May 29, 2009

Twelve Months

Señorita Clementina,

Today you are one year old.

Twelve months.

No longer zero.

This month, more than any in particular, has been full of...everything. Movement, personality, travel, boot-camp, solid food, and my personal favorite: separation anxiety.

Let's get to it, shall we?

We started this month off right with a two week trip to Virginia where we stayed at your Guga's and Papa Jim's house. They were not at all excited to have you there. Nor were you to see them. The attention? You'd rather eat dirt.

Oh, wait. You might actually rather eat dirt, depending on the situation. Yes, you still put all sorts of strange things in your mouth, including dirt. Mmm.

You were so very happy to see your Papa Jim when we arrived. We celebrated by going to Sam's club, which made you feel right at home. Whoopee! I am quite certain that you looked up at the ceiling while we were there, found the lights and wheezed in delight.

Wheezy: not just a nickname for older folks with respiratory problems. Nope, my child? She wheezes. In. Not out. With delight. In fact, Little Miss Itty Bitty, you laugh this way as well. A short little laugh out followed by a long, loud wheeze in. I have literally never heard anyone laugh that way...until you. People always tell you that your kids will teach you things, I just never really thought it would be something quite like this.

You have really developed a sense of play this month. What I mean by that is that while you still spend a large amount of time exploring your toys and anything else you can get your hands on, you also are capable of playing games with people. You love to play peek-a-boo. We usually play such one of us is covered with a blanket and then you have to uncover them. One of my favorites is that I can simply put my hands in front of my face and start calling "Where are you?" and you'll drop whatever you're doing to rush over and "uncover" your whereabouts by moving my hands. Oh, how much fun that is.

You are beginning to understand that items can be hidden under other objects. I can cover a small toy with a larger one or place something in a container and you'll immediately go and recover it. You're not too picky, however. While at Guga's house, the two of you would play in the hallway. Guga would stand at one end and lean over to hide her face behind a door frame...and you'd squeal, wheeze and race off down the hall to "find" her, the two of you playing peek-a-boo the whole time.

Apparently you're a multi-tasker.

Speaking of which, you now enjoy holding onto a toy with your hand while you make your way around. Sometimes one toy, sometimes two...and occasionally you hold one in your mouth if it is too tough to handle with your hand.

I blame that on the dog; who else would you have learned that from?

Cooper loves you and desperately wants to protect you. In fact, when you're around he is super doggy Chompy-lones. When you are nowhere to be found, he acts like normal dogs. As in he even likes other dogs. Amazing, I know, but true. We think you two will one day be fast friends. He already share all of his toys with you, he lets you explore his food...when I don't catch you in time to tell you no way, and the other day? He...thought? were sharing your toy with him, and he chewed it up.

Awesome, right? He's already doing what he can to teach you to put your toys away. Excellent indeed.

Physically, you've come along quickly in the last month or so. You crawled on your hands and knees towards the end of last month, and now you can stand up on your own. You'll stand up on the sidewalk, the carpet, and even our bed. You are constantly practicing your ups and downs and you've learned to let yourself down gently as opposed to plopping on your tuckus all the time.

You've learned to do pat-a-cake quite well. You do the clapping sections on your own and I've caught you practicing the rolling movement the last two days.

You also like to take someone else's hands and make them play pat-a-cake. We visited your Great Grandma when we were in Virginia, and you sat with her and made her pat-a-cake with you.

I must say that you still appear to love people. You especially like them if they have glasses like your Daddy, but you just like them in general. You went right to your Great Granny when we were home and the two of you had a grand old time.

You've also started waving this month. The very first time was to say good-bye to some of your Papa Jim's colleagues. We'd had a very busy day full of new places and people and I think you weren't sure you were going to get to go home with just me, so you started waving them all good-bye.

It is a nice concept, I must say.

Now you are more likely to wave hello. You wave at yourself in the mirror, you wave at Cooper, you wave at your toys and you wave at Whoopi Goldberg. Yeah. On the television. You love her for some reason and you clap for her and wave at her whenever she is on.

All of our time in Virginia exacerbated whatever separation anxiety you had developed prior to our trip. We were gone for a long time, and you went from sleeping the first two nights to waking at least twice a night unless you slept with me by the time we came home. So, we did a boot-camp.

