tiger_spot: (sword)
One more requested topic, delivered via non-comment means: "interesting things to teach a child that did not naturally occur to you (that you had to think about or get from other people or literature)"

This is a fantastic question and I apologize for taking so long to get around to answering it. The big thing, the major important thing I am trying to teach Morgan that does not come naturally to me, is emotional awareness and regulation. I knew that little kids have tantrums, and that bigger kids eventually grow out of that sort of thing, but it turns out that this is not entirely a matter of time. Emotional regulation is a learned process (with some developmental inputs) and there are lots of things I can do to help Morgan get through a tantrum, help reduce the frequency and intensity of tantrums, and teach her other ways to deal with the feelings that lead to tantrums. And every single one of them is bizarrely non-intuitive.

The primary thing I'm doing now is giving her vocabulary words about feelings. We've gotten books specifically about feelings from the library, with photos and illustrations of faces expressing different emotions, or illustrated situations in which she's supposed to guess what the character is feeling (I think my favorite is How Does Baby Feel? by Karen Katz -- it has several different positive emotions, which is a little unusual in this type of book). I try to point out bits in other books where characters are illustrated with clear emotions. And when she's experiencing a strong emotion, I try to label it for her, or to provide several possible emotional explanations if I'm not sure what it is she's actually feeling. This is, sometimes, magic:
T: No, you have three stickers already. You may not have any more stickers until after dinner.
M: ::wails::
T: Are you sad because you can't have any more stickers? You can say "I'm sad."
M: I'M SAAAAAAAD. ::abruptly stops crying, as though a switch has been thrown::
We also talk a bit about the emotions other people are feeling, like if a kid on the playground starts crying we will talk a bit about what he might be feeling and why, or we'll talk about how the dog is feeling when we're walking him.

The other backwards-seeming tantrum stopper is to agree with her about how cool it would be if she could do or have whatever it is that she is upset that she can't do or have. She's not developmentally to the point where this is as magic as I've read it can be, but she's verbal enough that it does work now, slowly. To some extent this reduces tantrums for the same reason that learning a bit of baby sign reduces crying (ATTN ALL NEW PARENTS: LEARN SOME BABY SIGN) -- much of what causes the upset is the feeling that she hasn't communicated her desire clearly, that I don't understand what it is she wants. So if I clearly indicate that I do understand the desire, and that I don't think wanting the thing is a problem, then she feels better about the situation even if she still can't have the thing. (Also I tend to talk about when she can have the thing -- after dinner, maybe next week, when you're a grown-up, whatever the appropriate time frame is.)

There is a fine balance between, one the one hand, ignoring Morgan's emotions, and on the other hand making them too big a deal. Neither of those is great. The ideal is kind of what we aim for when she falls down: notice, give her a moment to have her own reaction, then make a neutral informational sort of comment ("You fell down." "You look upset.") and stand ready to provide help or comfort if she needs it. Morgan specifically does not want as much physical comfort through emotional upsets as a lot of kids seem to, which is a little weird for me, so I am trying to practice being more verbally supportive rather than scooping her up for a hug, because if she's actually tantruming hugs really do not help.

Actually, speaking of informational comments, that's another cool new non-intuitive kid-herding technique I've been trying out lately. But that may be another post -- it is time to get ready for swim class!
tiger_spot: (sword)
The Morgan creature, she is a wonderful creature. She's active and curious and affectionate.

She's getting into art now -- she likes crayons and sidewalk chalk and paint. She still just scribbles, but sometimes she identifies the scribbles as dogs or Papa or what have you. Occasionally she'll start a drawing and then ask a grownup for help with that drawing (rather than asking the grownup to draw a new thing, which she's been doing for ages). That's kind of a fun exercise in figuring out how to incorporate the existing lines, so I hope she keeps doing it.

She likes wearing the grownups' clothes and decorating herself and others with stickers. She has definite opinions about which of her own shirts and pants and pajamas and hairclips and hats she should be wearing at any given time -- and she can remember what all she has and make these decisions without actually looking at the clothes, which personally I find impressive. She loves her rainsuit, and jumping in puddles. She likes purple a lot.

She is very interested in doing what other kids are doing, especially slightly older ones. She doesn't always try to play with them, but she carefully watches what they're doing and if they do something new and exciting will go over and repeat the action, like a very attenuated game of follow-the-leader. She also likes to order people around -- parents, other kids, the chickens, the dog. (These last don't listen.) At the library the other day, Morgan and another little girl were sitting next to each other working on puzzles, and Morgan decided that the most efficient thing to do was say "Baby help!", pass her pieces to the other girl, and point to where she ought to put them. So I guess she's practicing her leadership skills....

