Gracie is nine months old and suddenly the holidays are upon us. It was around this time last year when the concept of having a baby was growing more and more realistic…and a year later I found myself Googling options to keep the baby from playing with the DVD player.
She is officially on the move. She stops for no one but the dog. She has been busy the past month. She had her first night away from Mom and Dad (more accurately: Mom and Dad’s first night away from the baby, aieeee) and did just fine. She spent a lazy Monday with me when I took the day off of work, and road tripped to Grand Rapids where, once again, she was a champion in the car. (Slept the entire way there, and most of the way home). She celebrated her first Halloween and learned to crawl and pull herself up to standing in the matter of a few days. She is now cruising along furniture and has to be watched like a hawk, lest she try to scale furniture or poke the dog’s eye out.
Speaking of the dog, he is very into the baby now that she often comes with a little bit of a snack stuck to her hand/cheek/leg. He hangs out under her high chair, watches her play time with a careful eye (we all know snack time comes right after play time) and is very accommodating when she pets him. We keep their interactions pretty supervised, she is still learning the concept of “gentle” and he’s still a dog that thinks the world revolves around him. Despite their learning curves they are fast little friends.
Having a mobile baby really, really changes the dynamic in a house. We moved a lot of decorative things out of our living room today, opting to put them away or move them to less accessible areas. Our single baby gate will soon be joined by a few more barriers and we are installing cabinet locks this week. It is also a reminder to sweep more often, as those little baby socks are very critical of one’s housekeeping. This newfound mobility+ pulling up has caused us to seriously reasses our intended Christmas tree placement. The dining room now appears to be the winning location, far away from little hands.
Gracie continues to eat and sleep well, the only exception during her first ever cold, which was miserable to watch. Saline, humidifier, saline wipes for her nose was all we could do, and you could tell she was mystified we were not doing more. Sorry kiddo, but if you grow up to be a scientist maybe you can cure the common cold. I bet there’d be a prize in there somewhere. Her third tooth is working its way in, and pretty soon she’ll be sporting little teeth on top and bottom. Truth be told, both B and I miss her gummy little smile. Last night we went through photos, reminscing about her tiny newborn days and marveling at how much time has gone by in the blink of an eye. Parenthood = total cliche. We are ok with it.
We love reading bedtime stories with her, she squeals when the first page of The Going to Bed Book appears and will sit in your lap and read books for long periods of time. It is as close as we get to snuggling, so I’m happy to oblige.
Being a parent is exhausting and wonderful. We both are shocked at how much fun it is just to watch her figure things out and by her continual understanding of her little world. Our nanny is a sign language pro and Gracie understands a multitude of signs (although she isn’t repeating them back yet). One night last week B and I spent part of evening learning the signs for ourselves. Sure enough she “gets” what we are saying with them- more, finish, milk, eat, home, sleep. She is saying “mama” and “dada” although there is no real purpose behind them and we got our first ever wave out of her last week. She is slowly becoming her own tiny person and it is an amazing thing to watch.
I can’t wait to see what your future holds baby girl. You can grow up to be anything.
17 lbs 11 oz
Likes: crawling, the dog, pulling up, activity table, peekaboo, Cheerios. The Going to Bed Book
Dislikes: diaper changes, having to get dressed
Oh Gracie…..I spend the first of every month marveling at the passage of time. Not screwing up my checks (yes, I still write checks) or saying “Rabbit Rabbit” but just wondering how another month came and went so quickly. My baby – it seems like you won’t be one for much longer- is bigger and older and doing more things. And then I shake my head wondering when I became that cliched old parent, muttering about kids growing up too fast and the price of milk and money doesn’t grow on trees. Get off my lawn!
But my baby often takes my breath away with her glances and looks and her happiness when she masters something new. Sitting is old news, now she can grab her toy box and tip it at just the right angle so she can gleefully pull each thing out, inspect it, and toss it to the side. She doesn’t have that many toys (as compared to the toy aisle, not Laura Ingalls Wilder) and yet, if we are not careful, our house will be over run. For now the kid-things are contained but I found myself seriously considering a tent for our living room and wondering if it would really be that weird and B said yes, yes it would be. No tents in the living room. (Womp womp).
Gracie continues to babble and wave her arms and wants to crawl so badly and yet can’t figure out it is only going to happen if she manages to get her torso up off the ground. Her arms move and her legs kick and she babbles and grabs but she doesn’t manage to get her knees or elbows under herself to get any momentum going. She is like a fish out of water but she is perfectly content. She still doesn’t roll but she can sit on her own for 20 to 30 minutes and our pediatrician says that is just fine.
