Monday, August 20, 2007

Baby Steps

Anna Sophia took her first steps yesterday. She is ten-and-a-half months old. It seems amazing what she has learned in the last two months, in the time since I had to take a break from documenting her life due to the busy-ness of living life. If I can, I will return to this blog and fill in some blanks, but for today I'll stick with the present.

For a week or two, Anna has been at the Wile-E-Coyote-over-the-edge-of-the-cliff stage of standing independently. In other words, she has been able to stand up until she notices that she is not holding on to anything, then she reaches for the nearest support or gently lowers her bum to the ground. The cliff edge of standing unsupported has been getting less scary for her, it's true, and sometimes she has waved her arms in the air and wiggled her butt before realizing she wasn't holding onto anything.

But yesterday morning, we noticed that she was standing around unsupported and aware that she was unsupported and was relatively unperturbed. She tested her balance and tested her weight. She rarely wanted to plop to her bottom and scoot on her bum, and instead spent her time scooting along the edges of furniture, along walls, and around corners. She eyed the cat as though she might be able to catch her this time.

At her Grandma Marjorie's in the afternoon, after yelling at her Aunt Andrea's cat for being hissy and ducking around the edges of the coffeetable, she was well-settled in to the environment. When Andrea came home and sat on the floor with hair and earrings dangling like temptation itself, Anna let go of her mother and walked three or four steps to Andrea. This little march was witnessed by both Anna's parents and by her grandmother and Aunt Cathy and Uncle Frank. Anna was delighted with their response to her accomplishment and knew she had a hit dance move. (Aunt Mary Jane took in a "rerun" later in the afternoon, when Anna went for another little walk to try to snatch her camera from her.)

Today, Anna clearly understands what we mean when we ask her about "walking" and has put on a few more demonstrations of her new skill -- when she doesn't have to get anywhere far away or get there in a hurry. She has also spent a good part of the day just standing around, dancing in place, lifting or lunging heavy objects one would expect to put her off-balance.

In addition to walking, Anna is up to so much these days. She will not eat anything pureed and wants only food she can pick up with her fingers -- preferably bits of whatever her parents are eating. She is lamenting the end of raspberry season, since she has been a little raspberry fiend for weeks, sitting in her high chair imperiously, waiting for us to raid the bushes at her command. She adores potatoes and will eat almost as much potato as her dad at supper. She loves cheese and peaches and rice cakes and toast. She will eat almost anything that has been laced with trace amounts of her beloved yogurt. While she loved vegetables only a few weeks ago, she finds them a challenge to chew and won't eat them pureed, so they tend to sit on her plate and then get thrown to the floor, but we expect this is temporary, since she still likes the taste of them.

Anna loves books and especially loves books with pictures of animals and words that include animal noises. She met a number of farm animals for the first time at the provincial exhibition and was astounded by them. She made special friends with an uninhibited goat who tried to eat her father's t-shirt. Anna sorts through her books constantly, picking up her favourites and carting them to her parents' laps, where she asks us to read them three, or four, or eighteen times. And she thinks about books even when she isn't reading them. We can tell, because she practises her animal noises as though she is telling herself a little story. She tries to "moo" and "meow" and "woof" and "baa," but they all come out as a very cute "ma-a" like the bleat of a little kid. (The goat kind of kid, I mean.) Today, she managed a "mew" for Moonlight and was so excited, she fell over.

She also applauds herself when she succeeds at anything, and she waves at anyone passing by.

Music is her other great joy. She's a big hummer and singer, and she walks up and down the length of the piano keyboard, picking out notes -- confidently, I guess you would call it. Certainly not "delicately." She also has figured out how to work the buttons on her CD player and knows that the centre button will turn off the god-forsaken CBC programming her mother is trying to listen to and will turn on, instead, one of her groovy kiddie CDs. She will then dance, bouncing her bum up and down, tapping her feet, and humming. Anna also thinks grandparents were invented just to sing to her to make her dance. And, who knows? Maybe they were.