Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kisses?

Madeleine and I have really been breaking our backs trying to teach Rebecca how to give kisses. We try to make a big show of giving each other kissies, making big kissy noises and smiling and being happy afterwards. This is often preceded and followed by giving Rebecca lots of kissies on the forehead, cheeks, lips, eyes, hands etc etc etc.

She really hasn't made much of an effort, though. She'll make smacking noises, but only in a playful repetition game sort of way, and they're lips-in smacks, not lips out kissy smacks.

Anyway, that was until a couple days ago, where we were having family play time in bed and Rebecca very deliberately leaned in to mommy's cheek and made a big lips-in smacking noise.

We like to wait for reproducibility before claiming success in new skills development, but this one was borderline, it seemed pretty cut and dried.

Anyway, the three of us were sitting in her rocking chair for some late night cuddles (the girls on my lap) and she repeatedly leaned in and gave mom combinations of sloppy open mouth and very moist closed mouth kisses tonight. Quite a lot of fun. I think after the first she got so much positive feedback that she just kept doing it.

I really wonder how much she explicitly understands. Does she have the foggiest idea what 'I love you' means yet? She hears it a lot. She quite obviously 'gets' hugging. Hopefully she's starting to understand kisses too.

Singing sensation

The picture at left was taken this past weekend when Rebecca went on her very first sledding adventure. From all reports, she loved every minute of it.
Note: Credit where credit is due - this picture was not taken by Greg or I. This picture was taken by Reuben and made available by Elizabeth. Thanks Reuben and Elizabeth!
There have been a few occasions now where we suspect that Rebecca may be singing. I know this sounds unusual, and I'm not sure if there is an expected timeline for this sort of thing, but there have been small melodies with different notes in her own little language. She hasn't seemed to sing using the few words in her tiny slice of English, but she is definitely using more than one "nonsense" syllable type. It bears mentioning that we expose Rebecca to a great deal of music, and this has been the case since day one. She listens to a variety of music every day (classical and contemporary) and we sing to her several times a day as well. There has also been a lot of dancing to music, which we all enjoy. I don't know if this is a factor, or whether this has created a predisposition (presuming it is actually singing), but if we can encourage a love of music, then I would be very pleased. So far she has displayed antipathy to my piano, but for some reason, every time we visit my parents, she will reach up to the keyboard of their piano and play some notes (either on the high or low ends - not in the middle). Maybe she's a traditionalist (my piano is electronic), or maybe it's just because the action on the old piano is looser. Time will tell.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Molar!

A corner of one of the bottom molars has finally emerged!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Rebecca showing off

Here's Rebecca showing why we don't let her watch that much TV. We're afraid she'll suddenly turn completely into a potato:



Here's Rebecca ready to face the world in her 'encounter suit':



And here she is doing something novel. It may LOOK like a picture of her taking clothes out of her hamper (in fact, she had just finished doing that), but what she's ACTUALLY doing is putting clothes back IN the hamper! It doesn't take much to excite parents sometimes:

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Gotta work on settling her away from home.

We still don't have the knack of getting Rebecca to nap or sleep at other peoples' houses, which is kind of awkward since many of our friends have people over late into the evening at times, and Madeleine and I wouldn't mind having the option of staying a little later. Ah well, not the world's worst problem.

I came home with my buddy Julian who's visiting from out of town. I walked in the front door and Rebecca spied me through the paned glass door to the entrance way. She got a big grin on and started walking for the door as I gave her a big "Hello!". I guess I bent over to tie my shoes as Julian walked in the door behind me and my little sweetie must have gotten confused/scared as to why daddy's voice and face changed. She looked at him sort of quizzically, then her face fell and she started crying. I quickly took off my jacket and boots and went and picked her up and she gave me the biggest hug. She was quite clingy, but was ok while I was holding her. I went to hand her to Mom and she started crying. I'll admit that being the one thing she wanted was a nice deal, but I don't want her to start really making strange with people yet.

After about a half hour she had really warmed up to Julian, who's a big teddy bear anyway, and the rest of the visit went swimmingly.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

New sleep routine?

