Ever since M really started walking well (around the 14th-15th month mark), I made it a point (weather withstanding in Virginia) to taker her out everyday. Our little social butterfly makes sure that every single day is cheerful, bright, and replete with new adventures and memories and stories.
Before I cut to the present in Portland, I need to mention about our fantastic walks with a slightly younger M in VA. A typical evening would go like this. We'd quickly change and wear our shoes (after a brief struggle on matching or rather un-matching pair of socks and shoes) and the minute we'd step out of the door, our lively bubble would bounce even more - putting on her best behavior, her most charming smile, coupled with her great observation skill, off we'd go.
M makes it a point to wish every single one - a hi here, a wave there - I often joke that she behaves like a celebrity - everyone must acknowledge her. And boy, she is adamant at that. If some unsuspecting jogger with earphones on misses her greeting, she keeps shouting behind their back, til I have to literally drag her away so that we can move on. The aghast look she gives such people is quite endearing and very funny!
All this wonderful attitude to the outdoors remains in Portland too (thank god for that) - but you see now is a more mature M (lol, yeah about as mature a 20 month old can get) - She understands that probably not every single person she meets exists so that they can greet her. (I must hastily add that she thinks she must know them or that I definitely know them - because she points at every single one and asks "Who is that?" - loud and clear - while I fumble - somebody, some person, our neighbor, a lady, a man etc etc)
And another change is that while in VA, we didn't have a single dog that hadn't licked or hugged M, she has offlate become a little wary of them - she does charge at them, bow-wows - all this punctuated by excited shrieks of "doggie" doggie" but she doesn't care to pet them anymore. Oh well - less cleaning and scrubbing for mommy!
Once at the park, our lady has nothing to do with me or her dad. She is off in the mud, getting her hands, hair, everything dirty. She rolls on the grass, plucks flowers and leaves, squishes ants, chases bugs, and simply will not let you hold her hand. She calls everyone in the age group 0-18 years a baby. And most preteens and teens get really angry at that. She has to be placated to share her ball - she agrees after some persuading but is not readily accommodating of a stranger she has never seen before. A 5 year old came to her and introduced himself, shook her hands for friendship and asked her for her ball. She goes in a very firm tone "No ball, no play, no friend". I did come home and have a discussion with her and the next day she said she'd "give" her ball. She does not understand "share", me thinks.
We recently also bought her a nice tricycle. It's a neat thing that grows with the child's ability - as of now we are using it more like a fancy stroller simply because M refuses to pedal - she does steer though (in all directions, if I may add) - but slowly as she gets the hang of it, we'll be able to pull out the protective bar, the parent guide and the canopy off it - not to mention I love it with all its paraphernalia.
Phew this is a long post already - I hate these long ones and I really need to up the frequency! Leaving you with a pic, and if you don't notice, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that her hair is partially tied - a huge victory for me - she lets me do it only to go out but :(. One step at a time, babe!