Sunday, March 25, 2012

Seventeen going on eighteen

Hi sweet blog friends. Forgive my absence. I know I say that every time. It is true. I wish I could write more often. I am a pretty good commenter, or I was until Wordpress put paid to that recently with it's comment / email address / sign in blocking. Ugh. Also what is up with the blogger word recognition explosion? It seems to get harder and harder and I comment from my phone so I often get stuck and can't write anything half way through one of those for some strange reason. Oh the lost comments that have disappeared into the blog ether....

There has been lots going on in the blogosphere and lots in my life and head and I really want to address some of it. But before I do I really want to tell you about how Isobel is doing and what is going on with her.

She says a lot of words. You could call it a verbal explosion really. She is using many words ( we have a list of about 60) independently ( i.e. she initiates them and uses them to get what she wants or to point them out )  and she is also imitating words that we say and repeating them. She usually uses one word at a time. With a gesture. Sometimes she uses two, "my mama" in response to "who's coming in the door?" and "I down". She thinks that down is a word that means up or down and is not quite sure when to use up. Down is usually said in a very firm manner and tone. Isobel knows what she wants.

Her absolute favorite words that she likes to repeat over and over are Pat ( as in Postman Pat  and his black and white cat), Cat as in any and all cats she sees, whether in real life, on a picture, on a bag of cat food or in a book. These are words that she seems to use to comfort and reassure herself as well as to describe. A new character in her life is Pooh, another very comforting word, along with "Boo" which is truncated and  should have a b on the end and yes, it's how she gets her milk. She can use any of these words pat, cat, pooh, boo when she needs comforting or just because. She has also recently become quite worried about the trouble that Pooh is having with bees, and she can identify bees with the same preciseness that she identifies cats. They are more places than you think. Just ask Isobel! The declaration of Pooh and Pat also serves as a request for both of these favorites to be found and played on U tube.

Another word that serves many purposes is "hi". It's not just a greeting, it's a reminder that she is here, a joke, a loving word, so many things. So many cadences and inflections of it too. Bye is often said quite brightly and accompanied by a wave and a kiss blown with gusto and quite a bit of lip smacking. Usually accompanied by squeals of delight from us and other onlookers!

Isobel's favorite foods, apart from breast milk of course, are just recently oatmeal,  peaches and broccoli. The broccoli has to be al dente with butter on it and / or cheese. The peaches come in their own juice, and she stabs them with a fork. Her use of utensils has progressed leaps and bounds, in the last week or two, mostly from her wanting to feed herself her oatmeal, which is a big relief to this mama, because until recently she was not really interested in cereal at all. This oatmeal has flax seeds in it and I sweeten it with Agav.e nectar and she loves it. We both eat the same thing for breakfast. She also can drink out of a regular cup, and the one she prefers is small and see through and sparkly. She also likes to dump the water over herself or onto her food and swim her hands around in it on her high chair tray.

We recently were lucky to have a friend of ours go to a big rummage sale for us  ( we were both working - something that is a rarity these days - and another post ) to grab some really good cheap toys. The bad news is it was the family center where we have been going for play and support and camaraderie since Isobel was three months old and it closed down due to lack of funding. The good news was the Ann, the professional rummage sale chick, was able to score us some really good stuff. Armed with her own "sold" signs and a very bossy attitude she swiped up some bargains. Some favorites are a fold out fisher price dolls house / mansion that is a little scratched up, but at four dollars was a steal and has kept Isobel transfixed in pretend play for many hours since she got it a week ago. She has tried to get her size four feet to climb the tiny stairs, pitched barbie dolls and any stray little people off the roof, and peeked through the windows and doors. She even got her head stuck inside the lower story while trying to figure out where everything was. I think after our second rescue of her trapped head she decided not to do it again. The house did not come with furniture but Ann snagged a small little tykes table that fits inside and which Isobel also tried to sit on a number of times when our camera was close by ( see below for pictures ) and  also some extra little people who go in and out, often quite unceremoniously.  Isobel enjoys having little conversations with herself and also makes her dolls have conversations. We don't know what they are saying but we assume that it is polite and well mannered!

Another toy that we got was a little tykes red car with a yellow top for $7. Wow! She has a miniature one and now a toddler sized one. We couldn't resist a picture side by side. And now "car" is another favorite word that is often uttered  - and often means let me go in my car that is in the hallway of the condo building and then let me go outside and scoot around on the paths and in the grass. Yes, I want to go out. Isobel does not yet say "out" but she does say "door" which when she bangs on it has a similar effect to "out". Another enticement in the out of doors is the water /sand table we got for $4 from the sale which has been a great distraction in our small back yard that has morning shade and is a great place to get wet and splash around. After two clothing changes I realized that a swim diaper is probably the best way to dress for this activity...

But is Isobel walking yet, you ask yourself? After all, she is seventeen months going on eighteen.  (Actually she just turned 17 months )She should be walking. Her walking progresses like this. She scoots very fast and with a lean to one side and favoring one leg and arm kind of like a monkey. She occasionally army crawls, but it's way too slow and tedious. She has progressed to "walking" on her knees and doing this in an upright position. She can stand anywhere - in the bath, on the sofa cushions. She can raise from standing to squatting and back with no hands supported. She can do baby yoga, or what we call "up down bottom" beautifully. She can take a few steps unaided. But she is not walking. "No, she is not walking, but she is working hard on her vocabulary," I tell people. "Aren't you a bit worried?" No, of course not, it never occurred to me to be worried, just as it never occurred to me to think about adopting. My head is completely void of thoughts, which is why I rely on other people to have them for me. "What does the pediatrician say?" She says that the gross motor skills (i.e. walking and such ) have the most variation in age of attainment. Which means she is on the slow side but it's not dire yet. Yes, and can your baby scoot as fast and furious as mine? What does your pediatrician say about that? Mostly it's just a pain seeing her drag herself over every dirty surface that she feels the need to explore and that we decide is safe. Isn't that what shoes are for?

