I don't have any pictures for this week. I promise I'll get some for next time. And really, it's been very quiet around here. I'll just share two quick stories for the week.
Last Sunday, we got a note telling us that Anna had been assigned the opening prayer for primary opening exercises today. She knows how to say prayers, but she still asks for help sometimes, so we've been practicing all week, making sure she said at least two prayers every day. We've also been working on her prayer voice. See, when she prays, she automatically takes her voice into her very upper register, and she sounds sort of like a mouse. I suggested to her on Thursday that we can just use our regular voices for prayers, and we make sure to say them loudly enough for everyone to hear them. Her next few prayers were yelled at full volume, but by this morning she had toned it down. This morning near the end of Sacrament Meeting, attempting to stave off her boredom for a few more minutes, I asked her what things she was going to say she was thankful for in her prayer. She quickly said, "I am thankful for my family and my toys and my friends... and my sister... and my daddy..." and I realized that although we'd practiced the actual act all week, she didn't have any concept that a prayer for primary is different from a prayer at home. We talked about how prayers in public should be for things related to everyone in the room, and we came up with a few things she could be thankful for and ask for that were true for everyone. In the end, a teacher helped her a little preemptively, and she prayed for at least ten things we had never talked about, but despite some slurred words, that prayer was good and loud, and I was stinkin' proud. As she likes to remind me, she's getting bigger every day.
This week, I've also been noticing how skillful Mariah is at non-verbal communication. Over the last few days, she has managed to tell me what she wanted to wear, what she wanted for breakfast and lunch, which pajamas she wanted to sleep in, and which songs she wanted to sing, all without using any actual words. She is, of course, a very talented pointer, and she has an extremely expressive face, which helps a lot, but it's more than that. Kids have an amazing ability to use what they do know to express what they can't say. For example, I asked her the other morning what she wanted for breakfast, and I pointed at her choices. She ignored all the options I'd given and pointed up to the box of Cheerios. I got it down. Then she pointed at the cupboard with the bowls, and while I got a bowl, she got her own spoon out of the drawer. Then she pointed at the fridge and did the sign for milk, so I pulled out the milk, and finally, she pointed at the bananas and mimed cutting them with a knife. I poured her cheerios, cut some banana chunks on, and poured the milk as she sat watching me intently, and after all that was done, she crossed her arms, bowed her head, and mumbled for a second. Then her eyes popped open and she shoveled in her first bite with a big grin. My friend at church today told me that 18 months was her favorite age with all of her kids, and although I hadn't really thought about it, I realized that it is kind of nice: they can communicate and enjoy, they are interested in the world around them, and no one is sweeter than a toddler who, on a whim, would really like a hug and a kiss. Sometimes it's just easy not to notice because they are also completely exhausting.