Friday, May 24, 2013

Look Ma, No Hands!

Michelle had been pulling up for a while and becoming more proficient at it. Then suddenly she started pushing up to stand, right in the middle of the floor. Now if she could just start to take some steps without wobbling and falling over she'd be all set. It has been a big relief now that I know she can stand and balance on her own. I don't have to run and grab her every second with my heart in my throat. She has also mastered falling without getting hurt --  landing on her butt. I tried to reinforce the message over a month ago when I used to sing "Fall on your bum and you won't get hurt!" It seems to have worked because each time she'd get up and land back down on her butt. She even seems to know instinctively now to put her hands out when she does fall forward.

When Michelle stands on her own sometimes she waves and flaps her hands excitedly and looks at me like "Wow! Look at me Mama!" Other times (usually when she's concentrating on a toy that she's holding) she just stands there quite nonchalantly as though she's been doing it forever.

Bending over to guide her as she walks is the most back-breaking job I've had since having Michelle. Once she can walk on her own it will be a huge relief (although YES I do realize that she can get herself into a whole world of trouble once she's more mobile and independent.) It is a little easier now that I can just have one finger lightly in each hand rather than having to hold her chest or stomach as she wobbles along. Now that she can stand alone in the middle of the floor I sometimes have her walk toward me. She only makes it a step or two before lunging forward into my arms. Sometimes I think that my being there to catch her all the time is actually holding her back. I'm sure she will figure out the whole balance thing soon though. She keeps curling her toes up. If she would keep them flat she'd be able to walk a lot easier.

She's becoming more adventurous in her cruising as well. Before she would only try to pull up on or lean on things that were at her level. Now anything is fair game. Even the wall. She had fun leaning on the wall and playing with her shadow one evening just before sunset. I couldn't resist getting a few pictures. Then I realized that I had been so busy this month I hadn't even taken any video of Michelle. I wanted to record something every month. I wanted to capture a little of Michelle and her quirks at this stage. Thankfully she obliged and gave me footage of some of my favourite Michelle antics -- including the new pushing up to stand move (though she doesn't last long in the video she can usually go longer), her adorable "Awww" sound and snuggle with a stuffed bunny (apparently all the affection I've showered on her is making her a very affectionate, snuggly, sweet little girl), clapping her hands and touching her head (unfortunately whacking herself in the head! "Wow, I could have had a V8!") on command. Here's the video from Youtube:

One thing that drives me crazy about Michelle (and my Mom says it's true of all babies) is that she has 10 million toys (slight exaggeration but it does feel like that many, especially when she pulls them all out, plays with them for one second and leaves them there after I just tidied up) and yet she would rather play with things that aren't toys, that don't (to me) seem even remotely interesting and that are sometimes dangerous -- boxes, paper, plastic, phones, remote controls, you name it. She grabs literally everything in her path and half of it ends up in her mouth. If it's something I think can't harm her (nor she it) then I let her enjoy it. I figure I can't say "No" all the time or she'll be discouraged and stop exploring at all. Life is an adventure and the world is a magical place as she discovers everything. I now understand why they put warnings on plastic bags (keep away from children) because children (at least Michelle does) LOVE plastic bags. She had a great time playing with a pack of Baby Wipes. I was pretty sure she was safe with it because it was sealed. It kept her entertained for a while. Longer than any of her toys. Though she does play with her own little toy phone with the blue eyes and pink wheels she is infinitely more fascinated by the real telephone and has hung up on my Mom a few times. She's always grabbing at the phone when I'm on it.
Some days it is so exhausting and discouraging trying to manage on my own. Some days it really feels like the Universe is conspiring against me (I have noticed that everything seems a thousand times worse when I'm on no sleep. A nap can work wonders. "Sleep when the baby sleeps" may be the best advice ever. Sometimes you just have to grab a catnap. It's more important than whatever else you were going to try to do. Being a healthy happy Mom for your baby is better than being a sick exhausted irritable Mom on no sleep. It can be a challenge to get things done though.) There was one day where I had just finished cleaning the floors. I have been trying to vacuum and wash the floors more often. With Michelle crawling around on hands and knees everywhere and then putting her hands in her mouth I figure I have to keep on top of it. Then I was in the kitchen and saw something on the floor. I went to check it out. Good thing I did. It was POO! Apparently Ali, my grey tabby cat, must have had a piece dangling from her fur after using the litter box. Awesome. So I picked it up in a piece of toilet paper and went to flush it down the toilet. I rarely use the bathroom on the main floor. To my shock and horror when I went to flush the toilet it kind of exploded! Something had come loose in the back of the toilet and water was spraying everywhere. "YOU'VE GOT TO BE F-ing KIDDING ME!" I muttered to myself (I couldn't scream at the top of my lungs like I wanted to because Michelle was -- Miracle of miracles -- asleep.) So I turned off the water and fixed the toilet but now I had toilet water (and I don't mean perfume!) all over the bathroom floor. I was LIVID. It was like a cruel joke. So I cleaned the floors only to have poop and then toilet water on them. Brutal. Sh*& happens. Literally. I could see the humour in it later. I didn't have a sense of humour about it at the time.
Some days it does feel like an uphill battle as a struggling single Mom. I find myself feeling depleted and defeated but then I think of the good things, mostly my sweet little girl, and it keeps me going. A lot of life is perspective. The truth is that the glass is half full AND half empty. You choose what to focus on. Sometimes I feel weary and wonder how I'll go on but other times I realize how blessed I am and I feel so grateful. I want to think positive and attract positive energy rather than negative. I do notice that the more I focus on things going wrong, the more things seem to go wrong. Sometimes it's Michelle herself that reminds me don't worry, be happy, to just enjoy the simple things and to keep my sense of humour. She's always making me smile and laugh. I think she's going to be quite the comedian as she gets older. We have to be there for each other. When she's a little cranky I can cheer her up and when I'm feeling overwhelmed she can go a little easier on me (sometimes she actually does.) The more her personality begins to emerge the more it feels like she's not just my little girl, she's my dearest little friend.

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