Monday, January 28, 2013

Sign language

Dear Pea,
I forgot to mention another great milestone: you sign!  We have been teaching you ASL for some basic things like "milk", "all done" and "more." You have invented your own interpretations of these signs and now we've recognized your interpretations and we all understand each other. It's so amazing!! For "milk" which is a hand squeezing like you're milking a cow (which I never liked anyway) you rub your thumb and pointer finger together or make a pincer grip. "All done" is both hands in the air and you use it at the table when you want to get out of your high chair (but aren't necessarily finished eating) and when you want to get out of the bath. So, I guess you've taken the sign for "all done" and taken it to mean "I'm ready to change my seating arrangement." More you've got down cold. Both hands come together in front of your face. Sometimes you clap for this one, too.  But it's very very cool to have you be able to communicate with us without getting frustrated. Now we need to learn more signs and expand this budding vocabulary!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Trusting you

Dear Pea, 
I've been having a hard week. I've been missing my mom a lot. I've been worried about your small appetite and small stature and wishing I could hear about what I was like as a baby. Was I small? Did I like bananas? (Sweet Pea, you detest bananas.) When did I walk? Motherless mothering is really fucking hard. And I've really been sitting with it as you steadily decrease on the charts, as you happily turn up food that your pals are devouring, as you remain content to crawl while your peers toddle. I felt so helpless and worried and like such a BAD mom. But I was also curious. I know I was a breastfed baby, but for how long? How much? Was it on demand, as you are or was I scheduled? Did I nurse past six months? Not that it really matters, but these are the conversations I wish I could have these days. And then, in the midst of all of this, you completely stopped eating. You still nursed, but you refused all food except breast milk.  I was really worried then, going over and over in my head all the ways I'd fucked you up *already!* around food, resorting to offering you those ridiculous baby crackers that I despise (and which you still refused).  And then, maybe 24 hours into this food strike, you started vomiting. 


No wonder you weren't eating! You didn't feel well.

And then, maybe 24 hours after you started throwing up, my therapist friend (who nursed her two beautiful healthy daughters on demand) called to chat. She told me her oldest daughter was the same weight as you at a year, that she never had a big appetite, that she's still petite and that she's *fine*. That you babies are so smart and know what you need and will eat food when you get hungry for food.  That I'm not a bad mom. 

And everything was okay again! (Well, not my mom being dead. That's never going to be okay.) I was recommitted to not force feeding you, to not giving in to the pressures and ease of the disgusting "normal" American way of eating, to following your lead. During this latest bug, I felt so much more present and in tuned with you. You just wanted to snuggle, to nurse, to read books, to be held. I can do that. I did do that, happily. I was the mom you needed. I got puked on. But the week got easier.

Picture face!

 Massive playdate

Who wants to walk when you can climb? We don't call you "monkey" for nothing!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pointing and pushing

Dear Pea,
You have discovered pointing. You point out things that interest you, things that you want to tough and things that you want to eat. We keep a bucket of (low sugar, organic) animal crackers above the refrigerator and you often point to those...oy.  You will also hold up one finger when we ask how old you are. Though maybe we just ask you when you happening to be pointing at something, I'm not sure this trick is parlor ready just yet.

You enjoy pushing things-it started with books and toys along the floor, but now you happily push chairs and  tables while "walking" to get you around. There's a pushing toy at the YMCA babysitting and I left you there last week while I did a quick run. When I left the room, you were happily cruising the room. When I returned, same thing. I should have added a couple more miles for us both! No signs of being close to walking on your own, though, and that's fine with us! You cruise a little bit along the couch or chairs, but really you don't stand much on your own yet.  You can, but you prefer not to. Though you will stand at a chair or table for long stretches of time, you aren't confident in your balance. It's fascinating to watch your motor skills progress.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What's been up and what's in my head

Dear Pea,
I have been so consumed with your birthday that I've neglected to tell you about all that you have been up to! You have six teeth and three more on their way, which is making you pretty uncomfortable at times. You love to eat ice, preferably by fishing it out of someone's water (ahem, diet coke, Daddy) glass, sucking on it for a bit, then letting it back out.  You also like to simply put your hand in a glass of water. You will do this, then look around to see who's watching you do this and flash a huge grin. This is primarily a restaurant routine.

