About twelve hours from now a year ago, my life changed forever. Little Abbey came into this world and suddenly my label changed from husband to husband/father. My responsibilities increased and my stake in the two bathrooms in the house went from 50/50 to somewhere around 40/60. I imagine as the teenage years approach, my stake will probably dip again to somewhere around 10/90. A lot has changed in this last year both in my life and Little Abbey's life. Here are some of the things that she can do now.
She knows how to shake her head no is she is full and doesn't want anymore of whatever we are trying to feed her. If she is feeding herself, as she most often does, she signals that she is food by playing with her food and testing gravity.
I think she is weaning herself from milk as her delight in whatever we are eating increased. On average she probably drinks about 12 ounces of milk a day, down from the days when she could polish off 36 ounces. But she makes up with it in her other food intake. She will eat at least two cups of whatever we are eating three times a day plus several snacks throughout the day and all this with four teeth that barely poke through her gum line. She also drinks a juice box with her supper and water with the other meals. Although she will shove a pre-loaded spoon into her mouth, she hasn't shown interest in learning to eat with utensils yet and still prefers her hands. She does eat out of bowls or plates but we mostly only allow her to do that when she is on the floor to prevent her from testing gravity with our dinnerware.
Although I would say Little Abbey's life is all about recreation, recreationally her favorite toys are whatever happens to be near where ever we are. She has a whole box full of toys already from her ring stack that she unstacks and restacks to the sound of songs, blocks that she also stacks, to stuff from the adult world that she has confiscated like Tupperware lids. But still she spends most of her time playing with whatever is handy. Lately while I am finishing up the basement remodeling details, it has been my cordless screwdriver, hammers, pencils, etc. She plays with bags, a paintbrush, baby monitor, CD's, and her favorite toy of all… the computer keyboard and mouse. She loves to type a way on the keyboard and run the mouse all over the floor while clicking buttons. Today, I will be giving her a bicycle with fat plastic tires to prevent tipping over that I hope she learns to push around the house.
She has mastered going up the stairs and does so every time she gets the chance but has yet to master going down them unless she is only part way up. If she is only part way up she can climb down the stairs and if I get her started she can climb down the stairs but she hasn't figured out how to turn around yet and get herself started. I find this puzzling since she has mastered getting down from the couch on her own and it is as tall as two or three stairs. She simply lies down on her stomach, slides her feet over and lowers herself to the floor. I can't wait for her to master going down stairs so I can start reliving the life I used to have without baby gates blocking my every move.
Although she has been pointing at objects for several months, she has lately started holding out both arms to us when she wants to be picked up and held. For me this is especially heartwarming to know that she loves being held. She also has this habit of crawling up to my foot and laying her head down on it as if to bless me. She only does this to me and never my wife for some reason. Another thing that she mainly only does to me is to touch foreheads as I say "solid". This came from watching the Filipino movie Dubai where the two main characters who are brothers do it. We both enjoy doing 'solid' to each other.
Little Abbey is already showing more independence. When she first started crawling she would crawl out of sight but only for a few seconds before coming back to check on us. Now she will crawl out of sight and if she finds something interesting, it will be a long while before she crawls back. I always keep an ear towards her direction so I can keep track of where she is and mentally think of what kind of trouble she can be getting into around there. If she goes into silent mode, I go running to see what she is doing because when she is quiet, it is never a good thing. Now that our remodeling projects are wrapping up, she pretty much has the run of the entire house and I think that suits her just fine.
One activity she likes to do when we are preoccupied is to crawl to the front door and watch cars go by on the street. The louder the car, the better she likes it. The unfortunate side effect of this is that every glass surface is completely smudged with handprints from the bottom three feet down. After getting down on her level once to watch cars with her once, I am starting to think that she is going to grow up thinking everything outside is smudgy and smeary. Little Abbey loves being outdoors with us as we are doing some yard work but still has not liked the touch of grass on her feet. If you try to stand her in the grass she coils her feet up as high as she can to avoid the touch. So she mostly just sits in her rocking chair and watches us when outside which in a world full of things that can fit easily in her mouth, is a good thing.
So this afternoon she is having a small birthday party at her daycare followed by another party at my parents place in the evening. Since Saturday was already someone else's birthday in our circle of friends, we are having the huge obligatory Filipino first birthday bash on Sunday after church. Who knew that turning one year old was so much work for the parents?