14 to 18 Months: An Energizer Parrot!

Sometime around the 14 month mark, Scarlett started walking.  To be honest, I actually don’t remember her “first steps”.  I do clearly remember one day, at a time when she had taken the odd step or two now and then,  that she suddenly walked a series of 3 or 4 steps across the lounge and Daddy C and I just looked at each other in surprise, because we hadn’t been expecting it.

IMG_2628-1-4One of the first times she stood on her own, at about 12.5 months

2013-02-12_0001A few tentative steps at 14 months

From there it was just a gradual process of becoming more confident, and slowly transitioning her first choice of movement modality from crawling into walking.  By 15 months, walking was the mode of choice, with a funny little waddling run thrown in now and then.  I quickly forgot what it was like when she DIDN’T walk and she continued to gain confidence.

 1712web-13

Off a-waddlin at 16 months

I’m not sure I can explain why, but as soon as she started walking, I started enjoying motherhood with her a LOT more.  I struggled with life with a baby, but I LOVE having a toddler!  She is so fun, I love that she can get to where she wants to go by herself – she is less frustrated and is able to communicate better, because anything she can’t say, she can just go to or point at, and it helps immensely.  I love when she goes and chooses a book she wants and bring it to me to read – she is no longer just a receptacle, a recipient… she has her own ideas of what she wants to do and play with, and it’s so much more fun.

Her language also continues to grow and grow.  I made a little impromptu list  on her 17 month birthday, just out of curiosity and as a kind of keepsake.

130113web-1

However, no sooner had I written the list, than it became redunant.  She is becoming more and more of a little parrot every day.  The things she comes out with these days continue to amaze me.   She also has a couple of sentences: she says “it’s a ___” or “that’s a ____”, for example: “itsa cat!” or “that’s a mummy”.  She also says “where’s ____?” while holding her hands out in an extremely cute little shrugging gesture and searching for the mentioned item: “where’s bowl?” or “where’s minna?”  She’ll say things I didn’t know she can say quite unexpectedly and both blow me away and crack me up at the same time… such as when she threw the flash cards all over the floor and then said “itsa mess!”  Hahaha yes, why yes bubba, it IS a mess!

She is an energizer bunny, she gets up at 6:30-7 am, has one nap and is often still going at 8:30-9 pm at night.  She has the funniest, zanniest little personality and it is so awesome watching it develop as she gets older.  She is such a little girl now… and I am loving it! 🙂

2910web-12

14 Months Old

2511web-4

15 Months Old

1412web-10

16 Months Old

web2333BIF

17 Months Old

3523web

Today on her 18 months birthday 🙂

Advertisements

The Milestone Trap

As a first time mum, I try as much as possible to avoid falling into what I call The Milestone Trap.

At times it can seem like all around me there are babies who are rolling, crawling, walking, joining mensa… you know, reaching all those big milestones, while my own baby is nowhere near it.  As a first timer, it can make you start to question… “Is something wrong with my baby?” “Why isn’t my bubba doing that yet?”

When I find myself falling into that trap of comparison, I have to remind myself that there is a huge range of “normal” when it comes to children, especially babies.  Even physiotherapists have been known to say that “there is no abnormal under 1”.  I’ve heard of babies walking at 7 months, and I’ve heard of babies that didn’t crawl until they were 11 months and then were off and walking two weeks later.

The most important point to remember is that neither way is better.  Doing it earlier doesn’t mean the baby is cleverer or that the parent is somehow doing a better job.  Doing it later doesn’t mean the baby is slow or dumb or that it’s due to slack parenting.  All babies develop on their own schedule when it is right for them.

Some parents find themselves wanting to rush their baby along – to “teach” it how to crawl, to stand, to walk.  I think, if you do this, you run two great risks.  Firstly you risk pushing the baby out of alignment with its own natural line of development and pushing it into skills its not ready for.  And secondly, by always looking ahead and wanting your baby to be doing the next thing, the next thing, the next thing… you risk not being able to stop and appreciate your baby just exactly as they are right now.

So your baby doesn’t crawl yet?  Unless they’re over one or show other signs of developmental delay… who cares?  There are lots of advantages to having a baby that can’t get into the kitchen drawers!  Just enjoy it.  Enjoy who your baby is.  Enjoy watching your baby develop on its own timeframe.  Don’t be in a hurry.  Because the time will come when you look back on this age with a kind of aching nostalgia and wish you could go back and hold that sweet still infant on your lap again and smell their head… without being punched in the face.

