Someone has turned into a walking, talking, eating machine!
Yes, we have walking, although Owlet prefers to still hold onto things to get around. She has taken casual solo steps here and there, up to two or three at a time. One day, walking with stiffer legs so that she doesn’t collapse like a wet noodle just kind of clicked. She does a great job of ambling along beside someone, holding on to a finger. She’s also mastered the art of crouching down to get something and standing back up again without pulling herself up, and of getting to her feet from a sitting position unassisted. The coordination required is just amazing, and it’s incredible to watch the constant readjusting of balance and position so that she doesn’t fall over. It’s particularly impressive when she does it on our bed, which is a non-solid surface and requires even more constant balance adjustment. She walks everywhere there’s something to hold on to, only getting down to crawl if the gap is too big to cross by stretching her arm out to grab the next solid object. She’ll stand casually next to a table or shelf if she wants to use both hands. She can get down off the chesterfield on her own, too, by getting onto her tummy and wriggling her legs back over the edge of the seat, then sliding down on her own. If she’s walking holding on to someone’s hand (or being carried) she’ll point to direct us to where she wants to go next.
The talking is finally happening more. I will admit, I knew Sparky was an early talker (and a late walker) so I wasn’t counting on words too early, but even so, I was watching Owlet with a bit of anxiety because she didn’t seem interested in mimicking sounds. Well, that slammed into gear this month. She can now repeat sounds if she’s in the right headspace. “What does the sheep say?” I asked her again one day. (Actually, in Owlet’s world, everything that isn’t a cat or a dog says “baa.”) “Aa,” she said. “Baa,” I corrected her. She looked at me and thought for a moment, then said, “Buh–aa” so carefully. Pointing made its debut this past month, along with the word “Da?”, so we’re giving her news words all the time at her own request. New words include up, more, book (boh), bugs (buh), tiger (tiya), that (da), up, meow, uh-oh, oopsie, cheese (shee). She was chewing on Sparky’s hat the other day, then held it out to us and said, “Eeyahn!” before smiling and hugging it. She uses certain words consistently, like Mama, Dada, ba (bottle), meh (milk), and ca (cat). Her comprehension is developing independently of her spoken language, too. She knows what “Drink your milk!” means: it means ‘stop looking around and get back to nursing,’ and she does so when I say it. She knows what “Do you want some milk?” means, too; it means we’re going to sit down and nurse. “Do you want a cracker?” makes her grin and huff with delight and make a beeline for the pantry (which she can now open and pull out the cracker box, yikes).
As for food… good grief. The problem is slowing her down, she is so enthusiastic about it. We’ve made some progress using utensils. The fork works better than the spoon, but is still problematic because there’s a big ball on the end of the handle, which is much more attractive to put in one’s mouth than the food on the other end. Using drier food seems to help, too; goopy stuff like oatmeal doesn’t work as well when she practices. We found a secondhand wooden high chair in the local classifieds (IKEA stopped making these somewhere around Christmas, right after we decided we’d wait to buy it, grr) so we can pull her right up to the table now just like the rest of us, which delights her to no end.
We discovered that she is a monster for garden strawberries. Sparky and I picked the first ones on a sunny day in early June, and I bit some off and gave it to her. Then she promptly tried to climb me to get the rest. Halfway through June we sat next to the garden and ate our way through handfuls of them. She loves them so much. Actually, I don’t yet know of a food she doesn’t like. She adores eating, and I’m enjoying it while it lasts. All too soon I know the beige diet — chicken, pasta, bread, potatoes — will hit. New foods this month include lasagna, hot dogs, hamburgers, homemade granola bars, kiwi, oranges, and a taste of vanilla ice cream! That went over so well she kept banging the table every time I dipped my spoon into my bowl so I’d give her more.
The big food-related news is the introduction of cow’s milk. A couple of nights ago after our baby velociraptor had stuffed herself with her heaping bowl of pasta, mixed veg, and cheese, she polished off her sippy cup of water and then started pointing at everyone else’s drinks and making the “gimmee” grabby hand sign for more. Ron said, “Do you want some milk like Liam?” So I shrugged, got a different sippy cup out of the cupboard (the one made like the bottles we’ve been using), put two ounces of milk in it and handed it to her to see what would happen. And she guzzled it back with delight. So, er, no adjustment issues there. I’ll give her a couple of ounces per day and see how she does, but not replace anything with it yet.
