Busy baby

It has been a busy few weeks. Two weeks ago, Chris and Maddi and I went to Whistler so Chris could interview for a job. Most of the time was spent sitting in the car or sleeping in the hotel, but it was exhausting nonetheless. I spent the next week resting up, but this past week we went to Oliver twice — once for Chris’ cousin Becca’s birthday, and again two days later for her dance recital.

My spotting had died down a bit after Whistler, but picked up after traveling the 60 or so miles to Oliver twice in one week. In response, I have reached new heights of laziness, laundering only Maddi’s clothing and rewearing mine more times than is appropriate. My thinking is that wearing smelly shirts won’t hurt the baby, but carrying a laundry basket down the stairs (especially since Maddi has decided this is one of her favorite methods of conveyance) just might.

The cat is out of the bag at Maddi’s playgroup. I tried to skirt around the questions about everyone’s efforts at conceiving new babies with vague, general answers. But one of the other moms asked me directly, so I had to spill. Back when I was pregnant with Maddi, I would have worried that this very acknowledgement would instantly cause the embryo to flee my uterus, but I have taken a much more laid-back approach with this baby, at least where superstition is concerned.

However, I am still steering clear of lunchmeat, soft cheeses, sushi, caffeine, and unpasteurized juice, as much as I may want to consume them. I’m also steering clear of cleaning the catbox, although that’s a lot easier to do than avoiding delicious, delicious salmon rolls, which I’ve so been craving lately.

Only one week until my next OB appointment, when I get to find out if I need to keep steering clear of the gym and Chris’ advances as well.

And here they are, the Week 9 photos! (Don’t get so excited; I had a big meal beforehand and we all know how pregnancy can back a girl up.)

Bigger and better

In the three weeks since she turned one, Maddi has grown — right in front of our eyes — from a baby into a little girl. She plays games, performs and has strung together yet more short sentences. She’s found new ways to get into mischief and knows the names of more of her relatives. She knows what is and isn’t allowed (whether she chooses to ignore the rules or not). Sometimes I can’t help but look at this toddler and wonder “What did she do with my baby girl?”

Maddi’s been quite a big girl in many ways for awhile, but never quite enough to distract you from the fact that she was just a wee, roly-poly baby thing. She’s always had a big vocabulary, but more often than not, she’s remained content to whine, cry or point rather than verbalize her desires. Iinstead she chose mostly to speak when she thought no one could hear, when she was excited, or when she was desperate to convey a point. She was steady on her feet, but only stood erect with the assurance of something solid to hold onto. She enjoyed games, songs and books, but was mostly content to watch rather than participate.

Since about her first birthday, Maddi has begun humming along with songs, clapping her hands during pat-a-cake, flinging her legs apart when the “doors on the bus go open and shut,” and insisting on lifting the flaps herself when we read “Where is Baby’s Belly Button?” She’s also moved from playing peek-a-boo with blankets, dust ruffles and tea towels to using her hands in big, dramatic gestures during her favorite game. And last week when I sang “Roly Poly” to her in the car, she moved her hands “up, up, up” and “down, down, down” even though she hadn’t heard the song in a month and hadn’t done the arm motions by herself ever. It almost brings tears to my eyes when I realize what a big girl we have on our hands.

Two of her favorite birthday presents were a little car babies can either ride or push, and a Hasbro Busy Ball Popper. Her walking skills have increased tremendously since she spends hours a day pushing that little car all over the upstairs, and we suspect she will work up the courage to walk unassisted just about any day now. The ball popper, on the other hand, has turned her into an even bigger girl — one with a favorite (and appropriately girlie) color. For some reason, although there are five different-colored balls in the ball popper, our wee angel has taken a particular liking to the purple ball. She rescues it from the popper as soon as she can get her little mitts on it, and then proceeds to gaze at it, slobber on it, and crawl all around the house, adjusting her gait to account for the fact that she has that beloved ball in one hand. And if Daddy doesn’t come running when she calls from the top of the stairs, she drops her prized toy down from between the banister rails as a sort of ultimate sacrifice. When Chris isn’t home to retrieve it, she looks at me with big blue eyes, plaintively asking, “Mama, ball?”

Her purple ball is so beloved that she routinely whispers a happy greeting of “puh-pull ball” as she grabs it each time I plop her down to play. She has also begun saying “ball pa-puh” while she stands transfixed in front of the ball popper. She is quite the little scientist, trying to stuff into the popper everything from her Little People baby (it fit) to her Roll-Arounds (they didn’t quite) to her big, plastic toy cars (they don’t even come close). And it’s not just the ball popper. A few weeks ago, she was standing at the central vacuum outlet (which Chris had to tape over after repeat offenses) trying to pry the circular outlet open, purple ball in one hand, and asked me, “Ball?”

I wasn’t sure that she knew what she was saying when she said “purple ball,” but recently when Maddi grabs her beloved nasal aspirator — which (coincidentally or not?) happens to be a bright shade of grape — she has whispered “puh-pull” to herself. Still not much concept of yellow, green, red or blue, but she’s got purple down!

