Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Status report: Month 14

I've been trying to write this post for a week, but the necessary energy and mood haven't been there. If you haven't yet heard, there's a reason why: the Overlord will, in about seven months, have competition. Let me tell you, dealing with first-trimester fatigue, nausea, and dizziness are not as much fun with a toddler as without. Even when the toddler is as awesome as Chloe has been this month. Why didn't anyone tell me one-year-olds are so much fun? And so much work.

For two days running last week, Chloe ate an entire tomato at dinner. We're not talking small tomatoes, either; these are big, meaty heirloom tomatoes from the garden, thick with sweet, meaty flesh. She eats them like candy (or, I guess, the way she would eat candy if she had ever had any). She asks for them the way she asks for everything--by pointing, and saying "dzuh?" in her best video-game sound-effect voice, and if we're not quick enough, by whining. She's getting very good at the whining. Also the screaming and kicking her feet. She's fourteen months old but she acts like a two-year-old, at least when it comes to tantrums.

She is such a big girl now. We can hardly remember when she couldn't walk, even though it's only been about six weeks. We went out to the community college where Eric teaches a class today Monday, and she and I walked all around, looking at the grass and the trees and tile in the floor and the hawk flying overheard. She hesitated at the steps, then decided she would crawl up them, and then took my hands to step down them afterward. She doesn't run, but she walks awfully darn fast. She loves to walk around in the grocery store now, but it usually takes two of us to let her; she dashes this way, and she darts that, and if we're not constantly keeping track she's likely to end up in the cereal aisle while our cart languishes in produce. Unless she decides to push the cart. It's great when she pushes the cart.

She understands and--mostly--obeys instructions we give her, and she seems to understand things like "I'll be back in a minute." She's very fond of nodding. It's not totally reliable, since she'll nod when I point to Guess How Much I Love You and then push it away when I start reading, or when Eric says "Would you like an alligator for dinner?" But she knows it's a way of communicating. We've just got to get her to figure out how to shake her head as well.

There are still no words, though she does have a special way of saying "Uh" when she's trying to get me to pick her up that I'm thinking may be her attempt to humor me when I tell her, "Say 'up,'" before I'll lift her. I'm not as worried about this as I was. She definitely understands, and she definitely communicates. She's taken to patting her diaper when she needs a change. She points to the TV to watch her show. She pulls at our shoulders to get a piggyback ride. She twists up my shirt when she wants to wear it as an apron.

One of her books is a book on opposites, with little slide panels to show the opposites. One of them is day/night, with a cloud on one half and a partial solar eclipse on the other, which perplexes us, but Chloe's favorite is the happy/sad one, which features a little girl who looks a little like her, smiling on one sad and crying on the other. Today Tuesday I said "Happy girl!" in a bright voice when the smiling girl was showing, and "Sad," in a syrupy sad voice when the crying one was showing. Chloe moved the slider back and forth as fast as she could to hear me do the different voices, and kept switching back and forth until we were both laughing.

She can point to Daddy, and Mama, and Chloe, and her ear, her eyes, her nose (if she has trouble, I say "beep beep" and she knows exactly what we're asking for), her mouth (she stuffs her hand into it), her belly, and her toes. Eric keeps working with her to add on different body parts. She can point to Mama's or Daddy's toes or ears, too, though it's best for us to have our glasses on if we ask her to point to our eyes.

We've started telling her to be "gentle" with things, and whenever we say the word "gentle" she smacks herself on the side of the head. Some things we didn't teach her.

She loves her bead necklace and bracelets, and sometimes she plays, carefully, with the one-year ring that my mom gave me and I gave her. She adores seeing herself on our phones and the camera, and gets upset when we take them away. She's started showing interest in the posters on her walls, too. We need to get her a good big family picture.

