Wednesday, September 30, 2009

EGR: 15 Months

EG turned 15 months old last Friday. I've been back at work for an entire year now. Wow.

This morning was the first time she cried when I left her. It only lasted a minute, and she had stopped by the time I was out of the driveway.

I swear the little scamp does something new and funny every day. Over the weekend she started walking on her tiptoes, just because she can, I guess. She can now walk up a few short steps without holding on to anything - well, really she can run up them. She has finally started holding her baby to her chest, right side up, (instead of by the head/leg/arm, etc), and now she cuddles it and makes the "Hmmmm" noise we make when we snuggle her. She also feeds it with a toy bottle, and makes the slurping noise as if it's drinking. She feeds all of her stuffed animals and Georgia with the toy bottle. She'd like to feed the cats, but they don't appreciate the effort. Saturday morning she wanted both cats to sit on the couch with us, so I was making the "tch, tch, tch" noise that gets Gypsy to come to me. The whole rest of the weekend she called every cat she saw by making that sound. I saw her try to pick Gypsy up for the first time. The attempt was unsuccessful, mainly because Gypsy was having no part of it.

Now when we (me) are trying to get out the door in the mornings, she "remembers" something that she has to go back and get. Usually it's a few stuffed animals or the baby. Yesterday, she fed the baby on the way to Grandmother's house, slurping all the way. She tells me she wants milk in a cup by going to the refrigerator, or that she wants snacks by going to the snack cabinet (or pantry at Grandmother's house). If Grandma and Grandpop come to our house, she goes to the door and points to their car to tell them she wants to go to their house. She tells me that she's "all done" or something is "all gone" by using the sign. When she's ready for bed or nap (!) she goes to her room and pats the big bed, where we cuddle to read her story and nurse. (It still might take half an hour to get her to sleep, but at least she admits that she's ready now.)

She is finally letting me brush her teeth for her, primarily because I sing the "This is the way we brush our teeth..." song. We also have a song for putting on a diaper and pajamas after the bath, and she likes to "sing" that one with me. She "sings" with me when I sing the Winnie the Pooh song, or if I stop singing and she wants me to continue. She understands and follows simple instructions; for example, yesterday she was playing with my hair clip and lost it. I asked where she put it, then I saw it under the rocking chair. I said, "There it is under the rocking chair, will you get it and bring it to me?" She did just that. It still amazes me to see how much she understands when we are talking to her. She isn't very verbal yet, but if you are watching her while having a conversation, you can see her respond to your words. Amazing.

Sunday night I read Goodnight Moon to her for the first time. Apparently it's been America's favorite bedtime story for the last 60 years for a reason. It put her right to sleep. She was sitting straight up and nodding off. I had to stop myself from laughing at her and breaking the spell. I remember being bored with the book as a child, but I must have been much older than her at the time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

First Display of Remorse

Last night while Ella was brushing her teeth, she had a little fit because I wouldn’t let her use my toothbrush. I was holding her, and she started flinging her arms around and then she hit me in the face. Hitting is something I will not tolerate at all. I grabbed her little wrists and told her (in my stern Mommy voice that she doesn’t hear often), “You do not hit. That is not nice.” “Not nice” is the key phrase we use for situations like this, believe me, she understands what it means. She looked at me with a very subdued expression, but she didn’t hit again. We continued with our routine; I told her we were going to get a diaper and pajamas in my normal voice. We went into her room, and I put her on the changing table. She tentatively reached up and touched my face with her little hand. Then she patted me very softly. The expression on her face clearly said, “I’m sorry. Is everything okay now?” I almost cried as I hugged her close and told her what a sweet girl she is.

The more I think about this, the more significant it seems to me. This is the first time I’ve seen her show remorse for her actions. I don’t even know when babies are supposed to start showing remorse. For months she has been demonstrating care-giving behaviors with her stuffed animals, dolls, Georgia, and even us at times. She pets and loves us, and she’ll wipe us or her toys with a rag. She likes to tuck her toys in and give them kisses for bed. But her response after hitting me seems to demonstrate much more complex emotional development. She obviously understood that her behavior had upset me, and she didn’t like that I was upset so she tried to fix it. I’m trying to think of times when I’ve demonstrated this type of behavior in front of her, and I’m really having a hard time thinking of any. I know that children model the behaviors they see, and I know that we are trying to raise her with compassion and empathy. I really make an effort to try to understand the world from her perspective and respond accordingly. I have to believe that this show of remorse toward me and affection toward things she cares for is evidence that our parenting approach is working.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Babywearing Daddy

This may be the only picture of Dave wearing Ella, so I thought it should be preserved for posterity. He wears her in my carrier, but we turn it inside out so the flowers don't show. A big, burly man shouldn't be sporting pink flowers while he's wearing a baby.

Also note that she's is giving him five in this picture. We resurrected this activity on vacation and she's very enthusiastic about it now. He started out wearing her at Fort Morgan, until she decided she was too tired for Daddy to wear her and he passed her on to me.

This carrier is awesome. Dave gave it to me for Christmas, and I have used it every where. I carted her back and forth to the beach in it. We played putt-putt together in it (That accounts for my hideous score, but if you divide by two I really did well.). I've even steam cleaned my carpet while wearing her on my back in it.
Here she is at our favorite restaurant at the Beach. I'm pretty sure it's her favorite, too, because she can pack away the gumbo and cheese grits. I even saw her eat pickled okra this time. Nap time on the beach. She sleeps so well out there, even with all of our shenanigans going on around her.

Notice the brown butt behind Dave? What you can't see in this picture are the four pits Georgia dug all around our chairs. The one you see her in below was big enough that she was almost completely vertical when she finished it. That dog LOVED the beach. I'm horrible for not taking more pictures of her swimming.
Never did I ever believe you would find me sitting in the sand without at least a towel. It's amazing how a kid will change your perspective on everything. I think this picture was taken right after she pulled her leg out of the hole I buried it in. Our second trip of the year was a huge success, despite my worries about bringing Georgia. She couldn't have been better behaved, and she really, really loved the beach. She even dealt with the sand spurs in her toes amazingly well - holding her paws up so I could pick them out for her. Fort Morgan is a great place to take your dog on vacation, and I hope we go there again.
Now, I've turned my mind toward Halloween. Project Jolly Green Giant is under way. I bought the fabric yesterday to make costumes for Dave and Ella. She is going to be Sprout. Since I'm not really a seamstress, I thought it would be a good idea to start working on them now. Two months ought to give me enough time.