Annika is becoming quite the little climber. There's very little left in the house that she can't climb, and I'm very glad that Joerg secured the bookshelves to the wall so that she doesn't pull them over in her attempt to go ever higher. Her main goal lately has been to get up to the top of her dresser, which is where I keep fascinating stuff like the nasal aspirator, diaper rash cream, baby lotion, shampoo, and stuff like that. I have a rocking chair in her nursery, which is where we sit and read before she goes to bed. The rocking chair used to have a little foot stool in front of it, but I had to lock it away once Anni discovered that she could pick it up and place it in front of her dresser, which made her just tall enough to empty several bottles of shampoo onto the carpet. So with the foot stool gone, I thought I was safe. No way. A day or so later she discovered that she could take the cushions off the rocker and stack them up so that again she could reach the stuff on the dresser. So I started taking the cushions off the rocker in the morning and storing them in the crib. Think we're done? Of course not. She has a little changing pad that we put on the floor to protect the carpet at changing time. It has a nice firm board backing with foam rubber on the back so it doesn't slip. It's pretty flat, so she can't stand on top of it to get any height, but she figured out that she could lean it against the dresser to create a makeshift ramp that she could climb to get at her beloved shampoo. OK, so I locked away the changing pad. So she began a campaign of bringing all the toys from her playroom and stacking them in front of the dresser, trying to see which would work to stand on. One that held particular promise was a little round foam toy that she used as a baby to help her push up from her tummy. However, as it is round it is kind of hard to stand on as it always rolls away. Although she couldn't get the rocker cushions out of the crib, she could pull out a big cotton blanket that she uses on cold nights. So she got that out and put it on *top* of the round foam thing, and suddenly it was stabilized and she could climb again. I took the round foam thing away. Which was when she discovered that if you pile enough stuffed animals up, you can eventually climb them. You've got to give it to her, she definitely is not a quitter.
Annika's new favorite is Elmo. I'm not exactly sure how it started, but when I was at Wal-Mart the other day checking out exercise videos, Anni spotted an Elmo DVD ("Elmopalooza") and really really wanted it. It was only $9, and kept her happy while I checked out my stuff at the store, which is certainly worth something. Well, we haven't had more than 10 minutes without hearing from Anni about "Mo" (Elmo). She has to carry around her Elmo doll, and most especially she loves to watch her Elmopalooza DVD on the TV. This is the first that she's shown any real interest in the TV (besides the new Shania Twain video, which I still think is hilarious). We definitely have to limit her TV time, though, because if she had her way she would sit and watch Elmo all day long. We bought her another DVD with Elmo (Kid's Favorite Songs 2--she seems to like the music ones best), and that one was a hit, too. She also loves the Winnie the Pooh song and the Tigger song. We've got a Pooh DVD for her for Christmas, and I'm sure she'll love that one, too.
Although Annika is still really behind on her speech, she's gotten a bit more communicative lately and has added some new words (the first new words in a *very long* time). First, there's "Mo" for Elmo (although she does occassionally say something that sounds pretty much like "Elmo"), then there's "Na" for her Minnie Mouse toy, also she occassionally says "Pooh". The cutest one, though, is her word for giraffe, "fwa!" She also has added new signs for "drink" and "eat."
Anni is becoming more of a daddy's girl lately. She is overjoyed when he gets home from work, and I've noticed that she tends to be on her best behavior around him. She gets so excited whenever we get in the car, thinking that we're going to see daddy. I felt terrible this morning when I had to take her into the hospital to get her blood drawn, and she just kept singing "da,da, da, da!" in the back. We got to the hospital, got her blood drawn, and by then she pretty much had the idea then that we weren't going to see daddy. But on the way home I took a different route which leads by the turnoff to go to Joerg's building at the University. As soon as we drove by it, Anni was twisting in her car seat and pointing and shouting "da, da, da!" again. So I've made a mental note not to take any streets that go by the university unless we are *actually* going to see Joerg. She was pretty mad at me for not stopping!