Just in time for her eleven-month birthday, there is finally something new to report in the land of Delphine.
First, she is growing at least one, and perhaps two new teeth on top. It has been five months since the two on the bottom came in, so these are long-awaited. They don't seem to be giving her much trouble at the moment. They will come in handy in her new practice of taking bites out of a piece of fruit; last week I shared a plum with her.
Second, yesterday she stood by herself, once when playing with Blake and once with Morgan. She can walk quite nicely if you hold both her hands, so sometime soon she'll put it all together and ta-da! I'll have a toddler. I think my prior estimate of walking before she's a year old was optimistic; I didn't anticipate that her development would plateau for a month or two as it has. Darn these non-deterministic babies.
And finally, I gave her egg over the weekend (in chopped liver and fruit kugel; Passover is a very egg-intensive holiday) and she hasn't yet imploded, exploded, broken out in hives or turned into a turnip, so I think I can assume she's not allergic to eggs. This is good, because it means she can have birthday cake next month. And generally it means that lots of food that was verboten is now in her repertoire, so it will make feeding her much easier.
There isn't much going on with Delphine lately. She's been busy having colds lately, and that seems to have put a damper on her development. She's still cruising, not walking, and babbling, not talking. She is still very mild-mannered and observant and generally a pleasure to be around, except when she's miserable about being sick.
We have been reading to her a lot. I read a book called Babies Need Books by Dorothy Butler which I can't recommend enough. Butler is passionate about books, and she makes a very strong argument as to why and how babies should be exposed to books at a very young age.
I had given up on the book thing when Delphine was about eight months old because she didn't seem interested in reading, more in pulling the books apart and eating them. The Butler book convinced me to try again, with more patience, and it seems to have worked. One of the things Butler says is that babies always go through a stage of demolishing books when they're first exposed to them, whether that be at six months or three years. You just have to forge through it until they learn that the content of the books is more interesting than the flavour of them.
So I tried again, picking a few of the books Butler recommends, and it's really working. Reading is now the main activity we do together (since Delphine doesn't really play with anything yet) and Del seems to enjoy it. She looks at the pages and turns them, sometimes even at the appropriate time, if it's a book she knows well, like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?. She does all the activities in Pat The Bunny except sniffing the flowers, and I can't say I blame her about that.
One of the things which made reading easier is that I stopped being such a stickler about how we read together. I used to think that she had to be in my lap, but now I'll read to her while she's sitting apart from me and playing with something else. It helps that I can read upside down, so I can point the book at her and read the text from above.
I'm really enjoying all the great books out there. The Butler book helped me get a feel for what makes a good baby book, and each week we go to the library and I'm able to find half-a-dozen books which fit the bill. I really like Mr Grumpy's Outing by John Burningham, and Peepo! by Janet and Allen Ahlberg, the Mog books, Brown Bear... there are a million of them. I just got Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, a Dr Suess book (although not by Dr Suess) which is hilarious. Except the text says "monkey" and the pictures are chimps. Sigh. I'll have to clear that up with her when she gets older.
StatisticsWeight: 21 lbs
Height: 28.7 inches
Delphine has now been out longer than she was in, and she seems to be taking well to the outside world.
She is growing famously, but sloping gradually towards the 75th percentile (she started off at the 95th). She's still proportionate, although more a chubby baby than a skinny baby. She's very strong and I'm pretty sure she'll be walking by her first birthday. She has been crawling for a few weeks now, and she loves to stand up, holding on to a table or chair, whenever she can get away with it.
She vocalizes with consonants ("blah, blah" or "dah dah") sometimes, and has just mastered the fine art of the raspberry. I don't think she'll be talking particularly early.
She still only has the two teeth on the bottom, although Blake thinks he might have spotted one on the top today. The first two came in in November, so the next batch is overdue, but me and my nipples are okay with that.
She's still nursing a couple of times a day, in the afternoon and evening, and through the night. In addition, she's eating pretty much everything except the big choking and allergy hazards. I just started her on (cows') milk yesterday, but she still hasn't really figured out either a bottle or a sippy cup, so most of it ends up on her shirt. I'm hoping once she figures out how to drink milk she'll ease off even more on the nursing and maybe I'll actually ovulate again! That would be good.