Her language is astounding. She's picked up a lot more Spanish in the last month or two, and her English vocabulary is... well, at this point if she needs a word she probably has it. She's started using more verbs. Her recent interesting concepts include "everybody" ("Brooks chin. Morgie chin. Mama chin. Ev'ybody chin!"), "somebody" ("Suzi car!" "No, that's a different blue car." "Somebody car."),
"probably" (::phone rings:: "Who dat? Prob'ly Mommy. Prob'ly Papa."), and "last night", which appears to indicate the past in general ("Walk the doggie mama last night," when I only walk the dog in the mornings). She's trying to figure out past tenses -- she only uses them for a few verbs but she tells a lot of little stories about things that happened (For instance, we brought a new toothbrush to FOGcon, so now it is the "hotel brush". "Hotel brush! Went to hotel!" "Papa toast burn! Doggie woof!"). She's also doing a lot of planning and breaking things down into steps ("One book. Then feed the bocks [chickens]. Then breakfast."). "Who dat?" is a constant question. We're trying to train to use "What's that?" for things that aren't people, and she'll happily parrot it but I guess "Who" is easier to pronounce, so that's always what she starts with.

She's really into testing limits right now. Not in the sense of trying to get away with breaking rules, but really clearly looking for edge cases. For instance, I told her it was not safe to stand up in a restaurant high chair and she needed to sit down, so she tried sitting on the back of the high chair with her feet in the seat, to see if that counted. Testing is a really interesting process -- it reveals a lot about both her thinking and my assumptions. If all goes well I will quickly learn to predict some of the edge cases she'll come up with so I can pre-classify them into okay or not okay and I won't have to think it through on the spot so much. She likes applying the rules or usual procedures (putting things away when she's done with them, insisting that she wants socks, shoes, a jacket, and a hat before going out even when it's not actually cold enough to need the jacket and/or hat, etc.). I frequently end an activity by saying we'll do it X more times and then move on to the next thing, or if she's asking for something like a hug while I'm making dinner I'll tell her I'll do it once but only once, and now "One book" is a proposal I will likely hear about seven times a day as we transition between various activities. (I usually go with it unless we have unusual time pressure, but I do keep it to one book. I can be bargained with, but no changing the bargain in the middle!)

She's still into counting. If she's counting on her own it usually goes "One, three, jump!" but she likes to tap each thing in a group while an adult provides the counting numbers. She's also starting to look through books on her own, pointing out things in the illustrations or repeating phrases she's memorized. She is startlingly good at keeping the titles of even very visually-similar sets of sequels straight. She likes Todd Parr, Mo Willems, and Sandra Boynton particularly.

When we pass a bunch of cars in a parking lot, she likes to pick out the one she wants to drive. Sometimes she assigns other cars to other people, too. She's surprisingly happy in her car seat, although prone to motion sickness. She loves going for rides in the bike trailer.

There is no more baby left. She is all small child now. It is a little disconcerting sometimes.
tiger_spot: (foot)
Morgan tells a joke. It goes like this:

"Morgie joke! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!"

It is pretty funny.
tiger_spot: (foot)
Morgan has gotten interested in counting things recently. Since she's been focusing on it, she's getting better very quickly, so I had better record the adorable mistakes now before she zooms past them.

Her first number word was "two", and she used it for any group of more than one.

Then she got "three", and started counting small groups like this: "Two, three, two, three, two. TWO!"

Now she is starting to get the idea that the numbers go in an order, and has picked up four and five (although I don't think she's said "one" yet). She is getting better at pointing at all of the objects in a group, and at pointing at each one only once, although that is clearly going to be a long road.


She's also been learning colors. For a long time, if you asked her what color something was, she'd say "blue". Now she'll probably say "purple", or if you've been asking her a string of colors and telling her the right answer each time she'll often repeat the most recent color. However, she can answer questions like "Do you want the purple shoes or the brown shoes?" with the correct color word, without seeing the shoes, so I'm not sure what's up with that. Maybe she understands color words as indicators for specific familiar physical objects, but hasn't actually figured out what generalized characteristic they refer to?
tiger_spot: (foot)
This has been a big month, developmentally speaking. Morgan is putting words (and signs) together more often, adding lots of new words to her vocabulary, and playing independently for longer periods of time. She has begun imaginative play, which I find very exciting. Possibly relatedly, she seems to be afraid of the dark now. She's not visibly scared, exactly, but she won't go into dark rooms. She likes to identify objects around the house by who uses them: She'll watch me fold laundry and identify each article of clothing as "Mommy", "Mama", or "Papa"; she points out the various bottles of shampoo in the shower by user; stuff like that. (The vacuum cleaner is "Papa".)

