Monday, June 29, 2009

It's Official

Amelia went from stumbling a few steps a day to up and walking across the room overnight. On Father's Day to be exact. She stood up and across the room she went. Four days later, she was walking more than crawling and by this weekend, she began a rapid stumble-walk. Otherwise known as running.

Is that enough of an excuse for my absence of late? I am suffering from extreme bloggers' block as well as stuck in a grind of a schedule. I assume it will pass shortly.

My days consist of the following routine: up, breakfast, walk, play, nap (for her, not me!), up, lunch, pool, play, nap, up, snack, play, Daddy's home! Just when I think I am going to collapse, Justin comes in the door. And then . . . and THEN I go off to work! Nothing like teaching 3.5 hours each night to do a gal in. Summer school should be easy right? Please tell that to the NINETY students I have!! blah. Back to the schedule: drive to work, grade papers, teach, blab at students after class, drive, eat, bed.

How do you like that? It's like the movie Groundhog Day. And does anyone see in that schedule a place to blog? Please advise. Thank you.

More soon. Hopefully.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Catatonic Defense

Amelia has the most effective defense strategy of all time. When something really creeps her out, she goes totally catatonic. She stares off at nothing and won't respond to any amount of cajoling. She doesn't even blink if it's a really serious situation. It has, at times, come on so suddenly that I thought she was having a seizure or something . . . which would sound funny except that there was that one time last August. . . Seriously though, it's like a super power. There is no getting through to her once she's slipped into the catatonic booth, so to speak. Once the offending situation is resolved, she snaps right out of it and back into her human personality again. So brilliant, really. . . and yet so very weird too.

In any case, when digging around for the pics of this of the mightiest defenses, I realized that there was something in common among them.

I shall post a series per catatonic appearance (outbreak?) so you can see the true affect.

Case file #1

Case File # 2

And Case File #3, the most convincing piece of evidence.

That last one is serious proof of the catatonic defense. I swear to high heaven that those are three different pictures! You can tell that the situation was particularly dire in that she didn't even move her arm. Maybe the Catatonic Defense can upgrade to the Statue Maneuver in case of serious danger. Such as the Easter Bunny.

This kid is seriously strange. . . and lawd do I love it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Tale of Two Girls

(Please ignore Luke's interruption.)

It's a standard cat-and-mouse routine.

Notice how Mollie hands the socks to Amelia. . . and then walks away like she doesn't want to play.

Don't you want to play with me?

Welcome to my world. This scenario plays itself out every day to no end . . . It never gets old.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Good Kid

I've been reluctant to post and waste a perfect song/video combination. Sometimes there is the perfect soundtrack for a moment and when they collide, it's beautiful. I shall leave the song on the blog for a while more in a general thematic approach to Amelia's developmental journey here at 12 months. It works and mama likes it.

And if you have no idea what I am talking about, I apologize. I do that sometimes. Ask my students.

In any case, we are in our second year with Miss A. As we travel through the summer, I am thrown into many a tough memory. Planning for the 4th of July, I catch my breath at the struggle that we found ourselves in on the same day last year. Everything is reminding me of where we were a year ago and making me thankful for where we are today.

After zombie-stumbling our way through that first year, we have to stop and remind ourselves of something very important. . . Amelia is happy, healthy, and a really good kid.
I read once that parents who called their babies 'difficult' were right about this temperament almost 100% of the time at 3 months old, about 50% of the time at 6 months old, and 10% of the time at 1 year. This means that when you have a baby who is not so easy to care for as a newborn, you classify your child as 'difficult' and move on. When that baby gets healthy (and let's face it, newborns don't scream without reason and therefore the 'difficult' label is really about them being sick and in pain and NOT about their personality), the parents are so traumatized by that newborn stage that they continue believing that their baby is difficult. It's easy to understand how this happens, but also important to not fall into that trap.

Within the last few months, we've come out of our zombie-like shuffle, opened the drapes, and rejoined the world. Yes, it took us that long to overcome the trauma of our beginnings with Amelia. In becoming more mobile, social, and independent, I've been faced with a very real fact: Amelia is a great kid. I see toddler after toddler have meltdowns in restaurants, grocery stores, and even their living rooms. I hear wailing and screaming everywhere I go . . . and it's not my daughter. (Disclaimer: I know that I am playing with fire by even mentioning it here!) Amelia is this happy-spirited little girl who laughs and smiles easily and is too busy checking everything out to really find something to complain about. Even when she's exhausted and cranky, she is sweet and loving and smiling.

Even at home, when I find myself easily distracted by work, laundry, cleaning the kitchen, or anything else, I realize that she's grown quiet and is no longer in the next room. I imagine all of the ways in which she could have hurt herself or destroyed something and go running to find her. Invariably, she is sitting quietly by herself playing with something totally innocuous and when I say something to her, she smiles and hand it to me. The other day, I was in the kitchen making lunch and realized I hadn't heard her in a few minutes. I immediately saw an Oprah special in my mind and panicked. I found her in the corner of her room where her books are, flipping through one of them, quietly 'reading' it to herself. She plays quietly by herself for hours, finding enjoyment out of the littlest things. She'll put her toys down periodically and crawl into my lap for a hug before going back to her playtime.

When we are around other babies, Amelia goes to them and hands them her toys. When they snatch away her favorites, she just looks at them and picks up something else. When they cry and scream she crawls over and tries to make it better.

After months of truly believing that our baby was possessed and miserable, it's been quite the realization that she is this sweet, loving, peaceful, happy baby girl. I find myself so thankful that she is mine and have to remind myself that I am a lucky mama. LUCKY! Can you believe that? I used to think that all the other mamas were the lucky ones.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Does this count?!

