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Picture Time!

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Wow! It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for Petals’s nine month photos. It seems like just a few days ago we were bringing her home.

Yesterday our photographer, and long time friend, Allie Mullin, came over to hang and photograph our rapidly growing child. What I like most about her, as a photographer is that she followed Zuzu’s lead and took pictures of her in her natural setting-crawling around the living room amongst her toys. By the end of the shoot, she had Petals eating out of her hand. Literally.

I cannot wait to see the pictures because I know that they’re going to be great.

Ready for the New Year

Sometimes babies have physical growth spurts, and sometimes they have cognitive ones.  It would seem that in the past two weeks, Petals has had both.  It’s been a very exciting time around here as Baby Girl has put on about two pounds, lengthened out quite a bit, and begun interacting with the world in a way that’s fascinating for the grown-ups.

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New Year, New Tricks:

  • Yesterday, Petals clapped her hands together for the very first time.  And then kept clapping.  And kept clapping!  I wasn’t sure if this was a fluke not, so of course I had to keep testing it throughout the evening.  The three of us headed out to party the night away with a few good friends, and it was great ringing in the New Year with a baby who was able to cheer with us.
  • Petals “gives kisses” by throwing her forehead (or cheeks, or nose) at someone’s face and can do this rather reliably.  She also comes at faces with an open mouth.  I’m still not sure if she’s trying to give a kiss herself or eat my face.  This started about a week ago.
  • Petals now “dances” when she hears music, bouncing up and down to the rhythm.
  • She can say “Hi, Dada” – she says this to everyone she meets – and attempts to mimic other sounds.  We could have sworn that she copied her daddy saying “Kitty Cat” last night, but it could have been a coincidence, as we haven’t gotten her anywhere close to anymore “k” sounds since then.
  • The other night she got supremely frustrated with me when I was still trying to play at about 5:00 instead of feeding her.  She screamed, crawled over to her high chair, and sat in front of it – as if that were the only way she could get the “feed me!” message across.  It worked.
  • Petals likes to play the “wiggle your body” game in her high chair.  I think that at some point I got an “attitude” head with her while eating, and she decided to copy it.  It’s a thing now.  She also likes to tilt her head to one side and enjoy watching other people do the same thing.
  • Petals LOVES Cheerios and scrambled eggs.  These have now beaten out sweet potatoes as her favorite food.  She still can’t stand to see anyone else eat anything that she’s not eating.  Don’t even think about trying to sneak a sandwich or a bowl of cereal into your gob when she’s not looking – it’s like she can feel someone trying to snag a bite without her.
  • Petals got new toys for Christmas that really seem interesting to her.  There is her baby walker (Which currently holds the Abominable Snowman in it’s passenger seat.  He’s a good companion for someone who’s just learning how to walk and falls alot, because as you know, “Bumbles Bounce”) which she still isn’t so sure about.  There is her new baby doll, which giggles, coos, and blows raspberries.  And then there are the host of other toys that help her developmentally – blocks for putting things “in” and “out”, a Baby Einstein keyboard for figuring out cause-and-effect relationships, and a teether/toothbrush from keeping her two pearly whites pearly.

New Year, New(ish) Goals

Of course every new year people set out resolutions like “Exercise” or “Eat better”, admirable resolutions made more earnest by the recent holiday excesses of eggnog and pie.  However, since I started those goals in 2011, I’m just going to resolve to keep it up for 2012.

  • One of my Christmas presents was a membership to the local YMCA.  This is awesome, because they have a nursery – staffed by some lovely people – which will make it easier to work out with a baby.  They also have Mommy and Me classes that I can’t wait to start with Zooboo.
  • I’ve also been trying to cook healthier meals on a more regular basis.  It’s not that I don’t know how to cook or don’t have any ideas about what to cook, it’s the actual doing it that’s difficult.  Between baby wrangling, grading papers, and trying to keep up with simple hygiene, it’s a lot to handle.  When it’s a choice between listening to the baby screaming in her high chair, trying to stir a hot pot of what’s-it with a baby on your hip, or sending The Hubs out to pick up some hibachi…well…the hibachi,as delish as it is, wins out too many times.  I used the past break to try to hone my quick fix meals skills.  My goal was to cook a good dinner at least five nights out of a week.  I’ll write about those unsuccessful results later.
  • I’m also going to finish the application, and actually get it in on time, for a fellowship with the local university.  This 18 month fellowship offers opportunities to conduct educational research and get some great experiences that I can take back to the classroom.  I’m tired of complaining about stagnating in my career and ready to get out there and do what it is I’ve wanted to do as far as edumcation is concerned.

Pshew!  I’ve got a lot to do in the coming months!  I’d better go get started!

“Come here, sweetheart…”

That’s what I’m hearing from the living room as I type this.  Now that Petals is mobile, she’s beginning to get into a lot more trouble.  

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To take precautions against such trouble we’ve lowered her crib, placed high interest toys around various spots in the living room, and moved the furniture closer together so that she can work on cruising without busting up that head too much.  We’re often crawling after her, cajoling her with a “come here, sweetheart…” before we give up and retrieve her from whatever she’s going to go do.  So far, this week, she’s been saved from shelves, remotes, Xboxes, beads, and hitting her head several times on various tables.  She’s pulled at the cat’s furry tail, and she’s taken a nose dive off of the bed.  She hasn’t yet thought about exploring the Christmas tree we just erected.  I’m thinking that this is coming.

As a note: Grandparents’ houses are not baby-proofed.

