Friday, March 21, 2014

Sixteen Months: Dance Like No One is Watching




Darling Katherine,

You are 16 months old, my little love.  You are growing up so much, but it is almost imperceptible to me until I look back to photos or videos from the last letter I wrote and realize you have changed immensely in the past two months.

There have been big changes in our daily routine as I went back to work about a month ago.  Because you had been unwell for quite some time before you started nursery school, you had developed some separation anxiety and I was anxious in turn about leaving you in the care of strangers.  But I needn't have worried, you love it there and you've settled in so well.  Your health issues were resolved and within two weeks you've even stopped crying, usually, when I have to leave you in the morning.  When we come to pick you up in the evening, you are always happily playing but when you realize Daddy or I are there you come steaming over as fast as your little limbs will move, beaming all the way.  This warms my heart, my love, and it's the highlight of my day seeing you again at the end of it.

You're little personality is emerging more and more, and your new environment is giving you an opportunity to show your colours.  You know your will and won't be pushed around by anyone.  There's no drama - you just calmly push away the hand you don't want there or take back the book or toy that's been pulled from your grasp by another child.  I'm so proud of your calm assertiveness and I admire it - for I don't think that you've inherited it from me.  If I can nurture that in you, then I will be doing well as a parent.


At home, you've become fascinated with fitting shapes together after months of always pulling your nesting toys and shape sorting puzzles apart.  You discovered a shape sorting bus toy at a friend's house and thought it was amazing.  I found that toy and brought it home for you to discover one evening after nursery school.  That's a sensitive time for you because you are generally exhausted after a long day at play, and it was that exhaustion that I credit with your reaction when you successfully fit a shape into its hole in the bus roof and dropped it through.  You immediately started to cry, distressed that you no longer had the shape in your hand.  I laughed to myself and showed you how to access the shapes inside and now you are so proud when you figure out how to fit the pieces correctly.  You also have a wooden puzzle that you only ever take apart, though once (only once) last week you spontaneously gathered all the puzzle pieces scattered about and stacked them carefully on top of the puzzle base.  You were tidying up!!  Tidying up your room with you in it is usually a race against your efforts to undo my work as each new item I turn my attention to suddenly becomes the most fascinating thing in the room for you.  So I hope to encourage a desire to keep things organised but I think that is still a long time coming.

Books remain a favorite with you, though you mainly want to point at items on the pages and have us name them.  You babble delightfully more and more, though real words are few and far between.  We think you've said "daddy" on request once and you say "mum, mum, mum" all the time, but I've never been certain you actually meant me.  I'm also pretty sure you quack like a duck with real purpose.  I'm not worried though, because you understand so much and follow instructions well.  You've learned the sign for "milk" and that was useful for a while, but now you make that sign to mean "milk," "drink," "I'm hungry" and "hey look, I can make the 'milk' sign!"  So its utility has been somewhat diminished.

You love, love, love the mirror which Daddy recently installed in your room.  It was a surprise to show you one evening after nursery school and your reaction when you saw it was absolutely priceless.  You giggled and posed and grinned up at our reflections.  You also love music and it cracks me up when a song comes on and you stop what you're doing, look up at me and then slowly start to bop along with the tune, getting more enthusiastic as you go.  It's almost like you can't help yourself... and dancing while posing in the mirror?  Well, it just doesn't get better than that, does it, my love?



In the past week or so, you've slept through a few nights for 10-11 hours without waking for milk, something you've done exactly once before - and that was months ago.  It isn't every night, but you've strung a couple of good nights together and, fingers crossed, it might become a pattern.  We recently moved you out of your crib and now you sleep on a mattress on the floor.  You like this because you can wake up and play in the morning, sweetly babbling away, and I like this because you wake up and play independently - affording me with some precious moments of peace, if not actually more sleep.

The biggest challenge in parenting you is definitely food.  You are a ridiculously picky eater, and the list of items you will accept is limited, somewhat unpredictable and definitely not the healthiest menu.  But it is a battle I refuse to engage in, and given the state of your impressive little pot belly and your continued growth, I trust you are getting what you need and someday your tastes will expand.

You are my sunshine, my darling, and even as I have endured the saddest thing that has ever happened to me, or leave work in the blackest mood I can imagine, your smile heals my soul.  When you abandon your play and make a bee-line for my lap, then tuck your head onto my shoulder, I kiss you and cuddle you and nuzzle your soft, unspoilt, deliciously baby-scented little neck and the depth and breadth and weight of my love for you brings tears to my eyes.