In addition to her love of the purple ball, balls in general, the color purple, and things into which balls can be dropped, Maddi also loves people. And after a long spell of only knowing the names of three people (Mama, Dada and Nana), she finally knows the names of six people. This past week, she started saying “Poppa” very quietly and “Becca” in a regular voice (but pronounced “Bebba”). And the week before, she began working on “Kaija,” which so far most resembles “Tie.” Not one to forget her oldest friends, in addition to making enticing kissy noises very proficiently, she also now says “Hee, kikky” (“here, kitty”). And in true big-girl form, she has become so gentle recently that Deva now snuggles her head up under Maddi’s chubby little hand for more of that good petting!

While Maddi doesn’t walk on her own — not even a bit — she does run when you let her hold your fingers and when she’s pushing her little car around. She can crouch from standing and then stand up again, toy in hand, without holding onto a thing. She just refuses to walk, that’s all. However, she will stand in the middle of the room and drink milk from her sippy cup, tipping the last drops from her mouth with head craned, so we know she doesn’t have a problem with balance. Our little baby, who as you may recall did quite the elaborate and lengthy dance routines in utero, will even “dance” in place now when asked. She can also play “Ring Around the Rosie” if you slow the pace up just a tad.

She’s also expressing interest in the potty. Since she’s scaled back to 0-1 naps daily, I’ve given up on trying to pee during her naptimes, so I just tell her Mommy’s going peepee in the potty. She races into the bathroom at full speed, giggling maniacally, and stands with her hands on the edge of her bath seat, which sits on the floor in front of the toilet. She is very interested in the whole process and helps me applaud myself afterward, although so far she’s shown no interest in ever using the potty herself and merely looks at me as if I’m crazy when I tell her she will use the potty when she’s 2. But soon … soon!

And finally, in the weeks since Maddi turned one, we have introduced all kinds of yummy things — fruit sorbet, tomato sauce, and whole milk — all with no consequences. The only thing that has broken the baby out is, yet again, rice. Both on her birthday (from the cake) and this past Tuesday (from stealing a cracker in playgroup) poor little Maddi has gotten a rash from this seemingly innocuous grain, which continues to be her one and only food sensitivity.

Coming soon: Pics of our 1-year-old girl enjoying her toddlerhood!

It’s a baby!

This past week, so that I could obey doctor’s orders, Chris kindly babyproofed the entire upstairs. Not only are all the vacuum outlets taped over, but there’s now a baby gate between the dining room and kitchen so Maddi is relegated to the main living area. Basically, it’s like a giant rubber room. For the first time since she started crawling, I’ve been able to lie down and relax without having to leap up every three seconds and conquer some sort of imminent danger or destruction. And with Mommy relaxing, that means the new baby is relaxing, and the only person getting worn out is Maddi (but that’s a good thing!).

I’ve been completely slacking on vacuuming, laundry and even dishes, and Chris has been giving Maddi meals after her morning nap. That means that, although it’s not uninterrupted sleep, I am now getting 8 to 10 hours’ sleep each night, which is as much as the mom of an active toddler can hope for, I think.

And all my hard nonwork was rewarded today when I went in for my ultrasound and was rewarded with a real live baby. That’s right, folks, although I am still bleeding, the technician was able to find that elusive heartbeat and the baby seems to be fine.

I’m still on reduced activity, but it’s much more comforting knowing it isn’t in vain.

Rest for the weary

It’s always nice to be told to take it easy and not strain oneself, but not so much when it’s your doctor who’s doing the telling.

I went into today’s appointment slightly concerned because of a little spotting, but not too worried because I’ve been feeling exhausted and nauseated (good things when you’re pregnant!) and because I had admittedly overdone it, cleaning the house from top to bottom not once but twice over the weekend for Maddi’s first birthday and my turn to host playgroup. I simply promised myself I’d spend a few days slacking on the housework until I felt a bit better.

But I wasn’t prepared for “reduced activity.” Dr. Goncalves easily found a viable fetus, but the heartbeat was impossible to find with his office’s ultrasound equipment. Given the bleeding (which is common, as I knew, but still cause for concern, which I didn’t), he ordered another ultrasound at the hospital for a week from today, when the baby will be bigger and easier to see. He also put me on “pelvic rest,” and told me to reduce my activity and definitely not go to the gym, which broke my heart just a little bit because I started the pregnancy so healthy and was hoping to remain fit right up until delivering this baby. Of course, as dismayed as I am by the pelvic rest and reduced activity, it will be well worth it if it keeps the baby safe and sound.

Next Wednesday can’t come quickly enough, though. As much as I worried about Maddi when I was first pregnant with her, it’s nothing like the worry one experiences when one hears all may not be right with one’s pregnancy.

After the appointment, I came home and exercised every pregnant woman’s prerogative — the right to a good cry.

I’m not sure how I’m going to “take it easy” with a very active one-year-old, but I will certainly do my best.

