Tuesday, November 22, 2011

One Year Old!


Dear Dorothy,

You are one year old, now!

We went out for dinner on your birthday, and both you and your sister fell asleep in the car on the way there. But, we let you nap for a bit, and everyone was in a better mood for dinner. You had your first cupcake and you thought it was the best thing in the world.


The highlight of this month was a trip to Houghton for Homecoming. This year was Mommy's and Daddy's ten-year class reunion, which is pretty hard for me to believe. You had a lot of fun, and as a special treat, Grandma was there, too, for her slightly-more-than-ten-year reunion, so you got to see your Grandma, too! We all had a very good time, and the most exciting part of the trip was on October 8: As we were getting ready to go to church, you took your very first step! You didn't really realize you were doing it, but you were standing at a chair with a doll in your hand, and you wanted to get to Mommy, and you let go of the chair and took one step before you realized that you couldn't quite reach me, so you dropped to the ground and crawled the rest of the way.


You got three new teeth this month, bringing your total to six. I was starting to worry a little bit about the tooth behind your cleft lip, because it took a really long time coming in (the two lateral incisors on the other side came in before it, out of order), but it did finally cut through while we were in Houghton, and it seems fine, so that's a relief. The big downside of all these new teeth is that they seem to have changed your upper lip on their way in, pulling your frenulum down pretty low. This isn't a huge problem, but it does make it hard for you to stay latched on when you are nursing, so I have to be very vigilant about your latch the whole time. I probably should call the surgeon to get it clipped, which is a very simple out-patient procedure, but I've been putting it off, because I still have the memory of your sad little face coming out of your cleft lip surgery, and even though I know it's not the same thing at all, I can't quite bring myself to go back there.


You know a lot of words. You can sign for milk, food, more, and all done. You can say Mama, Daddy, nursies, more, all done, up, yum, yay, yeah, this? (as in "What's this?" or "May I have this?"), boo (peek-a-boo), hi, and baby. I'm pretty sure you have said Nana and Valerie (Wawie), too. I think there are other words that I am missing, though, because you love to talk, and you seem pretty confident that all the sounds coming out of your mouth (and the gestures you are making with your hands) are real words.


You continue to be a very happy baby. Whenever we are out, people always ask me, "Is she always like this?" And you pretty much are. Although, after 12 months of your sister sitting on you and taking things away from you, you finally have started to get upset when she does these things, but I can't blame you for that. In fact, I remember when you were younger, how hard it was to convince Valerie that she was hurting you, because she would always respond, "But she's still smiling!" So I must admit, from a parenting perspective, I'm a little relieved that you have started to express your displeasure when something upsets you, but I'm afraid you might be turning into a drama queen like your sister. Sister sitting on you? Good reason to cry. Mommy took away the book you were trying to eat? Not a good reason to cry. Let's work on that.


Things are going pretty well in the sleep department, too, although I'm sure part of that is just my perspective when I compare you to your sister who was such a terrible sleeper at this age (and now sleeps 11-12 hours straight every night - there is hope!) You go to bed at about 10, then sleep until 2ish, nurse, then sleep again until 5ish, nurse, then sleep again until 7ish. I'm happy with this arrangement for now, although I am hoping that your first stretch of the night gets longer soon so that I can put you in your sister's room. Naps are a little more rough. You used to nap so consistently, but now you seem to pretty much only nap if you fall asleep in the car or if I put you in the Ergo on my back. If my dishes are ever clean, it's all your fault for refusing to fall asleep unless I strap you on my back and don't sit down, so I often wash dishes until you fall asleep. So, there is an upside to it after all!


You are a pretty good eater, although you are starting to get more choosy about what you want. For a few weeks, you would ignore everything else in front of you and only eat meat, and you would cry if the meat was gone. Then you abandoned meat for a while, and only wanted carbs. Currently, you seem to be on an apple diet. All you want is apples, and if I turn my back on you for a minute, you will climb up behind the kitchen table and steal apples from the fruit bowl. But, there are worse vices, so I don't stress about it too much.

2011-10-03 12.21.21

Some of your favorite things in life right now:

  • Your baby doll, Lily, (actually Valerie's doll, but you have basically appropriated her). You love that baby doll so much. You cuddle her, and pat her back, and she was the doll you were holding when you took your very first step, because you didn't want to put her down.