I love you with all my heart,
Mummy


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

14 Months: Two Feet High and Rising



Dear Katherine,

You're 14 months old, my dearest, and I haven't written one of these letters since you turned one.  You haven't recently conquered any of the major milestones such as talking or walking, though you've just started cruising along the furniture in earnest.  So things seem much the same from day to day, but the fact is that there have been many, many little changes that have added up to quite a big difference since I last wrote.  

You now weigh in at a whopping 20 lbs, which puts you around the 40% percentile - pretty good for a young lady who spent most of her infancy not even on the scale.  You've got a big pot belly and chunky little thighs.  You're are sporting 11 teeth, including four molars.  I measured your height when you first stood up nice and tall at 12 months and you were exactly two feet tall, and I'd guess you've grown an inch or more since then.

Just after your birthday, we took a family holiday and celebrated it a couple of days late in a charming stone cottage in North Wales.  We had a little cake for your birthday; it was Christmas cake (aka fruitcake).  You much prefer it to the sweetness of regular cake, and since mummy thinks it's vile stuff, that has cemented your status as a proper little Brit.  We were anticipating much enjoyment, ours and yours, of the wanton paper destruction that comes with opening birthday presents.  Daddy was keen that you do it yourself, and given your tendency to happily muss any sort of paper you come across, that seemed a reasonable expectation.  But you were. not. interested.  Not even providing tantalizing open bits of wrapping paper could entice you.  In the end it took several days for your birthday presents to be opened and that was only because your momma finally caved and mostly did it for you.

Your favorite toys are still books - you absolutely love turning the pages.  Recently you've started to enjoy being read to as well.  There is a book that has farm animals in it and when I make the animal sounds you laugh and laugh - you know what's coming now and start smiling broadly even before I launch into my impressions.  You also have a set of nesting cardboard boxes that is endlessly fascinating, and a play mobile phone that is nearly as interesting as mummy's real one.

Unencumbered by safety gates, in the holiday cottage you discovered an enduring passion for climbing stairs, and ever since then you practically throw yourself out of my arms whenever I approach the stairs in our home.  Initially we had to watch you carefully since you only knew one way down: head first.  It was the same when you approached the edge of a bed or sofa.  We had to move quickly to avert dangerous diving maneuvers.  But then suddenly several weeks ago you just knew how to turn around and slide down backwards safely.  How did you learn that? We never showed you; it was something you discovered for yourself.

There are many cute little things you've learned all on your own.  One day you clapped your hands - another thing I never showed you - but when I applauded back, you were delighted and now love to clap, clap, clap all the time.  You throw your hands up in the air to express surprise or delight.  After months of having us place your cuddly toys next to your face for a little kiss (which is generally an open-mouthed gnaw on the nose) you've started to shove them back at us for a kiss and a cuddle as well.  This afternoon Daddy peeped in to watch you wake from your nap and witnessed a priceless moment.  You picked up Pooh Bear and collapsed over in a hug, then popped up and shoved him at Bear Teddington for a cuddle, just like you do to us.

The last binky photo
You aren't talking yet, but you understand so much.  If I'm playing with you and start a sentence with "I'm going to go..." you immediately throw yourself head-long into my arms to beg me to stay.  If I tell you "don't touch..." you know exactly what I'm saying.  You've grown cheeky as well.  If I say "don't touch" when you know I really mean, "please don't pick that up, throw it around and endanger it or yourself," you place a tentative finger on the object for a second and then turn to me to test the consequences.  You'll do this over and over while I laugh inwardly, watching for what you'll do next and wondering if I should be holding the discipline lines more strongly.

Ever since you've started standing, you've seemed to also develop a much stronger will.  You no longer hesitate to express your opinion by wailing a protest, and I've even seen you break out into a proper little temper tantrum now and then.  Usually these moments are mercifully short-lived, though you've been suffering with your first cold in the past week and have been much higher-maintenance than usual.  It makes me appreciate just how easy-going you usually are.

You spontaneously gave up your pacifier shortly after your birthday. One day you just decided you wouldn't have it anymore, even when you were upset.  It was yet another sign that you're no longer a baby.  I can't believe how quickly these past months have passed and what a little young lady you've become.  This is the enduring theme of parenthood for me - days are both endless and fleeting and I wish I could capture precious moments to be revisited at will, but unfortunately these letters are the best I can do.

I love you with all my heart,
Mummy



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Twelve Months: This Moment Keeps on Moving - We Were Never Meant to Hold On



Twelve Months
Dear Katherine,

You are one year old, my darling girl, and you have had a big month to cap off a big year.  You will never again grow or change as much in 12 months as you have since you were born.  You now weigh over 17 pounds, and have finally grown into your 6-9 month wardrobe.  Your eye color continues to confound me.  I’m not sure if they are changing from blue to brown or if you will keep these wonderful chameleon eyes that can seem hazel, green, brown, blue or gray – sometimes all at once.

Cheeky bunny by keeniebeanieI thought that you were going to end the year with the same three teeth you’ve had for a couple of months now, but in a burst we’ve had at five arrive in the past 10 days.  That much teething was enough to shake even your normally cool composure and you’ve had a couple of rough nights.  Teething notwithstanding, you’ve started sleeping in past the time that I naturally wake up, and it’s awesome not to have a 17 pound alarm clock calling me to duty every morning.  I often hear you stirring in your cot for some time before you cry out for me, with the peace punctuated by little squeals and giggles which bring joy to my heart.  Then I go into your room and you beam a grin that could melt a polar icecap, and we begin the routine of imitation.  You wave, I wave, you shake your head no, I shake my head no, you blow a raspberry, I try to blow a raspberry (you’re much better at it than me), you make a kissy noise, I make a kissy noise, you pant like a puppy, I pant like a puppy.  When I carry you downstairs for breakfast, you hoot like a little owl because you like the way the sound echoes in the stairwell.

Like feeding a baby lamb by keeniebeanieYou’ve learned a lot this month.  You’ve been working on pulling to stand for a while now, but in the past few weeks you’ve dialed it in and now stand tall and proud on your chubby little legs.  You finally acquiesced to drinking from a sippy cup and in short order figured out how to do it for yourself.  Since I am still holding your bottle for you, darling, I’m very pleased about that development.  You can put the bottle into your mouth, but you haven’t quite sussed tilting it up far enough.  As soon as I try to show you how it’s done, you’re all, “Cool – you got this.”  Since you’re so tiny and the mere fact that you’re eating is more important to me, I’ve gone along with it.  Recently I thought your appetite for milk was dropping precipitously, but it turns out you’ve just got better things to do than lie back and drink, so I hang out with the bottle while you play and you periodically cruise by to have a swig like an orphaned lamb on a bottle.  When you are charging about, you don’t so much attempt to go around or over things as through them.  This either demonstrates determination, or the fact that your spatial awareness isn’t yet fully developed.  Heaven help you, sweetheart, if you take after your mother in that department. 

Selfie by Katherine by keeniebeanie
Selfie
You’ve become so much more precise while you play and I know you now understand the physical relationships between items.  You love to climb in and out of your carseat.  You’re obsessed with placing the cap on and off your bottle.  You open my wallet to examine my credit cards and driver’s license.  You no longer simply knock block towers over and giggle maniacally when I say “boom!”; now you try to place the next block on top.   You love playing with my smartphone and I’m often surprised by what you manage to accomplish when you get a hold of it.  The home screen has a photo of you and I and whenever you get it flashed up you start laughing.

The arrival of your first birthday is a big milestone, my love, but it is bittersweet for me.  I spent so much time planning to have a baby, and anticipating your birth after I found out you were on the way.  I reflect on your unexected early arrival at this time last year and it seems but a moment ago.  Now I blink and your babyhood is over.  My delicious squishy newborn has been replaced by this beautiful curious bundle of delight.  Watching you grow and learn and change is exciting and fun, but no matter how much you grow up you will always remain my baby.


I love you with all my heart,
Mummy


That's a hair-don't by keeniebeanie

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Eleven Months: Eel Girl is Nobody's Sidekick!



Katherine, my sweet baby girl,

Consternation by keeniebeanieYou are eleven months old, my little love, and this has been another month of big changes.  You put on another pound, weighing in at 16 ¾ pounds and climbing all the way up to the 9th percentile for your actual age.  You’ve started to wave, without knowing what the gesture meant, but you think it’s hilarious when we wave back so you do it again and again for a laugh.  Same with shaking your head “no.”  Although you haven’t yet discovered the word “no” for yourself, you have no trouble communicating the concept.  Particularly when I try to feed you something you don’t want.  You scrunch up your little face and huff air in and out, and your meaning is quite clear.  That face, which is hilarious, is also used when you are perplexed or irritated by anything else.   You are a delight, for the most part, giggling and smiling through your days.  It takes only simple things to make you happy.  Despite all the toys in your playpen, I’m sure you would be content in there with nothing more than a wooden spoon, your toy mirror, and your silicone toothbrush, since those are the things you play with most.  You’ve also discovered that books have interesting stuff inside them, and pages to turn, and turn and turn back again and you love the fabric books that your grandma made you. 

Brusha, brusha, brusha my teeth by keeniebeanieYou began to pull yourself up to your knees in your bednest early this month, and so we finally got you a full-size crib.  I moved out of your nursery after a week or two getting you settled.  The overall transition in your sleeping arrangements was so smooth that after more than ten months of sharing space for our sleeping hours, I realized perhaps I needed you next to me more than you needed to be there.  It was certainly more convenient for me when you cry out for your bottle sometime between 4:00 and 7:00 am.  Despite that ongoing habit, you still sleep very well, drifting off to sleep easily in your crib at bedtime, rarely waking except when hungry and immediately turning over to sleep again after your bottle is emptied.  You generally sleep until a civilized hour, waking sometime after 7:30 and occasionally staying contentedly in bed until 9:00.

You crawl like an old pro now and you’ve learned to sit up properly.  Although many babies learn to sit long before now, I never propped you up, preferring to let you figure out how to safely move in and out of that position on your own.  Sure enough, once you learned to crawl, you easily achieved that accomplishment.  Your sense of pride when you found yourself sturdily sitting on your own was clearly evident.  You sit on your knees when there is something nearby to grab for balance, and if you are near a box of the right height, you get your feet under you in a position I like to call “belly up to the bar.”  It’s so fun to see you up and about like a proper young lady after months of watching you play in a prone position.  It gives you a new perspective while you are playing and it gives us a new perspective on you.

Now that you are mobile, you are typically off and into everything you can reach.  When you are trying to achieve access to the object of your desire, keeping you away from contraband items is like trying to wrestle a particularly determined eel.  Daddy has dubbed you “eel girl” and, in an homage to “The Big Bang Theory” often declares, “Eel Girl is nobody’s sidekick!”  And he’s right.  You are your own little person and this month, you’ve discovered your own will.  After months of docile compliance during changing and dressing, now you have decided that if you don’t think it’s time for such nonsense you will have none of it.  Sometimes, this means you go charging off half-dressed with your sleepsuit legs flapping behind you like a gentlemen in tails.  Temper tantrums are rare, but for the first time this month we have had a handful of moments when you’ve decided to vehemently protest the current situation.  Fortunately, as you are a good-natured little soul, these moments pass as quickly as they come.

So peaceful by keeniebeanieYour new mobility has opened up the world to you.  Up until now, we’ve spent most of our time playing at home since I believe a calm, familiar environment makes for a calm and contented baby.   Now that I know you have the power to choose where you want to be, I’ve started to take you out to places like the children’s section of the library and setting you free to explore.  I was so proud the first time we went there and you charged off confidently to check out your surroundings and meet other children, because you are fascinated by small people of any size.  These are your first steps to a lifetime of independence, and like all mothers, my wish for you is to grow up strong and confident.  It brings joy to my heart to see that strength emerge and grow from moment to moment.

Sometimes, baby girl, when I look at you my heart explodes because to me you are beautiful… sometimes achingly beautiful, and you take my breath away.  The other night, I sat next to you in the dark, listening to your slow, even breathing as you drifted off to sleep.  I could just see your profile in the soft glow of the full moon shining through your window.   I stayed there, long past the point when you were peacefully asleep, savoring the moment and a bit in awe that this, this, is my life now.  After waiting so long to become a mother and wondering whether I even would, you are here, breathing softly next to me and it is amazing.  You are amazing.

