Friday, November 21, 2014

Two Years Old: My Name is Baffrin!

 



Katherine,

You are two years old, my little love.  I often wonder how it's possible that time seems to have passed so quickly when I can also barely remember not having you in our lives.  You weigh 27 pounds and stand right about 3 feet tall.  I have to guesstimate that height because it's not like you ever stand still long enough for me to measure properly.

Your sport adorable curls that resist all attempts to tame them, and it gives you an air of permanent bedhead.  You love your "bunkie" - any one of a number of muslin cloths that function as a cuddle blanket - along with your Bear and Hare and Tigger (who you only recently stopped calling by an "ooh-ohh-ah-ah" sound because you think he looks like a monkey) and Pooh.  You like to throw your bunkie over Mummy or Daddy to make us "go to sleep" and then proudly announce that "Mummy/Daddy is peeping" before yanking the bunkie away to wake us up and then laugh and laugh.

It's been ages since I've written your last letter at 18 months, and the biggest development is that you are now properly talking.  I wish that I had documented the progression in real time, but this summary will have to do.

By around 19-20 months, you had developed a litany of animal sounds, along with a short list of words that included: Mama, Daddy, night-night (used for bye-bye), up, flower, bubble, whisper, shhh, row-row (a request for row-row-row your boat), and most impressively at the time, glitter and triangle.  Your range of vocabulary comprehension was wide, as it was clear that you understood the names of parts of your body, foods, animals and words from songs, but you weren't really one for copying what we said, so it was always a delightful surprise when you came out with a new word.  You remained at this stage of verbal development for quite a while, adding a few words here and there like milk, juice, cheese, shoes, Bear, Hare, balloon... you know, the important ones.

You absolutely love counting, bringing Daddy or me books or counting toys and listening raptly while we counted out loud for you.  For a long while you would "count" by saying "three-two-three-two" while you ticked items off, and soon you developed your own sequence that went, "two-three-four-five-eight-BALL!" and you were so proud of yourself.  Then one night when you didn't want to sleep, you sat up and counted out from one to ten perfectly, and there you are.  We could hardly believe it.

Something happened around 22-23 months, all of a sudden you were talking up a storm, and there's no stopping you now.  You started copying all the words we say, speaking in sentences, using please, thank you and your welcome (coo-celcomb!), naming shapes, colours, days of the week, foods, places.  You've even become quite conversational, once saying "I am a cat.  Meow!"  When I responded, "Are you being a cat?" you patiently said, "Yes, Mummy, I'm a cat."  It charmed me completely that you weren't just using words for critical communication, but adding the social niceties too.  "Oh, dear," you say when something seems amiss... and much to my shame, the occasional "dammit" has slipped out as well. 

I'm very pleased that you finally say your own name, too, because for a long time you were chatting away about all the other children and teachers at nursery, but hadn't attempted your own name - preferring the more proper use of the pronoun "I" to the odd construct of referring to yourself in the third person.  Then one day I coaxed you to say "my name is Katherine," and you finally claimed it as your own...  with an adorable version that sounds something like "Baffrin."
 
I have nursery to thank for a lot of your progress.  The other day, you pooped on the potty there, when I had no idea you might be gearing up for potty training.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, but I don't have a village here, so although I pay dearly for your care, nursery is my village and I feel very, very lucky that you are so content there.

You've learned so much at nursery...this morning we were playing with your Winnie-the-Pooh number puzzles and you showed me that you can identify the numbers 3, 4 and 6.  When you did that with my phone the other day,  I thought it might be a coincidence, but to my surprise you actually know this stuff!  You also know the letters Z, K, and H.  With your love of music, you really enjoy song time at nursery, learning your own versions of "twinkle-twinkle," "happy birthday," "itsty-bitsy spider," "baa-baa black sheep," and with the coming of Christmas, "little donkey" all of which you sing to me in the car on the way home. 

You've got a mind like a steel trap and I'm often surprised at the things you remember and repeat back to me out of the blue.  Listening to you "read" all the crucial points of "Are You My Mother?" based on the countless times you've heard it from us is truly one of the most heart-warming moments of my parenthood journey so far, along with the time you threw your bunkie over both of our heads and planted a kiss on my nose, and the time you hid in a play tent and then called out in your sweet little voice "Mummy.... I miiiissss youuuuuu."

While it's been two or ten or twenty steps forward with your language, it's also been a few steps back in the parenting journey because about a month ago, your nighttime sleep patterns fell apart completely.  Although you still sleep through 40-50% of the nights, when you do wake up, it's no longer a simple matter of five minutes or so to get you back to sleep.  No, it can be an hour or two, and on a particularly horrible night last week it was 3.5 hours before you slept again.  Since you've always been a fairly good sleeper, this is totally new to me (well, since your newborn days) and I'm not going to lie - it has been terribly difficult.  They don't use sleep deprivation as a torture technique for no reason.  I can't figure out the pattern leading to the good nights and the bad nights, but I'm hoping desperately that this phase, too, shall pass... and soon.  When you are awake you like it best if I curl up around you and you can shove your feet in the crease between my thighs... and if you can't get your feet comfy that way you get quite cross, my adorable little weirdo.
 
