It's official. My little girl is becoming, well, a girl.

My eldest will be four years old in a few months, and she's brought home from pre-school her very first cool-kid's word. You know, the word or phrase that all the kids say at school to describe almost anything. Usually the word will last a few months to a year, and then eventually there will be something else cool to say.

Well, apparently in room seven, everything is "cute."

"Oh, that little doggy is cute."
"That's so cute."
"Mom! Look at what she's doing! Cute!"

Or sometimes it won't make any sense at all.

"That grilled cheese is cute."
"We're going to the mall? Cute!"

It's not like she says it all the time, but all of a sudden she started saying "cute" way more than she normally would. And when you think about it, there is a host of other words (even words she's allowed to say) that would be way worse, so I have to be happy about that at least.

And when I stop and think about it I realize this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I've got years of cool-kid words ahead of me. And ultimately I know someday I'll look back on this and think of it as, for lack of a better word...


Happy Birthday to my youngest.

I can't believe it's been a year, but my youngest is now a year old, and doing amazingly well. I took her to the doctor's today and she's 105% in height and weight (coming in only about 12 pounds lighter than her (almost) 3 year old sister). She's got eight teeth, she's cruising and pulling up on anything she can get her hands on, and she's pretty much mastered "mama" and "dada."

I just looked back at the post I did for Madame's 12th month developments two years ago, and her sister is doing everything she was, if even a little earlier. I imagine it's because she's got an older sister to follow around so the bar is set higher. Anyway, it's been an incredible and busy (as evidenced by my lack of posts) year, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Oh, and happy birthday to my Mom, the modern day grandma, too.

A new addition to the modern day family.

Today I was lucky enough to bring home the most recent member of our family, a new baby girl. After many hours of labor, she was finally born on Wednesday morning. Mom and baby are both doing well, and as for me, well, I can honestly say I totally forgot what it was like to have a newborn in the house. But truth be told she's been a really good baby in the 39 hours since she's been alive - lots of sleeping, eating and more sleeping. And some gas here and there.

Fortunately Madame has been dealing quite nicely with her new sister. She's struck a good balance of healthy interest (especially when "baby crying") and general disinterest after a couple of minutes (newborns are, after all, not particularly interactive). We'll see how it goes in the next few weeks when she'll probably want to take her back to the hospital - but so far so good.

So anyway, that's where I've been the past month, getting ready for this. Now she's arrived hopefully I'll get some more time to check in here. Also, I've got to think of a new name to call her in this blog ("Madame" is taken). Any suggestions?

Sixteen and Seventeenth month developments

So today is Madame's seventeenth month birthday, and I'm officially going to stop counting the freaking months next month. "She's a year and a half" is perfectly acceptable from here on out I think.

As I didn't do one of these posts last month, I'm rolling it all up into one - and in these two months a lot has happened.

  • Talking. She's not really speaking yet, but her arsenal of words (or word-like sounds) is growing all the time. Before I had a kid I thought that little kids just started saying words one day, but I'm starting to realize it's much more of a gradual continuum. She can repeat sounds you make, and sometimes she can put certain sounds with certain meanings consistently, but she isn't speaking any perfectly formed words yet. Her baby talk is really developed though, and her inflection and facial expressions really convey that she's saying something, just in a language I can't understand. If I could do this part over with her, I probably would have done some of that baby sign language with her.
  • Eating. I, as pretty much anyone who knows me knows, hate cheese. I'll eat pizza and some mozzarella, but other than that it kind of sickens me. My Madame however loves cheese. We're trying to incorporate other food in her diet, but I swear that girl could live on grilled cheese sandwiches, peaches and pretzel rods until she's 18.
  • Testing. Even at 17 months, I'm starting to see those terrible twos start to creep in. She constantly tests us, seeing what she can get away with and seeing what the consequences will be. Tell her "no" and she'll try it again. Tell her a second time and she'll either stop doing it, take whatever she was doing somewhere else out of my sight and try it again, or smile at me and then do it again. Getting angry or yelling really doesn't have any effect, so I'm trying to develop an icy stare that will stop her dead in her tracks. But I've been unsuccessful so far.
  • Kisses. This one is the best. After months, she's finally started to give kisses. I don't really know why this one was so important to me, but after changing the fourth dirty diaper in as many hours, getting a kiss on the cheek is a nice reward - even if I have to prompt her.

Fifteenth month developments.

My Madame turned 15 months last week, and the older she gets it seems like the fewer big milestones there are for her. She's walking everywhere now, can understand almost everything I say to her, and has developed a real personality completely independent of my wife and I. Eventually I'm going to have to stop measuring her developments in months, but for now I'll try to keep it up.

  • Walking. She was walking last month, but now she's really a pro. Up and down hills, uneven surfaces, rocks, you name it - she's walking on it. She's finally got the hang of shoes as well, which is a good thing. Because when we first put them on her we didn't think she'd ever wear them. As it turns out the shoes we were putting her in were a little too small, so we skipped right to size five and we haven't looked back since.
  • Eating. We turned a corner the other day at lunch time. She was being kind of finicky with her yogurt (which she normally loves) so I decided to let her take the spoon herself. Now she insists on feeding herself, which is good and everything but it definitely slows things down. So now thanks to a moment of simple (but brilliant nonetheless) insight from modern day mom, we rock two spoons, one for Madame and one for me. Between the two we're having much more success.
  • Kisses. No matter what I do, I can't get her to give me a kiss on the cheek. She's great at hugging. If you ask usually she'll give you a squeeze and a pat on the arm, but no kissing yet. She's never been a very cuddly kid so I guess it makes sense, but it's kind of funny how that one thing she just won't do.

Fourteenth month developments.

Like my wife put it the other day, Madame is right on the verge. There were some huge developments this past month, but they aren't complete yet. It seems like every month I'm so amazed at the new stuff she's learning and doing, and I wonder if I'll feel this way until she moves out of the house. Probably.

  • Walking.  This is (obviously) the big one. The crazy thing is, she got really good at standing, and then one day she took 4 or 5 steps. Every day after that she's been taking more steps, and now she can walk for fairly long distances. Crawling is still more efficient for her, but that balance is going to tip soon. We've been experimenting with shoes for her too, but she absolutely hates them. They're like cement on her feet, and she'll stand and give you this look like, "what the hell are you doing to me?"
  • Teeth, teeth and more teeth.  This past month it seemed like all the rest of her teeth started coming in all at once. Her teething must be painful, but she's been a pretty good sport about it actually. Every now and then she'll grab her cheeks and give me the crinkle (a look like "um, this is really uncomfortable"), but she doesn't freak out. And I've lost count at how many there are.
  • Talking.  My little chatterbox is never at a loss for something to say, but she just hasn't quite figured out the words yet. And the older she gets the more frustrated she seems to get at the fact that we can't quite understand her. I thought about doing some of that baby sign language stuff with her (I never saw how useful it would be until recently), but I'm still not convinced. We're getting by fairly well with pointing, which is kind of like sign language, right?
  • The pickle lip.  Before this past month there was really only one way for her to show displeasure - crying. But now she saves crying for the really upsetting stuff, and when she's just generally unhappy (like when I take something away from her or tell her not to climb up the stairs) she gives me the pickle lip. Where she learned to stick her lips out and give a sour-puss like that I'll never know. Maybe it's genetic, because my wife says her grandma used to give the exact same expression when she was annoyed. Either way it usually just makes me laugh, which is the wrong reaction when she's doing something I don't want her to.

Thirteenth month developments.

Another month has passed and it's official now. We've stopped calling her "the baby." It just isn't fair to her anymore. She's more active and smarter now than she's ever been, and even though she'll always be my baby, right now she's more my toddler. With all the good and bad that comes with it.

Standing. She's not walking yet, but she's really close. Right now she's not only pulling up on furniture and cruising, but she's started to let go. Usually it seems like she forgets that she's not holding on, and when she realizes it she falls on her bottom. Or we notice what she's doing, make a big fuss which gets her clapping, which causes her to loose her balance and fall. I'm not sure why I want her to walk so badly (things are only going to get tougher running around after her), but I do.

Little Miss Finicky. Madame has always been a good eater. Pretty much everything we've put in front of her she's eaten, but recently she just stopped. Now she makes it through maybe half a jar of baby food before pushing the spoon away, favoring finger foods she can feed herself. This is good I suppose, but it definitely doesn't make things easier. The other day she even told me what she wanted. I was feeding her some pureed vegetables for lunch and she pushed the spoon away, pointing at some bananas behind me. So I fed her a banana, which she loved. It was cool actually, kind of like the first conversation we ever had, except there were no words and I had to clean banana out of her hair afterward.

Blow me a kiss. She still won't give me a smooch on the cheek when I ask, but her Grandma taught her to blow kisses a couple of weeks ago. Ask her for a kiss now and she'll touch her palm to her mouth repeatedly, which is closer. The best though is when she does it to strangers completely out of the blue, like she did to this little boy in a high chair at a restaurant the other day. I think I'm going to be in trouble in a couple of years.

Twelfth month developments.

So here it is. Madame is a year old, and I'm not nearly as freaked out as I thought I'd be. Things are happening so quickly with her that it barely feels like I have time to look back at what she's accomplished in this past month, let alone be freaked out. But for blog's sake, I'll try.

  • She's listening. I swear she understands everything I say. If I ask her where her belly is, she'll pull up her shirt. If I ask her to show me the duck she'll point to it in her book, and if I tell her "no" sometimes, sometimes she'll even stop. The downside to this is I've got to really watch my language now, because if I'm not careful her first word will be "douchebag." And this will not please modern day mom, believe me.
  • Old toys are new again. Some toys, like her cups and that five rings on a peg toy were great for a while. She'd grab them, pull them apart and eventually chew on them. But now those old chestnuts are showing some new life. A couple of weeks ago I was walking past her pile of toys and I noticed the rings were placed back on the peg (not in the correct order which is how I knew it was her). Now she's stacking the cups and taking things out of boxes and putting them back in like the genius that she is.
  • Six choppers and a lot of gumming. We're in full-on food experimentation now, and she's doing pretty well. Aside from the typical finger foods, we're giving her fruit, potatoes, pretzels - anything we're confident she can dissolve and mash up with her gums. She's got six teeth now and even they're all in the front of her mouth they're not slowing her down from chewing. If any thing they're encouraging her.
  • Cruising. Pretty much as soon as she started to crawl she was pulling up on stuff (furniture, walls, whatever she could steady herself with), but now she's transferring from one piece of furniture to the next and walking the entire length of the couch all by herself. The other day I even followed her completely up the stairs, which when she finally made it she turned around and looked at me with the biggest smile ever - kind of like, "Did you just see what I did?!?"

Eleventh month developments.

It's been a big month. A really big month actually. Most of the things that I've been waiting for her to do for months, she's now doing - and my job gets harder and harder.

  • Crawling. This was the big one we've been waiting for. At the end of last month it she was getting close, but this month she's got it down. She actually started at my parent's house on their hardwood floors. I don't know if it was just that she didn't want to lie down on her belly on the hardwood, but whatever it was she just started crawling. It's great, but now she can get to just about anything and everything she wants to get a hold of - usually the one thing you don't want her to touch.
  • Waving. My dad has been trying to get her to do this since she was about 2 months old, and this month she figured she'd finally make him happy. The best thing is she waves at anything - strangers, pictures of people, even her reflection. In the airport she was like a little goodwill ambassador, waving at just about everyone that walked by and getting smiles and waves back from just about everyone. It made me think how funny life would be if adults just indiscriminately waved to each other for no reason.
  • Huge naps. Maybe it's because she's really active now, but she starting taking these long 2 hour naps last month. She's still sleeping through the night and going to bed around her usual hour, but she needs more sleep than she did a month a go I guess. It's great if I want to get stuff done around the house obviously, but if I want to go out with her to run an errand, we've got to plan around the Queen of Sheba's beauty rest. I know, I know. I shouldn't complain.
  • A fifth tooth and some biting. Like I've mentioned before, she popped her fifth tooth (second upper left incisor) on Father's Day, and now she's figured out that a fun game to play with mom during dinner is bite down on the spoon. Maybe it's the Gerber silicon spoon (I like to use a little bigger spoon), but Madame thinks it's hilarious, much to the annoyance of her mother.
  • Who is that? Sometimes I feel dumb making a big deal out of the simplest little things, but this one really blew me away. I had her on my lap a few weeks ago, and we were looking at pictures on the screen of my digital camera. Lots of them are of her, and on one of them I asked her, "Who is that?", not really expecting a response. She looked at me and then pointed to her belly. Woah. Fortunately my dad was a witness and we completely freaked out. I tried it again with some other pictures, and every time there was one of her, she correctly identified herself. I'm sorry, but my daughter is goddamn brilliant.

