A year ago, after two or three weeks of extremely frustrating prodromal labour, I woke up at 4:00 in the morning with the usual contractions and got up to walk around as always, then realized that finally, this was the real thing. Four hours later, we had a beautiful little daughter.
We had trouble those first five weeks, what with the undiagnosed tongue-tie and the major feeding issues related to it. And the emotional issues, too, thanks to the CLSC nurses pressuring me about her slow weight gain. On the other hand, we acquired a wonderful pediatrician who said we were doing just fine, who was (and is) thrilled to bits with how we handled things, so I think we came out ahead regardless. And everything was solved, as anyone looking at the terribly plump Owlet in months four through eleven can affirm.
Owlet can walk, do that stumbling toddler run with her arms out in front of her for balance (usually accompanied by a huge grin and a stuttering giggle), wave hi and bye (and has started doing it to things passing on the street and people she sees while she’s out), open the pantry and pull out a sleeve of crackers (and try to eat them through the cellophane, argh), splash some very impressive splashes in the bathtub, climb up two stairs (only if unsupervised, and she can’t get back down yet), slide off the chesterfield by herself (but not climb onto it), and handle sippy cups like a pro. She has darling little baby curls in that nondescript light brown/dark blonde colour, and grey eyes that are sometimes more blue and sometimes more green, like her dad’s eyes. She loves food so much that she stuffs whole handfuls into her mouth at a time at meals. She can use a spoon or fork once or twice at a sitting, but usually ends up accidentally dumping off what it’s carrying as she flips it over on its way to her mouth, and then drops the utensil in favour of her more dexterous fingers. We’re still working on slowing her down so that she doesn’t stuff a billion pieces of something in her mouth at once, then choke when she takes a drink or tries to swallow it all. Sometimes we get so cross that we take her plate away and put a single bit of food down for her at a time, but that frustrates her as well and ensures that no one can eat in peace. She has eight teeth, and we are fairly certain her molars are starting to move. She learned how to blow kisses on her birthday, but she doesn’t kiss her hand; she kisses her pointing finger and then points it at whoever she’s blowing kisses to.
She talks all the time. She’s at that delightful stage where she babbles in a lovely liquidy flow, and it actually sounds like a foreign language, complete with inflections and with facial expressions. She is especially fond of words that begin with the letter B, such as bye, ball, book, and baa. Cat, meow, woof, more, that (da), Mama, and Dada are in regular rotation. Today hat and Gryff joined the lexicon. She doesn’t usually repeat words we give her, but every once in a while she’ll do it out of the blue and it just sounds so odd. She’s better with books than she used to be, but she does turn pages very quickly, so reading the full story isn’t always possible.
She likes to roughhouse with Sparky and her dad and Gryffindor. If they’re piled on top of one another, she throws herself on top of them all, chortling. If anyone is lying down on the floor, she will try to tickle them (and because she is one, and her dexterity is not yet refined, this often means she pummels them with enthusiasm). Gryffindor has the patience of a saint with her, as she buries her fists in his fur and hauls up handfuls of him, chews on the tip of his tail, or drops her whole head into his belly and rubs her face in his fluff. He just lies there and purrs. She watched Sparky play with Gryff a couple of weeks ago, dragging a string around for him and dangling the Little Gryff toy for him to bat at. (Little Gryff is a small crocheted amigurumi Ceri made for Sparky that Gryff appropriated to carry around and sleep with.) The next morning Owlet found the Little Gryff in her box of toys, where it had been tossed during cleanup the night before. She pulled it out and toddled into the kitchen where the cat was sitting under the table. She crouched down and pushed the toy at him. We watched, fascinated, as she worked out how to dangle the toy from the yarn tied to it, then as Gryff finally clued in to what she was doing, and rolled on his back to bat at it. They played together for about ten minutes.
She wears size 4 diapers (we’re using disposables at night because she sleeps through and a cloth diaper just can’t handle eleven hours, no matter how we stuff it; the damp feeling wakes her up), size 4 shoes (although her toes are peeking over the end of her sandals, so it may well be size 5), and size 18-24 months clothes. She loves to eat crackers, cheese, bananas, watermelon, cherry tomatoes, peaches, and anything else I hand her. She loves to drink milk with her lunch and supper just like Sparky, and water during the day. Nursing is down to when she wakes up in the morning, and before her morning and afternoon naps, although occasionally she asks for a quick nosh in the afternoon before supper, or when she is very upset about something. HRH gives her a bottle at night, and that’s their time together. She used to fall asleep in his arms, but now when she’s finished the bottle she squirms, so her puts her down awake in her crib and says good night, and she beetles about and plays with her stuffed rabbits and reads her cloth books until she falls asleep.
The summer camp routine really helped structure her day. Now the day runs roughly like this: She wakes around 6:00, nurses, then has some Cheerios for breakfast while she plays, then has fruit as a second breakfast at the table around 8:30 or 9:00. She goes down for a nap around 9:45, and sleeps about an hour and a half. Lunch is at 12:00, and the afternoon nap happens around 2:30, again for about an hour and a half. Supper is around 6:00, and bedtime routine starts at 7:00. She’s usually asleep by 7:45, and sleeps all the way through the night now, as a rule.
She is great fun to be with, although she seems to be a bit of an accident magnet these days. In the past seven days there have been four incidents of broken glass, three of which have involved her directly somehow (a jar being knocked out of the fridge while she’s standing there looking into it, a floor lamp falling over while she tries to slip past it and the glass shade shattering, and so forth). She loves to pull toys out of boxes, gloves and scarves out of baskets, and dishcloths off rails. She is terribly social and loves to be out and about, especially in grocery stores and shops of any kind because she can people-watch.
We may be her world, but Sparky is her hero. She adores being with him, and will kind of stalk him with a low ongoing giggle and open, eager smile, her hands out to touch him. She wants to do anything he’s doing, and if he plays with her she’s in absolute heaven. We put both of them in the bath together the other night to play, instead of just dipping her in and swishing her around to get her clean, and they splashed one another and played with the stacking cups and giggled for ages. He kept giving her hugs and saying, “You know, having a bath with you is really fun.” He does get a little frustrated when he tries to build a full tower with her blocks for her and she knocks it down three blocks into the endeavour, but we remind him that he used to do the same thing, and that she is having fun no matter what.
The other day I carried Owlet in the ring sling at the library, as it was just a quick visit to drop off books and check the new releases shelf, so getting her into the stroller wasn’t worth it. I grabbed a book and was standing in line to check it out when she waved her hand at it and said, “Boh.” “Yes, book,” I said. “Boh,” she said, a little louder. “Yes, it’s a book,” I said again. Then she slapped the book good and hard, with a crack that echoed through the tiny, silent library, and squawked, “BOO!” with a huge grin.
You can’t shush a baby who has just gleefully identified a book in the library. I’m sure there’s a moral law against it.
(For comparison: Here is Sparky’s twelve-month post.)