Wednesday, February 13, 2008

13 months

I was going to post this on the eleventh, but then fate intervened. And by fate I mean a gigantic tantrum that lasted seemingly forever,* and left me shell-shocked and exhausted. Adriana didn't want me to sit at the computer and type. She didn't want me to play with her toys with her. She didn't want to be held or snuggled or nursed. She didn't want me to put her down. She didn't want to play peek-a-boo. She didn't want her sippy cup, but she also didn't want me to take it away. She also didn't seem to really want to arch her back, hurl herself to the floor, and scream, but she did plenty of it anyhow. It was a warm day and the windows were open and I started to wonder what the neighbors were thinking, as the baby was screaming and sobbing as if in pain. After about an hour of her screaming and my attempts to comfort her, I asked her if she wanted to read Good Dog, Carl, Adriana's book of the week. Still crying, she went and found it in the other room, and brought it back to me. She sat on my lap, shuddering with residual sobs, and I read her the book over and over. Whenever I started to set the book down to reach for another one, she protested, so we looked at the same picture book for about 40 minutes. Then everything was fine. Adriana toddled off to play by herself, and I sat and stared, wondering how on earth I would ever deal with a two-year-old, if this is what a one-year-old is like.

But then, awhile later when she was playing by herself, I sat down in the armchair, hoping to finish my book, and Adriana brought me over another book that she loves these days and asked to be picked up. We read that book over and over too. Adriana would look back and forth between my face and the book with a big smile, as I counted dogs and made barking noises. Sometimes she would take the book from me, and then turn the pages and babble. And then she leaned back against me, sighing and stroking my face, and we snuggled there in the armchair.

In spite of the tantrums, things are more positive than negative these days. Adriana is so loving right now. She gives her monkey and her doll hugs and kisses, and carries the monkey around the house. She come to me with her arms open for a hug, and pushes her open mouth against my cheek for a slobbery kiss. She loves other babies, and will crouch down in front of a baby in a carseat at yoga, so she can wave and smile, or gently pet the hair of a baby having tummy time on a blanket near his mama.

While she can go longer between feedings now, there are still days when she hardly eats any real food. But there are days when she eats well, and I actually notice a decline in how much she nurses. She loves to eat Cheerios, beans, bananas, little pieces of tofu and cooked carrots and sweet potato and chard. She doesn't object to strong flavors, often sharing our curry with us, although sweet things, such as toast with peach jam, are also big hits.

She walks relatively steadily now, getting where she wants to go (and is frustrated sometimes when we insist on putting her in a stroller or backpack). She climbs the play structure at the park (with me hovering right behind her), and easily climbed onto the hearth and the couch at my sister's house last weekend. Sometimes she crawls after a ball, and I love to see her do that--babies look so funny when they crawl. But whereas a month ago she would drop down to crawl when she wanted to get somewhere quickly, she usually realizes quickly that now she can get there more quickly on two feet.

I've struggled some with adjusting to toddler-hood. I think some women have difficulty adjusting to life with a baby, but I feel that I was able to get into that routine fairly quickly (or perhaps it just seems that way in hindsight) and instead am hitting a sort of wall as I try to deal with a determined toddler. Some of it is that I miss having a little baby. Some is that I am simply learning to deal with these new challenges. After my yoga class on Sunday, Brian and Adriana were waiting for me on a nearby plaza. It was wonderful to see Brian kneeling down, playing with Adriana, and even better to see the little girl in striped leggings and a navy blue windbreaker turn to see me and toddle over with an excited grin on her face.

*And then I didn't post yesterday because fate intervened in the form of a sunny day that totally required a trip to the beach.

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