Rebecca's been waking up a few times throughout the early portion of the night. We try to get her to bed around 8pm. She often gets up as many as 3 or 4 times, until around 1am or so. Sometimes just needing a quick cuddle, other times not settling until she gets a drink of milk. Experimenting with trying to wait it out has been difficult/unproductive.

So, new strategy. Feed her a Baby Mum Mums (basically airy rice crackers) and a little milk as an evening snack BEFORE putting her down. It seems like it's worked at least a couple times so far, so we'll continue this experiment.

Anyway, Rebecca was really tired a little early after dinner, so we put her down, then she got up and we fed her a snack on the sofa at around 9pm tonight. It was really cute. At first she refused the Mum Mums demanding milk instead. After a good guzzle of milk from her sippy cup she took more interest in the biscuit. She took some nibbles on it, mainly tonguing the biscuit, which she then generously offered to mom. Very cute, and very funny. She was quite calm and cuddly, yet alert and engaged. One of my favorite moods for her. Even though both Madeleine and I (well, mainly Madeleine) are feeling under the weather, those 10 or 15 minutes made for an awesome night.

Winter biking?!?!

Once Rebecca hit age 1, she was old enough to venture out in the bike trailer (the same Chariot which was rigged as a jogging stroller during the summer and fall).
This is Rebecca's first bike helmet (a requisite for being in the trailer). Even though babies can hold up their heads very early on in life, it isn't until they are at least 1 year of age that they can tolerate the weight of a helmet (and not risk any spinal damage etc).
Our weird green winter weather meant that Greg and Rebecca were actually able to go out biking.
Still, I am happy we finally got our snow.

Rebecca: 13 months old

Here's a recent shot of Rebecca in cuddly pjs.

Warp speed!

I am have been home sick since Tuesday afternoon with a throat/nose/sinus thing. I loathe being sick - it is frustrating and frankly, a complete waste of my time.
I had hoped to avoid this thing from the moment I first suspected something was amiss (Monday morning when I had that undeniable feeling in my throat). Sadly, no amount of Fisherman Friends, multivitamins or kleenex with lotion, could deter the virus, so here I am - drinking Neo-Citran and feeling sorry for myself. Oh well, it gives me this opportunity to update the blog.
At the tail end of last week, Rebecca started exhibiting a strange behaviour (how often have I said this!?). She would walk with her arms extended behind her, instead of to her sides or in front. It looked very odd, and I could not fathom why she would do this. Once again, I went to my font of knowledge - Mom. Mom says it has to do with Rebecca wanting to move faster, and... by golly, Mom was correct! Rebecca has since ceased with the bird-arms, but is now moving significantly faster than before. I can't claim that it's running, but I would say that it exceeds walking. A gallop maybe? Even her backwards walk is faster (though not as fast as the forwards).
I am increasingly convinced that Rebecca does, in fact, speak some words. "Dada", "mama", "no" and possibly "byebye" seem to be part of her vocabulary. It's not that she hasn't used these before, but there seems to be more evidence that she uses them in manner other than at random. I suspect that she is also using "good" and "down" but is not pronouncing them as clearly.
Rebecca continues to be a bookworm. She seems to prefer books to any other sort of amusement. She regularly bring books to any adult in her vicinity, but is also content to "read" to herself.
I experimented with teaching Rebecca how to use a spoon today. It was semi-successful. I had to change her outfit, but I think we were both satisfied with our efforts. The trick is to know when to help, and when to give her free rein. She prefers to do things by herself, however, if she gets frustrated, she is often tempted to forego the utensil and work with her hands. It's messy but it's fun.
Rebecca has quite long hair now, but since it curls so much, it is hard to tell. Also, she has developed a tendency to run her food-covered hands through her hair at the end of a meal. This makes for crunchy hair and very frequent baths.
Our Becca-boo still loves bottles (any kind), shoes, bags (any kind - no matter how heavy, she will try to abscond them), books (as mentioned), and regrettably, the garbage can.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The internet has failed me!

Or maybe it's just that the poor workman blames his tools.

Rebecca has developed a weird problem and I can't seem to find anything about it online. I am shocked and frustrated. I think part of the difficulty lies with the keywords I must use.

