Monday, February 18, 2013

How do you like them apples?

I was thrilled to find some solid foods that Michelle actually liked. Surprisingly she enjoyed green beans. The meats hadn't gone over so well and I was anxious to get some protein into her so I boiled some eggs and tried her on egg yolk mixed with milk. It was a hit! She ate almost the entire yolk. Sweet potates seem to be her favourite. She gobbles them up. She also lapped up apple sauce. I was saving fruits for last because I knew they'd be an easier sell. I had a jar of apple sauce that my sister gave me leftover from when my nephew was little. They were expiring in March so I thought I'd better use it up before then. She continues to eat the rice cereal most of the time as well. And she tolerated peas. So at least there are a variety of staples that I can get into her. I even managed to sneak a little meat into her sweet potatoes.

For a few days, it seemed like my dream had come true -- she was eating the solid food really well and was sleeping better at night. She would fall asleep around 11 p.m. and though she would still wake up to nurse every couple of hours she (and I) settled right back to sleep after each nursing session and she didn't actually get up until 9 o'clock in the morning. It was like the Heavens had parted and I could hear harps and choirs singing "Hallelujah!" Of course, it didn't last. All of a sudden she was staying up til 1 or 2 a.m. again and wouldn't settle down and fussed for hours. Michelle likes to keep you guessing. Whether good or bad as soon as you think you have her figured out, it changes. You have to just take it day by day. You can never count on anything with her.

If she doesn't have a nap during the day, she can get very cranky. Then again, if she has a nap for too long in the day she may not fall asleep at night. She seems to enjoy the public playtime in the afternoon. We've gone a couple of times and it's been great. She loves seeing new faces and especially baby faces. She was flirting with a three month old boy, even reaching out to give him a hug. In her defense, he did look older than three months! I memorized one of the songs they do "It's a smooth road to London town" and sing it to her at home, including the actions -- up and down, a bumpy road and a rough road -- and she loves it. She seems to sleep really well on the days we go out for playtime (though now that I've said that it probably won't happen again. Michelle refuses to be predictable!)

She loves visiting her Grandma and Grandpa and was even reaching out to them to give them a hug. I was surprised she even attempted her first kiss ever, on my Mom (I was a little hurt that it wasn't me but she did kiss me on Valentine's Day which was very nice. She even said "I love you" well, it was more like "I dub woo" but I'll take it. I know it was just a fluke but it was so adorable and I was over the moon. Of course she wouldn't do it again, especially not on camera and no one would believe me but I will never forget it.) She doesn't know how to kiss of course so she just opened her mouth like a fish on my Mom's cheek. It was so cute. She gets so excited just hearing my Mom's voice on the phone (which she does every day on speakerphone.) It may have something to do with the fact that my Mom has a high pitched squeaky voice like a Disney character.

My Dad was sweet enough to shave off his moustache, which he hadn't in years, so he wouldn't be too scratchy to kiss Michelle. She was reaching up to touch his face. Maybe she noticed the difference since the last time she saw him. He was lifting her up in the air, which she loves. He noticed that she's a little bit heavier. I'm anxious to see what she weighs now since her last trip to the doctor. The doctor was concerned she wasn't gaining weight consistently. Now that she's having just as much breastmilk and solid foods on top of it I think she must have gained weight. She certainly feels heavier to me!

Since turning 6 months it seems that Michelle is growing faster than ever. She does something new every day. Lately she's started gesturing with her hands. She'll wave her hands in the air, circling her wrists, waving and flapping. It's so cute. She says "Hey" and "Hi" perfectly and even waves hello. She scooches along on her tummy and once in a while gets up on her knees. I'm sure it's just a matter of time before she's crawling. She's learning to put one foot in front of the other as I guide her along and she can stand for a long time on her own, hanging onto the ottoman in the family room (I have my hands close by ready to catch her). Other Moms at the playtime commented on how well she sits on her own without any support. Even when she starts to topple she corrects herself. She's recognizing more words and phrases. She understands when I say "hungry" and "milkies." She even recognizes the names of toys "fishy" and "stacking rings." She loves when I read to her. We used to have one storytime a day. Now it's at least three -- one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one at night. She gets excited when she sees the books she knows so well.
She leans in at the pages she really likes and listens intently. I'm hoping she'll love to read herself. I can't wait until she can talk. I know that although she says many words now that it's just by fluke. It will be a treat to hear her say "Mama" for the first time. She does say "Dada" a lot, which of course is proof that D is just an easier sound to make than M because she's saying it even though she never hears it and there's no Daddy in the picture. Sometimes when she babbles it almost sounds like a sentence such as "Dada died in Iowa" (likely just a fluke made from random sounds but then again he might have, which would explain why he has never written to apologize for abandoning us! Maybe she's clairvoyant...)

