Diana does laundry duty
At almost 18 months of age, Diana has reached a huge milestone: she understands me when I speak to her, even though she still isn't speaking back in English yet - although she has added some impressive new half-words to her budding vocabulary including "Bol!" (Bolshy), "Wa" (water) and "Ra" (rat - random, I know, but since she loves to gnaw everything it's become a pet nickname for her).
Diana understanding words and gestures is wildly exciting for me. And not only because I'm proud of her development as a devoted mother, although that's nice, too. Mainly, I'm happy because it means that after a year-and-a-half of slavishly obeying D's every whim, I can now get her to help me with stuff.
She will lift her foot up to assist me when I put her jeans on, she can help load and unload the washing machine (ish), she will offer a (somewhat reluctant) hand to clear her toys away when I ask her, and most impressively, when I say -
"Diana, show me downward dog with one leg in the air!" (as any normal parent presumably does, on a regular basis), D plops her hands on the ground, lifts a back leg up and then turns to me for approval (leg still akimbo). And we haven't been to baby yoga in months!
Now, I do realise that my child isn't a circus animal (must remember to stop ordering her to kiss people on command, must fight the stage mum within), but if I ever do push the button to trigger my child into contortionist yoga poses at my insistence, it will make a very cool party trick.
Not only does D understand me, she has recently learned to express herself better as well.
So if she falls and hurts herself, instead of the helpless yelping of the olden days, there is now a shriek, a point of the finger to where she's hurting, and then the crumpled sobbing will commence.
This is useful for a hypochondriac lunatic-type mother like me; if she points to her finger, I can rest easy but if it's her head that she fell on I can proceed to full-blown insanity and commence calling the doctor/my father-in-law, who has seven kids and is therefore the most qualified parent I will ever know/emergency services at once.
D's newfound understanding of things is often accompanied by a nod of the head. "Do you want to play with your blocks?" I'll ask, and D will excitedly bob her head up and down.
"Can I have my phone back? Please!?" I'll beg my toddler. D's head goes from side to side this time as she repeatedly says "Nonononononononononono."
But my favourite new trick of D's happens when I ask her what her name is. For a long time, she would respond "Dad" - probably confusing my question with "What is your favourite person of all time called?" instead.
But now (just for me, I'd like to think), she smiles and says: