Fourteen to Sixteen Months
Lilly is funny about food. Something that she's enjoyed immensely in the past, she'll reject later at the first sniff or bite. Such was the case today. I was giving her diced pears while she sat in her high chair. She was shoveling them in, obviously relishing them. Then I ran out. I put two pieces of diced cooked carrot in front of her. She picked one up, put it in her mouth, and spit it out with a look of disgust. Then to rid her mouth of any remaining morsels, gave me a raspberry. Then, in order to make it clear exactly what she thought of carrots, today anyway, she flung the second piece on to the floor with considerable disdain.
Last weekend for our picnic, we dug out Lilly's portable high chair/booster seat. It's now become a toy. We left in the living room and now she loves sliding into it and flailing her feet around. Lisa surmises that her enjoyment derives from the fact that she's in her "big-girl" chair.
I know that every parent thinks that their baby is smart, but Lilly really is. For example, I was giving her a bottle this afternoon. She was manipulating various parts of my face with her fingers: nose, lips, chin. Suddenly she pushed the bottle away and started her incredibly cute, tongue-waggling blabbering. Of course, being the well-trained parent that I am, I obliged by doing my best to imitate her. Immediately, she grabbed my tongue, which apparently was what she really wanted all along, and then resumed her bottle.
We discovered a pair of shoes in Lilly's closet that, by now, are too small. We tried to get them on her anyhow and her reaction was akin to that of the red cowboy hat -- utter rapture. She couldn't stand in them though because her heel wouldn't fit all the way down. When we tried to take them off, she threw a fit. It was then that we realized that we needed to get her some shoes. Lisa took Lilly on her first shoe-shopping excursion (probably not her last) and returned with a pair of white canvas sneaks with rubber toes and a pair of white sandals with mesh and flowers.
I had the most wonderful time playing with Lilly tonight and last night. She was loads of fun and in a fabulous mood. I even got a number of spontaneous sloppy kisses. It's times like these when I feel totally outside myself; I think of nothing but her and how wonderful she is. She is the most amazing thing in my world.
Recently, Lilly's favorite toy has been her talking barnyard puzzle, a gift from Nanny and Grandpa. It's a wooden board with cut out animal shapes, which can be removed with little plastic handles. When fitted back into place, they oink, moo, whinny, quack, baa, and cock-a-doodle-doo. While Lilly isn't terribly proficient fitting the pieces together, because they're fairly tight-fitting, she can't always get them out on the first try and as they fall back, they sound off. This sends her into paroxysms of glee. She is especially proud of playing with the puzzle in it's usual resting place, on top of her toy chest out of reach of the dogs.
I got a call from Wishing Well Daycare at work this afternoon. Lilly was running a temperature and I had to go pick her up. She appears to be cutting four teeth (two on top, two on the bottom), which very well could account for her fever and crankiness. Her runny nose indicated that she may be a little sick as well. We have a long night and weekend ahead of us.
Despite Lilly's crankiness, we decided to venture over to Milwaukee for the Compuware family picnic. The children's party favors where foam penguins. Lilly was so enamoured of hers that she immediately chewed it's beak off. The event was held at the Milwaukee Zoo. (Bringing Lilly's zoo total to, what, five?) She squealed and practically pulled herself out of her stroller when she saw the elephants and swimming polar bears. Crankiness overtook poor little Lilly and we effected a hasty retreat.
Finally Lilly is feeling better. All four teeth have broken through and the fever and crankiness have subsided. She's an absolute joy when she's not screaming at the top of her lungs and crying most of the night. Her appetite has picked up too. My attempts at encouraging her to use her spoon have finally borne fruit. With a little help now, Lilly can eat oatmeal, mac and cheese, and applesauce on her own with her special grippy spoon. She does pretty well but self-feeding is definitely messier than poppa-feeding.
