[Andy tries to get Delphine to do something.]
Morgan: She's not your monkey.
Delphine: Eee eee eee!
Amy: I guess she is your monkey.
Blake: Is "banana" the longest word she knows?
Amy: I guess not.
Cat. Duck. Ball. Daddy. Mummy. (She doesn't quite know who is which, though.) Baby. No. (Sometimes polysyllabically, Aussie-style.) Bubby (for my chestal region and the pleasures thereof.) Down, as a nice counterpoint to "up!". She sometimes says "Up please". Other times she just says "Up UP!"
She was 22 lbs 11 oz, and 30.7 inches, meaning she had gained 11 oz and .7 inches since her one-year checkup. That's not very much; she's slid from the 95th percentile at birth to the 50th now. Yeah, I know they're not supposed to gain much in the second year, but more than that. Anyway, she seems bigger now so maybe she has had that growth spurt we've all been waiting for. Her next checkup is November 17th.
She's still sleeping in the crib. The last couple of nights have been great, the couple before that not so good, and so on. It's a process. I'm surprised by how she has taken to it, though. After we go through our bedtime routine (diaper, jammies, teeth, nurse) she veritably lunges for the crib face-down, tucks all her limbs underneath her and goes right to sleep.
She has just started cutting her canines. Once they are in each type of tooth --
incisors, molars and canines -- will be represented, meaning she can eat anything
we can eat. I don't buy much food especially for her anymore, apart from crackers
and high-fat dairy products. She still loves tomatoes more than anything, and I don't
think there's anything that she particularly dislikes, although she's not very
interested in most things. Perhaps I am nursing her too much? I didn't think that
was possible, but then I have only read the hippie attachment parenting books
on the subject.
I cut her hair for the first time yesterday -- the front is still really short, so I trimmed the sides and back so it doesn't look so mulletty. It's much better now, and she kind of looks older. I didn't do a fantastic job, technically; the sides look a bit hacked at, and there are a couple of wisps at the back that I couldn't get because she kept moving away, but her hair is haphazard enough in general that my clumsy efforts don't stand out.
All these dry factoids are inadequate to express what Delphine's like, how she is. She's so interesting, funny, clever. She loves to be read to, and to go for walks. She is fascinated by plants. She can stroke the cats gently. She dances to music, bouncing and turning around and rocking from foot to foot. She likes to clean up, walking around the house with a rag wiping things, and "sweeping up" with a whisk brush (really she finds the neat piles of stuff that I have swept, and flings them around with her brush). She loves to say no: "Nnnn-aaaa-oooo!" She is a hundred times more interesting now than when she was a baby, and I love to be with her. I miss her when she is sleeping or out with her auntie or grandparents. She is both lovely, and amazing, and I tell her so all the time.
I think I can officially declare that Delphine's first word is "up!" Spoken imperiously while tugging on pant legs or holding up a book to be read. She also says "Hi" and "Byebye" (actually "Buh-bye") but it's hard to tell whether she knows what they mean. "Buh-bye" is always accompanied by waving. She also makes a credible attempt at "Zeyde": "Tz-da", but she definitely doesn't know what (who) it means.
In other news, she's sleeping pretty well in the crib. She wails a few little wails when we put her down, and then drops off to sleep and stays there until about 5:00 am or 6:00 am. Then we bring her into bed and I desperately try and catch another hour of sleep while she has breakfast. I would like her to not cry when we put her down, and I would like her to not wake up so early, but I do not know how to go about effecting either of those things. I suppose I could go back to the advice books I scorned so thoroughly earlier, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet.
She's eating pretty well, although I'm breaking a couple of rules in order to get her to eat: I don't sit her down in her high chair and feed her. Instead, we hang out in the living room and I give her bites of whatever she's having while she toddles around and plays and hangs out. She seems to eat more that way. I only do that for one meal a day, though, and for the other two I make her sit properly. It's not bedlam here, you know.
The other rule I break is that I let her wander around with her sippy cup of milk, which is supposed to be bad for their teeth or make them obese or something. In general I'm not doing a great job looking after her teeth. She won't let me brush them, and I don't know what the hell to do. Every few days I poke at them ineffectually with her pink and yellow baby toothbrush while she clenches her jaw. Maybe one day she'll actually let me in there. Anyway, I'm sure my parents never brushed my teeth as a baby, and I turned out fine! (A sound and popular argument among proponents of many a lousy parenting technique.)
