Saturday, June 29, 2013

Hot to Cold

Ironically after my Mom going on and on about the measles (there was apparently an outbreak in Burlington or something. Mom I haven't even been to Burlington lately! Anyway...) Michelle suddenly had a big red dot in the middle of her forehead. It looked a little like a pimple. It had a white head with a red circle around it. I didn't even know what measles looked like. She only had the one dot. I didn't think you could get "measle" singular. In any event I wasn't taking any chances and made an appointment to take her to my family doctor immediately (no more walk-in clinics for us after meeting Dr. Disagreeable last time.) Of course by the time we made it to the doctor a few hours later, the red dot had vanished as if by magic. I felt a bit silly and hypochondriacal (is that even a word?!) but I thought it can't hurt to have her checked out anyway. It had been a while.

The doctor was quite impressed that when she called Michelle, Michelle walked into the office by herself! "She's walking early?!" Doc exclaimed. The secretary got up from her desk to check it out. "She's walking really well!" She has been getting a lot of practice and her steps are getting much steadier.

The doctor checked Michelle out and she was healthy overall. Her temperature was normal. It didn't look like there were any teeth breaking through her gums. The doctor said she might just have a little case of the sniffles and it would go away on its own. The dot was probably just a heat rash or something. Michelle's skin is so sensitive. I was relieved that Michelle seemed to be doing better, whatever it was. Teething or common cold. Aside from her fever going down there was a break from the heat weatherwise too which was a huge relief for both of us.

Then we went for a visit with friends (Cathy, Rosie and Gwen) and as we sat outside Michelle's nose started to run. We thought maybe it was allergies because her nose hadn't been running at all before that. That night it turned into a full blown cough and cold. She was up all night screaming, coughing, her nose running like a tap. Brutal. Then of course I was sneezing too. Runny nose. Cough. It was awful. Michelle was uber-cranky and would barely sleep at night or nap in the day for the next couple of days. Though I had been trying to wean her prior to all this, since she's been sick I've been nursing her through the day again. It's a comfort thing and I also know from the doctor that breast milk is full of antibodies to help her fight off the cold. Since I'm sick as well my body would be producing even more antibodies. It figures when I only have another week off with her before I return to work that we are spending it sick. I hope it goes away soon.

At least we did have a nice visit with the girls. It had been months since they'd seen Michelle and I. They were surprised she was walking so well already.

Sitting on a blanket on the grass keeps Michelle from wandering off because she's still afraid of walking on the grass. I tried to tell her that it feels nice on your bare feet but she just shook her head and screamed when I tried to place her little feet on the grass so I didn't push. At least it's one way to keep her in one place now that she's running amok and getting into everything most of the time. I want her to get used to grass though. Sand will be another hurdle. I have to get her used to it before our first trip to a real beach so she doesn't freak out there (though I guess I could just carry her to the water.)

Michelle is becoming very headstrong. She wants things her way instantly and gets quite angry if things don't go right (I don't know WHERE she gets that from! OK I do. My Mom says my sister and I were the same.) She will pick things up -- like a container with a lid -- and she wants to be able to screw the lid on and off herself and if she can't she throws a tantrum. My Mom says it's because she's so bright. She's driven to learn. She wants to figure things out. She wants to be able to do everything right now. Walking has given her a sense of independence. As long as I stay in one spot she'll leave the room knowing she can come back to me when she's ready. She doesn't like it if I try to leave though. I've taken her to see my Mom a few times so she'll be used to seeing her a lot. She does feel more comfortable with Mom which is a relief since she's my child care when I go back to work soon.

