Baby D has a whole new collection of tricks up her babygro sleeve. Most of them impress me. Others... depress me.
Among the good ones: D pats her belly - now quite formidable - with pride in the tub, she extends her arms in front of her as a sign of acquiescence when I get her dressed, she makes the "Wind the Bobbin Up" circular motion with her arms and she's even learned to blow kisses.
This is by far the most adorable thing I've ever seen, and like a circus animal, I repeatedly ask her to perform it for every single person we come across. If someone is staying for a while, they may get the whole repertoire of D's moves: wave hello, clap hands, wind fists around each other and blow a kiss for the finale, directed by yours truly.
Yes, I am aware asking your infant to perform on demand is terrible parenting, and yes, I hate myself sometimes. But if you saw Diana in action, you'd understand.
On the depressing front, Diana has learned to soil herself in a new way. D's latest nappy-filling tactic is so explosive that poo ends up on her thighs and subsequently hands and feet since she's such a kicking squirmer. I long for the days when poo only decorated her entire back, because at least then she couldn't play with it.
The new poo trick is especially bad when it happens in public, like the toilet of a Starbucks that's about to close. Thankfully, I'd gone to a yoga class just before, so handled the experience with aplomb instead of anxiety. Or maybe I've just seen it all when it comes to baby-turned-toddler poo at this stage.
Another worrying new development? Diana pretends she's always on the phone. Ideally, she likes to use my BlackBerry for this trick, but will settle for her toy phone, a hair brush, a camera case, a remote control and even her palm. While cute (she's one; most things, no matter how heinous, are), this is obviously a mimicking gesture, and I am assuming I am the disastrous role model being imitated (it's called working from home, I swear).
I need to start pretending to read books so hopefully she'll start practising a book-opening gesture, at least in public, so people will think I am raising a lovely literary babe and not some mobile phone-addicted monster.
I think my parenting skills just need the equivalent of Spanx to make them look decent in public, no matter how wobbly they are underneath. Appearances are everything at this stage, right?
Walking like a drunk person is another of D's particular talents. I'm pretty sure this is a skill possessed by all those learning to toddle - the shakiness, the inability to walk in a straight line, the falling forward dramatically every few steps - but then again, D knows how to open cabinets nowadays...
Of course, D's cutest tricks are those involving her BFF and furry-haired sibling, Bolshy. Just like he craves her toys and tries to chew them whenever he gets the chance, she now prefers his saliva-covered rubbery balls and enjoys rather aggressively beating him over the head with them while giggling. I am trying valiantly to get her to stop, but she still doesn't listen to a word I say.
At other times, she walks over to Bolshy, puts her arms around him, gives him a snuggle and lies her head on his. In those moments, I realise how much she loves him and that cuddling him is her way of showing it.
It's by far the best trick in her arsenal.