Eric brought Aria to work so I could show her off to my co-workers. My one friend who sits right across from me had been bugging me, “when are you bringing her in again?” for a bit now, so I finally made arrangements for him to bring her at the same time my boss would be in town, so she could meet her also.
They were utterly enamored with her. Eric’s convinced that it’s just a typical woman thing, or that people say such nice things to every baby, but I was told, very forcefully, a number of times, “Lisa, I mean it.. that is an adorable baby. No really, she is really really pretty and really sweet.”
We had offers to “take her off our hands,” and suggestions that I bring her in more frequently.
They were shocked that she was walking already, and was so sociable. She didn’t do any of her crazy antics, because she was too focused on exploring, but she did love the one window that was low enough that she could stand and look out it at the river and all the people on the river walk. And bang on it. And the offices with big windows that she could look through. And the plants.
We went to other parts of the building to meet up with other people I know outside of our department, that I thought would want to see her, then went outside for a brief walk. And by brief, I mean both that it wasn’t a long time, and that I had to walk very fast to catch my baby who took off down the path!
She’s all about helping now! Everything from laundry
to cutting coupons
She does it all!
Actually, she does bring us stuff regularly now, and if you ask for whatever she’s carrying, about half the time she’ll give it to you. She might see you picking up cheerios and help put them into the container with you, or offer up her crumpled piece of newspaper to be thrown away. Or you might catch her putting toys into the toy box, especially if she saw you put some things in there first. What a cute little helper we have! …who then runs and smears sticky fingers on every baby-height surface in the house… 😉
Anyone who talks to me…well, ever.. knows that my baby loves to make mischief. I’m doing my best not to encourage bad behavior or attention seeking, and to reward goodness, sweetness and constructive learning…. But Eric and I agree she’s rather like a parrot or smart dog that, when not adequately stimulated, wreaks havoc. She doesn’t actually destroy anything…except newspapers, magazines and toilet paper rolls, but she does get the biggest ‘butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth’ grin before deliberately doing something she knows she shouldn’t.
The offenses range from the small and gross things, like finding someone’s shoes and carrying them off so she can chew on them, to the more obstinate, I will grab this plant/remote/breakable object despite your repeated commands not to touch.
That smile though… especially right before she does anything and it’s really just a big sign letting you know something is brewing in that little head… Oh its just such an adorable smile. I love when she grins then just runs out of the room..then peeks back in to see if you’re following.
So I say monkey because the child loves – no, lives – to climb on things. It started with the coffee table, then her car seat, then her toys, now the outside of the stairs. And falling doesn’t deter her. It just makes it more exciting.
My little muffin likes to follow me around. Or Eric. Or her cousin Kayla. Or whomever looks interesting or has something she wants, she’s a little shadow. And as many mothers will report, the bathroom isn’t an exception when the shadow is lurking.
She also likes to open and close doors. The front door is almost always open now, with the outer door locked, so that she can spend time looking outside and pointing to birds and squirrels and talking about what she sees. She likes to try to close it, so we have to keep an object between the two doors so that when she closes it, it won’t close all the way and potentially squish tiny fingers placed in poor locations. The other door she has access to regularly is the kitchen door, which folds to close. It used to be a nice baby proofing from the kitchen, but she learned if she rams it she can get it to fold and she’ll saunter into the kitchen like she belongs there. From the kitchen there are a number of doors… the doors to the back porch, to the pantry, and to the study, which all fortunately latch shut, and a door to the basement, which, while it does latch and even lock, we try to make it not very interesting to her because it’s a little scary that there are steps right on the other side.Lastly there is the door to the bathroom, which is a pocket door that slides, and which she hasn’t figured out yet, despite her best efforts to push, pull and ram it. It makes her terribly angry when you go in there and close the door, she’ll sit on the other side and whine until you come out again. Or if it’s left partially open she’ll just stroll right in with a big grin and make you grimace at everything she might touch (the trashcan, the floor, the toilet itself..) (she always gets her hands washed if she managed to get in there).
Yesterday I was trying to get some chores done and so went upstairs to grab her laundry basket and when I came back down she was plastered against the piece of furniture we have blocking the stairs to the second floor, and when I went past her headed into the kitchen she whined that I was going too fast.. which was my intention. I wanted to make it to the door to the basement before she could see where I went.
I went down, gathered up her clothes from the dryer, and then slowly opened the basement door to make sure I wasn’t going to flatten anyone on the other side. I opened it.. and no one was in the kitchen. Hmm.. where did she go? I know she was right behind me..
I looked to my left and she was sitting next to the bathroom door, with a toy and a book, waiting for me to come out of there.
You know when you smile so much it makes your face hurt? I feel that way about my heart.
So many wonderful cutenesses that I just can’t handle it anymore.
When I returned from San Francisco this last time, I had been away four days, and three nights. I didn’t get to see my Aria until Friday morning, but fortunately I was able to work from home. When she woke up Eric brought her into the bedroom and she just held onto him and looked at me. He joked that she didn’t remember me and I resigned myself to her likely change in favorite parents, given my periodic travel and his upcoming summer at home. He lay her down next to me to nurse, which she did without issue.
After a few moments she stopped, looked right into my face, and said, “mama.” My reply was a simple, “that’s right!!!” huuuuuugggggg… squeeeeeeeze.. kisses. Then she went back to nursing as if it was like no big deal.
Later that day I got my first real hug from her. She didn’t just head lean, she wrapped her arms around my neck and squeezed. Oh it was wonderful. So wonderful. Eric got to experience it the next week. Just saying… saying that he got hugged too…
Something else she started doing this week was sharing. Like, forceful sharing. She will see your hands sitting there folded together as you sit on the floor with her, and she’ll pry them open so that she can put an object into your hand. Then she’ll wait a minute and take it back if you don’t give it back to her first.
Her kisses are both adorable and gross. So slimy. She just open mouth smears her drool all over your cheek and chin while making lots of baby noises. It’s really cute and really sweet, but also really wet. And good luck to whomever lies on the floor and lets her come over and ‘attack’ you… it’s actually kind of painful, between fingernails, teeth, and just baby crawling back and forth over and on top of you.
She’s kinda sneaky too. By kinda, I mean, she tries to be sneaky but, well, she’s a baby, so it doesn’t always work out like she plans. Eric told me how he came down the stairs, saw that the tv had a menu open on it that shouldn’t be there, and he looked around for the remote and both it and Aria were missing. She had gone three rooms away to the kitchenette and was standing facing the back door chewing on the remote.
I love my precious little cupcake.
I’m sorry my little Aria bug, I’ve neglected documenting your antics because you keep me so busy! Between work, playing with and caring for you, and attempting to keep the house one step shy of “Code Orange: Chaotic Disarray” I have little time to read or write stuff. But write I shall because your adorbs needs recording.
You are such a joy to watch, to teach, to hug and kiss, and to experience your constant and never-ending growth and curiosity with the world around you. There are actually several drafts or ideas of posts that were started and never posted since the last post, which I think was during your 7th month, but either I wanted to add a picture or just became distracted by work or the bustle of every day life and never got around to completing them.
So in an attempt to play catch-up, I’m going to try to document what you’ve been up to over the last couple of months and steal from some of those drafts. And I’ll just worry about pictures and videos later, so at least there’s something to read about these wonderful months of your life and our fun little family 🙂
8 Months (April) – You began crawling shortly after turning 7 months, and were crazy-mobile from that time on. By the time you reached 8 months you could easily walk along furniture and were pushing your activity table around like a walker. You were saying all kinds of consonants and trying to figure out how your toys work. We had to buy you new toys because it didn’t seem like you had enough to keep your curious little brain busy. I followed you one day around the entire house, while I was on a call for work, as you explored every room, stopping to pull yourself up at the buffet in the dining room, and at the oven, you stopped to explore and get trapped in a laundry basket in the kitchenette, then you meandered into the study and pulled some books off the shelf, and finally made it back into the living room.
During this month your favorites were:
- Favorite food: probably still pears, they make you squeal with delight. Or avocado, which makes you cry when you run out. And Cheerios, any time, any place, any quantity, they’re the best.
- Favorite books: Pat the Bunny, Peek-a-Who?, Baby Einsteins Touch and Feel Animals, Where’s Baby’s Belly Button?, and oddly enough, a non-interactive book, Goodnight Moon
- Favorite clothes: none! you would totally go naked if you could get away fast enough. In fact you cry the whole time you’re being dressed, but once finished you’re pretty ok with it. But you don’t like your feet covered when trying to stand, because it’s slippery, so you pull socks off and try to crawl out of sleepers
- Favorite toy: the activity table that you pull up at, stand at, bang on, discover Cheerios in, and use like a walker as you force it across the room
- Favorite songs: ABC’s (when a toy plays it and someone starts singing along), Twinkle Little Star, I’m a Little Teapot
- You’re a horrible squirmer now; it’s near impossible to get a diaper on you.
We went through a brief phase of speed reading. Gone was lingering over each book, gently tasting or caressing the pages, and gazing at the pictures to capture every detail. Instead we were in a state of ‘must read as many as possible, as quickly as possible!’ I couldn’t get through all 10 words on the page before you’d be flipping onto the next. You have to turn the pages and if I didn’t have it separated and ready to grab then the whole book would be shut as you fumbled with trying to turn, darn it, turn already! You would flip through the pages so quickly that I had to start ad-libbing and summarizing so that the story made some semblance of sense to at least me. Blessedly that ended after a few weeks, and you went back to enjoying and digesting books at a reasonable pace.
9 Months (May) – You make up your mind and there is absolutely nothing that will stop you. Not even you. You decided you wanted to walk. You began standing up without any support, and would just stand there. I remember walking into the room one day and you had crawled up to the front door to look out, and were just standing there, not touching the door, just standing there with your arms to your side. I found my phone and recorded you for a good while before you even noticed I was watching you. It was about a week after you turned 9 mo that you took a step… and fell flat on your face. The next day you took 2 steps. The following day 3. Then on May4th you decided you were ready, and took a bunch of steps before falling down.
Somewhere during this time we went to your grandparents house where your absolute favorite activity was to push a chair around the kitchen. It made the most awful noise but you wanted to do it forever, just pushing that chair around and around, with whomever was nearby rescuing the chair from corners and other obstacles, so you could keep pushing it around and around. Then you tried walking without the chair and didn’t make it very far, but everyone else got to see how much you wanted to walk. Your great grandma had been saying, “she’ll be walking by 9 months, mark my words.” I had to go out of town and would be gone over your 9 mo birthday and was so worried that you’d start walking while I was gone, but you waited for me to get home before taking off 🙂
Once you started crawling you became an entirely new playmate to your cousin Kayla, and once walking it was almost like the age difference between the two of you was a non-issue to Kayla. You do your best to keep up with her, and you two play like best friends. You’re both incredibly cute to watch together.
During this month you’ve developed more personality than I ever imagined possible. You’re out to prove that you’re not a baby, but a full-grown toddler. You want to feed yourself, and are very adamant that you can put the spoon in your mouth without help. It’s a very messy ordeal when you become stubborn. Oh and you and I both love those squeezy pouches because you get to feed yourself and I get a much less messy self-fed baby. We only do avocados or bananas or things of that nature on bath night because of the amount of cleanup required.
Your daddy said that he believed by the end of May you’d be fully walking and no longer dependent at all on crawling, and he was right. In fact by the end of May you were trying to run.. and somewhat successful at it. It’s so cute when you make your way into another room and look back to see if anyone has noticed you in there. If acknowledged, and asked, “where are you going?” you get the biggest grin and those little feet start peddling as if the faster you make them move up and down, the farther you’ll go.. this often ends up with you landing on your face. But what’s even more hilarious is when no one gives you the satisfaction of noticing your antics and you audibly sigh and make your way back into the main room, sad that you couldn’t get into trouble this time. Such a character.
You started following simple commands this month – I would say, “come in here, let’s go into the living room with daddy,” and you would follow me in there, even when you clearly didn’t want to. I know both your grandmother and I would say, “if you want lunch, you have to come into the kitchen,” which is how you’d hesitantly decide to make your way in there without being carried. I was so confused one day, however, when I had coaxed you into following me into the living room and I turned to wait for you as you toddled behind me from the kitchen, and your arms were stacked. I was watching you and wondering what was going on, until I looked down and saw my arms were crossed. My little stinker is mimicking me! I’ve noticed it other times too, when I cross my arms you awkwardly hold your arms in some semblance of that until you decide it’s not comfortable and put them back to your side.
You’ve also learned one word in sign language and do not hesitate to use it. I taught you ‘more’ so that I wouldn’t have to worry if you were still hungry or not. Well you think it means food in general right now, and the gesture is very similar to clapping, with two hands coming together with the fingers all pinched together. So your version of it is kindof smashing your hands together, as you know it’s not the same thing as clapping, but you haven’t quite got the nuances of it. You used to whine and toddle into the kitchen hoping someone would follow you, now you do the ‘more’ gesture and whine and toddle into the kitchen, then sit in front of the fridge and ‘more’ ‘more’ ‘more’ then whine some more. Or point at something, like grapes, and ‘more’ ‘more’ while throwing food that’s not as tasty as grapes over the side of the highchair.
You give hugs – they are adorable. You just lean your head against the shoulder or head of whomever is holding you. It makes your daddy smile.
You babble a lot, and it’s mostly been dadada but grandmommy has been teaching you other consonants, and my favorite was one day when you looked me straight in the face, stuck your tongue out and went “lalala”. Grandma admitted that’s how she was teaching you to make the L sound and it’s stuck. It’s pretty darn adorable so I’m not going to correct you.
You’re still very sociable. You might be shy at first, especially when people first come into our house, and you often have to toddle over and stand in front of them, staring them down with your mouth agape, but it doesn’t take you long to decide they’re ok and start waving to them. Then you find their shoes and try to eat them.
You know mommy doesn’t it like it when you put shoes in your mouth, any kind, not even the house slippers, so you’ve made it one of your life goals to try to find shoes somewhere in the house that you can bring in front of mommy and proceed to chew on. Even if it means you have to find them in another room, carry them all the way to wherever I am, then devilishly smile as you bring it up to your mouth…
One of our favorite activities together is to go for a walk. We strap you into your trike and I push you around the block. We have to point out and talk about birds and trees and flowers, I often try to show you bunnies but you never seem to see them.. you just look really intently at something, not quite in the direction of the bunny, and point and say, “ah da?” and I try to redirect your gaze but then the bunny runs away and you still don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. This has happened several times. Today, even, in fact. When we walk past any bushes that overhang the sidewalk you have to reach out and run your hand along them. When we we first start out and when we go over bumps you make motor noises.
You love your tunnel. You’ll pull it down off the couch where we have it most of the time to keep the floor open, and then you’ll dive into it. Then you’ll often turn around and peek out of it with a giant smile. Then you crawl through it as fast as possible and peek out from the other side. Sometimes you try to stand inside the tunnel which just makes a lot of noise. You also try to lay on top of it and giggle when it collapses.
Your dino popper toy is missing almost every ball that came with it, so you try to find other things to put into it. Daddy has sent me pictures of you putting your shoes in it, and I’ve sent him ones of you putting stuffed animals in it. My favorite is when you try to put the big bouncy ball in it, which doesn’t fit. You’ll throw out whatever is in there, put the big purple ball on top, and pat it as if that will make it sit low enough to be bounced by the dino toy. It pretty much lives there now.
You still hate having your diaper changed. It sounds like we’re torturing you when we change it, because you’ll whine about it and squirm around, then when we try to hold you still you cry like the world is ending. However, when I say, “come here and let me change your diaper,” you almost always come over, if not immediately, within a few minutes. Sometimes you’ll have a devious grin and you’ll wait until I’ve got the diaper all laid out and the wipes ready to go, and you’ll snatch the diaper and run away. That was a very common ritual for a couple weeks. You definitely like to invent new games, and they crack you up (me too).
I love you so so so much, and I’ll try to make sure I’m better at documenting your momentous, as well as mundane, if there are any, milestones and your everyday adorableness.