Bathtime is still our great tribulation. She won't sit down, even though she does it when we ask her other times (for example, when we need to put her socks and shoes on--she plops right down if she thinks it's time to go for a walk in her shoes). She screams when we hold her down, and if we don't hold her down she walks around, lifting one foot in the air and stomping on it. Sometimes she falls. She hasn't had a bad slip, but it's going to happen. We're going to get a bath chair tomorrow.

Otherwise, ordinary life is going just fine. She loves her Baby Galileo DVD; she likes to play with her blocks--she can stack three sometimes, if her placement is lucky--and her popper and her balls. She still loves being held upside down, and getting raspberries on her belly. Today apparently she kept rubbing her daddy's belly--for the fuzziness, we think.

We're winding down nursing, for the reason mentioned in the first paragraph. We've gotten down to only-when-she's-really-upset, which I'm hoping will ease into never, and I'll have the R.I.N.D.S. to myself for a couple of months at least. She's loving almost all foods, especially tomatoes, fruit of all kinds, cheese, and dried seaweed (the kind you use for sushi). She doesn't like being denied a bite, even if it's something you wouldn't think a girl with only eight teeth could handle. One of her favorite pastimes in the kitchen is gnawing potatoes, and the other day when I was taking apples out of the fridge to make apple pie bars with, I set them down on the floor before moving them to the counter, and that was a mistake--a delicious one, for her.

She uses a spoon, more or less, and has made forays into using a fork, but her hands are still her preferred method of food transfer. Luckily she likes washing her hands. I have this habit of sucking water from my fingers when I wash my hands, and now she's picked it up, to the point where she doesn't always wait for me to rinse the soap off her hands before sticking them in her mouth. Or mine. I'm working hard on teaching her about the rinsing part.

She's a curious girl, a loving girl, a girl fascinated with life. Fourteen months is all about being independent, for short stretches, and then running back to mama or daddy for snuggles or help getting her leg off the play table or yet another read of How Are You Peeling? or Little Cloud. I love that she's learning to entertain herself, and I love that she knows she can rely on us to be there and to help out with her difficulties. It's a beautiful age. Eric got all sentimental the other day and told her firmly, "Stop growing!" But she won't, and I think I'm glad, because she gets better every day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On the case

We went to Costco last night, and Chloë would have loved it if we weren't constantly deflecting her from other carts' paths, stopping her from running into the lady with the pretty shoes, picking her up when she refused to walk in the direction we wanted her to go, stopping her from taking another baby's blanket, moving her in and out of the cart as she refused to obey or pleaded to get down. Eric still doesn't like the idea of a baby leash, but it's growing on me.

I started feeling awful while we were there, so Eric took charge of her during the last part of the trip. We went home--sharing a nectarine between the three of us because we were all starving--and Eric fed her dinner, and I went and laid on the couch. I could see her, just barely, and she could see me over Eric's shoulder. She ate and drank happily while Eric helped her and talked to her, but she'd peek around him to look at me, with a "why are you over there?" look or a smile.

"I know, Mama's usually here at the table with us," Eric said, when he caught her doing it. "But Mama isn't always going to be here at dinner. Just like I'm not here sometimes at dinner." I lay there and was miserable, because I didn't feel good and I wanted my mommy, but I was the mommy, only I wasn't being it at the moment. I would have if I had to, I know, but I didn't, so Eric fed her dinner and got her cleaned up and put her in bed. I did go up to help with tooth-brushing and to say goodnight. I went to bed early and I feel better today, both physically and mentally. After all, I was there, and if she had needed me I would have done whatever was necessary. It just wasn't necessary. And mommies are allowed to have a break too, especially if daddies are on the case.

Friday, September 17, 2010


It's been a bad week at work and I didn't want to think about cooking, so we went to Friendly's for dinner last night. This was one of the first times we'd taken Chloë out to a restaurant by ourselves when she was going to eat table food, and we didn't think to bring her sippy cup or plate or fork. We will next time. But she did great; she took water from my straw, and then learned how to suck from the straw itself. She seemed to like it, though she got a shocked expression whenever she got a mouthful (it was ice water).

She explored the table, and my purse, and then started looking around. There was another child in a high chair down the way, a boy maybe two years old. She pointed. "Dah!" she exclaimed. She struggled to get out of the chair. So I lifted her out, and we walked toward the boy.

"We're here to say hi," I said to the boy's parents when we got there, and they smiled and told their son, "Can you say hi?" He said, "Hi," obediently, and I asked Chloë, "Can you wave?" She did, a bit, but seemed more interested in staring at the boy and trying to touch him. After a minute or two she seemed to have her fill, so I told her to wave again and they told the boy to say goodbye ("Bye," he said, possibly with more enthusiasm), and we walked back to our table.

She was thirsty again and the food was there, so we got her her own little cup with a straw, and the waitress brought us a plate to put food on for her. She got bits of bun and veggie burger and beef burger and mushroom and tomato and mozzarella, and kept stealing fries from Eric's plate. I offered her a taste of fry with ketchup once or twice, but she seemed to like Daddy's better. Eventually he wised up and turned his plate around. She also kept staring at the little boy and pointing in his direction. That stopped momentarily when we gave her little bites of our strawberry-shortcake sundae, but one of the last things she did was point again and say, "Dah," very definitely. That, I take it, settles the matter.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Also, did we mention she's adorable?

So we found the camera. What I didn't find was energy to locate the cable and fire up my laptop to download the pictures. (My desktop only recognizes the camera if it's hooked up before the computer is turned on, and not always then. It didn't used to do this. Eric just shrugs when I complain and says I need a new computer anyway. I trust my IT support will be better in the Overlord's regime.)

But I certainly have energy for bragging. Witness the Overlord's most recent accomplishments:

-She's still fond of slobbering on my shoulder, or belly, or whatever appeals to her at the moment. She did this one morning and I said, "Ew!" and took a fistful of her onesie to wipe it off. Later, she gave me a sloppy kiss, and grabbed the front of her onesie to try to wipe it off. She's still offering her onesie or shirt whenever she slobbers on me.

-We went shopping today. She pushed the cart. (I steered.)

-I cut up strawberries for a snack this morning and brought them into the living room to share. She picked up a few, with difficulty because of their slipperiness, and ate them. I noticed her fingers were red and wet, so I got a Kleenex and blotted them off. She ate another strawberry. Then she took the Kleenex from me, blotted a strawberry, and picked it up with ease. I can't positively say that she did it deliberately, or deliberately to help with her traction, but she did it a number of times and it did, indeed, help.

-After that plate was cleared, we both wanted more, so I started cutting some up. But I got lazy and sat back down with two strawberries cut up and two simply cleaned and de-leaved. She picked up one of the whole ones and took a bite. Then she offered it to me, gravely, for my own bite.

-She may have settled on a first word, "Ba," meaning bottle. Eric says so. I know earlier she was saying "Ha. Ha. Ha," earnestly, but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what it meant. "Da" is still her favorite sound, but she's started seriously branching out.

-She likes washing her hands now. Actually, she likes getting her hand wet (we do one at a time) and seizing the faucet in a death grip. I haven't yet worked out why.

-At dinner tonight, she indicated she was done, and we wiped her hands and face with a wet paper towel as usual. When she was on the floor, she picked up the paper towel and took it into the kitchen. Eric followed her to find that she was waiting in front of the garbage can. He opened it, and she deposited the paper towel into it.

-She LOVES the book How are You Peeling right now (which we didn't even buy for her). She likes the onions best. She points them out whenever one turns up on a page.

-After a Kroger trip today, I was preparing to put her into her carseat (it's front-facing now). She pointed upward. I looked up, and saw a white seagull circling us. She exclaimed, and watched with rapt eyes as it floated against the blue sky. I watched her, and then the bird. She made a scolding sound at me, and I, chastised, went back to the business of buckling her into the car.