Saturday, August 14, 2010

Growing Up

It's amazing to me how quickly Baby is growing into her own little person. She is starting to make her own decisions already and assert her independence. She's also showing new skills every day and I look forward to each new thing she does.

Recently she started deciding whether or not she wanted a specific toy. Previously I would hand her an item and she would take it and put it in her mouth. Now she is obvious about whether or not she wants that toy. If I try to give her something, she will look at it then either reach for it or not. She knows what she wants and will reach for something only if she wants it, not if I want her to want it.

Another thing Baby has started doing is getting mad if I take something away from her. For example, I usually give her a little lotion bottle to play with when I change her (I always forget to bring a toy with me when I put her on the changing table, and I have to give her something or she will try to roll all over the place to look and grab for things. So far the lotion bottle has fascinated her). However, when I take it away she will make little "uuuhhhh" noises or even start to cry or grab for it. Then I carry her away and she finds a new toy to play with.

Baby also likes to reach for and grab faces. When I'm nursing her she will reach her little arm up to my face and try to grab my mouth or my nose. She does this with other people when they are holding her. I think she is starting to notice different features.

She has also discovered the concept of up. Before, everything used to be down. She would look down at the ground. She would look down at toys. She would hold toys down in front of her. She would look down when being pushed in her stroller.
Now the new concept is up.

She will look up when we walk around. She will look up into our faces. She will look up at the sky and the trees when she is in her stroller. A really cool thing she does lately is hold a toy out at arms length up above her, look at it, then maybe put it in her mouth. She's beginning to use her other sense of looking at things as well as touching and tasting them. I also caught her smiling as she was shaking a rattle, listening to it. She's really learning to use her senses to learn about her environment.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Today I Cried

Baby has been going to daycare for a whole week now. That's full time, without being brought to Mommy at lunchtime to eat. Does she eat when she is there? Not this week, but that's another post. This one is about me this morning.

I love waking up and hanging out with Baby in the mornings. She is so inquisitive and full of goofy grins. She'll crawl around on the floor and play while I get ready, consistently looking up at me to make sure I'm paying attention, and she'll break into these sappy, adoring smiles. I just love it.

This morning, however, was different.

Baby woke up and there were no smiles for Mommy. I tried to play with her and sing to her, which usually causes her to smile, but she didn't even want to look at me. She just kept a blank stare on her face, or went and crawled after the cat (whom she did smile at).

I changed her and tickled her, yet another thing that usually gets a smile, but still I got nothing. It was like I wasn't even there.

I dropped her off at daycare, where she smiled at Miss M.

I cried.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Evolution of Crawling

Baby just turned six months old. She's such a big girl! To celebrate her half-year birthday, she decided to crawl.

This was something she'd been working on for quite a long time. First, she conquered rolling over from her back to her stomach. In only one direction. She quickly became an expert at one-way rolling over and entertained and exasperated her parents when she would do it at night when she was supposed to be sleeping.

Next she figured out how to rotate herself around and grab all kinds of things. She combined this with her ability to roll over and was able to chase after toys just out of her reach. Her parents also found her facing the wrong way in her bed quite often.

Next, she learned how to push herself up on her hands, with the rest of her body hanging down. What is that, dolphin pose or something in yoga? Baby is a pro at that one.

The next skill she discovered was using her pushup pose, then tucking her knees under her body. She was so excited that her tummy wasn't touching the ground. She would rock back and forth, then plop back down onto the ground. Oomph.

Somewhere in here she taught herself how to roll in all direction. She became a multi-directional roller, if you will. Front, back, left side, right side, she conquered them all.

After that came her walrus hobble, with her knees tucked, arms in pushup pose. She figured out she could hurl herself forward, plop down on her tummy to move an inch or two, and repeat. She got pretty good at this one.

Then one day not so long ago, she discovered that her arms were controllable as well, especially when in the previous pose. They were most useful for grabbing the cat by the tail. Thus, Baby learned how to balance herself with one arm outstretched, reaching for all she was worth (while the cat inevitably ran away).

Baby's next attempt was to get her knees up under herself, alternate moving them, and move her left arm forward at the same time. However, when it came time to move her right, she was at a loss (does this mean she will be left-handed?), so she would plop forward and begin again.

