Ten to Thirteen Months
Another milestone. As I sat on the floor, Lilly pushed from her knees to her feet, bending over with her hands on my legs. Then, ever so slowly, she straightened up until she was standing; yes, standing. It didn't last long, of course, and seconds later she sat unceremoniously on the rug. I don't think she really understood what all the fuss was about but Momma and Poppa certainly were giddy. Lilly is starting to get defiant. When we intervene in potentially dangerous situations (pulling over an metal magazine rack) or redirect her to more appropriate toys (lamp cords are no fun) she screams and cries. Sometimes, when she isn't in the mood for dinner, she pushes all the food out of her mouth with her tongue and spits it all over her high-chair tray. Despite these occasional setbacks, she continues moving ahead on the culinary front. Lilly is now eating bits of cooked carrots and small-dice fruit cocktail. Of course, she still loves her Cheerios.
More teeth are on their way. A few days ago, Lilly was running a low fever at daycare. She didn't have to go home but they did give her some Baby Tylenol. With the addition of general crankiness and extra drooling, hand sucking, and tongue dancing, we surmised that new teeth were probably imminent. Upon closer inspection, it appeared as though at least one bottom tooth and two or three top ones seem to be ready to break. Could be a long weekend... Lilly continues to make her frustrations known. When she doesn't want to go to bed, which is most nights, she screams and kicks and generally makes changing her diaper and putting her in her jammies just about impossible (like putting an octopus in a net bag?). We also recently found out that when her favorite daycare teacher, Kelly, leaves around 3:00 in the afternoon, Lilly, along with a couple of her cohorts, raise holy hell to voice their disapproval. The girl knows what she wants and what she doesn't.
This morning Lisa called me upstairs from feeding the dogs. When I got to Lilly's room, she was standing up, clenching the slats of her crib, and shaking the whole thing. She looked for all the world like a forlorn, jail inmate. Quite a bit cuter than your run-of-the-mill prisoner though.
Lilly loves to go out. It doesn't matter where; she just likes to take it all in. We went to Home Depot to buy some drywalling material and she laughed, giggled, and grabbed her way through the aisles from the relative safety of the shopping cart. She was especially fascinated by an eight-foot piece of plastic drywall bead. So fascinated in fact, that she whacked a few unsuspecting shoppers.
While I was at practice this afternoon, Lilly amazed her Momma with an outstanding show of ingenuity. It seems that our little girl wanted to be out in the kitchen and she wanted to take both her bumpy aligator AND her bumpy bullfrog with her. To accomplish this, she would throw first one and then the other ahead, crawl to them, and them repeat the process. This was not just a fluke either. She did her little throw-crawl-repeat routine at least 15 times. My daughter is a genius, yesirree.
As the week set in, Lilly was definitely in a state. Not only was she sick, with a runny nose and a cough, but she was cutting four, count 'em FOUR, of her top teeth. She was not a happy girl: not wanting to eat or play or sleep. About the only thing that quieted her down was to put her in the "cranky-baby hold" (draping her face down with her tummy along my forearm) and sway to "Five Little Monkeys." We did our best to hold it all together. It can't last for ever, right?
By the weekend we were through the woods. Lilly was feeling much better and we had fine time finally playing again. She also has taken renewed interest in eating. She's been feeding herself with ever-increasing efficiency and glee. Cheerios are still in her favorite, of course, but she also gobbles up choped-up green beans, peaches, and apples. The dogs love it too, since more hit the floor than make it to her mouth.
Lilly has discovered a new game. Actually, maybe it's more like a physics experiment... or possibly a psychology experiment. Sitting in her high chair, she loves to take each toy and one by one drop them over the edge to the floor. We're still debating if she likes the clunk or if she just wants to see whether Poppa will dutifully retrieve them for her.
Forgive me, for I have sinned. It's been two months since my last archive entry. Once I got a couple of weeks behind, the sheer weight of trying to chronicle Lilly's life began to seem to daunting and procrastination took hold. On the cusp of her first birthday, though, I really must try to document where we are and vow to be more timely in the future. I'm going to relate the high points of Lilly's development and hope that my stream-of-conciousness approach does our little one justice.
