Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Birthdays, in a Nutshell

Lucia and Greta both had lovely birthdays this year. The biggest storm in all of recorded history is apparently hitting New Jersey sometime soon, so I thought I’d post a quick recap before we’re plunged into the Dark Ages and have to boil water on our grill and subsist on granola bars and bananas.

Andrew’s mom was here in the morning on Lucia’s birthday, so we did a little party at lunchtime. Lucia had requested a purple cake, which I made for her. Granted, it was a store-bought cake, with store-bought icing and a “flavor packet” of raspberry something or other (the only purple option), but Andrew had been in Germany up until late the night before—so I consider it an accomplishment that I managed even a boxed cake. Lucia, of course, did not care, as long as it was cake. She blew out her candles and opened her gifts. The helium balloons were her hands-down favorite part of her birthday. (When they lost helium the next day, she kept saying she wanted her balloons to be “up in the sky.”)


I also made cookies for Lucia’s preschool class. A veritable baker, I was.

My parents were here for Greta’s big day, and we had a post-nap celebration—lots of gifts, and a delicious carrot cake made by Andrew (and Lucia) that afternoon. Greta was very excited to get her very own chair, as well as her very own princess crown. And she had a little slice of cake, her very first taste of dessert. Of course she loved it.




Then the girls donned their princess crowns and went outside to play in our gigantic leaf pile.




Saturday, October 27, 2012

Letter to Greta: 1 Year


Dear Little Banana,

You are one! It is hard to believe that a year ago today we met you for the first time—you strong, healthy baby whose heart-rate tracings were always the best of the best when we spent that month together in the hospital, before you were born. It’s hard to remember a time when you weren’t with us.

You are a determined, happy little sweetie. You laugh loud and often and have begun demonstrating your happiness with an ear-splitting scream. You exhibit your gap-toothed smile liberally, charming friends and others. You seem to have very little fear of strangers, though if you suddenly look up and find yourself surrounded by strangers with me nowhere in sight, you burst into tears. (This has happened approximately twice, during our playgroup, when I’ve simply stepped out of your line of vision for a moment.) You seem, for the most part, fearless—trying to climb slides and steps that are far too large for you, crawling at top speed toward whatever catches your eye.

All you want is to keep up with your sister. You’re getting old enough now that you can play, in some ways, or at least chew on the toys Lucia is playing with. You love walking around with your toy stroller, though you can’t go very fast yet. The other day you were following Lucia, who was pushing her own stroller, when suddenly you began crying mournfully. I couldn’t figure out why you were upset—but then Lucia stopped, turned around, and said, “I will wait for you, Greta.” You immediately stopped crying, determinedly pushed your stroller along toward Lucia, and the stroller-train continued.

You still eat vast quantities of food. This morning—the morning of your birthday—you ate a large bowl of Fage yogurt mixed with two tablespoons of applesauce; half an apple; and two pancakes. For lunch you had an entire tofu and cream cheese sandwich. You ate an entire slice of your birthday carrot cake. Dinner was cheese cubes, four sliced grapes, half a piece of toast, and a good serving of rotisserie chicken.

It’s no wonder, then, that you seem to be skipping the 12-month size of clothes entirely. You outgrew your 9-month summer things, but the 12-month pants make your legs look like little sausages, and they all stop short of your ankles. You are sneaky, littlest one. You know that if you grow into a size in a different season than Lucia wore it in, you’ll get your own brand-new wardrobe. All of our 18-month clothes are summer clothes, so you now get some new winter clothes of your own. You are growing like a cute little weed.

You are still nursing, but you’re definitely losing interest, and I have a feeling that weaning you won’t be too hard at all. You’re still waking up once a night, but sleeping to a decent 7:00am. You love taking baths. You are nearly impossible to dress and diaper-change, twisting and fussing and writhing—you are an easygoing baby in all areas but this.

You have a Bibi now—a white-with-teddy-bears sleepsack, just like your sister’s. You sleep with it, and carry it around, and snuggle it when you lift it to your face. If you see it on the ground, you crawl right over to it. When I put you into your crib, you cover your face with it, resulting in a little tug of war as I try to put it into a safer spot before I leave the room.

You’re coming into your own, sweet one. You took three tiny tiny steps this week, to get a puzzle piece of a donkey that Daddy was holding out, and true walking can’t be far off. I can’t wait till you start talking and we can see what’s going on in that quick little mind. In the meantime, we can just enjoy holding you, our snuggly baby bundle. We can’t imagine our family without you.

