May 13, 2017
She climbs a tree and scrapes her knee
Her dress has got a tear…
…A flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!
Many a thing you know you’d like to tell her
Many a thing she ought to understand
But how do you make her stay
And listen to all you say
How do you keep a wave upon the sand
Unpredictable as weather
She’s as flighty as a feather
She’s a darling! She’s a demon! She’s a lamb!
She is gentle! She is wild!
She’s a riddle! She’s a child!
She’s a headache! She’s an angel!
She’s a girl!
Little Baby E turned a year old recently. When she turned 6 months young, I had written a letter to her that surmised my feelings for her and what she meant to our lives then. These feelings have only multiplied. Still, her turning a whole year old was an emotional one for me for reasons that had nothing to do with her. My mother passed away 15 days before her youngest granddaughter’s first birthday. After attending all but one of the death related rituals and events in India, events that taught me new lessons, I made it back home to the U.S. in time to celebrate my baby girl’s first birthday traveling three continents on the same day!
One of the first things we did within a few hours of my arriving home was create a smash cake. My wonderful mother-in-law who had helped Aaron hold the fort while I was gone had already baked and kept the cake ready for me. I iced it, decorated it a little bit, and then it was over to the birthday girl to do as she pleased with it.
Except, unlike her brother’s first birthday when he had no clue what a cake even was and therefore had no idea what to do with this strange looking thing in front of which he had been seated, Baby E knew exactly what to do. She made a grab for the cake and put some in her mouth before we could stop her. Ha Ha…second children have it so different!!
Baby E, who will henceforth be called E or Teju, short for a name her Mamama (my mother) gave her, has been on quite an adventurous ride since she was born. Not only is she a savvy traveller, comfortable in whatever mode of transportation I put her through, she has also visited beaches, zoos, museums, parks, playgrounds, and such, a countless number of times just tagging along with me and big brother. First in a KTan, then in a jogging stroller, sometimes in both, then in an Ergobaby carrier, and now in an umbrella stroller, she arrives in style. The latest addition to her adventures is her rising confidence with walking.
Yes, Baby E, my little angel baby is in the process of making the transition to toddlerhood. Just as I was somewhat grieving my boy’s slow transition from toddlerhood to boyhood, I now have to reckon with my little baby no longer being a baby.
She is taking major strides in her development and I love to just stare, intervene when needed, but mostly just appreciate in awe, the ringside view that I have been gifted.
I wasn’t lying when I started this post with an ode to everyone’s all-time favorite heroine, Maria with ‘How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria?’ from the Sound of Music because my little girl can do all that and then some…I placed her on a tree in our backyard once and she just hung out there holding on to the branch like it was the most natural thing for a 1 year/some days old child to do.
I placed her on a tricycle another time and she just knew what to do. She had great balance already, as in, she wasn’t riding the tricycle but she didn’t fall off it either. She held on to the handlebars and smiled at me almost as if to say, ‘C’mon Mommy, push me!”
The first time I took her to a park where she got to do something other than just swing in a regular bucket-seat baby swing, was at our Rotary Play Garden on Coleman. There, in addition to a regular swing, I let her play with the musical note like thing as well as sit on a netted swing with her brother, both of which she enjoyed. Since she wasn’t interested in walking then, I never bothered putting her down on the floor much.
The last two park visits, however, were different. Over the weekend, we went to our neighborhood park and I figured since she had already taken a few steps, why not let her flex her skills some more. So I let her ride her usual swing and do a few slide rides and then just placed her on the cork floor.
She did great and explored everything around her with great curiosity, excitement, and amazement. I think she loved her new freedom and mobility.
Since then, we’ve been to more parks and with each visit, her confidence at exploring her surroundings and venturing into hitherto observed activities has blossomed. She is fearless and adventurous and I love that spirit. TJ was the same way at this age but then as he is getting older, occasional elements of fear, self-doubt, and cautiousness have entered into his otherwise carefree and joyful explorations.
Update: June 2, 2017
My little angel baby walks like a boss now! It is with great pleasure that we watch her try to run away from us if she is doing something she shouldn’t be (like grabbing folded laundry, eating post-meal scraps off the floor, or about to go climb up the stairs). She knows it and she loves the chase! If we aren’t looking, she hovers around the first step leading upstairs and just hangs out there making cute sounds so we can hear her and come and try to stop her. As soon as she sees us approaching, she makes a climb for it and takes off. She is getting quite good at it too.
In fact, in the last few days, she has learned how to climb down the stairs too, one bum rest at a time/per step. She loves snooping around my kitchen picking up random things and holding on to them. Kitchen towel, chopstick, chip clip, spatulas, random paperboys…everything is fair game. She, like her brother was at this age, loves digging into my cabinets and playing with my pots and pans.
Not to mention, unraveling the mysteries of the mighty dishwasher.
Back in the day, right from when she was a newborn at just about 1 month of age, she accompanied her brother and me on our weekly trips to the public library for story time. In addition to having experienced the craziness and excitement of said story time in utero, she got more of a feel once she was out. Of course, for the first few months of her life, she just stayed cocooned inside her KTan on me, gently snoozing. Gradually, at about 4 months, she started becoming more aware and would often bob her head ever-so-lightly at the singing and dancing around her.
