Sunday, January 13, 2008

32 Weeks

Counting off these early weeks of her life, I can't help but notice that soon we will be at the point where Piper has been out as long as she was in. I think that will be a big milestone for me. I'm not exactly dreading it, but I think it will make me a little wistful. I suppose every parent feels like this at some point or another; I wish we could slow down, or stop for a while, let me catch up and remember each thing better. I wish I could go back and take more pictures/video of her newborn days. One of things I remember most clearly about her when she was first born were her tiny, spidery, old-lady hands, and I do not have a single picture of those precious (albeit slightly creepy) digits. She used to make a certain squawk when she was hungry, and I do not have a recording of it. I wish I'd handled her colicky, screamy nights better (although that one is not entirely on me, as I got much not-quite-wanted "help" due to our living situation). I wish I'd been less stressed-out during her infancy.

That infancy, while technically not over, seems to be drawing fast to a close. She has always been resistant to a lot of the things a "baby" is supposed to do: being held cradle-style, lying like an inert lump, eating baby food. She has always wanted to be up, to be out, to make her own way in the world. She wants to be a big girl, I can see it. It's in the way she takes the spoonful of her favorite meal (chicken & homemade-from-scratch noodles) from my hand - no Mama I can do it myself. I want to do it. It's in the way she wants me to hold her hands and walk her around all day long - I have to get there faster! Right now! It's in the way she refuses almost all of the pureed gak that babies are supposed to dig and reaches instead for what I have - What is this crap you're feeding me?! Yours looks yummy. I want that! So quick to grow up, this little girl.

I have given up on most "baby" food - once in a while I can coax her through some rice cereal (only if it has applesauce and tons of cinnamon) or squash, but for the most part she steadfastly refuses the stuff that comes in jars and is so smooth and bland it hardly tastes like anything. She prefers foods she can do herself, finger foods like these things. I was foursquare against any sort of processed or packaged foods, but my mom brought these home for her one day and they were such a hit I haven't had the heart to outlaw them. She's so happy to be able to pick them up and eat them herself, and they're so airy they melt in her mouth and I don't have to worry (as much) about her choking like she did the time I gave her bits of my pita bread or chomping off a bite too big to chew, the way she did with a graham cracker. Not only that, but her preoccupation with feeding herself means when I need some hands-free time (like, um, right now), I can plunk her in the high chair with 10 or 12 little star-shaped puffs on the tray and she goes to town, happily (and, thank the gods, quietly) chowing down.

It's hard for her to feed herself other foods that she can/will eat - things like sweet potatoes, blueberry muffins, and the all-time favorite chicken & noodles mentioned above. I can mush them up a bit and use the spoon, but a lot of the time it ends up everywhere but in her mouth. She has four teeth, but they're all in the front (like a beaver, heh), and she can chew (erm, gum) things pretty well, but chunks of food big and solid enough for her to pick up are usually too big for her to chew without choking. I've been wanting to try Cheerios as a finger food, but I've been afraid they were solid enough for her to choke on. When we were out with some other moms and babies the other day, she tried some and seemed to like them, so we'll give it a go.

Her favorite activity is to have someone hold her hands and "walk" her around. She does most of the work - hold up her own weight, moves her own legs, picks the direction - she just doesn't have the balance down yet. I think she's gotten taller or stands more upright recently, because as of a week ago I don't have to stoop quite so far. She loves to chase the cats while she's walking, and when ever she sees one she will book in that direction. She doesn't do anything to the cat once she catches up to it, she just sort of stands there like "well, run some more, wouldja?" As soon as another cat walks by, we're off again. It should make for some fun times once she can walk on her own. I plan to let her chase the cats as much as she likes, all day long if she wants to. Hopefully they'll wear each other out and make my life a little calmer by day's end. Dream on, I know.

She can crawl, mostly. It's not the classic hands-and-knees crawling, it's more of an Army-crawl/scootch/inchworm, using her arms to pull and her toes to push herself along. It's amusing to watch and very, very fast. I cannot leave her unattended at all anymore. She can rocket to the edge of the bed, the top of the basement stairs, or the business end of the vacuum cleaner faster than I'd ever have imagined. I have had more mini heart attacks in the past two weeks than in my entire life up to this point. And she just keeps getting faster.

She eats paper. Really eats, like takes big bite out of it and chews them up. I am constantly digging soggy chunks of paper, cardboard, magazine pages, and wrapping paper out of her mouth. Anything even vaguely paper-like that comes near her, she will eat. She even bit chunks out of the plasticky-foil wrapping paper my sister wrapped her Xmas present (a baby signs book & flashcards) in. Earlier this week, I found her yanking books out of the book-case and chewing on them. She sucks on strings and unrolls balls of yarn. She picks at the carpet and puts any debris she finds in her mouth. Actually, she puts everything in her mouth.

All of these things have caused us to mark a very different kind of milestone here at Tragically Ordinary. Several weeks ago, I was puttering in the kitchen when I noticed a suspicious amount of quiet in the living room. I bolted around the corner to discover Piper, with soggy pieces of bank statement hanging from her mouth as she picked at a staple embedded in the carpet next to the basket of yarn she had dumped over and tossed about. I realized that it had happened, much sooner than I thought it would: I now have to worry when it gets quiet. I thought I'd have at least twelve months before this would happen. But no, here we are.

No comments: