She’s Walking!

She started taking steps on her own 2-3 weeks ago and this weekend she started zooming around. She’s made it from one side of the room to the other, stopped, turned, and come back, so I think we can call it official:

We have a toddler!

february-23

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Love

I don’t blog as much now because mostly it would just be me talking about how much I love this baby.

But maybe that’s enough for a blog post.

Gods, I love this baby. More than I could ever imagine. I get all those cliches now, I really do. I love spending time with her and chasing her squealing around the house and holding her and helping her walk from one side of Target to the other and coming up with ridiculous games and tickling her feet and smelling her hair and plopping her down at daycare and shouting “you’re free!”

She’s a delight. A ridiculous, adorable, loving delight.

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15 Months

Who even is this goose?

Someone started pulling up in November and now she’s cruising on everything. Just this Saturday she let go of the coffee table for the first time and took one, two steps before falling to her butt and giggling. Then she tried again.

She’s a nut, and in more ways than one. Truly she’s becoming a toddler at hyper speed and we don’t have long before those long arms reach the doorknobs. One recent weekend, we installed locks on the cabinets in the kitchen. The next weekend, we finished baby-proofing the noffice (nursery/office). Now we need to toddler-proof it.

The mood swings are getting pretty intense and my patience is already being sorely tested. She’s recently started pointing at things, opening her hand, and saying “da!” Which is adorable – until she doesn’t get what she wants / we don’t figure out what she wants in time. Then it’s back arching and tears and screams.

Meal times are quickly becoming a battlefield, although I suspect part of this is because she’s teething again. Half the time she’ll hit everything out of our hands before we can even put it on her plate, the other half she’ll only accept food if it’s on its way to our mouths first. And ho boy, if you use the microwave and don’t immediately give her food, you’re in for it.

And then there are the times that we play tickle monster and she just giggles and giggles and giggles. Or when we flop on mama-Sarah and she’s full of high-pitched squeals. Or when we go down the slide and she reaches the bottom and throws herself forward. Or when we open her door in the morning and she just grins around her nuk and goes “heeeeh.”

She is a handful and she is a delight. She makes me want to scream and then she puts her head on my shoulder and everything is perfect. I tell her how hard her life is and try not to be sarcastic because it’s true. I know what it’s like to not be understood, to be overwhelmed by your emotions, to not be in control. It is hard. Hard for her, hard for us, and we have to navigate this together.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m also not super glad she’s back at daycare today. Mama needs a break sometime.

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14 Months & 2017

december-57

14 Months

For the most part, I just say she’s one year old. But every month she’s more capable, more aware than the one before. And at 18 months, I’ll say she’s one and a half. Every day builds on the next.

One day, she started pulling up. The next, with a little help, she was pushing one of those stand up toys. Now she’s walking back and forth across the living room, barely using the elephant walker to stabilize.

A sixth tooth broke through last week. From all the drool and whining, it seems a seventh may be on its way.

She chatters and laughs and giggles and whines and throws herself down when she’s upset and clings and rests her head on your shoulder and cackles while trying to shove her fingers up your nose. I love this age so much. I’m trying to appreciate how easy it is right now, because I know it’s about to get much harder. She has such big emotions for such a tiny body and she’s only starting to learn about them.

After a really hard week with copious amounts of vomit & diarrhea, she’s also started sleeping straight through from 10pm to 5am, and I kind of love it. Now I just warm a bottle up when my alarm goes off at 5am. She usually wakes up shortly after, takes a bottle, then goes right back to sleep. I get a solid hour, hour and a half of writing/editing in every morning. Living the life, y’all.

 

2017

This has been a strange year. Politically, it’s been a devastating roller coaster. But personally, it’s been amazing. I wrote a book and then I went through edits and just yesterday my editor accepted it – which means 2018 will be pretty exciting, too. 2018 will also be the year (more) people I don’t know read it (oh god). I met people in my field and made friends and connections. I’ve never been this excited – or hopeful! – about my career. I’ve never had a career.

And this baby – oh, this baby. She has been the joy and the adventure I dreamed of and so much more. She has taught me so much – about myself, about the world, about hope. I love watching and sharing her joy. Her sadness breaks my heart a hundred times over. And it’s only been 14 months!