Eventually, when she was about 7 months, starting on Halloween Day, I placed her on the mat by herself, but right next to her brother and since then, I have been doing this more regularly. Whereas previously, she simply sat and observed, now-a-days, she is all over the floor, touching other kids, trying to grab their unspoken for bottles lying around, or tapping on random people’s arms. At playtime, which follows story time, she engages herself with different kinds of toys and is quite independent while TJ still holds on to his garbage truck, a toy he has been playing with since he was about 20 months young and sticks around close to me.
One thing that really makes me proud is that both my kids love reading and oh what an adventure books can be!
Other notable little developmental adventures
(June 9, 2017)
- Teju walks all over the house now. Whereas previously she wasn’t allowed in the backyard at times when our arms hurt carrying or were too busy helping TJ with something, now she rightfully walks into the backyard and does her own thing. Once there, her favorite things to do are ride a tricycle or toy ride, uproot my plants, pluck my flowers or newly emerging vegetables, put her hands in soil and look at it like that dirt would reveal some mystery to her, and sneakily chomp on fallen fruits’ seeds, pebbles, twigs, leaves, what have you.
- She likes to point. This is a new thing. She communicates very well by pointing and telling us what she wants. She also likes pointing her dainty little finger at us and loves it when we touch the tip of our finger to her pointy finger.
- She likes playing with toes. She finds it hilarious when we wiggle our toes just as she is trying to grab them.
- She has been eating everything we eat since she was about 5-6 months young. The palate has only advanced now. Neither of our kids has ever had juice really. TJ tasted orange juice at one time but didn’t care for it. Her favorite foods are noodles, pasta, chicken nuggets, rice, peas, pancakes, dosa…again, pretty much everything we eat. She is at a good age now where she is not quite as picky as she will end up becoming eventually (hope not) and is at least for a spoonful or so, willing to try new things.
- She loves going into my purse, cabinets, laundry baskets, storage boxes, anything enclosed or enclosable that she can’t immediately access.
- Everytime we go to get her from her crib, she pretends to go but then falls right back and tries to roll away from us, smiling the whole time. It’s a game. She knows it. She plays it well.
- She LOVES bath time. We only have to announce, BATHTIME!! for her to jump and move her legs and do a little jig in excitement. She loves splashing in water and enjoys playing with her brother at bath time.
- She is still on two naps a day, an hour in the morning and about 2 in the afternoon. On some days, she chooses not to nap in the morning but that does not make her grumpy, just quiet as the morning advances.
- Her favorite fruits are Bananas, Mangoes, Watermelon, Strawberries, and Blueberries. She’ll try others but these have remained her favorites for a while now.
- She can say a few words..often it is imitation of the sounds of our words but then there are others that she does say. For example, she has been saying Dada for a while now but depending on the context, we can all be called ‘dada’. Very rarely, I do hear her go ‘mamamamamaa’ but that is not in reference to me. When asked to point to Mommy, she does point toward me so I have that. She knows who her big brother is and points him out correctly too. She can also say ‘nana’ for banana and whenever we say “BANANA!” like the Minions do, she follows suit and says it too while looking in the direction of where we keep our bananas. Lately, she has also started making cute pretend sneeze sounds. If one of us goes, “Ah..choo”, she goes “Ah..ch”…very, very cute.
- She gets really adventurous on cart bucket seats even with straps on. She is able to turn around entirely and often does that if her brother is inside the cart with us on that shopping trip. This can be really stressful for me for having to mind her, get the groceries or whatever else I have gone to do done, and make sure her brother does not stand up in the cart (he doesn’t but needs to be warned a few times).
- Likewise, with restaurant high chairs. She loves slipping off the straps and standing on the high chairs. Danger alert! It is not only the falling down that worries me, it is the bumping her head against another chair or table that worries me more.
- Her favorite book is, Peek-A Who?. No matter where she sees the book or if not, she goes looking for it, she will bring it to me or Aaron and make herself comfortable on our laps wanting us to read the book to her. She even likes to read that book by herself.
- She loves her brother’s cars, trains, and trucks. At least so far, she hasn’t shown a particular interest in dolls. Of course, we don’t have very many dolls around but to that point, she hasn’t shown much of an interest in soft toys either…She enjoys playing with blocks, Mega Blocks or any other kind.
- She enjoys going to the Zoo with us now. Whereas previously she just sat in her stroller or on me looking at the fun her big brother was having, she can actually participate in the activities. In the last two visits, she has joined him on the car rides and the popular “Granny Bugs’ rides. On our most recent visit, she even sat on a carousel animal (Giraffe) all by herself, something her brother did not get to do until he sat on his very first carousel at 17 months on our road trip from Chicago to San Jose. (If you want to read more about our road trip that was over 2000 miles from one end of the coast to the other, almost, start by clicking here).
- She likes walking around holding stuff in her mouth. My theory is that she does this so she can still hold on to the random thing she finds interesting while at the same time keeping her hands free to explore and grab other things.
My little baby is growing up and as she continues to take strides into the many adventures of life awaiting her, I will be right there for her, helping her navigate that journey even as I will allow her, her own mistakes and lessons. I am excited at what lays ahead.
The force is indeed strong with this one!