Saturday, June 26, 2010

Big girl

The last couple of days Chloë has seemed...old. Eric has been bewailing her upcoming birthday, saying, "She's not a baby any longer!" I have poo-poohed this, saying she's definitely still a baby until she can walk, and as far as I'm concerned until she can tell me herself that she's not. But just in the last few days I've noticed how very much she's grown. How she has goals of her own, and opinions, and how she manages to tell me what she wants, even though she doesn't have words. How she's patient with me when I lug her places, but impatient when she can see I've cut up some strawberries but all she's got in front of her is crummy bread. How she understands when I tell her "no shoes" (and cries because of it) or when I start playing Pattycake or This Little Piggy with her, even if she's not actually interested. What a big girl she is. I still think she's still definitely a baby, but her toddler self is starting to peek through.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Status report: Month 11

As year one of Project L.E.O.: Phase 2 nears its end, I'm reflecting on how different my life was before Chloë was born. When the house was quieter, cleaner, less full of baby laughter. When the kitchen and living room weren't littered with toys and books and random kitchen implements. When we could put small things within three feet of the floor. And when someone wasn't always watching me.

Eleven months is pretty awesome. She laughs a lot, especially on the Daddycoaster and when she's upside down. She also laughs when things simply strike her as funny, which is new and charming. She's so communicative, especially for someone who can't actually talk yet--though I haven't yet felt that she needs to. She's observant and curious, looking and moving everywhere--not quite walking yet, but she's starting to think about it. She's let go and supported herself on her own two legs and nothing else for a few seconds at a time. Then she eases down into a squat, or falls over, and doesn't seem to think much of it. But Eric and I always catch our breath, wondering if this will be the time she decides this new way of moving is for keeps.

Separation anxiety is still in full swing, though it's not crippling. There are still times when she cries in mingled rage and grief when I put her down, but from all reports she gets over it very quickly when I leave for work in the morning (including today, when she stayed with Grandpa Snyder and Nana because Eric is in Columbus) and she's happy to wrestle with her daddy even when I'm there sometimes.

She loves her music; Eric's been playing it for her when they're home together and she sways and bounces along. She's got a Baby Einstein video (the astronomy one) and is mainly interested in it for the faces, but she listens to the music as she's playing with her toys. She's getting a lot of mileage out of her toys with well as anything around the house with buttons. She's also getting a big kick out of the concept of "in." I finally understand the purpose of the toy aquarium Holly gave her. And she likes her books--especially turning the pages.

Bath time has suddenly become a bit of a trial. She screams and protests when we put her in the water now, for no good reason we can tell. She can still be soothed by her rubber duck and her Sandra Boynton bath book, but bathtime isn't as fun as it used to be. I'm hoping this phase passes quickly.

Food is still exciting and awesome. She loves fruit, particularly the raspberries from our patch outside the back door, and now when we go back and forth from the house to the car she says "Na da?" and gestures toward them. But she also eats her veggies.

(Hey, anything that keeps her occupied when we're making dinner is good.)

She's ahead of her age--or at least ahead of the advice we've been reading for her age--on food. She's got six teeth, which we brush every night, but we don't think it's the teeth doing it. She's decidedly lukewarm about baby food these days, but she loves anything she can feed herself: fruit, soft veggies, scrambled egg, tofu, pasta, beans, bread, crackers, rice, cheese. She loves getting food from one of our plates...and has started feeding herself, a little. We started letting her use a spoon a couple of weeks ago, gingerly, cringing at the mess. There was a mess.

But, quickly, she got the idea, and if we load up her spoon she can now get it in her mouth with no trouble. She attempts to get the food onto the spoon, too, but her idea of doing that is to stick it in the container of food, which doesn't usually get her much, especially if she's holding the spoon upside down. Which she usually is. She holds her sippy cup upside down most of the time, too.

She's showing signs of being a lefty. I'm thrilled.

"Da" is no longer the only syllable in her vocabulary, which also pleases me. "Ma ma ma" has shown up, as have "Na na" and "Ba" and, one evening when I said it first, "Eh." She doesn't have any actual words yet, but sometimes she releases the R.I.N.D.S. and looks up at me and says "Da?" and I know she's asking something, but I haven't figured it out yet. She does know what "no" means, especially "no shoes" and "no biting." And she's got intonations when she babbles. Eric and I will both babble back to her, and we'll have a whole conversation that way as if she's really asking questions and we're really answering: "Da da da." "Da da da?" "Da!" "Da da da da..." She'll gesture to things she wants, like her sippy when we've removed it, or to the other container of food when she's tired of the one we're currently feeding her. She pushes her food tray away when she's done eating. She reaches up to be held and squirms away to be put down. Who needs words?

