Beaver FatAnnika is one gaming girl. She's just getting the hang of how to really "play" a game, rather than just taking the anything goes approach to those pesky rules. Playing hide-and-go-seek with her has been a great example of how her skills are progressing. When we first started to play with some of the neighborhood kids, Anni would just giggle and run around like a crazy person while the seeker covered eyes and counted. Then she got the idea that she was supposed to hide, but her hiding places were often pretty much out in the open, with maybe her head out of sight, but not much else. Oh, and she always chose the exact same (bad) spot to hide every time. Then finally she got the idea that she needed to find a place where she was not immediately visible. Often when I played with her, I tried to ratchet up the suspense by saying to myself very loudly, "Hmmmmm. Where could that Annika be?" Anni could only take that for approximately 30 seconds before she just had to call out, "Here I am, Mommy. Here I am!" Now she's got that game down. The closing eyes, the counting, the taking turns, the good hiding places, keeping quiet, finding new places to hide--the works (OK, she's a genius, I know).
She also loves to make up games on her own. The latest is called "Beaver Fat." Yes, the names she gives her names are just as great as the names she gives her dolls. The rules of Beaver Fat are incredibly simple: Annika says "Beaver Fat" and I tickle her until she says "Stop it!!" And all is calm until "Beaver Fat" is again uttered, and tickling ensues. Etc. for the next 45 minutes. The great thing about playing this game with her yesterday, though, was that I realized that she already gets the Use-Mention distinction. We had been playing "Beaver Fat" for a good 30 minutes, and so much of the surprise had worn off. Anni declared, "I'm not going to say 'Beaver Fat' " anymore. Whereupon I began tickling her like crazy, "You said 'Beaver Fat'!" She was stunned, and immediately declared, "No fair!" OK, maybe this seems a bit odd that this amuses me, but at least the degrees in Philosophy and Linguistics are finally paying off. I do just love seeing these little mental leaps forward. Even more I love tickling my girl because she says, "Beaver Fat." I dare you to say "Beaver Fat" a few times yourself and see if a tickly mood doesn't overcome you, too.