I love you with all my heart,

Mummy

Bogarting Daddy's spot on the bed by keeniebeanie

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ten Months



The Bear Series, Item IX: Ten Months by keeniebeanie

My darling Katherine,

You are ten months old, sweetness, and the last month has been a busy one.  Your daddy worked very hard to renovate the home we bought and finally get us moved in on the day you turned 10 months old.  It’s been a busy, busy month and you and I spent a lot of time at the new place while daddy worked on it, which threw your feeding and sleeping schedule into complete disarray.  But you handled it like a champ.  To keep you safe, you spent way too much time in your car seat or bouncy seat before we sorted out the playpen, affectionately dubbed “baby jail.” A couple of those car seat naps stretched to 90 minutes – about twice as long as you’ve ever napped in your entire life!  Baby girl, if I’d have known that highly-discouraged practice of carseat napping would have resulted in such long stretches of daytime sleep, I’d have tried it ages ago.  I also confess to finally resorting to the TV as a babysitter at one fussy point during the move and since this was a fairly novel experience for you it certainly kept you quiet.  When I came to check on you a short while later, your tongue was lolling out of the side of your mouth while you lazily tapped your fist against it and you were mesmerized by the screen.  I joked to your daddy that you were looking dumber already.
 
Baby Jail by keeniebeanieAt the beginning of the month, you were up on all fours with no real clue how to move forward.  It was a race to see what would occur first – the move into our new house or you learning to crawl.  You beat us by 10 days, developing a unique style to achieve forward progress; I can’t really call it crawling.  You’d crawl forward with your knees while tipping onto your chest since you hadn’t quite worked out the whole hand-over-hand thing yet.  During the three days of our move, neither the house we were departing nor the house we were moving into were safe enough for you to move around freely.  The only place you were allowed any latitude was contained safely on the bed between us, given free rein there amongst the bedding.  Daddy says it must have functioned like training in sand because once we set you back down on newly laid carpet at home, you set off like lightning, with a properly developed cross-limbed crawl that seemed to appear from nowhere.

Enjoying the last of our own apples by keeniebeanieYou now have three teeth, with your first top tooth (oddly the second one on the left rather than either of the middle two) coming through several weeks ago.  Unlike your first two bottom teeth which appeared within days of each other, your second top tooth is taking its own sweet time, giving you an adorable, slightly snaggle-toothed smile for now.  You’re getting the hang of the eating thing, though we have pretty much abandoned spoon feeding and just let you get on with it using your fingers.  It wasn’t like I was getting much food into you with a spoon anyway, once you figured out how to remove it forcefully from my hands and then very deliberately turn it around and chew on the handle.  Every. Time.  You’ve developed the fine motor skills necessary to pick up Cheerios, which have become one of your favorite foods.  You don’t eat much, really, even of things you like.  You’ve not got a big appetite, though you are adventurous (or indiscriminate) enough to try a bite of pretty much anything I set in front of you.  But you are also opinionated and will then refuse to eat things you have decided you do not like at any given moment… and those moments are tough to predict because you are a fairly capricious eater.  You are still small, weighing in at around 15.75 lbs, and your 3-6 month wardrobe still fits perfectly.  But you are gaining well and creeping up the percentile chart, so your diet must be suiting you well.
 
We’ve had so much fun playing together over the last month and I often spent time with you in baby jail at the new house while daddy worked on the renovation. One of my favorite moments was when I made an impromptu puppet out of a silicone cupcake case, and you laughed until you nearly cried.  You also play well on your own and I love simply observing you explore things.  Watching you play is like a time warp; minutes fly by and become hours while I’m absorbed in your wonderment.  I haven’t ever wished away one moment of your precious infant days, thinking I can’t wait until you learn to do this or that.  I’ve just enjoyed who you are and what you can accomplish at any given time.  It’s gone so fast, I look back and wonder at how quickly my delicious squishy newborn was replaced by this great grown proper little girl.  But know this, little one – you will always be my baby.

I love you with all my heart,

Mummy

Mummy never sits properly in her chairs either by keeniebeanie

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

9 months: How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?


Sweet Baby Katherine,

You are nine months old, my little love, and I can hardly stand how quickly the months are flying by.  We've been extremely busy in the past week and I missed your monthly weight check, but according to my scale you're weighing in right at about 15 lbs.  You cut your first tooth two weeks ago and your second one has just started to come through in the past few days.  You're such a champ that teething hasn't bothered you at all.  It caught me totally by surprise and Daddy was the first to spy the little addition that spells the end of your gummy grin.  You spend a fair amount of time chewing on your lip and twisting your tongue to explore this strange new thing in your mouth and it's adorable.

http://media.365project.org/1/4399142_acfghwy038_m.jpgYou've mastered the pivot-and-roll to get around and the days when I could be sure you were safe and sound where I left you are well and truly gone.  You scooch up with your legs on your back, or backwards with your arms on your tummy.  Sometimes the harder you try to reach something, the further away it gets.  But you don't usually mind.  I sit back and observe you try to solve the problem and when you pause and catch my eye, you beam a grin that says you are as proud and delighted with yourself as I am.  I've yet to see you lose your sense of humor and get frustrated.

