A pastiche of observations on my nearly-eleven-month-old daughter, shown above as my blog assistant at a recent event, wearing a Ralph Lauren corduroy set from her sweet godmother (my sister!) with Jacadi Liberty of London floral shoes (no longer available, but they have a ton of other cute items in Liberty London prints!)…
+Mini very suddenly has a very big personality. It’s as though she went to bed one night as a baby and woke up the next morning as a toddler — she screeches and arches her back when she doesn’t like something, shrieks with naughty laughter whenever she tosses food to Tilly, waves coyly at strangers, pants heavily with excitement when Mr. Magpie comes through the door. She has learned to communicate her — very bold — likes and dislikes. I love her sassiness, her spark, her conviction. Her passion reminds me of her father, who is inclined toward similar dramatics in his opinions.
+I’m obsessed with everything about her.
+Chief among mini’s dislikes: being changed (she will squirm with all of her strength to avoid laying flat on her back mid-diaper change and then shriek with frustration when I attempt to hold her in place), having her hands and face cleaned after mealtime, having a “toy” (my glasses, the remote, earbuds, etc.) pried from her hands. I often distract her from these inconveniences with decoys (silly noises, songs, toys), but there are times where we just squirm and scream right through it. Me, learning to keep my cool and drown out the histrionics, and her, learning to test my resolve. There was a time in the middle of last week where I was consistently attempting to diaper her while she was in a crawling position, the insanity of which is not lost on me. It was not a good look for anyone, least of all future me, who would soon be dealing with a blowout owing to a poorly affixed diaper. So we’re working through the theatrics of diaper changing time head-on now, cutesy upside-down diaper attempts excluded.
+My nanny mentioned two weeks ago that she felt mini might not need a second nap. I was instantly resistant — for many months now, those naps have been two pillars of sanity, two pockets of an hour and change that I can count on to GSD. Even when the nanny’s here, those two quiet sessions are perhaps the only times over the course of the day that I can truly focus on work unless I’m out of the house working elsewhere. (Living in close quarters with “my office” visible from mini’s play area and the dining room, the loci of much of her daily time in the apartment, I am dialed into whatever’s going on with mini.) I phoned in the expert: “Mom, when do babies stop sleeping two times a day?!” Her response: “Every baby is different, but usually around a year. But, honey, it doesn’t mean you can’t put her in her crib for a little quiet time by herself.” So, for now, even though mini will only nap on occasion in the afternoons, I will still put her in her crib and leave her to play. She’ll often tolerate it for stretches of 30 minutes — just rolling around, chatting to herself and her beloved babydoll, crawling from one end of the crib to the other — and then she gets bored and my time is up. As Mr. Magpie says: “She’s learning to play on her own.” As my mom says: “Everyone needs downtime.” I’ll take it, even 30 minutes of it.
+Mini started sleeping through the night at around nine months, and I felt like a whole new person. Then she had an odd regression that started about two weeks ago where she would wake up at 5 a.m. and fuss and cry consistently until I’d make her a bottle — when she would then promptly fall back asleep until around 7:30 a.m. We were perplexed. Mr. Magpie insisted that I let her fuss through it, but whenever she’d hit the 30 or 45 minute mark, I’d give in and go to her. After consulting with Le Expert (my mom), we changed three things: first, we started feeding her more formula before bed; sometimes, she takes 8 oz right before bed, and sometimes she takes closer to 6. But now we always offer her an 8-oz bottle in the hopes of filling her up. Second, we realized that her bedroom was often oppressively hot in the mornings. We live in an old, pre-war building where the heat is centrally controlled, meaning that you can either turn the radiator in your room on and enjoy 3948394838 degree heat or you can turn it off and freeze. I wondered whether the sauna-like conditions of her bedroom in the morning was disturbing her and started to creep into her room around my bedtime to turn off the heat. Now, in the mornings, her room is a cool but completely comfortable temperature. Third, we started putting her down to sleep 15-30 minutes later than we had been. Between these three changes, we’re back in business and she’s consistently sleeping from around 7:15 P.M. until 7 A.M. It’s heaven. I share because — while none of these are shocking secrets to getting a child to STTN — they are small improvements that have restored sanity in our mornings and may help another mama out there.
