The last full update was just after Parker’s first birthday, I know. My work life is very busy in the summer and I’d rather be enjoying what little free time I get than sitting at my computer blogging. No apologies there.
Plus, after the first year kids stop the rapid transformation stuff so posting every month wouldn’t be very interesting for anyone except maybe the grandparents. I’ll post when I can about what I can. The posts will be longer too so, get comfortable … The Biscuit just had her 15-month checkup.
Current stats: 32 inches long; 23 pounds, 2.5 ounces. The chub is long gone and she’s getting taller overnight, it seems.
Tooth count: 12.5 (4 up top with a canine on the way, 4 on the bottom, 4 molars in the back)
New tricks: Using a fork (for stabbing food) and a spoon (for flinging food in the general direction of her mouth).
Words: boo-boo, arm, hop, clock, flop, baby, teeth and everything is “mama” right now (even her)
END OF AN ERA
We’re done with bottles! After we introduced the sippy cup at about 9 months, we snuck in a straw cup here and there and taught her to hold them herself. After her first birthday, we substituted one bottle a day for a cup and, just last week, we made the switch to only cups. So far so good on that. The straw cups are supposed to be better for oral/speech development so we’re making those the primary liquid delivery system now.
We have learned, unfortunately, that Parker is allergic to peanuts. We suspected something was up when she broke out in hives after eating some Thai food. Then I gave her peanut butter on toast for breakfast. Result? Disaster! Hives, vomiting, swollen lips and eyes. It was terrible. We got her tested at her 15-month checkup and, yup, the only thing she’s allergic to is peanuts. They’re not actually nuts, by the way. Peanuts are legumes. Look it up.
No one really knows why but peanut allergies are on the rise. That makes life a tiny bit easier since most restaurants know how to handle them. Food manufacturers are required to label their products, too. While she’s at home with us, we can manage the allergy. The scary times start once she’s in school and we have to educate other people (and sticky-fingered children) about it.
On a scale of nonexistent to severe, her numbers were on the lower end but her pediatrician told us to carry a portable shot of epinephrine with us at all times in case of accidental exposure. For now, the only treatment is avoiding anything with peanuts. More information can be found on the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network website.
It took her a lot longer than we thought but the kid is finally walking. She got the hang of it right at 14 months and this past month has seen her practicing a ton and getting better and better at it. She can carry (and inevitably discard) things all over the house now. She bends down to pick things up and can right herself quickly when she takes a tumble.
Shoes are a real thing now instead of just a tiny bit of cuteness. Since I have more shoes than I probably should, I predict she will have quite the collection of footwear soon.
While I was in Chicago celebrating my birthday with a friend, Andy took Parker to Virginia to visit his grandparents. While they were there, Aunt Marty taught Parker how to climb the stairs at their house. Back home, the stairs are where the party is and she wants to be on them all the time. She can’t walk up them but she insists on crawling up instead of being carried. She’s pretty fast on the stairs that have carpet but the hardwood sets require more care. She’s cautious and I’m ok that it takes her a while to get up those.
The stair action means we finally had to put up legit baby gates. We put one set three steps up so she can practice going up and down without fear of her seriously hurting herself when she falls.
We’re raising Parker in what can be referred to as “the French style.” Basically, we (1) recognize that we need a life outside of the baby. (2) We give her a lot of room within a framework of expectations, but within those boundaries, there is a lot of freedom. (3) We believe that Parker can figure things out for herself and, ultimately, she’ll make her own choices. Good or bad she’ll have to learn from the consequences of those choices.
It sounds fancy but it’s really just common sense. For example, I know I’m a better mother when I’ve had some time away from my child. So, we hire babysitters when we need to or we each ask for me-time as needed. That’s easy and I will never understand parents who don’t do that.
The Biscuit doesn’t get gross “kid food” which would force us to cook two dinners and create a picky eater. She eats what we eat and we already have a kid who seems to really like fancy vegetables (beets, asparagus, edamame, portobello mushrooms) and rejects marshmallows, blueberries and ice cream (I’ll fix the latter).
Finally, we encourage her to play by herself. She has the run of the entire first floor of our house. She can open kitchen cabinets (everything dangerous has been moved), hang out on the 3 steps she’s allowed, pull books off the shelves and flip through them. All without our interference. If she gets into trouble, we’re obviously nearby but she’s left alone to make her own choices.
We talk to Parker like the capable human that she is. I like to think that we’re exchanging ideas with her and providing her the means to develop her sense of self while giving her tools to make good choices. We’ll see how we feel about that when she’s a mouthy teenager.
All that said, our dream baby is definitely asserting herself more and more each day. She lets us know when she’s unhappy with us by yelling or literally shaking her fist. She delicately drops food on the floor that she doesn’t want to eat while looking me square in the eye. She flails around in protest at times and, when she’s walking outside, she gets upset if she can’t navigate. We’re raising her to be independent so, I suppose, it’s natural for her to reject boundaries. But our authority trumps her outrage. She might be able to feel injustice now but it isn’t going to get her what she wants. Andy actually said the words “you are not in charge” to Parker recently. While I know she understands a lot of what we say, that bit might not be getting through yet.
I can also tell that she’s getting frustrated by her inability to communicate at times. She knows what she is trying to say and it must be maddening when we can’t understand. Truthfully, I have little patience for it myself. I want her to be able to tell me what she wants as badly as she wants me to understand. Crying as a form of communication is very hard for me but I’m trying to work through it.
What I cannot abide is hitting. She hit me out of anger recently and, when she got a stern “NO!” and a sharp pop on the back of her hand, she was visibly startled. She looked at me like “Who the hell do you think you are?” which is exactly the same look I was probably giving her. Then came the tears. I felt bad for a second but it passed. Discipline is not something we have a solid plan for yet but I realize now it HAS TO BE part of the conversations.
We’ve had good fun outside this summer. Parker has walked barefoot in the grass, swum in one of the city pools, enjoyed free frozen yogurt, entertained baby friends on the deck, and much time has been spent playing at many parks. As much as I hate the thought, winter is coming. I’ll have to learn how to play in the snow with her, I think, and find entertaining things to do inside. Before that, though, there will be piles of leaves to fall into, toss and crunch around in. That should be good fun.