Friday, July 30, 2010

Going up... and some thoughts on the developmental race.

I believe we have a little climber on our hands.

On the same day that Haley took her first step she also decided to climb a ladder to the loft at her grandpa's house. My little monkey never ceases to amaze me. It took her about 5 minutes of trying to finally work out the mechanics and muster up the courage to climb up a step on the ladder, but she did it, all by herself. It was pretty adorable to watch her fuddle through the process. And very exciting to see her exert her independence at accomplishing the task she set for herself.

About 2 days later, she accomplished a similar task at the playground. It made me smile because I had just been expressing my envy to another mom at the fact that her almost 1 year old (her birthday was the next day) had been walking for a month and a half. As Haley stood up on the 2nd rung of the playground ramp the other mom was impressed with Haley's climbing, and tried to get her daughter to follow suite.

There's a lesson in all this, or at least an observation...

It's funny how there is this unwritten competition between moms for our children to achieve tasks faster and earlier. We feel their early achievements somehow make us better moms, super moms. But in reality, the timing in which your baby accomplishes milestones has very little to say about your parenting abilities. Babies do things at their own pace, and while one may walk at 9 months they may not really talk until their two; another may be streaming words together before they can run around the yard.

Even with that knowledge it is difficult to stop judging ourselves against our babies accomplishments.

This is not a pattern I want to set up for Haley's life. I do not want to pressure her into doing something she's not ready to do, or make her feel that her worth is based in her abilities more so than her character. This doesn't mean that I won't encourage her to 'step' out of her comport zone, like today when she practice walking to me. (I only got one step again, but she did stand herself up many times). It just means that I hope her self-worth does not waver with her accomplishments or lack there of. I want her to know she is loved for being, and not for the things she can or can't do.

As a parent, all through Haley's life I want her to achieve any things and do well. I would love for her to be on the starting line for whatever team she's in, I wold love for her to be the lead in the school play, the valedictorian of her class, the chief of her tribe at summer camp. But the fact is that my love for her will not waiver even if she never accomplishes any of those things. My worth is not found in my accomplishments, it is found through Christ, and the same is true of my little girl.

It may be difficult but I have to stop comparing my baby to all of the others around her and instead focus on the wonderful things that make her uniquely mine. I have to let her know starting now that my love for her in unconditional. I have to stop the thoughts in my mind that crave for her to accomplish things for the sake of pride.

Haley is a blessing and even if I can't brag that she is walking yet, there are a thousand other wonderful things I can say about my daughter, things much more valuable and important than milestones and highly developed gross motor skills.

Of course I will still be really excited if she walks by August 11th. I wish the prideful desire to brag on her wasn't so strong, but even if it's silly, I love to shout about her accomplishments for the world to hear. But, walking or not, every day she makes me smile, and that is more than enough.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 Month Update

10 Month Developments
Weight:19.6 lbs.

Fish Face: Haley started pursing her lips in a hilarious and adorable way, we call it the "Haley face" or her "Ryann fish face".

Bath Time: Playing with toys in the bath is fun. Haley also had her first bubble bath.

Playing with Daddy: flying, swinging, upside down time, shoulder rides, and holding onto the fence, all by herself! I adore my little monkey :)

Haley's first wedding: She did the YMCA an laughed when the music made her "shout" above the crowd. She also squirmed through the entire ceremony. I was a little jealous of the other babies sitting contentedly in their mother's laps. But the dancing made up for it, and she was a trooper as we danced deep into the night, and then got lost on the way home.

Haley & friends: Haley loves playing with (or beside) her friends already. My favorite, her fascination with Krew's belly button.

Chow Time: Haley ate some fresh blueberries with her dad. She would make a sour face and then squeal for more. When a food has a new texture she will spit it out into her hand and look at it while she squishes it between her fingers.

Sippin' on apple juice: ... laid back, with her mind on her peach puffs and her peach puffs on her mind.
In in attempt to get Haley to figure out the whole sippy cup thing we got her some apple juice, and a new cup with a straw. Neither was a success. (but she does like chewing on her large variety of sippy cups)

Play Time: Playing with the Thomas trains at Barnes & Noble. I would slide them down the slope, she would pick them up, look at them , and drop them on the floor to pick up the next one. Stacking colors with Rebecca. Legos at the fancy Nancy birthday party at play group. The car seat box tunnel and ball pit I made her.

