Lara is no longer content to travel just by stroller. After a few minutes, she tugs at her seatbelt and insistently chants "Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah!" (meaning "down") until we release her onto the sidewalk. Ah, our urban baby, for whom the cement pavement and graveled tree enclosures hold all the wonders of nature - for surely you didn't think that Lara actually walks to our destination when put on the ground? Why would she, when there are so many things to do in a five foot radius? The other day it took us forty-five minutes to get home from the playground (actual distance? one short city block).
Things she loves with abandon:
- stomping and clomping around on gravel, which around here surrounds the trees planted in the sidewalk. There is almost no way to inveigle her to leave the tree pits; usually we have to actually lift her out of them and carry her away.
- climbing all steps (usually leading to other people's houses) and sitting down on all ledges (usually covered with the grime of decades)
- playing "slow/fast". Lara knows the difference, and so quickly foils our attempts to get to her go. "Can you go fast? Show how fast you can go," we say - and she does go fast for several steps only to slow down to a dramatic stop until we acknowledge that yes, now she is slow.
- standing on top of manhole covers and gas valve lids. Every single one. I never realized how many there are.
- going up on Misha's shoulders. This is a new one, and he still has to hold her with a vice grip - but the new vistas clearly appeal. Frequently, this is the only way to actually get her to a specific location in a reasonable amount of time.
Things she loves cautiously:
- all manner of insects, which Lara calls "bzzzz." It's actually quite extraordinary how good her eyesight is. She can from her full height see those tiny red bugs that come out in the summer (which I usually have to be six inches from to notice.) She watches them like a budding entomologist, but if they come too close (a distance defined differently from second to second), she roars and stomps her feet at them in a half-scared half-angry shuffle.
- all manner of birds, which get mostly the same treatment. The word for "bird" is the same squeal that means "little" - except that pidgeons get a "bbrrrr bbrrrr." Sometimes, when she is feeling brave she chases them around. Most of the time, she gets a little nervous when they start walking towards her, however far away they actually are. Because hey, who knows how fast those little buggers can walk?