It's been 6 months since our last trip to St. Louis, and I was a little nervous (especially about the flight) after our previous experience. Brace yourselves, people:
My kid is F**KING AWESOME.
Did we finally flip another trimester switch? I feel like I've been given an all-new kid again.
Our flight up was Thursday, and we were joined by Grandpa Bobo for the festivities. A nice afternoon flight meant a leisurely morning of breakfast and last minute packing. We got to the airport the suggested and obnoxious 2 hours early. Tried keeping Daphne in the carrier, nope nope nope not Miss Independent. I have come to the conclusion that I'm going to have to become one of those parents with their kid on a leash; there's just no other way I can see to let her feel independent and like she can explore without her endangering her life. However, if I become someone with a 5 year old on a leash, you have my permission to bludgeon me. While waiting at the gate, Daphne spontaneously demonstrated that she has mastered the fine art of drawing liquid through a straw.... and then she gave herself a brain freeze.
The flight. Although she got whiny in places, mostly she was pretty cool (if stir crazy). We had the gabba ready on D's early xmas present: the kindle fire. She did NOT want to hold still, but she stayed mostly quiet and even got a compliment on her behavior from another passenger. Ian and I jumped through hoops to keep her happy and then... she finally fell asleep with 10 minutes left of the flight. Darn kid.
Once we got back to my Dad's house and got settled in, D went exploring outside and discovered the glorious world of Hills and Acorns. Don't judge the lack of pants, they just never made their way back on her legs after her diaper change.
Friday was a very big day for the peanut. It started with her second trip to the St. Louis Zoo (we barely did half of it the first time around!). We still barely managed to do half the park, but this time Daphne was so excited! She called EVERYTHING Doggy!! It would go something like this: Daphne "DOGGY!" Me "No, peanut, that's a Galapagos tortoise." Daphne "DOGGY!" Me "No, peanut, that's a Zebra." Daphne "DOGGY!" Me "No, peanut, that's a toucan." And so on...
After the Zoo (and already well past the start of normal nap time) we made a very important stop: Daphne's first ever trip to Lion's Choice. If you don't know what Lion's Choice is, you better ask somebody (or, you know, click on this link). Daphne only ate some of her roast beef but, surprise surprise, she's quite the fan of french fries. Then we drove into the city proper to visit the Crown Candy Kitchen (if you watch Man Vs. Food, Adam Richman went there). Daphne tried all three of our malt, milkshakes and looooved it. Just look at that face. I could almost see the gears in her head turning, "Food tastes like this?? I'M NEVER EATING ANYTHING BUT MILKSHAKES EVER AGAIN!"
Saturday morning the toaster died, so we went out for breakfast at the Winslow Home. This would be where we see the start of another new trend: let me sit in the big girl chair. We went for a nice drive along Forest Park to see all the pretty old houses and stopped at Kayak Coffee so D could try her first ever Gooey Butter cake!
That afternoon was a huge test for my little peanut: Tons and Tons of new people and children all up in her face for hours and hours. Cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great grandparents, friends, extended family, all the people! Daphne was the champion. I don't think there was more than a minute or so total of her clinging to my leg. She loved playing with the other kids. Her cousins were so sweet, bringing her acorns to throw, dancing on the porch. Nonstop smiles and giggles.
Daphne has made a new developmental landmark and it is truly awesome: nodding. Not just random head-bobbing, purposeful question answering. "Daphne are you hungry?" Nod. "Bread?" Nothing. "Fruit?" Nod. MIRACULOUS. Or Monday morning, I noticed her grunting out a poop right before leaving the house. "D are you done pooping?" Blank stare. "D [point at my tush] done pooping? New diaper?" Nod. YESSSSSSSS. The vocabulary still hasn't really extended, although she will occasionally toss out a "Hi." She is also OBSESSED with all dogs, not just hers. My dad's poor teeny tiny dogs, she stalked them all over the house "DOGGY DOGGY DOGGY DOGGY!!!!" but to her credit, she really didn't assault them, she was quite gentle (if persistent) with her affections.
Sunday was time for the return trip. D still wanted to explore the airport a lot, but she was even more calm and collected on the flight itself, content to hang out and watch YGG until she fell asleep for the last 40 minutes or so of the flight. She had a mini meltdown on the car ride home that lasted all of 5 minutes, but then was raring and ready to go to wish her buddy Audrey a happy first birthday.
Tuesday Daphne was really trying to outcute herself. Miss Independent insisted on walking solo out to the car to be taken to school, so I let her dawdle by the steps while I loaded the car. I tossed the last bag in and looked up to see my daughter toddling around the car with her hand high in the air, presenting me with an offering. Gee kid, what glorious gift have you brought me? Lint? A twig? A dead bug?
My child brought me flowers. A whole handful that she had plucked from the ground and now offered to me with a big "aren't I clever?" grin. Yes, kid, that was pretty awesome.
Picking her up that afternoon, we did our usual ritual of me hiding behind the cubbies while she charges around the corner and tackles me for a big hug. I picked her up and she instantly started babbling in my ear and pointing insistently at the wall, grunting. What, Peanut? I took her to the wall, filled with the school's student-made Halloween decorations. The clock, Peanut? Grunt grunt babble point point. The foam bowl spiders? The fall leaves? WHAT?! Grunt grunt point! .... The pumpkin? Smile. Babble babble. Miss Jessica turned around and let me know that the pumpkin I'd just pointed out was the pumpkin Daphne had personally finger painted for the wall. Oh man, my kid is showing off her artwork. Proudly.
The first thing I did when we got home was dig out a crayon and a piece of paper. She's been periodically scribbling (with both hands, although largely her left), frequently even holding the crayon "properly" with her first 3 or 4 fingers, ever since. This morning she grabbed the paper and proudly showed it to Daddy as part of her morning greeting.
My kid. She's kinda awesome.