Saturday, May 18, 2013

a year of firsts

has it been a year already?

before lulu was born, i had serious fears that i would never love this child as much as i love gracie.  how in the world could THIS baby be even half as amazing as my sweet doodlebug?  would i neglect this baby because gracie was so much cooler?  would i love gracie less because i only have so much love and attention to give to my children?

boy, was i wrong.  if i've learned anything this past year, it's that the human heart is capable of INFINITE love.  and though my attention has definitely been divided, my love for each of them is equally as deep.  how is that possible?

i will admit, though, that my attention to them has definitely been compromised. i feel like baby #2 is growing up faster than baby #1, because i now have TWO children to pay attention to, so i'm missing out on something somewhere almost all the time.  plus, baby #2 is watching what baby #1 is doing, so she learns a lot faster (which is amazing because i swear i haven't taught lulu a damn thing all year -- i'm just too busy! -- but somehow she's meeting all of her milestones way ahead than gracie did when she was a baby).

my precocious lulu.  turning over at 6 weeks. sitting up at 3 months. solid foods at 4 1/2 months.  crawling at 6 months.  walking at 9 months.  RUNNING at 10 months.  talking at 11 months.

her first sentence at 11 months:  "mama!  ah duh!  gooooo!  mama goooo! ah duh!"  (she was all done at the thrift store and REALLY wanted to leave.  like, adamantly.  but instead of crying, she just said this sentence over and over.  what a bright child!)

her first food at 4 1/2 months was organic, local sweet potatoes, licked off of a spatula.  (actually, her first food was breastmilk.  her second food was sweet potatoes.)

her first steps at 9 months were taken at gracie's taekwondo studio.  just up and walked.  there was no thinking, or practicing, or whatever.  she just up and walked one day, and that was the end of it.  (she got sick with a bad fever for a week shortly thereafter, and then we went on a trip to louisiana for a week, so she kind of forgot.  but the moment we got home, she walked again.)

she loves books.  she loves toddling into her room, sitting down in front of the bookshelf, and grabbing a book to flip through.  she doesn't rip the pages, or eat the covers.  she's very gentle and curious about turning the pages.

she loves music.  ALL children love music, but this one in particular has shown a great aptitude for rhythm and tone.  she learned how to clap her hands very early on (maybe at 8 months old?) and loves clapping whenever she has an excuse to.  i love when other people are clapping for someone, for a job well done, and lulu (not really paying attention to what just happened of course) will drop what she's doing and start clapping too.  or, for example, if gracie goes down the slide and i say "way to go, gracie!  yay!"  then lulu will stop mid-stride and clap her hands for gracie who just went down the slide.  she does this for everyone all the time always.  so sweet.  ...  back to music: she LOVES music.  seriously LOVES it.  there was a time when i couldn't sing her a lullaby to get to sleep, because she would instead tune into the tone and the rhythm and pay attention to the music instead of sleeping.  i'd instead just have to whisper to her, "shhhh. mama's here.  shhhh.  mama's here," over and over.  i can finally sing to her now, but it's only one song in particular:

hush a bye, don't you cry
go to sleep little baby
when you wake you shall have
all the pretty little horses

if we ever can't get lulu to settle down, we'll play music for her.  if it's loud enough to be heard over her crying, she will almost instantly quiet down to pay attention.  eventually she will fall asleep, but it's only because she's EXHAUSTED (which is what made her cry in the first place), and not because the music lulled her to sleep.  

we've got her in the early childhood music program at UNT on saturday mornings, and boy does she love that!  the interesting thing, though, is that when she sits on my lap and faces me, she LOVES this class.  giggling, happy, clapping hands, etc.  but when she sits on my lap and faces the rest of the circle of children, she studies them and pays attention to what's going on.  then the shakers and drumsticks come out, and that's it -- she will NOT give up her egg shaker unless you pry it out of her hand at the end of class.  she doesn't do the interpretive scarf dance very well, either, because she's still busy with her shaker.

speaking of dancing, lulu loves her little baby dolls and stuffed animals.  she has two care bears that she adores.  we think she picked up on this baby doll obsession because she's the oldest baby in her classroom right now.  so all day long, she walks around patting the babies, or rubbing the babies, or talking to the babies, or loving the babies.  one day she discovered this baby doll at the house (i think maybe i introduced it to her??  it was one i bought for gracie when we lived in holland -- she never showed any interest in it but i kept it just in case).  and ever since then, all you have to say is "lulu, where's your baby?" and she'll drop everything to go in search of her baby.  or her care bear, whichever she's in the mood for.  and she'll find the baby, and pick up the baby, and pat the baby, and hug the baby, and then dance with the baby, and then bring the baby over to her swing (which she has been too big for for a long time now), and swing the baby, and tuck the baby in, and love the baby.  IT'S SO FREAKING CUTE I CAN'T STAND IT.

lulu also loves vacuuming, doing laundry, and helping with the dishes.  she'll close the washing machine door and stand there to watch the clothes swirling about.  she loves taking silverware out of the dishwasher (usually when they're still dirty) and licking them.  that part's gross, but i appreciate her interest in helping out.  and if you ever need to know where lulu is in the house, just turn on the little purple vacuum cleaner.  she'll come tearing out of whatever room she's been in and make sure that you let her use the vacuum cleaner too.

her first word (after sign language) was GO!  if she hears the back door open, she'll run as fast as she can (and lordy is she fast) to the door, yelling "a go! a go! a go!" waving her arm bye-bye, and trying to get out the door before you close it behind you.  if you DO happen to close the door before she can get there, she'll stand on the other side and CRY so hard!  most of the time, though, you can't close the door fast enough (because that child is quick!) and she's crawling down the little step into the garage and tearing down the driveway out to the street just as fast as her little feet can carry her.  she may look like adam, but she's got my personality: any chance to get out of the house and GO, she's all for it!!

and we're still, gratefully, thankfully, gladly going strong on the breastfeeding.  we had a really rough start at first, and after a week i finally caved and got a lactation consultant to help us figure out what was going on.  but now that child won't quit!  all i have to do is sit down on the couch and she'll attack me until i nurse her.  but what i love is when i just call out to her, "lulu, do you want some milk?"  crash! bang!  drop everything you're doing and bulldoze your way over to mom QUICK!  i can't get my shirt up fast enough, she's whining and clawing and sucking on my arm or neck or whatever trying to get to the milk.  it's amazing, and hilarious, and really reassuring considering all the struggles we had that first week.  i swear the child will be nursing until she's in kindergarten.  i have no idea how i'll be able to wean her.  she's addicted, that's all there is to it.

there's so much more to share.  and if you can't tell, it's been just shy of a year since the last time i blogged.  wanna know why?  i'm totally busy with my two little girls.  i feel bad i'm not documenting my time with lulu the way i was able to with gracie, but i hope at least that the adventures we're on together, and the fun times we're having as a family will make up for all the missed blogging opportunities.  that child has kept me on my toes, that's for sure.  and i have loved every exhausting minute of it.

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