Every so often, The Dormouse makes one giant leap forward on the developmental scale. I'm sure every mother notices this in their kids. They go along being a wobbly, tenuous, tip-toer and then one day they just begin walking like a senior citizen trying to beat another into the line at the Old Country Buffet. Or they go from communicating in one and two word phrases to complete sentences and correcting you on your own grammar and pronounciation in the course of a day or two.

We've noticed this over and over in her short few years with us. She'll plateau and be the same cute baby for several weeks or even months, and then one day take a giant leap forward like a mutant in X-Men and become... a child.

It's getting harder and harder to put our finger on just how the leap forward is being made because the changes are now less "hey, she learned to talk" and more "wow, she just doesn't seem like a little girl anymore."

She made one of those leaps this week. There are no particularly new skills; her personality, demeanor and speech just suddenly became much more mature. She started participating in conversations in a more active way than before and is paying a lot more attention to her environment - to the point where she repeats the dialogue from television commercials that I'd barely recognized were on in the first place. Great - now I will have two of them in the house to deal with, quoting movies and inserting all the words to every commercial, even though I've muted the TV so as not to hear the Geico caveman commercial for 800 kajillionth time.

Last night, this was the announcement she made: "Mom, I want to tell you something about my life. Yesterday, I was scared of monsters, but really there are only monsters in books and movies and they are not really real."

A little while later, she walked into my room and announced: "Mom, I'm going out. I'll be back a little later."

Sure, honey. Did you want to borrow the car keys too?