She is getting the hang of solids- carbohydrates were met with strong approval- and prefers fruit to veggies but tolerates most things. If you add plain Greek yogurt to anything she will gobble it down, shrieking in between bites and lunging for the spoon in anticipation of the next taste. We now buy Greek yogurt by the quart, writing her name on it and mixing it into her food. The dog also happens to love Greek yogurt and he has learned that sometimes things fall under the high chair so he now stations himself appropriately for meal times. He approved of oatmeal-yogurt-pluot-peach puree as much as Gracie. He also likes Cheerios.
Speaking of the dog and the baby, a funny thing happened over the holiday. We took the dog to the dog beach, as we have done many times over the years, and he went wild as he always does, racing around in the sand. We wandered down to the water’s edge, B wearing Gracie in the Ergo, only this time, for the first time ever, the dog came near the shoreline. He barked at us to get back, but when we didn’t he slowly, every so slowly, followed us in.
He tried to herd us back to shore, and he kept trying to walk back himself (we were about 10-15 out, in about 6 inches to a foot of clear water) but when he saw we were not following us, he wouldn’t leave and he’d trudge back. We had the baby and as mad as he was, he couldn’t let the baby go in the water without supervision. We had his baby and he stayed.
Gracie continues to be a happy go lucky baby that makes both B and I laugh on a regular basis. Through sheer luck we discovered her affinity for The Cups Song and we play it on our iPod’s whenever she gets fussy. She is learning to use a sippy cup but is mad when it doesn’t tip up automatically and bath time is her favorite. I took her swimming for the first time at her Godmother’s pool and she was ecstatic the entire time. The pool was full of young professionals and college age kids enjoying an afternoon but Gracie stole the show in her ruffled swim suit and oversized glasses and floating turtle toys- everything kept commenting on how much fun she was having, how good she was at kicking, how she loved splashing. It was a great afternoon.
We are looking forward to September and football and the eventual return of fall “things” and activities. Other than her flu shots, Gracie doesn’t have any more vaccinations until her first birthday and she continues to stay on her petite growth curve, 25% for weight, 50th % for height. She got her first tooth (lower left center) and the second one is trying valiantly to join in the fun. She bites her spoon at dinner and loves chewing ice in her mesh feeder and generally gnawing on everything she can get her hands on.
She exudes happiness and smiles and brings joy to our lives every day. Cliche perhaps, but it is the truth. Weekend mornings are still our favorite, family time for everyone with coffee and bottles and newspapers and belly rubs for the dog. We savor our time with her, compete for smiles and laughs and raspberries and look forward to seeing her happy face every morning.
I can’t wait to see what your future holds baby girl. You can grow up to be anything.
15 pounds, 7 ounces as of mid-August
Likes: playmat, snuggling, bath time, your squishy blocks, Gruff your goat, muslin blankets, riding in the Ergo, grabbing Mama’s glasses, petting the dog, spoons, Greek yogurt
Dislikes: not being fed quickly, teeth
I thought that after Gracie’s baptism my free time would miraculously return and I’d find my afternoons wide open with glorious blank space on the calendar. After all we’d survived having a baby, going back to work, moving, birthday’s, a wedding, a baptism…what more could there be? Nothing, I assumed. Nothing. Just time to relax and enjoy warm summer days. Instead (of course) books sat unread, bath salts sit unopened, blog posts unwritten. Life continues along at a breakneck pace. I go to bed later than ever, I rise earlier. Sometimes the baby wakes in the middle of the night, and as I rock her and bounce her and put her back down I count the hours left until my alarm goes off.
“Three hours. Five total. Not bad!” I mentally congratulate myself. In my past life- as a high schooler, college kid, newlywed- the thought of only five hours of sleep was enough to make my stomach turn. I regularly aimed for ten hours, considered seven only “getting by” and did best with eight to nine. Now I get by with five, hope for six, dream of it being uinterrupted. When my alarm goes off- entirely too early- the dog ignores me, burrowing deeper under the covers. I tiptoe to the baby’s room and gently close her door so I can walk down our creaky hallway to make a cup of coffee, to unload the dishwasher, to start my day.
As the coffee brews I hope that the baby stays sleeping long enough for B and I to get our showers in and for me to get on the road, but a small part of me doesn’t mind if she wakes up. It is the only way I get to see her gummy smile before I head out the door, and while it isn’t conducive to productive mornings, her grin makes any day better, no matter how many dull meetings sit on the agenda. The dog hopes she stays sleeping because for now he has my entire side of the bed to himself, and if she wakes up B will get out of bed, disturbing the dog’s delicate balance of touching all the sleeping people and stealing their pillows from them.
