On a recent visit with Pumpkin’s grandmother, “Mimi,” we drove the car past the scene of an accident where there were several fire engines and ambulances. Mimi said, “holy cow!” and Pumpkin looked all around and said, “where’s the cow?” She heard us all laughing and it must have registered in her mind that it was funny because a few more times that weekend she looked around with a big smile on her face and asked, “where’s the cow?” 🙂 It’s funny how many expressions we use without thinking about the actual meaning of the words until there’s a two year old listening.
Pumpkin is not even eleven months old yet and I can say with complete certainty that there is no way that she will change in any other year of her life as much as she has the first year. In just eleven months she has grown from a tiny little peanut who slept all day and couldn’t hold up her head into a strong-willed, babbling, walking, observant, funny, playful little person who knows what she wants, knows who her parents are, waves and claps for everybody, and moves furniture around. Yes, my daughter is fanatical about furniture placement. She apparently decided that she didn’t like the location of the (large, heavy, wooden) toy chest in her playroom, so she slid it across the room and turned it 180 degrees. I’ve seen her at daycare sliding chairs across the room. Just the other day when I dropped her off she started in with the chairs and one of the teachers said “there she goes, rearranging the furniture again.” Last week I noticed that her crib at daycare was in a different location, and none of the others had moved. I didn’t even bother to ask what had happened. Knowing Pumpkin, she probably felt there was a problem in one of the adjacent cribs (i.e. a snoring baby, somebody who tried to take her snack….that sort of thing) and at the first opportunity she dragged her crib a few feet away to prove a point. Who knew eleven months ago that she would be doing all these things?? And who knew I’d be walking around the house, pushing on all of our furniture to see how heavy it is to make sure we don’t have to worry about Pumpkin rearranging our living room?
Pumpkin goes to daycare two days a week and the other day when I picked her up one of the teacher’s aides was changing her diaper. I asked if she squirms around on the table when they change her. She said no, and I commented “that’s strange – I had to move her changing pad from the top of the dresser to the floor because she moves around so much when I change her.” The head teacher heard the conversation and said “well they all have home behavior and then there’s school behavior and often they’re different.” Hmm… so why exactly then is she more difficult to handle with me? Is it because she sees the daycare teachers more as authority figures because she doesn’t know them as well? Or because she knows I love her unconditionally so it’s her chance to express herself? Or is it because she knows we have fun together and she thinks that I’ll think it’s funny if she crawls off at lightening speed before I can put a diaper back on her? (grrrr… it was funny the first time but not so much now) I’ll bet she doesn’t bite them either. (They used to feel like sweet kisses to me but then she grew teeth :)). And she probably doesn’t try to pull their hair. Gosh, what am I doing wrong? Well at least I know that her most amazing, loving hugs are reserved for mommy and daddy, so I guess I can live with the rest.
It is so fun to watch Pumpkin’s fascination with the littlest things that we don’t even think about any more. Just today she put her hand into her bowl of cottage cheese and when she took it out, she kept looking at the little pieces that were stuck to her fingers. What was she thinking? Was she curious why they were stuck to her hand? Was she wondering why mommy was feeding her little white blobs? She likes to hold her bottle when there’s just a little left in it and swirl it around. Is she wondering why she can’t reach in and grab it? And why it only comes out of the squishy top? I think she’s even starting to understand when she sees her shadow that she’s the one making it move. I love watching her eyes move back and forth from her waving hand to the shadow of her waving hand, and realizing how her mind is putting the pieces together to try to make sense of it.
Now I really understand what people mean when they talk about seeing the world through a child’s eyes. It has made me realize somewhat sadly that this joy of discovery seems to happen less and less often as we get older, but on a happy note, that’s okay because I’m having a wonderful time doing it again through Pumpkin.
It gets better every day! Pumpkin is nine months now and she is changing so fast. Gone are the baby-in-a-bucket days when she stays put in mommy or daddy’s locale of choice. Now she can crawl across a room in no time at all. She pulls herself up to standing position at every opportunity. She can stand on her own for a few seconds, and we’re sure she’ll be taking her first steps very soon since she always seems to have places to go and people to meet.
This really magical time started when she was around eight months old. She became very interactive and so much fun. She started waving hello to people (and things!), and clapping when she was happy or proud. It used to be that I loved spending time with her simply because I loved her but now there is the awesome bonus that she is has a great sense of humor. She laughs when we play tug-of-war with her socks (which are never on her feet despite my best efforts), she thinks it’s so funny when we put different toys in the mailbox of her play house, and she crawls on me and plant big juicy kisses on my face while she laughs. She thinks sunglasses and hats are hilarious and she gives a big belly laugh when she sees us putting them on and taking them off again. I think it makes her whole day to pull a baseball hat off mommy or daddy’s head. She’s sneaky, too. She knows we don’t want her to touch the air vent on the floor in her playroom, so she’ll start crawling away from it to throw us off, and then when she thinks the coast is clear she’ll suddenly turn and race toward the vent. (Yeah, I know you’re thinking sure, it’s funny now, but not so funny when she’s a teenager sneaking off with the car!)
It’s hard to believe it can get much better than this, but every day it seems that she does something new and finds a way to amaze us even more. I always knew of course that I would love my child, but I didn’t realize how much fun I would have with her along the way.
I can’t wait to hear Pumpkin say “mommy!” (or “mama” or, heck, even “mmm” would have me running for the video camera!) She is a great babbler and makes lots of ba-ba sounds which seems to be a step in the right direction toward ma-ma (and, okay, also toward da-da). So… I try to encourage this by using lot of words that start with “b.” Just the other day we were waiting in line at the (very quiet) library and I realized how ridiculous I must sound to people who don’t have kids – “honey, you’re a b-b-beautiful b-b-baby and when we get home I’ll give you a b-b-banana in a b-b-bowl and then we can read the b-b-book about the b-b-butterflies….” Well, it just seems to me that she must be so frustrated not being able to talk! She seems to be bursting with personality – she gets so enthusiastic about things and makes these wonderful excited sounds – but I can only imagine it must be frustrating for her to not be able to say what she thinks. I wonder if she thinks she’s talking to us. We do respond back with similar sounds so it is interactive (much to daddy’s dismay when Pumpkin starts with high squeaky sounds and I respond in kind and it goes back and forth getting higher and higher). We have lots of exchanges like that and sometimes afterwards I wonder what she thinks we just talked about. Maybe in a few years she’ll say “mommy, remember the time you promised me I could have a pony…?” 🙂
We’ve passed the six month mark so we’re onto solid foods for the little munchkin! So far we’ve gone orange and tried carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. The first two selections didn’t go too well (those meals were the first time we’ve seen her make a “what the $#@*! is this?!” face) but she seemed somewhat interested in the squash. After a few days of squash we’ll move onto something green and see how that color goes. I have green beans and peas in the queue. I’m starting to hint to my husband that I need a food processor for Christmas, since I hear all the time how easy it is to make the baby food. I’ve never been much of a cook, but I think I should be able to handle meals that have only one ingredient. Learning about a baby’s nutritional needs and watching this little pumpkin eat, grow and thrive is making me so much more aware of the importance of good, healthy food. I’m a long way from going completely organic and don’t plan to start making all of my food from scratch anytime soon, but when I shop now I find myself thinking if I wouldn’t give it to my child, why am I buying it for myself? Usually that does the trick, and I’ve actually lost a few pounds over the past few weeks… although somehow a bag of Oreos made its way home in one of my grocery bags today so I guess I’m still easing into a healthy food routine. 🙂