A couple of days ago, we helped Lilly pull herself up into one of adirondack deck chairs. This morning, she approached the chair on her own and fluidly scrambled into the seat. She squirmed around until she was facing forward toward me and then flashed me a huge toothy grin and accompanying mooshy-face. For the next fifteen minutes she had great sport climbing out and crawling back into the chair.
In other motor-skill news, Lisa bought a Fisher Price walker (sort of like an old man's walker, but wheeled and festooned with bright colors and doodads). We figured that it might jump start Lilly's bipedal exploits, but we weren't too sure how she'd take to it. She wasn't phased in the least though. She stood up grabbed the handle and cruised away. This is all well and good, we thought, but what happens when she runs into something? As soon as she hit something, she pulled back and shifted it to a new direction before starting off again. She looked as though she'd handled it her whole life. What she didn't quite seem to grasp was that her walker encounters a lot more friction on a carpet than a wood floor. As she went from carpet to wood, she continued to apply the same amount of forward pressure. The walker sped smoothly away pulling Lilly along with it. We have since learned that our development book recommends against such toys as they can make the baby too reliant and postpone walking. So, the walker is in the hall closet, but we plan on bringing it out every now and then for a little treat and jump start. It may not be necessary though. After using her walker for just one day, Lilly has abandoned her refusal to "walking" by holding Momma's or Poppa's hands.
This afternoon we hosted a going-away cookout for our friend Chris Harvey. Ron and Cheri Brenton brought their 10-month-old son, Aaron, over and he and Lilly splashed in Lilly's pool for half an hour. Lilly is having a bit of a sharing problem. No matter what toy Aaron tried to grab, Lilly screamed and snatched it away, hoarding everything to her side of the pool. Aaron grunted in frustration and turned red. Later, though, Lilly made up by giving her little friend a kiss. This meeting underscored what a skinny little thing Lilly is: Aaron, at 10 months, is 22 pounds; Lilly, at almost 14 months, is a mere 21.
While splashing in her pool this afternoon, I drizzled some water out of a pail over her head. She squealed in delight as the water ran over her face. I gradually increased the amount until she was giggling and accepting a virtual torrent. For the next five to ten minutes, Lilly repeatedly lowered her head and moved toward me indicating that she wanted another shower. She screamed when I tired of the game and refused to let me slack off until she was ready.
Lilly loves bananas. This morning, she ate an entire one cut up into small pieces. She just kept shoveling it in until it was gone. When she wanted more, I slapped a slice of bread on her tray and she went to town and that too, devouring almost half of it.
Independence Day. We weren't sure how Lilly would react to the DeForest Fourth-of-July parade this morning but we needn't have worried. As the crowd swelled in expectation of the 10 a.m. parade and we staked our spot in the grass, Lilly began to squirm. Once the procession of marching bands, cheerleaders, floats, fire trucks, and veterans began, she was in absolute awe. She craned her neck forward and put on her serious face, trying to take in every detail. Her attention was actually held for almost the entire hour that the parade lasted.
Afterwards, we walked over to Fireman's Park for more small-town celebrating. We wove our way through the ring toss, pork sandwich, and craft booths and past the beer, bingo, and chicken dinner tents. We watched the pony rides and promised Lilly that she'd be able to take the reins next year.
Later in the day, after a particularly messy dinner, during which Lilly got almost as many garden vegetables in her hair, ears, and eyes as in her mouth, we had to strip her down. She loved "naked time" and scrambled around the house, pausing often to pat her little Buddha belly.
Lisa reported a couple of new developments while I was at work today. Remembering the bucket of water over her head from last week, Lilly learned how to do the trick herself without any parental help whatsoever. When I watched her splash around in her pool this evening however, she seemed utterly uninterested in showing me what she'd learned. Lisa also reported a new word: "puppy." On this count, Lilly did oblige me with a recitation but, to my ear, it sounded more like "Poppa." Atta girl.