Oh, yes. We are so mean. When you are a teenager, you will totally hold this against us.

Basically, after trying every other option we had regarding getting you to stay asleep (you go to bed fine, you just don't stay there very well), we decided we would put you to bed and not get you up until the morning. It was great fun the first few nights, but you are now doing well with it. There is still a little fussing, but I think that will soon be a thing of the past. Thank goodness. Maybe I'll finally start to get some sleep.

Daytime naps are currently a mystery, but we'll get that worked out eventually as well.

Of course, if you continue to fling yourself out of the crib during your nap, then we may very well not work anything out at all.

Oh, yes. You flopped out of the crib during one of your rants one afternoon. By the time I got upstairs, you were smacking at the door to get out of that room.

Needless to say, we lowered the mattress again that evening before we put you to bed.

So far, so good.

Aside from the movement and playfulness this month, the other really big development is your eating solid foods. It all started with Mum-Mum crackers. The first few times I'd say about ninety percent of it ended up on you rather than in you, but you've long since mastered that.

I attempted banana and avocado last month, but all you wanted to do was mash them in your hand and then look at me like "What IS this MESS?!?" while refusing to put any of it in your mouth. This go 'round you've not only mastered picking up and eating banana and avocado (no easy task, people, those things are slimy), but you also eat chicken, bread, goldfish and cheerios. Your Dad and I were even able to go out to eat with you a week or so ago and order you some chicken to eat while we had our dinner. It was oh so nice to have you engaged the whole meal.

You had a rather interesting approach to the chicken and bread we set out for you. Apparently you believed that it would go away as quickly as it came because as soon as you saw a new piece on the table, you spit whatever was in your mouth out and put the new pieces in. We put everything in your lap back on the table and you had much better luck the second time through.

I plan to give you more of the food we eat in the coming months so that we can continue eating together. Tomorrow we're having a small cake for you, and I can't wait to see how that goes. You tried some cake at Guga's house and, well...the photo speaks volumes:

My letter is quite long this month, and all I can say is you changed a lot. One thing that has not changed is that you are a very determined little girl. Really, this is just a nice way of saying that you can be pretty stubborn when you are focused on something. When you want something, you do everything you can to get it, no matter who or what is in your way.

As you can see, this is sometimes very funny. What remains to be seen is whether or not your Dad and I will be able to teach you how to use your advantage before you drive us bonkers with it.

One area in particular in which you are determined is with anything technological. You want to touch the computer, the phone, the remote, the video game consoles, the DVR, the list goes on and on.

And thanks to our cousin Britn, you now think you should have access to your Dad's blackberry:


If the number of things you've learned in your first twelve months is any indicator, then we are bound to be amazed by what you will be able to do, with technology as well as in every other aspect of your life.

I, for one, am excited to see who you will become.


May 28, 2009

Eleven Months

Señorita Clementina,

On April 29th, you turned eleven months old.

I love the look on your face in this photo. You appear to be a tad bit concerned about your whereabouts...which is to be expected when they are brand new. You are ever the serious girl when encountering new things and plant life most definitely falls on that list this go 'round.

A good example would be the Easter Egg Hunt held in our neighborhood. Your Dad managed to capture this very sweet photo of you holding the egg in my hand before you became enthralled with - what else? - plants. Mostly the plants are weeds and other things growing randomly on the swamp land that is Houston, but to you, they were and still are the most fascinating playthings ever invented.

That makes it: nature - 1, men - 0 when it comes to keeping you enthralled if anyone is keeping track at home.

I kid, I kid...sort of.

This was not your first foray in the land of, well, land, but it was the first time you'd been anywhere but our yard or the playground. While the grass in our yard was ho-hum, the playground is full of tiny pebbles, and man are those grand. So fabulous, in fact, that it was the only place you would crawl on your hands and knees for the longest time. In the house? Tummy-crawling rules! At the playground? We must keep up appearances for our friends lest they begin to think we are unrefined.

This from someone who makes every attempt to eat the ground she crawls upon.