This is a video I absolute love, of a baby called Liv as she develops the skills of rolling over and crawling in the first year of life.  What I absolutely love about this video is how it shows all the tiny little steps that lead up to the bigger milestone – placing her feet together, kicking the floor… little things that may go unnoticed but are actually crucial stepping stones in the learning process that eventually end up in the big action you’ve been waiting for.

Another thing I love about it is the look of absolute pride on her face when she learns to roll over.  Another risk of trying to teach a baby something it’s not ready for is that you deprive it of that proud feeling of acheivement babies get when they figure something out all by themselves.

At the moment, Scarlett has just learned to pull herself up to standing while holding onto the couch.  Every time she does it, she gets the biggest grin and laughs.  It’s the cutest thing ever!  She’s so proud of herself and so amazed at what she just made her body do.

And so I try not to get caught up in the big milestones.  They aren’t the only milestones anyway.  I remember the day she smiled for the first time, without it being followed by a burp or a poo…

Bubba’s first smile at 10 days old 🙂

I remember the day she lay and examined each individual finger one by one, as if just discovering that they were separate from each other…

Hrmmm, I found these little sausages on my hands…

I remember the first time she laughed at something because she found it funny, not because I was trying to make her laugh (I sat her up in the bath for the first time instead of lying her down – she slapped the water and thought it was the most hilarious thing ever!)…

Baths are fun!

I remember so many little funny gorgeous things… things that aren’t in most baby books or developmental emails, things only a mumma would notice.  And somehow that makes them all the more special to me, those little milestones, those tiny moments frozen in time.  And they’re all part of the process, all part of her learning about herself and her world, just as much as the big, well known milestones like crawling and walking.

Whenever I catch myself comparing her to other babies, I just use it as a trigger thought to remind me to appreciate her for exactly who she is, as she is.  She is my Scarlett, she is doing things her way (as is every baby), and why would I wish her any different?  She is perfect just as she is.

9 Months: Clapping, Waving, Standing

Well, we are almost at the end of another month and bubba is becoming such a little person.  I feel like she has gotten so much bigger recently… not necessarily physically, just less… baby-like.  My little baby has gone!  In her place is this little girl who gets cleverer and more independent by the day.

Early in the month she figured out clapping all by herself – and decided to express her love for food by applauding every mouthful.

The daycare lady had been trying to elicit a wave from bubba for ages and drawing only blank “what the hell are you doing” stares.  But once she had discovered clapping, she soon decided waving was good fun too.  Although she doesn’t quite grasp the “coming and going” sense of it, more just that it’s a fun way to flail your arms around and get people to exclaim happily in high pitched voices.

And then a few days ago, we discovered that she could stand against the couch all by herself!  She has always loved to be held into a standing position – but one day I let go and she just kept standing there!  Holding onto the couch mind you, but still… she was pretty darn proud of herself and I couldn’t believe what a grown up little girl she looked.

The next day she even pulled herself into a standing position.  It’s only happened the once so far, but I was pretty surprised!  Clever monkey!

A funny thing happened the other night.  I’ve never really played peekaboo with her cos she never really seemed to “get” it – she would just look at me like “seriously?”  But then the other night, she was down the end of the couch and she started peeking over the top, cracking up laughing and dropping down again.  She did it over and over, it was so cute!

I feel like she has changed so much over the past few weeks and I feel like I’m settling more and more into motherhood.  As she grows and becomes more interactive and more like a little person, I find myself enjoying it more and more.  Yes, I still get frustrated.  But I’m learning that the trick is to alter my expectations.  If I don’t expect to spend an hour reading my book, if I don’t expect to sleep through the night without interruption, then I don’t have to get frustrated when those expectations/desires aren’t met.  And when I do happen to get a moment with my book or a good night’s sleep, then I can just enjoy them as happy little bonuses.  All in all, I’m starting to see what this motherhood thing is all about. 

The older she gets, the more rewarding it gets.  I would say I’ve definitely enjoyed this age the most so far.  The only thing I’m not quite sure of is whether that’s actually because of her age or because of my own personal growth.

