It's crazy how much Annabelle has picked up in just this past month. On top of her imagination seeming to have really bloomed, she has learned so many new things. Here are a few that I can think of off the top of my head:
- Annabelle can identify all of the capital letters of the alphabet, and a few lower case ones too. I can either ask her to find a certain letter and she picks it out, or I can point to a letter and ask her what it is and she can tell me. All of the letters have a letter name and a word that she associates with them. One day I sat down with her by the fridge with her letter magnets and like 15 mintues later, she knew most of the letters! Wow! (Video here)
- Annabelle sings so many songs all by herself now! She sings "I'm a Little Teapot", "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Wheels on the Bus", "ABC" (mostly correctly now... not just her weird version of it), "Happy Birthday", Dora's "I Speak Spanish, and English too" song (I LOVE the way she says "both"... it's sounds like she's from Wisconsin), Boots' "Bouncy Ball" song, and I'm sure there are more. It's so cute to hear her just singing to herself when she thinks no one is listening. I'm hoping to get her to do a little talent show soon so that I get them all on video, but it seems like any time that I break out the camera, she doesn't feel like singing anymore.
- Belle is becoming more and more bilingual. She knows and will use the Spanish words for the numbers 1-10, up, down, open, close, red, blue (which Nikki will be glad to hear that she pronounces more like Moose than Henrietta), yellow, green, and chocolate. She says "Ni-Hao" ("hi" in Chinese) too thanks to Ni Hao, Kai-lan. They teach Spanish at her school too, so before long I'm sure she'll be saying things and I'll have absolutely no idea what she's talking about!
- She is still learning more signs and is now helping Corgan to learn them too. At this point, I pretty much just have to show Annabelle a sign once, and she gets it and remembers it right away. She has also picked up a bunch of new signs from her Baby Einstein videos and is learning new ones at school. She is helping Corgan by using the sign for Annabelle (which is the sign for "girl") and demonstrating and helping him to do "more" when he's eating. I wonder how much her signing will influence Corgan, and if she'll start doing it more regularly again when he starts to sign too.
- Annabelle is doing chores all on her own. Since my mom was here when Corgan was born, Annabelle has been helping with feeding the animals. This process involves taking out the containers of food, scooping out the food for an animal, putting the food into the bowl, repeating the previous 2 steps 4 times (one for each of 3 cats, and one for the dog), putting the scoop away (a step that even her daddy can't seem to remember), then putting away the containers. She LOVES this chore, and has now got it down good enough that she doesn't need any assistance and usually gets all of the food into the bowls without spilling. Score! Daddy has also been showing Annabelle how to water our poor trees (which I'm horrible about remembering to do), so now Annabelle is a good reminder and loves to do it herself with her little watering can. Then there are the chores that slow me down, but sometimes it's just worth it. She likes to help with dishes, laundry (putting the clothes into the wash, and putting the clothes into the dryer), and wiping things down. If only I could get her to do all of those things on her own... a Mommy can dream, but I won't hold my breath!
- She has mastered her educational video games. For Christmas 2006, we got Annabelle a V.Smile Baby system. At first I was afraid that it was a waste of money because it says that it's for kids 9 months to 3 years, but at 11 months she had no interest in it and it seems a bit low-tech. I realize now (since Corgan LOVES it at 6 months), that the "9 month" stage of it is the "play alone" mode that just involves pushing the buttons and hearing the sounds. Every once in a while, I'd try it out again, but around 14 months is when Annabelle really started liking it. The buttons are big shapes in different colors, so she was able to start practicing both shapes and colors at that point since she was beginning to understand them then. I had to assist her with playing by pointing to the tv and saying things like "To see the lizard, push the green triangle", then I'd help her to find the green triangle. It took a few months for her to start making the connection between the colors/shapes on the tv and pushing those colors/shapes on the video controller to do something on the tv, but she started to get it, and now she's a pro at it. She plays the games all by herself (but still loves to have someone there to enjoy them with her) and loves them! I really think it played a big part in her getting the colors and shapes so early too, and now the whole cause-and-effect thing. Although this system is for up to 3 years, and she still shows interest in it, I'm planning to start looking into a new system for her to make sure that she stays challenged.
- Annabelle uses her manners fairly well for a 2 year old. She says "excuse me" (both when she makes a bodily-function-sound and when she needs to get to something and you're in the way), she says "please" and "thank you" often (thanks to signing, she's been doing this for a LONG time though), and she says "sorry" (unfortunately, she gets to use this one all too often lately). Sometimes she'll cover her mouth when she sneezes or coughs too... sometimes.