Your Grammie and Pop Pop came to visit us for Easter weekend, and boy did we all have fun. We traveled up to Independence, Texas and took in the bluebonnets. You were uncertain about them at first, but you soon began to enjoy inspecting them. Your initial concern may have been due to the fact that you had ants in your pants. Literally. Well, an ant in your pant, but still. That little guy was quite upset about being in your pant leg and he made his feelings known. Not that I really think it had any effect on your expression, but we can always blame the furrowed brow on the poor insect, now can't we?

Dying eggs was something I loved to do growing up, and I really hope that you will enjoy this tradition. We decked you out in one of your Dad's old t-shirts and let you watch while he wrote on the first egg. You really wanted to help, or so we thought, until the following occurred:

Mmm - hard boiled egg in a shell. That was it; you tasted the egg and then you were very done. Oh, well - there's always next year. The four of us had a nice time dying eggs "for you" anyway.

Towards the end of Grammie's and Pop Pop's visit, I could tell you were feeling under the weather. Sure enough, you got a virus of some sort that had no symptoms other than really fussy baby. Excellent indeed. A few days later, you got the normal teething cold and three more teeth showed up. Yup, you're still going against the grain and refusing to grow them in pairs. You do at least now have the four across top which means that you shall soon not be quite so fang-a-licious.

Soon after the teeth put in an appearance, you began crawling on your hands and knees all the time. The military style is out and slappy-hands are in. You smack them down onto the ground as you move along, which makes it very easy to know where you are and which direction you are taking. This shall soon change, I am sure, but for now I make use of the added warning.

Within about a week, you stood up at the sofa, then creeped along on your wobbly legs while holding on for dear life and finally you just side-stepped along from one end to another like you'd always been doing that. You tend to wait to attempt these types of skills, and then wham! you just up and do them.

You've really started communicating with the baby in the mirror this month. While you liked her previously, you thought she only existed in your toy mirror. Now you see her in all mirrors or shiny objects and you talk/squeal/laugh with her and try to touch her.

Here you are again, inspecting the ground, only this time you are in San Diego, California. Your Dad gave me a trip for my birthday, and this is where we decided to go. The grass was tiny and very soft and boy did you like it. We could have sat here all day long and you would have felt it and pulled it and probably tried to taste it.

We were able to see some really interesting things in San Diego, and overall traveling with you was just fine. Granted, our days of seeing anything and everything are completely over, but we enjoyed exposing you to new things and it was nice to have a different pace to our travels.

One thing that was not nice, in San Diego or at home this month, was your ability not to sleep.

Yup. See those eyes? Once again, the "I need sleep" look. And yet, if we put you down or even go down with you, no sleeping occurs.

I know I've mentioned the sleep issue before, but usually it has just been that you wake up a lot at night. This month, you would wake up and then not go back to sleep for hours. Hours, little miss. Hours. To say that we are tired of being tired is such the understatement.

At least you cheer up a bit when you get into the water. Oh, how you enjoyed the pool at the hotel. It was warm and very echo-y and you just talked and talked about how great it was to be there. You kicked, you splashed, you tried to drink the water. Good times indeed.

Not so great times were the days when it was rather chilly in San Diego. We came from 80-degree weather to 60-degree weather and man did it feel cold. It didn't help that we were so close to the water. This is you in your stroller about a minute from having a meltdown because the breeze, it was freezing!

One thing that can be said about Houston: It is not freezing. Ever. While this fact usually makes me a bit sad, for days like the one in the photo above, I am grateful. That sky? You don't find something like that just anywhere. It is special and different and greatly appreciated, just like you.


May 22, 2009

Ten Months

Señorita Clementina,

On March 29th, you turned ten months old.

You still absolutely love your finger; it is a great soother to you any old time, even when you are busy eating as in the photo above. This habit makes for a rather messy experience in the highchair, but there's no stopping you.

Your Guga came to visit this month and we took you to the Rodeo. You got to check out the petting zoo, where you stared at most of the animals as if they are from another planet. I guess for an itty bitty girl, everything new seems like it is out of this world.

You were not very certain about petting the pot-bellied pig as his hair was very coarse. You quite enjoyed the llama, however because you could grab hold of his hair quite easily. BU! would be very proud of you for your llama interest.

Guga bought you a cowgirl hat at the rodeo and the above photo was the best I could get in the 2.2 seconds that you allowed it to remain on your head. Had you not been in the jumperoo, I imagine the hat wouldn't even have lasted that long.

