Last Saturday, Adriana said her first word, declaring "dog" in a loud, staccato voice as she looked at a photo of a dog in a book. We stared at her and glanced at one another. Then she did it again and grinned at us. Now we spend all of our free time trying to get her to say it again. Or to say dad or mama.
"Da da da da da," Adriana babbled on Thursday night, smiling at us.
"Aw, are you saying 'dad?'" Brian asked.
"Um, I think she's just making noises right now, love," I told him. Did I really believe that, or was I just offended that she was saying "dad" instead of "mama?"
"Doesn't matter, I just melted."
"Psssst, kid, now's the time to ask for a pony," I stage whispered to the baby, who started to giggle maniacally, as if she understood.
We're honestly just happy to hear her babbling, as she's never done a great deal of that. Even if she's not talking, she certainly understands a lot. When I say that it's time to feed the cat, she goes into the kitchen and points to the container where the cat's food is kept. She pulls open my dresser drawers and looks to me, waiting for me to ask her to close them, which she then does. If I ask her if she wants to go outside, she runs to the door. A few days ago I misplaced my glasses, and wandered around the house searching for them, repeatedly signing "glasses" and asking Adriana if she knew where mama's glasses were (I was worried that I'd left them within her reach and she'd taken them--not that she would give them back because I was asking). Now whenever she sees me without my glasses (which had fallen behind my dresser), she makes the sign, and then goes to my dresser to point to where they are. I was interested that she learned the sign when I wasn't actually showing her the glasses, since I wasn't sure she would know what I was talking about, but I guess all the times I've requested "Please don't grab mama's glasses" have made an impression. And she manages to communicate fairly well with her sign language. We know when she wants to eat or nurse or get out of her sweater or listen to music. Our favorite new sign is the one she makes now to request a diaper change. Sometimes she doesn't really need a diaper change: she just sees the cat through the baby gate that is on the door to the room where the changing table is and is trying to get us to take her in there. Other times she signs just before she actually needs the change, which we keep thinking holds some sort of promise, although she seems young to be thinking about potty training.
Adriana's favorite thing is to be read to. I am careful not to leave picture books on our nightstands. That's important if I want to eat breakfast and get ready in the morning without constantly reading to her, because as soon as she sees one of her favorite books (these days those are Where the Wild Things Are, The Paper Bag Princess, Pat the Bunny, and some animal books I picked up at the zoo just before she was born) we must sit and read them over and over. And I'm fine with that...after 8 AM. The weather has been beautiful lately, so we've been sitting out on our balcony to read while while we share a sandwich for lunch most days. Any neighbors who are home during the day are probably getting tired of those same books over and over, but I can't think of a nicer way to eat lunch.
She's usually a little shy around strangers, but she can be an incredible ham when she's in a place where she's comfortable. We were doing some dancing around at our yoga class yesterday, and Adriana didn't want to be held as the younger babies were, so she joined in the dancing on her own. She knew everyone was looking at her and laughing, so she danced more, grinning and waving her arms.
She still isn't eating a huge range of foods, but she is eating a fair amount and it's all healthy (well, with the exception of garlic fries at baseball games), so I can't really complain. Most nights she sleeps pretty well. She always wakes up at least once, but I don't mind that--I kind of like bringing her into our bed to nurse and snuggle. Sometimes I expect her to already be in her bed and there is a moment of groggy panic when I hear her cry and can't find her in our bed. The other night I reached for her to my right, found she wasn't there, and turned over to move her from between Brian and me, and discovered she wasn't there, either. I was lifting up the blankets, terrified she was smothering somewhere before I realized that she had just slept for five hours in her own bed and was now standing up in it, looking at me frantically searching for her while she cried to be picked up. And then I lifted her out of her bed and and she rested her head on my shoulder and stopped crying, just like that.
A few months ago, a friend whose baby is less than two months older said of her little girl, "She's not really a baby anymore; she's such a little girl now." And I was surprised by that, because Abigail and Adriana are nearly the same age, and of course Adriana is still a baby. But now as I look at her studying the rosemary on the balcony or looking at a book by herself, I know exactly what Becca meant. It makes me appreciate the time that we spend curled up nursing in the armchair or playing in the bathtub, when Adriana seems very much the baby, even more.
At the ballgame
Picnicking on Russian Ridge
Hiking with dad
Ready for lunch and stories on the balcony
Making the windchimes make music