One and a half

My dearest Isa,

How are you one and a half years old?! I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s almost too much to comprehend.

You’re getting so tall. When I scoop you up in my arms as you’re drinking your milk (out of a sippy cup now – no more bottles for this big girl) I have to carry you sideways through the halls because your long legs don’t fit anymore. I remember when your whole body fit between my arms, now you spill out everywhere.

I can’t believe how much you’ve grown in the last year. I just made your six month to one year book and I couldn’t believe how small you were a year ago. It’s incredible how much you’ve grown, not just physically but in what you can do.

At six months you were just starting solids. Now you can feed yourself almost anything. You practice with your spoon a lot but when you can’t get what you want in your mouth you revert back to using your hands. There is nothing more messy than you enjoying your morning oatmeal. It’s one of your favorites too. Some of your other favorite foods are eggs, cheese, cream cheese and jam sandwiches, tofu, banana, yogurt, strawberries and apple. You can chew on everything now, especially since you got four molars a month or so ago. Now you have 12 teeth, eight in the front and four in the back and I think a few more are on their way.

Oh Isa, you are developing such an interesting personality, it’s fascinating to watch. You’re a total chatterbox, just like you’re mom. You also like to sing and you have the tune to ABC down pat! Your favorite sayings right now are “Hi Lucy” and “Daddy.” You are obsessed with the word “Daddy.” “Mommy” had a good run but now “Daddy” has taken over. But your favorite phrase ever is “Hi Lucy.” Second best, of course, is “Bye Lucy.”

You still call all animals Lucy, even Luna. Sometimes you say Luna’s name but mostly she’s Lucy. Everyone is Lucy, except Mommy, Daddy, Nana and Popi. Some of your other favorite words are nigh-nigh (night-night), shoes (which you draw out in a surprised way, shoooooes), keys and ball. Nai-Nai taught you “beach ball” when she was here and now you just say b-ball, which is very cute. You also love to go ooooooohhh when you see something interesting.

There are tons of words you understand but can’t say. If we ask you where things are you always can find them. You can even find your ombligo (bellybutton)! Some of your favorite toys right now are your llama, Eeyore, a stuffed dog and a dragon. You’re way into dinosaurs but don’t have many to play with. (Hopefully Santa will rectify that.) You also LOVE balls. You’re getting pretty good at throwing them too. You even throw them for Lucy and Luna, though sometimes you thrown balls AT them instead of TO them and neither of them likes that very much.

The friendships we see blossoming between you and your animal friends is pretty special. I don’t know what you’d do at Gramps’ house without your best friend Lucy. On Thanksgiving you even got to give her a walk (you held the leash and everything) and it was clear how proud you were of being given the responsibility. Lucy must have been pretty impressed too because she was on her best behavior. The two of you are very good friends. Luna is still warming up to you but you’ve had some great moments here and then. You’re learning to be gentle with Luna and to play mousies and red ball with her. Sometimes you hold up things for her and she bats them gently. I’m sure you guys will become best buddies some day, you may even surpass daddy as her favorite (though I wouldn’t bet on that).

At the park you’re also interested in meeting friends of your own kind. You’re so social and are starting to go up to others to “meet” them and say hi. You still take things from people without asking but you’re getting better at giving them back. You’re also getting better at not freaking out when they take whatever is in your hands. You’re still most enamored of older kids and you’ll follow them around wherever they go, even if they never give you a sideways glance in return. When an older kid does notice you can barely contain yourself. You want so much to be the big girl.

And you’re going to be, so soon. You already are, really, but I need to pretend you’re still my baby lest I get all teary eyed. Don’t worry, deep down I know you’re growing up. I see it every night when you demand a bath or express your discontent on how long it’s taking us to change your diaper. I hear it when you sing an actual song or say something new and exciting like “hi guys” (you popped that one out for the first time today). I see it way you read books, looking carefully at each page, sometimes turning back a page or two to make sure you understand the story. I see it in the way you come to dinner now, all on your own, the first time I call you.