Life has been so different and yet not at all. I get up and pet the cats and drink coffee and write and make breakfast and go to work – except now I also keep an eye on the baby monitor, bring her milk, open the door when she’s up and sing good morning, baby – the light’s come on and so I smile wide and say –

I was struck the other morning by how quickly this all became normal. I was sitting on the couch at 6am, reading the edit suggestions from my editor, my robe smelling faintly of the baby’s vomit from the day before, the coffee satisfyingly hot, a cat licking her paw by my ear. I have felt so much despair and hopelessness and loneliness this year, but really: I have everything I could wish for. This is the life. This is my life.

And I couldn’t be luckier. ❤

I wasn't really looking forward to 2017, but it was good for me. Now I'm very excited about 2018 – Lady Jr will be walking, talking, and growing into a Real Human Being. My book will be going out to other authors, to reviewers, will get a cover, will be in my hands. My wife will begin searching for her next job, her hopefully for-a-long-time job, and we might begin to have an idea of where we'll be in 2019.

I'm gonna cherish every minute of it.

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Overseas with a Baby

Deutschland 2017

We did the seemingly impossible. We took an 8-hour transatlantic flight and spent a week in Europe with a crawling, active, chatty 13-month-old.

And it was fine!

It was more than fine, it was fun. I spent a lot of time in the weeks and months leading up to the trip worrying about whether or not this was the Worst Idea Ever. I’d heard plenty of horror stories about babies/toddlers who’d spent the entire flight screaming or needing to be walked up and down the aisle of the plane. I’d worried about sickness and jetlag and whether or not it’d all just be too overwhelming.

What I learned is I should trust my baby. And also, everything is more fun with a laughing, giggling, wide-eyed little girl.

There were hard bits. I couldn’t sleep on the flight over, even though we had a whole row to ourselves and got to put the carseat between us. Lady Jr conked for a good 3, 4 hours, but there were other babies who had a harder time and, well, airplane seats just aren’t very comfortable.

Coffee saw me through until we could nap at the Air BnB, but it was touch-and-go. But after that nap, well, life was a lot better.

That first night was hard on us all because of the time change. Lady Jr slept for a few hours and then kept waking and crying every few minutes. Eventually, I just got up with her at 11pm and we watched German-dubbed X-Files until past 1am – which would’ve been 7pm our time, aka her bedtime. She went right to sleep after that. She pulled the same routine a day later and by then we’d figured out it was her Circadian rhythm and just went with it.

Naps were almost all on the go, in the ergo carrier, and that worked just fine.

We stayed in Air BnBs for this trip, which I’d A++ recommend. It was great having a kitchen and lots of room for her to crawl around and play. Also great: both had a place for her to sleep. Not so great: both were outside the cities we were visiting, so we ended up doing a fair amount of driving. Lady Jr is not a fan of cars and sometimes we were out for a while, so this was not ideal. Next time, I’ll try harder to find a place to stay *in* the city, even if it means finding novel places for Lady Jr to sleep.

Why did we visit Europe in late November of all times?? For the Christmas markets, of course! 😀 My mother and I had been talking about visiting Germany and their markets together for years and yeas, and I realized that if we didn’t go now, we’d have to wait a few more years and I was worried about how much older my mother would be. Also because of Thanksgiving, I could actually take a whole week off and not miss much work. Hence the timing.

We visited Darmstadt and Aachen, since their Christmas markets opened early enough. I’d never been to either, so that was fun. Aachen is gorgeous and located on the edge of a rolling, wonderful national park and now I want to live there.

I drank all the Gluhwein and sniffed all the things and ate all the baked goods. Dr Lady got to see her first Weihnachtsmarkt. Lady Jr charmed everyone.

Also: dude they’re not kidding around with baby changing rooms in Germany. When they’re there, they’re fancy and nice and clean. One even had warming lamps for newborns. So good. ;.;

Anyway, have some pictures.

Deutschland 2017
Lady Jr playing peek-a-boo at the first Air BnB.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
Darmstadt countryside.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
Lady Jr learned how to pull up on the trip and is now unstoppable.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
We went for a walk by the Rhein. 

