Monday, July 2, 2007

Little Abbey At 13 Months

I honestly can't believe it has been thirteen months since Little Abbey came into this world a few weeks early. She hadn't put on any baby fat in utero so was very thin and seeing her with all the tubes and wires hooked up made me think of her as so fragile. Yet now she is tall, I struggle to carry her heft and is a real terror around the house. What can you do?

I don't have any height or weight measurements because the pediatrician's office screwed up. They cancelled our appointment and never told us until we called the day of to confirm since they hadn't confirmed it a day in advance as they normally do. We were told that they had tried repeatedly though are answering machine remained with a big zero on the face and my wife studied for her tests at home in silence for many weeks before. Long story short, we had to reschedule and though they want to see her right at 12 months, she won't be seen until well after she is 13 months old. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that she is almost half as tall as mom is and weighs a bunch.

Health wise she appears to be doing great. She has five teeth in now and has made up for lost time. Her hair is growing like a well-fertilized weed and mom has gleefully been putting hair clips on. Other than a summer time cold that she passed on to us, Little Abbey has been free from the runny nose that plagued her most of the winter. Who knew that babies don't know how to blow out their nose until they are two years of age? Already she is wearing clothes for babies 18 months and older, some of which are getting small and in one case, a shirt for three year olds that fits great. With the exception of her thighs, it is mostly the height thing that forces us to get bigger clothes.

Part of this healthiness stems from her eating. No longer do we take any "backup" food with her to daycare because she eats everything the big kids eat. I'm constantly amazed at what she eats. While preparing a stir-fry, she was bugging me so I gave her a whole snow pea that she promptly ate. With her new teeth, she already knows how to whittle things down to size I guess. For meals at home, she gets whatever we eat too. Really the only thing we limit her on is sweet desert like foods. We give her a couple bites for taste but don't let her eat her fill. Most of the time she really doesn't care yet but I'm sure there will come a day…

She is weaned from a bottle, which was a lot easier than I imagined. We started giving her milk to her in sippee cups during the day for about a week only giving her a bottle at night. After a week, that too disappeared. She threw a couple tantrums when she saw her evening milk in a sippee cup but realized we were serious after a few minutes and drank it anyway. Shortly before that she had gone off breast milk and shortly afterwards she went off baby milk altogether. Now she just drinks whole milk and suddenly we have been freed from the shackles of having to take pumps, tubing, bottles, etc. with us whenever we went somewhere more than four hours long.

Due to her height, we graduated her from taking baths in the kitchen sink and she now takes them in the bathtub. The first bath she just cried but after that she has enjoyed them more than her sink baths or the ones in her specialized baby bathtub. In fact, now she crawls into the bathroom and stands beside it trying to get in so that she can get a bath even if she isn't slated to get one. Once inside she splashes around and has a grand ole time. But everything comes with a price. Now instead of my one bottle of shampoo and bar of soap and my wife's ten bottles of shower stuff and two bars of soap, we have another two bottles of stuff and two yellow rubber duckies that add to the clutter. Any surface horizontal is full and if I turn around with a careless elbow, ten heavy bottles of various colored liquid fall onto my toes.

Probably due to her size, it has taken Little Abbey a little while to learn how to walk, something she is just on the verge of doing. She stands up in the middle of the floor with no supports quite often but has yet to take a step. She still prefers to crawl or furniture cruise to get where she is going. The last several weeks she pushed everything around that she can from chairs to her toys while walking along behind them. If I were a betting man, I would say this is the last monthly update that you will hear me say that.

Although she mostly is on her feet these days, she has a new mode of transportation that she is mastering. We bought her a plastic push tricycle for her first birthday complete with plastic like hopper in the middle of the handlebars that makes noise when she moves around. At first she mostly pushed it around because she would get trapped up against an object that she couldn't move. Now however, she gets on it and pushes herself laps through the kitchen, dining room, living room and back again. If she really gets crazy she does laps around the great room too. She still hasn't learned to steer the thing but it is light enough that she can stand and scoot it in the direction she wants to go. As I commented on Geri's blog, besides whatever I happen to have in my hand, it is her favorite toy.

Last week I went over to the daycare to pick Little Abbey up only to find her sitting on the table wrapped in a warm towel with only her wet hair in sight. She had just gotten done swimming. At Mrs. Z's suggestion, she went back in the pool and commenced to splashing around and having a grand ole time. So the next day, I found myself downtown looking for a swimming pool. I wanted one of those hard sided small kiddie pools but those had long since been sold out so I ended up with the only remaining swimming pool for sale until next year, a hard sided but large model complete with a miniature slide wrapped along one side. I threw it upside down on top of my wife's car, cinched it down with a tie down, which didn't do much good on the round and slippery surface, and drove home with one hand out the window holding onto it for dear life. A half hour later I would be back to pick up the hardware package that I had inadvertently left on the sidewalk out in front of the store as I was loading the pool.

This weekend we filled up the pool with a few inches of water and turned her loose. At first she was timid about moving at all but within minutes she was crawling from this end to that in the water and having a great time. Even when she slipped and fell a couple times while trying to use the slide portion. I know I am going to be spending a lot more time watching her swim out on the back deck.

Although I could certainly go on, I won't bore you with more details. I will say that as a father, this is certainly my favorite stage to go through so far. I spend lots of time making my daughter laugh and giggle as I help her play and she showers me back with a lot of affection. Her personality is so deep and personable. I just wish I could bottle it up and save it for rainy days for the rest of my life.

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