It’s hard to imagine that in six short months you will be two years old. My head can imagine it just fine but my heart’s finding it a wee bit difficult. I hope you’ll be patient with me, let me keep snuggling you while you drink your milk before bedtime and pretend like you don’t know who’s snoring under your blanket on the pillows in the playroom. I need these things, every once in a while, because while I adore the little girl you’ve become, I miss the baby you once were.

Happy one and half years sweet girl. I love you more than words could ever say.

Love,

Mami

Confessional Fridays: I wasn’t there & I figured it out

Confession: I was not at the bottom of the slide the first time she did this. I’m lucky she didn’t fall smack on her little face.

Confession II: I finally made a no-buying-anything-new-for-a-year inspired emotional discovery! Now we see if the first lines of the post will hook you enough for you to click over…

I think I know why I want this camera so badly. I think I know why I want it so much that I’m willing to sell something else I truly cherish in order to get it. Continue here.

14 Months

Dear Isa Bear,

You are already 14 months old! I can’t believe we celebrated your first birthday two months ago. The summer has flown by. In fact, it’s flown by so fast that I didn’t manage to write your 13 month post. I’m sorry about that. I’m wondering if a post every two months might be better at this point anyway.

So much has happened in the past two months. Right before your first birthday you started standing up. At first it was just for a few seconds here and here (and you were pretty shaky) but now you are up all the time. You can stand steadily for very long periods and you can clap and bounce and dance without falling. In the past weeks you’ve even taken some steps without falling! Your first steps were on your father’s birthday. He was so proud. I’ve only seen you take three or four little steps but today, at your Grammy and Gramps’ house you took eight steps! You tottered all the way across the rug! I wish I had been there to see it. I’m so proud of you. You’re working so hard to be moving on two feet. I’m sure by the time next month you’ll be walking all over the place.

You’re talking a lot now too. You say Mama and Dada all the time. I swear you call your favorite llama stuffed animal Lama or sometimes Lala. You’ve even started saying Lucy Poochone’s name. Most of the time you chatter in your own language. It’s adorable because the words are made up but your intonations are spot on. I’m constantly wondering what you think you’re saying to us (or to yourself). You are such a chatty bears and I love to watch you gab on and on to no one in particular.

You play so well with yourself. You’ve very independent. Some of your favorite games involve throwing books off the shelves and throwing stuffed animals out of your toy box (do you detect a theme?) You actually love reading books as much as you loved throwing them. You can sit alone and flip through books for hours. You turn the pages very well now and you’re always running your hands over the pictures to make sure there isn’t something fun to feel. You ADORE the “reveal” books, as your father calls them, but you’ve pulled so many of the flaps off we’ll soon have none left. There is almost no where left to look for poor Spot and we know where all of baby’s body parts are now.

You and I have a couple of fun games we play. You love when I put your blankie over my face and pretend to sleep until you wake me up. You also love when I tickle you. I know all your sweet spots and I can get you rolling on the floor. Your laughter is just about my favorite thing in the whole wide world.

What other tricks have you learned lately? You can feed yourself better now and you’re no longer intolerant of sticky or slimy food, which has opened many doors. You’re still not great at getting things in your mouth but you keep trying! One thing you love to do is cram your mouth full of stuff and then let it all fall out again. It’s very attractive. You’re also drinking out of a sippy cup, one with a straw. You haven’t quite figured out how to put it back on the table, or you have but you just enjoy dropping it on the floor over and over again. I’m beginning to suspect it’s the latter.

We recently moved you from your big Stokke chair to a booster with a tray because you wouldn’t stop putting your feet on the table. I must admit, your tenacity is impressive. I’ve been pushing your feet down and moving you out of the table’s reach for MANY months and you just keep plopping them up there. I finally had to declare you the victor and get you a whole new chair. I have a feeling this is not the last battle you will win.

In a few weeks I got back to work. You’ll be spending the mornings with Gramps at his house. They have a whole room set up for you with tons of toys and books. You are a very lucky girl. I am very excited to be coming home at lunch to pick you up. I hope we have many grand adventures during our afternoons together.

I love you so much Isa. You are such a surprising, interesting, comical little bear. You make every day worth living and I’m so grateful to have you in my life. Thank you for all you’ve already taught me; I look forward to learning so much more.

