Here come the bullets.
- AJ is eating 3 solid meals a day plus snacks, all food groups represented. She eats what we eat for the most part, but we will sometimes make her some "moosh" if we need to balance her diet or she might not like what we are eating. She also has breast milk about 3 times a day: 6am when she gets up (usually a little later on weekends), about 5:00pm when I get home (occasionally this feed is skipped) and before bed. I still enjoy breastfeeding, and so does AJ, and I feel guilty if something happens that prevents me from breastfeeding (e.g. one of my disgusting illnesses the past month). But I'm also slowly realizing that AJ survives just fine without the breast, and this ritual of infancy is in its last weeks. It was hard, almost impossible to imagine her going without when she fed from the breast every two or three hours, and even when we had reduced to five times a day. And yet, here we are. As long as we are both happy with the current arrangement though, it will continue.
- Given a choice of finger foods: AJ sorts them by preference. For example one day I gave her mixed vegetables and chicken. She put the corn and chicken off to one side of her tray table and then methodically ate all the peas. I offered her some green beans and she ate those. When all the green food was gone she ate some corn and chicken. Mr. Turtle is a sorter too and says she learned it from him.
- Most recent favourite foods: Grapes and oranges. Still likes the "classics": lentils, sweet potato, prunes, peas. Watermelon is out of season now.
Verbal and social behaviour:
- We hear words every now and then that seem to refer to specific things: e.g. "Apple" when she sees an apple. "Orange" when she sees the colour orange in one of her books. In those cases I heard the words repeated many times in the same context so I felt she was trying to say the word. But she hasn't said those words on other occasions. "Kitty Cat" is still the word we hear most consistently applied.
- At times AJ says things that sound disturbingly like sentences. One morning we were offering her scrambled eggs when she wanted muffin. Both of use heard her clearly say "I don't want those" -- with vocal fry. Our instantaneous, affronted, and probably incorrect response was "YES you DO want that!" (In the end she got the muffin - of course she did.)
- AJ is very interested in people and what they are doing, and especially in other children. Any time she hears another baby or child she immediately looks for them. Maybe because of this, she had a very smooth transition to full time daycare. She also enjoys being in restaurants and we can have a rather hard time getting her to focus on her food because she is busy looking at all the people.
- Laughing a lot more. She used to only laugh at home, but now she laughs in other places too, around other people such as her grandparents.
- Waving to more people, not just Dad and her reflection
- For the first part of the month, AJ would crawl backwards and hate it, because she wanted to go forward and couldn't figure it out.
- By her 11 month birthday: Finally crawling forwards! Not very quickly or efficiently, but definitely crawling. She started off with one knee tucked under her, in pigeon pose, and dragged herself forward. She is quickly learning how to get two knees under her though. Parenthood just go that much less lazy.
- AJ still needs a good motivation to crawl. She doesn't expend energy just to expend energy (so we can still be a little bit lazy). At the moment, books seem to have the biggest appeal. I have three wicker baskets of different sizes with lids. I put her books in them sorted from biggest to smallest. She loves to crawl over to the boxes, take the lid off and pull out the books.
- A couple of times AJ was able to get up to a sitting position from being on her belly, but I don't think she knows how she did it.
- Pulling up to her knees (again with one foot tucked into the other knee)
- Loves to walk with support: her favourite is to walk to one parent while the other holds her.
|This crawling photo is just impossibly cute to me.|
- AJ is very delicate with her fingers. She manipulates objects carefully and thoughtfully. She certainly does bang things too, but when she has something new or interesting in her hands she is extremely gentle and thoughtful. When she is in this analytical mood she doesn't look like a baby somehow. She looks like a scientist or an engineer analyzing a problem, or an artist doing especially delicate work on a painting. If we interrupt her she will give us a dirty look like we are foolish oafs wasting her time.
- If I give her food slices, she pokes holes in them and wears them like a ring (assuming she's not overly hungry). She also likes to put food in her hair and all over her face so maybe she is practicing self-ornamentation.
- AJ has started putting toys back. Most recently she was able to return one animal piece to its correct place on the puzzle board.
