baby tricks

Addie is super excited to be here!

I lied. THIS will be my last post as a Mom of one.  I was going through some photos and wanted to post these here before I forgot about them in post-baby mania or they got too old.  And then I also might shut up about how much Addie loves gymnastics.  It almost makes me sad that she’s destined to be 6 feet tall.

Waiting with Dad.

These were taken at a class a few weeks ago.  One that, luckily, Scott was able to attend.  It thrilled Addie to have her Dad there watching her class.  Addie has been an absolute joy lately.  I think she senses that something is about to change in our lives, or maybe I just have more patience in these last few weeks alone with her.  She really turns every day, every little task or outing, into a special occasion.  Her excitement for little things – like going to the grocery store where she’ll get a balloon, or heading to the library where she’ll get to play a game on the computer – makes our boring little stay-at-home world that much more fun.  It’s the kind optimism that only the very young have and the rest of us wish we could get back.  I only hope that she’s as excited to share in these mundane tasks with her little sis. 

She really is as high as she looks. She wouldn't even put that harness on 8 weeks ago.

We’ve been lucky.  I mean yes, of course, we’re lucky in so many areas of our life, we have our health and a roof above our heads and all of those big things that are so easy to take for granted.  But we’ve been lucky when it comes to Addison.  As precocious as she is, there are some things she hasn’t picked up on that other kids her age may be doing with some regularity.  Bed time, for instance.  Addison never resists going to bed or taking a nap.  She simply grabs her army of baby dolls and heads upstairs.  There’s never an argument.  There are no negotiations.  Addie actually likes her bed and dives out of my arms to get into it every night.   I’m knocking furiously on the weather beaten wood planks of my back deck as I write that statement.

Another skill that Addison hasn’t yet mastered is opening doors.  We’re not sure why Addie can’t turn a door knob and push all at the same time, but we’re not rushing to teach her.  We keep our outside doors locked at the deadbolt  because we know it’s only a matter of time until she masters the doorknob.  Addie frequently does pull-ups on door knobs, hanging off of them with her knees pulled up to her chest like she’s at the gym, but she never actually gets the door to open.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s one multi-tasking skill that can wait until college.

One of the biggest mistakes I make in our day to day lives is telling Addison we’re going to do something when I’m not actually ready to do it at that precise moment.  If I tell her we’re going  somewhere in the car but I am not, at that moment, ready to leave, she stands at the garage door yelling until I get my act together.  If I put her shoes on in the house and we don’t have plans to go out, it’s a safe bet we’ll be taking a walk around the block.  To Addison, wearing shoes is a sign that she’s going somewhere fun.  I’ve learned to have myself completely ready, shoes on, keys in hand, diaper bag by the door before I even mention that we have somewhere to go.  Sometimes she’s so eager to get out of the house that I don’t even get socks on her until she’s strapped into her carseat.

This morning, I changed Addie’s diaper, dressed her in play clothes and told her we’d go out in the back yard.  But I  still had to get my own shoes.  And a drink.  And oops, I needed to grab something from the garage.  This was too much for Addison.  Instead of standing by the back door and whining, like she would normally do, she decided to handle it herself.  She pushed her little red chair into the kitchen, stood on it, unlocked the deadbolt and opened the door.  I walked into the kitchen just in time to see her climbing off the chair and stepping out onto the patio.

My life is over.

Potty training is something I promised myself I would never blog about.  Don’t worry, I won’t post pictures of her sitting on the can or – ew – posing next to her first poop a la Jon and Kate + 8.  But apparently I’m not above describing the whole process.

We bought Addie a potty three weeks ago.  She’s only 15  months old so we thought is was a bit early, but there’s no harm in just having it around.  It’s not like we were planning to stop buying Pampers anytime soon.  Our pediatrician told us that this was actually a good age to introduce the potty without a lot of pressure.

We put the pretty pink potty in our bathroom and would let Addie sit on it while we were in there.  We started introducing the terminology so she knew what it was and could identify it.  I’ll hand her toilet paper while she sits there which, up until a few days ago, she used to blow her nose.  We’ve been taking it really slow.  Partially because we don’t want to scare her and make her resistant to potty training and partially because I have no desire for her to grow up.  If I could get away with swaddling her right now, I totally would.

So this morning when she interrupted her coloring session and ran over to the bathroom door, I thought she just wanted to play with the toilet paper.  I opened the door and she immediately sat on her potty.  I took her diaper off and seconds later I heard a little tinkle.  Addie stood up and turned around to inspect her work but her concentration was broken by me jumping up and down squealing.  I never in my life thought I would be so happy about another human being’s bladder function.