Some mornings of course I work from home, and on those days I rush to get a shower in before the nanny arrives, before my day starts, before I log into work and don’t get up from my chair for hours on end. If I don’t get the shower in I answer the door for the nanny in my pajamas, apologetic, with a gurgling baby in my hands who is excited for every morning because her days are filled with milk and tummy time and stories and walks in the park.
In the evenings, as I pick up, tossing dog toys in one basket, baby toys in another, folding clothes and putting away laptops, I glance over at the desk chair. I contemplate sitting down to blog and as I do so, the day washes over me like an exhausting wave, and I shrug the idea away. I change into pjs, climb into bed, B and I divvying up the next day’s responsibilities, trying to find time for a date night or a family trip to the farmer’s market. It is almost July and we haven’t been once, in some ways more shocking than my new ability to get by on five hours of sleep. We used to be regulars, drinking fresh fruit smoothies and walking the dog and buying bags of fruit and veggies. Next week we promise, next week we will go. Corn on the cob is in season, and hopefully the stone fruit will be ripe soon. Gracie started solids on Father’s Day and we are giddy with anticipation of what we could try. Peaches would be fun, or maybe fresh peas, and then we realize how late it is and we close our eyes, only half sleeping, one ear listening the monitor that babbles away with white noise on the bedside table.
This time in our life will be over before we know it, and the stolen moments of the two of us, the three of us, the three plus dog, when we don’t have anywhere to be, or people to meet or deadlines looming, are the best moments ever. When we spent Father’s Day using tempera paint to put Gracie’s handprints and footprints on canvas, to capture her tiny toes and fingers. When we walked to the dog park in the evening hours, walking in the grass with skyscrapers in the foreground and boats bobbing along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, and for a few minutes we could hold hands and laugh at the dog who ran around like a possessed creature and the baby who just wanted to chew her fingers.
These days are fleeting and I suppose when they are done the blog will still sit, waiting for me to sit down and write. The bath salts will be ready for a long soak and the words in the books will be as captivating as ever. But for now, on these hot summer days, when I think about blogging or the many other things I could do, more often than not, the other things win out. Even when they are just sitting on my living room floor reading Goodnight Moon outloud.
As a kid one of my Mom’s favorite phrases was “Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.”
Forgot your lunch at school? She brought it to you, but not before reminding you that PPPPP.
Didn’t give yourself enough time to study? PPPPP.
Found yourself up against a deadline? PPPPP.
The phrase is drilled into my head and now I’m a planner. Probably (ok fine, yes) overly so, but I function best with a lot of prior planning. The only way my family eats dinner, I make it out the door with everything I need and Gracie gets lots of quality time with Mom and Dad is thanks to a lot of prior planning, preparation and lists. Sorry, lists don’t start with a P, but damn if I don’t rely on them daily.
Anyway. My point is that normally B and I are fairly scheduled out, know what is going on, etc., etc. Until it came to our upcoming move, and in that case we have been driving ourselves and everyone we know crazy.
Where are you moving? Have you found a place? When are you moving? Are you going to ask your parents to come? Do you need help? Have you scheduled movers?
For the past 4 months these questions have been met with hemming, hawing, hand flapping and general avoidance. (See what I did there? Alliteration, but we’ve moved on from the “p” set.) It makes perfect sense then that last week- on Wednesday evening to be exact- we decided to move this Friday. At the time we made that decision we had packed exactly zero boxes and the only “we are moving soon” task I’d completed was boxing up my maternity clothes (all but the yoga pants & 1 pair of maternity jeans because I have some serious jean-woes right now and desperately need to hightail it to the store for pants that don’t make me look like a baggy elephant or like I just traveled through time from 2003). Obviously the boxing of maternity clothes is not going to get us from point A to point B so now we are faced with packing our storage locker + 2 bedroom 2 bath place worth of stuff in a week.
Luckily, this bad boy arrives in the mail tonight:
The movers have been booked (B and I decided about a year ago that we are too old to bribe friends with pizza and beer to help us move, conversely, we are no longer bribe-able) and my fantastic friends (including the lovely Kristabella) have offered to come play with the baby in the evening hours so our hands are free to frantically throw things into box with
reckless abandon the utmost of care. We are ordering Gracie’s crib mattress, her dresser is set for pick up at the end of the week and I purchased shower curtains for the new place. My inlaws are coming to help us with the day of the actual move (and by help us I mean hang out with their grandbaby and granddog, don’t worry, we are not making them carry boxes). That and I took Thursday and Friday off of work to make myself a nice little 5 day weekend so hey, come next Tuesday morning, I will have boxes unpacked and artwork hung SO HELP ME. Mostly because then my parents are coming and we have birthdays, weddings and Gracie’s baptism (which includes many great-grandparents, all grandparents and godparents in town). And then? THEN I SLEEP.
We can do this. We…can…do…this.