Today, Owlet waved goodbye to HRH as he got his coat on to leave for work. In the past couple of days she’d been staring at her palm and moving her fingers very slowly, as if she was waving to herself in slow motion, and I thought that maybe she’d be one of those kids who waved to herself because that’s how they see other people waving to them. But no: this morning, without prompting, she looked at HRH, held out her hand, and wiggled her fingers ever so slowly, with a small smile. She had never waved before, even in response to someone else. We were thrilled.
She can do so much. She can play peek-a-boo anytime, anywhere. She can hold her own bottle (although we don’t encourage it, because she tends to bash it around). She can pick very small things up in a pincer grip. She can just about manage a sippy cup, although chewing on it is more interesting right now. She can turn pages in a board book, although she is impatient with books in general when we try to read them to her. She would rather turn handfuls of pages at once, or grab the book to chew it. Her favourite book is a body book showing babies and toddlers doing different activities, with body parts and clothes labelled. She loves to look at babies in any book. But really, the best thing about books is chewing them.
Owlet is developing socially, too. She has started feeding others, for example. We felt special when she offered us Cheerios or bites of her rice rusks… until we discovered that she was also pushing rice rusks at the furniture, her toys, and pictures of people in books. She has figured out the piano/xylophone that once was Sparky’s, after a brief period of just looking at it or watching us demonstrate it, and now bangs away at it both with her hands and the sticks that are attached to it. She is working on clapping; I noticed her making the motion with her hands last week, but with fists instead of open hands. Like knocking coconuts together, heh. Mostly she bangs her fists together a couple of times, then clasps her hands, then bangs the clasped hands on her legs or the table or whatever is in front of her.
Suddenly she’s everywhere. No longer can we put her down and expect her to stay where she is. She wriggles around quite well, despite not formally crawling. The other day she squirmed under my spinning wheel and managed to get herself on top of a treadle, and checked it all out for me like a little mechanic. To occupy her while I’m in the kitchen I give her a plastic mixing bowl of Fisher Price Roll-a-Rounds (I don’t think they make them any more, which makes me sad because I love them) and she digs them out, rolls them back and forth either with me or from hand to hand, and sometimes dumps them all out and watches them roll all over the place with great delight (and then puts the bowl on her head).
The biggest leap forward this month is the standing and cruising. Owlet pulls herself up on everything and everyone. She cruises along the chesterfield and along the coffee table, although the corners of the table continue to defeat her. She can’t get herself up into a sitting position on her own from lying down on her front or back, but if she starts off sitting she’ll get herself over to something upright (like the aforementioned table, chesterfield, chairs, bookcases, adult legs, my hair) and pulls herself up to her feet. I left her sitting on the floor of the living room a couple of days ago, with some toys around her to keep her busy, and went to work in the kitchen for five minutes. The kitchen and living room are essentially one big room, and she was quiet, so I didn’t think to check on her. But then I walked back in and found her standing on the other side of the room, leaning against the chesterfield where Gryff was lying. She was chewing on the tip of his tail and touching the pads of his feet.
Her favourite activity is walking around the house holding on to someone’s hands, which is great for her, not so great on the person whose fingers she is holding and whose back is about to break. Will she skip crawling? Who knows? I am told there are children who walk first and then retroactively apply the self-mobility thing to the crawling.
When we last left her teeth, she had two incisors on the bottom and her top two were taunting us. Well, the top two came in, followed shortly after by her right second incisor (three new teeth within five days, ack). The left second incisor is still tormenting her, but it should be any day now, too.
Just before the teeth came through she was running a high fever, which broke just as the teeth started cutting. I figured it was teething related. Except a day or so later a rash started breaking out, so surprise! Roseola! Sparky never had it, but the timing of the high fever and the rash was textbook. (I mentioned this to our doctor and said I didn’t bother bringing her in because if it was roseola there wasn’t anything anyone could do other than say, ‘Yup, roseola,’ and she said, “I wish more parents were like you!”)
