I babysit my 14-month-old granddaughter. Her problem solving skills have entered a new phase. (More)

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In the past week Maddie has dramatically increased her use of problem solving. She has mastered unlocking the gate that keeps her from tumbling down the stairs. Fortunately, she was so delighted that she squealed and clapped her hands warning me. Her dad fixed the lock but she’s working on opening this new tighter arrangement. She is persistent and patient. I have no doubt that she will figure out how to open the new lock.

She can climb up on the furniture and ottomans. She stood on the ottoman nearest the sofa and clapped her hands and spun around. Then after what looked like a moment of calculation, she lept from the ottoman to the couch. She giggled loudly and clapped her hands.

Yesterday she figured out that she could push the smallest ottoman over to the dining room table, about 15 feet. She then climbed up on the ottoman and started reaching for everything that we had put on the table to keep them out of her reach. She giggled again and clapped her hands. She is reveling in all her new found problem solving skills.

There is a pack and play in the living room. I used to think it was a safe place for her. I put her in there when I am moving laundry or leaving the immediate area. She has taken to piling up the stuffed animals to create a way to escape. She is very close to achieving her goal.

On the one hand this is fascinating to watch and I am really proud of her. On the other hand, my life has turned into constant watchfulness. I love that she claps for herself. To often in life no-one claps for us so great that she has learned to applaud herself. I do clap for her which may be where she gets it. Her parents also clap for her.

I do have this going in my favor. When she does something sneaky she runs away squealing. For some unknown reason after circling the dining room table, she runs to hide in a corner. She does not have a great future in lying.

She is one reason why I made calls to Virginia this weekend. She deserves a good and compassion country to grow up in.

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Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.