What you missed: walking

During my blogging hiatus, Suzianne learned to walk. I’m delighted to report I lucked into capturing her actual first steps on video:

Suzianne was a late walker; also a late crawler. Folks always told me savor this, because once they start walking they turn into wild horned beasts or something. But I actually like this whole walking thing.

I love that when I’m holding her and she wants down, I no longer have to bend so far over to sit her on the floor. I can stop when her feet touch the ground. My back is more than grateful.

And when she’s trying to tell me something and she doesn’t have the words, she can just walk over to it and show me like so:

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Momma, I would like to put my fingers in this electrical outlet. Cool?

Also, photos of her walking are adorable:

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Bonus: once she started walking, she decided shoes were not products of the devil.

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This started in late April. These days, she’s running, turning in circles, attempting to jump, climbing things, etc. I’ll keep you posted on how long the new-to-walking phase enjoyment lasts…

By “no” she means, “the only other word I know is daddy.”

When I was preggers, I loved this Capital One “no” baby commercial because:

A) I was certain I was having a red-headed girl; and,

B) I was amazed that one could train a small child to say “no” on command.

Now that I have a toddler of my own, it is clear to me that the “no” baby is not acting. This “no-while-smiling” business is just how babies roll. For most of her 15th month, “no” was the only word Suzianne could say with conviction.

When 15 month old babies say “no,” they actually mean: “you’ve asked me something and I know I’m supposed to respond to it, but the only word I know besides ‘daddy’ is ‘no.’ So, no.”

Once your baby hits the “no” phase, your conversations will go like this:

Momma: “did you poop?”

Suzianne: “no.”

Momma: “then why are flies following you around the house?”

Suzianne walking backwards & giggling: “no.”

This is super cute and really funny, but not very practical.

Now that she’s at the 16.5 month mark, she’s developed a suite of “no” tones.

  • The “Serious & Furrowed Brow No,” for when you’re trying to get her to eat something other than watermelon.
  • The “Playful No,” which is used when she initiates a conversation with you or wants you to read to her, but doesn’t have the words to express herself.
  • The “Boneless No,” on reserve for swing set removals and when momma attempts to change her diaper on the changing table.
  • The “Yes No,” the most popular version of the word that she uses to answer just about any question you ask her. For example:

Granny Sue Sue: “do you want a million dollars?”

Suzianne: “no”

or

Momma: “did you like that ice-cream?”

Suzianne: “no”

Momma: “I see”

no ice cream

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This week, her lips are starting to move as she watches you talk, so I know she’ll be repeating our words any day now. I’m a little sad, because this only-knowing-a-handful-of-words phase is really cute. But I’m excited to get to the point where she can actually talk back to us. I’m positive I’ll look back in a few months and find that last sentence ridiculous. 

ONE YEAR!

I'm kind of a big deal.

I’m kind of a big deal.

On March 5, 2012, I was in labor in our living room, craving pineapple and fretting over who would let the dog outside if we indeed went to the hospital. A mere eight hours later, Suzianne came flying out into the world. Life–and my understanding of the importance of great stitch-work–would never be the same.

As you know, the first seven months were rough. Not for Suzianne, thankfully, just for me. I simply could not shake the feeling that everything I was doing was wrong. That taking care of an infant was a challenge I simply was not cut out for. Facebook posts from others served as a constant reminder that being a new mom was so fun (snuggle time!) and easy (playdates! weddings! road trips!) for everyone else but me.

From the worry that I would never figure out the logistics of leaving the house, to the fear of a public meltdown I could not stop, to challenges with breastfeeding and my tiny body giving out at inopportune moments. I still get breathless when I think about it.

One thing I did rock out though: cross country air travel. Like a boss.

I now realize that it is laughable, how seriously I took the whole thing. So what if your baby’s prolonged nap, or lack thereof, makes you late to your doctors appointment? So what if she melts down at a restaurant–then on the street and on the train? So what if your kitchen is a mess? Oh, Lord, last summer, every time folks tried to tell me “calm down” or “that is just what babies do,” I would just cry.

Just one year later, those anxieties feel a world away. I am myself again–mentally and physically. Though both of those transitions took so much longer than I’d imagined.

For Suzianne, one year on earth has brought her from blob-of-amazing-cheeks to a toddling, tiny human.

Once they hit six months, the cognitive, social and emotional developments come on fast and strong. This month, Suzianne began pointing at objects, holding up books for us to read, and responding to requests (where is your baby doll? do you want milk? where is Georgia?). In fact, her first words, “baby” and possibly “Georgia,” were just this week.

We celebrated her one year like anyone would in the presence of Granny Sue Sue: with a fabulous dinner at The Palm, complete with flower arrangements, party favors and a sash.

Pre-party with daddy.

Pre-party with daddy.

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The Cake!

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But the thing I thought was the most brilliant was the floor covering:

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Granny Sue Sue can throw a party. Anyone of my friends from Elementary and High School can vouch for that! It’s been so fun having Suzianne and her Granny only one mile apart. What a blessing.

Our girl is growing fast. She’ll be walking before we know it. And talking. Lord help us!

Suzianne, we are so grateful for you. We thank God daily that you are healthy, happy and curious. I also thank God my hormones finally leveled out so that you can I can actually enjoy each other. You are perfect in every way, my love. It is an honor to be your momma.

Happy First Birthday, Suzianne! We love you!

Happy First Birthday, Suzianne! We love you!

 

10 months!

This month, Suzianne shed her infant-ness and became a little person.

I don't even bother with the couch, blanket and bunny anymore. She's too fast!

She was quite busy during her 10th month on Earth, breaking in three new teeth and discovering many new things about herself. This month, Suzianne:

Found her voice (it’s loud) and began communicating her preferences–via high-pitch squeals–for fun things like daddy, Melissa-the-awesome-nanny, chasing Georgia, Bluegrass music, bath time, Vegas showgirls and guacamole:

Nakey, Nakey.

 

Yum!

 

Vegas, baby.

 

Oh, and she’s got some dislikes, too, such as getting dressed, teething, having her fingernails trimmed, and new toys that make too much noise:

Make it stop!

She also hates Santa:

Not a fan.

This month, she’s started to realize her physical abilities like crawling! and standing with assistance!, as well as limitations, like standing on her own.

Ooo! We even had our first projectile vomiting episode! Lucky for us, it was following a very scary choking episode (She turned purple, ya’ll. It was horrible. But she’s clearly got a rockstar esophagus that knows how to take care of business.) at a nice restaurant in San Diego in front of lots of strangers; lucky for you, I did not get a photo of it. BUT I do have this five minutes later picture, where Suzianne is the happiest baby on the block and could not care less that our table, her stroller and her daddy’s jacket now smell like throw up:

Post-vomit playtime.

The best part about month 10 is Suzianne’s self-established sleeping routine. She now puts herself to sleep for her 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. naps. Even better: she puts herself to sleep each night at 7 p.m. and sleeps (most nights) until 6 a.m. It’s LOVELY and worth every one of those heartbreaking four or five nights of “crying it out.”

She sleeps!

Suzianne continues to be a very chill child who is always happy, unless she’s tired, teething or hungry. Or hungry, but refusing to eat. Or has had the iPhone she was about to eat taken away from her. Or thinks you are trying trick her into taking a nap. She’s also very smart and observant like her father. And a very chatty, loud-talking, crazy person, like me.

Now that my hormones have leveled out, I can honestly say being Suzianne’s momma is a privilege and joy–and I’m thankful for every single moment.

Watch her grow! Take a scroll through the Month-by-Month archives.

She’s mobile!

Ya’ll. The tiny human I made now is mobile! As of December 27, 2012, she can look at something, decide she wants it, then, go get it! I’m thrilled/terrified.

It went like this:

Dave: “I bet she’ll crawl if I put the book down over here.”

Me: {eye roll}.

Suzianne: {Laser-focused six foot crawl like she’s been crawling her whole life.}

Georgia: “Things just got real.”

Check it:

This moment was shocking for two reasons: 1) she’s never crawled more than six inches before (on Dec 23), and 2) she was crawling in order to get to the The World’s Most Annoying Toy that you all must go buy right now, because it makes your child–and your skin–crawl, obviously.

Here’s a close up of your soon to be most-loathed possession:

Crawl-maker.

 

I know I’m prone to exaggeration, but you just wait until you’ve heard “Listen to the sheep sing! Beh, Beh, Beh, Beh, Behhhhh, Behhhhhhhhhh” 28,000 times. It’s awful. Clearly, Mary had a little genetically modified lamb. Suzianne can’t get enough.

For those of you playing developmental bingo, this means Suzianne crawled for the first time at 9.5 months. That’s a good month or so after “most” babies crawl. So, sister, don’t get all freaked out if your baby is a little behind; they all learn to get around eventually!

Sorry about that, Jesus.

December 2011 (beginning of the third trimester), in the matching PJ’s my momma got us.

Team Newman, preggers

December 2012, Suzianne in the matching PJ’s she was too prenatal for last year:

Team Newman offspringSuzianne had a marvelous first Christmas; well, besides the teething meltdown that started as we were bowing our heads to pray at the dinner table. Sorry, Lord.

She’s got four coming in on top at once. Yikes.

Team Newman–sensing the only thing that would calm this child was 1.25 ml of infant Motrin and an 11 hour nap–left for home before folks had even finished their green bean casserole. Poor Dave didn’t even get to take one bite of the turkey he spent all day cooking until after Suzianne went to bed later that night. (sigh)

I confess I felt and continue to feel super-guilty about breaking up the family dinner, but no one other than me (I?) seems upset about it. So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.

Anyway! I hope your Christmas was as fun and festive as ours, and that you didn’t have to leave the dinner table while you were talking to Jesus.

Happy Holidays!

Refusin’ Suzan

This week, Suzianne has discovered her ability to refuse things, and she’s workin’ it like a boss. Who can blame her when I’m torturing her with evil devices such as a hair brush and pants?

I bet your parents never made you wear pants.

You know that sweet, cuddly, patient version of my spouse? You just try to outfit her with footie pajamas and see what happens. Then, there’s the awesome train wreck of me trimming her infant claws.

