I really have no idea where the time goes. I just managed to write her 9-month update and it seems that the next day I have to write her one year update. I cannot believe that she is a toddler. I would like to say that I deliberately skipped her 10 and 11 month updates but it would be untrue. However, I do not regret it much because now I think I will start spacing her updates apart a little more.
Though she is not walking yet, Asha spends more time on her feet, holding on to furniture or even balancing without help for a minute or two at a time. She usually takes one step and then sits down. She is a master at crawling up to tables, pulling herself up and then proceeding to take everything off it and throwing it on the floor. She can also crawl all the way up the stairs now which scares me. She has also been picking lint off the floor or our clothes and putting it into her mouth. That should tell you all you need to know about the condition of our house. Asha continues to be fiercely independent and refuses all help in walking. If you try to take her hands and make her walk, she will shove your hand away and sit down.
Her fine motor skills are amazing. She picks up the tiniest objects (and usually puts them in her mouth). She is great at manipulating toys and has been playing more complex games lately. She has been clapping and waving lately (for about a month). She will clap if you say "Clap" and wave if you say "Hi" and "Bye-bye".
Verbal Skills and Comprehension
Asha clearly has “mama” down in terms of saying it. She has said “dada” a few times, “baba” a lot more and recently “gigi” or “gaga”. The weirdest thing is that she mostly says “gigi” when she is trying to play with Giggs. Though she has uttered it in his absence, I am convinced she is trying to say his name because she mostly says it around him. She will be super vocal for a while and then stop. Now she is testing different pitches and inflections which include everything from a questioning voice to ear-splitting screams.
She understands a lot more than she did before. Now she knows her cereal and will get it for you if you ask. She also understands (and usually obeys) “Give it to me” and “Put it back”. She will touch your nose if you ask her “Where’s my nose?” though she refuses to touch her own nose.
What can I say? We finally phased out her middle-of-the-night bottle – doing it gently over 7 nights. We did this just after she turned 10 months. We had hoped things would get better but she was still getting up once (on a good night) and twice every other night. She would stay up for about an hour each time. She sat in her crib, chewed on it (we have crib teether guards on all sides), played with a toy for a few minutes, then cried till we went in and soothed her. This would go on for an hour. Then she went to sleep.
In desperation, at about 10.5 months, I started cutting down on the rocking before bedtime. Usually she needs about 15 minutes of rocking and a bottle to get drowsy. She is always put into bed awake but I thought maybe she should be less drowsy than she is. So I started rocking her for no more than 10 minutes and putting her down. It took about 15 minutes of screaming but then she passed out. Well, I don’t know if that did it or whether it was no more bottle at night, but she has slept through the night since then. I am praying that I am not jinxing myself here. She goes to bed around 9:30pm and gets up around 5:30am for the day. That is the weirdest thing about her. I have heard that babies get up around the same time, no matter what time they go to sleep. That is absolutely not true for her. She has an 8 hour body clock. Put her down at 9:30pm and she is up at 5:30am. Put her down at 8pm and she is up at 4:00am. You could set the clock by her.
In exchange for sleeping through the night, she has started taking two naps of an hour each. Not enough time to get anything done but oh well!!! I will take it – sleeping through the night is so much more important to me. Now that we have mastered that, I am working on making her stay in bed till 6am. Even if she wakes at 5:30am, I would like to get out of bed and have a cup of coffee before we start the day. So, I want her to stay in bed till 6am. That is not going very well but I am working on it.
Certainly, her play has become more complicated. She has started nesting her stacking bowls and cups. She is also imitating a lot more. Gregg’s mom bought her a teapot and teacups and she imitates drinking tea from the cups – and then starting chewing on the teacups. But it is so cute. She also takes my coffee mug after I finish drinking coffee from it every morning and tries to drink from it. Since it is one of those latte mugs, her manipulation of it is not great but it is funny to watch. Unfortunately, her favorite toys are everything she should not have – our books, Giggs’ leash, shoes etc. Slapping the TV is also high on her list as is banging on tables, chairs etc.
Reading remains something she enjoys. We read to her every night and at least once a day if not more. When we let her crawl around in her room, she usually goes to the table or bookshelf, pulls down the books and flips through each for a few seconds at a time.