Favorite activities: pushing the toy stroller up and down the driveway, playing in the playhouse, putting things into bags/boxes/buckets, carrying around the wooden dollhouse dolls, pulling newspapers out of the newspaper pile, emptying the recycling bags like a raccoon, throwing (sort of) balls, snuggling various stuffed animals, run-cruising along the couch and scream-laughing as I “chase” you

Favorite books: Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin, 123 Ducks, Goodnight Gorilla, Pat the Bunny, Barnyard Dance, Snuggle Puppy, Bunny’s Noisy Book, Moo Baa La La La, Goodnight Moon



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Squirrels and Pumpkins

Our lovely little village is not exactly wilderness, but these days it seems sometimes like we’re truly living “in the country.” We haven’t seen them for a while, but a family of wild turkeys was visiting our yard each morning this summer. Lucia would spot them from the window and shout “Turkeys! The turkeys are here!” We’d watch them trot through our backyard and then hop into someone else’s.

We have a lot of chipmunks, which, since I don’t have a garden, I think are quite adorable. Last week we watched one snacking on all the crumbs I’d swept off the porch. He was nibbling very close to us, in the unlandscaped dirt right in front of our house.

We have raccoons. Our trash cans have to be locked in our garage lest we wake in the morning to a garbage-strewn yard. I haven’t actually seen a raccoon, but I’ve seen the aftermath.

We have weird jumping crickets in the basement, a stink bug here and there, and very very big spiders.

And we have squirrels. Lots and lots of squirrels. Armies of squirrels. They run through our yard, down our walkway, up into our trees. They jump onto our porch to eat leftover bits of lunch—I learned quickly to take our lunch dishes inside immediately. Before I learned that lesson, a squirrel gnawed the top off one of Lucia’s sippy cups, which had been filled with milk. Ick. At the duck pond, squirrels will jump onto the stroller if any snacks or bread are lying unsecured. This is a bit too much squirrel for my taste.

Lucia thinks the squirrels are cute, and always waves and calls out a greeting when she spots one—“Hi, squirrel! Mama, he’s visiting us!” Indeed. But now that we have a veritable pumpkin patch on our porch steps, the squirrels have become unwelcome—even unsettling—intruders, even for squirrel-loving Lucia. We went outside one morning this week to find a few bites had been taken out of a pumpkin. Each day, more bites. This morning, an entire side of a pumpkin had been bashed in and gnawed through—it looked gruesome, like a smashed skull. Very Halloween-y. And then, later in the day, another pumpkin ravaged. Pumpkin pulp and seeds have been all over our steps all week.

Andrew has chased squirrels off our steps and into the yard; they don’t care. I run outside when I see them, yell at them, stamp my feet—they just sit on the steps and look at me. They are fat, and big, and I really don’t want to get too close. “My pumpkins!” Lucia wailed today when she saw the damage. “I don’t want the squirrels to eat my pumpkins!” It is pretty nightmarish.

On the advice of a friend, Andrew poured white vinegar over the pumpkins tonight. We’ll see if we can save the rest.

We did not have these problems in Brooklyn. (Of course, we didn’t have ginormous pumpkins, either.)


Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Fear of the Dark and Other New Things

Some changes are afoot with our girls, one newly three years old, the other on the cusp of one.

Just this week, Lucia has become afraid of the dark. For a while now, when I turn off the light at bedtime, she’s been saying, “I can’t see. It’s dark.” I always reassure her that it’s okay, that it’s time to go to sleep and she doesn’t need to see. Lately, though, she’s wanted me to keep her door open while I sing her a song so that light from the hallway comes in, and then she started asking to keep the door open, period. And then two days ago she had a bedtime meltdown, refusing to get into her crib; Andrew managed to calm her down and told me afterward that she seemed truly distressed. So I went out the next day and bought her an adorable mushroom night light, which she loves. She is so happy that she can see all her animals. When we turned it on the first night, she exclaimed, “It’s wonderful!” (Now I just have to remember to pack it up along with the animals, and the white-noise machine, and her blanket, and etc etc when we go on trips.)