Tenth month developments.

OK. Here's the part where I say "Holy crap, she's ten months old, which is almost a year." But seriously, she's almost a year old. Here's what she's been up to:

  • Monkey. That's what we've been calling her recently. I'm learning that being smarter every day means being more inquisitive which means that she'll try her damnedest to get her hands on whatever she's interested in. The problem is her body hasn't really caught up with what her mind wants to do yet. She isn't crawling forward, but she's figured out to launch herself forward, roll to wherever she wants to go, and spin herself around to get it. She's can push herself backward, and she even pulled herself up to a standing position on a some furniture the other day -  which made us both elated and frightened at the same time.
  • Four teeth and a lot of gumming.  At the beginning of her tenth month we started introducing some finger foods - like the Gerber fruit and veggie puffs. After about a week she figured out what she was doing, and I'm happy to report that now most of them end up in her mouth and not on the floor. She's trying all kinds of food now, from french fries to bananas, with varying degrees of success (and mess). She's also started using a sippy cup, and I even got her to drink her morning bottle almost all by herself the other day. It's amazing to watch this completely dependent little creature learn how to do the most basic things all by herself. Sometimes the smallest steps can be the biggest accomplishments.
  • No.  Does the baby shake her head back and forth simply to avoid the spoon of food you are trying (unsuccessfully) to put into her mouth, or does she shake her head back and forth to say "No. I'm not hungry anymore"? I'm not sure, but sometimes it sure seems like she knows what it means. Then again, she also knows it will almost always get a reaction from the nearest adult around ("Oh. Isn't she so cute shaking her head "no."). I wonder if shaking your head back and forth means no in all cultures.
  • "Mama?" "Dada."  Like I've blogged about already, she's pretty much got "mama" down pat. But no matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get a meaningful "dad," "dada," "daddy," or anything close to it out of her. These past few weeks my new favorite phrase has been "No. Not Mama. Dada." If she's not careful someday my new favorite phrase might be, "No. You can't borrow the car tonight. If you had thought back when you were 10 months old to throw me a "dada" every now and then, then maybe. But tonight it's no."

The gift of "mama."

Happy belated Mother's Day to all the moms out there who may be reading this. As it was the first Mother's Day in the MDD household, we wanted to make sure it was special, and I think we succeeded. We happened to have around both modern day mom and the two modern day grandmas which was special, plus we decided to go out to eat on Saturday instead, which proved to be way less crowded and hectic. (As an aside, my sister-in-law, one of the modern day aunts (OK, that's enough - sorry) says that the worse day of the year to be a waiter is Mother's Day brunch, because everyone eating is uptight, not used to going to a nice restaurant, and never tips well. Plus multiple beverages make for a lot of trips back and forth.)

Anyway, it was a good day, and as I was thinking about it this morning, it occurred to me that Madame has given her mom the best gift of all. A couple of weeks ago when we were on vacation and the baby was sick she started saying "mama." At first we were thinking it was really more of a distress call because she was hurting so bad, but the more she did it the more we were convinced that she was in fact associating that word with her mother. The clincher for me was one morning we woke up and her mom went to go make her a bottle and left her with me (like we do most every morning) and Madame was not pleased. I got three straight minutes of "Mamamamama!" that no tickles, kisses or funny faces could distract her from. Once my wife came back thought everything was instantly better.

At first I have to admit I was kind of pissed. Here I am, taking care of her every day, spending most of my waking hours thinking about how to make her happy, entertained, comfortable and generally a better person, and she busts out with "mama" as her first word. Isn't that a kick in the pants? But now that it's been a few weeks I've got some more perspective. I'm happy being the go-to guy for lunch, a diaper change, a ride in the car or someone to pick up that toy that she's dropped. But when her mom comes home and Madame lights up like a Christmas tree and gives her a big "Mamamama!" it's really more of a gift than her mother, or I, could have hoped for this Mother's Day. Hope yours was just as good.

