I have posted a bunch of Tallulah photos to Flickr. Click here to see all of the photos, or click here to see them grouped into neat little "sets." The nice thing about Flickr is that I can write captions and you can leave comments and it's all very community-based and Web 2.0-y. Live the future!
In short: Tallulah is still smart, cute, talkative, and very friendly. She's been taking a class called Studio Creative Play, through which she is actually learning some sign language -- so far she can sign "play," "wind," "forest," "tree," and "rain." We also sing, listen to stories, do a little yoga, and paint during each class. It's pretty much awesome.
Our other usual activities include going to the playground, park, library, bookstore, or just for a walk around the neighborhood. During our walks outside Lula always approaches and befriends any dogs or children who cross her path. She walks right up and says the same thing to everyone: "Hi, whass yer name?" So bold and friendly! Folks are totally disarmed by this, and often faint from the adorability. It is hit-or-miss as to whether she'll volunteer her own name in return, though. Anyway, on Adventure Thursdays (as I have decreed them) we go on more elaborate excursions. So far we've gone to the Prospect Park zoo and carousel, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Museum of Natural History, and the Transit Museum. She loves these trips, and they keep me from going insane with boredom, which is a plus. Thursday happens to be the only day of the week that Lula doesn't have a babysitter and/or a physical or occupational therapy appointment, is the thing. She's still receiving these services because she's still what they call "low tone," which at this point manifests itself as an inability to run, or to jump, or even to walk quickly without "fixing" one of her arms by her side. But she is improving quickly. The increase of outside activity that comes with warmer weather has certainly helped. For example, she started comfortably going down the playground slide (holding on to only one of my hands) just last week.
At home we read tons of books, especially on the potty, where she reliably produces output whenever we place her upon it. We only do this before sleeping times, because she hasn't yet reached the point where she can tell us before she needs to go. We're being very laissez-faire about potty training so far (read: we have no plan.) She's only 2.3 years old, anyway. Kids train late these days.
Tallulah's main obsession right now is, believe it or not, the letters D and W. It's all because of the song "D&W" by They Might Be Giants (off their Here Come the ABCs CD/DVD.) You can actually watch the video for it here. The song lightly sketches out personalities for D and for W, and it is those personalities -- and the letters' friendship -- that Lula plays off during her imaginative play. She uses the D and W letter magnets or the amazing stuffed likenesses created by my sister Debbie as props. Usually, one of them is hiding -- usually W -- and the other (always, sadly, played by me) has to go find him. She manages to trick me into playing this game several times a day by handing me one of the letter magnets (or stuffed letters) while not looking at me, and saying, "Here ya go, Mommy. Hold this, Mommy." And when I absent-mindedly take the letter from her hand she suddenly springs to attention and excitedly says "Hi, D! Hi, D! Whaddareya doing? Where's W? Where's W, D?" And if we draw with crayons, I am commanded to draw D and W displaying different emotions. "Draw a sad, crying D, Mommy. A green one." My daughter, the surrealist.
Mercifully, she has recently branched out to playing with representations of actual living things, usually using her plastic and stuffed animals to act out various mother-baby endangerment scenarios. Basically, she's the baby one, who cries out for the mama one, who is played by me. I make the mama figure go over and nuzzle the baby one and all is good. Tonight things took an interestingly abstract turn, as she picked up a short stack of Duplo blocks and had it say, "Mama?" to a slightly larger stack of blocks. When I played back as the mama blocks, she said "Pick me uppa down?" (which is still how she asks to be picked up) and I said OK and she stuck the short stack of blocks onto the slightly larger stack of blocks, thus making a tall stack of merged mother and baby blocks, a result that probably satisfied some deep-rooted existential toddler anxiety.
There are other pretend scenarios, riffs on Lula's own life experiences: one recent afternoon found all of her plastic cows (she has a surprising number of them) tipped back on their hind ends, "peeing," with sound effects and flushing afterward. And there's a Duplo window that her plastic animals will approach and "buzz" until I say "come in!" so they can open the window. My daughter, she is a city kid.
Enjoy the photos, and I will try to post soon -- probably after our upcoming trip to California.