 

Deutschland 2017
HAM

Deutschland 2017
Lady Jr was enamored with a toy in the second air BnB and also kept pushing a step stool around and around and around the house.

Deutschland 2017
The countryside outside of Aachen.

Deutschland 2017
A cute little town we discovered nestled in the hills.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
Mmm, Apfel strudel.

 

 

Deutschland 2017
*Weihnachtsmarkt intensifies*

 

 

Deutschland 2017

Deutschland 2017
And then it snowed as we were leaving.

 

 

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Aachen Weihnachtsmarkt.

 

 

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Everything is Just Fine.

 

 

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Gluhweing – the Reason for the Season.

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13 Months

I feel like ever since she started really crawling and picking things up and making eye contact, I’ve been less… not enthusiastic, maybe more less surprised?… by each new milestone. They kinda smooth one right into another now. One day she’ll be knocking over the towers of blocks, the next she picks them off one by one, the next she’s putting them together one by one.

She crawls on all fours more often than army-crawling now, and she also pushes around a box on her knees more than she crawls. She occasionally does a downward dog maneuver, inching her hands in as if that might help her stand. She doesn’t pull up to stand, but she does crawl up us until she’s got one hand on a knee and is otherwise balancing on her own.

Sometimes she sleeps until 5am before crying, sometimes she wakes up at 11 and 1 and 3. More often these days she’s not ready to get up until 7am, thank the gods. I’ve reclaimed my early morning writing time and it has made me a better human being.

She hates socks. She loves being tickled. She plays peekaboo by herself in her crib. She appears to enjoy daycare. If I roll a ball to her, she’ll half-throw, half-roll it back. She likes to stand on my lap and hold my shoulders. She likes to put her blocks in her box and then cruise around the house tossing them out. We call her Baby Clause.

She likes eggs, but everything else is on a day-to-day basis. Some days she’ll eat chicken and rice and mushrooms. Some days she won’t. We just keep rotating and offering and reminding ourselves that some days, we don’t want to eat chicken and rice and mushrooms either.

She has opinions. She’s started throwing in a few “mamama”s with her “dadada”s. She holds up her hands and opens and closes her fists when she wants something. I’ve joked that figuring out what she wants is a lot like playing hot-and-cold: her whining increases the further you get from what she wants and the excited babbling increases the closer you get.

I can see why people would want more than one now. We’re starting to think about a second. Well, Dr Lady wants a second and I’m getting there.

I wish I could go back to this time last year and show past me how much better it gets, because omgoodness yes. I know we still have many backslides ahead of us in terms of emotional development, but this is the adventure I wanted.

 

Speaking of adventure, we’re going to Germany next week. Oh god.

 

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One Year Old

We have a one-year-old.

It has been an amazing year. Some of the highest highs and lowest lows of my life. Yesterday, on her actual birthday, I was thankful for all she has brought us.

Unfettered joy. Bright wonder. Sheer life. Hope.

I looked back on the older pictures of her and realized she’d been herself from the very start. Even in her newborn photos you can trace the shapes that will become her square jaw and expressive eyebrows and cupid’s bow lips. Once she noticed the camera, you can see her inquisitiveness and unabashed delight.

She is stubborn and she is persistent. She is observant and she is hesitant. She is engaging and she is curious. She is attentive and she is (just a little) mischievous. She is compassionate and she is gentle. She is strong.

She loves beets and egg yolks and bread. She’ll squawk indignantly if you don’t share what you’re eating. She loves the kitties and she loves her stacking cups. She’ll drag her elephant lovey across the room as she army-crawls. She’ll pull out all the books on the shelf and then sit and turn the pages of her favorites. She’ll spend an hour taking blocks out of a box and putting them back and then she’ll suddenly crawl over to mama and demand to be held, then just as suddenly demand to go back to playing.

She smiles with her whole body and she cries just as fully.

She likes the book on quarks. She likes to play on her xylophone. She figured out how to stack her rings and she can pull up to her knees.

Her laugh melts my heart and her smile brightens my day and her cry makes me wish I could move the heavens to make everything better.

I’m so excited to see how she’ll grow, how she’ll expand into a toddler, a child, a human being. How she’ll change. And how she’ll stay the same.

Happy birthday, Lady Jr.

 

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