Cassie Shepherd

March 7, 2015

Growth Update 18 Months

Emily - Addie | Feb. 25
It's getting harder to keep track of their vocabulary. They're throwing out multiple new words a day! Off the top of my head...
Same words to date (50+):
Mom/mama, dad/dada/daddy, this, that, banana (nana), eyes, uh-oh, baby, wow, woah, what's that, no, look, ball, night-night, boo, yay, cracker, yogurt, milk (bawlk for Emily and mock for Addie), iPad (pipad for Emily and awp for Addie), Elsa (sa), Anna (na), Nana, Papa, Grandma, (mama), Grandpa (pompa), go (double meaning for 'go' and 'mango'), bye-bye, help, (op), nose, ears, berries (erries), oatmeal (meal), duck, bowl, all gone, more (mo), pop, bow, bear (earrr), oh-no, blocks, stuck (stu), drop (rop), stop (sop), tickle (ickle), pretty (priee), shoes, hat, and book.
Sounds (this needs a whole category!):
moo, neigh, baa, chirp (irp), bawk, cock-doodle-do (oodle oo), quack (cack), meow, ruff, ssss (Emily only), and rawr comes out like a growl and the bunny sound includes their nose scrunching while they smell. They also say choo-choo for train and beep-beep for car. And Emily cries waaah for baby and Addie does the sign. They blow on their food when you say hot. Both of the girls will also pretend to sneeze "aa-choo." It's really funny because they bow their head down as they do it.
Emily: cookie, turkey, cheese, yes, please, potty, two, toast, what, bink, yucky, and bubble. She also uses go for "here you go."
I don't think Addie has learned any words that Emily hasn't.

Both girls can repeat most of the pages in 'Peek-a-who.' I'll say, 'peek-a-' and when I turn the page they'll say the appropriate sound. In the '100 First Words' books they can point to appropriate pictures and know probably about 20-30 items in the books. They identify common animals in random books by making the sound (i.e. when they see a bunny, they'll sniff). Emily's favorite book is probably 'Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo' and both of the girls really like 'Gossie.' They also like looking at the First Words books - I notice they'll show preference to those during independent play. But, overall, they love playing with books and "reading" them in their baby gibberish with different sound fluctuations while they point to the pictures.

They haven't started putting two words together yet (i.e. ''see dad''), but I think that's just around the corner. Emily can identify the letter 'B' and she calls both 'Q' and 'O' - 'Q'. They can both say 'A' and 'B' but they don't always identify A correctly. Addie can match about 60% of the letters and complete quite a few words in the app 'Endless Alphabet.' It doesn't seem to have clicked for Emily.

The girls love finger plays and will sing along (in baby gibberish) to ABC's and Itsy-Bitsy Spider. For the ABC's they sign with me, but just randomly move their hand. For the Itsy-Bitsy Spider they know relatively the basic hand/arm movements (crawling spider, sun, wash away.) They also love Tiny Tim and both of them will build a bubble and pop it by clapping. Emily says 'bubble' with me during the song. 5 Little Monkeys, Twinkle Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus are also favorites. (They also do finger plays with Wheels on The Bus).

They both still sign 'more' and 'all done' or 'all gone.' They can also sign 'baby' now, but I never taught them that so I am assuming they picked it up from movies they've come across on YouTube (yes, they can totally navigate the entire iPad and YouTube - not sure if that is a bad thing or a good thing).

I get asked all the time if the girl's have their own language that only they understand. I think it's time to talk about it. This phenomenon is called Idioglossia and is more common in identical twins. This article talks a little bit more about it. I'm not entirely sure I could say the girls have a language they understand just between them. At least not at this age. The girls definitely have spurts of moments where we're no longer in the room and they carry on in baby gibberish - like full on conversation back and forth. It's usually very short. They make eye contact and you can tell by their body language they're communicating only with each other. Their voices fluctuate and they take turns responding. It grabs our attention nearly every time because it is so fascinating to see. It's hardly ever carried on long enough for me to grab a video camera and I don't see any particular pattern to it. It'll be interesting to see if this becomes a more regular development in their communication or something they'll naturally grow out of.