Greta, for her part, has learned the art and mystery of throwing food off her high-chair tray. Greta has always been such an eager, voracious eater that I don’t think it ever occurred her to put food somewhere other than her mouth; but when we’ve eaten lunch on the porch the past couple of days, I’ve watched as she daintily picks up a tiny square of sandwich and simply drops it over the side. Then she’ll eat a few pieces; then she’ll drop a few pieces. She likes to lean way, way over to the side, gazing down at the food she’s dropped. Gravity! Lucia always scurries over, picks up the pieces, and throws them off the porch “for the birds,” so Greta surely thinks this is a little game.

Ever since Greta renounced baby food and started eating regular stuff, I’ve been able to count on the fact that she'll eat pretty much everything. And she still will, as long as what she’s eating involves bread, cheese, and fruit. Suddenly gone is her willingness to devour an adult-sized portion of macaroni: she’ll lift a spiral to her mouth only to have it meet her outstretched, horrified tongue. Then she’ll throw it to the ground. Last night she looked at her spirals-with-butter-and-cheese with such revulsion that you’d think she just wasn’t hungry. Then Andrew made her a grilled cheese sandwich. She ate the entire thing, as well as some baby carrots. It seems my good eater is entering—sigh—a picky phase. Et tu, Grets?

Speaking of Greta, she’s onto the pacifier. Until the past couple of weeks, she liked it at naptime and bedtime, and otherwise couldn’t care less. Now…she wants it. She usually puts it in upside down when she does it herself, but she doesn’t seem to care. If she spots one, she moves right over to it. I’d rather it not become a habit, but frankly, it’s making my life a little easier, because when she has the paw-paw in her mouth, she doesn’t try to eat stones and clumps of grass. Today, after pulling one too many globs of dirt from her mouth when we were playing outside (she is sneaky, and fast), I went inside and got her the pacifier myself.

Finally, teeth. I’ve found a more-or-less reliable way to get Lucia not to fuss when we do teeth-brushing at night: we choose an animal that she must “teach” to brush teeth, and the way she teaches is to show the animal how she lets me (or Andrew) brush her teeth without fussing. This is fine, but by the end of the day I’m tired, yet I find myself engaged in exchanges like this one, which I had tonight with Lucia and a new, tiny stuffed pig Andrew brought her from Germany. This is me speaking, except when it’s the pig: “Oink, oink. Okay, backs of the top. Great job, Lucia! Oink, oink! Other side, backs. Great work! What’s next? Oink, bottoms. Oink oink. Now my [the pig] favorite part: allll around the tops! [pig twirls around] Aallllll around the bottoms! [pig twirls around]. Oink oink oink!!!” Is it parenting, or is it lunacy?


Monday, October 15, 2012

Letter to Lucia: 3 Years

Dear Little Big Girl,

“Big girl” is what you call yourself these days, when you use the potty and pull up your own pants or do something else independently. Indeed, you’ve taken a lot of big-girl steps in the past few months. You’re almost totally potty trained now, except for nighttime; when we go out, I don’t even worry about accidents anymore, as you seem unfazed by public restrooms (and have proven to have the blad der of a camel). I always ask you if you need to go before we leave the house, and you invariably say no, then follow up with a worried “Will there be a potty there?”

You love preschool, and you haven’t even cried at drop-off the past two times. You are always excited to report what you did at school—particularly that you rode a scooter and in one of those Little Tikes cars during gym time—and practically burst with pride when you show me your art project from the day. At home, you talk a lot about school, and when we play with your (amazing, fantastic, vintage collection of) Little People, the children always do exactly what you do in school. “Now it’s time for snack,” you say. “Now it’s time for gym.” The Little People eat a lot of Cheddar Bunnies and Goldfish.

Now, on the cusp of three, you are dabbling in the world of princesses, thanks to an episode of Olivia that you love—and, I admit, thanks also to my purchases of a tiara (lined with pink fur) and a tutu at a yard sale. You adore your “crown,” and even wear it sometimes in the car when we go places. You have worn it to the grocery store and the playground, and brought it to preschool for show-and-tell. It doesn’t go any further than this—no princess play-acting—and I’m heartened that this might be the beginning of your (inevitable) love of dress-up, in which, until now, you’ve shown zero interest. Let the dress-up-clothes collecting begin!

Though it was not a birthday gift, you got a playhouse this week, which I got for free from someone moving out of state. You love it. Love it. Greta loves it too, and you like to stand together at the table inside, having a snack. You like opening and closing the windows, and stuffing the mailbox slot with grass.