First of all, she's smart. No doubt about that. For example, playing with a magazine (she loves to shred Wired Magazine) while standing at the coffee table, the magazine slipped off the opposite side of the table. Lilly craned forward to catch a glimpse. Failing that, she dropped to her knees and made her way around the table to continue her periodical destruction.
She's learned to climb stairs as well. One day, at the bottom of the back stairs, she hoisted herself up the first one. Proud of herself, she tackled the next one. She was at the top in short order. Now, we can't keep her off them, especially the front stairs. One day I followed her up five times in a row. Part of her fascination with the front stairs is that her room is at the top and there is always a plentiful supply of dirty laundry to play with.
Yes, dirty laundry. I swear, I'm not sure why we bother buying her toys. She seems to favor common household items over her carefully engineered educational toys. Magazines, cards, empty soda bottles, the vaccum cleaner, the TV remote, empty toilet-paper rolls, measuring cups, whisks, her carseat straps all fascinate her and often keep her occupied for MINUTES at a time.
Lilly's also fascinated with the animals. She lets us know in no uncertain terms when there is a "dog-dog" in the vicinity. She can even recognize dog-dogs other than her own while out on walks. Once, from her vantage point in her high chair, she spied Lisa's laptop from across the room. She excitedly cried "DOG-DOG." Turning, I saw that indeed the laptop's wallpaper was a picture of Hank.
When she gets the opportunity to actually interact and pet the dog-dogs though, she often seems a bit reticent. She'll gingerly reach out for a quick stroke and certainly wants Momma or Poppa at her side. For their part, the hounds don't really take any notice of her, though Hank, whose tongue is the size of Lilly's face, insists on giving her as many "kisses" as possible. Until she's a little less shy and a little more mobile, we'll keep a close eye on the baby-dog-dog interactions. I can't imagine a better childhood though: growing up with these affectionate gentle giants. I often see, in my mind's eye, Lilly and Hank running down to the pond in the back yard and chasing frogs together.
Her interaction with the kitties is a different matter altogether. She crawls furiously after both Phoebe and Wilson. Wilson bolts as she starts screaming at him. Phoebe stands her ground and gets pissy. In fact, Lilly suffered a minor bite once when she swooped in on Phoebe and grabbed a handful of hair before Poppa could intervene.
Lilly will be walking soon. She hoists herself upright at every opportunity and stands with only the most minimal support. In fact, the other day while at daycare, she stood up on her own and then took a header, bruising her forehead. She is absolutely fearless. She barrels over anything in her way an often tries throwing herself headlong over the edge of sofas, beds, stairs, changing tables, you name it. Gotta watch her...
Lilly has graduated to Gerber food size #3. I think this basically means there are more chunks in the gruel, but I'm not sure. We're working a bit trying getting her to feed herself with a bowl and spoon... with limited success. She is very successful though at feeding herself diced apples, pears, carrots, and green beans. The other day she was grabbing at my banana, so I offered her some and she took a bite without hesitation. Lisa even let her have a couple of nibbles of ice cream at Culver's the other weekend.
The biggest change over the last two months has been how much I've fallen in love with Lilly. When I'm with her I'm outside of myself. She's it. Sometimes I sit on the floor watching her play. When she sees me watching her, crawls over grinning devilishly, and clammers into my lap, that, folks, is the best feeling ever.
Lilly's first birthday was a low-key affair. Not that she noticed or minded though. We picked her up early from daycare and whisked her home for birthday cake. It was just our little family sitting around an angel-food cake with pink whipped cream and strawberries. (Just like Lisa's first birthday cake.) We helped miss Lilly blow out her candle and then quickly intervened before she attempted to eat said object. Initially unsure about the cake in front of her, she eventually began to whack at it, getting whipped cream in her hair and all over her face and throwing strawberries on the floor. I gave her a few tidbits of cake that she seemed to enjoy. Lisa quickly put an end to that citing something about her being too young for sugar.
After cleaning up, we adjourned to the living room to unwrap gifts. Lilly's dexterity has improved immeasurably since unwrapping Christmas gifts. She seemed to know just how to grab the loose bits and rip and how to wrestle open the boxes. While all the toys and clothes and books were nice, of course, Lilly was equally fascinated with the crumpled wrapping paper and empty boxes.
