I've been way overdue for a blog entry but you know how life can get in the way of blogging. So annoying! The truth is I haven't been feeling well lately and when I've had the energy to sit at my laptop in the evenings, I've been working. And dealing with the stress and aggravation of a downstairs neighbor with a giant surround sound system way too big for an 852-sq foot apartment and the nerve to turn the volume UP when we ask him to lower it. So the list of Thora's new accomplishments and cute words has grown and we've made videos and taken pictures and life keeps going and I keep not writing about it. Until now. And now I look back at all that's happened and realize we have a toddler now. Where did our baby go?
Thora has over a dozen distinct words now. No, more. In addition to cat, ball, bubble, dada and art, she now says that, this, dog, bird, Big Bird, duck, book, apple. Toothbrush. Cow. Mama. Yes, Mama. Finally! She calls me Mama when she's upset. The rest of the time she usually calls me dada, which amuses me and confuses me. Though this morning for the first time she pointed at me and said "Mama" and waved.
Most of the time she walks around pointing to things and saying "This? This?" which is heart-warming and cute.
The rest of the time she points at things and says "That? That?"
Unless of course she just points and grunts. That is equally effective (and cute).
She waves bye-bye to things she drops and waves hello to people on subways and in restaurants. She flirts and makes friends everywhere she goes.
She asks for apples constantly but throws them on the floor when she gets them because she doesn't actually like apples. She really means tomato when she says apple. She will eat a whole entire vine tomato in two minutes flat. She mistook a small ceramic pumpkin for an "apple" from across three rooms last week when we were visiting relatives and was relentless in pointing and asking for it until we caved and gave it to her. Then she was happy as can be, carrying it from room to room until bedtime.
She has eleven teeth now. You can give her a big piece of something and say "Use your teeth!" and she bites down and chews.
She has learned to drink. (Not really! But this video sure makes it look that way!)
We are not actively ECing or doing any potty teaching, but we are sloooowly introducing the idea. To get her into the mood we put her potty in the bathroom. We invite her in to sit on her potty whenever we need to sit on our potty. We got her a book of Sesame Street characters using their potties that she loves already. Every time we read it I point to our potty and her potty in hopes that she starts to make the connection. No rush, but we're ready when she is.
She likes to read. Thank the gods.
We read to her every day and also make a point of showing her that we read too. We have letters on the fridge and in the bathtub and are slowly introducing their sounds.
She walks everywhere now, even outside. Though walking a half block takes a good ten to fifteen minutes since she stops to examine everything, waves at everyone who passes her and veers off to the curb every few steps. She won't let us hold her hand as she walks so I have been holding the hood of her jacket to keep her close to us. We let her tire herself out in the hallway instead, where it's safer.
It's cute but I am somewhat intimidated by her mobility. I know it's the beginning of something big. At nearly 13 months, she is opinionated and independent. But she still has the softest, sweetest, most deliciously ticklish and kissable feet. She still only has the soft soled non-leather shoes I ordered for her on Etsy. Are they safe for the sidewalk? She got an adorable pair of Converse for her birthday but I think they are a little too big. When she wears them she gets a red angry line on the backs of her ankles. I guess I need to take her to get her feet measured. But they are just so darn cute!
The biggest news was her first birthday. We debated and debated and went back and forth and forth and back over what to do about this milestone event. I knew she wouldn't remember it but I also knew that I would, and so would our friends and family. I asked everyone I knew with children what they did, what they recommended. A friend of ours with a baby a few months older than Thora had the solution that appealed to me most. She told me, "we had our close friends over for a few hours one day and a separate dinner for the families." This made a lot of sense to me. We didn't want everything Elmo themed or Dora themed. We didn't want a cake or to make her sing or blow out candles. And I didn't want to kill myself cooking or spend a lot of money. We decided we just wanted to use her birthday as an excuse to surround her and ourselves with people we love and who love her.
Her birthday was on a Sunday so we decided to make the whole weekend festive.
On Saturday we had brunch for our very closest friends. Friends with families, friends with dates, friends with kids. Gifts unnecessary but Thora was showered with them by our generous friends anyway. We had her gifts wrapped and waiting, and our friends' daughter who recently learned to use a scissor was very helpful opening them for her one at a time. Duplos! Muppet Show box sets! Bath time letters! Fresh bagels, handmade (not by me for once) vegan pastries, coffee. Art supplies for the bigger kids. Baby toys for the smaller ones. Music. A start time and an end time to ensure naps could be had by all. That was it. And it was wonderful. All of our friends were there and Thora loved it. I think we all had fun catching up, eating, and hanging out. Our friend Eric took some beautiful black and white closeup pictures of Thora and sent them to us in a folder called "Bea Day" which I just loved. It *was* Bea Day!
Modeling her Thor helmet like the Viking she is:
And posing with her friend H like they're choreographed dancers:
Sunday was the same but for family. Bea Day Part II. Same set up, same times, same food. My parents, Johnny's parents. My aunt and uncle and two cousins whom I hadn't seen in a long time. Mixing with the families can be challenging in any situation and I feared the worst but we had a really nice time. Thora got even more gifts, which were generous and unexpected, including healthy contributions to her 529. The Duplo set we gave her was the highlight of the day. She had such fun tearing apart the pieces and throwing them everywhere.
Then on Sunday evening we had dinner with Thora's grandma, who could not be at the family gathering. This was extra special because she and her husband made the 200-mile trip each way in less than 24 hours just to see Thora on her day. It was a great dinner that meant so much to us. Thora amused herself by waving at us all in the mirrors on the ceiling with vigor, stealing Droids and iPhones and eating lime wedges whole, but she was crabby and tired and wiggly by the time we wrestled the phones away from her to take pictures. Look at this monster! Bye-bye food!
We could not have had a better birthday weekend if we'd tried. It fit right in with the other traditions we are developing as a family. I hope we can keep them this way. Celebratory but low-key. Full of the people we love and who love our family. I wish all holidays could be that good!
I have to leave you with this image of our kid dressed like she was born in the 80s bopping around to Culture Club. She loves to dance and this makes my heart sing! She's like her mama, at least in this way. She's a girl after my own heart. <3