Dear Lyra,

Happy 17 Month Birthday!

This month your vocabulary has absolutely exploded. You can now say the names of some of your favorite friends: “Mawee” (Molly), “Ahdee” (Ada), and “Ummie” (Emerson). And when we are out and about you you point out “doddies” (doggies) and “daydees” (babies) and “buh” (buttons). These words are pretty easy to understand in context but occasionally you will repeat the same words over and over without us being able to figure out what you’re saying. For a few days you kept saying “vrrrss” and we had no idea so we decided you must just be practicing a made-up sound. But then you said it when we were looking at a book of fish and now I’m 80% sure that “vrrrss” is how you say “fish”.

Early this month we took a trip to Sea Ranch with your Grandma and Grandpa. It’s a beautiful little community on the California coast and we had such a relaxing time. We took long walks, played on the beach, and watched seals. You spent a lot of times playing with rocks in the driveway. The highlight of the trip was a visit to B. Bryan Preserve where we got to see zebras, antelope, and giraffes. We had a close encounter with the giraffes and fed them sweet potatoes! You were simultaneously drawn to them and afraid saying, “Raff? Nooo. Raff? Nooo.” and signing “giraffe” by putting your hand on your neck. That is basically how the rest of us felt too. Giraffes are huge but very gentle. It was such a great experience.

Your Grandma and Grandpa spent another week with us and you went on adventures with them and Molly while you’re Dad and I worked. You rode on the carousel, visited playgrounds, and went of on lots of walks. I’m so happy that you got to spend so much time with them.

This month we participated in our second study at the UC Berkeley Learning Lab. You are very curious to explore so you make an excellent test subject. This, like the first study, was testing your expectations of physics. They observed your behavior and reactions when a block seemed to pass through a solid platform. The most difficult part was that I was not allowed to look at or interact with you during the experiment. You seemed to think this was very strange, holding objects up to me and saying, “Mama! Mama! MAMA!” It was hard not to laugh.

Lately your Dada has been taking you out in the running stroller. While he runs for miles and miles, you get unusually quiet and observant, slipping into what we call baby-meditation. When the stroller stops at a traffic light you are anxious to get moving again, signing, “More!” And at the end of the run when he turns back into our building, you sign, “More, more, more!” It’s really nice of you to be such an encouraging running coach!

Last week a fantastic new playground opened up about half a mile from our apartment. It has swings, slides, a sand pit, big grassy hills, merry-go-rounds, and lots of equipment to climb. On one of our first visits you convinced you Dada to let you go down the big-kid slide. You made it down but then bonked your head at the very bottom. After a little cry and a little cuddle you were ready to try again, but we decided to keep you on the little-kid slide instead. It’s only a matter of time until you convince us to let you try it again! You are growing up so fast!



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