She's still very chubby, though not quite as much as before, we think. Her feet are starting to show some hints of arches, and her hands are plump and strong. Her hair has grown out enough that it's seriously starting to get in her eyes. Eric bought some cute little hairclips, and her Nana gave her a hairband today for a little Pebbles-style ponytail. I can't decide whether she's more adorable with her hair up or down.

She is into EVERYTHING. No drawer or cabinet is safe. No DVD or book goes unmolested. Her instinct to put everything in her mouth has abated a little, which is a relief, especially since I often find her with a bit of plastic or tissue in her hand. If I ask her, most of the time she deposits it in my hand, which is nicer than prying it out from between her teeth. The house is mostly babyproofed, though we're not militant about it, and we have baby gates up, but she still finds things to explore. She's our little adventurer, ready to take on the world.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I feel pretty, oh so pretty

First, the overlord says welcome! to newly-born baby Kenneth, a possible future consort. She advises him to enjoy the rubber duck--it's delicious.

Miss Chloë has decided that an overlord should be well-groomed, and has therefore started practicing. We brush her six teeth every night (or occasionally morning if she falls asleep before we get to that point), and although she tends to cover the lower two with her tongue she enjoys it. Lately she's started taking the brush and trying to brush herself. Then she brushes mine. Then Eric's. She does the same thing with her brush and comb; her hair is now lying flat and getting long enough to get in her eyes, so I've been brushing it to the side. She grins and squinches her eyes closed when I do it, then grabs for the brush and smooths it over her head. Usually she either uses the back of the brush or, if she accidentally applies the correct side to her head, makes it all stand up wildly. Luckily she's naturally beautiful, so it doesn't much matter. So far she's been trying to brush my teeth with it, but I expect before long my hair will be getting roughed up too.

We took her for some studio pictures on Sunday. She was a little grumpy and clingy, but consented to smile long enough to get some good pictures. She also stole a rubber duck. (Actually, that's not true. We stole it. We all went outside for a family picture and the photographer's duck was the only thing keeping her happy, and then when we went inside the duck got grabbed and stuffed into the diaper bag with everything else and we forgot to take it out again.) She's been fondling it ever since. We plan to return it (after a good washing), but I'm a little concerned that she's so pleased about this theft. I want her to think bigger, more ambitious. Ostriches at least.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Growing Up, Going Up.

Recently Chloë has been climbing up the pair of stairs that leads to a large landing, which hasn't been a problem so far--mostly the landing is baby-proof. Today she decided to go a wee bit farther. Noticing this, I got behind her to keep her falling.

With a bit of encouragement, she made it all the way to the second floor. No pictures because, well, I was there for safety and not for pictures.

We need a second baby gate.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Feeding from what?

Chloë's last day at daycare was yesterday. I delivered cookies and a card (with picture and gift card) in the morning, and Eric watched Miss Mindy beg for "one more hug," before he took her away in the evening. "I'm sorry for Mindy," Eric said. "And I hope Chloë will be okay." Daddy Daycare opens on Monday.

Today, we went to the mall for haircuts and books. Chloë was irritable and eventually I realized this was probably because she was hungry, so we sat down on a cushioned chair near the food court to nurse while Eric paid for books.

A boy, maybe twelve years old or so, wandered by and peered at us. "How old's your baby?" he asked.

"Ten months," I said.

"What's it doing?" he said.


"What's that?"

"Feeding," I said.

He moved a little closer. "Feeding from what? There's no bottle."

"Feeding from me." A couple of his friends had joined him and were looking, too, and Chloë chose that time to let go of the R.I.N.D.S. and stare at them. I pulled down my shirt and said "Could you--?", waving my hand to indicate they should go.

They moved off, and I resettled Chloë on the R.I.N.D.S. I'm not sure whether the boy genuinely didn't know what was going on, or was just looking for a chance to ogle and/or get me to say "breast." I've had to explain what I was doing before to the kids at daycare, but they're three. Either way, he's probably lucky Eric wasn't there.