Cameron figured out how to put on sunglasses all by herself this week. I purposely try not to interrupt her play or show her how to do things because when she figures things out for herself, it is so much more meaningful! The struggle and the effort are just as important as the success in building confidence.
We don't have any extra space for a play room so Cameron's play area has always been the open area in the kitchen. She has spent a lot of time on that rug! When she was very young, she spent most of her time on a blanket looking around and playing with whatever toys she could reach.
When Cameron learned to roll over and started moving around, I put up a play yard fence. The play yard provided her with a safe, child-sized area where she was free to relax, play, and explore on her own. This helped her to learn to play independently and also gave me peace of mind knowing that she wouldn't get into anything dangerous.
As she got more mobile, I opened the fence so that she had free reign of the kitchen. I put child safety latches on the cabinets and covers on the outlets so that she could explore the larger area safely. At this point, we started occasionally spending time together in the rest of the downstairs area (which is only one other large room split into a dining room and living room) to get her familiar with everything.
Now Cameron is over a year old, walking like a champ, and is more trustworthy so I have expanded her play area once again. We removed the play yard fence and bought a cheap baby gate to block off the stairs. Cameron now has free reign of the entire downstairs area but still chooses to spend most of her time in the kitchen... probably because the other room is boring with only TV remotes to play with :) I have to remind her occasionally to stay out of Dulce's dishes but other than that, she is really enjoying her new freedom.
Dulce could easily jump this new fence but she won't! She just whines and whines and whines until we help her over. Sooner or later she'll figure it out that she could have been jumping it all this time :)
Every evening we go outside to play in the driveway. This past week, Cameron has been wanting to roam so now we are starting to go for evening walks. She is an excellent walker now and surprises me with just how far she'll walk on her own! I follow her lead, only redirecting her if absolutely necessary.
Some days we go walking in bare feet. A couple days ago, a neighbor lady passed us with her two kids and said (in a shocked voice) "No shoes?!" I simply smiled and she hurried on her way with her two shoe-wearing children.
No, neighbor lady, we weren't wearing shoes because we live in a tropical climate and we stayed on the sidewalks which means we don't need to wear shoes. Not wearing shoes meant that we could feel the warm, rough cement under our feet; we could feel the bumps on the sidewalk that are at every crosswalk; and we could feel the cold, patterned metal that Cameron repeatedly went back to experience. Our walk wouldn't have been nearly as special if we had worn shoes.
Dulce comes with us on our evening walks. Once she gets her "I-need-to-sniff-everything-and-pee-everywhere" energy out, she happily trots along side us. She is pretty good at obeying her "heel" and "halt" commands which allows Cameron to hold her leash while we walk. Cameron loves holding the leash and giggles when Dulce starts to pull, causing her to walk faster. When she gets tired of holding the leash, she bends down and lays it on the ground. Those two are such a sweet pair :)
We took a family outing to watch the sunset from the beach this week. Every time we do this, I say that we need to do it more often. We sit on a blanket and watch airplanes fly in low, directly overtop of us, as they come in for landing at the Honolulu Airport. Dulce has a ton of fun digging for and chasing the hundreds of crabs that appear as the sun goes down. Moments like these will bring back the sweetest memories someday :)
"We do not remember days; we remember moments."