I'll tell you what does amaze me - your capacity to go straight for the most expensive or delicate piece of kit anywhere in your immediate vicinity.  Some say we should do a better job keeping these things out of reach, but I just never expected that when there's a whole floor-full of toys, you'd expend so much effort trying to reach the AV equipment, laptop, remote control, mobile phone or other nearby expensive verboten item.  Fortunately, you don't yet throw tantrums when we gently but firmly remove the object of your desire.  Sometimes Daddy can't help but indulge your wish to "type" on his laptop and you've managed to execute - in short order - some fairly complex commands that he's struggled to undo.  Just a preview of the I.T. skills that will probably have you putting him to shame by the time you're about three.

Here comes trouble by keeniebeanieIn the past few days, you've started to briefly get up on all fours and it may not be long before you're crawling.  Please just hold off a little bit, baby girl.  The tiny rental house to which we brought you home from the hospital is not baby-proofable and we've just bought our very own home, with more space, including your own room and a lovely large garden to run around in.  But Daddy's working very hard to renovate it so we can move in next month and it would be handy if you stayed relatively stationary until then.

Bednest by keeniebeanie Speaking of your own room, next month will mark a big change - the first time since your first night in Special Care when you won't be sleeping right next to Mummy.  I'd be a liar if I said I won't miss it - though it's as much laziness as love, my dear.  You tend to need a bottle sometime between 1 and 4 a.m. and often again before 7 a.m., and it is much easier to roll over to feed you from the comfort of my own warm soft bed.  But apart from that, you sleep like an old pro and you've become proficient at putting yourself to sleep for naps and night-time so I rarely have to rock you to sleep to your "Snorah Jones" playlist anymore.


Last month you grew out of your bassinet and we moved you into a borrowed bednest, which will work until you're able to get up into a sitting position on your own.  It afforded you more room to twist into adorable contortions while you sleep.  You tend to sleep on your side, though a few times you've rolled all the way over and cried out only half-awake, "who the hell turned me on my tummy and why won't you people let me sleep?!"  Then there was the morning when I found you turned upside down in a crib about half as wide as you are long.  I think this photograph provides some clue as to how you accomplished that.

http://media.365project.org/1/4398338_bgimnou245_m.jpg
You're an independent little soul and you aren't a particularly snuggly baby.  You've only ever laid your head on my shoulder a handful of times, and you generally consider your position in my arms simply a new vantage point from which to view the world.  You whip your little head back and forth, checking to make sure you're not missing any crucial observations.  Those few times when I still do need to rock you to sleep, it's a bit like trying to wrestle an eel to bed. But if you wake up early and I'd like to squeeze-in a few more zzzs, the best way to do it is to pull you into bed for a co-sleeping cuddle until you fall asleep in my arms and then you are so quiet and sweet.  The other night when I happened to be insomniac for your 2 a.m. feed, I delayed putting you back in your bed for a long while after you slept, nuzzling your head, smelling your lovely milky baby scent and practically feeling the grains of sand slipping through the hour-glass.  These baby days (and nights) are fleeting and I want to savor these moments.

Yeah, she does! by keeniebeanieWhen you are awake you are generally a delight.  You play well on your own and I often hear your little dove-coo giggle pealing out over and over as you amuse yourself whilst I'm washing the dishes or engaged in some other chore.  I remember once after you'd just learned to laugh, and Daddy mentioned it to Granny saying, "She laughs all the time.  I mean, at us... it's not like she's in the corner giggling away like a looney or something."  Well, you do that now... and it's hilarious.  And then I come in to see what's so funny and you grin up at me and I laugh so you laugh and we do the giggling looney thing together.

A few days ago, while I was changing you on the floor in a pool of sunshine, you noticed for the first time the sunbeams dancing in the light.  You reached out over and over, waving your arm and trying to close your hand around the ephemeral bits of dust.  You were entranced, and I was entranced with you.  That's how I feel about these fleeting days - I want to capture them in my hand and hold onto them forever but it simply isn't possible, so I'll try to capture them with my heart.

