It's not at all surprising, yet somehow still amazing, how siblings can be so alike and yet so different. I think this is probably more striking when it's your own kids. You've known them their whole lives, you spend hours and hours with them (every day if you're a stay-at-home parent), you watch them interact with and relate to each other, and you know their quirks and peculiarities better than anyone else could.
Eleri is often a serious kid. She's just as likely to sport a furrowed brow as she is to let out a giggle. She's not quite as gregarious as Soren yet, though it won't surprise me if that changes over time. Neither, though, is she clingy. Set her free in a big room with toys (at one of the open gym times, for example) and she's off exploring, or finding somewhere to sit quietly by herself, without so much as a backward glance. She's starting to want to play with Soren and his peers, following around the "big kids" and observing.
Eleri is not quite as verbal as Soren was at this age, but it's clear she understands far more than she says. Her spoken vocabulary may be small still, but she's making progress. Cup, shoe, cat, Leo, Mama, Daddy, hi, bah-bye, uh-oh, bee bo, nose (which sounds like "new"), whazzat?, no, yeah, go, book (which she says with a 'p' at the end instead). Her little voice chirping a sing-songy "Hieee, Daddeeee!" when Tom gets home from work is just about the cutest thing ever. Possibly outdone by "Hieee Weeeeeoh!", but only slightly.
The only ASL sign she does is the one for food, and she does that one often, since she is far and away a better eater than her brother. Her palate is fairly adventurous; Soren was still largely eating jarred foods at this age, but Eleri eats basically whatever we do (Soren does now too, of course, but it took us a long time to get there). She is a voracious meat eater. Girlfriend can put away a whole chicken thigh and then ask for more. It cracks me up. She also loves black beans, cheese, raisins, grapes, tomatoes, yogurt, pbj sandwiches, hummus, pasta, and bananas. She'll eat vegetables, but they're not her favorite.
I'm incredibly thankful that both kids love books. I have to admit, I was terrified that we might end up with a kid who, inexplicably, just wasn't into story time. I know such kids exist (no patience for it, just not interested) but I didn't know how I'd deal with that challenge if it arose. I am glad that it has not. Her current bedtime book rotation includes a couple by Sandra Boynton ("Opposites" and "The Belly Button Book"), one by Dr. Seuss ("The Foot Book") and "Goodnight Moon." She would probably sit through those and five more before becoming restless. She also does a lot of looking at, flipping through, and carrying around books during the day. And of course, the perennial favorite, pulling all the books off the shelves in Soren's room. Hehe.
The assertion of independence has begun, delighting one and all. She has figured out the passive resistance technique of turning into a noodle if I'm trying to, say, get her out of the kitchen and she doesn't want to go. Being told to stop doing something is often a horrible affront. Thankfully, and I say this with extreme caution because I know such things can change at any time, she seems to be following Soren's example and reserving any tantrums mostly for home and keeping them largely out of the public eye. The majority of the time, she is a model of perfect behavior when we're out and about, and she is incredibly patient about being toted this place and that, riding on my back much of the time. If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me, "Oh! I didn't even realize you had another kid back there!" I might not be a millionaire (or even a thousandaire) but I would at least be able to go out to a nice dinner. ;)
Generous with her hugs, easy-going and sweet, Eleri is one terrific little girlo. Yes, she's got a healthy set of lungs and is not afraid to use em when vexed, but she is not a simpering, shrinking violet. I hear other mothers gasp whenever Eleri toddles into the path of a bigger kid and gets bowled over, but almost without fail she just picks herself up and continues on her way. I hope she retains that resilience as she grows up.