Wednesday, November 6, 2013

One year.

Chubby arms stretched upwards. Small hands keep a death-grip on my own. An adorable bottom lip is pulled up over an equally adorable top lip in a look of total concentration--her current version of a tongue's tip poking out. Practicing her newest skill, walking. Practicing with Mama's support, to increase her confidence. To increase the growing number of steps she can take without support. Steadily stepping from room to room, from one end of the apartment to the other. Suddenly turning around, letting go of my hand in favor of pushing against my legs to lead me instead, giggling when I say "Now where am I going?!" An achy pull in my shoulders and back from walking with a slight hunch in my back so I can lean down to reach her outstretched hands. Back and forth, again and again.

In just a few short days she will be a year old. She will still be my baby, but my baby will become a toddler. And at the rate she is going, she will truly be toddling about by then. What started as a couple steps from the couch to where I was sitting on the floor a few days ago has already grown to being able to take about six or seven steps without assistance before stopping and sitting. (Or falling, depending on how careful she is being at the moment.) She still thinks it's easier to crawl when she wants to get somewhere quickly, but that will soon change as she grows more confident and is able to walk farther without help.

It's an odd position for me, helping her out so much with this milestone. But she requests so sweetly, pulling up on me and grabbing my hands, pulling me forward as she walks in front of me. Typically all she requires is encouragement and she gets lots of cheers when she accomplishes a goal. The only other milestone that actually required (well, that she requested) help from me was her sitting up, but that was still mostly her doing it on her own. She couldn't get into the sitting position on her own until she started crawling at 8 months, but she could sit for pretty much forever once I helped her there. Before that, basically I just held her hands for resistance while she pulled herself up. I'm not one to push milestones, I know without a doubt she will get there when she's ready. She is a very bright, capable kid, and she tends to not do things until she is positive she can do it well.

Sometimes she surprises me with the things she can do, and the way she shows her little (big) personality. She's been pushing her arms through her sleeves since she was about 5 months old, helping me dress her. A couple of weeks ago she sat on my lap and figured out how to put the lid back on a bottle of water. Of course, she didn't screw it back on, but she trial-and-errored that thing until it was at least sitting on there properly. She humors me sometimes, and gives totally fake smiles when she knows I'm trying to play or make her laugh when she's not interested. Her face lights up with a giant smile as she drops everything and watches the door when she hears her daddy coming home. She grabs my hand, puts it on her belly, tenses up and grins because she is waiting for me to administer the ticklings she is asking for. She acts like she wants in your lap, then drops to the floor instead and before you know it she is around the corner crawling away... waiting for you to chase after her. Once you reach the opposite end of the apartment, it's her turn to chase you. Extra points for squealing when she "gets your feet" as she's chasing you, like she squeals when you get hers as she crawls ahead of you. She can also throw a pretty epic tantrum, but at this point they're just limited to when she's tired.

She dances to music. She occasionally sings, and frequently jabbers away. She repeats the sounds the cats make when she is feeling silly. Her favorite word is "kitty," and she uses it for everything because it is the only word she knows well. But she is imitating syllables now even though the details aren't exactly right. (Me: "Oc-to-pus!" Her: "Ta-ta-ta!") She throws her food. She pulls books and dvds off of the bottom shelves, and uses her stride-to-ride puppy to climb up onto the coffee table. She loves most fruits and veggies, and cheese, and toast with just about anything on it. She acts like she will die from choking if she drinks water. She is stubbornly refusing to hold a sippy cup. She is sweet, and happy, and goofy, and independent, and confident, and loving. She is friendly with strangers, but keeps a distance. She makes everyone smile when they are around her, because she is such a happy girl.

She is amazing, she is perfectly her, and she is going to be one year old this Saturday. I could not be more proud, or more happy to have her in my life. I can't wait to see what the next year looks like.

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