Emily understands the meaning behind the number two. If I give her one piece of cheese, she'll stick out her hand and either ask for more or two. Another example is I say find two bears and she'll find her two bears. If I ask, how many fruit snacks do you have - she'll say two (as long as it's really two).

Both of the girls can correctly sort a square, circle, star, x, and triangle about 80% of the time. But, only when they use this toy. They notice shapes (like the stars on their strollers), but don't seem to make the connection that it's the same shape as their toy. They can also correctly stack the colored loops (in the link above) from largest to smallest and love to sort items.

They love playing with any type of bowl, spoons, measuring cups, ect - in the water or outside of it. They can match 3-7 piece puzzles of animals and love playing with magnets on our fridge. We have a toy train with shapes they can stack and that will keep them pretty entertained. They love love love love love (I can't say it enough) - their blocks and can spend a long time stacking their mega legos and wooden blocks.

They know a few basic body parts - eyes, nose, mouth, ears, teeth, hair, fingers, and toes.

We did a basic evaluation for our pediatricians office on problem solving and Emily scored 55/60 and Addie 50/60 - I can't remember all the tests, but our pediatrician did mention they were above average in every area - and even more because they're only 17 months adjusted. But, some of me thinks he was just saying that to be nice. They seem like they're right on track for most age appropriate developments.

Social Emotional:
I know the twin bond is a fascinating topic and like I mentioned - I get asked about it regularly. Again, especially since their identical. Everyone from complete strangers to my mom always seem to have questions. Are the girls talking in their secret language today? Do they cry when the other one is asleep? Do they want to sleep in the same crib? Do they hold hands while they walk and cuddle when they watch movies?

The girls absolutely have a unique bond. There is no question. They give each other loves, hugs, kisses and when one is hurt - the other often feels for her. "Oh-no" is a common word they use and is usually accompanied by a big hug when one of them gets hurt. They look for each other when the other one is asleep and if one meanders into another room, it's just a few minutes before the other one shows up. The other day, Mitch and I separated the girls (which we've probably done less than five times). We both buckled them in their infant car seats in my car and then Mitch took Emily out and put her in his car. While he was walking away with Emily, Addie burst into tears. She cried for a good solid minute until we were out of sight and she was distracted by something else.

I'm always torn. I love seeing their fascinating relationship. It's truly mesmerizing. It's also difficult finding the balance between encouraging their bond and independence. I *really* try not to "label" the girls one way or the other, but there are definitely some dominate/passive traits the girls exhibit. Emily does tend to take a bit more of a leader role. She's more aggressive and territorial. Yet, the first to give loves and hugs. When I saw Addie fall apart the other day when Emily left, it broke my heart. We experienced something really similar to this situation when I took Addie to the doctor alone when she was only 4 months. She would have NOTHING to do with the doctor and cried her eyes out the entire time. The next time we brought Emily with us (per the doctor's recommendation) and she was nervous at first, but when we brought Emily closer - she relaxed. Mitch and I discussed it and felt like we probably needed to encourage a little more independent time away from each other so they don't learn to rely on one or the other.

Both of the girls have full on temper-tantrums complete with throwing their head back, kicking, hitting, and crying. Emily gets frustrated easily and will often get overstimulated and can't regain control over her emotions - this is especially true when she's tired and often happens if she wakes up in the middle of the night. Adalynn can regulate her emotions well but will give a short whine/cry over very small disturbances (like if she barely hits her head).

They love to play with other kids - we have weekly playdates and they seem to get along well. It usually takes a minute for Addie to warm up to other children, but once she does, she has a blast.

They're also just starting to explore more with dramatic play. They love to feed each other, play babies, and explore in their new toy kitchen. They mix spoons in bowls, use various objects has phones to jabber on, and drive their cars/trains around all the items in the room. They're great helpers around the house - love to clean up spills on the floor, sweep, help me make the bed, and do laundry. I hope this lasts forever!!!