Ninth month developments.

Nine months old is three months away from a year old and the realization that I am the father of someone who is a year old. Luckily I've got three months until that eventuality.

This month there has been a slow down in obvious developmental achievements. She seems to be getting smarter, but mostly it's just more of the same - playing, trying to talk etc. However, if I had to list the developments for the sake of a regular monthly blog entry, they would be:

  • Rolling Around. She's not crawling yet (at this point she may never - which everyone says is OK) but she's figured out that if she's playing on the floor, and she wants to get to somewhere in the room, that she can get there by rolling. Not the best, but also not the most ineffective way of getting from one place to another.
  • Clingy-ness. This one has really developed this month. Now my baby is definitely social, but it's getting to the point where she not only wants to be in the middle of things, but she's demanding it. Sometimes she'll whine the second I get up and take a couple of steps away from her. But if we're hanging out together, she's totally cool.
  • Second Tooth. Right after the first one arrived, the second started breaking through right next to it. But even though they're adjacent, my dad is still going to have to wait on the flossing lessons.

Eighth month developments.

Holy crap she's eight months old. She's growing like a weed (we've moved onto 12 month clothes already) and getting smarter every day. And it's all still pretty amazing. The developments this month were:

  • Clapping. I blogged about this a couple of weeks ago, but it also has to be mentioned here that my genius daughter has figured out how to clap. Now instead of just flailing her arms up and down when she's happy, she can also clap. And I can get her to clap now too, which I'm now spending a decent portion of each day trying to make her do. I wouldn't be surprised if her first word is "clap."
  • First Tooth. This one took me by surprise. A few weeks ago she wasn't really acting like herself - kind of unusually crabby - and I thought, "Maybe she's teething. Probably not, but you never know." And sure enough, she had popped her very first tooth - lower left incisor. Needless to say it was big news around the family.
  • Object Permanence. This started last month, but now it's really come into its own. If she's playing and spots something she can't have (usually the remote control) she'll immediately go for it. Last month if I got it out of her sight she would pretty much forget about it and go on to something else. But now if I put it out of her sight she knows where it is and still wants it, usually until I distract her with something else.
  • Peek-a-boo. In the past week or so, usually in the evening, she's started to play peek-a-boo with modern day mom. It goes something like this: she'll put a burp cloth over her face and we'll say "Where did Madame go?" and she'll pull it down and we'll say, "There she is!" whereupon she'll put it back over her face and start the game over again. At first I wasn't sure if she knew the cause and effect of what she's doing, but after a few sessions I'm pretty sure she does.

Clapping? She's seriously brilliant.

I've spent months (seven months actually) trying to get a reaction from Madame. The first couple of months I got nothing. Then I was able to get a smile and eventually laughter, which is very satisfying (and addictive on my part). She recognizes people, songs we sing to her, favorite toys; but the most of a reaction we can get is some squeals of happiness and some kicking. No amount of waving, clapping or "Give me a smooch" gets the appropriate, reciprocated response.

And then yesterday it finally happened. We were hanging out playing, and I clapped to her. She looked at me, took a second, and did it back. Needing to make sure it wasn't a fluke, we did it a bunch of times the rest of the day and let me tell you, it was pretty awesome. When she speaks her first word I'm probably going to completely freak out.

Seventh month developments.

In the previous months that I've written these (self indulgent) posts, most of her major developments were physical in nature, like sitting up, rolling over or grasping things. This month it's more about what's happening in her head. It seemed like about a week after she turned six months old a light bulb turned on and everything was different. Here are the changes I've noticed:

  • Separation anxiety.  At the end of last month I think she was just starting to realize that I am, in fact, a seperate person, but it didn't bother her too much. Now that fact occasionally stresses her out. Sometimes she'll be as happy as can be playing in her "stationary entertainer," but if I walk out of her eyesight for a second it can be a full blown freak out. It doesn't happen all the time, but where she didn't much care before, now she definitely does.
  • Stranger anxiety.  I think this one goes hand in hand with the separation anxiety. For months my baby would happily smile at anyone who smiled at her first. Then all of a sudden she wasn't smiling back so much and sometimes even crying. The frowning-lower-lip-quiver-I'm-about-to-cry face is cute, but it's also kind of sad she's realizing that maybe not everyone is her friend.
  • "Ga."  Madame is very chatty, and now she's got a favorite word. "Ga." Actually, it's her only word, and she uses it for everything. Someone walks in the room that she recognizes - "Ga!" Hand her a toy that she likes - "Ga!" Get her ready for breakfast - "Ga!" There's lots of random baby chatter too, but this is a word that definitely has some meaning for her, even if it means everything.
  • Naps.  OK. Judging from the comments I got about my sleep post a little while ago, I promise not to write about how great my baby sleeps. I got lucky, the next baby won't be so easy, it has nothing to do with me - I get it. So I'm not saying here that she's settled down into falling asleep for a nap twice a day (morning and afternoon) at about the same time each day. And I'm definitely not saying that it has anything to do with what I'm doing (because it really doesn't).

I miss the bucket already.

I finally installed Madame's new car seat yesterday and we took it out for a test drive to the grocery store. I have to say the Britax worked great - it feels really secure and she fits in there perfectly. Everything else surrounding the trip however is now slightly more complicated.

This in-between infant and toddler period is a pain. She's too little to walk (I'm afraid she's no Tiger Woods) but too big for her infant car seat. The bucket ruled - keeping the baby in one manageable container had a lot of advantages. Now I've got to figure out if she's going to rock the stroller, the shopping cart, baby bjorn or if I'm just going to pick her up an throw her on my hip. And she's still a baby, so I had to buy this NoJo Secure-Me Travel Seat so she won't be able to move around too much in the cart. Great. More baby gear. Just what I wanted to deal with.


Weaaaaaaaah! What a whiny bitch I am. If I'm complaining in another six months about how she runs around all over the place, give me a slap.

(I have to credit MDD reader Drew for the term "the bucket" which, since I read it, I haven't been able to call the infant car seat anything else.)

Sixth month developments.

Well, we just passed Madame's sixth month birthday and we've officially begun what is usually described to me as "the best age." "Wait until they are six months old," people say. "That's the best age."

I have to say I can understand where they are coming from. Right now everything for her is brand new, and she's interacting with just about everything within her arm's reach. At the same time she's not old enough to speak or be intentionally obstinate and willful. She's mostly happy to sit and play with some toys, or smile at anyone who smiles at her. It is a great age, but I'd like to think it's going to keep getting better (though I know there will also be some rough times ahead too).

Anyway, her six month developments are some big ones. They are:

  • Sitting up: She was close last month, but for a week or two now she's been sitting up on the floor completely unassisted. Spread some toys around for her to reach and grab and she's a happy girl. She can't get back up on her own if she falls over, but all of her struggling to sit up on her own these past few months has paid off.
  • Rolling over: This one has been a worry of mine, but the other week we came into her room in the morning to find her sleeping on her stomach. It's now to the point that she's on her belly about 30-40 percent of the mornings. She's not rolling around all over the house yet, but I think this is a step in the right direction.
  • Grasp and release: She was reaching and grabbing things last month, but now she's learned to release whatever she's holding onto, especially if she wants to pick up something else.
  • Shaking her head: I'm not sure if this is a "development" or not, but it's something that's turned up recently that she keeps repeating. Occasionally when she's tired (in bed or in her stroller or swing) she'll whip her head back and forth, and when she's half asleep it looks kind of like she's possessed. I'm guessing she's just uncomfortable and is instinctively shaking her head to try to settle down, or maybe it has something to do with rolling over - I'm not sure. I'll be sure to keep the Ouija Boards away from her a while though - just to be on the safe side.

Fifth month developments.