A friend of ours loaned us the jumperoo, and boy do you enjoy it. I place you in there and you investigate the toys on it for a bit and then, with a prompting "Jump!" from someone, you go to town! You squeal and you cackle and you express your delight while seemingly attempting to dislodge the seat from the bars.

You certainly like to jump.

Another new experience this month was the swing at the playground. I waited until a day when your Dad had a workshop and could get home early enough to assist you. Initially, you liked it just because you could sit in it much like you do in your Bjorn. Just that was enough to make you expect good things out of it. Then we began to let you sway back and forth, and oh how the legs began to kick! You especially enjoy swinging if we get down low so that you can "get" us on your way back and forth.

Your Dad had a conference in the city this month, so the three of us went to the hotel to stay for a couple of days. Apparently your teeth were giving you a tad bit of grief as you kept your tongue in your bottom lip like this for much of our time there. It is not very becoming, so hopefully with subsequent teeth you'll go for another look.

I managed to get you into the pool when we were at the hotel, and boy do you love water. I knew you enjoyed it from your bath; you always open your mouth when I rinse you off with the hose as if that simple act will ensure that some of it gets into your mouth.

In the pool, however, you came to the realization that you could do much more to impact the water. You could splash with your hands and lean over to literally drink it if you so choose. While I was able to prevent this for the most part, it did have some carry-over to your bath afterward.

It was the first time I had given you a bath in an actual bathtub and with the combined knowledge of your experience in the pool and your ability to move, you were quite a handful. You wanted to crawl from one end of the tub to the other and do as much to the water as possible. Unfortunately, you were very unaware of the slippery nature of bathtubs filled with water, and your efforts were mostly in vain.

You may have become mobile last month, but this month you have taken it to the max. Before I get into the details, I have to point out that in the above photo, and any time you are making a similar look, you look so very much like your Daddy. Most of the time you resemble me, but when you look at us this way, your Dad appears.

Getting back to the mobility: you are an explorer extraordinaire. Not so much in that you explore things, but rather you explore your movement. While Cooper was very interesting to you last month due to his entertaining nature, you could really care less this go around. You still investigate him a bit, but you are quickly done with him and are moving on to...moving on.

You have this special route you take in the living room. You begin with Cooper's bed (above). You insist on crawling over/through it, which is not easy considering you are still on your belly. I love how you manage to get your monkey toes onto his ball while attempting to take over his bed.

While the move over the bed forces you to push up onto your hands somewhat, you still refuse to do so permanently.

This particular section of your trek is extremely tiring, and you always have to take a short break before continuing on.

Once you've rested for all of about five seconds, you set your sights on your exersaucer. Oh, yes, it is a fabulous place to be.

Your goal is to get under the thing. You are usually distracted by the bells and whistles, in the form of tags and seats.

You occasionally stick your tongue out in concentration, a habit which your uncle and I can attest comes directly from your Guga.

Once you are done with your exersaucer, you concentrate on moving out of it to whatever goodies you can see. This time, it was your little seat.

Then, of course, you noticed me and the camera, and you lost your footing a bit. Not that it slowed you down; you are quite hard-headed in more ways than one.

A very good example of that is the way in which you wrestle with your toys. You pick up the piano and roll over with it. More than once you have managed to drop it right on your noggin and it doesn't even begin to phase you.

You very much enjoy the rough stuff, which is a good thing. You love it when your Dad throws you in the air. Not so much when you land on his glasses.

You've been sitting in the highchairs at the restaurants and in the basket at the grocery store. You enjoy this new vantage point, and when you get tired you lean your head all the way back and wheeze at the ceiling in delight.

We took you to Pei Wei for the first time this month and you managed to chew on the table. Yeah. Apparently it made you very happy. At this point, you have three teeth still, but the only one we occasionally see is the one on top. We'll just have to call you fang for awhile.

You're still a good eater in that you will eat anything I give you. You also enjoy it when I give you the spoon to chew on when you are finished. It is the only time you make the face seen above.

I imagine we will be seeing many new faces in the future because I think you'll be developing new skills very soon. I say this because it was on your ten month birthday that you decided to crawl on your hands and knees. For reals. In our bathroom. Apparently the tile floor is best for crawling. Backwards, but crawling is crawling.