4-8 Months: The Big Move Out West

It is beyond time for an update!
We survived the great move across the desert to the wild wild west when bubba was 6 months old and have spent a couple of months settling in.  The house was ready almost as soon as we arrived and we moved in after only just over a week at Daddy C’s sisters’ house.  I’m loving the house, the area, the city, the weather – everything!  I even have a part time job Mondays to Wednesdays now, which is great for a bit of grown up time… not to mention pocket money!  I’ve also met a few local mums.  Daddy C has a high falutin new job and it’s safe to say the move is suiting us very well so far.

We still have a bit of furniture to buy to kit the house out and the front and back lawns need landscaping… so it will be fun to get those things underway and see the house come together over the next few months.
Bubba has grown up a crazy amount.  The difference between 4 months and 8 months is immense and amazing!  Seeing as I have let this blog lapse for far too long, I thought I would do a little month by month update of the last little while.
Baby on a Plane!

4 MONTHS: At four months, she was definitely still a baby.  She couldn’t sit unaided, roll or move and still hated tummy time.  We started a bit of spoon fed solids around 4.5 months which she absolutely loved.  Vocalising consisted mainly of squeals and some giggles.

4 months old and not to sure about this whole Christmas thing…
5 MONTHS: Right toward the end of five months, she started sitting forward a little bit when propped to sit on the couch.  However, she was definitely still way too unstable to sit on her own unsupported and there was still no rolling or movement.  She was still enjoying her spoon fed mash and was starting to try to steal the spoon to do it herself.  At the end of the month, we packed up the house in Melbourne, shipped our stuff, and then went to New Zealand for the week.  Her sleeping started becoming very disturbed during this period – I’m not sure if it was an age thing or if she was sensing all the changes happening, but we started having difficulty going to sleep and night time wake ups again (after sleeping through since 9 weeks old!).

5 months old and gorgeous 🙂
6 MONTHS: Bubba had her 6 month birthday on the plane from New Zealand to Perth!  For the first week and a half, we stayed with Daddy C’s sister and niece while the house was being finalised.  During this time, a lot of things happened in bubbaland!  She started to prop herself up with her hands in a sitting position, although was still a little wobbly.  She learned to roll from back to tummy and started sleeping in a side-lying position.  And she got sick for the first time, with a head cold.  That was a particularly awful few days, all she did was cry and sleep and her nose was all stuffy.  She would sleep for only 30-40 minute periods before needing cuddles and consoling again, right around the clock.  It was exhausting and heartbreaking at the same time.  Luckily it only lasted for around 3-4 days until she was back to her happy self.  This was also the time that I weaned her from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, which was surprisingly easier than I expected, but I plan to write about this separately soon.

My poor sick baby 😦
By the end of the month, she was starting to sit better unaided , although still tended to fling herself backward without warning and get upset when she hit her head!  She was also rolling happily both ways.  We also got a highchair and began a fully Baby Led Weaning approach, with her eating only foods she could pick up herself.  She absolutely loves it and it’s surprising her manual dexterity in getting food to her mouth.

Beautiful clever girl at 6 months old
7 MONTHS: During this month, bubba’s sitting became much more confident, so that towards the end of the month, she was easily able to be plonked down in sitting position without fear that she would fall backward or sideways and hurt/stun herself.  She started moving around in circles while on her tummy.  And finally, a few days before her 8 month birthday, she figured out the inchworm maneouver!  This move has come in leaps and bounds from the moment she figured it out and she now scoots all over the place, mostly in attempt to get at the power cords and playstation controllers, which are far more interesting than her actual toys!

7 (almost 8) months old and learning to inchworm… all because she wants the power cords!

At around 7 months , Mum got her part time job and bubba started going to family daycare three days a week.  This is where another mother takes some children into her own home during the day, as opposed to using a big childcare centre.  I am really happy with this smaller, more one on one approach, the lady lives just around the corner from us, is absolutely lovely and I feel her approach to caring for babies is similar to mine.  I feel really happy leaving bubba there and I actually feel that she is thriving on all the stimulation and contact with new people and things.

Enjoying her food at family daycare!

8 MONTHS: Well, now bubba can commando crawl, there’s no stopping her!  She may not have figured out the “all fours” concept yet, but her funny little dragging frog-swim motion gets her surprisingly far!  If it’s on the ground, she’s gonna find it… and probably try to eat it.  Speaking of eating, she loves her fingerfood and eats like it’s going out of fashion – she prefers solids to a bottle most of the time!  She now has four full teeth and four little half-teeth inching their way out of her wee gums.  Her babbles consists mostly of “Dadadadad”, “Mummmm!” and “bubub”.  She loves a good chat!