Your very favorite thing in the world at age three—besides your Bibi—is your doll, once called Dolly but now more often called your Baby. She goes most places with us, and you talk to her and play with her like she is truly alive. She is a curious stand-in for Greta, and you care for her exactly as I do Greta; you rock her, nurse her, feed her in a high chair, change her diaper, exclaim that her diaper is “really stinky!”, teach her to walk, observe that she’s “getting big,” etc. Your birthday gifts this year are very much doll-focused. I made Dolly a sleep sack (her own Bibi, which you’ve repeatedly asked for) and a sleeper; found a bunch of new clothes for her at a yard sale; and bought a doll pack-and-play this summer at that amazing church rummage sale. You are getting a doll Ergo and a doll high chair that had been in our attic in Connellsville.

Dolls and princesses—who is this child of mine? I take heart in that you spent most of this afternoon digging in the dirt and stacking found-stones in the overgrown, leaf-strewn, chipmunk-housing “island” in the middle of our circular driveway.

Unfortunately, you’ve ended your second year of life with an explosion of defiance and meltdowns this week—completely uncharacteristic these days. We’ve had weeks and weeks of pleasantness (not every second is wonderful, but most days are fun and good); but your dad went to Germany this week for work and was gone for seven full days, and though your Nina (Andrew’s mom, for unfamiliar readers) was here to help me, your world seemed tilted on its edge, and so you tilted too. Regular things—getting dressed; brushing teeth; being quiet while Greta nursed before her nap—blew up dramatically. (A saving grace: The outbursts were directed at me, not Greta. So that’s something.) Will you want details of these days, how they left me frayed? Will I want them? Or are these the sorts of days a mother is meant to forget, so that one day I’ll look back—as all moms seem to, moms who are out of the young-kid trenches—and miss this time? Because I have to admit that in the back of my mind the past few days, as you neared your birthday, was the thought that each day closer to three is a day closer to a time when you’re NOT three.

But let’s focus on better times, which, fortunately, are what we usually have. Your use of “Actually” and “Otherwise.” Your love of running in (tiny) circles, naked, in the (dungeon-like) shower stall before your bath, singing “Twinkle Twinkle” or just loudly singing a made-up tune. Your funny, intentional mispronunciation of things you’re not exactly sure of—like your teacher, Mrs. Malloy, whom you call “Mrs. Noy” with a little smile to gauge my reaction.

And so you are three. Happy birthday, big girl. May it be a year of crowns and dolls and dress-up. And patience. Lots of that.

Favorite activities/toys: play food, felt bags from Target, Dolly, vintage Little People (especially the blonde mama and a little brown-haired girl), playhouse, playgrounds, sit-and-spin, going to New Hampshire, tiny cubes, princess crown, instruments, listening to music in the car, the song “Ram Sam Sam” from Music Together

Favorite books: Olivia books, Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, Dorrie and the Blue Witch, Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes, Chicken Soup with Rice (Sendak), Toot and Puddle—You Are My Sunshine

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall

It’s finally fall around here. The radiators are on. Leaves are falling. Not too much color yet around our house, but we have high hopes for all the Japanese maples along the side of our driveway and beside the porch. Piles of leaves are appearing by the roadside, but it’s been too wet and rainy to do any good fall crunching-walks. Soon, I hope. Fall in the suburbs promises to be lovely, if the ground ever dries up.

This time last year, I’d been in the hospital for a week and was facing down two more. I watched October from my antiseptic perch above West 59th Street; the only fall-blue sky I saw was whatever peeked between skyscrapers. I got to see tiny, bundled-up Lucia only a few times each week. I watched a lot of TV episodes online. I read all the Twilight books. I spent all day in bed, just me and kicking, rolling Greta in my belly. That was last October. The pumpkins we picked on the day I was admitted to the hospital got moldy before I came home.

Now, a year later, we’re in our very own house in a brand-new town, with wonderful New Hampshire pumpkins lining our front steps. We’ve been mentally preparing for our first major renovation in the winter (a bathroom), though I’m now pushing to wait and save our money for an even more major renovation in the summer (a kitchen). We are still rattling around this house a bit—but the feeling of having space, including drafty empty rooms, makes this fall seem more mysterious and moody than other falls. It will be lovely once the rain stops and we can play outside, bundled in sweaters, running through leaves, perhaps wearing princess skirts.



