February 28, 2007

Day 330: T is for tantrum

Okay, so I know it's been a while. Blame the baby.

This is my last week at home with Maddie. I cannot believe I've been off work for a year! I also cannot believe that I am dreading going back to work. When Maddie was 2 months I would have gone back for free in an instant. Now the thought of not being with her every day just about kills me. I worry about silly things that I know I shouldn't. I worry she'll forget about me, that we won't be as close as we are now, that I'll miss out on all of those ever-important milestones.

What I won't miss, I must admit, is her newfound penchant for throwing little hissy fits. If you've ever read any post of mine you'll know that she's always been a bit of a crier. I tend to harp on about it. But we've entered a whole new realm lately. It's not really crying so much as mad screeching. I stupidly thought I could take her with me to the art supply store last week to run a quick errand. Of course she was intent on ripping every last thing off of the shelves. Every piece of paper, every stamp and gluestick. Happily shrieking the whole time. So loud, in fact, that the lady working downstairs had to come up to check out where the eardrum-shattering noise was coming from. It was total chaos. My head was pounding, I think I was even sweatingat one point. And every time I took away something she wasn't supposed to have - like, oh, a pair of scissors or a box of tacs or some other life-threatening device - she lost it. Screaming, crying, hitting me. I was apalled. So were the other people in the store, I'm sure. Anyways, the whole scenario was repeated the next day at Gymboree when I wouldn't let her tear open the toys they had for sale. Apparently there is a stage before the terrible twos called the god-awful ones; and we've hit it.

Actually, though, I must say she has been a total sweetheart for the past couple of days, smiling and giggling all the time. I think she's trying to earn some points so she gets big presents for her birthday. Tricky, tricky. But I'm on to her. She's really learning a lot these days. Not so much the walking and talking, but she's loving her little books and toys and sits for ages trying to figure them all out. She's so determined and persistent, it's amazing to watch her hard at work on her little tasks. And she's making silly faces and noises and dancing in front of the tv and has me laughing more than ever. I'm going to miss these days with her.


February 15, 2007

Day 317: ABCs and 123s?

Mads celebrated her first Valentines Day yesterday. She marked the occasion by writing sonnets and reciting her favourite love poems. Well, okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. In truth we read Where is Baby's Belly Button? four times and she spent the rest of the day shouting "DAT!" at the top of her lungs. That's her new favourite word, if you can call it that. But I'm sure she could have done the other stuff if she wanted. For Fernando and I, it was our first Valentines Day with baby. We traded in our usual night on the town for a home-cooked dinner and some TV on the couch. It was nice.

She may not yet be reading Shakespeare, but Maddie does seem to making leaps in her learning abilities lately. She can turn the pages in her book, she can put her little blocks into their container, and she can almost stack things. So, now that it is clear that we have a genius daughter - I am still looking for a "Proud Parent of a Gifted 10-Month Old" bumper sticker for the car - I have begun to worry that I am not providing her enough stimulation. Am I supposed to be teaching her things? Things other than not to chew on candles and dog bones, I mean? Should I be imparting great wisdom, filling her little mind with new discoveries? At what point do we start on the big life lessons? It occured to me the other day that she has never heard the alphabet. What kind of monster am I?

But then yesterday, while I was winding her jack-in-the-box for the hundredth time as she looked on with wide eyes, it occured to me that for her, everything is a new discovery. Looking in the mirror, playing peek-a-boo, feeling raindrops hit her face, ripping out the pages of last week's US magazine - all of these things are teaching her something. She's learning about herself, about the world aroud her, about Britney Spears' sad spiral into alcohol and stupidity. I guess what I'm realizing is that at this age everything is a lesson of some sort.

In other news, we finished her nursery this weekend! Yes, she is almost 11 months old . You know those sweet commercials where the pregnant lady is rocking peacefully in the baby's room, rubbing her belly, glowing. And then dad-to-be walks by with his toolkit and they share a silent but profound moment? Yeah, well that's not us. We moved Maddie into her room when she was about a month old, but didn't quite get around to painting it or anything until now. But I love it! It's pink and pretty and girly. And she of course still prefers to hang out in the hall closet.

(For those keeping track, the back-to-work countdown is at 22 days.)

February 06, 2007

Day 308: Looking for the sounds of silence

I have a really loud baby. I may have mentioned this in the past. Everyone loves a baby who coos and squeals and giggles. A crying baby can even be cute, providing it's not your own. But the big, teary eyes and gasping sobs can be kind of sweet. What people don't tend to love quite so much is a baby that screeches so loud and so high that it just about shatters the windows. This girl is crazy. It's near impossible to take her to restaurants or bookstores or -well, out in public, period - because she causes such a noisy disruption. It's interesting to watch, in a way, because you can see her prepare for it. She waves her little hands around, her face goes bright red, her eyes get huge and wide, and then.... "AAAIIIHHHHHEEEEEEEEEE!" It is without question the loudest thing I have ever heard. It's shocking. People always turn in the direction of the noise, looking kind of horrified. I then launch into an explanation of "inside voices" and "quiet time," knowing that of course she has no clue as to what I'm saying.

The funny thing is that I am notoriously soft spoken. It drives Fernando crazy. He always says he has to pull over, roll up the windows, turn off the radio, put the volume on his phone up, and concentrate really hard to listen to my voicemails. And I know he's not exaggerating, because virtually every time I am leaving a message for someone the system cuts in when I'm halfway through to ask me to "Please begin speaking." So how did I end up with a daughter who seemingly thinks that effective expression occurs at a minimum of 100 decibels? I have a feeling that this is one of many areas where she and I will discover we are not exactly two peas in a pod. Which is a good thing. Right?

Maddie is getting so much more mobile, it's incredible. Suddenly she's up, down, around, and everywhere. I really don't think it will be too much longer before she starts walking. I can't wait for those first steps! It's amazing how much you look forward to these milestones. It can become a bit of an obsession if you're not careful. I think FTMs (first time moms) are particularly guilty of this. We're just so anxious to see each achievement, to fill out every blank page in the baby book (had we remembered to purchase one). Those seasoned moms who've been through it all before know how fast this time goes and so don't wish a second of it away. Me, I'm already picking out my dress for her highschool graduation ceremony (I'm thinking: tight, black, strapless. Oh, and sequined, of course). But I'm trying to remember to stop and smell the roses - or the poopy pants, as the case may be - along the way.