Saturday, February 20, 2010

Testing Things Out, Mastering Her World

I wrote this post on January 27th, late at night, and I simply neglected/forgot to post it:

My baby sweet potato girlie is TEN MONTHS OLD already!?! How did this happen?!? *sigh* She's growing up soooo quickly. Almost each and every day, something new happens. I love watching her as she discovers the world around her:

She has a miniature rubber duckie that somehow, months ago, made its way from her bathtub to her diaper changing table. Well, over a month ago, possibly back in late November or early December, she'd been kinda whining about whatever it is babies whine about while getting their diapers changed, and she'd been turning the rubber duckie over and over in her hands. At some point I'd bent over her and taken the duckie by its head into my mouth between my teeth - - and she LOVED it! Ever since then, whenever she sees this little rubber duckie, she'll grab it and offer it up to me for me to take it from her between my teeth. The other night she was offering it up to me again for the umpteenth millionth time, and I wasn't taking the duckie from her right away because I was honestly trying to focus upon getting her changed and dressed for bed before the window of opportunity would pass and I'd have an overtired baby on my hands. With my ignoring her, she opened her eyes as wide as she could, little eyebrows raised as well, and she shrieked as loud as she could while thrusting the duckie upward at my face. I couldn't help but laugh out loud at her behavior, and when I did so, she immediately frowned and began to cry, bottom lip out, still holding the duckie upward, arm outstretched as far and as long as she could stretch it, waving it slightly back and forth for it to be taken. As I bent over slooowly and took the duckie between my teeth, she stopped her crying short and released the most giggly-gut baby laugh I've ever heard from her, and with such a huge smile upon her face, her little eyes disappeared into a familiar squint, and the tiny tears from her short-lived outburst rolled down her cheeks, and I couldn't have adored her more in that moment.

When I'm dressing her, she offers each arm and hand to me as I bring her tops down over her head, and when it's time for her socks and shoes, she'll offer each of her lil' footsies to me, one at a time.

She loves to enthusiastically pull off her socks whenever she's sitting in her highchair. And about any other time she's shoeless, she generally loves to pull her socks off.

She LOVES shoes and will squeal with pure delight when she successfully nabs one without our having preemptively told her to please leave the shoe(s) alone. Furthermore, if she gets the chance to grab a shoe, she will invariably lick the shoe's sole: I DO NOT KNOW WHY SHE DOES THIS, but she loves it! If she gets a hold of a shoe and I catch her before she's stuck it into her mouth, right as I'm telling her shoes are icky-dirty and she shouldn't play with shoes and she cannot put shoes in her mouth, she'll get this serious look on her face, very wide-eyed, chin tucked down toward her chest, and she'll watch me closely as she twists and turns the captured shoe between her tiny hands, waiting to see how far she can push it before I'll make my move to take the shoe from her. Sometimes when she sees me coming to take her prize away, she'll release a short, particularly high-pitched squeal and jam the thing in her mouth, and then she'll quickly tossing it aside as she turns around to flee, crawling away from me as quickly as she can. I do find this to be particularly amusing and quite cute, for now. Yeah, fun times ahead.

For Christmas, we gave her a LeapFrog drum that plays through ABCs as it's hit and it sings and plays music along with drumbeats. And what would she rather play with? An empty, clear plastic cookie bucket that her daddy threw some dry beans into and then taped the lid shut.

She knows how to climb all the way up and down the stairs, thanks to Owen, but we can't yet trust her to handle the 'on the way down' without one of us right there. Although we've taught her to slide down the stairs, backwards on her tummy-tum, feet first, she sometimes tries to turn around to face downward, and that approach just doesn't work yet for her, considering she doesn't yet know how to walk without holding on to something or someone.

She's a very happy, very smiley baby, but still not much of a laugher, hardly ever. She really likes to be chased though, and if done right, she will giggle like mad when she's about to be 'caught.'

For months now -since she was 4 months old actually- I've been making a concerted effort to point out any bird we see and all airplanes visible whenever we're outside. She's not yet pointing with her index finger, however she'll now lift a teeny hand into the air when she sees a plane or a birdie, and she makes an excited little expression, eyebrows lifted, all wide-eyed and with her mouth in a perfect little "ooooh!" shape. Whenever she does this, I feel like there's nothing better in this world than that very moment with my little babe.

At the end of the day on our way home in the car, my baby sweet potato is eager to get home, both tired and hungry. We've developed a little routine of sorts, part of which often involves my reaching back behind me, offering to pop 2 to 3 toddler puffs or goldfish crackers directly into her mouth. I have one of those infant mirror-thingies strapped, clipped and corded [yes, it's very secure -oh my gosh- it sure is, lemme' tell ya!] to the backseat head rest which she faces while sitting in her own carseat, so that I can see her in my own rear view mirror. Every time I reach back to pop a puff in her mouth, I get a real kick out of watching her turn her head ever so slightly, just enough, and she'll lift her little face upward in order for her mouth to meet my hand and her timing is impeccable every time.

More often than not when I first offer her some food, it could be something she's never had, it could be the very first morsel presented once a meal has begun, or whatever, she'll fully accept whatever it is into her mouth straight away, and thereafter, she'll pull it right out of her mouth, look at whatever it is, and pop it back into her mouth.

She's learning how to be defiant... she knows she's to set her sippy cup back on her highchair tray when she's done drinking, but she will instead hold it out over the floor, stare me down, and drop it.

They have a little collapsible open-ended tunnel they use in her classroom during play times and SHE ABSOLUTELY LOVES IT! The first time I saw her inside it, she'd just entered one end and she hadn't seen me [SIDE NOTE: She almost always sees me through the window before I enter her room.] I ran over to where she'd been and peeked in after her, and I gave a little 'spss-spss' noise she knows well. Her little head whipped around so quickly, she nearly fell over when she saw me and began waving her arms with excitement, all while turning to lunge forward in order to scramble my way as fast as she could. I actually had my camera at the ready and captured the very moment she turned round and recognized me. It's a fabulous picture!

Some nights when we lay our baby sweet potato girlie down for beddy-bye, she falls asleep before her head hits her crib sheets. Other times, for 10-20 minutes after we've said our goodnight, we can hear her repeatedly turn on and off the music-maker aquarium hung on her back crib rail, against the wall, all while she babbles to herself, complete with little "ba-ba-ba"s, "da-da-da"s, "ma-ma-ma"s, and intermittently raspberry blowing. Occasionally she'll let out a short squawk or a squeal without warning to almost immediately resume her quiet babbling. She kills me when she does the latter - - I wanna run upstairs, scoop her up from her crib and play!

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