Finnley used to not love playing. She didn't hate it, either. She really just didn't know what to do. I could hand her a toy, and she would be interested in it for a minute or two, but that was it.
Now SHE seeks out her own choice in toys, and she engages in her own play for a long period of time. She loves to unstack the plastic Little People blocks that I put together on her carriage. One stack at a time. Over and over again. She has figured out how to put the colorful balls into the holes of their coordinating Fisher Price toy, and then she pushes the balls through to the other side to make the silly lion sing her a congratulatory song. She pulls out book after book and then sits with them on the floor. She flips the pages and "reads" (using a silly whispery babble that she has created just for her story books).
And, she LOVES to empty her toy bin one toy at a time. She surrounds herself with her emptied collection and then plays with individual toys that capture her attention.
You can just see her coming more to life every day. Her eyes brightening with new discoveries. Her developing more of a personality. Becoming more of a little person. It is a joy to witness. A messy joy, but a joy nonetheless!