My friend Tanya from pre-natal class and I are both poking idly at the idea of doing something productive with our lives; me working for my father-in-law to earn money to buy a dishwasher, she making a documentary about her husband's family's pursuit of Native status, or something. Clearly she is far cooler than me. Anyway, to that end we need someone else to take care of our babies while we do our shit. We bandied about a few ideas, and finally settled on each other! We're going to trade a few hours of child care a week. I'm a little nervous -- make that terrified -- about looking after a second toddler, but it's worth a try. Maybe it won't be so bad? It might be fun, even. And one day soon (I hope) I'll have to look after two kids all the time, so this will be good practice.
Oh yes. I don't know if I should post about this because it seems like an overshare (I know, I've overshared so much, why stop now? Because I've finally realized that family reads this sometimes is why.) Anyway, I still haven't got my period back, and I'm getting impatient, so I've decided if I'm still not fertile by the end of the year I will wean Delphine. It will suck, but I don't want my kids to be years and years apart. If I were my mother I would be six months pregnant with my second child already. So, the clock is ticking for Miss Delphine's love/love relationship with my bosom.
We've been putting Delphine to sleep in the crib, as Blake mentioned below. We started about a week and a half ago, with mixed results.
The first night we put her in the crib and then sat there like idiots looking at her, thinking our very presence would calm her and eventually she would lie down and sleep. Instead she cried more, probably wondering why the hell we were just sitting there and not rescuing her. Once we lay down and pretended to be asleep she stopped crying within a few minutes, and thereafter cried intermittently for a while before falling asleep. It's quite possible that she slept that entire night sitting up, but we didn't want to look in case she wasn't really asleep.
The next night we did the bedtime routine and then put her down and lay down right away, and it was much better; again only a few minutes -- less than ten -- of crying and then intermittent crying for maybe twenty or thirty minutes until she fell asleep. (When I say intermittent crying I mean one or two wails followed by three or four minutes of silence.)
The following night we moved her into her new bedroom, which turned out well because it meant we didn't have to worry about waking her up when we went to bed. We put her down around 8:30 and then proceeded to go about our evening like adults. Adults with two free hands. Amazing. (For the last fifteen months we have taken turns eating dinner because one of us is holding the baby, we have taken turns brushing our teeth and going to the washroom, and I have spent half my evenings with Delphine, half-asleep, attached to a breast.)
We had one glorious night where I nursed her to sleep and then managed to put her down in the crib without waking her, and she slept the whole night through without waking up. We haven't duplicated that feat, but I have high hopes.
I did a lot of soul-searching before we embarked on this process, probably too much. It made me realize how privileged I am that my biggest worry is whether to let my child cry at bedtime -- not how I am going to pay the rent, or whether I will be able to get drinking water without being shot at or raped, or whether I will be allowed to vote. My mental wrangling over this trivial matter bordered on the masturbatory, and frankly annoyed me after a few weeks of it.
At the end of all that I just decided to get on with it, and soon realized that all the theory in the world doesn't amount to much when faced with a real flesh-and-blood child. It didn't take long to learn that, contrary to my research she actually cries a good deal less when we're not there, and when we don't go and visit her. If we pulled a Ferber and went and visited her every five minutes, she would just get worked up every five minutes and never get to sleep. "Crying it out" doesn't apply to this child because she doesn't cry continuously when she's tired, she cries for a few minutes and then stops, and soon falls asleep.
She does cry for longer if she's not actually tired; we made the mistake of putting her down earlier (got that idea from Dr Weissbluth -- I wonder how long it will be before I just ignore all the "experts" altogether) and she cried for a solid fifteen minutes. We retrieved her and she stayed up for another hour or so before she was really ready for bed.
The crying bothers Blake more than it bothers me. If I deliberately try and imagine how she's feeling I get upset, but if I don't it's just noise. I can easily dissociate myself from my emotions and the emotions of others. Maybe I'm autistic. Maybe I'm just a cold bitch.