You know that ducks say quack. You will sometimes just start quacking while we're walking or playing, sometimes one of us will say quack at you and you say "duck!" and sometimes we'll ask you what a duck says and you'll say "quack!"  Sometimes we ask you what a duck says and you say "ahdoy doy dadda nam nam nam" too, though, so it's not like you're too concerned with accuracy.  You are big into greeting people with "hi!" and will say it over and over again until they say hi back.  If they don't say hi back, you are undeterred.  You still love to engage people and are happiest with an adoring audience.  It's not that I'm trying in any way to squelch this, but I worry that some day you may overestimate your self importance. And isn't this the dance of parenthood, always-how to I protect which is most innately you and still prepare you for the real world? We have created a world where you are safe and cozy and all of your needs and most of your wants are met, you are surrounded by an adoring audience most of the time and you think that all people are your friends because all the people in your world right now are. But I sometimes lay awake worrying about when I'll have to tell you about wars and violence, about cancer. When you'll come to me with heart shattering sadness and soul crushing disappointment and real pain. About why maybe it's not such a good idea to smile and say "hi!" to everyone you see.  You still don't eat very much, quantity-wise, but have a broad palate and enjoy a variety of veggies and meat. You have recently discovered pickles, which delights Daddy and me. You eagerly reach for them, put them in your mouth, make an absolutely awful sour face and go right on eating them.  Repeat.  It's amazing.

You love books. You love to pick them out off the shelf, bring them to me or Daddy, crawl in our lap and begin to hear the story. You turn the pages rapidly, not letting us get much of the story in, then crawl out of our laps to get another book. Again, repeat.  Sometimes you'll cycle through three or five books this way, bringing them all down, handing us one, then another after a few pages of the first. Then back and forth. Your favorite books right now are The Very Busy Spider, Curious George Goes to the Zoo, Peek a Who? and Moo Baa La La La.  I suspect this is where you learned that ducks say quack, although you haven't seemed to catch on that cows moo or pigs oink and the books all talk about that, too.  Quack is the most fun to say...

You are sleeping about 11 hours a night and napping twice a day, anywhere from 30 minutes to two and a half hours. The usual schedule is wake up between 7 and 8, play for about two hours, then nap.  You'll take your second nap about three hours after you wake up from the first.  This is not a perfect science and I sometimes screw this all up by having a class right when you'd be sleeping or scheduling a play date anticipating an hour nap and you sleep shorter or longer.  You know what, though? It doesn't matter. You always make up the sleep when you need it and we always muddle through. You primarily nap in the Ergo, but occasionally nap in the jogging stroller when I run. You also occasionally throw shit fits in the jogging stroller...sometimes I run three miles out, then walk three miles home with you in the Ergo and sometimes I keep running 8 miles to let you get your full nap in.

This was a cranky day-I only ran 3.71 miles before getting you out of the stroller, as you were in hysterics. You fell asleep in the Ergo shorter thereafter

I realized when my mom was sick that family is one thing and that friends are another. Family can step up or not, but friends are the family you choose.  This year has reiterated and reiterated that. Our friends, your aunties Beth and Rachel, Chris and Elissa, are family. They're the family we got lucky enough to meet and, amazingly, they have stuck around.  Aunt Rachel is a vegetarian and she made me delicious chicken when you were born; I still vividly remember being ravenous at 3am on your fourth or fifth day, going to the fridge while you slept with Daddy and almost weeping with relief at the plate of chicken and broccoli she had brought me. Aunt Beth lives in another state and she came over and over again to give me acupuncture at home in the immediate post partum weeks and months, which saved my body and my mind. Both of them love you, and are very happy to hang out with us both and yet they both continue to treat me as the same friend I was before being your mama.  What a gift. 

Aunt Rachel's bachelorette dinner

brand new you and Uncle AJ

Aunt Beth snuggle

celebrating your birthday

And then there's our mama friends. Oh, Sweet Pea, The Mamas!! They have saved my sanity again and again. From Witching Hour Snacks when you were all newborns and screamed every night from 5-7pm to the updated Whine and Wines we now do a few times a month, from the hilarious emails and constant text oh man are we thankful for The Mamas! But the real special thing about these women is the way we all love everyone's babies.  Some of them have special nicknames for you: Eliza Belle is one of my faves. While us mamas are hanging out, you babies all play and if someone gets upset, whoever is closet goes in for the comfort. I have snuggled and kissed the keppies of all of these babies and your head has been kissed by all of them.  

And now, some of what I'm talking about:

the whole gang celebrating first birthdays, squirming. I so love every person in this photo

the gang at 11ish months
The gang at 5ish months

You and LG 7 months
you and LG 5 months

sixish months 

You have seen all four seasons, my love! Now let's do it again and again and again.

Friday, January 4, 2013

One year. ONE YEAR

Dear Pea,
So strange, but I do feel different. You are one year old. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Every time we celebrate a holiday or a significant date, it won't be your first. Daddy and I managed to keep you fed, clothed and well for a whole year. Holy fucking shit. I still haven't wrapped my head around being a parent, but here we are, proof in the pudding. Okay, not pudding. Your birthday cake was a flourless chocolate torte with half the sugar the already low sugar recipe called for.  It was delicious. You didn't go to sleep for hours.

 cake in fist

Whoa! That's good!

 Happy happy

 After eating cake, you did laps up and down the hallway. Many many times