Lilly took her first step today. Yep, you read that right. Of course, she fell down immediately, but this was the first time that she's ever even attempted it. She didn't attempt it again but the stage is set for walking. During the following week she started "surfing" in earnest. In the past she's always crawled from place to place, pulling herself up and surveying the scene before dropping to her butt, flipping over to her knees and scuttling off to the next pull-up point. (Reminded me of a prairie dog actually.) Now, she tries to move along from one piece of furniture to the next while remaining on her feet. She is also nuts about her walker toy when we get it out for her. When it's hidden, she tries to press her motorized Jeep into service as a walker by pushing the handle bars from the front. Her desire to become bipedal is growing. Lord help us all...
Lilly is growing more affectionate (or at least is able to show more affection). Encouraged by squeals of delight from Momma and Poppa, Lilly now loves to give kisses at the slightest provocation. We can request kisses ("give Poppa a kiss") and she will often, though not always, comply. She'll also spontaneously plant a big, wet, sloppy open-mouth kiss on our cheeks, announcing her intentions with a smile and an "Ahhhh." Typically she'll follow up her kisses by touching our faces. We're trying to instill the concept of "gentle" as it relates to this practice though because her usual state of excitement results in some pretty healthy slaps to Momma and Poppa's faces.
It seems as though Lilly does not like to mix textures in her food. At breakfast this morning, she threw a chunk of pear into the oatmeal I was feeding her. I shoveled another spoonful into her maw along with the pear. She immediately spit the pear chunk out. She has repeated the same thing for crackers in yogurt and banana in applesauce. I'm not sure what the deal is here.
Despite the 95° heat, we went to the Dane County Fair this afternoon to see the animals. She was fascinated with the horses, though we had to keep away from them so that she would grow up with all her fingers. She went absolutely bonkers when she saw the llamas, squealing and practically pulling her self out of her stroller. Later, she almost strangled a baby duck. In a petting-zoo area, I was allowed to hold a fuzzy yellow duck. Lilly, probably thinking it was a toy, made a quick grab for the poor thing's neck. I guess we really need to work on that "gentle" concept.
Today Lilly made the big move from the infants room to the toddlers room at daycare. She reportedly did well and was very happy despite the fact that she was tired throughout the day. In fact, she was tired for most of the week. We haven't been able to figure out whether it's a growing spurt, teething, or the heat. Teething is a definite possibility: we can make at least three molars erupting. New foods this week include: garbanzo beans, black olives, and carrot juice.
Lilly is finally getting more comfortable with the dogs. She crawls (or wheels with her walker) around the house after them. She pets Sabrina and Erin nicely, which we reinforce with praises of "nice gentle." She even waves Hank off when he tries to give her kisses. We are still very careful about monitoring all dog-baby interactions, but I think growing up in this zoo is going to be wonderful for her.
Lilly was intrigued by all the goings-on during lunch at Red Robin. She especially enjoyed the balloon that our hostess tied to her high chair. She made a big mess but did manage to eat a few bites french fries and veggie burger, and a whole lot of bites of chocolate shake.
That single step from two weeks ago was no fluke. This afternoon Lilly took TWO steps. As Lisa and I sat on the floor, Lilly toddled between us. It didn't last long because she got tired and reverted to a much-more-efficient method: crawling.
The drive to be bipedal continues. Today Lilly stood up on her own. In the middle of the floor, she stood straight up from a kneeling position without assistance or aids of any kind. As she stood there teetering, she wore a look of surprise, wonder, and pride. Then she fell on her butt. Exciting times indeed.
We went looking for a rubber ball today. We found one at Target and Lilly took to it immediately. Right away she picked up on the concept of bouncing it on the floor and letting Poppa pick it up for her. This activity could not be allowed, of course, as we tried to cross the parking lot. Lilly screamed her head off all the way to the car until she could be reunited with her beloved red ball. By the time we got home, she was saying "ball." In fact, lately she's been on a B- word kick: baby, bunny, ball, book.... Later that night, Lilly displayed some amazing insight. She grabbed the tube of diaper ointment off a shelf on the changing, poked and rubbed her leg with it, and then rubbed her leg with her hand, pretending to work in the ointment. It's a bit scary realizing how much she takes in, processes, and understands.
A Hall-family reunion of sorts took place today. My father, great aunt Ruth, aunt Ruth, uncle Darrel, and cousin Julie, her husband John, and her daughter Paige were in attendance. Paige is two months younger than Lilly and they hit it off immediately. They played in the pool together nicely; Lilly didn't grab away too many toys. Paige is walking already, but Lilly is farther ahead in verbal skills and interacting with people. It's funny how each kid grows at her own pace. I think Paige inspired Lilly because by the end of the day, Lilly was walking. As we sat on the back deck, we watched her tentatively rise to her feets and take 5-6 steps. Not so amazing in itself -- she'd done that here and there, but she finally "got" it today. I could see by the look of glee, determination, and excitement in her face that there was no stopping her now. Our life is about to change again.
During breakfast today, I offered Lilly some cereal. When I showed her the Special K box, she shook her head no and reached for the cereal cabinet. I got out the box of Cheerios and received the same reaction. Finally when I brought down the Golden Grahams, Lilly smiled, nodded, and reached for the box. The girl knows what she wants. When I cam home from work, Lisa reported that Lilly had mastered the name of her favorite food: "cheese." I've yet to hear it, but it doesn't surprise me. Other words include: "hi," "what's that," and "outside." I was also introduced to a new game. Lilly showed me how she loves to crawl (walking is not yet efficient enough) back and forth from the kitchen to laundry room in search of sunspots. Reminds of the perpetual baby in the insipid comic strip Hi and Lois.
When I picked Lilly up at daycare, she was outside. When she saw me she crawled to within a few feet, stood up, and walked the rest of the to my arms. It seems as though daycare, in general, is good for Lilly. Lisa has told me about her little friend Caithlin who squeals and runs over to her each morning. I've also learned about the evil Logan who steals her toys and whacks her, sometimes prompting a socially unacceptable but not entirely unwarranted chomp. My little mud skipper was so filthy from playing outside that I had to give her a bath after dinner. Lisa was working late so I undertook it on my own, bringing my solo bath total to three. As we were soaping up the baby, Erin stuck her nose in. Lilly spied her immediately and shouted, "Hi puppy." After her bath she also greeted Dino, a large stuffed dinosaur that was a gift from Grandpa this weekend. In addition to saying "hi" innumerable time, she gingerly touched the Dinosaur's vinyl toes and cautiously pet and stroked her new friend. Lately, Lilly has taken to climbing into the rocking chair with a book. Once settled, she flips through the pages and rocks, all under her own steam. It looks as though Lilly may have adopted a blanket. While not yet inseparable, her pink blanket is becoming an occasional source of obessession. I had to put her to bed with it tonight.
This morning after feeding Lilly half of a banana, she began pointing at the banana sitting on my book bag. She stretched for it and suddenly began saying "more, more, more, more." I picked up another banana from the counted and asked her, "Do you want more banana?" She nodded enthusiastically. Amazing. Driving home this afternoon, I realized how fantastic she is and how amazing it is to know her and watch her grow up. Everyday I can't wait to see what she does next. I'm ALL ABOUT Lilly.
When I went to pick up Lilly at daycare today, she walked the entire length of the room into my arms. The fact that she didn't fall combined with the look of pride and happiness on her face made my heart skip a beat.
Lisa and Lilly met me at work for lunch. Lilly, who loves going new places, was enthralled by the huge American Family cafeteria. She snarfed down French fries and potato salad, prompting Lisa to observe that she is "a good little Irish girl." Back at my desk, Lilly entertained co-workers by walking up and down the halls. Sure, there were falls but they did little to deter her.
