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 buttons...as 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.