I couldn’t say whether she’s average or smart, but wow is it amazing to watch her learn and problem solve.

I’m utterly blown away by some of the things she exhibits, whether it’s showing her memory, or comprehending something I am telling her, or by just figuring out how to get herself out of a predicament, and I just love watching the little cogs turning in her head. I believe she understands about 90% of what I say to her as she almost always exhibits some form of comprehension by either doing what I ask, or running away (like when I ask if she needs a clean diaper.. the response is often to run as far away as possible, usually giggling).

I now have to start spelling things like W A L K because if spoken aloud and not immediately acted upon, great devastation happens. She often finds our phones or anything that looks like a phone, and holds it to her head and says, “Hi” and then walks around going, “Hi… hi..” A mess will occur and I’ll grab a rag or paper towel or whatever and start cleaning it up, and she will take it from me and start wiping the floor herself. She knows that most toys have buttons to turn them on, and she’s adept at pushing any and all buttons. She understands that containers have lids and is very good at putting them back on, albeit not very good at pushing down hard enough to get them to snap on. She is getting pretty good at communicating most of her desires to me; when she clings to my leg and whines I say, “use your words. Are you hungry? Sleepy?” and she’ll either make the ‘more’ gesture while saying “mo mo” or waving to everything in the room while whining “bye bye.. bye byeeeee.” That one cracks both Eric and I up. She’s so pitiful as she wails, “byeee byeee.”

I believe she’s trying out other words as well. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard Balloon, Doggy, Kitty and some others, but I think she’s just shy of confidently using them regularly. She just started mooing as well; one of her books makes you moo when you get to the cow, and the other night, after I mooed, I heard a very soft one from her. I made her moo for grandma, pap and daddy by asking, “what does the cow say?” and each time a very soft moo would be emitted… Although I think hers might start with a b…but she gets the idea.

Here are some fun examples of how her little brain works:

Example 1: She was attempting to carry a large but light object through a narrow space. It would not fit. She then backed up, and went around. I think my thought when this occurred, “she’s smarter than most dogs!” (love you mom)

Example 2: She has figured out that if she wants to climb on to something too high, she needs a boost. This may be using a toy near the couch to get that leg up so she can squeal in delight when she’s made it to her higher perch, or it may be using the leg of the table to get enough height to climb into the dining room chair so she can proceed onto the table itself.
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Example 3: She wants to climb on the outdoor furniture, but we usually leave the cushions inside so they won’t become weathered, so there are just fabric slats that hold the cushions. She tries to climb on them anyway and often her feet slip through and she has to climb back up onto them again. She’s gotten much better at balancing on top of the slats, as long as she’s near the arm and can hold herself steady. However, the other day she was wearing her little sandals and when they slipped through they got stuck. She pulled and struggled to get her feet out, and while I was nearby waiting to catch her if she managed to fall, I didn’t help her (I know, so mean). She whined for a second, then reached down and undid the velcro. Her feet slipped out and she was happily clambering around again.
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Example 4: There is a flower bed with two big pots on either side. One has a pepper plant that has a little plant tag that says what it is. Aria discovered that little tag several weeks ago and I told her at the time to leave it in the pot and showed her how to stick it back in the dirt. Last week we were outside and near the other end of the flower bed. She pulled that plant tag out of the other (wrong) pot, and I said, “why is this over here? This goes in the other pot.” While I was commenting she was making her way around the flower bed to the other side where she attempted to stick the plant tag in the correct pot. That had been at least a month ago that we had talked about it last. Either she remembered where it went and how to put it back where it belongs, or she understood my comment. I’m not sure which, but she clearly knew where that tag belonged.
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Example 5: I admit, I’m still learning this parenting thing, and often struggle with whether I’m too protective or not protective enough. She loves to climb on her slide outside, and usually we go over and she’ll climb up herself, then I’ll tell her to sit so she can slide down the slide properly, while I hold her hands to keep her upright as she slides down, so she doesn’t just fall backwards and hit her head as she goes down. Lately she’s been wanting to walk off the edge of the slide, so she’ll hold on to the wall at the top (it’s a little castle, basically, with a little telescope on one wall and a pirate ship wheel on the other, because that makes sense) and then she won’t sit down and I’ll catch her mid slide as she topples off. The other day I let her fall. She wouldn’t sit down, no matter how many times I said to or tried to bend her in half, so when she walked off onto the slide while still holding onto the wall she ended up falling to the ground. It was only a foot and a half high, and onto grass, but she was very startled (but didn’t cry). I felt awful, but you know what, the next time she climbed up and got to the edge of the slide, she sat down.

Example 6: She not only remembers what sidewalk chalk is for, even if we have not used it in awhile, and will take it out of the box and begin to scribble on the patio herself without prompting, but she also knows how to put it away. She took the time to put every piece back in the box, and managed to make them fit… then proceeded to pull them out and throw them, which she was scolded for because that’s how things break..

Example 7 (a favorite): Aria has these foam letters and sea creature shapes that she loves that live in the living room. I don’t know how or when this game started, but she will hand over one of the sharks, then take off running. You are supposed to chase her with the shark, and if you catch her it has to “nibble” her neck which makes her collapse in giggles then take off running again. She’s trained both Eric and me, so we joke about who has to chase her. This weekend Eric found a shark and tossed it over to her, which caused me to groan as I really didn’t want to get up. Eric teased, “uh oh mommy, looks like you get to chase Aria,” while he was reclining comfortably on the couch. Meanwhile I was sitting on the floor playing with her. She walked past me and handed it to him which made me soooo happy. If I believed in it, I would say karma. 🙂

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