Thanks to the membership that we received from Karen and Greg, we've been going to the zoo almost weekly, and it never disappoints. Sometimes, if we time it right, we make it to the elephant area just in time to catch the daily demonstration they do with the 8-year-old elephant, Bodhi.
It certainly keeps Alice entertained, and she, in turn, has been keeping us entertained like never before. I wish that I had the initiative to write down every clever or funny thing that she says, because she really does surprise us every day with glimpses of what is going on in that little head of hers.
Lately, and especially at family meals, Alice has gotten very interested in the art of conversation. Matt and I will be in the middle of a discussion of his or my day, when she breaks in with, "How was your day, Daddy? You build something?", "You keeping me company?", or "Let's have some chit chat." She understands (kind of) that she's not supposed to interrupt while people are speaking, and she thinks that an acceptable alternative is persistently screaming, "'Scuse me!" to whomever it is she wants to interrupt. Usually, the important thing that she just couldn't wait to say is something like, "You all done talking?" or "Uuuuuuuuuum."
The three of us paid a visit to the World Famous (!) Tiny Town and Railroad in Morrison, CO a few weeks ago at the glowing recommendation of some other parents. It was, as promised, a tiny town with a tiny railroad running through. As much as Matt and I kept wandering around the pint-sized, ramshackle replicas of schools, churches, and shops, scratching our heads and wondering, "But. . . why?", Alice was kind of entertained by the whole place, at least for the morning.
She was pretty annoyed that the door to the school was locked, and tried diligently, but to no avail, to open it up with Matt's house keys.
With all the talk of Alice's new baby sister (due the first of January, for those of you that aren't yet in the loop) and our visits and video chats with Baby Dylan, Alice has become as interested in pretending that she is a baby as she is in insisting that she is a big girl. Often, after she has impatiently waited for Matt and me to finish eating dinner with multiple inquiries of, "You all done?" (usually when half our food is still on our plate), she then insists, in a soft, babyish voice, "I am a tiny baby" and crawls into my lap or Matt's to finish her milk or snuggle. That lasts about ten seconds until her toddler jitters get the best of her and she can't help but squirm around and start to smack us in the face, try to grab off Matt's glasses or my jewelry, and jump down to insist on a game of chase.
Still, other times, she is so proud of doing things all on her own, like climbing into the car seat or stroller by herself, pretending to use the potty (alas, it's all still pretend for now), or staying in her newish twin bed all night. She beams when she exclaims, "I'm a big girl!"
We met some friends last weekend at a corn maze put on by the Denver Botanic Gardens. [Incidentally, we are now also card-carrying members of the Botanic Gardens thanks to Aunt Patty. Do the Jacobs know how to give gifts that keep on giving or what?] While we were waiting for our friends to arrive, we agreed to let Alice try the bouncy pillow, even though it seemed like most of the kids on it were bigger than she. It took a few minutes, but in no time she was running across that thing and getting bounced around with all the other kids. There were many tears when our friends showed up and we told her that we had to move on to another activity.
Even though she definitely has her defiant, rough, and out-of-control moments (and hours), she is also becoming a very tender, sympathetic little creature. She searches the front yard every day for dandelions to gift to Matt after work. She insists on kissing all our boo-boos and checking, "You all better?" when she sees a bump or bruise (real or imagined) on either of us. When I tell her I feel tired and want to rest on the couch, she gets me a blanket, clumsily covers me up and asks, "You cozy?" before telling me to close my eyes. Then she usually jumps on me or asks me to play with her, but I appreciate the gesture nonetheless. She has started giving us compliments and praise out of the blue like, "You so bootiful!" or "Thanks cooking dinner!" or "Good job, Daddy! You finish your whole dinner!" It's nice to have a cheerleader at home even if it's for doing things like putting on my shoes or going to the bathroom by myself.
We are definitely enjoying the daily doses of silliness that come with this age as well. At bedtime now, she insists that we do "silly" versions of her old favorite songs, replacing the lyrics with the names of her friends or words related to things that happened that day. Our songs are usually peppered with Alice commanding, "Now you laugh." Lots of canned laughter around here at bedtime. She loves making up her own words now, and repeats the same invented ones over and over. Stop by for dinner and you'll hear us chatting about pumby-pumbies and referring to Alice by her self-given nickname of Goony D (no idea).
We're loving these early fall days with our little big girl.