Escape Artist: Our fancy new way of keeping our crawling Haley out of the places she doesn't belong (i.e. the kitchen cabinets and the bottom of the book shelves in the dining room) is to place a chair between the 2 couches. She loves to stand at boundaries edge peering into her forbidden territory, occasionally dropping a toy beyond reach and squealing for attention to get it back, or showing off with some bouncing. On rare occasions this little Houdini will sneak past the chair and pillow, under the edge of the futon, and into the forbidden land of books to pull off of shelves, and snacks left on the floor from lunch. She loves to be clever.

Snuggle time: Daddies are great for snuggling, pushing, and showing off teddy bears. I love the way she picks at the fur on her little animals.

Little Hands: These little hands love to pick and explore. They can even reach each other over Haley's head. She is getting "So Big"! When she found the fake flowers we knocked under the table she had a blast picking them apart, I was so glad that Zach grabbed the camera. At the home the kids are sweet enough to share their silly bandz with eager fingers.

Booger Butt: Haley is affectionately called Booger Butt by one of her big brothers at the home. Most of the kids call her Haley Bug. This is her smiling when he calls her name. She gets to go to a lot of picnics in the pavilion and meet a lot of fun people when we're on shift. She loves to show off for her many admirers.

Fun Days: Peaking out the window of a high hotel. Helping mommy with some more laundry (she got mad when I put her down). Her first visit to camp, and claiming her spot on the Seminole sign.

Exploring and Snuggling: Haley learned to push the buttons on her mobile. She also played a lot more with her pop up friends. She went to her first lingerie shower. Went to a big church in Houston with her friend Julip. She played with Siera while all the ladies pampered themselves for a wedding. And she got big hugs from her uncle Brennan when he took a break from hiking the AT.

Congratulations Graduates: My Grad school graduation was mid May, but I went to a wedding instead. So to say congrats to all of my classmates that I went through the program with Haley got dressed up and picked out a book. She wanted to send this message "Yay, you". I am glad that the program is over and that I will no longer have a weekly Monday night commitment but I will miss the wonderful ladies that I got to work with. I'm not a big fan of group projects, but I did enjoy hearing all their stories and meeting some ladies who love their jobs, love their kids, and love Jesus.

Other Developments:

Haley learned to take off her diaper. She's always wearing shorts or bloomers now.

Haley started throwing fits. I thought we had a few years before that happened, or at least a few more months, but she started throwing herself on the floor and squealing to get her way. Oh, depravity, you are apparent so early.

Haley started to become attached to her blankie. She will reach for it and hug it close to her, especially when it's time for a nap or time to go to bed. She is not attached to her pink elephant yet despite my efforts. I guess there's still a chance she will be later on. She will hug some of her other stuffed animals, it's sweet to see her loving on something. She's also becoming more attached to Zach and I. She is hesitant to let others hold her. She will chase us down if we leave the room, which included chasing us into the bathroom. She even gets in "mama moods" where she won't even go to Zach. Sometimes it's a pain to not be able to pass her off when I have other things to do (like take a nap) but I do love to feel needed, important, and loved.

This month for the first time Haley: played kickball (with one of her buddies from the home), ate brownies that my mom made, and took a shower with daddy.

Her hair is starting to look a little red. Since my mom has red hair I'm hoping it will stick. Her hair is mostly brown but she could end up as a strawberry blond. I'm anxious to see what she will look like when she's big, and I love that occasionally she'll have expressions that give me a small glimpse into her future.

On June 1st I was changing Haley's diaper when she clapped for the first time. She was so proud of herself so to celebrate we clapped some more.

Haley is still working on her walking skills. She cruises all along the furniture and zooms down the hall with the help of her shopping cart.

In June Haley got her first top tooth, with the second one close behind.

