Friday, July 11, 2014

The Walker

Sally is in the middle of her 10th month ... and she is walking!  Not just a step or two here and there anymore ... now she can travel short distances, up to 10 steps or so.  More and more she's choosing to walk instead of crawl.  She does best wearing her sneakers, which goes against everything I thought I knew about babies and walking and shoes (barefoot is best, soft shoes next best, hard soled shoes once they're established walkers, etc.)  Sean thinks the Nikes he bought her give her extra ankle support, and is very proud (of Sally, of course, but also) that the shoes he chose are working so well.  "Must be the shoes," he says, with a pleased little smile.

Hotel room mirrors are the best
Milestones and firsts abound these days.  Sally accompanied me, Umma and Baba on a trip out to Syracuse for my cousin Rachel's wedding.  And so: first airplane trips, first hotel stays, first swims, first visit to the extended family.  We realized that my first flight was to visit the Swifts (my dad's side of the family) when I was 9 months. old.  Walter's first flight was to visit the Swifts (for a wedding) when he was one year old. So Sally kept the tradition going, and she did beautifully on both flights. She showed no sign of ear pain, so she must have had a break in her semi-permanent ear infection (it's back. We had our first visit to Dr. S the ENT yesterday. Sigh. Milestones.)  She snoozed a little but was awake much of the time and pretty happy and interested in the experience.  On the flight home she made friends with a 20-month-old girl in the row behind her, which brought back great memories of Walter making friends with the baby in the row behind us on a flight back from Pennsylvania.  There's nothing quite as delightful for babies as finding each other on a plane like that.  They are so, so pleased.  The giggles! The kisses! The hand-holding!  They become friends faster in that exact context than in any other I've seen.

Dancing at the wedding
Sally approached the whole trip with an attitude of delight, and had a wonderful time, even with long stretches in the rental car, eating out and at odd times, and nap and bedtime all off schedule.  She slept quite well in the hotel rooms and was very charming and friendly with everyone she met.  Seeing her with my dear cousins and aunts and uncle made my heart very glad indeed, and I was very glad and grateful indeed that we were able to make the trip (Thank you, Umma and Baba!)  It was a beautiful wedding and a wonderful family adventure.

Sally and Walter both did some serious flourishing while they were only children for a week, but were also very relieved and happy and ready when we reunited at Umma and Baba's house.  We went to Ella's Deli in Madison and Sally got another first: her first carousel ride!  She clung to my shoulder, smiling and nervous.  Then she got braver and braver and soon she was holding onto the pole instead of me, looking all around in joy and wonder.  Walter, on the horse next to her, the old carousel veteran that he is, cheered her on and encouraged her.
On the carousel
It's good to be Sally, it really is.  Ear infections excluded, of course, but even that she manages pretty well.  We've started sleep-training her a little bit--she'll cry for five minutes or less and then go to sleep, and her sleeping has improved a lot with this change, but it makes her sad and that's hard on all of us.  Her life has many mundane aggravations: being put into her carseat, not being fed fast enough, not getting water fast enough, not getting (insert whatever Sally wants here) fast enough, having her diaper changed, having her toothbrush taken away when we're done brushing, not being allowed to imperil her life by going headfirst down the stairs, or eating small non-food objects she finds on the ground, or chewing on electrical cords, etc. She is very vocal in her displeasure and seems genuinely sad about it all. But overall I'd say she's a happy baby, who feels things very deeply, communicates well and has strong opinions and an above-average level of determination and stick-to-it-tivness.

Occasionally I'm tempted to compare my children to other children and this way lies madness.  But it's good, too, for me to observe that there are many babies and toddlers out there who are much more laid back and content than my kids and also just as bright, talented and interesting as my kids are. I've been tempted, you see, to explain Walter and Sally's intensity as a byproduct of their brilliance, but I don't think that's necessarily true.  My kids are intense and they are brilliant. Other kids are laid back and brilliant.  They're people, and people are different, with different personalities that are shaped by all kinds of factors, mostly beyond our control.

My thoughts when I'm trying to change Sally's diaper are not this calm and reasonable, I assure you.

Sally at 10 months old is sweet, funny, ornery, fiesty, joyful, adventurous, curious, communicative, musical, loving, friendly, smiley, stubborn, defiant, snuggly and proud.  She loves Walter best of all the people in the world.  She loves Hank the Dog, too.  She loves to play catch with me: I roll her a rubber ball, she grabs it and throws it at me with alarming accuracy.  She hates being left behind--if someone she loves leaves the room she cries real tears of real sadness. She continues to love our kisses and gives beautiful kisses in return.  She waves, she claps.  She maybe signs a little bit, mostly for water, but communicates clearly enough without it. I think she said "Ball" the other day, but I'm not sure. She definitely says, "Mama," "More" and "All done," though that last one requires a lot of
Look at those teeth!
adult interpretation to understand.  She has resolutely resisted all attempts at getting her into a bedtime routine and won't sit still for stories, so we let her run around while we read at her. She enjoys all kinds of food and has a very healthy appetite. She's got two more teeth poking through on the bottom, which will bring her total to 8. She's got an adorable gap between her two top front teeth and a smile that makes everyone in the world smile back.  She's beautiful.  I watched her sleep in my arms this morning and she was just so gorgeous I couldn't stand it.  I think I got a glimpse of what she's going to look like as a grown up--she doesn't look like me or Sean or Walter, she looks like Sally, and she is just lovely.  When she stretches and yawns my heart does somersaults.

"Hey Sally dear, hey Sally dear/ We are so very glad that you're here. Hey Sally dear, Hey Sally dear/ You're loved,  you're blessed, that much is clear!"

1 comment:

3d8th said...

so much independence in such a sweet girl. I can't believe she's already walking! I love the pictures at the end, you can totally see (what I imagine to be) her funny little personality in them.