Let me first say that the rumors you may have heard are false. We are not discouraging Gisele from crawling so that we can put off the monumental task of baby-proofing our apartment, and I am not keeping Gisele from solid food in order to simplify my hectic life. No matter what you've heard to the contrary, we are as eager for Gisele to catch up to Anne's developmental milestones as anyone. Instead of finger pointing at us, point that finger in the direction of Gisele. She's content with the way things are, and has no interest in yucky solid food or in being out of mommy's arms. She also won't tolerate being on her tummy for long enough to learn to crawl, so she just may skip that stage. She's not exactly lazy, though. Gisele still loves to stand and bounce on people's laps.

So, what CAN Gisele do? In the physical arena, not much. But, she seems rather smart, and she babbles like a brook. She first mastered "mama", then "nana", and then "dada". We're pretty sure she doesn't know what those words mean, she just appears to be learning her consonents one at a time. Currently, she's working on "th", which seems to be a tricky one to perfect without any front teeth. Besides her notable verbal efforts, Gisele has an exceptionally engaging personality. She gives her smiles generously to family and even to strangers. At weekly playgroup gatherings, Gisele is usually more interested in coaxing smiles from people than in playing with the toys. Will Nels and I know what to do with a social butterfly on our hands?

Gisele is beginning to appreciate people other than me. People such as Nels. She's pegged him as "the fun one", and shrieks whenever he's around. It's really quite a burden for Nels to live up to Gisele's delirious expectations, but he tries. She likes it when he pretends to sneak up on her while she's in my arms. She'll grin and scream and then bury her head in my shoulder as he closes in. She wants to play "chase", but because she's still sedentary she uses me as her locomotor, and together we run away from Nels. As for toys, Gisele's favorite seems to be pens. Safety? Don't worry-- I make sure the caps are on. She also likes books with things to touch in them and spinning toys. But for the budget conscious, a pen would make a fine Christmas present.

Cousin Connection
In spite of the fact that we're in the dead of autumn, George and Anne are often found in various states of undress. Anne is especially fond of her birthday suit. Perhaps that's why she is so agile. Anne "Hot Rod" Smith is performing all sorts of improbable physical feats. She started with early crawling. Crawling (AKA the gateway drug) led to standing, which goes hand in hand with pulling up to a standing position. Before we knew it, she was climbing stairs and dancing the foxtrot. Basically, she's revealing Gisele to be a sluggard. But I suppose if Gisele were left on the floor to her own devices all day long she'd be crawling, too.

Lately, Annick has been hard at work sealing George's fate as a 35 year old virgin. Whether she's driving him to gymnastics or planning his home-school curriculum, Annick is doing all she can to foster George's "individuality". Mike even went so far as to buy Christmas stockings for all of George's imaginary dinosaur friends. And Annick hand-dyed his Halloween dinosaur costume pink per George's own request. And when Annick told George that she had worn a pair of high heels to look pretty for daddy, George proceeded to try them on himself and declare that he wanted to look pretty for daddy, too. It's not all flamboyant fun in the Smith household, however. Last week George started soccer practice.

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