Michelle always puts her hand on the page when I read the nursery rhyme "There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid." Michelle may not have a curl on her forehead (at least not yet, maybe she will have curly locks like Little Orphan Annie) but she certainly suits the poem otherwise. When she's good, she's an absolute angel, a delight, the sweetest baby that ever lived. When she's bad, she's a demon, a nightmare, terrifying. You should see her scream. I thought about making a
video of one of her full blown tantrums but I worried that people would think I was killing her with the way she carries on. Over nothing. She's just a drama queen. She SCREAMS bloody murder on the change table now. Especially if she's tired and cranky. I know she's a big phony and nothing is really wrong because as soon as I break out her fishy puppet (I have a clown fish puppet that she adores) she stops crying instantly and gets all excited and reaches out to hug him. He's my secret weapon for the grumpies now! She just wants her own way and if she doesn't get it, LOOK OUT! Especially when she's sleepy. The silly thing is, she'll fight sleep. She'll be drowsy, rubbing her eyes, looks like she's about to doze off. Then I nurse her thinking, this is great, she'll be out like a light. Next thing I know she's kicking me and rolling around and WIDE AWAKE. It's like my breastmilk is made of Red Bull! (And no, I don't drink copious amounts of caffeine, so my milk shouldn't have that effect!) Then a while later she's rubbing her eyes and crying because she's overtired but it was her own choice to stay up. Sometimes it just drives you nuts.
One night I tried to play a song for her on my guitar. She had been making strange with things and acting scared for no reason and now it happened with my guitar. All of a sudden she was afraid of it. OMG. I'm a songwriter. Please tell me my baby is not afraid of the guitar! I convinced her that she'd seen me play before and it was fine. I showed her a video of me on Youtube, playing my guitar. She looked at the video, then at me, then back at the video, then at my guitar. I picked up the guitar and started to play along with the video. Thankfully it worked and she was cured of that fear. I also managed to cure her of a fear of balloons, a fish shower curtain, a monkey made out of a coconut and other random objects. I didn't however try to warm her up to Tyson Beckford (I mentioned in a previous post that she was suddenly terrified of the portrait I did of him at the top of the stairs). I realized that the style of a lot of my artwork is expressionistic and dark and may be frightening to her so I have nothing but safe portraits of ladies on the walls. She still looks at that spot everytime we go up the stairs and is excited to see Nicole Kidman there. She even reaches out to touch the picture.

While Michelle was standing and holding the ottoman, I let go and sat back for a few seconds just to show her that she could do it. I was close enough to grab her if she started to teeter. I think it's a good metaphor for parenting in general -- you have to give them a little freedom and independence, a little room to explore and grow but still stay close enough to catch them if they fall. It's a tough balance knowing when to hold on and when to let go. I'm an attachment parent so I hold on a lot more than most. I like the way she looked back at me, making sure I'm there but there was a little pride in her face as well, as if to say "Look what I can do!" I can't wait to see all the things that she will do in the coming days and months. She'll be walking before I know it. I'm going to have to really childproof the house before that happens. That basement door will have to stay closed at all times. I'm not sure how Ali will get to her litter box...


  1. Elena was saying Baba & Dada early on which I found amusing since she never had bottles nor a daddy. Glad feeding is going well...sweet potatoes seem to be a hit with lots of kids!

    1. Yes it's weird I guess those are just the easiest sounds to make. I will be happy when she says Mama though! :)