Saturday, July 27, 2013

Eliza and Ga

Eliza and Scooter getting acquainted.
Almost from the time we found out I was pregnant we worried about how Scooter (our 5 year old miniature schnauzer) would feel about the baby. Would he be protective? Would he be territorial? He didn't have a history of liking kids, but we hoped that he would feel differently about a baby in his own family.  For the first six months Scooter didn't really seem to like Eliza. He ignored her as much as possible, and as she grew to be aware of her surroundings she was more and more fascinated with Scooter. Scooter had a bad habit of waiting until Eliza was napping and then barking uncontrollably. He is usually quiet and lays in his spot on the couch, but if something gets him going, it's hard to get him to stop and it is loud and annoying.  Many a nap was interrupted by Scooter. We had heard that the baby will be used to sounds like dogs barking because she'll hear them while she's still in utero, but that didn't seem to help when Scooter got going.

Everything changed about the time we started to give Eliza solid foods.  Suddenly, she was interesting to the dog because she had food.  And she dropped food. And he could eat the dropped food. And that changed everything.  Instead of resenting Eliza or ignoring Eliza, Scooter became Eliza's best friend even when she didn't have food.  He was much more tolerant of her. She can play with him and he will play back in his own unique way. (He growls when he's playing, it makes other people nervous to watch, but we know it's his play mode.) He lets her grab his toys out of his mouth. He lets her hug him. The only time he gets frustrated with her is when he's in his kennel. And of course Eliza wants to be wherever Scooter is, so I'm trying to teach her that the kennel is Scooter's place and she needs to leave him alone when he's in there.

When we were in San Francisco recently Scooter went to stay with Shawn's brother who lives nearby. About halfway through the trip Eliza did the sign for dog (patting her leg) and then looked at us and said "Ga?" Ga is her word for Scooter. (She doesn't say Mama yet, but she has a word for the dog.) She wanted to know where Scooter was, and it melted our hearts.  When we came home from San Francisco Eliza chased Scooter all over the house yelling "Ga!" over and over again.  Our little family was reunited.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

First Big Trip

Dear Eliza,

We just got back from our first big vacation as a family of three, a trip to San Francisco! And there are certain thing I always want to remember. Like how you draw people to you.  People stopped us at the airport, walking down the sidewalk, just about everywhere we went to tell us how beautiful you were.  Your smile and wave naturally draws people to you, and I wonder how that will manifest itself in your future. We were on a bus stuck in traffic when you started to wave at the cars stuck next to us, and every single car you waved to waved back, from the minivan full of people to the macho guy texting, you got everyone to stop and wave at you and smile. You were such a trooper on this little trip, taking naps on trains and busses and in your carrier and stroller, being patient with Mommy and Daddy as we went shopping and messed with your schedule, and being great at flying, well, for the first flight.  The second flight was a different story. On the first flight the flight attendant was saying goodbye to a friend named Alina, and you called out to her and waved catching all of the flight attendant's attention.  They loved you. When Daddy was shopping you talked and talked and talked to the clerk until he asked Daddy what you were saying and Daddy had to say "I have no idea." You were pretty insistent about helping our bus driver give the tour as we drove home from seeing Muir Forest. You charmed other kids and adults alike. Everywhere we went we heard people commenting about you, "look at that cute baby, did you see the way she's sitting in her stroller?" You like to sit with one leg straight out in front of you. I was that Momma in the airport who let her baby walk barefooted in a public place, but you truly brought joy and smiles to countless people who watched you walk with glee from the gate to baggage claim! (And I didn't dare try to put shoes on you, you would start to scream if I made any move to stop you.)

Your Daddy and I love to travel, and traveling with your Daddy reminds me of why I love him.  I hope as you grow up you love to travel just as much as we do.



Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Not Ready

Today my baby girl turns one. I keep reading that when they turn one they are no longer babies but are now toddlers overnight.  I am not ready for that.  This year has been fast and slow, amazing and difficult all at the same time, but I am not ready for it to be over. I think back to a year ago, to waiting and hoping that she would come any day now.  I remember going to the hospital to be induced, then having a c-section, and finally after 9 months of pregnancy, 10 days overdue, 12 hours of labor in the hospital they placed this beautiful baby in my arms and I was forever changed. They tell you time goes fast, they tell you so much changes, but it was just yesterday that she was born, wasn't it?

It was just yesterday that we brought her home, that my Mom came to visit and lost our dog.  It was just yesterday that we figured out breastfeeding, that she smiled for the first time.  It was just yesterday that we moved her from her cradle to her crib, that she started solid foods, that she rolled over and sat up and crawled and took her first step.

And now my little tiny baby girl is marching all over the house.  She has an opinion about where she wants to go, but will cry when I leave the room without her. She talks and talks to us telling us so many things that I wish I could understand.  She points to things, sometimes to things that we are talking about, but usually she points and talks and I wish I knew what she was thinking. She gives hugs to the dog (but not Momma or Daddy), she knows the signs for milk, more, food, dog. She smiles and giggles at Daddy more than anyone else, but she cuddles into Momma when she's tired, hungry, or around new people. She loves wearing shoes and hats, but also loves to take them off. Her world has exploded this past month meeting family from Alaska, Indiana and New Mexico. She loves her cousins and loves to watch them play.

What happened to the newborn? I was always so excited to see what she was going to do next, but I also really tried to appreciate every moment, every stage, but they all flew by. I am not ready. I am not ready to put my baby to bed and wake up my toddler in the morning. I am not ready for her independence.

I love you Baby Girl.  I love you fiercely, in a way I think you will only understand when you become a momma yourself. I will embrace every change, be excited about every new thing you do, wether it's stacking blocks, or learning to read, or dancing about the house. But you will always be my newborn, my baby. I will always cherish the moments I held you in my arms and rocked you to sleep. I will look at you and see all the moments of you life all at once.  I see my newborn and my strong independent almost 1-year old, and the beautiful little girl you are becoming. You will always be my baby and I will always be your Momma.