Again this June, Elisa and Mommy spent almost two weeks at Grandpa and Grandma Camenga’s house in Minnesota while Andrew was at SCSC training in Wisconsin. It is amazing how a year since being in the same setting can make you aware of how much a little girl has grown in a year! To begin with, she only managed to take half her normal nap each day in the car (and she once fell asleep holding a book!) as opposed to sleeping more than normal because the car lulled her to sleep. She was also climbing all the ladders at the playground (which we sometimes went to 3 times a day) and hanging from the monkey bars.
She had a lot of fun interacting with Grandpa and Grandma. She made cookies with Grandma and learned to play Uno (open hand). Grandpa read to her, ran the model railroad for her frequently, took her to the playground and rough housed a little with her. Grandma got her a logic game that has cats and dogs and bones, etc. and Elisa was able to do a number of the simple puzzles independently.
We took a trip to Como Park Zoo with Grandpa and Grandma and had a great time. Elisa bounced (not walked) around the zoo, got to see Sparky the Sea Lion, polar bears, a day old baby bison, giraffes drinking from their own water fountains and a variety of other things. It was a beautiful warm day, which culminated with the best part – the carousel! Elisa got to ride twice, once with Mommy and once with Grandma, and had the greatest time laughing with Grandma.
Elisa’s imagination took off while we were in Minnesota. She found some of Uncle Jeff’s old legos, including a big lego boat. She decided the boat was an iron (where did she learn about irons?) and used it to make “clothes” for her stuffed animals and dogs (well, maybe she didn’t really learn about irons if she thinks they make clothes). This kept her busy for a long time going up to the 2nd floor to get the animals and down to the basement to use the legos. She also got very interested in pretend driving. She wanted to draw cars with sidewalk chalk and then stood on them and went for a drive – buckling her seat belt, driving forward, turning, stopping, etc. At the park with a play fire engine she would drive different places (and since there were two steering wheels Mommy had to drive, too) and went to get library books and stopped places to read them. One of the stories was about Uncle Jeff and Aunt Heather and cousin Donovan and another was basically singing The Sabbath’s Here.
In addition to imagination, Elisa is showing much more ability to process language and have fun with it. We were visiting one of Mommy’s friends who has girls who are 4 and 6 years old. Over supper they were talking about how different people in their extended family had cats and Elisa piped in “I have a cat!” They politely asked about her cat and she shared that his name was Ink. When prompted to explain what color he was, she said brown. Mommy replied “I don’t think so – how ’bout black!” to which Elisa responded “how bout…purple!” Elisa also continued to charm everyone she met with her big smile and brown eyes.
While in Minnesota we had another round of toddler swim lessons, which Elisa greatly enjoyed – even though the weather was quite cold. We left on Thursday and had planned to stay for the lesson that noon, but it was so cold (50s) that we regretfully skipped it. Still, Elisa enjoyed in and was quite comfortable with the water. The first day she found the top on the edge that was a watering can and had fun pouring it all over Mommy’s head (but it made it fun when before it had just been cold!). She greatly enjoyed jumping in the water and going underwater. Again, we chanted “Motorboat, motorboat, go so slow *kick slowly* Motorboat, motorboat, go so fast *kick quickly* Motorboat, motorboat run out of gas *go underwater*” and Elisa always came up laughing. She also liked jumping off the side to the chants of Humpty Dumpty (when sitting) and Jack be Nimble (when standing). Of course, no swimming yet, but plenty of kicking and blowing bubbles with both nose and mouth.
Lots of fun was had with Grandpa and Grandma – and a good foundation for the week she was mostly with Grandpa and Grandma while Mommy was in California.