Friday, September 10, 2010

Eight months

In the past month Lyra became actual work to take care of. I guess she had been work before, but not the kind of work that I’d noticed. But she crawls now and her sleep is erratic and she is busy and alert so she nurses for about a minute before getting distracted and losing interest, only to be fussy and hungry ten minutes later. Without someone keeping a close eye on her, she gets into things we wish she wouldn’t--taking toys that Adriana doesn’t want her to have, or tipping over the cat’s water dish, or chewing on my sandal that I left by the door, or pulling open drawers seemingly only so that she can then lean on them and make them slide in, all the better to pinch her fingers or land face first on the floor.

She started crawling a couple of weeks ago. She’d been experimenting with it since six months (and at six and a half months had crawled a couple “steps” at Adriana’s gymnastics one day--I think the mats made it more comfortable and easier), and I was sure she’d be crawling by the time she hit the seven month mark, just as Adriana did, but we had another couple of weeks of rocking with hands and knees being tentatively lifted from the floor, followed by face plants (which got louder but seemingly not any more painful when we moved into our new house with hardwood floors). We had a few days of watching her crawl a little bit here and there, and then there she was across the room, and I would hear her thumping after me if I set her down and walked away for a minute.

The crawling is hilarious to me this time around and I need to take video. Lyra actually seems smaller to me now that she’s crawling. She is definitely a smaller baby than Adriana was (I can tell from the hand-me-downs that still don’t fit), so it may be in part that it’s funny for me to see so little a baby moving. But the size difference isn’t that huge and my memory of Adriana’s size at this age is not really that clear, so I think it’s just seeing how small Lyra is compared to Adriana now. At any rate, I am regularly amused by the little baby crawling around after a toy that has rolled away, or the cat, or her big sister. When there’s something she really wants--like following her sister out the open door--she puts her head down and crawls determinedly as quickly as she can. When she comes to find me she crawls to find me and then sits back on her knees to look up at me and give me a huge four-toothed smile. When I have to set her down when she is upset, she crawls after me, crying “ma ma ma ma.”

For the record, I don’t really think the “ma ma ma” babbling is actually intended as “Mama.” Lyra has two sounds she makes, “ma” and “ba.” “Ba ba ba ba” is her contented chatter as plays with a baby doll or chews on the spout of a sippy cup or sits on my lap at the park while I talk with my friends. She switches to “ma ma ma ma” when she is upset.

Stranger anxiety has emerged in the past month, taking me by surprise. Did I not hand Adriana to people as easily as I do Lyra? Or is Lyra really just that much more upset by strangers? Because I don’t remember handing Adriana to someone to have her immediately burst into tears the way Lyra does. Lyra is still a happy, social baby, smiling at anyone who speaks to her. But I handed her to a man she’d never met before when we were at a baby shower a few weeks ago, and she became instantly fussy. The next week, Brian’s parents were in town, and she cried when her grandpa picked her up. But that right there is the main theme of the stranger anxiety: it’s men. How does she know? Is it their deeper voices? A different smell? I just know that she seems to know, that I can hand her to another woman to hold and she’s fine, doesn’t even need me in her sight (usually).

Although she’s more work at this age than she was a few months ago, she’s more fun. It’s fun to have a baby who likes to eat (she grabs for food out of my hands now in addition to always leaning forward to accept what I’m spooning into her mouth), even though that means thinking a bit about having food for her and cleaning her up afterwards (and, ahem, afterwards). The sister relationship is growing nicely. Adriana is still sometimes obviously jealous of and other times understandably bothered by her sister. But she is very good about bringing toys to the baby and tells me how to take care of her. Adriana is likely to yell “Lyra has a choking hazard,” at me when she sees Lyra with something small, and usually responds to my suggestion that she take it from her (if it were one of Adriana’s toys that Lyra had, you know she would just take it back) by yelling “Mom, Lyra has a choking hazard!” Which...fine, I guess I won’t let the three-year-old care for the infant. But there are times when they are so sweet together. Adriana lies on the floor letting Lyra crawl all over her back, and she asks if I will put Lyra in the swing at the park so that she could push her baby sister. They splash together in the bathtub and giggle at each other in the back seat of the car.