Yesterday we took Delphine for her fifteen month checkup. Everything was generally fine, but she is not growing as fast as she probably should be. I don't know the exact numbers (Blake?) but I think she has gained less than a pound since her last checkup at a year, and at that checkup she hadn't gained enough, either. It could be that she's just growing in fits and starts, and this is a slow period, or it could be that she's really not getting enough of the right things to eat. (Or I suppose it could be something more sinister, but that's unlikely and not worth worrying about at this point.)
I find it hard to get her to eat -- she will have a few mouthfuls of something and then push it away, and she is fairly selective about what she eats. Today I tried Dr Sears's nibble tray method: I put Cheerios (multi-grain), raspberries, some potato, and frozen peas into the compartments of a tart tray (like a muffin tin, but shallower). She actually did eat a fair bit of this morning's selection, and (surprisingly) not too much of it got ground into the carpet.
She's been miserably sick lately, with some kind of non-respiratory virus which had her feverish and shaking and puking. (First puke!) She hardly ate at all for a few days. I'm glad we're still nursing because that was the only thing she would take -- I couldn't get her to drink milk or water, or eat anything. I may never wean her, it's so convenient. I think she's better now; she slept all night with no crying, and the viral rash has gone.
She started walking on Friday; just decided it was time, I guess. She's steady on her feet, because she's been practicing for so long. It's fun and a little thrilling to watch her walking around, as blasé as if she has been doing it for weeks.
She doesn't talk yet, at least not in English; sometimes it sounds like Cantonese, sometimes it sounds like German. For a week or so she was calling the cats "Meeaaooow", so it could be that her first word was in cat. Hmph.
We've decided to teach Delphine to sleep by herself in a crib. I guess I knew that this day would come eventually, but I had hoped that she would decide to sleep on her own, uh, on her own. Or at the very least to be able to understand why we were leaving her alone, and to try to work with us at least a little. But she didn't, and isn't, and so she cries and cries, and it breaks my heart to not be able to go and pick her up and hold her and cuddle her until she's all better. But I know that that wouldn't teach her that she's okay sleeping on her own, so I restrain myself. On the other hand, I can't help but wonder whether not going to her is just teaching her that she can't depend on us for help and comforting when she needs it. Being a father is really hard sometimes.
Update: For the past two nights, she hasn't woken up when we put her to bed, and so has ended up sleeping through the night. Here's hoping that this is a trend that continues.
Update #2: It didn't. She woke up and cried at 4:00 am this morning. But I think she might be getting a new tooth, and in pain. I would normally give her Tylenol, but it wouldn't last through the night, so that plan is a non-starter. Maybe I'll suggest it if she wakes up again.
Delphine is almost fifteen months old. The last couple of weeks have been very interesting. She has demonstrated, numerous times, that she is perfectly capable of walking, and would rather not, thank you. I think she doesn't like the instability of it. Eventually her balance will get better and the convenience of walking with outweigh the security of crawling, but for now it's hands on the floor for her.
Last week she laughed at her first verbal humour: "Socks! Ka-pocks! Shoes! Ka-poes! Pants! Ka-pants!" This is very funny stuff indeed, you have no idea.
She is babbling a lot, and is a pretty competent mimic. She likes "bababa" and "dadada" best (typical!) but has attempted, with varying degrees of success, such diverse words as "cheesestick", "step" and "Zaida".
She doesn't seem to eat much, but she's still nursing a lot. I would like her to nurse less so I can ovulate already, but I'm not sure how to go about it. She's pretty insistent about it when she wants to nurse, and it's the easiest way to get her to sleep, especially during the day when Blake isn't around with his magic shoulder.
She's still sleeping with us, but I would like to move her to the crib. I have thought and thought about it and I think the only way to do it will involve some crying. We've made a couple of attempts to sneak her into the crib after she's asleep, but she always either wakes up when we're putting her down, or wakes up later and cries. I'm planning to do a Ferber type thing, going in to visit her at regular intervals until she falls asleep. I read the Pantley book, The No-Cry Sleep Solution and I don't think her idea of repeatedly picking her up and soothing her, then putting her down in the crib, will work because she cries instantly when we put her down, and we end up spending the whole night holding her. But we're establishing a bedtime routine, and I'm going to see if she finds a transitional object; I do want to make this easy on her, and us. We're starting this weekend. Unless we chicken out, like we have the last two weekends.