She started to imitate adults more. She tries to say mama, dada and bye bye. She will even blow you a kiss (although it's usually after you're walking out of the door).

Haley keeps getting cuter and I realize that my capacity for love get's bigger every day. I love watching her do things, see things, and experience things for the first time. She is my delight.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

One Step

Today While Haley was showing off for her Grandma, Grandpa, Geoff and Uncle Josh she took one big step all by herself. She did a lot more standing practice during the day, but no more stepping. I was so proud of my little bean and I was glad that so much of her family was there to watch her.
Hopefully there will be many more steps to come soon.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Haley at 9 Months!

9 Month Stats:
Weight: 19.4 lbs
Height: ???

Swinging and Strolling;: This baby loves to be upside down! she also enjoys singing and riding in her stroller. Here she is at the zoo with Elijah, and again in the back of her double stroller taking a ride around the block.

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling: Haley got some balls and we made her a ball pt out of a box, a laundry basket, and an inflatable pool. She learned to get out of all of them quickly, but she has fun in them for a while. It was an effective strategy for keeping her in one pace for about 4 weeks, and then she became an even more adventurous explorer.

Playing in the Grass: Haley loves picking weeds and pulling them apart. I love the awkwardness of her little hands as she pinches at things. She also likes playing in the garden at work and exploring the entrance to our home. She's picking up speed as she crawls around and gets everywhere she wants to go.

Bath Time: This sweet little smile greets me every time haley takes a bath. She enjoys standing on the side of the tub and watching it fill up.

On the Move: Haley is getting better at walking with support. She got a lot of practice standing on her own, on the furniture, in her crib, and in her pack n' play. She will take a few steps while holding someone's hand, but now that she can crawl (she started 2 days into her 9th month), she often sits down and asserts her independence by crawling to her destination. She will walk with her grocery cart though, up and down the long hallway at work. It was a little too quick for her at first, but she does great if she walks along the wall so the friction of the baseboard can slow her down. She even tried to stand with the help of an exercise ball, it's great for balance practice.

Standing and Reading: Of all the places where Haley practices standing, she likes the bookshelf the best. There are scores of books for Haley to pull off the shelves and flip through. She could be entertained there for hours. She also likes playing the piano, she enjoys hearing the music she creates at her fingertips. I think it's sweet how she rises up on her toes to reach the keys.

Stairs: Haley conquered the stairs, and with a little help from her friends, and a little backup from a trusted adult, Haley climbs the stairs bottom to top over and over again. She thinks this new way of exploring is one of the greatest things in the world. She gets a big silly grin when she's proud of herself.

Cleaning and Lounging: After helping with the laundry Haley likes to take take some time off to relax. Her favorite leisurely activities are using the computer with her dad, and watching TV with mom (while she plays with her toys of course)

Summertime: In preparation for Summer Haley went swimming for the first time. She also spent some time at the softball fields helping 'da bears get ready to play.

Friends: On our great road trip Haley got to meet several friends. She also got to meet two smaller babies this month, Eero and Imogen. She didn't really know what to think of these babies who were smaller than her. But she did like playing with Ruffin the dog, finally a puppy who's just her size. Pacer, our co-workers dog is her buddy too.
If we're mentioning friends we can't forget some of Haley's toys, her mobile and her stuffed animals who keep her company in the wee hours of the night. This poor teething baby loves having someone to snuggle with nearby.

Road Tripping: Haley's getting so big that we decided to get her a new car seat. She doesn't have the same toy anymore but she does well sitting in the Thorne Throne like a big girl. Sometimes she even like to take the wheel.

Miscellanious: Haley started eating wagon wheels and several other new finger foods. She's all about having food she can carry around or sit and eat at her leisure. It's great at work to be able to put her in her high chair with some food and focus on other things, like cooking dinner for 9 teenage boys. Haley also spends a lot of time exploring the living room and playing in her exersaucer. She really likes playing with keys too. She almost always has her pacifier clipped to her shirt for easy access, and so we won't lose it every 5 minutes. She likes having it handy, but still get it backwards every once in a while. And she's started wearing shoes to protect her little toes as she crawls around. She still doesn't really know what to think about them though. I think she much prefers to have bare feet.

