Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Babies learn scary fast

This week has been a productive one for Miss Em. On Sunday she not only learned to clap on command and perfected her response to "How big's Emmy?" (the answer..."So big!", which is expressed by throwing both arms into the air and grinning from ear to ear), she took her first step! We were over at Grammy and Grampy's house for our St. Patrick's day dinner, and she was standing up holding onto their humidifier and trying to disassemble it. I sat down on the floor next to her, and she let go, stood there unsupported for awhile, then took a step towards me! Of course on the next step she just fell forward into my arms, but there was one official, solid step in there!

We also went on a jog on Sunday, and she wore her little pink snowsuit for the first time, an adorable first that I can't help posting a picture of:

Then today, at my friend Mandy's suggestion, I went out and got her some "Lil' Dippers", which are innovative feeding utensils that help babies learn how to self-feed (so says the Gerbert website). They're like little blunted forks that eliminate the need for all the fancy maneuvering that makes spoons so inconvenient.

I sat Emily down with a Lil' Dipper and some mashed up sweet potatoes and she quickly grasped the concept.  I wasn't surprised that she understood to eat food off the dipper, I was surprised that within 2-3 demonstrations, she grasped the concept of dipping the utensil into the food and then bringing it to her mouth.  So what if she just slammed the thing sideways into her bowl, she was still dipping it into the food, then bringing it to her mouth!

I found that it worked best if I had her dual wield two dippers at once, that way her free hand couldn't sneak into the food and wreak havoc.  That girl put away over half of a sweet potato though, and she hasn't been too fond of sweet potatoes of late:


Yes, I did forget to put a bib on her.  But luckily it's not too difficult to clean her up, since by some miracle, my daughter knows how to use a fingerbowl.  All I need to do is place a bowl of warm water on her tray, and she'll daintily dip first one, then the other hand in it and swirl them around a bit to clean them off.  My daughter's like, totally classy and stuff.

I'm just excited to be getting to the point in parenthood where I really feel like I'm teaching my child something!  When you first bring your baby home, you sometimes feel like you're just putting food into this creature and removing the food once they're finished with it over and over, simply keeping them alive until they become a person.  You still love your little screaming baby, but when they get a little older and more interactive it's much more rewarding.

But with the rewards come the difficult decisions.  For example, Emily is invited to a birthday party this week.  I still can't decide whether or not I should give her a bite of cake...she hasn't had any sugar or junk food whatsoever yet, and I always kind of thought her first sugar would be in her own birthday cake.  I also always said to myself "I'm not going to be one of those mothers who sends healthy alternatives with my child to birthday parties, a little sugar now and then won't kill them".  However, in that scenario I always pictured a 5 year old child, I never thought about the possibility of having to decide such things when she is only 10 months old!

Likewise, we recently decided not to accompany Will's family on their cruise around Alaska for Christina's graduation.  All along, we had said we would go.  We really wanted to go, and we figured it would be a pain with a baby, but we could make it work.  But as it turns out, we would be boarding the cruise in Anchorage, not in Vancouver, which makes a big difference.  There are direct flights to Vancouver from our area, and while a 6 hour flight wouldn't be preferable, it would be doable.  But there are no direct flights to Anchorage, which is further away anyway, and we just couldn't commit to spending 12 hours trying to restrain a child who has recently learned to walk.  It just wouldn't be fair.  Added to that would be the 5 nights of eating in the cruise ship dining rooms with a baby, and my stomach just formed knots every time I thought about it.  We had to back out, and it's quite a disappointment, but it was the right thing to do.

Probably the most difficult decision we've made as parents has been to vaccinate selectively and on a delayed schedule.  I've done quite a bit of research and truly believe this is the best course of action, but it's still scary, and it's all on us as the parents!  What if Emily somehow comes down with something before she gets the vaccine for it and we could have prevented it?  What if, even though we are being as careful as we can, she has some reaction to a vaccine that we are really only getting for her because she needs it to get into public school and if we really fought it, we could probably have her exempted from?

I should be grateful that I haven't had MORE difficult decisions so far, like some mothers out there.  Decisions like whether or not to have a surgery performed on my baby or which course of treatment to choose for an illness.  But even though we've had a remarkably easy go of things so far, it's still difficult and I imagine it will only get moreso as the years go on.

No comments: