In the past month, Lara and Gloria have learned to learn. They try to copy and repeat everything we do. Lara surprised me by grabbing a brush and pulling it through her hair and Gloria, still short on hair, tries to put on her shoes. They haven't yet learned to eat with a spoon, but they've tried to feed us.
They both understand simple sentences. If I ask where the second shoe is, they'll go and get it. If I tell them lunch is ready, they'll both come running and try to push the high chairs towards the table. If we tell them we'll go for a walk, they run to the door. If we do as much as mention cookies, they'll point at the bag and insist on having one.
Lara is still the more reserved one of the two. Faced with something new, she'll first watch from a distance. Gloria has no such hesitations. Last week, I childproofed the balcony. Lara, who was up first, saw the open door and froze. She stood motionless, staring at the balcony for a full 10 minutes. Then Gloria woke up, came running while yelling "Da,da" - and stumbled over the door sill, landing on her belly. Lara then followed her, very carefully.
Now that spring is coming and the girls are walking well, we've been to the playground several times. Initially Lara and Gloria just sat there, staring at the other children. But meanwhile they have both made some contacts with other children, though not without looking at me every other minute to see if I approve. Gloria, as you can guess, is the more social one. She'll walk around with her big red bucket and offer it to others, smiling brightly. She's 15 months and has at least 3 admirers already, all older boys who give her toys, help her to walk, or even carry her around. (The boys too look at me every other minute to see if I approve.) Lara and I, we watch our little social butterfly, and build sand castles.
From my perspective, the playground is a new arena too. Weekdays, the adult population is exclusively female and comes in two layers of generations, either the mothers or the grandmothers. They talk about their children and pretty much nothing but their children, unless you want to count pregnancies separately. After some initial mistakes, I now bring a book, paper, or a magazine with me to hide behind.
Another piece of news from the past month is that I finally finished the review on the minimal length in quantum gravity that I've been working on since last year. It's now on the arXiv. The first 10 pages should be understandable for pretty much everybody, and the first half should be accessible also for undergraduates. So if you were wondering what I'm doing these days besides running after my daughters, have a look at my review.