Love, Mama

11 Months

(All pictures and movies included in this post are from my SIL’s amazing blog).

Isa, please forgive me for being over a week late in writing your 11th month letter. You turned 11 months the day before Mothers Day, which was a crazy grandmother-centric extravaganza that left little time for me to do what I wanted. Needless to say the work week went by and I hadn’t written to you.

I can’t miss this letter because the last month has been so insane. You have grown so much, learned so much, changed so much. I would hate to not have a record of it for posterity.

In the past four (I guess it’s really five) weeks you finally started to crawl. You don’t do it much but now when you need to get somewhere you can get there, face first! You have a tough time on the hardwood floors, which are too slippery, but you can crawl pretty well on the mats in your playroom or the carpets and rugs at your grandparents houses. You don’t ever take more than five of six “steps” before you collapse dramatically onto your tummy but you can do it when you want to. Usually you don’t want to though. What you want to do is stand.

Isa Bear, you LOVE to stand. You pull yourself up everywhere, on the gate in the playroom, in your crib, at the park, on the toy shelves. At first you were very shaky but now you can stand with one hand and throw things around with the other. And man do you love to throw things around. you can trash that playroom in five minutes flat. Literally. You pull your two little boxes out and just grab toys, one by one, flinging them around the room. You can free a bookshelf of its burden in even less time. It’s truly remarkable how quickly you have every board book we own strewn around across the floor.

All this standing and crawling has been getting into the way of your sleeping. It takes you about an hour (sometimes two!) to fall asleep now. Sometimes you don’t take a nap at all. When daddy and I going in to check on you you’re just standing up at the side of your crib, screetching happily (unless you’ve tossed your binki overboard, a very new and particularly annoying trick). I’ve heard this happens when babies become mobile but it’s been weeks now and shows no sign of stopping. I hope it does – you’re expending so much energy now, I know you need your rest.

You also need to eat and you do so with gusto. You’ve learned to feed yourself small solids and revel in the independence of popping puffs into your mouth. There are many casualties and dozens of puffs sacrifice themselves on the kitchen floor but they do so for an honorable cause. My little girl is learning to feed herself! I’m just impressed you can handle a puff on your tongue without gagging – that is a feat in and of itself! Even in your chair you’re on the move. You push yourself away from the table, putting your feet up like a college student on the couch. It’s hysterical, though we can’t let you keep doing it, it’s not very nice manners you know.

All this moving also makes it much harder to change your diaper. You get so fussy when we lay you on your changing table; I have to resort to belly-raspberries, peekaboo, finger munching and the binki-stealing game just to keep you from crying. Sometimes I think you’re fussy just so I’ll play with you. On more than one occasion you’ve been lauging at me while crying (only you could pull this off so effortlessly). You love to get your belly raspberried and you think it’s hilarious when I suck on your binki and you grab it out of my mouth. You always hand it back for me to play the game again and again, until you decide that you actually want it and you greedily pop it in your own mouth. Lately I’ve been munching on your fingers and toes, which you think is ridiculous, especially if I ramp up the sound effects (nom, nom, nom, nom). A good snorting noise goes a long way with Small Bears.

As for noises, you make quite a few yourself. You’re even starting to say “ma ma” and “da da” AND associate them with me and your father. This is very exciting indeed! You seem to have a whole range of new consonants though we hear most only sparingly. Your go-tos are mama, dada, baba, and gaga. I swear sometimes you try to say “gatita” but it’s probably just me.

Buddhism teaches that our children don’t belong to us; we are only stewards guiding them through life. I feel so honored to be your guide and I know you will show me as much, if not more about the world, than I will show you. I only hope I can be the patient, thoughtful, compassionate mother that you deserve.

Thank you for sharing your life with me. I promise to honor the amazing gift of your presence each and every day.

10 Months

Isa Bear, can it be? Are you really in the double digits?! Ten months! I cannot fathom that in two months you will be one year old. I feel like you’ve hardly been here at all and yet I can’t remember life without you.

I’m sure I’ve said this before but you’re really growing into the person you will become. We can see more and more of your personality each and every day and I must say, it rocks! You are so much fun to be around. Your daddy and I are both quite enamored of you.

