And then *poof* I had a baby in my arms before 7:00 in the morning!
And then *poof* it's been a year since that baby came into the world!
I gave that messy baby her last not-yet-one-year-old bath after dinner this evening, and did my best to drown my mom guilt in the process. You realize that I haven't even written 200 blog posts yet this year? Part of that is Phoebe's fault because she is a very hands-on baby who has never appreciated when I try to hold her and type. Part of that is my fault for filling so much of my time with other things (even though they are things that I feel are also necessary).
My hope is that with so many witnesses to her life, Phoebe will have plenty of stories to be told about her and to her as she grows. And I'll get better about writing more here, I'm sure, when I get a moment to catch my breath.
This year has hardly allowed for that, and I think that's fine. When I think about how my Canadian counterparts get 12–18 months of parental leave (with 55% to 75% of their full pay) and then I think about how I went to school full-time, worked part-time, and homeschooled five other children this year, I think it's okay that this year was hard.
But we did it! We made it through a full year with Phoebe!
Phoebe nursed for approximately 1800 hours this year. That's a lot of nursing!
She learned how to hold up her head and roll and sit and scoot and crawl and stand climb, and take a few steps.
She still only has two teeth and still always wants to put everything in her mouth.
She loves to have contact naps in the big, cozy chair in my bedroom. I don't mind these contact naps, myself, since she's not a fabulous sleeper at night (I've already put her down three times this evening and Andrew has put her down once) so I often need a little midday snooze as well!
Phoebe can say mama, dada, 'Achie (Rachel), shoe, kitty, bye-bye, up, uh-uh and maybe book. She often copy our phonemes if not our words. She especially likes making /ssss/ sounds and is always up for a lip smacking contest. She can sign all done, more, milk, fan, and please (though she thinks that she's supposed to sign please by rubbing my chest rather than her own, which is kind of funny). She can shake her head no and points and squawks to get whatever else she might want.
She understands what "nice" and "soft" and "gentle" mean, though she needs frequent reminders to behave in such a manner. She no longer pulls hair (often), but does get a little destructive with books. Her favourite pastime is just gettin' into stuff and throwin' it around (when she's not trying to eat it, that is).
She is at once independently-minded and very high-needs. If she wants to read a book with me, she wants to sit on my lap and control the book. The story must progress at the rate at which she turns the pages. No one else may touch the book or she starts squawking and screeching.
She likes to be held while I lead the kids through their morning lessons, except that she doesn't like when I talk or read to them (because she can sense that means my attention isn't really on her?) so she squawks and screeches whenever I open my mouth. I can hardly compete!
Sometimes she wants to be up and down at the same time and gets very upset that I haven't figured out how to achieve that level of touch-fulfillment for her. When I figure out how to both hold and not hold a baby simultaneously I will let you know. So far it involves her crying to be picked up, then her squirming to get down, then crying to be picked up again, and then squirming to get down, and then...
She does not like me to leave the room she's in. Doesn't matter whether she has six other people to keep her company. My leaving is a personal attack on her emotional well-being. I should know better than to ever think about walking away from her.
At the same time, she seems to have a sixth sense for knowing when the baby gate is open and is somehow always able to sneak away from me without a care in the world. Fortunately, she is a very proficient stair-climber and has learned to turn around and go down the stairs backwards. She enjoys going down the stairs so much that she will sometimes crawl halfway up the stairs, stop and slide down, crawl back up halfway, stop and slide down, and then crawl back up halfway again...
Perhaps she's trying to teach me how it is possible to be up and down at the same time.
I'm just glad that I have so many helpers to help me keep her safe on the stairs (since I have so many little hands leaving baby gates open). Zoë, Alex, and Benjamin spend a lot of time "shadowing" her on the stairs, so she can safely practice her stair skills while being spotted. So far it's worked well.
My little helpers are also very good at rushing to close the baby gate, which is nice!
They're not so diligent about the bathroom, however. It doesn't help that the bathrooms upstairs both have sliding doors that don't latch (unless locked from the inside). She can get those doors open by herself quite quickly these days.
The first few times I caught her sampling the toilet water, they were at least somewhat clean (and flushed). Not too long ago, however, I caught her sampling some truly nasty toilet water. So I pulled he away from the toilet, washed her hands with soap, did my best to clean out her mouth, and reminded her how yucky that was. And then I set about cleaning the toilets.
We have a septic tank so we clean the toilets with vinegar (not bleach or anything like that). So I poured some vinegar in the toilet (after flushing it) to let it...marinate...and then I went to put some vinegar into another toilet (because if you're cleaning one toilet, you may as well clean them all, right). While I was doing that I heard a "splash-splash-splash" in the bathroom (oh, no!) followed by some gagging sounds (eek!). I ran back to the other bathroom and found her sampling the vinegar-spiked toilet water.
She did not appreciate the vinegar sullying her personal water dish!
Somehow the stagnant pee was okay...but vinegar?! That's just crossing a line!
So, yup. Somehow I can't ever seem to sneak away from her without her raising a big to-do...yet she finds plenty of opportunities to sneak away from me and get into mischief.
Anyway, I'm sure I'll write more about Phoebe in the next couple of days. Tonight I was just thinking about how a year ago she wasn't even here...and how quickly the newborn stage zipped by...and now her babyhood is melting away...and she's going to be toddling around soon...and...
I'm at once not ready for it and entirely ready for it.