I love you with all my heart,
Mummy

More fun than toys series: the tag and popper on her bib by keeniebeanie 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

8 months: Reach out and touch me

The Bear Series, Item VIII: 8 months by keeniebeanie
The Bear Series, Item VIII

You are 8 months old, Sweetness, and weigh in at 14 lbs 3 oz - which is 10 whole pounds more than when you were born!  This month you were all about reaching out to explore your world.  Unlike last month, when you would fling away in excitement anything you managed to get into your grasp, this month you learned how to examine closely whatever you could get your hands on.  Considering your little arms barely reach the top of your enormous head, it's astounding how much you do manage to get a hold of.  It's like you've got go-go gadget arms.

This month you also dialed in that hand-to-mouth coordination... much to your daddy's chagrin when he lost concentration whilst holding you in his lap.  You decided it was time to have a good gnaw on his thumb and he laughed and exclaimed, "Eww - it's like being eaten by a slug!"

Rosebud by keeniebeanieSometimes it seems like toys no longer interest you... though that's not strictly true.  It's just now that you have the ability to identify an object of interest, reach out and claim it as your own, you show that your natural curiosity extends to anything and everything, and not just the brightly colored toys we've provided.  A leaf, a waxed paper bag, your own socks and toes, an envelope, the breast pump tubing, my cell phone, the zippers on my backpack, the (no doubt filthy) strap that secures your car seat to the shopping cart... the world is filled with things that fascinate you.  My hair seems to be top of your list, and I wouldn't be surprised if your first words are "Leggo mummy's hair, please!"  While you are a very easygoing child, I got a glimpse of the future this month when I removed a new sunhat from your grasp to take off the tags and your little face crumpled up in distress and you threw your very first little tantrum.

Your powers of concentration surprise me as well.  I've seen you spend a solid 15 minutes examining a candy bar wrapper, your baby spoon, or the tag on your baby sleeping bag.  (Which reminds me, you love tags and labels of any sort.)  It helps that you've figured out that things don't cease to exist just because you can't see them.  If you're playing on your back and drop something by your ear, you diligently feel around until you can pick it up again.  I'm so proud of you when I watch you just get on with things, rarely exhibiting much frustration as you test the extent of your abilities.

One thing that does seem to frustrate you a bit is not yet knowing how to crawl.  You've mastered easily rolling over and can push up on your hands really well, but you haven't tried to get your knees under your hips yet, so mainly you just scooch around a bit on your back or your tummy - generally making only backwards progress and emitting comical groans of exasperation.  I'm in no hurry to have you completely mobile, so take your time, baby girl.



You still don't babble or chatter very much, though there were a couple of days last week when you discovered the "ma-ma-ma" sound and experimented with it incessantly, intonation floating up and down conversationally and generally delighting me, while daddy babbled back "da-da-da."  Then as quickly as it came, it was gone (and fortunately I captured a video.)  Perhaps you'd mastered it and had no more need to practice that particular sound.  Sometimes you do coo and squeak and you sound a bit like a baby R2D2.   Daddy calls you "Squeaky-doo" and sings "What's up Squeaky-doo?" in his best impression of Tom Jones' "What's up Pussycat?"  Someday you're going to hear that song and say, "So that's what he was trying to sing!"

Spooning by keeniebeanieYou're developing your own opinions about things.  Last month you proved you could get your bottle into your mouth, but this month you've definitively proved you prefer mummy to hold it for you.  It's difficult to get you to open up for pureed food on a spoon, except when you're already holding a spoon of your own, but you readily grab toast crusts and gum them to mush.  You used to remain placid when I cleared out your eye crusties, ear wax or boogers, but now you're so determined to keep me from messing with you that you frantically push my hands away from your face even if I'm only trying to put in your pacifier.

You're also developing a sense of humor and find it hilarious when you're looking at me upside down when you're lying on the bed, or when daddy pretends he's going to use your belly as a pillow.  Your giggles are like precious jewels to me, little one.  Laughter fills our days together, but tears are few and far between because you are such a contented little baby.

One of the finer points of parenthood that I didn't anticipate is how your days would be filled with tiny milestones that only a mother (or a father) could appreciate.  It's so much fun joining your journey of discovery, my sweet baby girl - what are you going to show me next?

I love you with all my heart,
Mummy

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