She's kind of lost interest in potty training but now she's very into washing her hands.

Particularly interesting new words:
other side (pronounced "ho-tai")
apogado ("off", but she uses it to mean "I want to play with the light switch")
wreath
dark

Morgan's pronunciation is still in that phase where familiarity and context are needed to decipher it. Morgan got a bit distressed while we had friends over for dinner before Christmas, saying "kuh! kuh!" "Oh," said [livejournal.com profile] wild_irises, "She's saying 'cup'! Do you want your water?" But 'kuh' is not 'cup', 'kuh' is 'sock'. She was unhappy because one of her socks had fallen off.

The overlap in how different words are pronounced is sometimes funny. In Morgan-speak, cats say mouse, dogs say wolf, and cows say moose. The most overloaded syllable is probably "ba". Things "ba" can mean:
ball (including other round things like lamps and satellite dishes; not balloons, though -- those are "boo")
help
banana
book
Brooks
hairbrush
toothbrush
box
bird
the sound a chicken makes
the sound a sheep makes
bus
bear
tiger_spot: (sword)
A few weeks ago, we all got a cold. After I'd had it for a little over a week, I announced that I was done being sick, really, and I was getting behind on Christmas prep, and I could stand to get better any time now. So it promptly turned into the Death Cold From Hell, and I was completely flattened for a few days. Andres stayed home from work to watch Morgan so I could sleep all day, is how flattened I was. I wore my pajamas for over 36 hours in a row. Entirely flattened.

Now I am back to just normal levels of sick, and apparently getting better, so I have caught up on a few of the Christmas-prep things I did not get to while I was more sick earlier. I still need to get stocking stuffers for the pets ([livejournal.com profile] suzimoses made them stockings, so clearly those stockings should be stuffed), wrap one more present (in the event that it arrives before Christmas, which it may well not), assemble Morgan's gift from my dad (Christmas Eve), decorate the tree (probably tomorrow; if not, then Monday; I know some people traditionally decorate on Christmas Eve but I am pretty sure we are already past the latest I have ever decorated a tree), and figure out what to do about Christmas cards (see next paragraph).

I missed sending out Christmas cards last year [1], so I wanted to be sure to do it this year. When I asked what a good time to take a picture would be, "after we're all over the cold, so we don't look like death" was suggested, but at this point (a) I won't be over it by Christmas and (b) Morgan fell against a bookshelf this morning and is going to have a giant forehead bruise for a while here, so I think we have lost our standing to attempt to not look like death. Also I think I am missing a bunch of cousins' addresses and would like to track those down. So I can either: print out some recent snapshots of Morgan and include them with these commercial holiday cards I have; take Christmas snapshots and use them to make New Year's cards; or take a semi-formal group shot and make New Year's cards.

I think I will do that first one for my grandparents, since they are very fond of snapshots of Morgan, and maybe then see about the addresses and work out something or other for New Year's cards for everybody also. That is probably a reasonable balance of wanting to Christmas card and still having a brain full of snot.

I have a hard time letting go of things when I'm sick.


The other big thing here besides me being sick and us getting ready for Christmas is that Galen had surgery. He has had these lipomas (benign fatty tumors) for years, and they've been growing slowly that whole time. It was kind of a tossup whether they were ever going to get big enough to really be a problem, but since they continued growing we decided that we'd prefer to have them removed now, so that we wouldn't have to have them removed later, when he's older and frailer and more at risk from the anesthetic. (That sentence has some really complicated tenses.) Anyway, that all went well and he is now a sad dog in a head-cone for a while, so he does not pick at his stitches. He was a very sad dog indeed the first day, but he is now energetic again and does not understand this "restricted exercise" concept.


Oh, oh! And Morgan developed a "yeah" to go with her "no"! It is very very exciting to be able to ask yes-or-no questions and get two possible answers!


