Today I had to start a new photo folder called "Month Twelve." How is it possible that we're already just a month away from Clara's first birthday? Our little baby girl is quickly become a small toddler. Here is some of what she's been up to this month:
She's not yet walking, but will take one or two little steps on her own before realizing it and collapsing to her bottom. We've been working on building her core strength and tummy muscles with "baby planks" as that is the last area the PT has any concern about before we get dismissed from their care. She's a speedy crawler these days and we've even caught her climbing the stairs successfully (time to install more baby gates). She loves to dance and be on her feet and cruises all around our living room and kitchen. She does lots of little baby "squats" and will get from a standing to a stooped position or to her knees. She loves walking behind a toy or if you hold on to her fingers for her.
Her eating continues to improve as well!! We have off days, as I'm sure all little people do, but for the most part she is eating regular old table food now. She still doesn't love the spoon, but will humor us with a few bites at each meal, usually. We give her tastes of just about whatever we're eating, but her standby favorites are: eggs (yes, I know you're not supposed to until after a year, but she's fine.), cottage cheese, avocado, deli turkey, beans, shredded cheese, tortillas, bananas, pears, cheerios, sweet potatoes, goldfish crackers, grits, and mac and cheese. (I'm sure I'm forgetting some, but there are the highlights.) Oh, her very favorite thing to eat of late: DOG FOOD. Gross, Clara. We've been working really hard this month on getting Clara to drink more from a cup. She loves to drink out of a straw, but usually only drinks 3-4 ounces all day that way. We need to increase that so that we can stop giving her bottles while she sleeps. I'm ready to be done with that nonsense.
Clara is really into mimicking now. She'll copy us when we blow raspberries or make a funny sound by running our fingers across our lips or return a friendly tongue stick out. She has learned the baby sign for "all done" and we're working on some others. She babbles and makes lots of different sounds, but the only "word" that seems discernible is "dada." Here's the conversation Clara and I have constantly:
Me: Clara, can you say "Mama"?
Me: Dada is at work. Can you say Mama?
Me: Mama Mama Mama Mama
Clara: (looking at the door): Dada? Dada? Dada?
She loves playing peek a boo and will often hide behind curtains or furniture and pop out with a big grin on her face. She laughs a lot, especially at daddy and has become very ticklish lately. She loves playing in the bathtub and splashing around and loves her puppy Rufus. She loves being outside (we've enjoyed some glorious February weather!) and her face lights up for people - strangers and loved ones alike. She loves eating out at restaurants and having the opportunity to flirt with folks, especially elderly people. It's clear she's a social bug and will enjoy some freedom when cold and flu season is over. She still loves reading and turning the pages by herself and it makes my heart soar to look over and see that she has chosen to crawl over to the book basket, choose a book and "read" it all on her own. She loves to play with her baby doll and give it a bottle (ironic, since she still won't take one awake herself!) and push the stroller. She also loves to walk behind her "mail cart" that Aunt Liz and Uncle Hugh gave her for Christmas. She loves to ride up high on Daddy's shoulders and loves to snuggle her lovies with Mama in the rocking chair. She will play with her toys, but is mostly interested in opening and closing doors, playing with the handles and knobs on drawers and dressers and pulling pots and pans out of the cabinets. Oh, and trying to get Rufus to come get his toys from her. Precious.
We've dropped down to two naps which has actually been a great relief to our daily schedule. She sleeps twelve hours at night now and usually about an hour and a half for each nap. We're still feeding a lot, but I expect we'll find at her next weigh in (next week) that she's gaining very well.
No more teeth yet, but she always has her hands in her mouth (or whatever she can find on the floor to stick in there) and is drooling buckets. I'm sure she's working on some more and it's just a matter of time before they will pop through. In the meantime though, those two bottom teeth are about as cute as it gets.
She's the light of our lives and the source of unspeakable joy. Even on days when I am beyond exhausted, when the laundry is overwhelming and the house is a wreck (well, that's most days), I am thankful beyond measure for her life and the privilege it is to be her mother. We're making plans for a big first birthday bash to celebrate God's mercies and goodness. Details coming soon.....