Sunday, August 26, 2012

50 Weeks

50 Weeks:
We went to visit my family in NC for a few days this past week and Alice loved it. It is amazing how I can be surprised (mostly pleasantly) when I throw Alice for a loop. Our life up here in Brooklyn is predictable in so many ways (her and I are very close always-wearing her, or in the stroller, we are never too far from home), but so very unknown in other ways (lots of stimulus, noise, on foot where ever we go, and must return that way even in a screaming fit) that I find myself playing it safe by instinct. Maybe it is because I am not from this type of environment and even after 8 years- the longest I have ever lived anywhere even- it is still unnatural for me, or maybe it is a result of how shell shocked we are from how colicky Alice was for the first 5-6 months of her life. For whatever reason, it is my instinct is to stay relatively close to our apartment so we can go home if she is fussy, or needs to nap. When we leave, there are a number of things I have to have with me and in order to do so. Usually she has recently woken up, we have nursed (Oy, nursing Alice in public? Nightmare. She is a super distracted baby pulling off if she sees anything even remotely interesting, won't tolerate being under a nursing cover and nearly everyone in NYC is a pervert with a cell phone camera and there are video surveillance systems everywhere), and always with a pouch of baby food, Cherrios, diapers and wipes-though I change her before we leave- toys and a blanket, in case we have to stop at a park for her to crawl around and get her ya-ya's out, and a bottle of water and a straw. Nearly a year into this game it comes pretty naturally and we can be out the door in 10 minutes if necessary, but it all seems wound pretty tight sometimes. When we were visiting my family, the luxury of traveling by car was really amazing. Take all that and just toss it in the car. Screaming baby? Her too. Yeah, you still have traffic but it feels like an extension of home merely because it is private. And the people allowed in your car love you and your fussy baby. It was nice being around people that love us.*

*Not all people love us. On the plane ride down to NC there was a grown man that shhhhed Alice. Twice. When I thought she was being quiet even, just making sweet fun baby noises and everyone around us was smiling at her and saying how cute she was. After shhing her twice he loudly said, "Would you be QUIET, please?!" from 3 rows back. They had just closed the cabin doors and we hadn't even taken off yet. Everyone around stared at me with wide eyes and open mouths until I said in an equally loud voice that I would try to tell her that, but seeing as she is 11 months old, it is a little difficult to convey abstract concepts like volume and social settings to her, and then they laughed and tole me to ignore him because he was a jerk. But the whole thing just made me feel like crap. I was tense the whole flight because I know just how loud she can get and the likelihood of her becoming that loud was high due to the space in which she was allowed to exist. I am not a timid person, but I also felt like that guy probably wasn't entirely balanced because he was a grown ass man shhing and then telling me to keep a baby silent and we were trapped on a plane with him for the next hour and a half. It was one of those situations where you react one way, but really I should have stood up and asked who exactly said that and looking him straight in the eye, told him that while I know that it is difficult to listen to babies and kids sometimes, they have every right to travel and be in public places and if he wanted peace and quiet he should have taken his own private jet or perhaps removed the stick from his ass and pierced his eardrums with it. 

 Grocery shopping, slightly concerned over the precarious watermelon display. Also not used to such large places, she kept looking at the ceiling as if it were about to cave in and she was Chicken Little. 

 Oh my god, in love with these bird puppets. Hugs all around! Stuffed animals are becoming very interesting to her as well. 

This photo was taken mere seconds before I tried to take her out and she had a complete meltdown because she wanted to continue swinging. Her swing enthusiasm is worn on the inside...?

This was before we left. Alice is so in her head sometimes and I never really know if she is listening (her father's genes), but here she is, listening. And roaring. Be sure to listen to the part where she has the kitty book and is repeatedly saying 'kitty' and 'cat' deciding which one to call the fuzzy book (which used to be mine) in her hands. 

My grandmother has made a million berries. She is where I get my tactile enthusiasm from, but all the berries she has ever made will never be enough for Alice. More berries!

We are not doll people. Or, I should say, I am not a doll person. I think that the presentation and encouragement of sexual and social norms we subtly impress upon kids requires more thought and freedom of desire and expression than most kids are granted. If boys want to play with barbies and girls with Tonka trucks, whatever attracts them. Go ahead and play. Show interest and I will support you. I am not trying to force you into any kind of role here however, I cannot ignore Alice's delight in receiving a hand-me-down doll from her cousin Harper. Such love! 

Friday, August 17, 2012

49 Weeks

49 Weeks:

It is so funny watching Alice do things. She gets something in her head and just goes with it. For instance, her little kitty touch and feel book (featured in last week's photos) has a page where there is fake fur on a kitty's stomach and it is sooo fluffy. When we are reading it she rubs her hand on it and then I put it somewhere unexpected, like her cheek or the bottom of her foot and she gets such a kick out of feeling that fur with something other with her hand. But the effects of this have been.... interesting. Alice now tries to step on the cats. She will pet them gently, as we have labored to teach her and then she will stand up and put her foot somewhere on the whichever cat she is closest to. Funny to me, not so much to the cats. This may not be entirely my book reading influence however, as Alice seems to be really interested in her feet and what they can do regardless of whether there is a furry cat belly in the vicinity. She is experimenting so much with what they can do and I feel like she will definitely be walking by her birthday, as she has been taking steps! The only thing that is holding her back from walking fully on her own is that she seems to want to be able to stand up with no assistance before she begins going for it. It is kind of like when she took so long to roll over (after the initial 7 week wonder rolls), she wanted to be able to go somewhere from step 2 before bothering to take step 1. She will be in the middle of the room with nothing around her and try to stand up with all her might. Her arms get into it, she squeaks and flails all around before going back down to her knees. But if I place her on her feet she tries to walk. She will take steps and be so freaking pleased with herself, but for some reason she won't just hold onto the coffee table or something and walk from there. That hasn't occurred to her yet, or maybe it has and it just seem like the easy way out? She is certainly a stubborn and determined little thing and however she wants to go about it, she will go right ahead so watch out world. Alice has plans (2 steps ahead) and she is working hard to figure out just how she can do them!

Also this week:
 I have to keep Pablo's monkey Diablo (he nurses on and carries it around like his baby) away from Alice as she also loves him. What is it about Diablo?

 This is her Little Mermaid crawling move. She twists and turns on her hips, then slaps her feet around before crawling off again. 

An unusually close moment with Simone, who tolerated it longer than normal- until Alice tried to pet her with her foot, that is. 

This is a manic version of Alice trying to stand up. If you can imagine her having a bit more control and  stability, it is pretty much what it looks like. 

She is so creative. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

48 Weeks

48 Weeks:

Alice has really been responding to books lately. When I found out I was pregnant with her, I began collecting all the books I can remember loving when I was a kid and I am so happy to see her showing an interest. It began with one, and then I pulled out all her books with thicker pages and set them up where she can grab them when she wants and she will sit down and turn the pages, completely absorbed for half an hour if she is in the right mood. Right before bedtime when we are winding down I can pull her into my lap and we will read her touch and feel kitty book (a hand me down from her cousin Harper). Alice knows all the spots you are supposed to touch and loves turning pages. When we get to the end of the book she flips it back over so we can begin again, which reminds me of myself with Golden Books-especially The Three Little Kittens. I can't wait until she is old enough to lay down in her bed and be read to each night before bed time. When she is not reading (or banging around on musical instruments), Alice is also really beginning to gibberjabber. Multiple syllables, loudly at me or the cats, or quietly just to her self, all day long. I just try to respond to her seriously and see if I can work out what she thinks she is saying to me, but most of the time I just want to smile and kiss her because it is so cute. Her little face is so very serious when she is clearly trying to tell me she is upset about a diaper change or when she wants more mozzarella cheese instead of the avocado I am trying to feed her. But really, the best thing about her is that she is so quick to laugh and tuned into things that are funny. Just earlier tonight while she was in the bath, I took her rubber duck and stuck a plastic suction cup bubble on its head (some other bath toy we have) and when she saw it she just looked at it for a minute, grabbed it from me and touched the bubblehat, then began laughing like a mad woman because she really understood why it was absurd. I mean, a rubber duck with a bubble as a hat? Hilarious!

