Helen has starting talking about how she's a big girl (sometimes "a big little girl") and getting bigger, and has made what seem like big strides towards greater independence in the past month.
Our stairs are quite steep and Helen has never got the hang of walking down them, though she now manages shallower staircases, for example at the library. (Since we have a steep, single long flight of stairs ending on a hard surface in our hallway, we've been happy about this.) We tried to show her how to reverse down, but though she could do that she never seemed to like it. In the past few weeks, however, she's worked out how to come down on her bottom, and is happy doing that. (She may have copied this from her friends Matilda and Dylan.) In the mornings now she sometimes wakes up and, instead of calling out for me, gets out of bed herself and comes downstairs to find me.
One of the incidental advantages of Helen being potty-trained is that it has also worked to get her to sleep in her own bed — or at least start the night there, most nights she still comes to "big bed" eventually. She really wants to wear knickers, so will often go back to her bed instead of having to wear a nappy. This was quite unintentional on our part: we imposed the "nappy in big bed" rule because we couldn't face a middle-of-the-night accident that would require cleaning up ourselves as well as Helen and our bed, whereas accidents in her toddler bed (there have been two so far) simply involve cleaning her up, putting her into a nappy and clean clothes, and taking her to the big bed, leaving dealing with the bedclothes to the morning.
And she's suddenly got a lot more confident climbing. A few weeks ago she started happily going up the shorter ladders in the Manzil Way and old Florence Park playgrounds, then suddenly in the few weeks she's been happy to go up the taller Manzil Way ladder, the wooden cutout stairase in Florence Park (with me holding her hands) and the big inflatable slide at Rectory Farm.
Two weekends I took her out with her balance bike for the first time — we met up with Kat and Immi in the playground just around the corner from us on Ridgefield Rd, which we'd strangely never been to before, so walking her there carrying it was easy — and she took to it quite confidently. I had to support her for a bit, but after a while she could walk, slowly, while on top of the bike, and she had worked out how to drop it, more or less intentionally, without hurting herself.