And here they are, the Week 6 pictures, in which you can see I’m in the best shape of my late 20s (for now)!

Happy birthday, sweet one!

Can it really have been a year ago that I pushed little Maddi, puffy, purple and cone headed, into this world? Sometimes it seems like such a short time since our wee one joined us, and sometimes (such as when she decides she’s had it with napping) it seems forever.

Yes, exactly a year ago I was pushing and screaming and grousing about Maddi’s “stupid melon head” — which of course has rounded out into a very nice shape by now.

In the past year, she’s gained some 14 pounds and nearly 10 inches in height, begun eating a few dozen different foods, has gone from crawling to climbing to cruising to standing, and says 30 words and repeats many others with prompting. This month, she learned to stack blocks, “bounce” the ball, play peek-a-boo with her hands if a towel’s not available, and call the cat by making kissing sounds with her lips. She’s learned the meaning of the word “gentle” and initiates applause if she thinks she’s done something praiseworthy. And she’s working on a bicuspid, to boot!

Tonight, Maddi woke up crying at 11:30, and as I snuggled the little one back to sleep, I realized that exactly a year previous, I was enjoying my long-awaited epidural and, unbeknownst to me, a mere 30 minutes away from the pushing stage. Ninety-five percent of me was anxious to see at long last the baby I’d carried for so long. The other five percent was trepidatious, sensing that inside me kicked a restless little maniac who would doubtless cause many sleepless nights for decades to come. And sure enough, as predicted by her in-utero behavior, Maddi is a restless little maniac who thwarts baby-proofing efforts and nap schedules, and whose destructive powers sometimes tempt me to call FEMA and ask for some relief workers.

However, she’s our maniac, and what a sweet, intelligent and friendly little maniac she is. This week, she began autonomously saying “cheese” (it was only a matter of time!) and “backpack” (in reference to the beloved purple carrier in which she gleefully rides while I do housework) for a nice, round 30 words by age 1. “Backpack,” being a rather difficult word for a baby, was initially pronounced “dackpack” but is now uttered in a more recognizable form. She also says “baseball” and “Kaija” on command (although the former sounds like “ba-ball” and the latter like “tie”). She doesn’t associate those words with anything yet, so we’re not counting them as they are just parroting. It is nice that she’s making an effort, though! One thing she does say is “Bye-bye, baff.” Maddi has bid her bath adieu every night for the past week or so as I carry her from the bathroom. She also says, “Bye-bye, Dada,” “Bye-bye, cat” and “Bye-bye, high-tcha” when prompted. Ever the sport, she tries to repeat, “Bye-bye, baby,” when we leave a mirror, but it comes out sounding like “Bah-bah, bah-bah.” Quite the tongue-twister.

Maddi is working on still more short sentences. Not only has she said things that sound like “Go see Daddy” when clamoring to open her bedroom door and go downstairs, but today she grabbed her favorite book from me as I was reading aloud to her and said what sounded an awful lot like “I gonna wee.”

Maddi still has yet to take her first official steps, but it’s just a matter of time. She walks very proficiently while barely holding onto furniture or a finger. Like Dumbo with his feather, Maddi just needs to know she has something to hold onto to “help” her walk. But very soon, I suspect she’ll figure out she could walk all along.

This month, Maddi began eating turkey stuffing and tomatoes and tomorrow will be reintroduced — again — to rice. I’m sure we introduced some other food but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were. She eats so many things now!

Truly entering her toddler years, Maddi now gets down on the floor after bedtime and nap time and help retrieve her pacifier from wherever she chucked it while in her crib. This began as crazy Mommy talking to herself, asking where Maddi’s suckie could possibly be. Maddi looked at me and then darted under the glider, retrieving her pacifier in two seconds. Now, whether it’s near the bed, under the bed or across the room, Maddi enjoys showing me where her suckie went. She also drops dirty clothes in the hamper upon request, although she often feels instant remorse. Lately, she’s also begun to realize that it’s good manners to play with only ONE towel or washcloth while Mommy is folding laundry, rather than running amok through the just-folded sleepers. I plan to enjoy these helpful years while I can!

On days like today, when she helps with laundry and finding her pacifier and says “Bye-bye” to just about everything in the house, it’s mind boggling to think that just a year ago, I was handed a tiny, kittenish newborn with a puffy purple face and nothing on her agenda but eating, pooping, sleeping and having colic fits. Tomorrow, we’ll have nearly a dozen babies running around the house, eating allergen-free cake, frolicking in the play yard and opening loot bags filled with stuffed puppies and Mum-Mum crackers — a scenario I could never have imagined orchestrating a year ago when my only thoughts revolved around how cute this new baby was and when I could get a shower and pee. (OK, my thoughts still revolve around all three of those things, but I’m now cleared to go to the gym and do the latter two!)

Anyway, happy birthday, Maddi! It’s been the most wonderful year ever.

Coming soon: Pictures of the birthday girl during what will be either the best or most awful birthday party ever, depending on how her friends from playgroup hold up!