You have so much enthusiasm for this world and you express it in so many ways. You still smile and laugh easily and often. You’re laughter is like water bubbling over rocks; it is a salve for even the deepest wound. It truly heals the soul. And your smile can change the course of a day; it energizes those around you. It is a gift that you share without discrimination.

Another way you share your enthusiasm is through applause. You’ve learned to bring your hands together in a deliberate way and you love it. You clap at things constantly, without rhyme or reason. And you always seem confused when we clap back.

Your daddy loves to dance with you and for you. I’ve always thought your daddy was very funny but he never attempted physical humor until you came along. Now he’ll sing deep and low and dance around and around to coax a laugh out of you. The first time you clapped for one of his performances I could see in his face that his life was really and truly complete.

You’re still not quite crawling yet but you are so much more confident in your body. You’re twisting yourself this way and that and you can do a mean downward dog. You’ve also learned how to get where you’re going despite the fact that you arrive at your destination rear-end first. We’ve finally divided the office/playroom giving you the safer half by the door and giving Squeaks the more crowded side by the window. You both seem happy with this arrangement.

We also lowered your crib down this weekend. You haven’t pulled yourself up yet but you’re exploring your ability to do so. It won’t be long.

You’re a talkative bear, just like you’re mother. This month you mastered the “da” sound. I didn’t realize you weren’t really saying it until you started making it all the time. Today you said “daddy” straight up. We both stopped what we were doing in recognition. I think your daddy wouldn’t mind at all if that became a regular occurrence but I know your first word will be mama. ­čśë

You’ve really grown to love food. You still like things to be smooth but you’ll eat almost anything with gusto. If you don’t like something you’ll usually still eat it, you’ll just take your sweet time. We’ve started adding chicken and turkey to the mix this month and you seem to enjoy both. You eat so much more now than you did before. At first I thought it was the growth spurt you had earlier this month but now I think this is your new normal. At your nine month appoint you weighed 19lb 6oz and measured 28.5 inches. Evidently you rank in the 5oth percentile for weight, 75th for height and 98th for head circumference. You are definitely your father’s tall, skinny big-headed daughter.

Oh, and you got your first tooth! On the bottom left side. It’s still small but it’s peaking farther and farther out every day. I bet the rest are not far behind.

Oh Isa, I really don’t know what to say. You are such an amazing gift in our lives, we are so incredibly grateful to have you with us. I am humbled when I think of all the healing just your simple presence has brought me. You are an astonishing little girl and I am so honored to be your mother. Thank you for sharing your life with me. I can’t wait to show you everything I’ve ever loved. I can’t wait for you to show me everything that you love.

This morning you shared something with me that I can hardly describe in words. Someday I’m sure you’ll know of your mommy’s blankie. It’s a ratty old collection of greying thread to the layperson but to me it’s a small piece of heaven on Earth. You have your own blankies that you love and sleep with every night. The minute we lay you in your crib you grab your binki and your blankie, inserting your binki into your mouth and laying your blankie squarely over your face. I let you bring your blankie to our bed in the morning when we cuddle with daddy before we start our day. Today you brought your blankie up to your face, under your nose just like I do. Daddy caught a picture of us doing it together and I think it’s my favorite picture in the whole wide world. In those moments, where you do something that I love to do and I see me in you. I realize that while you are and will forever be your own person, we are connected always and forever. I’m crying now writing this, thinking of all the times you’ll surprise me in the ways that we are similar and yet so different.

Thank you for this moment Isa. Thank you for every moment.

Happy 10 months my baby girl.

Confessional Fridays: Triple Threat

I have been planning this week to talk about how Isa measures up to other babies and the guidelines set forth in books. Then I was going to write about how I’m struggling to decide between nanny care and in-home day care and how it feels like I’m putting a price tag on what’s best for my baby. And then I walked into my bedroom.

So I decided to tackle all three in a special Triple Threat Confessional Friday. Woot! Whoot!

