Moderate altitude

This morning as I lay in bed half awake listening to the distant ba ba ba ing of my daughter, it occurred to me that our current good morning routine is about 1001 times better than our previous "OH CRAP she's awake, move! move! move!" drill. These days I peek over at the monitor with one eye and see her on her back, feet in the air, thumb in mouth, babbling away. Rewind the tape to just a couple months ago (if even that long ago?) and you would have seen a screaming baby demanding that you "send a parent at once, skip the loo dude, for I am starving and require your assistance." Even when she is hungry now and waiting for me to get everything set up in the morning for our simultaneous pump and eat, there is so much more dare I say patience? and on some lucky days melt your heart smiles?

Sitting up straight is a rarity too, not that Caroline is incapable, girl's got some serious core strength! She just prefers to lean forward to touch EVERYTHING and to reach for things that were previously inaccessible. When we put her on her activity mat, she wants to dig through her toys, pulling them one by one from the basket. If she spies something more interesting, usually something we have, she drops whatever she is holding and shakes her arms in excitement.

Caroline may not be moving persay, but we can't quite figure out how it is that she starts on one end of the blanket and ends up at the television, pulling her diaper caddy out for closer inspection. She seems to be moving backward by squirming? She is spending more time pushing onto her belly, rolling onto her back, and to tummy again, but she is stuck at two places; she cannot seem to master tummy to sitting nor getting her right leg to move allowing her to fall forward to her belly. NOT FOR LACK OF TRYING. I am becoming more and more reliant on the blessed pack n play for assistance with baby wrangling. Caroline doesn't seem to mind, as long as she has some entertainment in there with her.

Yesterday we observed her plucking the tiniest stacking cup from the stacking cup tower, placing it down and removing the next tiniest and so on. She used to just grab the whole stack, shake it, sending the pieces flying.

At the grocery store she sits in the seat now, surrounded by a safari truck cushion/activity center. Once safely strapped in, she plays with the little zoo guide, keys, walkie talkie, bears. I usually FLY through the store in anticipation and avoidance of a crying jag that is not only embarassing, but also so terrible for her. Yesterday she was content as could be, smiling at everyone we walked by, entertained by her safari mat and aisle after aisle of colorful boxes and jars. A shopper chatted with her in the deli, explaining to me that she is going to be a very talkative little girl, so expressive, and she should know afterall because she is a speech therapist. I try to take things that strangers say with a grain of salt, but she may be right, Caroline is so expressive and seeing her out of the corner of my eye watching me selecting lasagna noodles, garlic bread, pastina for her, she was taking it all in. I stopped my shopping a couple times to nuzzle her adorable mug and she squealed in delight. Shoppers would wave to her and she would whip her body around to get a second glance.

Our family sat together on the floor for a just a little while last night. Caroline did that sucking in laugh she does when I pretended to chew on her side. She grabbed our faces. There were many ba ba bas. She wants to touch us now too. If you are sitting with her she will move herself to touch your arm or grab your leg, sometimes flopping onto her back so she can peer up at you upside down (a favorite pastime). Steve said she is a little girl now. We are truly seeing glimpses of the little girl she will become or is already - I don't know which is true?

After her tub and pajamas, I sat with her and read her stories, culminating in Green Eggs and Ham as is protocol around these parts (kudos to auntie for getting through sans book). While I read to her about the house and the mouse and box and the fox she gently rubbed my leg with her fingers while sucking her thumb, at times watching the pages, other times the cat, still others laying her head back to see my face.

A bedtime snack and it was off to sleep, without so much as a single peep, just a sweet milky sigh of contentment.

Parenthood is full of hills and valleys and the best you can hope for is a moderate altitude. I will resist the urge to prepare for the the valley that must lie ahead , but instead appreciate the contentment and joy that we have been having; this place where parenting seems to have reached its highest peak.


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