I think today may have been the best day we've spent with Bri. And I'm probably going to be an obnoxious grandma about the smartest baby in the world and stuff like that, but I don't think I've done that too much in the past.
The day started with breakfast with Walt's Mom, his brother and sister-in-law. Grandma continues to be really chipper, for someone who just spent 2 days sleeping in the hospital. She jabbered away, was really "with it," was funny, and thoroughly enjoyed visiting with us.
Norm and Olivia left to return to No. California, we checked out of our room and went back to sit with Alice in her apartment. I was thrilled that we had left our apartment having found "the chihuahua." The guestbook said that there was a chihuahua hidden somewhere in the living room and I had been casually looking for it (realizing that it was not something obvious). This morning I was sitting at the computer and glanced over to my left at the cupboard where the TV is located. Suddenly I saw it:
Once you see it, you can't not see it. Do you see it in the lower right panel of the cupboard? That's either a chihuahua or it's a deer! (I'm betting on chihuahua)
At 2, we went with her to an in-house concert by a young viola player.
And when that was finished, we left Alice and went to Tom & Laurel's house. Tom had mentioned that there was a Greek festival near the house and suggested that we might go. It was a relatively short walk, and I chanted my mantra ("I survived Florence, I can do this!") to keep me going, especially over the steep overpass...I only had to stop 3 times to catch my breath.
Walt says I did it faster than he expected--my Europe genes must still be working!
The festival was fun--lots of food booths, souvenir booths, art displays, music, and a vast array of "bouncy houses" for the kids. (Tom says it seems that there is a different ethnic festival every few weeks).
(Tom wanted to play on this one himself, but Bri was too
young, and Tom is too old!)
Grandpa took the opportunity to introduce Bri to art at one of the displays.
But the most fun was just following Bri around. The kid is the energizer bunny--she never stops. She also knows baby sign language now (or is learning it). I swear, the women who thought that idea up several years ago and wrote a book about it deserve a medal or a big prize or something. How great it is to know what a baby is trying to tell you. Here, for example, Bri is looking up and telling us that she sees birds (see the crooked index finger). For "trees" she holds her hand up and wiggles all of her fingers.
She can let you know when she wants more of something, or if she's hungry. She knows how to sign several zoo animals. She has a sign for "where?" and Uncle Ned is so proud, I'm sure, that she knows how to sign "poop" when appropriate!
She also has words that she says, and if you ask her "where's Grandpa?" she points to Walt and for "where's Grandma," she points to me.
She is taking baby swim lessons and can hold her breath 5 seconds and is learning how to paddle to the side of the pool. She also takes baby gymnastics. Tom helped her get on some bars at the playground this afternoon and she just hung there, pulling her legs up, to get her body into an L-shape. A woman nearby said her son (age 5) had just learned how to do that (Bri is 16 months old).
And of course, Tom can't carry her around without the one-handed balancing act they have perfected, which always causes people to do a double-take.
(I'm wondering how much longer Tom's arm is going to hold out!)
But the most amazing thing was the walk home. (First of all, amazing me...I made it up the overpass incline without stopping at all) Bri walked the whole way (which kept me walking because I was determined I could at the very least keep up with a 16 month old!). But she's interested in everything. When she heard birds, she would sign "bird." Every tree we passed, she had to feel the trunk, make the sign for "tree" and, if it was a tall tree, she'd say "WOW!" (of course, every tree is tall when you're that short!) She learned that sprinkler heads are for water, and she would say "bye bye wa-wa" whenever she found one.
What impressed me the most, though, was one spot where she was she was checking a bush which had been trimmed, seeming to be trying to figure out why some branches were bare and some had leaves. Suddenly she bent down to try to look under the bush and she kept signing "bird." We kept telling her it was a tree, but she kept making the sign for "bird." When Tom finally distracted her and sent her off in search of "Mama," I happened to glance down and saw a tiny white feather...Bri had been right. There had been a bird there after all.
When we got back to the house, Laurel's brother, who rents an apartment from Tom and Laurel, was on his porch looking out at us. Bri looked up, pointed, and said "uncle." I was looking at her, not him, when I saw her make the sign for "where" and discovered that Lee had gone back into his house, and Bri was asking where he had gone.
Yeah, yeah...I know you guys think I'm just a doting grandmother -- and I am. But really, she is the smartest baby that has ever been born, you know.