That wasn't long.

Note that she is flanked by her cheering squad/body guards.

My favorite part is when she stops to celebrate.

Am I the only one who sees this and thinks that she will graduate from high school tomorrow?

That's just me, right?

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Classic Mind-Over-Feet Battle

Amelia can walk. She can. I've seen her take over 5 steps on her own without any trouble. The problem? The child won't do it. She will NOT walk! She is perfectly capable in terms of development and strength (honestly, you should see those thighs!), but her little heart is just not there yet. She wants to. My heavens, she WANTS to walk! But there is something stopping her. That something is fear. Amelia is a little fraidy cat! Always careful and calculated, walking is just too much of a leap for her still. It probably feels scary being so far from the ground (a full 30 inches according to her last appointment!) and only using two limbs. Not to mention that she tends to favor speed over innovation. That is, crawling is so much more efficient for her.
She stands alone in the middle of the room without prompting. She also can lean over and pick something off the ground and stand back up without ever holding on to anything. She can push her little walking toy across the room and walk her way around every piece of furniture in the house. When it comes to just letting go and making a run for it, she . . . doesn't. I can be one foot away from her and she will still drop down to crawl to me.
How do I know it's fear and a mental block above all else? Well, she will walk when she doesn't know she's walking. If we hold something in front of her that she wants, she will walk to it without realizing what she's doing!

I am positive that she will go from this to running as soon as she realizes the revolutionary world that lays before her via biped transportation.
Truth be told, I am perfectly comfortable to have the careful, deliberate baby. Much more desirable than the daredevil, destruct-o kid. And truth be told, I am ready for this baby child to set off on her own feet too. She's heavy and squirmy and her little knees could use the rest.

Any bets on how long before she gets there?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fuh-un

Ooooohhh, Girls just wanna have fun, fun, Girls. . . That's all they really waaaaaaaaant.

oops. Forgive me. It's infectious like that--my girl Cyndi.

Anyway, it all actually has a point which is this:

We *may* have had 80s dress-up day yesterday. The weather was poopey-face and we couldn't go to the pool. What are two girls to do?

We *may* also have stood outside and talked to our neighbors for half an hour without remembering that we were rockin the side pony. Ahem--may have. Amelia had plenty of things to say about the whole shabang too. Naturally. She IS my child after all. Not that I'm wordy or anything. Not that I talk a lot either. That would be silly. I know when to stop. I do. In any case, she has her own language that is pretty hilarious.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, June 1, 2009

Take it from me

Here are the things I learned about throwing a wee one's birthday party.


DO send evites. Moms get themselves so worked up over the *perfect* invitations.
Evites are free, fast, interactive, and better for the environment. Want to send a pic? Save it for the Thank You cards, which absolutely should be in hard copy.

DO put together nice, thoughtful, and age-appropriate goodie bags for the kids. We got notes immediately following the party and they all mentioned the bags. (send a comment for more info)

DO utilize the $1 bins at Michaels, Target, Party City and Joann's for the goodie bags.

DO include trial sized sunscreen tubes in the goodie bags!

DO use reusable cloth bags rather than crappy plastic for the goodies (see Target and Old Navy for bags <$1)

DO remind family members that the party is NOT the time for quality time with the birthday child. Baby wants to play with their friends and not sit obligingly on some one's lap all day.

DO let others brings dishes if they offer. Why not? Nobody needs to be a superhero and do it all themselves.

DO make cupcakes instead of cake. No knives, no clean-up, no hassle.

DO have kiddie pools! You can NOT go wrong with kiddie pools. Remember to set up chairs around them for the parents.

DO have extra diapers, towels, what-have-yous on hand for others. . . just in case.

DO keep the time of the party short and sweet and keep nap times in mind. 12-2:30 worked for us, though I would have gone for 11-1:30 if doing it again.

DO realize that you will be way too busy to 1)take great pics 2) socialize with friends and family or 3) eat ---plan accordingly.

DO prepare your kid! Teach your 1-year-old how to "blow" so they can go at their candle. Too cute!

DO send a wish list out to the evite list as the party gets closer letting guests know what kind of toys are appropriate and what sizes birthday child wears. Most everyone will abide by it and appreciate the guidance. They want to help!

DO keep your guest list small, manageable, and including kids of around the same age.

DO keep it simple. Kids like to play. Period. They don't need a bouncy house, a cheesy theme, a fancy cake, or a ton of people to enjoy themselves.


DON'T buy $1 tablecloths at Michaels

DON'T use the "1" candle! Don't do it! Just find a cute regular candle (Michael's has cute cupcake ones) and use just one. The "1" candle does NOT stick in the cake, with pull it apart and fall over.

DON'T use a theme for kids 2 and under. They won't know the difference and will have a lifetime of annoying licensed character parties as it is. Themes can so quickly get out of hand and lead to much more money spent!

DON'T pay someone to do something you can do yourself. If you keep the food list simple enough, you can save money and stress. This goes for the cake too! Everyone can make cute cupcakes or a simple cake.

DON'T bother with boy vs. girl goodie bags. At this age, they like the same things!

DON'T drag it out. Keep things moving--food, cake, gifts--so your guests don't feel burdened or overtired.

DON'T underestimate the stress of watching your child and the others, getting the food out and ready, saying hello to everyone, and moving the party along. Even the simplest party will be a stressor for the parents.

DON'T forget to stop and get pictures--or assign someone else to do it for you.

DON'T spend an embarrassing amount of money. They're babies for crying out loud.