It's been interesting to be back in a hot place this last week. After a few weeks in winter, it was sort of shocking to experience 100+ heat! But what was most interesting about coming home after three weeks of traveling was that it enabled us to see just how much Carter had changed on the trip.
The biggest change is that his language skills took another big jump. he now speaks in sentences that are very complex, with multiple parts. For example, he'll now say things like "Mommy, do you see that little ladybug on the brown cat's nose?" or "I'm going to dump my cars out on the floor and play with them." Before he was limited to sentences that were more of the subject-verb-object variety.
He's also figured out that if he says "please" at the end of every request, he's much more likely to get what he wants!
His play is starting to change, and he talks to his toys and does some creative things with them now, rather than just watching how they work. It's really fun to play with him these days because he likes it when I make up voices for his toys and have them do silly things. When he's playing alone, he'll have little conversations with his toys, and he'll answer back for them. Cute!
He's starting to get interested in letters again, and now will identify the sounds that they make and likes thinking of words that start with that sound. He's suddenly started counting objects, and seems to have figured out the one-to-one correspondence part of counting, which is a critical step in little kids' number sense.
I found this book last night that is a fantastic counting book for little ones. One of the issues toddlers have is that they don't yet have strategies for counting objects that let them know they've counted them all. they don't really organize their counting; they just point and count, often counting things twice. This book is awesome because it gives them a really simple way to keep track of what they've counted already.
This video shows him just after I gave him the book. He was doing all of what you see here totally spontaneously, and it was so cute!
One of his favorite toys right now is a set of vehicle-shaped counters I bought for him a month or so ago.
This is a really common preschool math manipulative, and they're a lot of fun. You can count them, sort them, make patterns, and so on.
But this is what Carter likes to do with them:
They're mostly a dumping toy at the moment! We've also started trying to paint again, something that is a much more successful activity than it used to be.
We also like to paint with water outside. Fun on a hot day!
Today we went somewhere I've been wanting to take Carter for a long time -- Hamilton Pool. It's one of many cool swimming holes around Austin, but for me, this is one of the most beautiful spots around. It's in a canyon, and the hike down is a little rough in spots, but Carter was able to do it just fine.
The vegetation changes completely as you hike down, from that Texas Hill Country scrub to these huge trees and lush foliage.
The swimming hole itself is in a grotto, with waterfalls cascading down from the top of the cave. The waterfalls were more of a trickle today, but it's still gorgeous!
Carter really had a blast swimming here! The water is shallow on the sides, but drops off pretty quickly. I have no idea how deep it is, but I'd guess 16-20 feet. We swam all over the place for more than an hour. Carter especially loved swimming under the trickles of waterfalls. We got out and had a picnic on the beach.
And Carter spent another hour playing in the shallow part of the pool.
We also explored the cave a bit.
I was a little worried about the hike back up, but Carter did fine.
This is not the best video ever, but I was trying to give a sense of what the place was like:
It was a good day!