I can see her becoming a toddler; she is getting to be much more assertive about her world. She cries when you take something away from her that she wanted, or when you tell her not to do something appealing like put her hand in the toilet or pick up cigarette butts. She will put up a good tug-of-war with other babies if they both want the same toy, although Delphine generally gives up first and cries, thereby winning because the parents inevitably step in and give her the toy, because the other kid looks like the big meany. She is so smart!
She's becoming more fascinated with cats and dogs. She can find the cat in any picture (if there is one, obviously) and she can point to where the real-life cats are, too. She always looks when we see dogs when we're out. I think in September I will take her to the zoo and see what she makes of all the other animals.
I can't think of anything else, except that she's so lovely and interesting and good. This morning we went to the bulk food store, and I parked her in the stroller just inside the door while I collected my groceries, and she just sat there and looked around and didn't make a peep. What a baby.
Delphine's first birthday was two Mondays ago, on the tenth. We had a special dinner with cake and jelly, and I already put up pictures in the gallery so I bet you already know about it. It was a good birthday, I think, as first ones go.
This Monday was her one-year checkup, to be examined and jabbed with a million tiny needles. Well, three, but it seemed like more. She got the usual MMR plus Varivax for chicken pox and Menjugate for meningitis. The two latter shots were not covered by OHIP so we had to pay for them to the tune of over $200, which was a bit of a shock. Hopefully Blake's insurance will cover them. Ironically yesterday afternoon the government announced that they will cover those two vaccines in the future.
She was weighed and measured, and found wanting (God, that was a bad movie!) -- 22 lbs and 30" which are a little lower than perhaps they should be according to her growth curve. The doctor wasn't sure if that's just her normal curve or if indeed she isn't growing as she should be, but she encouraged me to feed her more. I hadn't been giving her snacks -- coming up with three nutritious, interesting meals a day is hard enough -- but I'm starting now. I picked up a bunch of meal plans from various daycares at a daycare and pre-school expo a couple of weeks ago; they're meant to assure you that your kid is being fed properly while they're in care, but I'm not above stealing their ideas.
When I got home from the doctor feeling somewhat chagrined that I am not feeding my baby properly, I found in a mailbox a big blue envelope addressed in my brother's beloved chicken-scratchings. He sent a card and a gift card for Indigo for Delphine. I opened the card and bawled my face off for a few minutes; it was one of those times when you've been needing to cry for a day or two and then something innocent sets you off. I just pictured my little Dave in front of a rack of cards picking one out for Delphine and he's SO SWEET! I'm a mess.
I love that Dave sent her a bookstore gift certificate. For one thing I've been wanting to get her some more books but just haven't had the ready cash to do so, but also Dave and I always, always, always get a book for birthdays. Always have, always will. It's good to continue that tradition, especially since Blake and I totally dropped the ball. (We only budgeted $30 for Del's birthday, which clearly isn't going to be enough, since kids books are around $15 which leaves a measly $15 for a present. Argh. Hopefully we'll have more income next year and we can loosen up the budget a little.)
What's the little monster up to, you ask? Well, she's amazing. I feel like I've fallen in love with her all over again in the last few days, like I have a big old crush on her. I suspect this crushing will come and go over the next... oh, hell, for the rest of my life, probably.
She's almost walking; she can stand unassisted for a few seconds, and she walks with her little pushy wagon thing my parents sent her for Christmas. I don't think she's really keen to walk because she can get where she wants to go crawling. She does love to climb, though; she climbs onto chairs and toys and the aforementioned pushy thing. She climbs the stairs to the slide at the park, and then slides down feet-first, tummy down. Then she climbs up the slide, which is varyingly effective depending how much clothing she's wearing.
The climbing is alarming because it makes me realize how much trouble she could get into, between falling and getting into stuff she's not supposed to get into. Toddler-proofing is going to be way harder than baby-proofing.
She's not showing any signs of talking, although she's got a good repertoire of phonemes. She doesn't understand any words, apart from her name and "No". This is perhaps a little delayed, but still within normal parameters. I feel like I am expected to worry about that, but I'm not worried. I'm glad she's not a tiny prodigy; I don't want her to be special, I just want her to be happy. Dave and I were special when we were kids, and I don't think it bought us much happiness.
And all in all she is happy and well and lovely. People still comment on how well-behaved she is, and how pretty, and I tend to agree.