My very cheeky monkey at 8 months old

 Some of her favourite things include: fresh plums and strawberries, power cords, harrasing the cat, turning down the surround sound while we’re trying to watch TV, pulling mum’s hair (and dad’s!), trying to play with the Wii remotes, trying to eat paper… and basically anything that involves being a cheeky little wriggler or eating food!

Adjusting to parenthood has been a hard road for me.  I think I didn’t realise in the beginning, having never spent much time with babies, how rewarding it would become.  She is such a little person now, and getting so big.  She is so funny and makes me laugh every day.  It’s still hard and I still get frustrated every day too.  But she is beautiful and fun and crazy.  And now that I’ve walked the path, I even miss her snuggly little newborn days, despite the lack of sleep it came with, and wish I could go back and appreciate her more rather than be so wrapped up in my own struggle.

But I can’t go back.  So I just love her now.  I’m not perfect… but she is, even when she’s not.  She’s growing up so fast, I can’t even imagine what it will be like when she’s walking and talking… but I guess I’ll find out soon enough!

Where did my little baby go?!

Four Months Already!

I can’t believe my bubba is over 4 months old already!  The first couple of months felt like forever, but since then, time has just flown by.  And we have come so far since “the dark days” of the first six weeks… I have come so far.

Slowly I have become acclimatised to my new life, my new role.  I think the biggest step for me has been getting used to no longer being a singular person, looking out for number one.  Somehow Scarlett has become like a part of me, an extension of myself, so that she no longer seems like an intrusion on my existance but an integral part of it.  I don’t even think of her as a “baby”, I just think of her as Scarlett – my constant little companion, my little person with a personality and presence all of her own with whom I share my day.

And what a personality! 😛

She’s such a character!

 I understand now why people say that motherhood makes you a great multitasker.  I always thought that the female multitasking gene had passed me by, but it turns out it was just a muscle waiting for motherhood to force it to be flexed.  I am getting used to starting things knowing that I may be interrupted part way through, I am getting used to being ok with that, I am getting used to letting go and giving in to the needs of the moment.  And I think that’s what the trick really is to enjoying this motherhood thing – learning to live in the moment.  That the dishes don’t matter if your baby’s hungry.  That your half written email can wait when your baby is feeling playful.  That everything else will still be there later if you want to take a moment to bathe in your baby’s smile.

Cheeky girl 🙂

It has been so amazing to watch her “wake up” from being a sleepy newborn to the funny little person she is now.  I look at newborn photos and can believe she was ever so small!

And there have been so many little firsts along the way… her first little laugh was a funny milestone, the first couple of times she tried out her laughing voice she laughed so hard she spit up and then got the hiccups!  Now she is slowly starting to laugh more often and without needing as much prompting – her funny little giggle is so infectious!

Funny bubba!

She found her hands around 3 months old and examined them with fascination…

Hrmmm, what are these?  Are they mine?

… and then closer to 4 months, she discovered her feet – the left one is her favourite 😛

Look Mum, I found this foot thing!

She’s always experimenting with funny little noises and vocalisations, deciding which ones she likes the best.  Currently it’s the squeal 😛

I’m incredibly lucky that, at around 9 weeks, she decided to start sleeping through the night.  I can’t tell you the secret because I didn’t do anything – I followed her lead in everything and fed her any hour of the day she wanted.  I think the most important thing is that I made a clear distinction between night and day – day sleeps in the pram in the lounge, where it’s light and noisy, night sleeps in the cot in the bedroom and night feeds in the dark with no noise or interaction.  It seems she got the idea and now I am a very lucky mummy who gets a decent sleep most nights (touch wood!).

At around 4 months, we moved her cot to her own room… I was reluctant to do it at first, but it has actually worked out well, it is nice to have our grown up bedroom back and she sailed through the transition.  I couldn’t have done it without my movement monitor!!!  It’s a sensor that sets off an alarm if the baby stops breathing or breathing slows below a certain point – I love that thing, I couldn’t do without it!  Soothes my mummy paranoia no end!

Snooooze!

The first four months have been a rollercoaster and a massive adjustment… but we have been blessed with such a happy, beautiful baby, I am becoming more and more comfortable in my role as mother and my heart burns with love for my little chicken nugget.  I’m so excited to see how she continues to grow and discover the little person she is growing into.

Most beautiful girl in the world 🙂