It was my nephew Dan's birthday, which also happens to be St. Patrick's Day. My Mom said we should have been wearing something green (we are partly Irish after all!) but Michelle and I didn't have anything green.
I love spending time with my family. We'll be getting together again for Easter and Chris' birthday with my brother Mike as well. I wish I lived closer to my sister and my parents. Since I've had Michelle there have been times I really wished they were right next door. Of course they're just a phone call away but it's not quite the same. The night that Michelle was sick I was so scared I wished my sister or Mom were there to see her and reassure me that she was OK. Thank God she was. I know that it used to be -- and still is in many families and cultures -- a tradition for families to stay together, many generations living together in one house. Though it would be difficult in many ways it would also be comforting to have so much support. Going it alone can be tough. Living in the suburbs as a single Mom surrounded by couples and families can feel isolating. I know there are a lot of single Moms out there of course but they don't live on my street!
My Mom made sure to wear green in honour of St. Patrick's Day. It's easy for her though because she has outfits in every colour under the rainbow and then some. When she wears a colour, EVERYTHING matches right down to her purse, shoes and hat.
Michelle is always so excited to see her Grandma. She clenches her fists and shakes with excitement. She's so used to hearing my Mom's squeaky voice over the phone so experiencing it in person just puts her over the top. My Mom always insists on wearing necklaces, brooches and earrings so Michelle grabs at them. I never bother wearing any jewellery and I've been wearing my hair in a ponytail since she was born so she couldn't grab at it. My Mom is also always wearing lipstick so Michelle ends up with a bit orange stain on her cheek. It's nice to give my arms a break though. My Mom was really feeling it. Just in the short time she was holding Michelle her wrists were aching. "Welcome to my World!" I said. Of course Michelle will sit on the floor and play sometimes but a lot of the time she still wants to be picked up and carried around, or walked around now that she's taking her first baby steps, which is murder on your back.
My dad noticed Michelle was getting heavier when he held her as well. She's over 16 lbs now. Not only is she heavier but she's so wiggly that it makes it even harder to hold her. She twists and turns and wriggles and bends until you're afraid you'll drop her. In a slippery satin dress it's even more of a challenge to keep a grip on her.
She was happy and excited to see the family. It must be strange for her to be with just Mommy most of the time and then occasionally to be surrounded by so many people. She's always friendly when we go out. She'll even smile at strangers. She doesn't "make strange" the way my Mom says I used to as a baby. Hopefully she doesn't go through that stage. She did start making strange with objects but she's gotten over that now. The things she was afraid of she's now curious about and grabs at.
It is a treat when I'm visiting at my sister's to have several extra pairs of arms to give me a break for a few moments to grab a bite to eat, head to the washroom, or just breathe and stretch my arms for a few moments. It's tough when you're the only parent 24-7. Especially when your wrist is ready to break and she's crying to be picked up. So many people have said "Why don't you just let her cry?" but I just can't do it. I feel guilty if she cries for a minute while I try to finish a shower or do anything. That's why I have to wait until she's asleep to get most things done and why I've had to give up daily showers because it's just too difficult. Sometimes I think she's sound asleep and it's safe so I jump in the shower only to hear her starting to cry. It's like she knows. One woman tried to tell me there was something wrong with me if I couldn't grab a shower. "My baby just sits in her bouncy seat while I shower" the clueless woman explained. Well woop-de-doo for you! I didn't get so lucky. Michelle doesn't let me do things. She expects my constant, undivided attention and is quite vocal if she doesn't get it. So, she usually gets it. Maybe I have spoiled her but someone told me you can't spoil a child with love. I may not be able to give her much financially but I can certainly shower her with love.
I knew that I'd gotten a little trigger happy with the photos of Michelle in her fancy blue dress. I started even before we left the house. I figured I must have taken at least 100 pictures. When I uploaded them to the computer I realized that I'd taken more than 300 photographs! In one day! Maybe it's better if I don't dress her in blue dresses too often! It's too much temptation to get carried away. When we're just hanging out at home she's in her comfies. Often just a pair of pjs or a sleeper (if we're not going anywhere I often stay in pjs myself!) As soon as I dress her up it feels like a photo shoot and I can't resist snapping away.
I'd heard of kids chewing their toes before and thought it sounded gross but of course anything is cute when a baby does it. Especially your own baby. Michelle has been sucking on her toes for a while. She puts everything in her mouth and as soon as she discovered she could reach her toes, in they went. She started doing it while we were at my sister's place and I snapped a few photos of her. It was funny to see her all dressed up like a lady but behaving rather unlady-like. I even caught a little of it on video:
When babies are first born they look so similar that it's impossible to tell whether they're boys are girls. The only way to differentiate is to dress them in pink or blue. Sometimes people don't pay attention and still ask "Is it a boy or a girl?" even when she's wearing a frilly pink dress with a flower and a bow on it. People who don't want to know the sex of the baby before it's born often stock up on neutrals like yellows, beiges and greens. After seeing Michelle in this dress I wish I had more blue things for her. My favourite photo of Michelle is the one at the start of this post. It's one where I can start to see the little girl emerging from the baby. She's growing up so fast. She seems to like the picture too. I made it my screensaver on the computer and she was grinning ear to ear and kicking her legs when she saw it. "Yes that's you baby!" I had a picture of her and I up before, from a couple of months ago. It's amazing how much she's changed just in a few months.
I wish I could afford to buy my princess hundreds of dresses. If only I could win the lottery. There are so many things I'd love to get for her and do for her. Luckily family and friends helped out with a lot of nice outfits and toys for her, new and used. I'm grateful to my sister for so many things and this little blue dress is just one of them. Michelle has several other dresses for 12 months. Most of them are summery. I had picked up things on sale when I was pregnant. I tried to buy things according to size and season. I figured that when she was 12 months old it would be summer. I couldn't have imagined that I'd have a 9 lb baby who would be 3-6 months ahead in sizes. At least Spring is almost around the corner (although it's been snowing all day and is supposed to snow all week this week!) so she can probably get away with wearing Summer dresses with a little sweater over it and some tights (which I did have on her but my sister's house is always so warm she didn't need it.) I guess at 12 months she'll be wearing size 18-24 months. I can't think that far ahead though. It still freaks me out that she's 7 and a half months old already!