Jada likes playing with this online alphabet game on Fisher-Price's website, where each push of a button yields a letter and an animal that starts with that letter. So she's starting to be able to say each letter after she hears it. Most of them she can pronounce reasonably good, with the exceptions of W (of course) and (strangely enough) S. Her vocabulary continues to grow each day, with particular strengths in animals ("bunny" and "doggie," as well as "animal," although it sounds closer to "ah-moo"), body parts (on cue, she can point to her hair, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tummy, hands, and feet), and descriptive words and phrases ("pretty," "new," and "big girl").
It's neat to watch this verbal progress. The psychologists say that speech is what separates us from the frontal-lobed animals in terms of higher thinking and impulse control. It's apt, then, that Jada's evolution in terms of differentiation and independence has coincided with her learning the word "No" - in fact, some might argue that learning that word is exactly what defines that advancement.
To be sure, she still has her primitive moments, whether getting fussy at the end of a long day (who doesn't?) or shutting her eyes tightly after she's seen something scary (again, who doesn't?). And when presented with an opportunity to toil, whether gathering oranges that have fallen to the ground or moving pine needles from one stack to another, her southern Chinese blood kicks in and she methodically gets to work as if in a trance (a work ethic we hope she never sheds). Still, it's nice to see her mix in a growing mental consciousness. Soon enough, it'll all be as easy as ABC.