrushes away. She hates having someone else put her clothes on her, and really likes to be independent. She even tries to put on her shoes and jacket by herself (often not well). It’s ironic since only a little over a year before she didn’t crawl and wanted us to carry her everywhere. (That’s when I suspected that she wanted to live at home until she was 30.)

Sense of Humor
One day Julia has me name every one of the 20 blueberries in her book (me: “blueberry, blueberry, another blueberry”), and after each one she points to her mouth and I say, “Yes you eat those,” and she cracks up. She also does this with every item (menorahs, latkes, etc.) in Hanukkah: A Counting Book. Her favorite is when I say, “Maccabees…(she smiles and points to her mouth) We don’t eat Maccabees!” James likes to watch and laugh, and Julia thinks the games she makes up are pretty funny. I think she has a fairly sophisticated sense of humor. She usually makes the joke and instead of laughing herself, she smiles her smart twinkly smile while she waits for a reaction. I know adults who haven’t mastered this.

Julia just LIGHTS up when joking with you and loves playing peek-a-boo with a cute smile. Mark asks her what color her dog puppet, Spot, is and she names every color but yellow and laughs.

Love of Words and Puzzles
I often hear Julia counting to herself in her crib. She loves counting and sounds like the Swedish Chef from The Muppets while she does it. James is better an enunciating but Julia seems to be better at quickly identifying letters. By March she knows where all the pieces go in their alphabet puzzles and she becomes obsessed with them. In April the twins work on their fire truck puzzle together and Julia gets quite good at it.

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