Thursday, May 04, 2006

Sugar and Spice

Last Friday was Jarrah's 16-month birthday, and on May 6 it will be three months since the day we met her. Sometimes that seems an impossibly short time, and sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. I thought I'd celebrate her turning 1 1/3 by bringing you up to date on some of the changes during this time.

Probably the biggest difference, and an enhancement to each of our moods, is that she pretty much has a routine now. She goes to bed later than we'd like (8:00 p.m.) but that means David can spend some time with her when he gets home. She sleeps around ten hours a night, and longer if we "accidentally" leave an empty bottle in her crib. ;) Some nights she doesn't make a peep from Goodnight Moon to "Good morning, Snootches!" Other nights we have a brief period of wailing in the wee hours, usually quickly resolved. During the day, she naps from two to two-and-a-half hours, usually in the late morning. She has a bottle of milk upon waking and another a little while before bed. And that's her routine. Everything else, we hope, is a little less predictable.

Tempermentally, she is a good-natured and happy girl who likes music, doggies, going upside down, and people with strange objects on their heads. She does her throaty, cigarette-smoker laugh when I put a toy up there, or one of her shoes. She isn't difficult at meal time, in the car or during changes unless she's very, very tired. People frequently comment on how agreeable she seems.

People also ask, often, if she is saying any words yet. I suppose they would be asking if she'd walked yet except the answer is so obvious with all the flat-out running she does. Anyway, the answer is no. No words, not one, nada, zilch, zippo, bubkes. Unless you count "mama," which I don't, because she would call the mailman "mama" if he was holding a snack.

Here are the things that are new: she has long, involved conversations with herself and us, augmented by complicated gestures, in a private baby language that sounds more like communication that the single sounds she was making when we met her. She is very keen on books and will often bring us a book to read to her, then resolutely snap it shut on our fingers after two pages. She points at everything, and pointing is used both to indicate the presence of something new, or the desire to have the item at the end of the finger. She understands what the phone is for and yesterday I saw her holding her car phone to her ear and nodding vigorously while repeating, "Yeah. Yeah, yeah." Wonder where she got that? ;) She does a lot of waving now--often to people in grocery stores, but never on command--and says "Hi-hi-hi" or something like it, but in a very high-pitched voice.

She has suddenly grown more picky about food. She is off bananas, and won't eat bread products unless they are very soft like rolls, or crunchy like crackers. She drinks plain water if we cram the sippy cup full of ice cubes. When you offer her something she doesn't want, she shakes her head vigorously, and infuriates us by signaling the end of a meal with a dramatic sweep of her tray's contents onto the floor. We introduced a "spork" a couple days ago, and she has quite successfully been stabbing at ravioli and chunks of cheese, but doesn't totally get the concept; often she will bring the sporkful of food within an inch of her mouth and then remove it with her fingers for the home stretch.

Last weekend we went with Mary, Paul and Joy to the Encinitas Street Fair, and Jarrah seemed to enjoy the commotion, even romping through the crowds. We have a few cute pics of Jarrah and Joy. I think they recognize each other now, and they are interacting more when they get together. It's really sweet. I was telling Paul how much I like the idea of someone asking one of them how they met one day, and the answer being "I've known her longer than I can remember."

And here's the most important development in our last three months with Jarrah: she needs us. And we need her. That's the most amazing change of all.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Sam, you made me all blubbery with this post! I love the update, every tiny detail, and I love the pix. She is an extraordinarily happy child, and it sounds like her mom and dad are pretty happy too. I love the car phone thing the most!

Miss you so much and think of you every day, even if I hardly ever write. Thank you for keeping the posts and photos coming!

Miss J

Anonymous said...

It's about time there was a new post, and what a wonderful update on your sweet little girl! Perhaps I am imagining it, but I feel like I can see more of her personality in these more recent pictures -- it is probably because you have described her so well that I feel that I have met her when unfortunately I have not. She looks just wonderful and it is so great to hear how every little descriptive detail. Thinking of you all, liz

Anonymous said...

Bet "Mama" means "one who feeds me," and "yeah, yeah, yeah" means she has a good ear for phone talk!

Talking's probably going to be awhile - she's only had English spoken to her for three months, after listening to a totally different sound system for thirteen months; right now she's absorbing new sounds (along with EVERYTHING else new). Big learning going on.

ADORABLE pictures of her in the pink hat - what a cutie!

Your last statement brought tears to my eyes. I remember how sad you were just three months ago. Love, patience and time work miracles.

Best, Gail