Books are finally interesting… still to chew, but now to sit and turn pages, too. One of her favourite pastimes is pulling her board books off the various shelves we’ve put them on for her to sort through, and sitting amid the pile to page through them. It’s a relief to finally be able to sit and read to her. The books do have to be board books, and there can only be a few words on each page because she is very enthusiastic about flipping pages (forward or backward, it matters not), but it’s a huge stride forward from before when she wouldn’t sit for books at all.
About halfway through June we took the twin bed I’d been sleeping in out of her room, and moved all her furniture back to where we’d originally planned to put it. She’d been waking up only once a night after about eight hours of sleep for a brief nursing session, so we felt safe in moving me back downstairs where I can respond to the monitor, and she doesn’t panic if it makes me an extra minute or two to get to her. It’s nice to be back in my own bed, although I miss being with her, too. Starting the last week of June she slept all through the night, but her daytime naps promptly went screwy. When she wakes up on her own, she’ll read her cloth books that are in the corner of her bed, and it’s fun hear her talking to herself as she explores flaps and crinkly pages. She can entertain herself for twenty minutes like that.
These days her schedule sort of looks like this: She wakes around 6:00, naps from 8:30/9:00 for an hour to an hour and a half, lunches at noon, naps again from 12:30/1:00 for another hour to hour and a half, supper is at 6:00, then bed is around 6:30. If she misses a nap or they’re cut short by teething or whathaveyou, she often has a catch-up catnap around 4:00 to 5:00, and then bedtime is a bit later, between 7:00 and 7:30. And she’s starting to sleep round the clock till 6:00ish the next morning. Lately there has been a middle of the night wakeup again, but she either self-soothes back to sleep or just needs her back patted and her soother found, or a cuddle.
We’re at an awkward stage during the day. We can’t let her play alone, because she’s mobile and at the into-everything stage. (My wheel has a child lock thorough the spokes now, and has been relegated to the front entryway which we don’t use; she’s still determined to get into it, though.) I can’t just sit with her; she demands full attention, which drains me. So we kind of go back and forth between the two, although I am trying to teach her to entertain herself while I bake or tidy or do laundry. Her favourite toys are paper catalogues. (Eating paper is one of her pastimes, much to our frustration.) She still loves to jump and bounce. Coasters are among her preferred things to gnaw on. Knocking down block towers is a great new game, as is rolling balls back and forth. I bought her a cloth doll to see if something with a human face would grab her attention as a lovey more than a stuffed animal, and we had great success; she loves it with a fierce passion. We show it to her and she absolutely lights up, reaches her hands out for it and bounces or giggles, then crushes it to her chest with more wiggles of delight once it’s in her hands. Then she usually stuffs it in her mouth, because she’s teething, but when she’s quiet she often holds it in her lap and looks at the doll’s face, stroking it and playing with the yarn hair. She called it “Fff,” so I named it Evie, and now she can say that, too (although it does come out as “Eeefee.”). I need to buy a second identical one and switch them back and forth, because after only two or three weeks this one has a certain sour aroma and needs a wash.
Her first big party kind of outing was this past Canada Day and my concert. She adored the parade, kicked her legs and clapped for the bagpipes as they went by (much to her father’s delight), and kicked her legs and tried to sing along at the concert, too, so HRH had to take her outside. But she is so social that the entire night was fun for her.
Tooth #8 finally arrived, the second lateral incisor on the lower right. She keeps stuffing her fingers along the left back of her jaw; we think her first-year molars may be starting to grumble deep in the depths of her gums.
She is wearing size 4 in disposable diapers (we had to start using one at night because she feels the wet in the cloth ones too easily and it wakes her up completely in the middle of the night when she gets to the surface of a sleep cycle; the disposable lets her go back to sleep), her shoe size is something like size 4 or 5 (I have no real idea, as she hasn’t worn real shoes yet, just the soft leather ones), and in general she is still wearing 18-24 mos clothes. Her face, trunk, and arms are slimming out with all this new activity, while her legs still solid and adorably chunky-fat.
Yesterday I saw Owlet toddle by under her own steam holding a small sippy cup of cow’s milk (now a treat), pause, tilt it back to drink, and then keep going on her way. Our baby is perilously close to toddlerhood, and only one month away from a year old.