Addison is expanding her vocabulary.  Well, not really expanding it as far as being able to form words, but using more creative ways to communicate with us.  We’ve been teaching her the sign for the word ‘more’ for what feels like years now.  I don’t know  exactly why we chose ‘more’.  Probably because it’s one of the easier signs and probably because I can never quite tell when she’s finished eating or drinking or if she want’s more.  When Addison hit 9 months old she not only became more mobile but she seemed to have a heightened awareness of her surroundings.  She also very suddenly had strong feelings about her wants and needs.  This mostly translated into her screaming for something and me running around offering her different things (toys, snacks, drinks, electronics) until I finally figured out what she wanted and the screaming stopped.  I wish I were joking.  She would stand in the middle of the room yelling and I would run around her until I found the thing that would appease her.  A frustrating exercise to be sure. I though that being able to sign ‘more’,  ‘finished‘ and ‘drink‘ (milk) would help ease some of Addison’s frustrations in communicating with us.

We worked to teach her these signs by consistently signing whenever the word came up.  Except, I wasn’t always consistent and I think sometimes I confused her.  Regardless, she not only caught on to the sign for ‘more’ but she actually started verbally saying the word.  I figured that the other words would soon follow but that never happened.  Now everything is ‘more’.  Sitting in her high chair with a full tray of food?  ‘More’ means she’s finished and wants to get down.  Hanging out on the couch watching the Imagination Movers?  ‘More’ means she wants a drink.  Getting dressed in the morning?  ‘More’ means leave me the hell alone Mommy!  Now Addie is signing ‘more’ for just about everything.  We’re still in that pattern of her not being able to communicate with us but, thankfully, instead of screaming at me until I figure out what she wants, she just walks around slamming her fists together in psuedo-sign language.

Last week while shopping at Target I gave Addison a juice box right from a package off of the shelf.  Normally, I would avoid opening packages and letting my child consume something en route to the register but I left her sippy cup at home and I was planning on buying the juice anyway.  Besides, having a drink and a cracker while strolling through Target is kind of her thing, so I made an exception.  Addie goes crazy over juice boxes because they’re fun to hold and squeeze but also because I usually water down the juice that goes  in her sippy cup.  She gets 3 parts water and 1 part juice.  When she finally gets her hands on pure juice she can’t drink it fast enough.

Addie chugged her juice box and by the time we reached the next aisle she tossed it over her shoulder into the back of the carriage as if she were at a kegger and was disposing of the beer can she just crushed on her forehead.  I tried to busy myself  and ignore it by staring intently at the cracker selection because I knew what was coming.  Once I made eye contact she gave me a sweet look and signed ‘more’.  By the time I hit the diaper aisle she was signing with a bit more frequency.  “More…more?….more?!?”  And then it got a little louder and a little more frantic, “MORE….MORE!”  By the time the registers were in our sights she was wailing “MORE!  MORE!  MOOOOOOORRRREEE…” while sobbing, her body limp against the seat of the carriage.

Screaming babies in Target don’t phase me unless it’s my baby doing the screaming.  The thought of my child having a public melt down makes me freeze on the spot.  It’s just not something I’ve ever dealt with very well.  It brings me back to that newborn phase when every time she started to cry, I thought, ‘This will be the one that will push her over the edge and she will never stop crying.’  My very first solo outing with Addison was to the grocery store and it ended with both of us in tears in the produce department because Addie cried and another shopper looked at me. Judging my parenting skills, or lake thereof, I was sure.

That day in Target brought me right back.  I almost abandoned my carriage right there in the aisle, ten feet from the cash register, to flee from the store.  Instead, I got my head on straight and figured out that the easiest way to make it stop – “it”, being my worst nightmare, a public tantrum – was to just give the kid another  damn juice box.  I’m so screwed when she gets to high school.  That second juice box appeased her through check out and right up until I strapped her into her car seat when the signing and pleas for more started up again.  What she hasn’t figured out yet is that I’m immune to screaming in the car because it’s just the two of us and I control the volume on the stereo.  What I haven’t  figured out is that why I’m still giving her juice boxes.

Addie has always been a climber.  Even as a newborn she would try to scale my shoulder for a better look at what was on the other side.  It should come as no surprise that as soon as she could crawl she was trying to get up the stairs, or that she mastered climbing onto the couch so quickly.  We’ve been spending a lot of time at the playground lately and Addison has had a lot of practice climbing the steps and ladders(!).

One day earlier this week after Addie had finished her breakfast, she was playing by my feet in the kitchen.  I got up from my chair to refill my coffee and when I came back she was sitting in the middle of the breakfast table.    Sitting on the table with my shopping list in one hand and pen in the other like it was her job.  Because someone has to pick up Momma’s slack during coffee break.  Addison takes on every task, no matter how small, like it’s her job.

Now, after every meal all of the chairs get pushed back from the table and set against the wall.  Yes, she can still climb on them, but at least she’s not putting her grubby feet where I eat my oatmeal.

For her next trick, she’ll climb the Christmas tree.  I saw her eyeing it up this morning.

When you have a dog who doesn’t bark, your baby is a little slower than the rest to get that dogs are supposed to say “Woof.” For now Addison will just pant like him.

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