December 16, 2012

Our Baby is Growing Up, and Other Nightmares

Our baby is growing up. Let me count the ways. 

1. Last month we eliminated formula from Noelle's diet - it went surprisingly well. She didn't take to cow's milk, so suggested and recommended from her pediatrician she is now a soy drinking gal. She's drinking it like Kool-Aid.

2. This week, we eliminated bottles from the equation. This is serious business. Noelle is one of those babies that go to bed with a bottle. Yes, that's frowned upon in babyland, but Joey and I are your typical don't-listen-to-anyone type of parents and let her do it anyways. (You do what you have to do in order to survive.) So naturally, she got very attached to her bottle and it helped her fall asleep. Weaning her off was no easy task. We started with taking away a couple bottles that she would have throughout the day (usually in the car- yes we are also those parents). Then we only let her have a bottle before nap time and bedtime. Then only bedtime. Now she has no bottles! It's a satisfying accomplishment, yet for some reason I feel sad. I put all her bottles away today, and tucked them away just in case. (Joey wants me to toss the whole lot in the trash but you just never know.) Who knew I would get sentimental over putting baby bottles away, but I did. I am saddened by my daughter's growing status.

3. She is using silverware. Granted, not very accurately, but she is using it. It never even occurred to me that you had to teach your child to eat with silverware. The idiot that I am, I just thought that was something I only had to think about in the future. "Oh, one day she will use a spoon. Oh, one day she will use a fork." Then it dawned on me that children not much older than her use utensils. It hit me that, Hello? Earth to mommy. I'm suppose to teach her how to use silverware.

4. She is mimicking me. Now this is a true nightmare. Because now she does things that make me say "Oh crap! You know that!?" For example, she can pick up her play phone and put it up to her ear and say "Halo?" She also can feed her baby doll with a spoon from a bowl. She can pretend to fold laundry with me. She "cooks" at her kitchen. She "reads" books, magazines, and the newspaper. She repeats words. She points to objects and can identify them. Now it's time for mom and dad to watch what they say, watch what they do, and know that little Noelle hears and sees everything. And she will copy it. Long gone are the days where I could bounce her on my knee and watch reality stars curse and scream at each other, or talk nonsense with a girlfriend while feeding her lunch.

5. Baby proofing takes on new meaning. Baby proofing used to mean to me that once she started moving I had to put some foam edges on corners and get some gates. Now it means hiding everything we own and getting insurance. Seriously. She opens up drawers and pulls everything out, she can open up boxes - especially crayon boxes and colors on everything, she trashes the kitchen, she can dump bins over, she throws the laundry around the room, she pulls and yanks things off of the table, she can push chairs over, she can push buttons on remotes and gadgets, she is curious about electronics, she plays with things she shouldn't, should I go on? She is a walking and destroying monster. Am I beyond happy that she is an exploring, curious, adventurous, brave, smart child? Yes. Am I beyond terrified of her abilities? Yes.

6. She has preferences. She always had some preferences - sweet potatoes over peas, sort of preferences - but now she really knows what she wants. She will go and pick out her own clothes from the drawer, she will reject certain books and find other ones that she would rather I read to her, she screams when we put in a DVD she doesn't care for or is bored with, she tosses her food if she doesn't want it, etc. It's amazing and exhausting - we have a little person on our hands.

Parenthood is so amazing, tiring, exciting, weird, and so, so loving. We adore watching Noelle every single day, and all joking aside, it really is amazing to see her grow up. It's amazing to see that this little baby that we created is shaping out to become her own little person, and can do things that we can do. It's wonderful, and sad at the same time. Watching your baby grow up to be what you have raised and taught them to be is so rewarding and precious.

Our thoughts and hearts go out to all the families that lost their little ones this past week in the Sandy Hook shooting. As a parent, I have no idea what this feels like, but I can only imagine. The love I feel for Noelle is overpowering and to lose her presence would be devastating. Our deepest condolences to all those families, children, and people involved. 

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