The afternoon of her half year birthday, she put it all together and amazed us as she thoughtfully and purposefully crawled correctly (toward the cat, of course). She brought her knees up. She was poised with her arms in pushup pose. Then slowly the knees started. Then the left arm, and finally the missing step, the right arm. She crawled all the way across the living room floor, then plopped down, sprawling arms and legs out to her side, doing a belly flop onto the carpet (staring mournfully up at the cat who was just out of reach). But she had done it.

Happy half-year birthday, Baby.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rugburn

My poor little Baby has rugburn on her chunky little knees. She is so good at getting her knees up under her when she attempts to crawl, but every time they slip out from under her she adds a little bit more to it.

It doesn't seem to bother her. It just doesn't look very pretty. I mean, it looks like rugburn. If you don't know what that looks like, feel free to crawl around on the rug and have your knees slip out from under you thirty times or so. It actually gets pretty painful, I think, but Baby is oblivious. She is just so excited that she is up on her knees and that she can chase the cats around (usually she will do her walrus walk up to them, then right when she is in arm's reach they will run away, leaving her with a forlorn, wistful expression as she gazes after them).

It's summer time, so I've been dressing her in shorts, skirts, sundresses(have I mentioned I love having a baby girl? Summer dresses are the cutest things!), and the like. Her knees are always exposed so they are taking a beating. If I put her in pants, she will be too hot, and I don't want her overheating. I don't really feel like having a stranger come up to me to tell me that I should not be dressing my daughter in pants in three-digit weather (what, you don't think they would do that? Ask anyone with kids, people will put in their two cents wherever you go). Not a conversation I want to have.

I thought about baby knee pads, but haven't seen those around. Maybe I can invent them and make a killing. Anyone want to invest? I can color coordinate.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Three Teeth

No, this post is not about Baby magically having three teeth overnight. Last I checked, she had zero, and I am okay with that. She is quite possibly teething as she likes to chomp on things, but this has been going on for a few months, so who knows. She'll get teeth when she gets them.

This post is about a trip Baby and I took to Subway (see I can eat healthy!). We were sitting in a booth waiting for Husband to bring us our food when a lady with a baby came in. We got to talking and comparing our children (everyone tells you not to do this, but the temptation is irresistible). It turns out that her daughter was a few weeks younger than Baby.

The lady asked me if Baby had any teeth, and I told her no. She then proceeded to tell me that her daughter had three teeth. Three! She had two on the bottom and one on the top, clear as day (the teeth weren't clear, they were easy to see). I was amazed.

The mom said her daughter had started teething around three months and it was really difficult because her daughter didn't have the hand control to hold teething rings to her mouth at that point in time. I could only imagine.

I asked her about solid foods and the lady said she gives her bread and crackers to chew on, since she has the teeth to use. Makes sense. I've only given Baby rice cereal and a few veggies so far. But she doesn't have any teeth with which to chew.

The mom also said she was still breastfeeding her daughter and that she had been bit a couple of times, but her daughter learned that it was not okay after the mom scolded her. I am not looking forward to those days. I am, however, glad that Baby will be able to hold her own teething rings.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The State Fair

We took Baby to the State Fair this past weekend. I wasn't sure how she would do outside in the heat sun for so long, but we thought we would just take it easy and go from there.

She fell asleep in the car on the way, so we gently eased her from her carseat into her stroller. Surprisingly, she stayed asleep. I've learned the trick is to cover her so that she thinks it is dark out and therefore can't be distracted by things to look at. Sounds don't really matter. She's so used to hearing different background noises by now that she can pretty much tune it all out.

After strapping her in, I covered her stroller with a blanket and we wheeled her through security. They searched my diaper bag, and I was really surprised they didn't want to look under the blanket to make sure there was really a baby. I mean, I could have packed a fake diaper bag and then fit a bomb or something under the blanket. I guess Husband and I just don't fit the bomb-toting profile.

Baby did wake up and we took the blanket off to let her look around. She is so cute when she is in her stroller. She wants to sit up and stare at everything around her, all the while clutching her blankie with both hands and making a serious thinking face. Adorable.

