I had put this list of M.’s latest tricks and treats together over the weekend, expecting to post it Monday. I haven’t edited for dating, so if anything is odd about tenses etc, my apologies.

One addition, we were at the grocery store Tuesday and put her on the mechanical horse for the first time. A penny buys about a minute of ride time. She loved it! Laughed, screamed, smiled. She was so entertaining that some random woman came over, gave us a penny, and said, “She’s having too much fun to stop.” Then she literally left the store. Weird. Maybe she just had a penny she needed to purge and didn’t care about M.’s entertainment.

Lots more fun stuff to share about the girl. S.’s step-mom taught her how to release a loud, refreshed sigh after taking a drink, “AHHHHHHH.” M., wanting to make sure all people enjoy their beverages, is very liberal with the ahhhhs. If she sees someone take a drink, she’ll keep saying “AHHHHH!” until you offer one of your own. Then she smiles and laughs. She likes to share her drinks with her various stuffed animals. Since they’re all mutes, she speaks for them. “AHHHHH!” What’s funniest is when someone on TV takes a drink. She’ll freeze and say “AHHHHH!” wait a minute, then walk away, always a little downcast as if she wasted one.

She’s become obsessed by the Itsy Bitsy Spider. She throws her hands up in the air and whines until you sing it to her, then she asks that you do it again. Depending on her mood, she can either do all of the hand motions that go along with the song, or just one. Her funniest use of it came a couple weeks ago on a cold, rainy day when we were hanging out in the basement. S. was working and I was trying to watch football, so she was roaming and playing with her toys. She kept coming over doing the Itsy Bitsy part, I would sing it, but she never seemed pleased. Finally she kind of grunted and looked over her shoulders, making the spider sign over-and-over. That’s when I noticed a spider on the wall near her toy box. Smart kid! Plus, that’s better than the high pitched shriek I’m sure she’ll start giving us this time next year when she sees a bug.

Her favorite book has become Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. She freaking loves it. She’ll dig it out of her pile o’ books, come running over, and demand you drop everything, put her in your lap, and read it to her. She’ll follow along quietly the first time through. Then she’ll grab it from you, turn to a page, and start shaking her arms and grunting her version of “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” She’ll get herself all wound up and go around saying that for awhile. Her godparents had a music cube, each side having a different nursery rhyme on it. When you punched it, it would play the appropriate song. Five Little Monkeys was on it, which was a great delight to M..

After our trip to Carter’s a couple weeks ago, we thought she could use a puzzle of her own, so we got her a wooden puzzle with all her favorite farm animals from Baby MacDonald on it. It took about a week, but she quickly learned how to place all the pieces in their correct slots, even rotating them so they fit correctly. She goes about her work intently, only stopping when each piece has been placed. Then, she smiles and claps for herself, but quickly dumps all the pieces on the floor and starts over again.

In preparation for our doctor visit, we were trying to tally up all her words. We’re somewhere between 10-15, but many of them are still more noises that true words. Hi, mommy, daddy, fish (peesh), moo, quack, again (ah-geen), hoo-hoo (owl sound), baby, gee (doggie) are some of her favorites. A couple weeks ago she was watching out the front window when the trash truck came through the cul-de-sac. She heard it beeping when it backed up, so now anytime she sees a truck, train, or any other large vehicle, she says “Beep beep beep.” She’s got about ten body parts down. Thank goodness she enjoys identifying them, because I can ask her where her belly, toes, ears, and hair are for hours. If only kids stayed this obedient forever!

She’s been bouncing to music for quite awhile, but suddenly last week she started doing what I call Toddler Tap Dancing. It started from watching one of her Baby Einstein DVDs in which a crayon tap-dances. I noticed she was kind of shuffling her feet and laughing one morning. Over a few days, this slowly evolved into something that looks vaguely like tap-dancing. With that in mind, I thought it was time to teach her how to really get into music. I threw in a Pearl Jam DVD Friday night, cranked it as high as was safe for a toddler, and started bouncing around on my own. Her reaction was hilarious. First, she just nodded her head, which is what I do when listening to music. She had an extremely serious look on her face, as if she was really getting deep into the music. When I started pogoing, she started jumping around and screaming. We chased each other around the room while listening to “In My Tree” and other PJ songs with heavy beats.

By far the weirdest thing about her development, though, is how she looks more and more like my mom every day. I can no longer claim her when people tell me how much she looks like me. “Yeah, but she looks just like my mom,” is how I respond. She’s even started holding her mouth in a manner that is exactly like my mom. Spooky. I can’t help but wonder if it’s a purely genetic inheritance or something more spiritual and mystic. We king of laugh about how much she looks like my mom, since her middle name was S.’s mom’s name. If we ever have another girl and give her Carolyn as a middle name, will she actually end up resembling Marie? Have we named our kids in the wrong order? The horror!