It took almost two years of training, but Marla finally smiles for the camera (sometimes). The proof is below:
This is seriously a huge deal for me. For the past year, pretty much every picture of her smiling is either a coincidence or the result of copious distraction techniques. Next step: getting her to sit still long enough to actually snap a decent shot while she smiles AT THE SAME TIME.
She's getting more into pretend play lately. She talks on the phone ("Ho? Are you?" = "Hello? How are you?"), pretends to apply make up, talks to her baby dolls and stuffed animals, etc. She also likes trying things on. This includes glasses, hats, clothes, jewelry, etc. Here she is in one of Dad's shirts.
She's gotten extremely independent. Apparently this is normal for her age, but Jeff and I suspect she may have inherited more of my personality than we originally thought. She insists on doing everything herself, whether it's walking down the stairs, putting on mittens, drinking from a cup, reading a book, or singing a song.
One of her favorite activities is drawing and coloring, and talking about what she's creating. She'll sit at her table and pretend to write her name, saying "Maya Mae Schmidt... that's you!" (She has trouble with her r's, so Marla Rae comes out Maya Mae.)
Some of my favorite Marla expressions of late:
- "Watch a biddy-bo!" = Watch a video
- "See Maya, see Maya!" = Her refrain whenever I point a camera at her; she's also started dragging the camera case around and asking to "see Maya" regularly
- "Mama go"; "Mama sit"; "Mama carry you"; "Mama come with you" = a small sample of her many bossy instructions
- "Hun-ee!" = I'm hungry (she usually wails this in the middle of the night in an attempt to persuade us to take her downstairs to play)
- "Weed a book" = Read a book
- "Oh no! Fall down yet. Yay Maya!" = Praising herself for building a tower of blocks that "hasn't fallen down yet"
- "Hot! Sun in eyes. Mama turn wound." = The sun is in my eyes. Turn the car around.
- "Beep beep. Out way, cars!" = Get out of the way, cars (this is her response when we stop at a stoplight or stop sign. I have no idea where she learned it...)
- "Maya funny!" = Marla's funny (usually after she does something naughty. Again, where does she get this stuff?)
- "I got it" = Her reaction when she drops a toy, like "I got it, no big deal." This seems like such an adult thing to say, it cracks me up every time.
I could go on and on. She's gotten so verbal and can communicate really well. It's so much fun, and also bittersweet, because my baby is truly a toddler now. Below are a couple of videos showcasing her counting and alphabet skills. You'll notice her independent streak in the second video when she seriously scolds me for praising her and helping her sing. What was I thinking??