[1] I have alarmingly sketchy memories of last December. It was the month I tried going back to work after maternity leave, and determined that that wasn't going to work. I know we got a little tree, and decorated it, and... that is about what I remember about the holidays. We took a picture to make a Christmas card with, and it had the dog in it and everything, but we wanted to do some digital cleanup first and then the actual card part just never happened.
tiger_spot: (foot)
So I have this toddler! She runs and climbs and talks and signs and sings and helps unload the dishwasher and cleans up her own spills and requests specific books by title and has finally started calling her various parents by distinct individual names.

Huh, this got really long. I guess that's what happens when I don't update for months. )
tiger_spot: (sword)
On our way in to the children's museum the other morning, Morgan got distracted by some colorful flower decals on the front window. The boy coming in behind us remarked upon this fact:

boy: I bet she likes the flowers because she's a girl.
me: I think she likes the flowers because they're colorful.
boy: And girls like flowers, and she's a girl.
me: The other thing she really likes right now is trucks.

I was actually kind of impressed that he gendered her correctly, given that she was dressed entirely in navy blue. I think it's the hair clip. As far as I can tell, kids are still looking mostly at her hair for gender cues, while adults rely more on clothing.
tiger_spot: (sword)
A while back, in the course of readjusting Morgan's bedtime routine, we moved her bath from after dinner to before dinner. Since we got back from our trip, she's fallen swiftly and easily asleep in the sling on the dog's walk every night (about 8:00), including the night she rubbed so much sweet potato in her hair that she needed a second auxiliary bath after dinner, so we thought perhaps we would try moving the bath back to the more logical after-dinner position.

No. Let's not do that again.

Bath after dinner turns her into a were-neutrino, rocketing around the house emitting high-pitched shrieks of overtired manic delight until forcibly subdued (9:45). I have no theory of causal mechanism to propose, but the effects are reliably reproducible and unarguably distinct. So the illogical, slightly inconvenient bath timing stays. Oh yes. It stays.
tiger_spot: (sword)
Morgan is an intrepid traveler, but is having some difficulty with the change in time zones and resultant schedule disruption. Trying to get her down tonight:

B: Should I wait until she's sleepier?
C: She's as sleepy as she's going to get.
T: She's sleepy, but she doesn't know she's sleepy. She's hit that overtired stage.
A: If she were twenty, this is when she'd go to the consuite and stay up until five in the morning.
all: [nod]
tiger_spot: (foot)
Morgan has started occasionally repeating words we say. This gives us useful context with which to figure out what it is she's trying to say. She uses more words than I am aware of, but it's obscured by her pronunciation. Through careful observation, I have deduced the following rules to convert a word from English to Toddler, Morgan dialect:

1. If you hit a difficult consonant, replace it with d.
2. If you hit a difficult vowel, replace it with u.
3. All syllables must end in a vowel. If the English syllable ends in a consonant, either leave it off or add a vowel.

Thusly:

all done --> adu
down --> dow
dog --> doDEE!!!
diaper --> didu
water --> dadu
shoes --> du
toes --> doe

Translating the other way is . . . tricky.
tiger_spot: (foot)
Possibly I should start doing these weekly; I hear language comes faster and faster as it gets going.

New English words:
ba (ball)
dow (down)

Palabras nuevas en Español:
mira (look)

New ASL signs:
chicken (which she also uses for "outside")
more
dog
tiger_spot: (sword)
I have been thinking for a while now that I ought to sit down and write a big long thinky post about the work of parenting and society's views on it. I have thoughts, you see. They're not very coherent thoughts, but sitting down and writing them out and then rearranging them and trying to build some sort of sensible connective tissue seems like it might plausibly reveal a thesis, or at least a point.

I haven't had time for that, as I have been doing the work of parenting.

I am becoming less certain that putting all the bits together would, in fact, result in a sort of holographic overarching point springing into existence; perhaps it would remain a pile of slightly banal disconnected observations. At best I think there's some insight into my own personal psychology, which is interesting to me, and probably to you, but less compelling as a reason to make time to sit down and think hard about the topic.

But here is the least banal of the observations:

I like to feel productive. I'm pretty good at interpreting that more widely than "making money": I feel reasonably productive on days when I do housework, or run errands, or spend time maintaining social relationships. But I noticed, a while back, that I did not feel productive on days when the baby's needs prevented me from doing any of those things. If I spent all day sitting under a sleeping baby who didn't want to be put down, or reading books to the baby, or going to the park so she could run around, or playing with toys with her, or tossing her in the air, or supervising her interactions with the chickens, I didn't feel like I'd been productive.

