There was a time, not very long ago, when everyday was full of new excitement and anticipation over what new thing my little girl would accomplish that day or even that week or month. Now, at almost 16 months, things are, how can I say this, um…more of the same.
First, there was Tummy Time. We were recommended tummy time almost since the day she was born. Why this obsession with having babies hold their heads up? They all do it. Some sooner than others. Let them be! My mother gasped when I told her I was giving my few weeks old newborn tummy time. Not that, E cared much. Whether it was her tummy or her back, she just laid there anyway. Doing much of nothing.
Gradually, though she realized that perhaps being on a tummy wasn’t the most natural position for a baby and started little swimming motions to get herself out of that awkward position. Perfect. Tummy time was working. We would often put her on a mat on our rug, sit around her, and play with her. Rattle, anyone? Or, I would prop her up on her Boppy so she had a different perspective. She started smiling very young so she would indulge us and grace us with her beaming smiles.
Then came trying to get her to somewhat sit so she could better see the world around her. We would seat her on this little “chair” and take her everywhere. She has emerged on our dining table, kitchen counter, carpet, and even on the floor outside the shower as I showered.
Meanwhile, Baby E was getting better at tummy time and has started to raise her head quite confidently. It would tire her out easily and she would end up resting it on the mat soon after but she hung in there and tried to raise her head again within minutes, sometimes seconds.
At this point, around 3 months, I had realized that she is actually able to “sit up” if I placed her in the crook of the Laz-E-boy between the arm and the backrest. The arm of the chair provided good back support and she was able to hold herself up there, to whatever extent. Yay! To me, this meant photo sessions. I began to put her in that crook, and take many a pictures of my growing child. TJ loved joining his sister on the chair so I got many adorable bro-sis pictures too. Attempts at aiding rolling on her sides continued with more tummy time and encouraged gentle rolls from side to side.
At 3.5 months, I let Baby E sit in her stroller without a carseat while we were enjoying Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory on National Cheesecake Day. This was a big deal for two reasons: (1) I was eating out with the kids for the first time by myself or ever, really. (2) Baby E was demonstrating good back strength and was actually able to sit comfortably without flopping all over. Of course this was a temporary set up.
At 4.5 months, Baby E graduated to sitting all by herself in our jogging stroller for the first time, sans carseat. This would have been early had I been actually jogging with the stroller but to walk around in, this was perfect. With TJ on it too, the stroller gave me the advantage of a double stroller without the extra bulk.
At 5 months, Baby E was beginning to get comfortable sitting up. Not independently yet but whether propped against a Boppy or the Laz-E-Boy, she literally held her own for a reasonable amount of time. Her neck was already strong. Her back was getting stronger too. She still flopped over sometimes so we couldn’t leave her unattended but for all practical purposes, she was inching very close to the sitting up milestone.
At 5.5 months, she wasn’t rolling over yet but had definitely mastered lifting her head up and looking at the world around her. Nearing 6 months, she was able to sit up quite confidently supported only a little cushion or some other back support. We had started Music Together (MT) again so this time, with both kids, I had a little bit of a challenge. Things worked out well even though by this time TJ hd realized he got more attention if he pretended to be a wannabe Benjamin Button and often did what Baby E did do draw that attention to himself, which meant he insisted I carry him when I did the movements around the room for MT. I was able to leave Baby on the floor to her own entertainment as I carried him or at times, I carried both kids while moving around the room. Phew!
Rolling around independently was still a few weeks away but efforts continued. While she could roll on her sides, she was mobile in a different sort of a way. She would just spin on her back somehow, dragging it to wherever she wanted to go. So I would, for example leave her on one side of a mat only to have her end up, still on her back, at the end side of the mat, having accomplished this simply by having pushed herself off with her incessant kicking or some other known-only-to-babies movement magic. She was able to turn from her back to one side, didn’t matter which one. She did both. Getting herself under tables was one of her favorite things to do.
Oh and she was almost a pro at sitting up by this time, at 6.5 months. She seldom flopped over.
At almost 8 months, we moved Baby E from bathing in her baby bathtub at the sink to bathing in an actual bathtub with her brother. She loved it. If she was nervous, she didn’t let it show. She enjoyed being in the water, playing with bath toys, splashing around, and feeling like a big girl hanging out with her brother.
And then one day, it just happened. I think Aaron was either out of town on work or working late but I remember it was just the three of us at home. Baby E was 8.5 months. We were hanging out together but I was mostly playing and attending to TJ while Baby E, left to her own devices, was entertaining herself in the only way she knew how, trying to roll over shuffling all over the carpet.
Thankfully, as if on cue, I was able to record the whole thing – her successfully rolling over from a side to a seated position, What an accomplishment!! I was holding my breath while I was recording it. Thankfully, TJ oblivious to what I was doing, was distracted and doing his own thing which allowed me to quietly record everything while also trying not to move a muscle for fear of ruining Baby E’s concentration. It all worked out. She did great. I started clapping and cheering and TJ enthused by all the excitement joined in not knowing why until I told him.
Then, much to my shock, he ran over to his sister and pushed her back on the floor (thankfully, carpeted), so she could do it again and he could see it. And she did. Just like that. As if she had been doing it all her little life. Matter-of-factly, she rolled over to her side from her back and moved all the way up until she was seated. We cheered again. Loudly. Happy and proud of the littlest member of our family.
Crawling was only a matter of time. She had already started to pull herself up on a walking-aid even though walking itself wouldn’t happen until after her first birthday. With the right motivation (FOOD!!), she was able to drag her tummy to where she wanted to go. By 9 months, she was crawling all over the place and had checked this milestone off her list too which meant she was getting into a lot of trouble 🙂 and needed barricades to be kept off some things.
Walking came shortly after her first birthday. She had started taking steps with the help of a walker for a while by then but hadn’t quite made the transition to doing so unsupported.
By 14 months, she was talking a few steps independently (without the walker above) but then would sit down in slow motion, carefully, without hurting herself, as if to say, “I think I’m done for today”. It took a few more days, 14.5 months, when she decided she was finally going to start walking.
Oh what a journey it has been!
With all the major developmental milestones now behind her, behind us, I feel sad, a little bit nostalgic that I will no longer have any more baby milestones to which I could look forward. There will be other age-appropriate first times of course, but at least developmentally, she is a fully accomplished little human now. But, oh, it is so cool that she can do all these things now. I am so proud of her. I am so proud of her big brother for always supporting, encouraging, and cheering her. “C’mon Baby” is a motivational mantra we’ve heard many times around our home and it is adorable!!
She also is an accomplished stairs climber and get-downer. I still fear she may miss a step and fall but she hasn’t done that yet. She is guarded in her steps-taking and holds on to the railings for safety. It is convenient for me to leave her on the floor and run up or down quickly knowing that should she follow me, she would be able to take care of herself.
A lot of things are different now with two thriving toddlers. Among other things, morning naps are almost a thing of the past which means the 1-2 hours I got in the mornings to work while TJ was at school, are long gone. TJ has almost given up his afternoon naps which means that precious time I could count on to work some more, is also fleeting away. He does do quiet time in his room so at least I got that, instead. This leaves me early mornings or late nights. I try to do both. Eventually, something has got to give. I just don’t know when. For now, it’s life as usual.