You know that kid that walks up to your kid, and gets right up in their personal space, maybe even tries to poke them.. or share something with them, and your kid is like, “dude.. I don’t know you” and you’re like, “where did this kid come from.. ?”

That’s mine.

She is only shy if someone pays attention to her before she has a chance to try to get their attention. It’s like it weirds her out.

Heaven help anyone at the grocery store while we’re shopping – every person we see on every aisle gets a “hi! hi!” until they acknowledge her. And usually a “buh bye!” as we walk away. Most people think it’s really cute and will smile and say “hi” back to her. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be perusing the shelves trying to find something, and in the background I hear a constant stream of an Aria “hi!” followed by a stranger’s “hi” and back and forth with lots of different voices. Sometimes there’s also a, “she is just so cute” to which I always respond because, a) it’s polite, and b) I totally agree.

So yeah, she doesn’t get that other kids are generally shy. I’ve read in several different places that at her age kids like to be around other kids, but that they don’t generally interact much. They might both be playing, sitting on the floor next to each other, but they’re playing with their own toys.

Not Aria. She wants to be doing whatever the other kids are doing. This may be because of so much time spent with her older cousin, but she likes to share, and steal, and generally do whatever someone else is doing, and not in isolation. With Kayla it often turns into a battle because Kayla wants something just so, and Aria likes to move it just to tick her off. Similarly with opening or closing a toy, Aria wants it to be whatever Kayla does not want it to be. More for mischief than any sincere desire to have the microwave open, or the picnic basket closed.

At the mall this past weekend she walked up to so many kids that gave her confused and aggravated looks because she was so bold in approaching them, that I had to keep her strapped in her stroller. She also did this to adults.

The best was the vending machine – she was soooo amazed at all the things behind the glass that looked interesting, and possibly edible, but couldn’t figure out how to get them. She tried banging on the glass, almost discovered that the bottom has a door that pushes inward, but didn’t push quite hard enough to figure it out, but she also tried walking around to the side of the machine to see if she could get behind the glass that way (multiple times). Eventually she gave up and walked back over to me, but within seconds a man walked up and started putting money in and making a selection. She walked right up to him, looked up at him, then got between him and the machine. I had to grab her in a hurry because that’s both scary and rude, but he was totally taken by surprise at a little person trying to help him buy candy.

She’s also talking quite a bit now. She’s trying out new words, but still babbles endlessly and I’m not sure how much of it is real and how much is made up. Sometimes you think you hear something like, “I did it!” or sometimes it’s “E F G”.. about the only part of ABC’s that comes across clearly. But mostly it’s not decipherable. I’ve made it a rule of thumb to assume or pretend that she’s responding to me the way that I think she is or would expect her to. Like when I ask her a question and she says something back, I just go along with what I believe she would be saying if she was comprehendable. I guess it’s working pretty well, because she does do most of what I ask her to, which is very helpful. Especially when it comes to picking up dropped spoons or sippy cups under the kitchen table, as it’s much less effort for her to go under and collect things than it would be for me.

The most recent experience like this just amazed me, although it probably shouldn’t have. She was ready to go to bed and was at the stairs waiting for me to let her go up, and I told her two things, “you have to finish your bottle and leave it down here, and you also need to tell daddy night night.” She hesitated for a second, tilted her head back and took one last chug, then handed me her bottle, then ran over to Eric with puckered up lips and an “mmmmm” the whole way across the room.

I can’t believe how much she understands, how independent she’s becoming already, and how sociable and unafraid she is. She clearly got that from our parents because she’s way more outgoing than we are.