Sunday, September 30, 2007

Birthday Daze

Anna has now celebrated her first birthday. For, oh, about three days now. I took the actual birthday-day, Friday, off work in hopes we could have some family adventures, but, alas, it was very rainy, and we barely got a walk in without a drenchin'. But we got a head-start on baking and preparing for the birthday party, and we went to the grocery store. Always fascinating.

Here is a snapshot of Anna at one: She has shifted to one nap a day, but has not yet quite adjusted to getting less sleep in the daytime and so can sometimes get a little wild. (We're in favour of lengthening the one nap, a strategy she hasn't hit upon for herself yet.)

At one, she loves accessories and checks the bangles, earrings, necklaces, shoes, and handbags of everyone who comes in the door. At the end of the day, when her mom gets home from work, it is often hard to tell if Anna is happier to see her mom or her mom's brooch, watch, and (occasional) necklace.

At one, Anna has lots of hugs and kisses for her family, immediate and extended, and she loves spending time with all her grandparents. She has special rituals with each of them and has broken at least one of each of their possessions.

At one, Anna loves to cuddle up with a book and someone to read it to her. She knows what will happen on the next page of her favourite books and makes particular sounds and gestures that anticipate the next page and show how well she remembers the story. She loves to look at paintings, pointing out one colour at a time and wanting it named; pointing out cats or birds or objects she knows in the pictures. (She also likes to explore paint textures with her fingernails, but don't tell her father.)

At one, Anna spends most of the rest of her time following the cat from room to room (and the cat spends her time walking from room to room trying to be followed). Peekaboo has expanded into hide and seek as Anna has become mobile and can sidle down the side of the couch. She is so mobile on her feet, she barely scoots on her bum at all.

At one, her word comprehension is still much better than her ability to speak, and "ga" (which also specifically means "cat" or "dog" when spoken with specific inflections) is her general word for almost all concrete nouns. "Mmm" is her sound for all animal noises.

At one, she carries around shoes and reorganizes her socks. She is a connoiseur of blackberries, raspberries, and varieties of cheese. She holds phones (and remote controls) to her ear and wanders the house babbling into them, but if the phone rings and gets held to her ear with a familiar voice on the other end, she just smiles and laughs. She is still very solemn when she is observing new places and people and very giggly with the people she knows and loves.

She's a lot of fun, though it takes some effort to say so after the ordeal of getting her settled this evening after a weekend of over-stimulation. Her party on Saturday saw all her local family members and some special guests from BC (including a nine-month-old second cousin) gather for lunch and time to admire her in a pretty dress and fancy (clunky) shoes. After the party ended, she woke from her nap and went to the livingroom and cried to see that everyone had gone home.

And today, a long autumn walk along the bay where her forebears lived, and another visit at Grandma Marjorie's, the Sunday afternoon visit that has come to be called "The Viewing." Anna will find the week at home with her dad quite a come-down after all the feteing.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to Work

Today, Anna Sophia's mom went back to work. We experimented with me going to work last week, when I attended a workshop for a couple of days and also spent some time in the office surveying the clutter I had left behind me when I went on leave a year ago.

I came home from a half-day reintroduction to the work world to a happy baby, well-fed, and a not-yet-too-tired-to-make-sentences parent. She had only fallen on her head once, with only a mild abrasion to the cheek and a minor bump on the head. She had enjoyed her lunch so much, I could tell what she ate by looking at her shirt and pants.

Since her first steps, Anna retreated into more tentative wall- and furniture-surfing, insisting on having her hand held for longer trajectories and higher speeds than she could manage solo. But the last few days, walls and furniture have been left behind. Today, she walked from the kitchen to the living room and back numerous times, including one particularly exciting naked romp (during which she was atypically staggery, having lost the ballast of three pounds of pee in her diaper to help her maintain her centre of gravity).

She is also very chatty. We haven't the foggiest what she's saying, but she asserts herself in every conversation, usually with some vigorous nods of the head.

A favourite game of Anna's is the tickle game. She sneaks up behind someone who is crouched down or bending over and tickles them, making a special high-pitched tickling noise so they know they are being tickled.

When she's not walking or talking or tickling these days, she's kissing. She now puckers up her whole face to come in for a big smooch. She still doesn't like to get prickled by her dad's beard and so spends extra time taking careful aim and lining up lips when she's giving him a kiss. (So do I!)

Many kisses -- air kisses mostly -- are directed at the cat. Moon loves being chased as much as Anna loves chasing her, tho' we'll see how Moon responds when Anna is actually able to do some catching. Most mornings, Moon tears around the house, comes to a rest somewhere semi-accessible within Anna's line of vision, and waits to be noticed and followed -- then she tears away as soon as the baby is near. Both Moon and Anna especially enjoy the sofa. Moon goes back and forth behind it and Anna goes back in forth in front of it, and rarely the twain do meet until one or the other is too tired to resist any longer.

Today, she also figured out how to make a sound on the tin whistle, though the piano and the pots-and-pans orchestra remain her instruments of choice. She's been trying for days to get the damn thing to whistle for her. We've shown her how to exhale into it, but she would just grab it and hum a slobbery tune into it and hope for the best. Accidental exhalations, followed by flutey noises, followed by praise and applause from her audience let her know she was on the right track today. So she started alternating humming into it with making it whistle. The slobber remains the consistent element.

She's teething, and we have absolutely no idea what we're doing when it comes to putting her to bed or keeping her in bed at night, but the fact is that she is way, way ahead of us and when we're groggy, we lose even more ground to her nefarious strategies. Here's her logic: If I cry until I throw up, Mom and Dad will have to lift me out of my crib and change all the sheets and by that time I'll have done all the playing I want. Or: If I cry hard enough, Mom and Dad will worry that I'm going to throw up and will lift me out of my crib to avoid the extra laundry. Either way, she gets lifted out of her crib, which was her goal all along.

We suspect that if we come up with a counter-strategy, Anna will prove to already have a new tactic in reserve. When I asked my mother -- ever ready to provide advice when asked -- for ideas, she made several helpful suggestions, but when I said, "But don't you think she'll just try something new to get us to lift her up?" even mom faltered. "Yeah, you're right," she said, "you were like that when you were a baby." Any behaviours Anna exhibits that I exhibited first are cause for Stephen to label our darling chickadee "grandma's revenge."