I’m baffled by how someone who hasn’t yet been on the Earth a whole year can be so strong and persistent.

Any day now, she’ll have discovered and perfected her ability to throw me the “Oh, Mother, please” eye roll.

This morning, as she was attempting to gum her way to freedom while I was tackling her Heat Miser hair, I looked her in the eye and gave a stern “STOP IT.” Her look back was all, “Nice one momma. Are you finished? I was kind of in the middle of a protest.”

She’s nine months old, ya’ll.

Lord help us.

Nine months!

 

Suzianne’s ninth month brought with it several firsts that gave Dave and me pause:

1. The little girl giggle. Dave was playing with her the other day and this little girl laugh came out. Not a baby one, a little girl one. It was crazy.

2. The peek around. She very aware of her surroundings these days. She’s learning that something interesting is always happening and she’s gonna peep it out, no matter what you’re trying to get her to focus on:

3. The red-headed temper. Ours is an extremely happy baby, who rarely cries. But lately, she’s not a fan of us taking things from her that she’s deemed fit to gnaw on. Apparently, iPhones are TASTY, and mommas who take them from you are EVIL.

4. Mobility. She’s not yet crawling forward, but this week she has become a speed demon backwards and sideways. It’s fun to watch, because she’s like a whole new baby when she’s backing up all over the place. So cool to watch her set her sights on something and then work to reach it.

5. Standing. It’s also odd to see her standing up. Not on her own, of course; but to see her lean-standing is still crazy.

It occurs to me that, in my mind, she’s still a little baby. In reality, she’s well on her way to becoming a little girl.

Watch her grow! Take a scroll through the Month-by-Month archives.

Six Months!

OMG, another month has passed since I blogged. Geez o Pete! Well, anyway: Greetings from San Diego! Suzianne spent much of her sixth month hotel hopping and watching mommy lose her mind due to clutter, lost items and the debate about how much baby Orajel is too much baby Orajel.

We looked like this for a week while Dave was driving across the country with his tea cup poodle:

But whatever. She’s a happy, healthy camper and that’s all that matters:

I’m pretty sure that picture is blurry, but it’s cute, so I’m going with it. Although, this one is a more accurate representation of what we see everyday:

This month, we watched in awe as Suzianne became more and more human-like. She now sits up without support:

She tries to hold the bottle on her own:

Note the bags under her eyes…this was taken at 5:40 a.m. today. If you’d sleep a little later, Suzianne, maybe you wouldn’t have those bags…and neither would mommy. Just a thought.

She turns pages in a book:

And then eats them:

She also attempts to pull the poodle’s ears, which I don’t have a picture of because I immediately pounce upon her to prevent Georgia’s ears from detatching from her head.

Oh! And she laughs when we laugh. She is amused by our amusement, as Dave says. Also, she smiles on command and seems to know that an iPhone in front of her face means “smile.”

All in all, Suzianne is thrilled with this move and so are we. We’ve found a fabulous nanny-share family, a great dog groomer, and I can’t even tell you how awesome it is to live one mile from my momma again! Granny Sue Sue and Suzianne are quite the pair and I’m so happy they now are neighbors.

I really do promise to start blogging more frequently. In the meantime…watch her grow! Take a scroll through the Month-by-Month archives.

 

Week 17: back to work…back to me!

I went back to work this week.  As my co-workers will attest, I have not once broken down in tears. I appear sincerely happy to be back.

I am happy to be back. Here’s why:

1. My first day back at work was not my first day away from Suzianne: at first, our time apart was confusing and sad. BUT! Since Suzianne started part-time nanny-share three weeks before I went to work, I did my crying in a Northern Virginia bar with a stranger named “Al.” Therefore, when I returned to the office, it felt like any other day. I highly recommend this strategy.

2. I need an office job. We’ve talked before about my need for structure. I’m a much happier person when I have a routine, a to-do list and social time. There are many smart parents who are able to establish these things within the home; they and their babies thrive in this situation. I’ve tried it. It’s really hard. I don’t do it well. They say that when you have a baby you experience the “ah-ha” moment of “I want to be at home with this baby everyday” or “Good Lord, I miss having lunch with adults, get me outta here.” Staying at home with an infant is most certainly work. I quickly discovered I prefer working outside the home.

3. Absence makes the heart grow fonder: now that I don’t hang with Suzianne 24 hours a day, I’m much more appreciative of the time I spend with her. She’s been quite the sleeper lately, going to bed around 7 each night. This means Dave and I get one hour with her at home in the evenings. ONE HOUR. And it’s awesome. We also treasure the weekends, and, in the category of “Things I thought I’d never say,” we now enjoy our very early mornings with her. That’s right, I now LIKE getting up at 6 a.m. to hang out with someone who is only going to poop, giggle and spit up on me. It’s crazy what having a child will do to you.

Of course, the other thing that made going back so easy was the enthusiasm and support of my fabulous co-workers. Thanks for your love and friendship, folks. And I’m really sorry I nearly killed the welcome back flowers you brought me, Kristen. At least I have this great picture of them, before the drooping set in:

It seems I can keep my child alive, just not a potted plant. (sigh)