Now that Lilly is walking in earnest, it's all she wants to do. If we try to carry her outside or in a store, she squirms like mad, trying to get down and move under her own power. Faced with this problem, we set out to buy shoes for the girl to at least keep her feet protected and/or clean. We eventually settled on the classic, soft white leather high-top walkers. Lilly didn't cooperate much during the fitting, but was overjoyed with her new purchase in the long run. While Lilly can and does walk by herself, she can really make time with a tiny bit of assistance from Momma or Poppa's finger. But pity the poor soul who tries to offer more help than that: Lilly slaps away more substantial attempts with considerable disdain and frustration. Oh yes... the pink blanket is fast-becoming a regular part of our routine. We're tyring to limit it to nap time and bed time, but that may prove impossible. Also, Lilly now has a name for it: "na-na." Go figure.
Helldrive from Wisconsin to Cleveland. We left at 6:45 p.m. and arrived at my sister's house at 5:45 a.m. Lilly didn't sleep nearly as much as we expected. We figured driving through the night would be the best way to keep her quiet and sleeping. We were wrong. She did sleep some, maybe four hours, but not enough to justify our own hallucinations. She did zone out for a fair amount of the remaining six hours but we endured a substantial amount of screaming and thrashing and a never-ending string of "hi. hi. hi. hi..." Part of my fevered recollection of the trip is changing Lilly at 3:00 a.m. on the side of the Ohio turnpike. Under the sodium haze of street lights, Lilly frolicked momentarily on a patch of damp grass before continuing with her forced march. Upon arrival in suburban Cleveland, we set up the pack-n-play and hit the sack.
We arose again around 10:00 a.m. and soon ventured down the road to Lake Farm Park. The park is sort of a working farm/science exhibit/petting zoo. Needless to say, the kids loved it. Lilly loved the sheep, got to pet the mule, and was fascinated by the 10-day-old piglets and week-old calf. When we got home, both Poppa and baby napped for a couple of hours and got up feeling much refreshed. Lilly played pretty well with her two-year-old cousin Adam with only a few run-ins. (The Speak-n-Spell narrowly missed her head once.) Her five-year-old cousin Sarah wanted nothing more than to snuggle Lilly and for the most part, Lilly complied. She was enthralled by all the new toys especially the "Activity Garden," a sort of a gated castle. She enjoyed slamming the gate behind her and checking for plastic pieces of mail in the mailbox.
We carted all the kids to Bob Evans for breakfast, which, as you can imagine, was quite a scene. We hit the road by about 10:15 a.m. Lilly cried for the last hour of the trip to New York but was overjoyed to see Grandpa and Nanny. For the rest of the day she reveled in the attention showered on her by her grandparents, Uncle Eugene, Aunt Sandra, and Aunt Tracy.
As a true part of the Ford clan, Lilly took to the mall straight away. She toddled all over saying "hi" to anyone and everyone, causing Lisa to observe that Lilly has more than a bit of her Grandpa Ford in her. In fact, Lilly led Grandpa hither and yon including a couple of stops behind the counter in a shoe store to "help" the owner with some stocking and unpacking.
Nanny took Lilly to buy a pair of proper shoes. Down at Davidson's on Main Street in Canandaigua, she found an expensive German leather number that Lilly seemed thrilled with. We were shocked that Lilly was already a size 5. Lilly insisted on wearing her shoes to dinner when we went over to Geneva. In fact, she was so into walking that she barely made time to shovel in some bread and pasta before taking off with Grandpa to roll in the grass outside and throw rocks onto the restaurant's front walk.
The terrible twos seem to have arrived eight months early. Exhibit A: Under Grandpa's watchful eye, Lilly was crisscrossing the driveway with her brand-new ice-cream truck push toy. When she suddenly made a bee-line for the street, Grandpa naturally intervened. When it became clear to Lilly that she was not going to be able to circumvent Grandpa, she hurled her toy aside, sending it skittering across the pavement, turned on heel, and stomped off back up the driveway toward the house without so much as a backwards glance. She was much more positive about getting wet though. Grandpa hauled out a galvanized tub and plopped Lilly into it up to her neck. This scene was repeated numerous times throughout the week and she splashed gleefully while relatives and neighbors gathered to watch, often in lawn chairs.
