One day Anni was twirling and singing one of her original compositions.
"It's my gift!" she declared.
Dizzy, she fell with spectacular gracelessness.
Laying on her back on the tile floor she began flapping her arms and legs
as if she were making a snow angel.
"Falling down is also a gift!" says she.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Joerg and I have been entertained lately watching Annika's personality emerge. She is becoming quite the little problem-solver: a couple of days ago she wanted something on the kitchen counter that I wouldn't let her have. So she emptied out the bottom drawer of the kitchen cabinet and climbed into it. Then she opened the next drawer up and emptied it, too. She was in the process of climbing up into the next drawer (which she had now made into her own personal staircase to the counter!) when I wised up to her and put a stop to her fun. The next day Joerg and I bought child-safe latches to put on the drawers. I'm wondering how long this solution will work, as she's already been eyeing the latches with a definite concentration. Climbing is definitely her passion right now. She'll turn anything she can find into a step stool to allow her greater access to the wonderful world of "no-no" objects. She pulled the plastic diaper storage bin from the changing table and turned it upside down to use for this purpose. When I took it away from her, she didn't even get upset. She just looked around until she found an empty wipes container, turned it upside down, and she was back in business. She does understand "no", but it doesn't send her into the crying fits that it used to. Mainly because she's figured out that there's more than one way to get what she wants. She has certainly become more cooperative in the past couple of weeks. She is again eating vegetables. The trick is that she has to grab them off my or daddy's plate. So we're also eating healthy! Anni is also gaining so much confidence. The first couple of times that we went to the CNS building where Joerg and I teach, she seemed a bit nervous. But now she walks right up to people and gives them a good onceover. I actually don't know all the things she does while at the CNS, as we're only there when I'm supposed to be working and so she's either with Daddy or Lauren, the babysitter. We'll have to check with them for a full report of her away-from-home activities. The only problem that has developed since we started going to the CNS regularly is that every time Anni and I get in the car during the day, she seems to think that we're going to visit Daddy, and so she repeats his name hopefully over and over in the backseat. I feel so bad when we're just going to Wal-Mart! However, I now let her ride in shopping carts (after I've cleaned the seat with a Wet One), and that's pretty exciting, so she's not too disappointed. Like all kids, the phone holds a special place in her heart. Last week the phone rang while we were all downstairs, and Anni took off at a dead run towards the kitchen, where the phone is. Daddy got there first and answered, but Anni was undeterred. She went to her toy bin in the kitchen and took out the old cordless phone that we gave her to play with, and held it up to her ear to try to hear what was going on! She is also trying to learn to use a fork. She thinks it's hilarious to stab her food, but then when I tell her to put it in her mouth, she reaches down with her other hand and plucks it off the fork to put in her mouth. So she's still got a way to go with that skill! Of course, not all her new confidence is necessarily good. Recently she was mad at me (I told her "no" to something) and she stomped over to the toy bin that we keep in the kitchen for her and dumped all her toys on the floor with a huge clatter. And then she gave me a triumphant look like, "So there!" Joerg and I thought this was hysterical, but we are at last learning not to laugh at behaviors that we don't want her to repeat, so we only laughed about it once she was in bed. She's still not making much progress in the speech area, although she now has 4 signs that she will use in combination (more, up, please, done), and her repertoire of animal sounds now includes a cat, a dog, a bear (which is pretty much the same as lion and dinosaur), a duck, a rabbit (hop hop), and a mouse.
9/1/02 I forgot to post this one, so the dates don't match. It was actually written on the first of September. Annika just gets more entertaining as the days go by. She's discovering so many new things about the world around her, and it's so funny to see her reactions to them. Friday she was having lunch with her papa while I was teaching my class. I forgot to bring her tippy cup, so she was drinking from a big girl cup, with all the possibilities for spilling. Of course, her water ended up on the floor. But, neat girl that she is, she bent dutifully bent down to pick it up again. She was pretty mad at her dad for trying to lead her away from the futile task. She doesn't give up that easily! Also on Friday, she refused to sit down in her bath tub for some reason, so I was washing her standing up. All of a sudden, she pee-peed in the tub. It made a little tinkly noise as it hit the water. She looked at me with such a face of wonderment, like "Wow, it doesn't usually make that cool noise." I think I will keep this reaction in mind when I try to potty train her. We're not anywhere near potty training time yet, though. Sadly enough. She also has just discovered the joy of turning around in circles to make herself dizzy. Seeing her stumble around the house is quite a hoot, especially since she has the silliest grin on her face while she's doing it. Her other new trick is putting her head under the water faucet during bath time. She covers her eyes and nose, and then she just sticks her whole head under the tub faucet! She really loves it, which means that shampooing her head is a breeze. Another thing that she loves doing is helping me unload the dishwasher. She hands me everything from the dishwasher one by one (which means even putting the silverware away piece by piece!). It slows me up quite a bit, but she loves helping and I sure don't want to discourage that impulse. She even rolls the trays back in and closes the door when we're done (not without trying to climb into the empty dishwasher first, but never mind). On the not so cute side, she has become *very* picky about her foods. She doesn't want mommy to feed her anything, and she doesn't want to eat anything with a spoon. Finger foods only, and mainly french fries from the oven (she goes happy nuts when she does sometimes get "real" fries). She won't eat any veggies, fruits, and even her beloved chicken has been ignored lately. At least she is still getting her daily vitamin, and I give her lots of milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast (diluted at half strength) throughout the day, so I hope she's not suffering too much nutritionally. I know that this is fairly typical toddler behavior, but of course it worries us. Annika has been getting out a lot more recently. As I'm back at work (very part-time), she goes into the university and her daddy watches her while I teach on Monday and Friday. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday I go in to my office for an hour and a half so that I can meet individually with students, and enter grades and things like that. During that time I have a student, Lauren, who watches her. Both with her daddy and Lauren, Annika enjoys running all over the building and poking her head into offices to say "hi!" to whoever she spots. Luckily, everyone seems to like seeing her about. She also loves riding the elevator!