Sunday, September 06, 2009

Baby days

Julie's growing up so fast that sometimes it feels like her babyhood is slipping away -- or falling off, maybe, shed like skin. Just in the past couple weeks she's started creeping, getting on her hands and knees, and rocking. She's fascinated by everything and can play happily with almost anything for 20, 30 minutes. Tonight she sat in her high chair while I sang her nursery rhymes and cleaned the kitchen. I put coins and tiny toys in 3 of her hospital 2.5 oz bottles and let her shake them and throw them on the floor. I was putting the dishes away, singing,

"Thomas put the kettle on,
Thomas put the kettle on,
Thomas put the kettle on,
We'll all have tea.

"Julie take it off again,
Julie take it off again,
Julie take it off again,
They've all gone away."

Every time I got to her name, she'd look up and grin at me. Thomas, meanwhile, (who by the way is in love with this version of Mother Goose, and has some surprising favorites, including the above rhyme, undoctored (and further by the way the Old Mother Hubbard rhyme in that book has some chokingly funny art)) is taking a bath. He's practicing for upcoming swim lessons, trying to put his whole face underwater even though he's always been terrified of water on his face. He's missing the song, but he makes it out to play Julie's game with her, picking up the impromptu rattles every time she drops them.

Julie has a favorite bedtime book now too -- it's Bear Snores On, one of Thomas's all-time toddler favorites (good gift, godparents!). Sometimes all three of us sit in the rocking chair together and read it; sometimes it's just me and Julie while Thomas is in his own room having his own nighttime ritual. The poetry of Bear Snores On has always made it one of my favorites, and there are a couple of points that already make Julie giggle out loud, as she's patting the book, hard, with two hands, in that "doesn't know quite how to make the individual digits move separately" way she'll lose so soon.

After this book and a song, she'll often go right to sleep on her own -- a feat Thomas still has only replicated a few times. They're so different!

In food, too, Julie's "infant days" seem to be ending. She eats lots of foods now. She's funny in that a few times she's eaten a whole bowl of food, while making a weird "ehh" face at every bite. So far she's had apples (yes, delicate pink!), sweet potatoes, pears, and a little bit of peaches, as well as cereal. I also have some local beets and green beans frozen, even though she probably won't be ready for those foods for another month.

One thing we never thought to do with Thomas was to give him Cheerios to play with while we ate long before he was able to actually pick them up. We've been doing this with Julie and she's hilarious -- through incredible, diligent, and constant effort, she usually manages to grasp one between her finger and thumb over the course of our meal. Then she brings it up in front of her face and stares at it, puzzled. She will furrow her brows a bit, as if she's wondering why she's done this, and then painstakingly move her hand off the high chair tray, and drop the Cheerio on the floor, where Paci has been patiently waiting. Julie seems to think that this is her task and the purpose of all these Cheerios, like isn't it nice of mom to let me give Paci all this dog food. She has not once tried to put a Cheerio in her mouth.

Speaking of which, the other thing fun about this stage is that we have finally achieved fully mutual dog-baby adoration and fascination. Julie watches Paci constantly, and intermittently tries to follow her (unsuccessfully, but not for long). She's also learned the trick -- and if you're a microbe-phobe, you may want to skip this sentence -- of smearing her hand in her food and holding it down for Paci to lick.

Today while I was sorting things in Julie's room she was playing on the floor and managed to rock, roll, and creep her way to an adamantly not-baby-friendly box of stuff. Catch-all box, one of those ones full of things I don't need but haven't made time to sort and throw out. I was right next to her, so waited to see what she'd do with the stuff. First, pencils. I've never seen so much excitement about pencils. Did you know you can hold them at this end? And that end! And you can wave them. And roll them on the floor. And scrape with them. And turn them around and around. And -- hey, this box makes a nice noise when I shake it. What are all those shiny things in there? I'm going to get one out. Got -- no, it's -- well, this is good enough; what is this thing?

She took things out of the box and put them back, never tiring of the rattling sound it all made, until I was sick of cleaning the room and took her with me to find out what was happening downstairs.

And all this happened today.