Three social encounters that happened at about the some time showed us very clearly how uncomfortable she is with a lot of fussing and close attention by people she doesn’t know very well. First, we took her in to the Deloitte office (where her dad used to work). There are a bunch of friendly women there who love to poke, hold, tickle, and tease babies. She froze until we walked away from the crowd, where she could run about well out of reach of any eager arms. At about the same time, we took her in for her first picture-taking experience. It was very nearly a disaster what with all the close attention the photographer and her assistant was giving her. But the same weekend, I had letters to drop off with some Yapese teachers who were in Waikiki on their way home. I walked into their hotel room with her and then put her down on the floor. Soon she was squatting near one of them, watching as he repacked his suitcase. Later, she was playing between the chairs where two other men were sitting, just as content as could be. The difference here was that these folks weren’t paying any attention to her.
Music and dance continue to be an important to her. Sometimes music is the only thing that will calm or distract her. We have a variety of cassettes, but I guess she really hasn’t heard much hard rock or country western. On the day she was crying so much we used them all. She recognized the Dave Brubeck tape as one that Daddy has danced to with her; she had been sitting in my lap, but as soon as that tape came on, she reached out for him.
She has begun to follow our fingers when we point, and she uses her own index fingers to point, too. Outside she points out all the buses; we ride them twice a day now to her babysitter’s place, so they are really important to her. At home, she points to things she wants or things she wants us to name or talk about.
Her passive vocabulary is growing rapidly. Every day she recognizes more and more things by name, and it now seems to take very few instances of repetition before she “has it.” Her spoken vocabulary seems to be shrinking, but she makes the few syllables she’s using go far, and she has begun to add final consonants to some of them.
UPDATE: This child is now a 24-year-old teacher in Boston Public Schools.