Friday, October 05, 2012

A Few More Lucia-isms

("Lucia, ready to feed the ducks?") "That's wonderful!"

("Lucia, would you like a snack?) "That's a good idea!"

"I can't wait to show Daddy what I made! He'll be so happy!"
---variation: "I went poopie in the potty! I'm a big girl now! I can't wait to tell Daddy!"
---variation: "I went poopie in the potty! I'm a big girl now! I can't wait to tell Nora!" (a neighbor we spotted in her yard a few moments before heading to the bathroom)

"It's spicy." (Anything she doesn't like is deemed spicy, with a worried and disturbed expression, as though she's saying "It's moving.")




Thursday, October 04, 2012

Sure, Madame

Lucia’s language has gotten both precocious and hilarious lately as she tries out new words and phrases, not always correctly. Some highlights:

Andrew, bleary-eyed, stumbled into Lucia’s room one morning this week. She’d been calling for me in her usual way: “Mama…Where ARE you….Maaamaaa….Where ARE you…..Maaamaaa…” When she saw Andrew in the doorway, she said, “First of all, I was calling Mama.”

This week I asked Lucia to carry her water to the table for lunch. “Sure, Madame,” she responded with a little smile. She brings out “madame” at random times. “Lucia, are you ready for breakfast?” “Yes, Madame.” “Lucia, here are your Kix.” “Thank you, Madame.” The funniest thing is that she has no idea what it means; I always call her madame when we have tea parties, which is where she learned it, but she also calls Andrew “madame.” We’ve tried to explain that Daddy is “sir,” but it has yet to stick.

Sometimes, when Lucia is traipsing around the house babbling to herself, I hear her just keep saying “Actually” and “No problem” to link together random thoughts.

She is refining her likes and dislikes. Today we were listening to a Music Together song that goes “Ding dong / I’ve got the rhythm in my head / Ding dong ding dong ding dong HOT DOG!” She’d been playing instruments and singing along, but when she got to the exclamation of “hot dog!”, she stopped. “I don’t like hot dogs,” she announced. “But I like buns.” Then she went back to playing her instruments.

Each time I pick Lucia up from preschool, I ask her what she had for snack, and what she drank. Whoever the helping mom is always brings juice for the kids, and Lucia hates juice, always has. “What did you have to drink?” I ask. “I DIDN’T have juice,” she always responds haughtily. “I had water. I don’t LIKE juice.”

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Weekend Escape

With the weather gloomy and cold, we headed to NH for the weekend, hoping to see some fall color despite the rain. We saw oranges and yellows, but no brilliant reds; it seems we missed the peak, or that there wasn’t much of a peak this year at all. Still, it was lovely to be there this late in the year. Milkweed was everywhere, mostly new and green, but some had dried and split, the soft fibers spilling out. There were a few small frogs in the pond—the bees that had kept us from the dock on our last trip were gone so we were able to go say hello. We saw a flock of ten wild turkeys along the roadside, and then in the back field on another day.

Being at the house in rainy weather isn’t easy; there isn’t much for the girls to do inside. Spending time outdoors, in middle-of-nowhere nature, is what NH is all about. Still, during breaks in the rain we went on short, damp nature walks. Lucia wasn’t enthusiastic until she saw me collecting pretty leaves and flowers in a bag, to press later. She appropriated my bag and began collecting things for herself. We arranged everything on a dish when we got back home.

We took a nice drive to do some shopping in a nearby town, and, on the way home, we saw—lo and behold!—a rummage sale in the town hall, on its last day, featuring a $4 bag sale. The girls both desperately needed naps but we went in anyway and came out with two bags, the highlight of which was a vintage Candy Land. I wanted to introduce a game to Lucia—she’s been eyeing kids playing board games at the library—but I loathe, loathe, loathe the new edition of Candy Land, which is so busy and cluttered it looks like a video game, likely the point of the design. So I was thrilled to find the version I used to play, simple and plain. The rest of the things filling our bags was pretty much junk even by my standards (sand toys, a large ziplock bag of random pom-poms for crafting, a baggie of five jars of glitter), but it was fun nonetheless.

And we got pumpkins—lots and lots of pumpkins. We set out for a pumpkin patch, hoping to pick our own, but the rainy weather killed that plan. Fortunately, we found a farm stand heaped with pumpkins, and we loaded up the trunk.