    2011-09-16 12.15.58

  • Climbing. You haven't really progressed much past that one accidental step (other than repeating it on a few occasions), because you already have a way of getting across the room. What you want is a way to get to that thing up there that I thought was out of your reach. But almost nothing is out of your reach anymore, because you can always climb onto that chair, and then onto that other chair, and then onto the table. Fortunately, you learned to climb down almost as soon as your learned to climb up, so I can usually just let you climb and enjoy it. You love the stairs, and you go up and down like a pro, such that I don't even have to spot you anymore.


  • Eating things. Especially things that aren't food. Or things that were food yesterday, but now are dried out and gross. Or food that other people are eating. And occasionally, food that Mommy puts in front of you, if Mommy was lucky enough to guess your food-of-the-day.


  • Mommy. Sometimes no one else will do.

  • Daddy. You get so excited on Saturday and Sunday mornings when you wake up and he's still there. He also possesses a magic touch to make you sleep when Mommy can't. I'm more than a little jealous of this talent.

  • Valerie. Even when she sits on you, you still love her to death and keep going back for more.


  • Being tickled. Especially when you're tired and extra giggly.

  • Putting things into other things. I know this is a normal baby thing to do, but your sister only ever played the dumping-things-out game, so it's novel for me to see you voluntarily putting toys back into the toy box.

  • Pretending that things are hats. Especially bowls.

  • Peek-a-Boo. We play "Where's Dorothy?" with blankets, and you giggle with glee every time you reveal yourself. We also play "Peek-a-Boo" with our hands, and you will say "boo!" when you open your hands.

  • Mommy's computer. If I walk away for a second and forget to close my laptop, I will come back to find that you have deleted a blog post I was writing, or reset my homepage, or changed some setting that I have to spend five minutes figuring out how to undo. I suppose you see me spending a lot of time playing with it, so it must seem like the coolest toy in the world to you. (And it totally is.)

I love watching you learn and grow, and I love watching the gap close between you and your sister. There is only one size of clothing in the "too big for Dorothy but too small for Valerie" section of the closet right now, and that is so surreal to me. Before I know it, you will be best friends and co-conspirators. I can't imagine life without you.



Eleven Months Old!


Dear Dorothy,

You are eleven months old, now!

This letter is going to be pretty much a photo dump, because I'm two months late writing it. I'm not exactly on the ball lately with this blog. Sorry about that.


Major events this month:
-Earthquake (August 23)
-Hurricane (August 27)
-Driedgers visit from Ottawa (Sept 4-10)
-Trip to Bergen (Sept 15-19)











Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Overheard in the Elevator

I pushed my stroller onto the elevator, and two other ladies with a double stroller pushed in beside me. We took up most of the elevator. The elevator stopped at the next floor to let more people on, and there were 4 or 5 people standing there. One or two of them might have been able to fit, but not all of them, so none of them got on. I felt a little bad, because one of them was an older gentleman, and I assumed his companions were waiting for the elevator with him. I wished I had made more of an effort to squish in a little tighter, at least enough for him and one of his companions to fit.

The doors closed, and one of the other ladies rolled her eyes and said to her friend, scornfully, "Why do black people always take the elevator? Is it really that hard to walk 50 feet to the escalator?" Her friend laughed in agreement.

I stood there in stunned silence, unable to think of a coherent response. What kind of idiotic observation is that? I thought about all of the times I've taken the elevator in this mall, and about all of the people I have seen take the elevator, and try as I may, the only pattern I could see emerging was age-related or ability-related - older people, people in wheelchairs, parents pushing strollers, parents holding hands with small children. What makes a person assume that race is the cause of anything, rather than a rational reason, like age or disability?

I'm still annoyed, and I wish I had said something. And I'm glad that Valerie wasn't paying attention, because I'm not sure I'm ready for the "race relations" talk, yet. (I'm still dealing with the seemingly endless after-effects of the "how babies grow" talk and the "death" talk.) But it's something I'm going to have to deal with, sooner or later. Which makes me very sad, because she doesn't care about skin color any more than hair color or shoe color right now. I wish I could keep her like that forever, but eventually, we'll end up sharing elevators with ignorant people, and she'll start to get the idea that this is something that should matter. And that breaks my heart.