Basically, as of a few days ago, Rebecca has started peeing on the change mat when we change her diaper. It has happened enough times now that it can be called a trend. I don't know why she is doing this. This kind of behaviour is understandable and common in newborns - but not in a 13-month old. Frankly, I think she was a newborn the last time this happened. At any rate, she doesn't seem to be in pain or otherwise disturbed. There are no behavioural or physical clues to help me in my deductive journey.

So, I am left to venture forth with such keywords as "baby" or "13 month old" or "toddler", and combinations of urination words and indicators of unusual behaviour. What does this net me on the net? A plethora of complaints about house pets who do not house train properly, endless sites concerning the toilet-training of toddlers, and innumerable tales of newborn elimination woes (my sympathies - I've lived the liquid poo nightmare).

As for my amateur opinion... I do not think the problem is rooted in some physical ailment. I am inclined to believe this is some sort of freaky toddler behavioural display. If only I could figure out her motivation! If only she spoke English! (Right now, she's like a sound clip from the Tower of Babel - except when Greg runs into the video store and she reaches towards him crying "Da da!" in plaintive tones, which I feel is crystal clear communication).

The big emotional theme of this particular age is: me first! This is paired with the peak of separation anxiety. Could this be a bid for attention? Could this be testing our limits to see what types of behaviour are acceptable and what types of behaviour are not acceptable? Is it just a case of bad timing? (At this point, statistics would suggest otherwise). Is this how she expressed her sense of humour? If I analyze problems for a living, should I be able to figure this one out? (Is it time to craft an Action Plan and an Issue Analysis Summary?!?!).

Tomorrow is my day home with Rebecca - we shall see what insights I can garner.

On another note, kudos for Greg! I love reading your posts - especially in a spare moment at work. It makes me feel more connected to what's going home while I'm working for "The Man". You have an incredible way of capturing the parenting experience - your words really do it justice. I think I often go the pedantic route with posts (although I aim for humour too), and miss the mark on the emotional topics. I especially loved what you said about comforting Becca in the middle of the night. I can't wait to read more!!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Perfect moments

The last few years have seen a bunch of momentous moments in my life. Ordered in terms of emotional impact:
  • Getting my pilot's license/taking my wife flying for the first time
  • Getting married
  • Rebecca's birth
These were all pretty big deals. They each triggered a flood of different emotions which changed how I feel about myself and my life.

But in some ways, there's a purity to being up late at night, and being able to soothe Rebecca back to sleep when she wakes up crying. It's relaxing, satisfying and comfortable. There's a sense of singular purpose, and there's never anything I'd rather be doing or somewhere else I'd rather be. It can wait. Rebecca needs to be comforted.

To be someone she trusts so implicitly is gratifying. When she settles, I feel like a hero, in my own little way. It's something which I feel like an expert at. Sure, other people may be as good at it (Madeleine, obviously), but you can easily imagine that no one could be better.

In that moment I can take a deep breath, feel Rebecca's heartbeat and warmth on my chest, and believe that I (can be / am being / will continue to be) a good father. Nothing makes me feel so secure.

The same secure feeling I remember getting when cuddled by my parents when I was younger and the world seemed so big.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Getting back into the swing of things

Well the holiday season is officially over. Mom's back to work, the Christmas lights have been taken down. Ok, we still have to take down the Christmas tree, but Rebecca never seemed to pay it much attention.

Christmas and New Year's Eve were lots of fun for everyone, and the family time spent together over the last week and a half was wonderful. That being said, this was all kind of disruptive to routines. Rebecca's bedtime has migrated a little later than we'd like it, which pushes back wakeup time, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the naps are sort of on a demand basis at the moment. Putting her down when she's just not tired doesn't seem to be too effective.

She's been waking up at night a little more often than we'd like, as well. We've been trying to cut out the midnight snacks. I've been thinking an evening snack with something solid (slower to digest?) might hold her better through the night. Either that, or get her bed time close enough to dinner time... As it stands, she's awake for another 3+ hours after her dinner time.

It seems that she's teething her first molars. This may account for some of the late night cuddle therapy necessity.

I had a dream last night that I got a good look at Rebecca's mouth while she was yawning and she had all her teeth except for her canines. Dare to dream.