Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Harper is sleeping on me as I type this on the laptop in the living room. It took her the span of two songs to relinquish her hold on wakefulness and give in to sleep. I stood in front of the funky silver mirror and watched the fight as I swayed persuasively, trying to coax her into a nap.

Harper has expanded her range of "talk" lately to include sounds that mock the rhythm and flow of language. She still gurgles and squeals from time to time, but she'll more often string together m's, n's, g's, and b's with various vowel sounds in between.

She doesn't like most strangers. E and I think her way of handling it is kind of funny. When approached with the usual "gootchie goos" by an unfamiliar face, she doesn't turn away as one might guess a shy child would do, nor does she lean into her mom or dad for security. Instead, Harper just starts crying right in the face of the well-intentioned stranger, maintaining eye contact as if to deliberately communicate her dislike confrontationally.

She is getting really good with her hands. She reaches with greater accuracy now (i.e. touches my wedding ring or my nose) and plays with small stuffed animals. She grabs with both hands and plays with toys that way. She also reaches for the pictures in books. She tries to grab my plate or my cup if I'm holding her while I eat, so we have to be careful now to watch what is within her reach.

She's been sucking and chewing her hands like a mad woman, entering the perpetual state of teething that is characteristic of babyhood. Who knows how long it will be until we see that first tooth but her gums are definitely swollen and she likes to chew on my hand or hers for relief. She momentarily tries her toys in her mouth sometimes, but doesn't seem to like them as much as she likes flesh. Similarly, she's not one to enjoy a pacifier or a bottle. She's a purist: breast or hand only.

When I hold Harper these days, she seems to hold me back. She grabs onto my arm, shoulder, or hair and it feels like a hug. It is so fun to just be together everyday and I'm trying not to think about January 3rd when I have to go back to work. I savor our hours of closeness, playing, sleeping, singing, talking, reading, just loving one another. What joy this is.

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