We made a beeline for the animals, although I was getting distracted by the food. Hello, food! No, we did not try any deep-fried chocolate covered bacon this year. Instead Husband got a slushie and I had a yummy ice cream mocha (decaf of course) drink thing. While in line for my drink we got lots of compliments on how cute Baby was and what a great stage of life this is since she can't run around everywhere yet. I totally agree. The nice lady talking to us told us she would see us the next year.

We found a tent where people could milk a cow or a goat. The handlers were educating the audience on how to do it and mentioned that the animal could get mastitis if it wasn't done properly. I wanted to add in that breastfeeding moms can get it, too, but didn't feel it would be right to shout it out. Instead, I told Husband. He was not impressed.

After listening to the cow/goat spiel, Baby decided she wanted to have a blowout. Right in the middle of the animal tent. We had just arrived, so of course I should have expected it. Luckily I had an extra outfit with me. We pulled her stroller off to a semi-secluded spot and stripped her down. Husband and I had a pretty good system going with him handing me wipes and me handing him back dirty items to put in the trash bag. I was disappointed we had to change Baby so soon, though. I had dressed her in cute little overalls just for the fair. At least I got a few good pictures in before the event.

After that we took Baby around to all the animals and she got to pet a sheep and a few cows (don't worry, I washed her hands after the fact. No way was she going to contract some barnyard disease). We took her to the nursery as well and got to see all the baby animals. They were so cute and just her size.

She did really well all day. I found a secluded spot on the bleachers where it was nice and shady with a cool breeze to nurse her (although after I sat down, like ten other people did too. Hello, there was no show!). I think only one or two people figured out what I was doing, and soon left. Later that day we found a grassy spot to nurse her as well, although it wasn't as nice as the bleachers.

Baby was even able to take a nap during the fair. Husband was holding her as we walked around some of the art exhibits and she just conked out in his arms. He didn't even notice until I went to take a picture of them together and saw she was sleeping. We laid her down in her stroller and she took a nice little nap.

We also took her on the monorail. Husband and I were able to get our own section, so he sat across from me and we took turns holding her to look out over the fair. She loved it and was all smiles, so we got a few really cute pictures.

On the way out we viewed our pictures that we had been pestered to take earlier(you know the people with gigantic cameras around their necks right when you walk in through the gates). They were terrible and both Husband and I decided we were going on a diet. Plus, Baby was sleeping in her stroller at the time, so she wasn't even in them. Not worth buying. Next year should be interesting as she will (hopefully) be walking and wanting to run around.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Being a teacher, I try to instill respect in my students; respect for their peers, respect for property, respect for those in authority, etc. We talk about what it looks like to respect people and their things and give specific examples (i.e. if you borrow a pencil, don't break it and make sure you return it). The kids know they are supposed to respect people, but aren't always sure about what that means.

There a tons of ways to show respect, but the one I've been contemplating lately is how Baby should address people (I know, she can't talk yet, but I want her to have it in her little brain).

I have this major pet peeve when children call adults by their first names. Calling someone by his or her first name means that you are both on equal standing and have mutual respect for one another. With adults, that's totally fine. However, I believe children are not on the same level as adults. They have a lot to learn from those older than them and should remember this when speaking to an adult. Thus, addressing an adult with a title.

When Baby and I visit people, I tell her, "Look, there's Mr./Miss so-and-so (first name is fine)." However, my latest issue is whether or not she should call someone Miss/Mr. or Auntie/Uncle. I have a lot of friends with kids who have been taught to refer to me as Auntie, which I totally love. Even though we are not blood relatives, we are so close that we are practically family. It makes it easy to decide that Baby will in turn call the adults in their family Auntie or Uncle.

But what about my friends who don't have children and who haven't made that decision for me? This is a serious matter that I have to think about. Do I want my child calling all of my friends Auntie or Uncle? Will they get offended if I don't? Will they think we're not close friends and disown me and Baby? How does one decide this?

My conclusion so far is that if you were in my wedding, or married to someone who was in my wedding, then you are an Auntie or Uncle (of course, blood family is included in this, which is a given since they were all in my wedding). If you were not, then you are Mr. or Miss. We'll see how that works out.

That brings me to the next question, of what Baby should call the parents of my friends whom I deem Auntie or Uncle. They are not her grandparents, so no Grandma or Grandpa, but is Mr. or Miss (insert first name here), too informal? We'll just see how long we can go without addressing them before I'm forced to make a decision.