I cannot believe it’s been almost a year. In one week, my little baby will turn one. Some things haven’t changed at all (like the fact I wrote that sentence and then had to pat her back to sleep for 20 minutes). Others are radically different: she’s almost walking; she has about five clear signs and vocalises vociferously; she points at what she wants; and she now throws a mean tantrum with serious intent.
As with many of these growth spurts, it all seems to happen at once. One minute you’re happily playing peek-a-boo with your mostly stationary child, the next there’s been a firmware upgrade and you’re playing clapping games while your child stands in front of you unsupported, then sits down, turns around, and wanders off when bored.
In our case, the marriage of hand co-ordination and linguistic comprehension has meant that in the last two weeks alone, our daughter has started to clap with intent in response to “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands” rather than the random and occasional thing it was before; to wave “bye bye” when someone says it; to sign “mama” in Auslan in response to “Where’s Mama?” or “Say ‘Mama'”; the sign “all done” and say “ah dah” as she does it; to sign “up” even more clearly now accompanied with (at least once) a long, drawn out “aaaaaahhhhhhp”; and to communicate fairly consistently when she needs to poo (unfortunately, we used the grunt-and-ssss method of encouragement for elimination communication, so “I need to go” is “unnnnghhhh”; I’m working on changing that to “poo” or the sign for it).
Intent is an amazing thing. We’re trying the “No cry sleep solution”, as I mentioned last post and the bed time routines are going well. Although she’s only slept through the night once, she is sleeping longer and I’m seeing marked improvement in how quickly and happily she’s going to sleep — I’m not holding a crying baby at 8.30pm who is only just going to sleep; instead I’m patting a restless one who woke up again after a 40 minute sleep-cycle and is trying to learn how to get herself back into the next one. We’ve always had a book before bed (from when she was a week old) but we didn’t have the longer wind-down we clearly needed and now have.
Tonight was a break-through. After dinner, I took our daughter into the lounge room, turned off the main light and sat down for some quiet play. She stood up, went to the table, took one of her books out from under something else, looked at it and put it on the floor, then took a second book that had been under that, looked at it and brought it to me. She then sat down in my lap and waited expectantly. She asked me to read to her and she chose the book she wanted. That’s kind of amazing. What’s more, it’s like saying, “Mama, I’m tired now. Can we skip the playing bit and go to the reading bit?”
As for me, well, I didn’t miss the first two steps unaided and work is pretty fulfilling. I love the way my girl lights up when her Daddy says he loves her and I can’t imagine a better place to be right now. Well… I have some projects I’d like to get started on, but I have this family that’s more important right now.
And a little girl’s birthday party to organise.