That's odd, I thought. I did not quit my job to do housework. I quit my job to spend time with the baby. Why does a day spent entirely on the baby not feel productive? It's supporting her physical and emotional growth, allowing her to explore new environments, objects, and interactions, providing a good secure base of attachment -- this is what I'm supposed to be doing! Why don't I feel like I've been productive?

And then I realized: Because I've been having fun.
tiger_spot: (foot)
Happy birthday, Morgan!

Today she had an enormous party (when I started putting together the guest list I went, okay, we don't want this to get too huge, so I will only invite people that Morgan is especially fond of and who are especially fond of Morgan...
wait, just off the top of my head this is already twenty-five people) and fell asleep about an hour earlier than usual. It was just what she wanted, and she had a great time charging hither and thither, being fed watermelon and muffins. She did not care that some of the older kids were much more excited to unwrap her presents than she was, because she got wrapping paper to play with, and wrapping paper is awesome! She was annoyed when I interrupted the charging to make her sit down and eat cake, but she seemed intrigued by the singing.

Here is Morgan at one:

She can walk all the way to the park, but doesn't because she gets distracted by neighbors and flowers and birds and leaves and sticks and neighbors. Mostly neighbors.

She can climb up and down all the stairs you want if she is careful. Sometimes she is careful, and sometimes she tries to use just her legs like a grownup going down a step, which does not work so well.

She loves the dog, and likes to bring things to him, like his toys or ice or her dinner.

She can say mama (which means all her parents) and dog (which is pronounced 'dadu' but has a very clear intent) and boom and hi and agua. She has turned the sign for milk into several slight variations which mean milk, water, ice, and I need a diaper change. She points at things she wants, or leads you to them with this routine I call "What is it, Lassie? Is Timmy in the freezer?"

She likes ice. The other day she figured out how to open the freezer herself. She hasn't closed it yet, but she likes closing other drawers and doors so I remain hopeful.

She's become genuinely helpful in unloading the dishwasher. I can hand her one plastic storage container at a time, and she will put it in the drawer, close the drawer, applaud herself, and come looking for the next container.

She loves books and hugs and adventures.

She likes knowing what happens next, especially if what happens next involves going outside. Feeding the chickens is awesome. (This morning she caught Teckla, who was Very Surprised.)

She waves at everyone, because everyone is clearly totally awesome.

She makes me think that everyone is, probably, totally awesome.
tiger_spot: (foot)
Morgan likes to wave at people. When we're walking somewhere, she waves at everyone we pass. Most of them like it: the kids say hi, the mamas wave back, the grandmothers coo, the staid grandfatherly types smile... and the sketchy-looking guys LIGHT UP. Being waved at by a baby is the best thing that's happened to them all day. They get these enormous grins and wave more enthusiastically than anyone. It's really sweet.
tiger_spot: (foot)
It's early for a monthly update, but Morgan has hit one of those sudden phase changes and is a completely different creature than she was at ten months.

She's walking almost exclusively now; she still crawls occasionally, but it's rare. She climbs up stairs with confidence and speed. While visiting my parents recently, she got a lot of practice with stairs, and developed the ability to very carefully climb down exactly one stair (then climb back up and call for help).

Her new hobby is putting things in other things. Any object stored below waist level may now be found in any drawer or shelf or bit of floor in the entire rest of the house. She's figured out nesting, and can spend ages putting various cups and buckets inside slightly larger cups and buckets.

She now points at things she wants, and babbles in ways that sound, in terms of inflection although not in terms of specific syllables, very much like "What's that?" or short observational sentences. She can very clearly indicate whether the thing you have or are pointing at is in fact the thing she wants. Also she may be attempting to say "boom" when she falls down.

Because she's walking now, we tried putting shoes on her at the park. But she won't stand up in them. "You broke my feet!" seems to be her general opinion.

Her 19-month-old cousin visited this weekend. He's very sweet. Morgan liked being around him, but he was not very enthusiastic about this small vicious creature stealing his stuff and grabbing his hair. (What happened to parallel play? I thought there was supposed to be a stage where they didn't pound on each other first.)

So! Tiny little kid. Very adorable, very social, very active. Learns new things every day. Amazing!

Whee!

May. 24th, 2013 05:40 pm
tiger_spot: (sword)
At the park this afternoon, Morgan climbed up a stair for the first time! And then climbed all the way to the top of the play structure, and had me slide her down in my lap, and then crawled around to the stairs and did it again, and then again (pausing to investigate the rocket ship sliding thing on the way), and was starting on a fourth when she got distracted by the bigger girls pretending to be dogs.

Doesn't do things by halves, this baby.
tiger_spot: (foot)
Hey so I have a toddler now!

Motion
It is amazing how many things you think of as binary aren't. Walking vs. not walking turns out to have an amazing number of shades of gray in it, but at this point I think we can definitively say that yes, this baby is walking. She can stand up without pulling up on anything, she can toddle along through empty space for up to six or eight feet (which is a whole lot of tiny little steps!), and she is no longer distressed by falling down unless she hurts herself. She hasn't quite figured out how to stop walking yet, so she likes to launch herself at furniture or a parent so she has something to grab when she gets there. She particularly likes to stagger over to the dog's beanbag, fling herself bodily into it, and roll around giggling.

Communication
Yesterday, she started using the sign for "milk"! This is very exciting. She's been responding appropriately to "more" and "all done" at dinner for some time, and making some motions that might correspond with those signs, but "milk" is unambiguous. Yay it's a word! We think she might also be trying to say "dog", but we're not sure.

She also says "mamamama" and "dadadada", but they don't mean parents. Both of those sets of syllables appear in her normal neutral babbling with a variety of inflections (an increasingly lively and varied variety of inflections), and are also used with particular inflections to indicate emotional states. She uses "mamamama" when she wants something, and "dadadada" when she is particularly happy. So when she wants a cuddle, she'll come and lean on my knees pleading "mamamama", then snuggle in against my shoulder and contentedly sigh "dada". Also, if she wants something in particular and you correctly guess what it is and give it to her, she'll often indicate that it's the right thing with one affirmative "da".

She really likes clapping, and will imitate that or cheering with arms up in the air. I have not yet gotten her to play pattycake with me, but I keep trying. She'll also imitate waving hello to a person, and occasionally waving bye-bye, but she's a lot more excited about hellos than goodbyes.

Playtime
She's very fond of taking things out of other things (shelves, drawers, boxes, cabinets...) and beginning to occasionally be interested in putting things in other things. Not the same other things, mind you, but it's a start. She's often quite independent when playing on the floor, and will charge off to other rooms and play there for minutes on end without needing to come check on me or call me in.

Lately she's gotten very interested in the dog's bucket of toys. She'll pull things out and leave them on the floor, which makes the dog happy, or snuggle them herself, or hand them to the dog and giggle, or hand them to the dog and then complain when the dog wants to keep them. The other day they decided that they both had to play with the blue and yellow fluffy bone and neither one was willing to be distracted by another toy -- either Morgan's or Galen's -- so I informed them that if they were going to fight over it, neither of them could play with it and put that one away for a while. The dog really does make an excellent practice kid now and then.

Mmmmmmmm

Apr. 4th, 2013 07:29 pm
tiger_spot: (foot)
The baby has developed an "m" sound. Now we are getting a lot of "mommommommommom" strings to go with the "dadadada".

It's rather nice.
tiger_spot: (foot)
She's getting so big! She is not quite walking yet, but she is thiiiiiis close to being a toddler. Where'd my baby go? There was a baby here a minute ago!

Let's see... what's new around here?

Movement: After using the commando-style belly-to-the-ground crawl for a while, she switched to a belly-up weirdly lopsided style. She uses both hands, her left foot, and her right knee, with the right lower leg sort of tucked under her sideways. It looks awkward but she can go very fast, especially on the hardwood where the right knee slides.

For a while there she was crawling around and pulling up on drawers, occasionally accidentally pulling them open but not really trying to. Now she's deliberately getting into drawers and cabinets, so we're installing latches on things (all the really dangerous stuff is up in high cabinets, but there are still things at ground level that she shouldn't get into). We'd been putting it off because I, as an adult, can manage to open the safety latches about half the times I try, so I was not looking forward to having to try. But the screw-installed magnetic locks are actually pretty convenient once [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses has been set loose upon them, so those are okay. (Apparently tricky to install on our drawers, though. Yay for clever handy [livejournal.com profile] brooksmoses!)

She can pull up to standing on just about anything, including flat walls (usually the mostly-glass door to the backyard, so she can look out and watch the chickens). She can cruise from handhold to handhold, although if she's going more than a step or two she usually drops and crawls instead. She can walk as far as you want if a grownup is holding her hands. She has managed unsupported standing for a second or so a few times. She's getting better at bending down to pick up a toy and standing back up without dropping it.

Teeth: About two weeks ago, the top two front teeth came in. They brought with them the adjacent two lateral incisors, which we weren't expecting, so now she has more teeth on top than on the bottom. I have some suspicions about the lower lateral incisors, though -- they ought to be next, and I think they might be soon. Chompy baby is chompy.

Opinions: Morgan has firm opinions about hats (evil), socks (for chewing, not for wearing), and the changing table (on fire; don't touch it!). She also has firm opinions about new people (awesome!), new places (interesting), and people who talk to her (double awesome!). The comment we get the most when we are out with her is "So happy!" It's true, she is a very cheerful baby. We are extremely lucky.

Today we took her to the post office to get her passport, and she charmed everyone in line with us, except for the seven-month-old, who was suspicious. But his parents thought she was great.

Activities: Morgan likes getting out and doing things. Any things; she's not picky. We've started going to the park fairly regularly, where she enjoys swinging, playing in the sand, eating the sand, finding little rocks and sticks in the sand which she would like to eat if only I didn't keep taking them away, pounding on the play structure, and watching other kids and/or their parents.

She has just recently begun to show some interest in looking at the pages of books, rather than exclusively stealing them to chew on. Yay!

Right now she is very interested in balls and other things that roll. This stacking toy from her abuelo is about three of her favorites; she'll always pick some part of it when she's pulling toys off the shelf. Other favorites: buckets, stuffed animals (especially Pink Bear and Moose, but she's gotten fond of Dudley lately too), and wooden stacking rings. She's not anywhere near stacking them yet, but she loves chewing on them.

Clothes: I just washed the next batch of gifts and hand-me-downs. The new stuff in circulation is mostly 12 month sized (!). All the pants are getting short; she has clearly got [livejournal.com profile] andres_s_p_b's legs. I bought her one more pair so she's set for right now, but I'm not sure whether I should bother buying pants in the next size since the weather's warming up. Just onesies may be better for summer.

Sleep: It's fun to create little theories about what, if anything, affects her nap schedule. I can test my hypotheses, assure myself that they're true, and then create a whole new set of hypotheses the next week! Right now we appear to be looking at either a nap at 11:00 and a nap at 4:00, or a nap at 2:00 and a nap right before dinner, depending on... wake up time? busyness of morning? a coin flip? This week Morgan and I have been covering the dog's morning walks, which means she gets a little walking nap around 8:30 and seems to encourage the 11:00/4:00 pattern, with the 11:00 sometimes edging closer to 12:00. This week she's been waking up a little before 7:00, although last week she was mostly sleeping past 8:00. If I knew what controlled that I'd bottle it. Or at least plan which nights I stay up late better.

Communication: She's still in the repetitive phase of babbling, but she's getting more and more expression and animation into her strings of syllables. Her favorite syllable is "da". At FOGcon, she figured out how to clap, and is fairly likely to imitate clapping. She's not imitating other gestures with any predictability yet. Ever so often we think she might be trying to sign "milk", but it doesn't seem to be associated with hunger so I think she is still just figuring out how her hands work.

Food: Morgan is strongly in favor of solid food. All the food belongs in front of her now. Now, now, now! None of this "playing with a toy" business at a restaurant, good god, parents, don't you know they serve food here? Food! Give it to me! Give it -- thank you, that's much better.

Hey what's that you're eating? It looks different. Gimme some of that, too.

And the other thing.

Yeah.

She particularly likes bread, spinach, hummus and other beans, and guacamole, but she is up for basically everything. Very spicy sauces are a bit much for her, but if it's not too spicy for me she is game to try it. She has a very good pincer grip and can get tiny things like grains of rice into her mouth, though she prefers the "fistful" method when possible.

She likes water a lot but hasn't figured out cups yet.

Separation anxiety: The realization that she can crawl away and leave mama to explore brought with it the horrible revelation that mama can also leave her. It's particularly bad if I am trying to have someone else watch her while I get things done around the house. I am told that she settles down fairly quickly if I leave but if I keep popping in and out of view she's upset until I hold her. She is also terrifically offended if anyone gets home from work and tries to go put things away or take their shoes off before snuggling the baby. YOU ARE HOME IT IS SNUGGLING TIME!



And that is how things are here at eight months!
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