Taking her to restaurants is something we have been doing since she was 5 months old. But it requires a lot of prep. She is never still or quiet and will bang on the table the entire time we are there. So, we need toys, bottles and extra straws to keep her busy. I refuse to only go to “family” restaurants since the quality of food is always worse there. My favorite experience was taking her to a tea room. She wanted to play with the teapot and teacups since they look like her toys. But imagine a baby with china!!!! It was a whirlwind experience keeping things out of her reach.
Dancing is also a favorite activity. We do not let her watch TV but Gregg usually keeps a game on after 7pm. Well, one day, Gregg and I were too tired to resist and we put on an episode of the Big Bang Theory (we just started watching this show). To our amusement, Asha started dancing to the theme song. Since then we play it often (just the song, not the show) and she dances to it every time. It is adorable!!!
She got her first tooth FINALLY. That was a terrible experience – crankiness upped about 10 times for a few days. This tooth finally popped when she was 10 months old. I was so relieved. I thought she was going to be one of those babies who are toothless on her first birthday. Since then, it seems as if she has not stopped teething. FIVE more teeth have popped out in the last two months. After her first tooth came out, I would always say to her, “Time to go brush your tooth!!” Cannot say that anymore. I will miss her toothless smile though.
Eating has been a disaster. She has been pickier and pickier. Yogurt and bananas are her staples. The only other things she eats are oatmeal and mac and cheese. But of course she will not eat just any mac and cheese. She ONLY likes Kraft Homestyle – the one with bread crumbs etc. She hates even juice – we tried grape juice once and she dribbled it out of her mouth. She likes the banana cookies made by Gerber and animal crackers and Gerber cereal. One of the things she does which I love is that she tries to feed you her food. While she is playing with her food and frequently throwing it on the ground for Giggs, you can go up to her and say, “May I have some?” She takes a piece and extends it towards you and will try to put it in your mouth. Giggs has taken to sitting beneath her high chair as she feeds him anything on her plate. I still have to feed her since she never eats anything when left on her own.
As I said, she is fiercely independent and active. She does not stop for a minute and is very easily bored. I am sure most toddlers are this way. However, what bothers me is that the tantrums have already started. Just take away something she is not supposed to have and it leads to screaming, crying and even hitting. The hitting and scratching started a month ago and she tries to do it whenever she is upset. The first time she did it, I was nonplussed. I must admit, I was also very angry. But after reading up on this behavior, this is what I do. I hold her hands to prevent her hitting and say, “No Asha, do not hit. It is very naughty to hit.” Then I redirect her attention to something else. Isn’t she a little young for the “Terrible Twos”?
She is super social and loves going out and being around people. She gets seperation anxiety when we are not with her but if we are holding her, she will smile and random people even in a grocery store. We try to get her out of the house at least once a day.
Month 11 has also been a health nightmare for Asha. It was like a storm of illness after 11 months of being well. First she got a stomach bug which lasted a week. Just as she was getting over that, she got a HUGE cold with a low-grade fever. Since Gregg and I had the same thing, no one slept for about 4 nights. It took another week for all of us to feel better but Asha was well for only about 2 days before she got a higher fever (102F). This turned out to be a double ear infection (her first ear infection) and the poor thing was on antibiotics for 10 days for it. We just stopped those a few days ago but since last night, she has been holding her ears and shaking her head. I am hoping this is not another ear infection but she is not feverish yet and we have a doctor’s visit on Monday anyway.
I plan on writing a separate post about her birthday.
Having Asha has been such a ride!!! I cannot believe that she is a toddler. My favorite moment of the day is when I go and get her out of her crib in the morning and she gives me a dazzling smile and puts out her arms to be lifted up. In spite of my exhaustion, in spite of the fact that it is the crack of dawn, it makes me smile. When the fussing or tantrums make me want to tear my hair out, I always try to remember that moment when she is delighted to see me. I do not want her to get to an age when she will not need me to lift her out of her crib. That is the best moment I can imagine with her. Yet, watching her grow and develop is also fascinating. Yes, I have been this ambivalent about her turning one for a long time. And finally, part of me is delighted to say, “We made it!!”