Sleep is undergoing a weird overhaul. When developmental stuff starts happening like crawling, walking, acquiring new social skills and things like that, sleep can often be disturbed because there’s a lot going on in the brain as new neural pathways are established. So naps are all over the place, and night wakings are ranging from one to six per night. Teething and the roseola didn’t help, either. And on top of it all we’re trying to teach her to self-soothe and go back to sleep if she wakes up after a sleep cycle (hers seems to range from twenty to forty minutes), so I nurse her once at night around two when she wakes up after her initial long stretch of sleep, then if she wakes up after that I leave her in her crib while I pat or stroke her back and give her the soother, instead of picking her up to cuddle or nurse her back to sleep. She has let me know in no uncertain terms that she is not a fan of this, but she gets back to sleep within about ten to fifteen minutes.
We’re hearing the beginnings of real words, too. She has deliberately used Mama, Dada, and cat, although not consistently. She also says baba (or bababababa) now and then, usually when looking at one of her bottles. In fact, one night she looked at me after nursing and said, “Dada? Baba?” And I said, “No, kid; Dad is not coming upstairs to give you a bottle. You are stuck with me, and with what you just drank. Now go back to sleep.”
In the glorious world of food, she now eats just about everything except berries, milk, and nuts. She’s pretty much off cereal and mashes (not that we really did them much at all); we only mix up a bowl of cereal if we need to get something into her fast, and we pile diced veggies or meat in it to make a kind of potage or porridge. New foods this month include grapes, peppers, hamburger, turkey, scrambled eggs, Cheddar and Swiss cheese, mushrooms (raw and fried), celery, watermelon, and rice vermicelli. Overall so far, the only things she has really not pounced on and stuffed into her mouth are carrots and avocado, although I can grate carrots and add them to stir fries for her without a problem. We’ve started eating the same thing for lunch: I make macaroni, for example, and fry up mushrooms and a diced chicken thigh, then grate cheese all over it and toss it. Then we each have some. There’s something so very thrilling about your baby eating the exact same thing you’re eating. And now we have to defend our food again, because if you’re eating something and she is not, there is a great fuss made until she too has something, be it a rice rusk of her own or part of what you’re eating.
Nursing has been a bit of a challenge, and I can’t blame her, what with having to get used to three new teeth in such a brief period of time. Her latch is all wonky and she’s slipping down to nurse shallowly again, which is not optimal and is, quite frankly, cumulatively painful. We’re working on it. She’s has also developed a tendency to bite when she is really frustrated and at the end of her rope, which is not fun at all.
Also not fun: Getting one’s legs firmly wedged in the crib when one turns oneself crosswise, lifts the legs, and slots them in between the spindles. That’s what you get for having legs like turkey drumsticks, child! At her 9-month appointment, he doctor wrote down with great glee that Owlet now weighs 10 kg 38 gr (or 22 pounds and 2 ounces) at 28” tall, tracing her leap from ‘oh no, this baby isn’t gaining enough weight’ to ‘holy smokes, this child is plump and chunky and I love it’. She’s in the 96th percentile for weight (no kidding), and the 75th for height. I went back through Sparky’s records and discovered that he didn’t hit 22 lbs till he was a year old. No wonder Owlet has blown past all her 9-12 month clothes. She’s firmly in 18-month size territory right now, although her shape is changing all the time, because her diapers fit differently each week — not too large or too small, just fitting differently as her body changes shape. That plus the mobility thing mean I’m turning to dresses a lot now, to leave her legs and feet bare so she can get a better grip on the floor to pull up or get around, and because then we don’t have to sort through the drawer to find pants that fit her that day.
In general, it feels like someone switched the baby to eleven. She’s slightly manic, quick to push and push and push and suddenly start crying if things go wrong or not according to her plans, or she just overwhelms herself. Gone are the days where she’d watch and think about things. Now she throws herself in, and damn the torpedoes. It’s exhausting for everyone. I’m looking forward to things settling down a bit when this round of developmental overdrive is, well, over.