Lilly's one-year checkup resulted in the following stats: 20 pounds, 7 ounces; and 30 inches. These numbers put her in the 70th percentile for height but only the 30th for weight. I guess she really is going to be a leggy supermodel as her Aunt Sandra predicts. After much soul-searching and research, we decided to go ahead with the "controversial" MMR vaccination. Lilly screamed bloody murder not only at her three shots but at her blood draw as well. Poor little thing.
Doctor Whalen also sent us home with a prescription for some cream with which to treat the eczema on her arms and legs. Over the next few weeks, the cream did seem to help, but not clear it up completely. When she got a severe case of diaper rash soon after, we were slathering practically her whole body with some salve or other twice daily.
On this day we attended Mark Lea's birthday party. This was Lilly's first excursion in her forward-facing car seat, now having exceeded the required weight of 20 pounds. She digs her new perspective during car trips but she still loves to play in her baby carseat, which now sits in the corner of her bedroom. At the party, we sat on the lawn playing with Lilly. She took a dramatic developmental leap forward when she put blocks back into a container instead of just taking them out. We reinforced her with gleeful cheers of "in." I'm sure the young, mostly childless guests cocked their heads at the giddy parents.
Over the following weeks, Lilly solidified her grasp of the "in" concept (supposedly more difficult to master than "out") and now delights in putting all manner of objects into various containers: toys "in" a metal mixing bowl, cups "in" other cups, Playskool person "in" a pudding stirrer, a small measuring cup "in" a big measuring cup. What's next? "On?" "Under?" "Around?"
We debated long and hard about what to do with Lilly during our garage sale. We finally decided to set up her pack-n-play and let her hang out in the shade. She actually behaved much better than we had any right to expect. We figured that she'd scream and demand constant attention. In fact, she was happy to play by herself and watch all the commotion of underground commerce. She was a joy and we played with her as much as possible. The neighbors, including the Roberts girls, fawned all over her and she wasn't too clingy with stranger danger.
Later in the day, Lilly splashed in her pool (a birthday present from Momma and Poppa). She got so excited that she could hardly contain herself and her tiny body fairly shook with spasms of glee. My friend Bill stopped by and dubbed her crinkled-nose whole-face smile as "mooshy-face." She's going to hate that when I use that name in front of her prom date. We also tried to get her to play in the lovely green grass of the front yard. She made a bee-line to the asphalt driveway however, and we could hardly keep her off it.
Once again, Lilly reminded us of her fascination with concrete. We attended Lisa's company picnic at Devil's Lake. It was raining so we spread a blanket as a play area in the shelter. Lilly did not recognize the artificial boundary and headed off for the concrete and the dribbles of water winding down from the cooler area. Perhaps it's just that with her fluency of motion, she just likes to be where she's not. When we had friends over for dinner recently we sat on the deck with Lilly as the center of attention. After crawling around for a while and getting filthy, she addressed a lawn chair and, after a number of fumbling attempts, hauled herself up into the seat, turned around, and gave us all a very self-satisfied mooshy-face.
She likes motion too. I installed a swing in one of our maples. She absolutely loved it and, I firmly believe, she could spend hours swinging in the back yard. Unfortunately, that also means that she screams without letup when it's time to go back in the house.
Lately, when I get home on Mondays and Friday, Lilly squeals and hauls butt out to the kitchen to meet me. I hunker down waiting for her and she barrels into me crawling with her head down. Then she gets up on her knees and buries her face into me. As I pick her up, I know I have the most important thing in my life in my arms.
Lilly talks non-stop now. Trouble is, it's not in English. We're not sure what language it is but it sure seems to have some sort of internal logic and a hell of a lot of words. Words bearing some resemblance to English include: dog-dog, kitty (pronounced tsi-tsi), mama, dada (despite my desire to be called Poppa), and, just the other day, bird-bird.
She also finds great delight in her tongue. She sticks it out and waggles it around, all the while making vowel sounds. We think she learned this from Hank. Hanks likes to lick. I mean, he REALLY likes to lick. He tries to lick everything, including Lilly's face. A few weeks ago, she looked at Hank first thing in the morning, stuck her tongue out and gave a few tentative licks in his general direction. It was the act that rekindled her love affair with her tongue. And ours. Because we find her tongue antics so endearing that we often imitate her, she tries to grab our tongues in motion.