As far as temperment goes, she loves to smile, she loves to pant in excitement, and she loves to play. She is a good baby, she does great when we leave her with friends or when we leave her in childcare at church. She's only really upset when she's teething, hungry, or sleepy, and even then she's a trooper if she needs to be. There are several bust days where she has to wait for what she wants and she is becoming very flexible and patient. She is an absolute joy and I'm glad to be her mama.

And I can't remember if it was while she was 8 months old or 9, but somewhere in there she started waving regularly and even blowing kisses. The kisses was great because I had gone to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for one of my boys. Haley was waving bye to the lady behind the desk and the lady tried to get her to blow a kiss. I said, "oh, she doesn't really know that one yet" just to let the lady know she wasn't being stingy with her affection. And almost as if to prove me wrong Haley put her hand to her mouth and sent a kiss her way. Adorable!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Standing and the bear crawl!

This little explorer stood up all by herself today, nothing to help her but the grass beneath her toes! She didn't last long but she did get off her hands and knees. She was playing in the kiddie pool and went off to explore. I finished talking to one of the boys and turned too see her standing for a moment.
She also started crawling bear style. Adorable!

I think she may take her first steps by her first birthday. She's definitely trying to use her feet. As with most of her milestones she's not ahead of the game, but not behind either. Part of me wishes she was a super baby who hit each milestone early. But there always seems to be someone's kid who develops quicker. I have come to realize that I don't need Haley to be ahead of the curve to be satisfied, I just need her to be herself. I am starting to really take pleasure in Haley's leisurely place about things. I for one am impressed by her new accomplishments when they happen, even if others think she is slow to achieve certain tasks. I like that Haley does it all in her time. I like that she is laid back, she asserts her independence, but is in no rush to grow up too fast. I hope this lasts.

Also, I think she looks really cute in her little swim suit, unfortunately it's a little too small.

Monday, July 19, 2010

8 Month Update

I wrote this update a while back, but I haven't had a chance to go through pictures until now. So I'll just go post the pictures and then add in my previously written update. Sorry to keep you all waiting.

You can expect some bulk blogging over the next few days and a lot of catch up. Which means, a lot of pictures. (Christina, I hope these all make you smile and give you something to fill your days until I can send you another package.)

Unfortunately I deleted my notes from Haley's 9th month so I'll have to go from memory and pictures on that post, but here is month 8, and the rest aren't far behind.

8 Months
Height: 29 1/4 in.
Weight: about 19 lbs.

Independent standing practice: Learning to pull up all by herself. She takes each fall as a challenge.

Playing with Grandpa: She did a great job walking, even if her pants were way to big. She loved being pulled around in the laundry basket. Go speed racer!

The original standing practice: I would stand her up on the edge of the futon and set up pillows for her to crash onto. She got pretty good a standing without me backing her up. She had fun rolling around each time she fell.

Playing at the home: Haley adapted quickly to life with 9 big brothers. They play outside a lot. They put has on her and cover her with pillows, basically anything to give her attention. Plus she has a new landscape to explore. What more could a baby want.
side note- when I say "the home" I am referring to the Children's home that Zach and I work at now. Every other week we move our little family of 3 to the home and become a family of up to 12. (It varies some due to turnover of the guys)

Playing at home. She loves pulling out all of the DVDs. Zach built a table that is the perfect height for her to stand up by and use for toys. She also still enjoyed her jumpy chair, even though she was getting a bit to big for it. She got pretty good at standing on the edge of the couch.

Playing with Daddy: Hanging upside down, Snuggling in bed, looking at lights and giving "Haley kisses", which are basically slobbery, open mouthed, head butts...

piggyback rides and flying. Haley thinks her Daddy is the best!

Food: Haley had her first ice cream from the blue cone, she's hooked. She spent several meals sitting in our laps while she ate since we didn't have a seat for her at the home. It made meal time a bit tricky, and made us very happy to have puffs that she could feed herself.