Creative Arts
This is definitely an area we need to spend more time in. I'm not a huge fan of letting them color because they still eat crayons. We have a magna doodle, but it doesn't hold their attention for very long. And, every time I think about any type of paint or food coloring, I cringe. For now, I am just counting spreading the left-over yogurt all over the floor as creativity development :)

The major development here is that we're off bottles! Woo - freaking - woo! This is the life. But, having said that, their milk consumption has been cut in half. They just say, "no!" and throw their sippy cups. Unless it's chocolate milk - which has only been on a few special occasions.
Other than that, their eating patterns are about the same as their 15 month evaluation.

Gross Motor
Surprisingly the girls have improved quite a bit in this area. I would say they're probably pretty average versus behind now. Adalynn is still a little clumsy on her feet sometimes. I notice she falls and isn't quite as strong in her leg movements. She can get up on the couch, but it takes her a lot of effort. It's hard not to compare to Emily who makes it look so easy. But, they both show a lot of interest in climbing on things - particularly chairs and boxes. Emily can climb out of her crib, but she gets stuck on the top railing. We've only seen her do it twice so I am putting off moving them into toddler beds for as long as possible. Emily's latest discovery is that she can climb onto our bed by holding onto the sheets (our bed is actually pretty high), but then she gets over and likes to just sit on the nightstand and hang out there...

Neither of the girls can jump which is actually quite hilarious to watch them try. They love playing with their big outdoor balls - kicking and throwing (and screaming). They have a blast playing at the park and I take them to Lowes Extreme Air Sports 1-2 times a month. It has a bunch of child-size trampolines, slides, and foam pits and the girls get a lot of great opportunities for movement.

They can "ride" their little motorcycles, but they still just walk with it (versus push off). Emily can go down the stairs facing forward as long as she is holding onto one hand. She can do it by herself but she still slides on her bum which makes me nervous she'll go head over heals so I still tell her to turn around if I am not right there. Addie still struggles to go down forward facing - even when holding onto both of my hands. The balance is just not quite there.

They like to play dress up with my clothes and their clothes (they'll pile things around their shoulders or on top of their heads. But, they also try to dress and undress themselves, but are completely unsuccessful. Emily gets really frustrated she can't put on her own shoes and socks and will usually end up throwing them while she bursts into tears.

Fine Motor
They can self-feed pretty well. They can both finally use the spoon without turning it upside down to get the food in their mouth (which has dramatically helped with the mess). They can use forks, but still prefer to just pick it up with their fingers. They still love to pick up little objects on the floor and come hand them to me. As I mentioned they're great at stacking blocks and using large knobbed puzzles, but I need to get some more toys where we can practice stringing/lacing. I need to get them some busy boards.

The girls still sleep about 13 hours at night and take one 90 minute nap. I wish their naps were longer, but I don't complain that we can put them down at 7 and get them around 8.

Both girls have 12 teeth and we're waiting on all their four canines to fully come in. Both of them cut their top left canine this past week, but they're coming in really slowly and Emily, especially, has been having trouble sleeping.

They're still following a very similar growth pattern. They didn't weight exactly the same this time (this is only the second time they've been different), but they were close.
Adalynn: 30" and 21.8 lbs
Emily: 29 3/4" and 21.4 lbs
They're in the 30th percentile for weight, 10th percentile for height, and 50th percentile for head circumference.

8:00 Wake
8:30 Breakfast
10:30 Snack
9:00-11:00 Free play/learning activities
11:00-12:30 Nap
1:00 Lunch
1:30-5:00 (snack around 3) Play/run errands
5:30 Dinner
6:30 Begin night routine (milk, diapers, jammies, brush teeth)
7:00 Bed

I started tracking the girl's development every three months and use guidelines based on NAEYC. To read more about how I decided to track you can read their 15 month growth update.

This is how most of our pictures look and it was taken at their 18 month well check.

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