It is pretty cute how fully Lucia buys into the rural life. “A barn! Another barn!” she kept shouting as we drove to the pumpkins. And when we told her we were going to a farm stand instead of a pumpkin patch, she screamed with glee, “A farm stand!! Yay!!”

It was a short trip—Friday night to Sunday night—but enough time to absorb some of the quiet and stillness. We’ll probably get one more trip in before closing up the house for the winter. It will be real withdrawal to go without a visit in the months ahead.






Monday, October 01, 2012

Letter to Greta: 11 Months

Dear Littlest One,

You get cuter by the day. Really. Sometimes when I go to get you from your crib in the morning, where you’re standing at one end waiting for me, sleep sack askew, your pacifier in your mouth upside-down, I’m amazed that you’ve managed to get still cuter than you’d been the day before. You are cute to look at, to be sure, with your two-front-teeth smile (soon to be gone forever—two more teeth have just poked through), fat cheeks, and baby-soft hair. But you also do countless cute things.

For example, your wave is progressing. You’ve been waving goodbye for about a month now, with your entire arm. But now, sometimes, you open and shut the fingers of both hands when you want to wave. The movement is so subtle as to be pretty much invisible to whomever you’re waving to, and I find myself announcing it—“Greta is waving to you. She’s waving.”—to ensure that your action is recognized (and adored).

You’ve decided that eating is hilarious, and you laugh uproariously throughout your meals, your own best audience to private baby jokes. You stuff food into your mouth and then just laugh and laugh. It is a sight to see. And it’s catching—sometimes Lucia will watch you and start giggling too.

You love music. You love playing instruments—like maracas or egg shakers or a drum—and we’ve had some lovely moments where you and your sister are both playing an instrument while I sing songs. Whenever you hear music, even if it’s just from a passing car, you dance and clap your hands. So, so cute.

Your cuteness threatens to distract from one crucial fact: You are becoming a handful. You crawl lightening-fast, usually toward something forbidden, like the steps—when you get there, you look over your shoulder and grin as we race toward you. You put anything and everything in your mouth, so sneakily that you manage to put things in even if I think I’m watching you like a hawk. (Both your daddy and I, on separate occasions, caught you chewing on something and found a Squinkie in your mouth. We’re working on making sure Lucia puts her tiny toys in high places.) And you are feisty, which is another way of saying you’re already throwing tantrums. You don’t take slights lightly—you shriek with rage if/when Lucia grabs a toy from you; you shriek with rage if I put you down and you want to be held; you shriek and stamp your feet whenever the world prevents a Desire of Greta, such as chewing on stickers or playing with a wire. In music class this week, you threw a fit when it was time to put away the instruments, screaming and stamping so loudly that the teacher gave you back a maraca. During the Goodbye Song, she added a goodbye shout-out just for you: Miss Cranky.

You want to be big. I can see this in how you want to play with Lucia’s toys and do all the things she gets to do and eat all the things she gets to eat. It’s hard for me to have to say no to you so often, even when it’s for your own safety (like no playing with Squinkies). When someone treats you like a bigger kid, you are thrilled—like the cashier at Trader Joe’s who gave you a strip of stickers along with Lucia. You were just beaming, thrilled beyond thrilled. But then you figured out how to peel the stickers off, and you were eating them on the way home, and I had to take them away. I love you as a baby; but it will be nice when you don’t have to get left out of some of the fun stuff.

Despite your desire to keep up with your sister, you seem to fully embrace your babyness during naptime and bedtime, when you nurse peacefully, your little eyes closed, and then snuggle close with your pacifier as I carry you to your crib, clutching your sleep sack in your tiny fists.

You are still eating shocking quantities of food. You are not yet walking, which surprises me, though you love pushing around the lion walker and another push-toy we have, and cruising around the furniture. You are sort of saying Mama. You are still getting up twice a night, but I can’t bring myself to do anything about it just yet. You’ll be a year old next month, little baby. There’s time enough to bring the baby things to an end.

Favorite books: Snuggle Puppy, Moo Baa Lalala, Bunny’s Noisy Book

Favorite activities: playing instruments, chewing on things, standing at the easel and chewing on markers, digging in sand, getting into the recycling bag, knocking over block stacks, searching for Cheerios on the ground and eating them