You are fiercely determined and independent and sometimes this is frustrating for both of us, as you try unsuccessfully to dress yourself, while I try to negotiate giving you some help so that we can get underway within a reasonable time frame in the mornings.  You refuse to be transported in the pram, preferring to walk yourself and last week you walked nearly a mile and a half when we were on a "Christmas Tree Adventure" to view the lights at Windsor Castle. 

You know your own mind, and are surprisingly adamant about certain things - approaching them in your own time, like refusing to wear your wellies (rain boots) despite frequently trying to get them on yourself.  You just don't like the way they feel.  But then one day at nursery, while all the other children were putting on their boots, you put yours on and went outside to play like it was no big deal.  Or when you received a birthday present all wrapped up and couldn't believe my audacity at trying to show you how to unwrap it.  You were so distraught at my wanton destruction of your pretty package that I had to tape the torn corner back up again.  Then two days later you just decided it was time to open it and did so like you'd been opening presents all your life.

On the other hand, on most issues you are reasonable when reasoned with, provided I am patient and give you long enough to either decide that your desires converge with mine or process the fact that it is inevitable I will get my way, because after all, I'm the mum.

Huh, that still surprises me now and then... I'm a mum!  But I am so very, very lucky that I get to be mum to you.

I love you with all my heart.

Mummy

 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

18 months: She's a Soul Girl



Dear Katherine,

You are 18 months old, my little love, and you have grown and changed so much.  Often when I look back over the past weeks while writing these letters, I’m surprised how much you’ve changed when I wasn’t looking.  But in the past two months, it feels like I can see you getting bigger right before my eyes.  When I took you into nursery after a four-day break at Easter, the ladies there swear that they could tell you’d grown over the weekend! You weigh about 24 pounds and sport an impressive little pot belly (your “tickly cheese belly”) that you pull your top up to expose and pat like someone that’s finished a particularly satisfying meal.  You’ve just recently cut your incisors, so that makes 16 teeth.  And bless you, my sweet child, for in the past month you’ve drifted into the lovely habit of sleeping straight through the night.

The big news is that you’re officially a toddler now.  Although you’ve been taking steps since about about 17 months old, it was exactly 10 days ago that you decided walking is your preferred method of getting around, even though crawling is faster for you.  The experience is still novel to me, watching you stagger about with your hands curled up to your shoulders for balance.  For a long time, you wouldn’t walk if you thought anybody was watching you, but now you are so clearly proud of your new-found locomotion that I find myself beaming right back at you.

Your verbal vocabulary hasn't really expanded significantly, though you now readily say Daddy and Mum-ma and there’s no question that you mean us when you say it.  You understand so much, though, and are surprisingly easy to reason with.  The first, and only, proper word that you spontaneously use in proper context is “up!”  When you say it comes out with a forceful “UH!” followed a beat later by a precisely breathed “puh” which I find adorable.  You point to noses and ears and eyes and feet.  You also love books, especially the one with lots of pictures to help you learn words.  You point and point and point to hear me say the words, and make the sounds for the animals you know (duck and fish).  A couple of days ago you delighted us by making a monkey sound, which you must have learned at nursery since you didn’t hear it from us.  Then you delighted us even further by making that sound while pointing to your stuffed Tigger.  It was only when we looked with fresh eyes we realized that he does rather look like a monkey.  Another charming habit is when you get to the end of a book and close the cover, you wave bye-bye to it, usually a split second before you open it up to “read” it again.

In addition to books, which you generally prefer to toys, you also love music.  At nursery, one of the staff plays a guitar, and the first day she played when you were there, you weren't content to sit in a circle with the rest of the children.  No, you charged up to her, pulled yourself up and stood there right next to the guitar, held to rapt attention, dancing away.  You absolutely loved it.  We experienced something similar here at home.  Although we noticed you always seem to enjoy music, when Daddy put on the album Soul by Seal, and you were completely captivated.  You dropped what you were doing, walked up to the hi-fi, pointed at it, then started grinning and grooving and didn't stop through at least three songs.  We’d never seen such an intense reaction from you – well, except once when you saw some people rock climbing on TV.  It was a strange thing, that rock climbing thing – almost like you recognized it.
  
Speaking of nursery, you love it there and they love you.  It has been a pleasure watching you grow into yourself as your world has expanded.  One of the strangest adjustments for me, after the 15 months that you and I were practically inseparable, is to know that you now have a whole set of life experiences that I know almost nothing about and you can’t yet share with me.  But I feel so fortunate that you have settled in so well that you usually smile and blow kisses as I walk out the door and you sit down for breakfast with your little best friend.
  
The most amusing development is that you have become a precise little mimic.  You play peekaboo behind your little muslin like I've always done, or even more adorably, by covering up your mouth (but never your eyes) with two little hands.  The first time I noticed how intently you try to emulate me is when you got a hold of my moisturizer, then swiped your finger across the top of the lid and began to stroke your face in a nearly perfect imitation of my application technique.  A few days later, you watched your daddy polish off the last of the milk straight from the jug, then picked it up and spent the next 15 minutes pretending to take swigs of it yourself and making daddy do the same, and you laughed and laughed and laughed.  This is when the rubber hits the road, in parenting terms.  Never has it been clearer that I must now model the behaviour that I wish to teach you, because you are watching every move and taking it all in.  You continually surprise me with what you absorb, learn and reflect back to us and I can’t wait, my little love, to see what you’ll show me next.

I love you with all my heart,
Mummy

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