Friday, December 28, 2012

My One Year Old

Lucia is one!  It's been a full year since she was born.  A full year of motherhood and of love more profound than I could ever imagine was possible. Aside from being a very emotional month as she officially became a one-year-old, her twelfth month has also been full of surprises.  She is so smart and able to do things I never imagined a baby could do at 12 months.  I think because she still isn't walking and stands up no more than 10 seconds by herself, I underestimated her mental abilities.  While she may still crawl like a baby, she is smart like a toddler.  She also has great fine motor skills.

Here's a few examples of what Lulu's been up to this month:
a favorite pastime: scarf in a tissue box
  • Puts shapes in her shape sorter.
  • Places coins in a water bottle and her piggy bank (and almost never tries to put them in her mouth, she knows where they go and it's not her tummy).
  • Helps put on her clothes - trying (unsuccessfully so far) to put shirts over her head, but succeeding in putting her arms through sleeves.
  • Loves playing with blocks and has figured out how to put her Mega Bloks together (and take them apart).
  • Cleans up after herself.  If I tell her to put her blocks away, she'll put them in the bag.  
  • As evidenced by the last one, she listens to and understands directions.
  • Knows what "no" means and gets a sheepish look when she gets caught doing something she's previously been warned not to do.  
  • Dances to any and all music, even music she makes herself with her musical instruments and toys. 
  • Says "papa" and "more".
  • Puts her head on the ground and looks through her legs. All the time!
  • Gets down from the couch/bed by herself by laying on her stomach and swinging her legs down over the side.  (This one really surprised me!)
One of the most endearing things this month is Lucia's new buddy-buddy relationship with our dogs.  She's loved them since day one, but they have mostly ignored her.  She's found a way to ingratiate herself to them: food.  You know the one above about her knowing the meaning of "no"?  Well, she loves to hold her food out to the side of her highchair and drop it for the dogs.  She's often so sneaky we don't catch her doing this because the dogs eat it before we even notice.  One day, I caught her doing this and firmly told her no.  So what does she do?  Grabs a piece of food and sticks it under the tray for the dogs to eat it out of her hand.  How smart!  How naughty! 

The dogs have started laying next to Lulu and letting her pet them.  We have to be careful to tell her "gentle", but in general, she is very loving and sweet toward them.  Both our dogs are getting up in years so I'm trying to get some good pictures and video of her with them because I have a feeling someday she won't remember them.  Another new "doggy development" is that she'll often bark in addition to saying "dog" when she sees a dog (or any animal, she thinks they are all dogs).  Her "ruff, ruff" is pretty cute.

In addition to being loving with the dogs, Lucia's been very sweet and snuggly in general.  She's the queen of kisses and will often surprise family members with unexpected and unasked for kisses.  It's not uncommon for her to crawl over to one of us and climb in our laps and put her head on our shoulders.  She's also started really loving on her stuffed animals.  They get tons of kisses, but also are patted and rocked to sleep by little mama Lucia.  It's darling.

Bedtime has gone more smoothly lately.  After trying nearly every sleep "philosophy" including co-sleeping and staying in the room with Lulu until she fell asleep, we finally resorted to "cry it out".  After a few nights, she started falling asleep almost immediately and sleeping through a night.  Our bedtime routine goes like this: diaper change and jammies, brush her teeth, read a book while she sits on one of our laps, prayer (our bedtime prayer is "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I trust you. Amen."), then we hug and kiss her goodnight, set her in her crib, put her glowworm, Zoey, in her arms, turn out the lights and leave.  If she's had a few good naps, she'll simply close her eyes and fall asleep.  If she hasn't napped well, she'll cry for a minute or two.  She sleeps through the night! 

On days when she doesn't have to go to the babysitter's, she often wakes up in the morning (around 7), plays quietly by herself in her crib for about an hour or so, then falls asleep for her morning nap.  She naps well for David, but when home with me, she refuses to nap unless she can nurse to sleep.  We're working on it, but it seems that she thinks she can get milk from mama whenever she wants.  (And she's right about that.)

My heart melts when my little girl wants to nurse.  It's still such a special time for us, although she certainly doesn't lay in my arms and nurse anymore.  She's constantly moving - standing up bending over, upside down, etc. - all while nursing!  It's so hard to keep a nursing cover on her in public and she makes mama blush a little when she sticks her hands down my shirt in public.  I'm trying to teach her the "polite" way to ask for milk is to make the milk sign, but she has a mind of her own and would rather reach for what she wants!

Lucia really looks like a toddler this month.  I look at pictures of her just a few months ago and can't believe she was ever so little and so chubby.  She's certainly long and lean now.  Her newly-pierced ears make her look so grown-up and so girly.  I often catch myself staring at her and thinking, "I can't believe she's mine.  I can't believe she's my baby girl.  I can't believe I'm blessed enough to be given the gift of mothering this little one."  She constantly makes me smile and laugh.  Her cheeks are dry from all the kisses she gets from mama, daddy, nana, and papa. She's such a delight and we are so grateful that she continues to be a healthy and happy little girl.

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