Friday, March 22, 2013

The Ottoman Empire

Michelle can stand for several seconds holding onto the ottoman. She likes to "walk" around (with me, hunched over, guiding her and my back is definitely paying the price!) and cruise down the hallway or move from one ottoman, stool, couch -- or any other object of the right height -- to the next. She wobbles like a drunk old man leaving a pub, staggering and holding on to things. It's only a matter of time, I suppose, before she can do it on her own and then a whole other world of stress will begin. As much as my back could use the break, I know that once she is truly mobile, I'm in serious trouble. I still have to install the baby gates, remove all the breakables and put plugs and child safety closures on everything. I've been reading "What to Expect the First Year" and it has me REALLY stressed out. Things I never would have thought about, like those door stopper spring thingys that go boing -- apparently the plastic part can come off and is a choking hazard? I really don't know what I'm going to do short of removing everything from my home. Even with that, the main floor is hardwood and ceramic tile. Very unforgiving when she falls. Though I changed out my glass coffee table with a storage ottoman, there are still other hard surfaces and corners to bump into. I can't cover everything with padding. Even in her nursery she could bang her head on the dresser or bookcase. She's already been scooching around, pulling herself as opposed to crawling and I've had to stop her short before she banged her head on something. My stress level is starting to rise.

I got a video of her walking with me down my hallway. She has been practicing her steps at my sister's place and mine. She was almost running for a while here but she seems to have slowed down somewhat. Or maybe she was a little camera shy (any time I try to capture something on video she won't do it. I should try to hide the camera!) Here is the video on Youtube:

I kept waiting for things to get easier. In some ways they had. She was behaving better in the car and out in public, not fussing as much. She sleeps for the most part in the car and even when she wakes up seems interested in looking out the window. She was eating well and sleeping well. Her new routine was oatmeal at 7 pm and then nursing her at 8 pm after which she'd fall asleep and only wake up to nurse and go back to sleep every few hours. Amazing! I could actually get things done. Until suddenly one night she woke up after five minutes (while I was trying to grab a shower) and wouldn't settle down until midnight. Then she still woke up at the crack of dawn. The next day she was cranky all day and rubbing her eyes but wouldn't sleep. She finally had a nap mid-afternoon but still seemed out of sorts. Maybe there's too much going on in her mind. She's trying to take it all in. She's on the verge of one of the biggest steps of her life -- her first actual steps on her own. Right now she has me and my aching back to hold her but I can tell she wants to move on her own.

She is developing an independent streak. She gets frustrated when she wants to do something and can't. She tries to do things herself. She loves sipping water from her sippy cup. She tries to do it herself but usually ends up pouring it all over herself. When I ask "Do you want some water?" she kicks her legs and shakes her fists and smiles from ear to ear. I've never seen anyone get so excited over water. You'd think she was in the desert. I guess just because it's different. She was relegated to warm milk for 6 months so I guess a nice cold glass of water is a welcome change. Though she doesn't seem to like variety when it comes to food. She hates just about everything now (even things like green beans which she used to like) except cereal, sweet potatoes and pears. I tried experimenting with different foods. Broccoli was her least favourite to date. I should have snapped a picture of the face she made. One day it even made her cry. Each new food I give her for 3 days to test for allergy. A lot of them I just won't bother to buy again because she won't eat them. At least she likes her cereal -- rice, oat and barley -- particularly oatmeal. I've made it a nightly routine for her and I to have our oatmeal (mine is Maple and Brown Sugar. Mmmm) before she settles down to bed. It usually works like a charm. My Mom thinks that cereal is comfort food and helps you sleep. I guess a full tummy helps. I'm thrilled that she likes Sweet Potatoes with Turkey so she's getting some protein. I've tried mixing chicken into regular sweet potatoes. She'll usually tolerate it. I just have to be careful not to put too much chicken in it. Pears remain her very favourite food. She likes apples and bananas too but she goes over the moon for pears. Peaches were a flop. I sampled a little and couldn't blame her. I love the actual fruit but for some reason the baby version was just sickening. Too sweet (and this is coming from someone who loves Coca Cola!) I was surprised she didn't like corn. It's always been one of my favourites. It doesn't have a lot of nutritional value so I probably won't get it again. I just thought if it was something she liked I could mix other things with it. God help me if she ever loses her taste for sweet potatoes! She did eat some of the beef with spaghetti but she wasn't in love with it. My Mom said she always thought those mixed baby foods wouldn't be nutritional enough. I said if I can get her to have a little bit of meat it's more than worth it.

She's developing a sense of humour as well. She keeps knocking my glasses off and laughing. She laughs her head off if I make a silly face or noise or voice. She understands more of what I say and reacts to it. The other day she passed gas and I asked her if she tooted. She found that hilarious. I would later learn that she found it so funny because she'd done more than tooted. She had pooped. Her poo now, since starting solid food, is UNGODLY. It stinks to high heaven. I can't believe something so foul can come out of an innocent little baby. No one warned me. I'd been accustomed to her breastmilk poo which was essentially odourless. For 6 months it was a non-issue. I had an open wastebasket for diapers in the nursery. Now since starting solid foods I had to put in a steel garbage can with a lid and it still smells.

Pretty soon I can start giving her finger foods. At eight months babies are allowed to nibble foods that will dissolve in their mouth -- like little pieces of bread, soft cheese, pasta, Cheerios. That will be exciting. I know that she'll love feeding herself. It will be a bit nerve-wracking too. I'm so scared of her choking on something. I will be so careful with just little bits at a time and will never give her anything dangerous (nuts, hard fruit etc). She still doesn't have any teeth or the beginnings of any. Hopefully teething won't make her fussier and keep her up at night when it happens. My Mom got me a little mesh thing that you can put fruit in so that they can suck on it and get the juice without eating the actual fruit. It will be interesting to see her taste a real pear. They're not quite as sweet as the baby version. Finger foods will definitely be an adventure. After seeing how excited she got over a glass of water, I'm guessing Cheerios will really blow her mind! She's constantly putting her toys in her mouth (and trying to put anything else she comes across in too but I stop her when she tries to chew books etc -- except the bath books) so it will be fascinating to her I'm sure that she can put things in her mouth that actually taste like something. I will try to get a video of her eating Cheerios for the first time.

When I see her holding onto the ottoman and I let go for a few seconds, it's scary to think that one day she will stand without holding onto anything, then she'll be taking her first wobbly steps alone. It's hard to let go. I remember when she was a newborn and I was so overwhelmed with her crying all the time and feeding almost constantly but part of me now looks back at that time and thinks "in a way it was easier." She was helpless. She needed me. She couldn't move around or do anything on her own. She couldn't get into trouble. And she didn't weigh so much to carry her. Yes although she does like to be independent sometimes, there are other times (usually when she's overtired/cranky) when she will not let me put her down and it KILLS my arms, wrists, back. Still I am excited about where she is now and where she's going. In some ways it's easier, in other ways it's harder but it's a rollercoaster and I'm enjoying the ride. 

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