Much to mine and Susan's gratification, Isobel now has separation anxiety from both of us.  Not horrible but definitely discernible. I know that sounds odd but it makes things more equal around here. It's not just the mama with the milky boobs that she cries for when she sees us disappear. It's the other mama. The one who has many tricks for soothing up her sleeve. The one who tells her stories and is funny and delightful and rocks her to sleep in the big brown chair. The mama that the boob mama has to sometime defer to and say, "please can you rock her to sleep, I can't do anything for her." That, my dears, is progress. And all because I have been gone some nights doing my "new" and soon to be "departed" job working on call in the ERs doing psychiatric evaluations. And Susan and Isobel developed their own way of doing bedtime without me. Which is fantastic. Apart from the bit where Isobel has to sleep by herself in her crib. That part is not going so well, although now that we converted it to a toddler bed and she can climb in and out when she wants I think she is feeling a little more charitable towards it.

On the topic of teeth, Isobel has many. I am sad to say I don't know how many but I think at least six on the bottom and six on the top, four of those being molars that caused some trouble coming through.  It's hard to get her to open her mouth for me to count and her tooth brushing -which she asks for every time she is in the bath  -  "tee"  - is mostly her sucking on the brush and me trying in vain to move the brush around. And while we talk about teeth, we can talk about biting too. There has been some of that, followed by mama closing up shop for a while and talking about how biting hurts mama. There have been acrobatic nursing sessions, and short ones and long ones - the latter usually at nap time or during the night. As thoughts turn to the  the idea of trying for a sibling with some of those precious frozen embryos we have left, ( and many obstacles in the way) thoughts turn to weaning. And they turn to weaning when I am not thinking about TTC as well. It's a lot really. A toddler who wants to nurse can be very demanding and quite pushy! Some days, she is interested in the boob and can nurse on and off all day and some days she can forget about it for hours on end. Such is, I gather the life of a nursing toddler. And if you want to know why I am still nursing, as my doctor did, I would say that it is 20% nutrition and 80% comfort. Comfort for both of us. Except when she is pulling on my nipples or twisting them in odd directions.

I confess that many children's storybooks leave me cold. I just find them so boring and not in the least bit whimsical. SHOCK! Horror!  Maybe  it's a lack of interest in getting involved in this world of  make believe that I so enjoyed as a child. Except there isn't much make believe in the books of a toddler. There's a lot of concrete.   And predictable. And then people get so dewy eyed about the books they read as kids. I was an avid reader when I was a child and up til I went to college really, and I don't remember any of the books I had as a kid. Or barely any. Richard Scary and Beatrix Potter being the exception I think.  And Edward Ardizzone's Tim books. My mother was the one who just insisted on us reading the books that she thought we would like and she was extremely dewy eyed about books.  She loved to read aloud to us. So much so that when we got to be so good at reading big involved books she was disappointed that we didn't need her to read to us any more. I'm not talking about picture books, I am talking about the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. Whenever someone would ask me if I had read a book I would think long and hard and often have to say, well I didn't read it to myself, but my mum read it to me. I admit to being a philistine about  this but I am open to suggestions and to persuasion.  And I know I have a problem. I would still rather her read a book than watch tv or a video. Thankfully others have bought Isobel lots of books, especially our friend Ann, who likes to think that she supplies all the best books especially ones involving dogs and animals,  and she has quite a big library and I do read to her, but Susan does it a lot better and Isobel loves to just sit in her small and cute armchair we got from a re-sale store and do her own "reading".

Isobel has always been a real connector and a real engager. She loves to reach out to people and get them involved, whether it's in peek a boo, or games like "i give you this, you give it back to me." She loves seeing other children at the park and other places, even though she is pretty  self focused in her play. She is at the stage now that when a visitor comes over she diverts all her attention to them and gives them her toys, her food,  her smiles and greetings. When we are at the park she only wants to swing if there are other children swinging so she can watch them. At Sunday school she hands out all the crayons to everyone in the room.

She has become a climber - from climbing on top of and into the dolls house which she started today, to climbing on play structures at the park and letting herself slowly move down stairs as well as climbing up them. I think stairs are one of her favorite things. She can spot a big staircase at 200 paces. Her next favorite thing at the park is the slide. She doesn't go down it without me standing right there as she has not figured out the balance part yet and almost pitched over the side the other day. Or we go down together. I have the burns on my elbows to show for it. She wants to be outside but that means crawling everywhere, on all surfaces. Sigh. But I already said that.

So that's our Isobel for you. I am doing this to document her progress for her and for ourselves. But also to give readers a chance to catch up and see what she is up to. I know I love to read about what all your children are up to. After all many of you have been here since before she was born "or even thought of" as my mother would say. Except that isn't true, because I have been thinking about babies for as long as I have been blogging and beyond.

a girl and her car


me and my dolly and the dirty carpet!

a girl and her aunty's hat!

fun with my doll's house

trying to sit on a tiny table!

chilling and smiling

reading and playing cards

very serious reading