The occasion for the visit, though, was not a happy one.  The Boy’s grandfather, affectionately known as “Tata”, passed away last week.  (Jeremy wrote a stellar piece about him, which, fortunately, Tata was able to hear before he died.)  I cannot say enough about how much we love him and will miss him.   I can only hope that Jeremy and I can pass the lessons learned from him onto our little one.

And speaking of the little one…

The memorial service itself didn’t mean too much for Petals.  It did mean that she spent the entire past weekend meeting and re-meeting family members.  Unfortunately, it would appear that my girl has developed stranger anxiety, as she also spent the past couple of days clinging to her parents and grandparents for dear life and not getting (or allowing her parents to get) a good night’s sleep.  Her schedule was off. Her bed was off.  She has to be one of the only kids I know that would prefer sleeping in her own crib in her own room than staying with her parents.  Fortunately for us, her grandparents couldn’t let her fuss for very long before whisking her off for a soothing cuddle.

As a note: Grandparents are WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL inventions.

She’s crawling, cruising, and trying to eat everything Mommy and Daddy are.  These milestones are coming WAY too quickly!

Cruising…for a Bruising…

Since she got her teeth, Petals has been working on other developments.  Like pulling up on everything she can get her hands on.  Shower curtains, coffee tables, lamp posts, table chairs, baby chairs, crib sides, bed sides…the only problem with her pulling up is that she often can’t get back down!  Occasionally, she begins to whimper in frustration when she’s knocked down the awesome toy she’s discovered (an iPhone, shades, a box of some sort, or keys are usually her favorites) and she can’t get back down from her standing position to retrieve them.  She’s working on that pincer grasp and can pretty reliably pick up small things and aim them towards her mouth.  (Right now she’s playing with an electrical cord.  I’m watching her do it, and I’m questioning whether or not I should let her.)

Once in the vertical position, Petals has figured out how to shift around to what she wants.  She’s not very quick with it yet, but she’s working on it.  I think it took her all of two days to go from pushing herself over and propping herself to sitting position slowly to doing it on the regular.  I think it took about a week for her to go from clinging on to the side of the bed, feet dangling, to pulling up and trying to crawl over in earnest.  (I guess it’s a good thing we lowered her bed when we did!)

Speaking of crawling over things – she’s doing that too.  She keeps crawling over the edges of beds and couches – and I kept retrieving her at the last second, saving her from impact with the floor.    Last night, while on a trip to visit her Gran Nana and Tata, she made it over.  Interestingly enough, she wasn’t crawling, but just sitting.  She leaned forward a bit too far and fell off her Uncle Tim’s bed.  She landed on her face and I was sure, just sure, that she’d snapped her neck.  I picked her up and she held her face in such a horrible position and wouldn’t scream at all for about three seconds.  Then she took a sharp breath in and began hollering.  Of course, I was crying as well.  I was convinced that this time, this time really meant I was a bad mother.  Rolling off the couch – that’s nothing compared to falling face first off the bed.

I think she forgave me though.  She nursed for about ten minutes and then seemed to be as good as new.  Later, I heard that while hanging out with her dad, she tried to crawl over the edge of the couch.  He caught her by her pants.  This too made her cry.

This morning she was sitting on the bed and I on the floor.  I reached for her.  She approached hesitantly and wouldn’t continue crawling until she made sure I had a good hold of her.

I’m not sure if this is a good sign or a bad one.

Oh.  She also had ice cream last night – thanks to The Gran Nana – which she later spit up through her nose and screamed about until her grandfather came to get her.  Feeding the baby has gone…interestingly.

Teeth and Vacation!

Vacationing with a Six Month Old

“Teeth and Vacation!”  It sounds like a curse, but it’s not.  It’s just what’s happenin’ this week.

On November 21st, after screaming at impossibly high pitches all the live-long day, Petals cut her very first tooth.  This was in the midst of our first family vacation.  We went to the beach and had a most excellent time visiting friends, eating brunch (And on a Monday too, how luxe!), and generally hanging out.  Of course, as illustrated by my bi-monthly webcomic – Hot Interracial Marriage -that’s running today at Firetower Studios, vacationing with a six month old means that the things a full-grown human would find most interesting hold no appeal.

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She was amazingly uninterested in boats.

She cared very little for the fun and informative walking tour that we did of downtown Wilmington.   (Did you know that Robert E. Lee’s mother was buried alive?  A year before she gave birth to him?!  Petals didn’t care about the possible historical ramifications of the sexton not returning to the mausoleum when he did.  “What would the world have been like if Robert E. Lee had never been born?!” I asked her.  She squealed and banged on her tray.  I think that was baby for, “I don’t really care for historical suppositions and hypotheticals, Mom.”)

She had even less interest in sand and cold salt water and couldn’t seem to understand why anyone would spend good time and energy walking along a beach. I tried sticking her feet in the waves and she screamed.  I tried settling her down in some sand and she kicked until we picked her up again.  It may or may not have helped that she was sorely in need of a nap at the time that we tried all this.

She did have fun with one thing though.  Dining out meant that there were many more tables to clear off, a lot more food to try, plenty of napkins to render unrecognizable, and so much stuff to chew on that she didn’t know where to begin first.  And though she didn’t find the same things enjoyable that we did, I trust that one day we’ll be able to share these big things – boats, beaches, boardwalks – with her.  For right now, we’ll enjoy watching her discover the taste of lemons, the ability to pull up on a chair, and what exactly happens when you try to bat a friendly cat on the butt.   Ergo: Family Vacation = Success!