Well, Kit decided to grow up this week.
* Out of nowhere, pointing has become a big thing, and they use different kinds of pointing to mean "go there" or "I want that". They love it when an adult picks them up and says "Where shall we go?" and goes the way that they point. BABY POWER TRIP. When we don't understand what they want they get extremely frustrated, so I think communication is going to be their next focus area once they get a real handle on walking.
* They're taking multiple countable steps at a time, usually to bring a food packet to one of us so we can open it and they can scarf it down in two seconds flat. (It occurred to me today that Kit is living in a hilarious parody of the Space Future where all food comes in little foil pouches and has no texture.) Six steps on Wednesday became ten steps today. They are small shuffling steps and Kit looks pretty stable and in control. They are not nearly as excited about this as we are, probably because they still feel nervous and wobbly, but I've seen much wobblier toddlers and I think their confidence will improve quickly.
* They've started rejecting the pacifier unless they actively need it for soothing. If it's offered at bedtime but they feel more books are required before going to sleep can happen, they will emphatically shake their head and point to the books instead. If they want to babble or eat or do something tricky that requires focus, they will take the pacifier out (or spit it out). When they're deciding whether they're done with dinner, they'll put the pacifier in, consider the cup, spit it out (ideally a parent catches it), drink from the cup, put the pacifier back in...
* They are trying really hard to get by without an evening nap. Sometimes they nap anyway but they mostly seem to want to stay up all evening and go to bed at 8 rather than take a half-hour or hour nap and then go to bed at 9.
* They've become much more interested in eating small crackers, and will put them entirely in their mouth and chew them up with their actual teeth. At first they kept poking their finger into their mouth to move the food around, but we discouraged that and they're gradually learning to use their tongue and jaw movement to do it. This is a huge step. Today they ate something like ten Goldfish crackers, and the other day I saw them trying to figure out whether they could shove a second peanut butter sandwich cracker in their mouth while still eating the first one. (How glad am I that we did early peanut exposure? SO GLAD.)
* On several occasions, at bedtime or naptime, they've indicated that they want to be put in the crib to fall asleep there rather than on a parent's lap. One time they tried that and it didn't work, and they called for me to come back in, pointed to a book, got sleepy while we read the book, and then happily went back into the crib and fell asleep there.
* They're signing very actively, and interacting with books through sign language. Today they turned New York Baby to the page of babies saying "hello" in different languages, and studied it very intently. When I said "Are you learning all the ways those babies say 'hello'?" they waved hello at the page. Waving hello and goodbye is happening a lot in general, to both people (when we say goodnight and leave the room) and things (when the bathwater goes down the drain).
* They refuse to crawl up stairs on hands and knees, and very laboriously do it on hands and feet instead. They really, really want to walk up stairs and if our banister were lower they might even be able to do it.
* They are delighted to have a new toothbrush that's a mini version of our toothbrushes and they very seriously brush their own teeth. We help a bit (especially scrubbing firmly over the teeth that are coming in, to encourage the gums to break away and reveal the chewing surface of the tooth so eating won't hurt so much) but they really try very hard to do it properly rather than just sucking on the toothbrush or brushing their tongue (which they think is fun and hilarious).
* They hold their own legs up during diaper changes and self-amuse by bopping their feet together. If we adequately prepare them for the diaper change ("I'm going to change your diaper now, which means putting you on the changing table, and I know it's not your favorite thing but I'll make it go as quick as I can") they submit to it pretty calmly instead of having a screaming fit every time.
* They are so good at self-amusing that we can do parallel play for long periods of time. At one point they were playing in their room while I was sitting on the rocking chair, and I glanced over and said "Kit, please don't lick that" and they looked up, startled, because they'd forgotten I was there.
* They are doing serious parameter testing of all parental requests and limits. "Ina said not to lick it... what if I just put my mouth on it? Daddy said to put it down... maybe I misunderstood him so what happens if I don't put it down? Zo said I can't crawl while eating... what if I put my hands on the floor like I'm going to crawl but don't actually crawl?"
I don't precisely feel superfluous as a parent, but I certainly need to let go of any idea that my job is to teach them how to grow up. They have a very good idea of how to grow up. My job is to get the hell out of their way.