Well, we’re a day past Madame’s 5 month birthday, and like I blogged about last week, my little girl is still very advanced. In hindsight it doesn’t seem like the fourth month was incredibly eventful, but she’s well on her way to some big milestones. The new developments this month were:

  • Laughing Spontaneously: This one is great. Sometimes I can just make a funny face or say something and she’ll just look at me and laugh. Or sometimes there isn’t any reason I can figure out at all. She’s also very ticklish, which is fun, but it’s the random laughs that get to me. Of course, the second you try to repeat the face or what you were saying, it isn’t as funny anymore, and you just get that slightly condescending puzzled look.
  • Screaming (or, Let’s Figure Out How Loud My Voice Is): This is easily my least favorite. I don’t do well with high pitched sounds anyway, and man can she send a high-pitched yelp right through my skull. And the weird thing is it’s not from laughing or joy, but it seems like it’s just so she can see what she can do.
  • Unassisted Standing: She’s no Tiger Woods, but she’s so good at standing now that I can stand her up and put her hands on the couch and she will stand there by herself. Eventually she falls but the whole time she’s doing it she’s grinning like a crazy person.
  • Sitting Up into a Tripod: When last month all she wanted to do was sit up, now she can do it (pretty much). Her new favorite thing is to sit up in the corner of the couch and play with a toy. If she starts to fall forward, she knows now to put her arm down to brace herself (into sort of a baby tripod). If she falls over however, there’s no getting back up without some help.
  • Reaching and Grasping: The toy we hung from the handle of her car seat is now getting some use, as now she’s interested in grabbing for it. The good is not without the bad however, as she'll also use her gooey baby hand to reach up and grab my glasses.

This month has really made it clear to me that all the milestones you hope for (sitting up, walking, talking etc.) are really just the end of a long chain of smaller, more modest milestones. Nothing is going to happen overnight I guess. Anyway, thanks for the self-indulgence.

Fourth month developments.

Slow and steady wins the human race apparently. At almost four months I’ve got ababy that is (thankfully) a normal, healthy kid; and at first glance she isn’t much different than she was a few months ago. But looking back at the past month I realize she’s been knocking down developmental milestones like bulldozer. Here are her latest tricks:

  • Blowing spit bubbles
  • “The motorboat” (making that buzzing sound with her lips)
  • Laughing (only if I do something that’s particularly hilarious)
  • Sucking on her hand
  • Constantly trying to sit up (which usually results in tipping herself over)
  • Standing on her legs and supporting her weight (with balance support)
  • And in the past couple of days – grabbing stuff with her hands.

I’m also learning that you’ve got to take the good with the bad, and like I read in Daddy Types a while back, she’s regressing in some stuff too. For instance this past week she started waking up about an hour after she falls asleep at night. She kind of freaks out, cries for a minute or two, and then goes back to sleep. And she’s also getting up about an hour or two earlier than she used to in the morning, which really isn’t my best time of day.

Anyway it’s amazing, not because now she’s doing all of these things – she’s supposed to be doing these things but it’s amazing how completely psyched I am that she’s now realized that she can grab stuff and put it in her mouth (especially considering that her doing this is just going to make my job that much harder). Grabbing at stuff is a long way from a Rhodes scholarship, but when you’re 16 weeks old it seems like a pretty big deal.

We've discovered television.

My mom came for a visit last week and it was both fun and a big help (allowing me to do things during the day that I just can’t do with a kid in tow). Anyway, the other morning I came downstairs after taking a shower and Madame was in her bouncy seat, smack dab right in front of the television watching Jo Jo’s Circus on the Disney Channel. And she was riveted. My mom looks at me and says (joking), “This taking-care-of-the-kid stuff is easy.”

It made me laugh because my wife and I had never thought to put something on the TV specifically for Madame before, because it seemed like something you weren’t supposed to do, but mostly because she was so into it. Later that night while we were eating dinner we tried one of the Baby Einstein DVDs we had (but had yet to try) and again it worked like a charm. We kind of felt guilty, but it was seriously the first meal we’ve eaten together beginning to end since the baby arrived, and it was nice.

So I guess I’m still up in the air about this. On one hand the Baby Einstein videos are really sweet and it’s hard to imagine they are harmful. Not to mention the fact that sometimes the benefit of a non-screaming baby to the family can’t be too overlooked. But on the other hand I kind of feel like I’m starting off on this slippery slope that’s going to end with endless loops of Mary Kate and Ashley videos. I guess as long as I use it judiciously and not as a replacement for real interaction I’ll be OK (which I imagine is the attitude of every other rookie parent). Hell, when I was a kid I used to watch two Sesame Streets, Mr. Rogers and Villa Alegre every day and I didn’t turn out so bad.

Thanks mom.