Also in this week: 

Alice staring longingly at the big kids playing Follow the Leader at our park. Soon, my dear, soon! 

Hanging out with her books. 

 Sunglasses and coffee? They grow up so fast. 

We all went to Charleston for a few days! Tim had a work project in prep for the PGA tournament so we all stayed at a super swanky hotel on the beach. Alice continued her tradition of waking up at 6:02 am and waaaaay down on the courtyard green you can see her and Tim (the only people wandering around). 

 A bit later in the day, hanging out. 

 Alice was the belle of the ball in her sassy swimwear. We hung around at the pool and everyone was oooing and ahhhing over her swim cap. 

This girl loves the water! She was all over the place and after watching some big kids putting their face in the water, she dunked her own in and was started at her own daring (and lack of protective eyewear). 

This photo was taken moments before she let out a giant ROAR which could apparently be heard from 5 floors down. Everyone looked up and saw a caged baby channeling a lion. 

Caged, I tell you. 

Alice and her books. 

Just a little something we do around here. 

Flashlight fun and crib chomping. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

47 Weeks

 47 Weeks:

Alice has really begun to understand me. All this talking I have been doing for the past 10 and a half months (and let's be honest here, while I was pregnant with her as well) has paid off! I can say, 'Alice, where is your duck?' and she will look for and then go get her duck. I can say 'Alice, what does a lion say?' and she will answer with a resounding RaaaAAAARR! She has been listening and squirreling the information away. Funny thing: I swear she said 'Damnit' the other day. Funnier thing: it was at our cat Scraps, whom I cuss at on a regular basis. I knew a day would come where I would have to watch my mouth and I am very sad to see that day finally arrive. Dollar in the swear jar soon folks. For both Alice and I, apparently. Or maybe I was hearing things (denial)? If only I could get my cat to understand as well as my daughter does... Alice has always been perceptive though. Nowadays when I am feeding her anything I need to really bring my A game because she just knows things. She has this thing where she suddenly doesn't like being fed with spoons. I guess it began a few weeks ago when she started wanting to be fed with big people spoons rather than her baby spoons, which I guess I can understand- but in reality I was pretty much eating with her baby spoons most of the time, if you know what I mean so I am not entirely sure how she noticed the difference, but noticing is one of her special talents so I am not really surprised. Alice is super big on sharing so she eats what I eat most of time (and with big people spoons and forks), only now she wants to do it herself. And she tries so hard. And she gets so pissed off- I know where those genes came from- when she misses. Cheerios are big around here at mealtimes, as they are the one thing that Alice can, without fail, get into her mouth on her own. I have to have 3 or 4 food options at mealtimes and with a glance or a Talk To The Hand gesture she lets me know what she wants and when. I can break up the game with a pile of Cheerios. She grabs a huge handful at will, just tries for a percentage of the prize and considers it a win if one manages to make its way in her mouth backed by an open hand and surrounded my falling o's. Cheerios EVERYWHERE! Not just the floor either, I changed her diaper the other day and found a Cheerio in there. And she was fully dressed when she had last eaten. Lord only knows.  

This is Alice's bunny Dandy. He is usually in her crib, but came out for this weeks' photo shoot as I noticed they have become rather fond of each other. He is named Dandelion after the storytelling rabbit from Richard Adam's novel Watership Down, but we call him Dandy because I tied a handkerchief around his neck and now he looks fashionable. 

Awwwwwwwww.... Love. 

This is how we play on the bed. It is hilarious. 

Finally! She is now up to the second step. 


Rain rain go away.