1. Measuring Up

I know it’s silly to take stock in the baby books that tell you what your baby should be doing and when, but I have to admit, it’s a little disheartening to glance at chapter eight of The New Dad’s Guide and see, “now that you’re baby is crawling all over the place..”. or some such declarative sentence about you baby’s current abilities, when your baby does not yet have those abilities. Especially when you look towards other babies for reassurance that it’s normal for your baby not to be doing these things and all the other babies are doing them too.

Isa is almost nine months and she is not crawling. Not anywhere. She can lift her tummy off the ground and sometimes she even bends her knees but that is as close as she comes to the often inquired about “crawling.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people that she is almost 9 months old and they’ve responded with, “oh, she must be crawling all over the place.” Um, not really.

And I know nine months old is not late to not be crawling. I know she could be eleven months old and not be crawling and no medical professional would be alarmed (at least I don’t think they would be). But its amazing how EVERYONE expects my little girl to be crawling and the fact that she’s not yet is starting to annoy me. At least it’s starting to annoy me that I have to keep telling people that she’s not.

When people hear that she is not yet mobile they ask, encouragingly, “well how many teeth does she have.” The answer to that, of course, is none. I have a toothless, stationary nine month old people. Oh the shame.

And of course it seems ridiculous to write that but I do feel a little, well, different. Eight months is the top end of the “normal” time that babies get their first tooth. Of course some babies don’t get their first tooth until they are one, but those are the outliers, only mentioned to assuage a concerned parent. At least it feels that way sometimes.

Let me be clear that I don’t think there is anything wrong with my daughter. I don’t even think she’s a “late bloomer” or whatever some people sometimes say. I think she’s doing things at her own pace and I’m fine with it. But I guess my confession is that I’m working through the pressure I do feel from others about what she should be doing and when. I wish I could just leave their expectations at the door but sometimes I struggle.

I do not want to be the kind of mom who is constantly comparing her child to other children. I am not that kind of mom. But it seems to be a very common occurrence and it’s hard not to get sucked into the “when did you child first do/get this” game. Do us mom’s really not have anything else to talk about?!

I think the next time someone asks me how many teeth Isa has I’ll answer, you know, I never thought to look. How about you count for yourself! And then I’ll get her to open her mouth real wide, after which she’ll probably spit all over their inquiring face.

2. The Invisible Price Tag

We’re figuring out day care for my daughter next year. We seem to have two possible options; (1) a personal nanny that costs about $2,500 and comes to our house to be with Isa one-on-one and (2) an in-home day care situation in which Isa is around other infants and toddlers and costs about $1,500. These are two very different day care situations with two very distinct price tags. Obviously the one-on-one care situation is ideal; she will be attended to by someone who has no other responsibilities and who will feed her the homemade food we make and read her the books we’ve bought. There is a reason this option costs significantly more than the other option. It is decidedly better.

And yet I balk at the price tag. Do I not think my daughter is worth an extra $1,000 a month? I know it’s more complicated that that, but it’s hard not to feel like there is a price tag on my daughter’s well being and I’m willing to take the clearance option. Does that make me a bad mother?

$10,000 is a lot of money. I feel like there are better things we could spend that on in Isa’s future. I feel like that money could go towards our savings so I could stay home with Isa and number two when we (hopefully) welcome him or her into the world. But is that just me being selfish? Is that me taking care away from my daughter now so I don’t have to work later? I’m not sure.

Other, more “experienced” moms (read: older, from my mother’s generation)┬árecommend the nanny option. My in-laws are even willing to help us pay for it (I’m not sure what the monetary value of that “help” is yet). Do they all know something that I don’t know? I’m still not sure.

Today we go to see the first in-home child care option I’ve researched. Obviously if we hate the place it will no longer be language is enough to tip the scales in favor of a nanny situation (we can’t seem to find Spanish in-home care options). That will be another topic for another post.

Bur right now, I must confess, I don’t want to spend the extra cash on my baby girl. And I feel horrible about it.

3. Caution. Tred Carefully.

I’ve talked so much about my room and it’s constant state of disarray. I don’t need to talk about it more, not when this post is spilling over the 1,000 word count. But that is okay because is picture is worth a thousand words. And all I want to confess to you is that, despite the fact that I’ve been home all this week, my room looks like this right now…

 

 

 

..and it’s looked like this for over a month.