I took her to Florida last week to visit my in-laws, and we had a great time, although it was far from the vacation I had imagined. I thought she was over separation anxiety, but when we were in Florida she didn't want to be in anyone's arms but mine for the first three days. I think that's reasonable; we were in a completely new environment, I can see why she would want to experience it from a place of known safety. Anyway, by day four she happily went off to visit neighbours with my father-in-law, and on day five she played in the pool with my mother-in-law without a peep.
I wondered for a minute whether she's too attached, since she is on on near me all day and night most days. I felt kind of weird in Florida when I realized that she naps on me and sleeps with me. On the other hand, everyone comments on how alert and composed she is, how relaxed and quiet, and that's got to be at least somewhat because of how secure she is in my constant presence and love.
I was desperately clicking around The Usual Suspects trying to find a place to pimp this journal, until I realized, duh, that's what I have a weblog for.
So, go read Dooce. She just had a baby (no, like, two weeks ago) and she's fucking funny and I love her already.
But I do need to come to terms with the possibility of some grumpy single person shooting me a disapproving look as I bounce a fussy baby in one arm while I reach for a gallon of milk with the other arm, as if my baby has no business being in a public place. I was once that grumpy single person, and I feel her pain, the pain of sleeping more than eight hours a night, the pain of eating a warm meal with two hands, the pain of chugging two double vodka martinis without fear of poisoning another human being. And I want to say to the grumpy, single me of several years ago - the grumpy, single me who kept up with her eyebrows and had her nails professionally manicured every two weeks - I want to say, FUCKING WHORE! And then I want to choke her and beat her with a wooden club.
On Friday Morgan and I took Delphine swimming at the local community centre where they have a baby pool, a shallow pool with warm water and wide graduated steps.
Delphine did not take to the water like a fish. She wasn't scared, but she wasn't willing to give it her whole-hearted commendation without further study. So we sat in the shallows, and she considered.
If you haven't met Delphine, I should explain now that she is a very serious little person. She approaches new situations with gravity and deliberation, studying her surroundings with big, blue, unblinking eyes before deciding if she approves.
It took her a good ten or fifteen minutes of thought before she concluded that sitting in a large puddle of warm water doesn't suck. She learned how to splash herself by pounding on the surface of the water, never failing to be surprised by the result. *splash!* *blink* *blink* "What happened? My face is wet." Then she got her hands on a toy orca and chewed contentedly on its tail and watched the other children until it was time to get out of the pool.
Altogether I think we sat for at least forty minutes. While Delphine studied and considered and decided, Morgan and I watched the other people. There was a little boy with red goggles who talked to everyone, there was a girl in a red flowery suit who was fascinated with Delphine, there was a mom who constructed an elaborate Rube Goldbergian fountain out of flutter boards and watering cans. It was a hoot. We'll go again.
...although I feel like I should.
One: I don't read to Delphine. I know you're supposed to read to children from the moment they're born to imbue in them a deep and abiding respect for the written word, but reading to Delphine is and has always been a wresting match in which I attempt to prevent her from eating the written word. So whatever intangible benefit you're supposed to get from being read to as an infant, Delphine's not getting it.
Two: I only bath her once a week. Other people say "Oh, I hardly ever bath my baby, once every three days is enough!" Or ever four days, or so. Not Delphine! She gets a wash every seven, whether she needs it or not. I don't think it's doing her any harm.
In other news, she's learned to crawl on her hands and knees. She doesn't choose to do so very often, but she can, I've seen her. She still prefers to creep about on her belly, like a snake. I'm going to make her an outfit out of Swiffer cloths and rent her out.
She's starting to get the pincer grasp, so I let her feed herself little puffed rices and shredded cheese. She's also eating tofu, and I think tonight I will set some of our pork aside and blend it up for her lunch tomorrow. Meat!
She's learned to get back down to ground level from standing, which is great news because previously, her only option was to fall over and hit her head. It also makes her very mobile and pretty much the master of all she surveys; she can go from sitting to standing, standing to sitting, sitting to crawling, crawling to standing. Since the condo is generally safe I let her hang out on the floor, exploring and humming to herself, for long stretches of time while I get stuff done.
