Lucia turned ten months on Friday. Ten months is such an odd age. Still a baby in so many ways, but nothing like the little newborn we brought home from the birth center ten months ago. She's an absolute joy, very playful, and is getting quite the attitude. It seems our house is either filled with screams or giggles. (We much prefer the latter.)
This is the first month that I have seen Lucia actively learning. Of course, she has been learning and developing since the day she was born but it's all seemed natural, the result of daily interactions with the world around her. This month, I saw development based on intentional teaching on the part of David and me. We've been taking Lulu to swim lessons and the first three weeks, she screamed and cried every time she had to float or "swim" on her back. It was heartbreaking. We tried everything to calm her down while on her back - singing songs, playing little games, etc. This past week, we've finally seen a huge improvement and she could actually be on her back for a while without crying. It's so rewarding to know that we've been able to help her become comfortable and get over her fears.
This month has been huge for physical development. Lucia is very mobile now and is constantly pulling up on furniture and walking along it. She can even let go and stand on her own for up to five seconds. David noticed that if you put a toy in her hand and stand her up, she'll stand on her own for a bit longer. She's so engrossed in the toy that she is able to keep her balance, but once she notices that she is standing, she psyches herself out and falls on her bottom. She's going to be walking very soon!
Lulu is getting to be quite the food connoisseur. I suppose I can't really call her a connoisseur because she's not very critical, she's loved just about everything we've given her (other than my mom's homemade applesauce - poor Nana!). Some of her favorites: cheese enchiladas, butternut squash, refried beans, and all fish. We tend to take the baby-led weaning approach to feeding her, so she eats whatever we eat and has never eaten food from a baby food jar. (She does, however, LOVE the baby "puffs" snacks. Confession: I do too!) I hope eating what we eat means she will continue to like whatever mama makes for dinner and won't be a picky eater later on. We are working on the signs for "food", "more", "all done", "please", and "thank you", but she rarely uses them and has found, ahem, other ways of telling me she wants more and she wants it now! Let's just say she's not shy.
Linguistically, she hasn't added any more words this month. She's still at seven: hi, dada, dog, mama, ow, wow, and that. She makes several other noises that sound like words but that she doesn't seem to associate with anything yet. I took a first language acquisition class in college that discussed many of the amazing intricacies of language that the human brain is able to process. It's so interesting to see them in action in Lucia. For example, right now, she associates the word "dog" with any animal or stuffed animal, but not with people. How is she able to group all animals together, since they come in so many shapes, colors, sizes, etc., yet know that humans are different?
Lucia's ability to eat solids is much enhanced by the fact that she now has SIX teeth. She has the front four teeth up top and front two on the bottom. It seems that she's been having some teething pain the past month or so, which may be one of the reasons that her sleeping has become so erratic. With so many teeth, we've started brushing them at night before bed. I bought a Dr. Mom Finger Tooth Brush and was nervous that Lucia wouldn't like it. She loves it! She loves chewing on it and it seems to relieve some of her teething pain. She actually cries when I stop brushing her teeth. I guess I can't complain about that!
Sleep has been... challenging. Lucia has been waking up at least three times a night and often is up for long stretches of time. As I mentioned, some of the problem is teething, but there seems to be something more, but we can't figure out what it is. She slept through the night from six weeks until about five months, and then off and on after that depending on whether she was teething or had a cold. But for at least the past three months straight, she hasn't gone a single night without waking up several times. We're struggling a bit with the lack of sleep, but Lucia seems to be making up for it with several naps so we aren't worried about her development.
Lulu is such a mama's girl right now. I'm eating it up because I know it won't always be this way. If I'm in the room, she doesn't want to be held or played with by anyone but me. She cries if I leave the room or hand her to someone else (which makes David and my parents quite sad). I worry that she is having some separation anxiety since I recently went back to work, but she seems happy enough once I leave. I call her every day during my lunch and talk to her on the phone. Sometimes she even "talks" back. She's gotten very used to hearing familiar voices over the phone and will even pick up our phones and put them to her ear. So cute!
One of the funniest thing my little girl does is search for "specks". She'll find the tiniest piece of fuzz or dirt, pick it up with her pincer grip and stare at it. David and I can rarely keep her attention for more than a second because she's all over the place, but a speck can keep her entertained for minutes! This makes me think of Horton Hears a Who and wonder if she can hear something I can't.
Playing "peek-a-boo" and "stinky feet" are sure ways to get her to giggle. Give her a blanket and she'll play peek-a-boo with you over and over again, lifting it up to cover her face, then bringing it down and giggling when she sees you. I've been trying to say "Where's Lucia?" and "There she is!" in both English and Spanish. (I would be a bad Spanish teacher if I didn't try to teach my own little one!) "Stinky feet" is exactly what it sounds like. We sniff her feet (or bottom or underarms), make a face and say "Ew! Stinky!" and she giggles, giggles, giggles! The things babies find funny!
Remember last month when I said Lucia bends her head when someone asks for a kiss? She's just started puckering and kissing back! She's been kissing her stuffed animals (and her monkey chair and our dogs) for a few weeks now, but as of yesterday, she is kissing mama and daddy when we ask for kisses and has even kissed us a few times unsolicited. Poor Nana and Papa, they've been begging for kisses and not gotten a one!
David and I take Lucia for portraits once a month (thanks to $8 picture packets!). This past month, we kept forgetting to pick up her nine month pictures so we didn't get them until we took her in for her ten month ones on Sunday. When we opened them, we were amazed by how different she looked. In one month, she has slimmed down quite a bit and her face is so much more mature. I've said this for a few months, but now more than ever she looks like a toddler and has lost much of her baby face. My baby girls is growing up fast!