The inundation of relatives continued and the chaos seemed to swirl around two forces of nature: the upcoming wedding and the baby in our midst. None of Lisa's mother's relatives had met Lilly yet and it was especially nice to see Nanny the Grand and Grand Dad fawn all over the girl. By this point in the week, Lilly had become used to all the new people and visitors and required virtually no warm-up time. She happily clambered into damn-near anyone's lap. She obviously enjoyed all the attention and pulled out all the stops performing to all and sundry. In the afternoon, Lilly accompanied us to the rehearsal at Saint Mary's down the street. She wanted no part of sitting quietly and cooperatively. This proved to not be too much of a problem due to the fact that she was able to spend most of the time playing quietly with her soon-to-be-cousin-in-law Cameron. Together, they enjoyed emptying the church's toybox whether it was of interest or not. I stepped in only when Lilly began to eat the crayons at the bottom of the box.
During the preceding week, there had been much discussion about whether Lilly should attend the wedding. Finally it was decided that she would attend but so would the babysitter. Nanny had arranged for a neighbor girl to undertake the sitting duties both for the wedding and for the reception. Katie started earning her money early on. As Momma walked down the aisle with the wedding party, Lilly began squawking with excited recognition. I rushed Katie and Lilly out the side door and they spent the rest of the ceremony playing outside and in the entryway with Cameron. When I collected her afterwards, she was happy and content and Katie reported no problems. When we returned later that night from the reception, Katie also reported that she went right to sleep without a peep or struggle. How come that never happens for us?
As we prepared to depart for the return hell-drive, Lilly charmed everyone in the house by climbing into the clothes dryer in the back room and playing with a pair of sweat sox. As shutters clicked and flashes flashed, Lilly gave us her best mooshy-face and hammed it up. We pulled away from 116 Park Place around 4:00 p.m. and to tell the truth I can't really remember whether or how much Lilly fussed. I do remember that she was lively and happy when we checked into a hotel around midnight. She toddled around the room and clambered on the beds in remarkably good spirits. I think the same could be said for most of the ride on Tuesday and we made it home in one piece.
Lilly's walking skills continue to grow: her sense of balance has improved to the point where she rarely falls (unless something trips her up) and she bends her knees more allowing her to go faster and to change directions more quickly. This makes it easier for her to chase the kitties. We are trying to teach her the difference between the Phoebe, the "mean kitty," who will bite her given the opportunity and Wilson, the "nice kitty," who will probably run away if she isn't gentle. Lately she's been standing right next to Phoebe and doing a little dance, and squealing loudly in Wilson's face. I'm not sure how that fits with our admonishments but she hasn't been bitten yet. We're still carefully monitoring her interactions with the dogs, but she seems much more comfortable with them and treats them fairly respectfully. The dogs, for their parts, are doing pretty well too. The other day when Lilly sat down unexpectedly on Hank's feet, he jumped up and backed off with no signs of resentment or anger.
Her verbal skills are increasing too... sort of. She is talking constantly though most of it is still gibberish to us. She is starting to repeat things with more frequency. Recent additions to her vocabulary include Lamby (her stuffed lamb), boat (from a picture book), no (yep, it's started), and the incomprehensible "ah-shi." She repeats this last word constantly but we have no idea what it refers to. Her interest in books has increased hand in hand with her vocal prowess. She loves to page through them on her own and loves to sit on our laps and have them read to her. Her fascination with page turning during story time has waned and she is now content to sit calmly while we read entire books to her at one sitting.
She isn't so content when she decides she's done with a meal. If the meal involves a bowl, she carefully places her spoon in the bowl, picks it up, and hands it to us. If no bowl is involved, she violently pushes all pieces of food over the edge of her high-chair tray. We refer to this as "clearing the deck." She's also been clearing as many shelves and cupboards as she can get into. Today we made a trip to the store to buy baby-proofing materials and cupboard locks. This has frustrated her to no end and she will soon turn her attention to devastating other areas of the house, no doubt. Time to put away the china displays I guess.