- AJ has intense focus. For example, we took her to the play area of the mall once. There were a variety of play stations around and kids tearing about, including some babies. I stood AJ by a small table that had a bead play set on it: the kind where you slide the beads along a wire. She was engrossed by this. Most of the other kids would head to one play centre, stay about 30 seconds, and move on to another one. AJ on the other hand stood and played with the beads for about twenty minutes, perfectly happy. However, this does not mean she wasn't interested in what else was going on: she also liked being able to see all the room and the other people. At one point I took her to a play station that was up against the wall. AJ did not like that at all, and kept looking over her shoulder and fussing.
- Loves toys that make noises. One off her Grandmas gave her wooden toy rattles and that was all she wanted for a few days (unfortunately one of them broke).
- Loves books. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that it is probably the daycare staff more than myself that encouraged this. I hardly ever read to AJ when she was at home, maybe because it seemed kind of boring compared to all the other fun and cute things she could be doing. But AJ does enjoy having a book in her hands, although the appeal is probably more in the physical manipulation of it rather than the "story" (most of her books aren't really stories, anyway). She especially likes the books that have different textures to touch and the Sophie the Giraffe books with "peekaboo" windows.
- AJ can play for long periods of time by herself, although she likes attention. She talks to her stuffed animals, gives them kisses, bangs her rattles, and looks inside her nesting blocks and her toy bags (and of course boxes of books). Lately she likes to try to get into our stuff, especially the stuff we tried to hide from her. She is happiest when we are all hanging out together, relaxed.
The S-Word (sleep)
- Since the middle of the month AJ has most often been sleeping through the night (fingers crossed). She had some disrupted nights when she was sick and/or I was sick, but most of the time she goes to bed between eight and nine and sleeps until 6am or slightly later if we don't wake her. Sometimes she wakes up and cries a bit but she usually falls back asleep. We did nothing in particular to achieve this other than be patient. Daycare might have helped because she didn't have mom or dad feeding/rocking her to sleep for naps. So, if you don't want to sleep train or it doesn't work for you, it is possible for baby to learn to sleep through the night without it. But don't expect it to happen at 3 months or six months or whatever deadline.
Me, 11 months post-partum
It sounds a bit weird to say "11 months post-partum" but I don't know how else to say it. Mainly I feel like myself. Unfortunately that means some of the negative sides of my personality are coming back, too. Like my anxiety and moodiness. Maybe it's hormonal and maybe it's just an inevitable part of life getting more complicated.
After starting work, my weight has returned to pre-pregnancy levels, albeit at the upper end. This was a combination of being on my feet a lot, higher anxiety and therefore eating less, and getting sick. I don't at all recommend anxiety fasting or getting sick as a weight loss method, but it is certainly efficient, at least in my case. Most of my trousers still don't fit comfortably, but a few pairs do. My boobs have also shrunk. I still wear my G-cup nursing bras, but they are looser.
My menstrual cycles have almost all been short since my period returned: around 21-24 days. This sucks but I hold out hope that I can still have a normal cycle occasionally.
I have frequent episodes of "who am I and what have I become." I don't think about it in any kind of logical fashion (which might be a problem). I have many demands on my time and energy and usually I'm preoccupied with just getting things done. But odd things bring home the changes in my life. Most lately, I was out at a debate club event with students from our school and other teachers. For whatever reason most of the other teachers there were young and in their early years of teaching. I've known for a while I'm not a young teacher anymore, but I've never thought too much about it either. I don't want to hand in my "beginner pass" because I still feel like I have a lot to learn. But watching and listening to twenty-five year old, (probably) single, and definitely childless people talk about their lives, priorities and plans made me realize how different my life and feelings and thoughts are now. I had to clasp my hands tightly together so I didn't pat them on the head and say "You are so, so cute." At the same time I feel insecure because have I really done and learned anything important in all these years? I know I have, but I question it. Could I be a useful mentor to younger people or are they all wishing I was just out of the way? I think this is called getting old(er). It's probably good in the big picture of things that I'm at a new school, because I think it's good for me to be challenged in this way instead of staying in my comfort zone. But I don't necessarily enjoy it.
The big picture of things? Life is interesting, life is fun. Even if it can be terrifying, unpredictable, confusing, unfair and (sometimes) too short. Among a million other things. I never forget how extraordinarily lucky I am to be where I am. I don't mean just the event of AJ's birth, but all the things that got me here. I just hope I can make the most of it all.