Wednesday, August 20, 2014

11 months old for just a few more minutes ...

Sally turns one tomorrow, so if I'm going to write about what she's like as an 11-month-old, now is the time!

The short version is that Sally's much as she has always been, but moreso.  She's incredibly sweet, happy and snuggly.  She's beautiful, charming, funny and smart. And she's stubborn as the stubbornest mule that ever muled.

Funny story about that: Sean was telling me about how Sally was banned from using the car on the playground (she's short enough that she can stand up on the seat inside in a precarious way) and spent the rest of the outdoor time trying to get back into the car by various cunning and manipulative means.  "Oh, she's so stubborn!" I said.  "No!" said Walter. "She's not a stubborn!" He didn't know the word, but he heard the exasperated tone and immediately jumped in to defend his sister. We gave some examples of Sally's stubbornness being difficult for us, but also explained that her persistence can be a very good thing.

"On your bottom, Sally."
Sean writing now: I picked up Sally from daycare this afternoon.  Linda said she's been trying to conquer the table and chairs, I imagine like Everest, because they're there.  Sally giggled at our conversation like she was terribly pleased with her own exasperating industry, and took a long draw on her sippy cup.  She motioned to the car seat with her head, and I asked, "Are you ready to get in your chair and go find Walter?"  She smiled at me and let me lower her, then held herself upright in the chair while I buckled her in beaming.  "Aren't I a big girl!"  And she looked bigger, too.  Like a one-year-old.

As Sally practiced screaming in the car, Walter came to her aid again -- "It's okay, Sally.  You'll see Mama soon!" The two of them are really bonding, interacting more and more.

Annie back at the keyboard now.  It's been a long time since we've co-written a blog post.  It's been a long time since we've been this consistently exhausted, too.  We've done a lot of traveling, including a wonderful week with the Albrights in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  We've been sick, most recently with hand, foot and mouth disease.  And we've been playing and playing and playing.  Miss Linda says Sally plays at a two-year-old level.

11 month old Sally is incredibly mobile and strong--walking, running, climbing, dancing. She has some words, too: ball, Mama, Umma, Dada, up, bye, me and mine (that last one is her favorite.) She signs "water" and "toothbrush."  She's very communicative with shrieking and pointing, too.  She's at that point where it's pretty obvious that she really understands what we're saying, even though she can't say much herself.  It's fun to test out how much she understands, like playing with her in the living room and saying, "Are you hungry? Let's go get some dinner" and off she goes to the kitchen, where she stands by her highchair, looking at me and waiting to be picked up.

Sally still hates getting her diaper and clothes changed, but she loves many parts of her (relatively new) bedtime routine, and I think she likes the experience of routine in and of itself. She loves taking baths, and signs "water!" as she lifts up her leg and tries to climb in. She loves brushing her teeth. She lets me read to her a little bit, though she still squirms off my lap before the book is over. Her favorite is Goodnight Moon, and for the first page or two she snuggles in and rests her head on my shoulder. She likes it when I count the three bears and say "eek" when I point to the young mouse.  After books we turn out the lights and nurse. If she doesn't fall asleep right away while nursing, I sing her lullaby and she anticipates the kiss and hug parts.  Most of all, she loves it when I reach up and swat the hot air balloon windchime right above the glider.  She gives her big, nose-crinkly smile, and then reaches up and I lift her so she can make it chime, too.  We snuggle and give each other kisses.  She doesn't like being put into her crib awake; sometimes it takes a few tries to get her down.  She's had some trouble sleeping--with travels and sickness, especially--but is often able to sleep through the night.

Sean says: She's been doing a lot of mischievous laughter lately, but when she does it she smiles at you like you're in on the joke.  Walter and Sally like to imitate each other's noises.  I love how she loves to snuggle on beds and pillows--she lounges around, lazing about, stretching and enjoying the space and the softness. She really, really loves drinking water. She pats our shoulders very sweetly.  She's so happy to see us at the end of the day (especially Hank.) When she's done eating, she's really really done.  She screams: "All done all done all done!"

Annie says: Sally has eight teeth, and possibly more in the works right now. She enjoys most foods, but doesn't seem to like cold things. Her favorite meal is dinner and she eats voraciously then.  She gets an intense look in her eyes when she really wants something.  I call her "bug" and "buggy"; Sean calls her "shortcake." She enjoys adventures but doesn't like long car rides, though when he's next to her Walter is able to comfort her and make her laugh.  She's been exploring Walter's kitchen but she's too short to reach any of the cupboards. She loves to sing, dance, and play musical instruments.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Sally loves kisses. Hank the Dog is even sometimes like, "Whoa, Sally. Too many kisses! Give me a break!"

About 30 minutes now until it's August 21 ... I can't help but think of that early morning a year ago, and our quiet ride to the hospital by the light of the blue moon.  Sean's right.  She seemed different today: like a one-year-old.  And she seemed like our Sally, the one we met first as a loud wail that started before she was even fully cut loose, the very petite girl with the big personality. They wrapped her up and put her by my face--she was crying and choking a little bit on amniotic fluid, blowing little bubbles of rage. All I could do was kiss her face, so I did, and to my surprise she calmed down. It worked!  Later on, I asked Sean, "Do you think Sally is happy to be out here with us?" "No," he said honestly. "But I think she loves our kisses."

We love you, Sally! Kisses, shrieks, and all.

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