Monday, March 26, 2012

Random Bits and Pieces: March

We took Clare to the park for the first time two weeks ago. We put her in the swing, fully expecting her to love it. I pushed her back and forth a few times. And she just sat there, staring at the older kids playing on the merry-go-round. She looked so jealous that she couldn't run around with them. She could have cared less about the swing.

We did coax one smile out of her, though.


Clare had her 9-month well-baby check-up on Friday. She is still long and lean - 50th percentile for weight and 90th for height. The doctor said she is on track to be a tall girl, like her mom. Maybe she won't be a gymnast after all, despite what everyone at daycare thinks. (She likes to do the splits.) She's had a runny nose for two weeks. The doctor said to expect it to last at least three or four. Yay.


She had a bad day on Saturday. It was one of those times when she was just inconsolable. I was so frustrated - with her, with the situation, with my utter inability to fix whatever was wrong. Was it the broccoli I had given her earlier in the day? Another tooth coming in? The fact that she started the day by banging her head on her crib, resulting in quite the little shiner?

We took turns rocking her, I nursed her, we tried laying down with her on the bed. We put her in the car seat and drove through the countryside. None of it worked. Finally, we gave her some Tylenol and I sat with her in the rocking chair. In no time, she was asleep, head on my chest. She hasn't slept like that since she was a newborn. When she woke up, she was back to being our happy girl.

On Friday night, I went to see Avenue Q with my friend Amanda. If you've never heard of this musical, let's just say its...well...raunchy. And hilarious. It was so nice having a night out. Those are so few and far between these days. On the drive home, Amanda and I were discussing our various states of happiness with things in our lives. She asked me if I felt fully satisfied with my life, now that I have Clare.  I didn't answer right away, because honestly? I don't always feel satisfied, or happy, although I feel like I should. I have nothing to complain about, really. I guess that is just part of being human, though. Not always feeling satisfied, even when you should be happy with what you have. And I don't mean to say that I am not satisfied with Ben and Clare. Because I am. Completely. There are just other things that I am sometimes less than thrilled about. 

And how could this little face not make you happy, no matter what else is going on?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Clare has turned into a crawling, waving, standing, moving machine. I have started crawling after her all around the house taking things away from her (which of course, she finds to be HILARIOUS). She loves shoes that are left out on the floor. She loves the cat’s scratching post. She loves Mommy’s purse. Everything is so new! And exciting! I wish I still felt that way about things. (Although I am pretty excited about the Coach purse I bought. At the outlet, but still. It is Coach!)

We visited my grandparents in La Crosse last weekend. Clare wanted, more than anything in life, to touch the decorative (sharp) coral my grandmother has on a coffee table in the living room. Every time she saw an opening, she charged for it. She did not give up or forget, despite being momentarily stymied. When the menfolk got up to go do manly things in the basement (ahem, install a new flat screen TV), Clare crawled out of the room after them. She will not be denied her adventure! She kept turning around and looking at my sister and me to see if we were going to follow her or not.  I got the sense she didn’t want us to. How can she be so independent already?

She has mostly given up the army crawl, and it is fun to watch her tear across the floor. I am glad she likes crawling, because my mom (an elementary school principal) says it is good for reading development. And of course, since I love reading I want my daughter to love it, too.

Busy sorting through her books.
 As for the standing – up until yesterday, she only stood up every 10 tries or so. Yesterday, though, she suddenly seemed to master it. When we were at my grandparents' house, she stood up using the couch as support. She stood there for a few minutes, basking in praise. Then, she just lifted her hands in the air and let go. Luckily, I caught her before she fell – but she looked pretty darn pleased with herself.  I have a feeling a few crash landings are in her future. That reminds me – when she first started standing, she was holding the side of her crib. She started to slip, and held on for dear life. She looked at me wide eyed – terrified that she was about to fall.  She was whining and whimpering – it was so funny, because of course, she would just have landed on the mattress.  That she was standing on. It would be so interesting to know what is going on in their little heads at times like those.