There are about a thousand new pictures up in the Baby Picture Gallery.
It's been ages since I've updated, and a lot has changed, although it seems like mostly in the last couple of day.
Delphine's a champion stander now; she easily pulls herself up on whatever is around, and she will stand and play at a coffee table or chair for ages. She's even started experimenting with only holding on with one hand, and she cruises from one piece of furniture to another.
On the crawling front, though, she hasn't advanced much. She can get around pretty quickly, but she's still commando-crawling, and hasn't discovered the superiority of the hands-and-knees technique. I'm beginning to wonder if she won't bypass that stage altogether and skip right to walking.
Much to my relief, she has finally discovered consonants; Friday she figured out muh-muh-muh-muh, and by Sunday she had added ba-ba-ba-ba-ba and da-da-da-da-da. Soon she'll be writing sonnets.
She's eating lots of different foods now; fruits, vegetables, cereals, yogurt, cottage cheese and beans. This week I'm going to give her tofu, and then we'll try actual dead animal. The only thing that seems to stop her is chunks; she still likes things well pureed, or else she has to make dealthy gagging sounds until I rescue her from the killer peas! In her mouth! And then sometimes she vomits. I've learned my lesson.
She's cut her nursing way back; she doesn't nurse at all in the morning, and sometimes we go all afternoon without nursing either. She still nurses in the evening and through the night. The only thing that settles her when she wakes overnight, in fact, is nursing. Sometimes I get tired of being the human pacifier, but it's not like she'll be a baby forever.
She's well and truly into the separation anxiety phase, apparently right on time. She doesn't even like it when her aunt or grandpa hold her, and she never used to have a problem with them. Now, it's Mum or Dad or nobody.
We went to playgroup for the first time last Wednesday; it's a program with music, games and crafts. I signed us up as much for an activity for me as anything. I need something to break up the weeks or this winter is going to last for years.
I was really looking forward to it, to learning some new songs and meeting other mothers, and in that respect it was disappointing. I didn't like some of the new songs, and the ones she sung that I knew were kind of mangled: "hush-a, hush-a" in "Ring Around the Rosies" instead of "a-tishoo, a-tishoo", and "all around the town" in "The Wheels on the Bus" instead of "all the livelong day", not that that makes any sense. I know they're folk songs, and that's what they do, change, but it seemed weird and wrong. I'll get over it.
The other mothers weren't so friendly; I felt like the new girl all over again, trying to make eye contact and smile and be friendly, and everyone seemed to avoid my eyes and close off into their cliques. It was quite weird. I did end up elbowing my way into a conversation or two, and I'm sure it will get better as the weeks go on.
I've decided I'm going to stop worrying about whether I'm doing things right. I kept second-guessing myself; should I be feeding Del this, or that? Should I try and make her sleep in the crib? Should I nurse her more? Less? Make her nap longer? How? Hold her more often? Less often? Read to her? Make her listen to classical music? Describe everything she sees, loudly, like some deranged docent?
Finally I realized that I'm a reasonably intelligent and emotionally stable and if I follow my instincts and listen to my heart, I won't go far wrong. I don't need her to pass the RCM Grade 12 piano exam by the time she's eight, or cure cancer or remedy world hunger. All I want for her is happiness, and right now that means sleeping with me and eating bananas and going for walks.
She's pretty smart, too, and I'm sure she'll figure out how to go to sleep by herself, and how to talk, and how to read, without me shoving it all down her neck.
Last night, as I (Blake) was holding Delphine, and letting her chew on my finger, I noticed that it hurt a little more than usual. When I checked further, I felt the top of her first tooth! I immediately passed her to Amy, to double check, and we both agreed that there was a tiny sharp something there. I think it was the first time I've noticed something new about Delphine, and I'm quite excited about it. Amy claims that she even saw the tooth, but Del refused to let us get a picture of it (sorry, Mom). Every time something like this happens, I realize a little more that she's not going to be the tiny perfect baby that she currently is for the rest of her life. She's growing up, at a rather alarming rate, and I'm very excited to find out who she'll be at various points.