I'm amazed at how much Michelle knows and understands. Sometimes I test her just for fun. I'll ask her "Where's the pink ball?" and I'm not even sure she knows the colour pink or what a ball is because I haven't asked her before but she'll walk past all the toys on the floor and get the pink ball. She even started trying to put shapes in the shape sorter. She even had the right shape (the star) to go in the right star-shaped hole but she couldn't quite turn it around right to get it in so she got mad and threw it. Even when I'm not speaking to her she listens to conversations and if there's a word she knows, she responds to it. Anytime anyone says "head" even on TV she touches her head. She waves "Hi" and "Bye" to everyone (even characters on TV) with a cute little italian backwards hand wave that I love. I'm constantly praising her "Clever girl!" and she claps her hands and looks quite proud of herself. My Mom says it's like having a baby me all over again. Curious. Affectionate. Moody. Demanding.

Rosie asked me if Michelle was a snuggler. "Yes she's very affectionate. She snuggles with me and with her toys, especially her favourite monkey." Gwen apparently isn't snuggly at all. Every baby is different. I don't know if it's nature or nurture -- most likely a combination of the two. I have always showered Michelle in attention and affection so that has probably taught her to be a hugger. One thing she definitely didn't get from me (perhaps a little of her father's evil. He never hit me but he had a scary temper and we had some terrible fights) is a violent streak. Sometimes she'll hit me. I'll look shocked and she'll laugh and do it again. I'll say "That's not nice! Don't hit Mama! Poor Mama!" She probably senses I'm not really mad. It's usually hard to stifle a laugh actually though once in a while it does hurt. As soon as I show disapproval she'll lean her head on me and go "Awww." So manipulative. (Her Dad to a tee! Do something to hurt you then do something sweet so you forgive him.) "That doesn't make up for it!" I tell her. But it actually does. When she hugs me and nuzzles against me I could forgive her anything. Yeah, I'm a sucker.

After our visit I asked Michelle "Remember the black cat at Cathy's house?" and she reached for her black cat book (it looks like a stuffed cat but it opens up to a little board book which is mildly disturbing now that I think of it. Hopefully she doesn't think all cats open up with a story inside.) She understands so much more than I expect that my Mom said "You better be careful what you say now." Sometimes Mama loses her patience (with drivers on the road etc) and I step out of Disney Rated G mode for a moment. She still chatters away in her own little language which often sounds like French. The only really intelligible word that stands out is "Mama." She says it differently now. Plaintively. It tugs at my heartstrings. Even when she's being difficult. I will never tire of hearing it.

As we approach July I'm realizing that this 8 post a month quota I had set for myself (I'm not sure why. I just wrote 8 posts in the beginning and then felt like I should be consistent. I wanted to keep a record of Michelle's first year as a baby and there was usually something new to write about every few days.) is going to be close to impossible. I will definitely want to write a post about Michelle's first birthday in late July. I may write one or two posts a month but with my return to work and other things going on in my life I'm not sure I'll be able to blog as much. And part of me thinks maybe we'll just "go off the grid" so to speak. I reveal so much about our lives here and maybe I shouldn't. It's a window into our lives and makes it too easy for someone to watch Michelle growing up from a distance if he chose to. Frankly I don't think he has the right to know anything about her. I'm not sure he does read this. I try to think if it were me, I'd be too curious not to (then again if it were me I would NEVER be able to abandon my own child in the first place). Or maybe it would be too painful. Perhaps he wants to just forget. Or maybe he really doesn't care.

There was one day I was driving with Michelle and I looked at her in the rearview mirror. She looked back at me. She wasn't playing, wasn't fussing, was just sitting quite still for a moment and she looked older and wiser than a baby somehow. Suddenly I got a chill. It was Mike. She looked so much like him it was as though he were staring at me himself. Those beautiful blue eyes that cast a spell on me back in the Fall of 2011. Then she smiled and grabbed her toes and she was my little girl again. For all his flaws, I really can't completely hate her father, he has given me the greatest gift of my life. I can't believe she's turning 11 months in a day and 12 months next month. The past year has flown by in the blink of an eye. I am grateful to have photos, videos and this blog to remember so many happy moments.

She may run hot and cold. She may exhaust me physically, emotionally and in every conceivable way. She may drive me crazy 50% of the time but she is without a doubt the most wonderful, most beautiful, most incredible thing that ever happened to me. She is my love. She is my life.

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