She waves hello and goodbye, and seems to understand what she is doing. She waves goodbye to me when I drop her off at daycare. I love how babies wave – opening and closing their little fists towards their own face, because of course, that is what it looks like when people wave at them. I swear she said hello the other day, but I might have been hearing things.

She has started posing for the camera, too. My dad had the camera out in La Crosse – Clare was sitting on my grandpa’s lap making the funniest little faces as he pointed the camera at her – just the cheesiest grin you’ve ever seen, head tossed back, so proud.  The only problem – she poses after you’ve already taken the picture. I guess she is not ready to audition for America’s Next Top Model just yet.

I wonder how many calories I would burn if I moved as much as Clare. I crawl after her, but that is about the extent of my exercise these days. I think I’ll just let her do the exercising for the both of us.

A home video! I know you're excited.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Nine Months

Nine months. She has now been on the outside as long as she was on the inside.  I was looking at some pictures from last summer, and I just can’t believe how different she looks now. I’ve always thought she was cute as a button, but she really is so much cuter now than she was when she was first born. I think her personality has a lot to do with that. Clare has the cutest little laugh – have I mentioned it before? She doesn’t laugh that often, she usually just shrieks with joy, but when I can get that giggle it makes my whole day. The other thing that makes my whole day: Clare’s absolute excitement at seeing me when I come to get her in the mornings. I may have mentioned this before, too, but oh, it is so precious. She acts like we’ve been apart for months rather than hours.

Oh, and this happened:

She only manages to pull herself all the way onto her feet once in a while, but she is working hard at it. She has taken more than a few tumbles, but doesn’t seem to be any worse for wear. When I go into her room in the morning, I see her little hands on the top of the crib, her head tilted back as she tries to see over the top bar. We’ve already lowered her mattress once, and I think we will need to do it again soon.

She has been crawling like crazy – she still does the army crawl, but also pulls herself onto her hands and knees regularly. If Ben and I are in another part of the room, she charges for us. She will not be left out, Little Miss Social. She is babbling constantly – she says Dada, but I don’t think she’s made the connection to Ben. Other than that, I haven’t picked out any definite words yet. 

She loves playing with her blocks – I build a tower and she knocks it over. If I am holding a toy, she wants it, even if she has 3 in her hands. I guess the grass is greener even when you are a baby. She also loves books – and has actually started showing interest in the pictures on the page rather than just using them to chew on. (I had to stop letting her do that so much, I am afraid she has ingested more than just a little bit of “Moo, Baa, La La La.”)  She adores animals, and I can’t wait for her first trip to the zoo. She is going to absolutely flip. She also loves it when Mommy or Daddy is playing on the floor with her - Mommy is her favorite jungle gym.

She is growing and changing so fast – I feel like I can’t keep up. I just read Anne Lamott’s book, “Operating Instructions,” and it made me wish I had written more about Clare. I want to record every minute! I know this is not realistic, but still. It feels so fleeting. I just want to bottle her up so I can revisit this age when she has turned into an acne-covered, parent-hating teenager.

She is doing pretty well with solid foods. She had her first avocado last week, and is having her first chicken today. We started practicing with finger foods (mostly just some organic puffs I found at the co-op). She had some trouble at first, but seems to be getting the hang of it. With her 9 teeth, she looks like she could eat a steak. She also shared a banana with me the other day. We were in the living room – she wouldn’t eat it with her fingers, but she helpfully opened her mouth. Insert food, please!

I went away for a much needed girls’ night last weekend (Wine! Shopping! Gossip! Knitting! Yes, you read that right. I knit now. Sort of.) I had a blast, but I missed the heck out of Clare. When I got home on Sunday, she could have cared less. Of course, she had her Daddy. And, when it came time to eat, she was happy I was there. I guess Mommy is good for something after all.

I actually made that hat!