Thursday, August 31, 2006

Walking with Two Ponytails

Harper continues to practice her new skills, but she gets frustrated pretty easily. We're trying not to pressure her to do anything she doesn't want to. It's so fun to watch her walk! It's hard to contain the excitement when she does get up the nerve to try it again. She still does her funny crawl most of the time, and you can tell she is taking her time with the walking because she gets upset that it doesn't come easily. If she falls down, she kicks her legs and her cry sounds mad.

She's also teething again. She's got three big molars, but her bottom left still hasn't poked through and all four of her incisors are coming in, causing her grief. The other night she was acting very whiny and clingy and of course we thought about the teeth, but also chalked some of it up to general neediness due to the walking. A lot of babies have extra separation anxiety while learning to walk, and being the sensitive (and very attached) girl she is, we were blaming a lot of the whining on separation anxiety. When we returned from dinner out and set her down on the ground to play with her toys, she cried out again. I ran over to her and it seemed like she was mad at her sippy cup, so I asked her if she wanted a drink and picked it up. When I looked at the spout, I saw that it had some blood on it. Poor thing! She doesn't allow you but a half second's glance at her teeth and gums so it's hard to know for sure, but I think her bottom left incisor is just starting to break through the gums, which might have been what the blood was all about. We're all looking forward to the end of the teething.

Surprisingly, Harper is sleeping better these days. She went down to one nap a day (around 1 PM) last week, and although it is still a bit of a stretch during the daytime, she is sleeping a lot better at night. She gets tired around 11 AM but we stay up and play, read books, and eat lunch until 1 o'clock, when I nurse her and she conks right out. At night, she's been giving us nice stretches of 4-6 hours (the first stretch) of sleep. She's been joining us in bed anywhere from around midnight to 2:30 AM and I nurse her when she joins us. The rest of the night she tends to wake more often, but until 6 AM, I don't nurse her. Instead I say, "It's night time. Time to go to sleep." She begs a bit, but generally calms right down and settles back to sleep. Then she nurses between 6 and 7 or so and we get up for the day. A few months back, it was so tough for me to figure out how to get this kid to sleep for longer stretches. We were worn out!

I am so glad that she has grown up enough now that I can reason/ talk with her and it works! She knows she's loved, she doesn't have to feel afraid and cry it out alone to learn how to sleep. Patience went a long way, and I am so glad that I didn't jump onto any bandwagons in my frustration. A lot of how I parent, I've learned from Harper. I generally follow her lead. She is needy at night? I meet her nightly needs. Now she understands what I am saying? Now I can tell her what to do and my consistency pays off. She is an insatiable learner? I will continually teach.

Harper continues to talk all the time. Harper's favorite phrase lately is "There it is!". She figured it out one day while I was changing her diaper and asking her where her belly button was. When she'd find it, I'd exclaim, "There it is!" She'd mock me, and now she uses the phrase when pointing to her belly button, as well as other contexts when she finds something she wanted. For example, she will stand up, holding onto her toybox in front of her stereo, and reach her hands up in the air to signal me to play "Bushel and a Peck". I know this because she and I always do the same motion, with hands up high opening and closing our fingers, for the "do do do do do do" part of the song. Once the tune starts, she'll often say, "There it is!"

Another favorite word lately is "Cheers!" I taught it to her one day while we were playing with her stacking cups. She'd hit hers against mine, I'd say :"Cheers!" and then I'd pretend to take sips out of it. Right away, she started to follow suit with the pretending-to-drink. A couple days later, she was demanding that I clang whatever-was-in-my-hands with her sippy cup before every drink and shouting "Cheers!" all the time. She's mellowed a bit about it now, not quite so demanding, but it remains one of her favorite expressions.

She puts words together more and more. This morning, she dropped her book while I was changing her on the changing table. She said, "Mama... whoops... down!" and pointed to the book. She'll also describe the book she's holding when I say, "What's that?" She'll reply, "bear book." She is also saying "on" and "off" now, mostly referring to lights. She also says "wash" now and rubs her hands together. It was funny today after lunch. She told me she was "all done" using the sign, pulled on her bib to tell me to take it off. I did, and then I lifted her out of the seat and she said, "up!" She she told me to "wash" her and rubbed her little hands together. We walked over to the sink and cleaned up. She is increasingly interacting and sometimes I wish she wasn't so clear! For example, the other night on our way out, she pointed to her shoes and did the sign for "all done" and said, "off!"-- clearly asking me to take them off her. I was half-way wishing she didn't know how to make such a request as I explained that she had to keep her shoes on while we were out. Crazy! I honestly don't put anything past her.

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