When I got home today Lisa related the story of Lilly's first bout with consumerism. As they walked down an aisle in Target, Lilly began screaming and pointing at an accordion caterpillar. Lisa let her have it to keep her quiet during the shopping trip, fully intending to leave it behind before checkout. This was not to be. Lilly quickly ripped the tag off it and began gnawing at it. Separating it from her was out of the question so there was nothing for it but to shell out the asking price.
Since the go ahead from Doctor Whalen, we've been letting Lilly try as many foods as we can think of. New treats include: veggie burger, applesauce, toast, sweet potato crisps, Golden Grahams, cheese, and whole milk. Her former like of beans, peas, and bananas has been replaced with revulsion as has the new sensation of cottage cheese. She's playing more with her food now. I don't suppose it'll get any better either. The other day, I gave her a soft banana cookie and turned away. When I looked back, the cookie was no where to be seen. I did notice that she was manipulating something under her highchair tray though... Upon closer inspection I found her rubbing the gooey, saliva-covered cookie over and between her toes.
We have a adopted somewhat of a bedtime routine of late. After a five o'clock dinner, we go to the living room window to watch whatever action is to be had at the bird feeder outside. We've been attracting a lot of finches (yellow, red, and green) and Lilly, you guessed it, squeals in delight. After she tires of that, she squirms down to the floor for some playtime with her copious toys. At around 5:45 Momma brushes her teeth and I take her upstairs. I get her undressed, changed, and into her sleeper. Then we read a book, The Very Lonely Firefly or Go Dog Go, for example. Then I turn out the light and walk cradling her. I tell her that Momma and Poppa love her very much and then I give her her nightly affirmation: "Remember, you're the smartest, most wonderful, and prettiest girl in the world." After a rendition of "Hush Little Baby (Mockingbird)," I put her in her crib, muss her hair and tell her I love her. When we go back to check her later she's fast asleep in one of two positions: The Frog (on her front with her arms and legs tucked in under her) or The Dead Deer (on her side with her arms and legs stuck straight out in front and head lolling to the side).
Nanny and Grandpa came to visit for the weekend. They just couldn't stand not seeing Lilly and longer. My mother- and father-in-law have in some pretty fierce competition about who gets to hold their granddaughter. The good-natured rejoinder of "It's MY turn" was heard constantly throughout the weekend. At one point, I observed Nanny waiving Lilly at Grandpa and taunting him: "Do you want to go to Grandpa? No? O.K." Could any little girl be more loved? We went to dinner and Lilly kept all of us thoroughly entertained with her antics -- eating, playing with toys, vocalizing, and making faces at the baby at the next table.
The day started at Grandpa's favorite breakfast place, Cracker Barrel. In the tacky gift shoppe outside the dining room, Lilly spied a red felt cowboy hat. She was absolutely beside herself when Nanny put it on her had and refused to allow anyone to take it off. So Grandpa did the only thing a grandfather could do: buy it for her. I'm not sure what the attraction was but she insisted on wearing it most of the day, And, yes, it WAS quite a struggle to get her to accept that she could not nap with it on. As soon as it was placed on her head, she brightened up and looked very proud, especially when she pulled it done low over her eyes.
We had originally planned on a picnic outing to Devil's Lake, but Lilly's cold and teething, and the accompanying fussiness caused us to rethink. We opted for a picnic in the back yard instead. She perked up and later Grandpa wandered down to the pond with her. As we sat at the picnic table, we could just make out Lilly's white sun hat over the lip of the hill. She circled around Grandpa in the grass and finally had to be reigned in as she made a bee-line toward to the burn pile. Even rescued from that ash pit, she managed to get quite filthy. I think that her twice-weekly bath schedule may not be adequate during the summer months.
Grandpa soon discovered Lilly's tree swing and I'm not sure who enjoyed it more. For the rest of the weekend, whenever we couldn't locate the dynamic duo, we could be sure that they'd be down the hill swinging. After dinner, Grandpa toured our little cowgirl (yep, the hat had to come to dinner) around the restaurant's dining room. Days later she would still spy her hat hanging on the door knob of the back closet and would whine and scream until we got it down for. Once wearing the hat, she crawled off with renewed vigor and confidence.