Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Me! And them! But usually them.

So, I had put in a tickler file (i.e. my desktop post-it notes, the only place where my ideas may not be forgotten) to write a blog post about finally returning to me. I shopped for new clothes over Mother's Day, which was both a triumph of personal gifting (something for me to make me feel good), but also one of the first two-hour blocks I had spent away from my baby -- and I wasn't even frantically working! For a few weeks after, I felt like things had shifted. I wasn't just the mother of a preschooler and baby, but I was a fun, working woman who had some friends she saw sometimes. I started to be a more present wife and found myself talking about things that weren't related to kid poop or sleep. It was refreshing.

And then...July. After returning from the beaches, we had minimal plans. I thought it would be good to take a break from scheduled activities and enjoy these free days with my girls. Turns out, that knocked me down a few pegs.* Sylvia is testing authority, napping erratically, and challenging me daily. Amelia has added another wake-up or two to her already crappy night of sleep, and can be lovely or annoying during the day, depending on, well, who knows what. She naps before Sylvia wears down, so I get no work/break time during the day. Oh, and it's been storming nearly every day, making it too rainy or too horribly humid to spend much time outdoors.

I am counting down to the start of school for Sylvia, and Mother's Morning Out starts soon after for Amelia. I'll have TWO WHOLE MORNINGS to try to find that person again, the one who didn't scream at her kids, wore something besides beat-up khaki shorts, and had conversations beyond negotiating the number of pretzels that can be consumed at snack.

In the meantime, sorry about all the kid posts. But these days, life is all about them, even when I try to make it about me.

*I am loathe to ever complain about this, knowing that many moms have to work long hours away from their kids and would love a day or week in my shoes, home and schedule-free -- but you know, we all struggle in our own ways. I'd kill for an office to go to some days.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

An Emotional Year

One thing about not sleeping well for a year: it makes the days long, but the year fly by. I'm having trouble believing Amelia is one, so I made a sentimental slide show to remind me how time has passed. I love this little nugget.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Amelia at One Year

I cannot believe a year has passed. Between our lack of sleep, chasing a busy 3-year-old and learning to run a house with two kids, this year has flown by. Amelia was a warm, hungry little nugget strapped to my chest in the Ergo for so many months, but starting in early June, when she turned 10 months, she became a little girl all her own.

At 10 months, Amelia learned to crawl (and soon after, pull up), and the world opened up to her. She was no longer fussy, whiney and hard to deal with. Turns out all that crankiness was just frustration at not being able to explore her world. She is now curious, active, funny, and rather mischievous. At Isle of Palms in mid-June, she explored the house, tried to keep up with her cousins, and happily inspected every block, shell and water bowl she could find. At the Outer Banks, she was thrilled to explore the sand and ocean, as well as any place we visited. Once we returned home after a month’s absence, she ransacked the house, opening every cabinet, pulling down anything on a table or in a drawer, and trying desperately to climb the stairs anytime we weren’t watching. Baby proofing has been a challenge.

With this new-found energy, she is also happier to be away from Mama. She lunges her hands and body toward Daddy, Nanny, Pop, and occasionally a friend, to give hugs or just change location. She giggles and teases, uses her hands to explore new faces, and tries to convince anyone holding her to take her someplace where she can get her hands on more stuff.  She reaches for everything, fiddles with anything, and constantly needs something to be working on.

She communicates quite well through shrieks, grunts, and hand gestures, but she has also picked up a few words. She clearly said “dog” several times in July (at Grand’s dogs), and she seems to have said “cup,” “up,” “Pop,” “Mama” and “Dada” (though the latter are more like long strings of syllables: mah-mah-mah, dah-dah-dah).

She does not like eating pureed foods, so she’s been eating finger foods all along. Her favorite foods are guacamole (no matter how spicy), shredded cheese, blueberries, chicken, black and cannelloni beans, frozen peaches, and peas. She prefers adult food to baby food, choosing pretzels and sausage over teething biscuits and puffs. She wants to eat like her sister, so she’s already trying to use forks, spoons and bowls.  She wants to eat what we eat, so I’m rather embarrassed at the amount of salt and sugar she has consumed compared to her sister at this age.

The most common thing I hear from friends and strangers is that Amelia is just so pretty – and of course I agree. Her eyes have stayed lakewater green, a dark, multi-faceted green-blue-grey color. Her hair, which started coming in just last month, is medium blonde, and is forming small, soft curls at the back of her head. She has a huge grin that shows off her four teeth on top and two teeth on the bottom. She has her sister’s and Nanny’s round face and big cheeks, and her Mama’s milky white skin.

To this very biased Mama, she is showing signs of being very intelligent, quickly picking up on what things are used for, and solving little problems easily. She knows what to do with a crayon and a phone. She is clearly inquisitive and stubborn, and wants to figure everything out. She plays very well by herself, as long as she has plenty of items to sort through. Favorite games include taking all the crayons out of the jar and then putting them back in, removing all puzzle pieces from a box, putting on as many necklaces as possible, and trying to put the lids on Tupperware containers.

She is still a pretty terrible sleeper, waking 2-4 times each night to nurse. But she naps well, goes to bed easily, and falls back asleep easily after nursing. As independent as she is sometimes, she still needs time with Mama, requesting to get back in my arms several times a day for nursing or just comfort. She is quite snuggly and very social. She is one year old going on five, and I think she’s going to keep me running after her for years to come.