Haley and friends: Haley met her frisbee buddy Krew for the first time, looked at pictures with Ryann and Erin, bounced with Eleanore, snuggled with uncle Josh, and got a new doll, which she loves, from Nana. (that's my grandma)

Playing outside: Haley sat by her first campfire. She also started learning to roll a ball with mommy and daddy at the park. She rode in her jogging stroller for the first time.

Entertainment: Haley discovered the holes in her nose. She learned to push down the characters on Jo's pop up toy. She loves to play with laptops. She didn't really know what to think of her adirondack chair, but I think she liked relaxing in it. I think this baby shower gift may need a few more month in the attic before Haley's ready for it.

First Easter: Haley enjoyed her first Easter Egg hunt, but she didn't really know what to think of the chick she met at the hardware store.

New Job: Our first day at the home, HAley enjoyed the unpacking. A quick snapshot from a devotion with our guys at the lake where Zach and I got married, this was taken quickly after we got kicked out by the owners... oops!

Exploring: Haley is working on her low crawl. She is pulling herself up to standing in her crib, which is one of the sweetest things to walk in on in the morning or after nap time. She rode in a grocery cart for the first time.

Laughing with Dad Dad (Zach's grandpa) at our pre-easter visit. He kept tickling her belly and she loved it. She also is all smiles during bathtime.
She had a moment where I realized that even if Haley's getting big, she's still a baby. Her, just turned 2 years old, friend and her got matching cabbage patch dolls from my mom. Her friend immediately fed the doll it's bottle, Haley immediately dropped, well threw down, her doll and started trying to drink from it's bottle.

It's becoming much harder to keep track of Haley's developments each month because she is growing so fast, and working on perfecting the skills she began to develop in months past instead of always doing clearly new things.

But here is what I have to offer in terms of an update:

Haley loves to play with little pop up toys, and she has learned to close the lids on the characters. She also loves to stand at my feet as I read her stories. She is way to squirmy at this point to keep her in my lap past page 2.

Haley does not like to have her face wiped off when she's done eating. She would rather have snot dripping down her face than have me take it away with an aspirator or a rag.

She is very curious. She is constantly grabbing our food and exploring anything she can get her hands on. One of her favorite things to get into is the DVDs on our TV stand.

For play time Haley loves bouncing and singing the "this is how a lady rides" song. She enjoys rolling balls and playing in the exersaucer we borrowed from a friend

When Haley's not off playing and exploring she is usually snuggling. Her sweet little hugs melt my heart every time. When we're out and about she works it, batting her eyes at everyone she meets and then when they return the smile she gets bashful and snuggles up close. She gets an "awww" every time. She also "flirts" with the boys at her new half time home.

Haley is still sleeping on a college schedule most of the time. She's a late to bed late to rise kind of gal. Also with teething etc. she still refuses to sleep through the night... Well I hope it's just teething, or a growth spurt that's keeping her up.

Some new things for Haley this month have been riding in the front of a shopping cart and eating cheerios and puffs. The cheerios did not go over so well (she got a bad rash), but the puffs are a new favorite. She has also grown in her second tooth.

Developmentally Haley is getting stronger and more capable every day. Her low crawl has gotten quite quick. She usually pulls herself where she wants to go with one hand and one arm. And, between rolling and crawling, she gets wherever she wants to go. She has become much more proficient at standing. She can stand herself up from her stomach and pull herself up when she's sitting. We've even let her try to stand alone a few times, but she never lasts long. Her wabbley little legs are getting stronger. She's also learning to sit herself down onto her bottom. She loves to hold our hands and walk. It's great becasue there is a long hallway at the home for her to practice going up and down.

She has mastered the art of the pincer grasp. It's sweet because she doesn't always remember that the food she has grabbed is in her hands. I love watching her grab things with her thumb and pointer finger as she develops hand eye coordination.

She is great at making razzing sounds, or just puttering her lips with little puffs of air. She is starting to work on the whole waving thing, although I think the times she's done it have been unintentional, but I guess a momma still gets to be proud. She still loves to shake her head, which means no, yes or, I'm really excited. But she's also added a sideways head tilt to her repetoire of adorable movements.