+Mini continues to expand her palate in the most delightful of ways. I now routinely feed her from my plate and she’s recently tried — and liked! — olive, artichoke, various meat-and-cheese stuffed pastas from I Sodi (omg omg the best the best), and ramen. I am so proud of her and, to be honest, so proud of myself. It’s making life so much easier. Thank you x 10000 to the reader who politely, gently suggested that I disabuse myself of the mental division between “kid food” and “our food.” Of course, we can’t feed her everything we eat, but a good amount of it is doable.
+Did I mention I’m obsessed with her?
+Mini’s nanny is Colombian and will often sing her “la vaca lola” and “los pollitos dicen” and now the entire family is in tune. Mr. Magpie and I are constantly singing these songs around the house — we’re driving each other crazy! — but mini LOVES them and will twirl her ankles in excitement when we sing them. She also said the word “teh-teh,” which is what the nanny calls her bottle. Are we inadvertently raising a bilingual child?!?
None of this is here or there — but I thought some other mamas might take comfort in noting parallels with their own babies, or, possibly, as I have, benefit from the quiet and unremarkable observations of other mothers.
Post-Script: Some Items on My Radar for My 10-Month Old
+LOVE that these jammies for girls have dinosaurs on them! Who says only boys like dinosaurs?!
+I’ve been meaning to mention this FOREVER, but the lovely owner of The Monogram Studio sent mini a monogrammed Widgeon fleece before she was even born, and I had no idea what an MVP this little fleece would be! She’s worn it nearly every day this winter. It’s so easy to put on — no snaps! Just two easy velcros! — and I love that you can “cinch” the hood so that it fits snugly around her face. Every other hood comes off or lets in a ton of air; this keeps her nice and warm on these briskly cold January mornings. HIGHLY recommend. I will be buying a second one for next winter, and it’s on sale right now so chop chop!
+For our upcoming Florida trip, I’m buying mini some swim diapers — does anyone have a strong recommendation on brand? I used Bummis last summer and found that they ran very small (although you definitely don’t want these too big or you’ll have…ahem…containment issues) and were kind of pricey for what they were. Anyone know anything about these? They have solid reviews and come in cute prints.
+I’m finally going to buy an umbrella stroller for mini and am in the hugest quandary right now. I feel as though everyone has and loves the Babyzen Yoyo (reviews are INSANE!) but I’m having a hard time rationalizing the price especially given that — normally — I don’t have a need for an umbrella stroller in my day-to-day life. I use my Bugaboo CONSTANTLY. I wonder if this will change as mini outgrows her carrier and subway trips begin to look a little different. But still — $500 for a second stroller?! I’m inclined towards the Maclaren Mark II with recline, which is the lightest weight of the “fuller featured” umbrella strollers out there, weighing under 8 lbs. I’m always a sucker for light weight items because I’m not particularly “swoll.” (HAHA.) It also got a lovely review from Lucie’s List, and I really trust her — she’s thorough and realistic and logical. I spent hours reading umbrella stroller reviews and it feels like the only unimpeachable option is the Yoyo — all of the others have complaints about quality, sunshade, etc, etc. — but I’m wondering if those issues are all a little over-precious given that this is, after all, meant to be a lightweight solution for travel and intermittent use. We shall see…
+Have had a bunch of friends and readers recommended Kickee Pants pajamas — going to order a pair for mini!
+Mini’s too young for this, but I recently read about Trunkis — a ride-on suitcase for you mini when traveling! Genius! And so cute.
+Tilly recently chewed — and destroyed — one of minimagpie’s adorable Tom’s crib shoes, and I was devastated — it was only the second time she’d worn them! I re-ordered a pair — even though Tom’s aren’t really my style, they look SO CUTE on a baby! — but was temporarily sidetracked by these precious shoes, which are in the same lane but a touch more feminine.