A Family of Clappers

Once upon a time I shared with you mommy’s attempt at teaching me how to clap my hands. The outcome was not quite what mommy had expected. Instead of clapping my hands, I grabbed onto mommy’s hands and clapped those instead. I have been clapping other people’s hands ever since.

Now that I’m such a big girl, I know how to clap my own hands. I love clapping my hands! That doesn’t mean that I have abandoned the notion of clapping other people’s hands. I still love doing that. The ability to clap my own hands has simply given me more clapping options.

Clapping is a lot of fun. It feels funny, it makes a sound, and people pay attention to me when I do it. The only thing better than clapping my hands, or the hands of other people, is when we all clap together at the same time. That’s the best!

Most evenings after we clean up the mess we made at dinner mommy, daddy, and I spend some relaxing time together in the living room. Sometimes we watch TV, other times we play a game together with or without my toys, we might just sit around and talk, or we could do any combination of those things. I think I like the games best of all.

Lately one of my favourite games to play is the clapping game. I walk over to mommy, pick up her hands, and start clapping them. Eventually mommy catches on and continues the clapping on her own. I then go over to daddy, find his hands, and get them clapping until daddy takes over on his own. Then I stand in the middle and clap my hands too.

Baby girl looking to play with mommy

Where are your hands?

I love it when the three of us are clapping at the same time. I get all excited about it. It makes me so giggly! It’s such a great family activity and I do love family time.

Mommy and daddy have short attention spans and they often need a little reminder. When one of them stops clapping I come over and get their hands going again. Sometimes it’s difficult as there are two of them and only one of me. I can’t be everywhere at once!

There are times when I find myself running from one to the other and then back again trying to get both mommy and daddy clapping at the same time. It can take a little while and it can be an exhausting process. If mommy and daddy are unusually uncooperative I sometimes get frustrated about it. I yell and that often gets mommy and daddy to smarten up and pay attention.

After a particularly difficult time of getting mommy and daddy on the same page, once I do succeed the rewards are even sweeter. I run back to the middle and start clapping with a grin. Then I giggle and stomp my feet in excitement. I just love the sound of six hands clapping!

Sometimes my feet get so excited that I have to do a lap or two around the baby zone just to get some of that exhilaration out. I race around clapping and laughing as I go. Sometimes I get so carried away that I go plunkers but I just pick myself back up and run around some more.

The problem with mommies and daddies is that they get tired pretty easily. They don’t have boundless energy like I do. After a while their clapping begins to get sluggish and half-hearted. I always try to get them motivated again and sometimes I succeed for a while, but there is a point when I know I’m pushing them too far.

It’s always a bit sad when the game comes to an end. Sometimes it makes me a little upset but a cuddle, a toy, and the promise of playing the game again real soon help me get over it. I wish we could just clap our hands forever but I know that I have to be realistic. There is more to life than clapping.

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Babies Have Feelings Too

I don’t have many friends. I’m good friends with mommy and daddy. I have a relationship of sorts with our two cats. I like to think that you, my readers, are my friends. I have a long list of acquaintances that come to visit me from time to time. That’s pretty much everyone I know.

None of my friends and acquaintances are playmates of my own age. I want to have friends to play with and I am very friendly. I generally like to meet new people and I enjoy socializing. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by large, boisterous groups, but once I overcome my initial fears I’m a very social.

Mommy knows that I’m a social baby and that I often seek out the company of other babies. This is one of the reasons why we have been going to the part almost every day since the weather has improved. It’s a very busy place with a lot of activity and it is exactly the kind of thing that I find a bit intimidating. I enjoy going to the park and exploring, but I have been too shy to do much socializing.

The park is full of kids of various ages, although most are older than I am. They are fast and move around a lot which makes it impossible for me to get anyone’s attention. Occasionally I spot another baby but they seem just as bewildered and overwhelmed as I felt the first time I found myself in the midst of all that action. There hasn’t been any opportunity for me to introduce myself to any of the other babies.

Yesterday I was walking around the park looking for treasure as I often do, when I found myself next to a little girl who happened to be standing calmly next to her daddy. She was a bit older than me but she wasn’t running around with the other kids and she noticed that I was there. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and see if she would be my friend.

As she was already observing me, it wasn’t difficult to take the first step and make eye contact. Next I introduced myself and attempted to initiate a conversation. She didn’t seem to understand me but she did smile and speak to me with the kind of words that mommy and daddy use. I felt like it was going well and I was encouraged to continue.

Crawling baby girl

Will you be my friend?

I reached out my hand to the little girl and offered her the rock that I was holding. She did not react and I figured she didn’t see my gesture of friendship. I took a step towards her and held out my hand where it was clearly visible. She took a step back which I assumed meant that she didn’t understand. I would have to be more direct.

I took another step towards her and nudged her hand with the rock, indicating that she should take it. She let me deposit the rock into her palm and I beamed with pride. That’s when her daddy said something in a low tone. The little girl opened her hand, allowing my rock to fall discarded, landing on the ground with a small thud.

I was confused and dismayed. I looked at the rock laying on the ground and I wondered where I went wrong. I thought our interaction was going well. I had never been rejected this way before. I didn’t know what to do so I stood there staring at the rock that had been so carelessly thrown away.

Within moments mommy was leading me away from the little girl and her daddy. Mommy said that I was a very sweet peach and that I did nothing wrong. She told me that it wasn’t my fault and not to feel bad. Mommy claims that some people don’t appreciate rocks like we do and that some little girls are not allowed to touch them.

I don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t like a rock, but even if that’s the case surely there are more tactful ways to refuse a gift. I’m just learning how to make friends and trying to find my place in the playground. I fail to see why any daddy would encourage their daughter to hurt a younger girl’s feelings and shatter her confidence. It seems unnecessarily cruel.

I’m trying to not let the experience get me down but I would be lying if I said that I’ve managed to shake it off. Today at the park I didn’t have the confidence to approach anyone even though we spent more time there than ever before. I found a lot of treasure and I had a good time but I felt more comfortable avoiding the other kids.

Maybe I’ll feel better about it at the park tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll regain my self-esteem and make a friend. Or maybe I’m too little and just not ready for friends at the playground yet. I’m going to have to be patient and take this one day at a time.

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Peachy Makes a Friend

Regular readers of my blog will know that I share my home with mommy, daddy, and two cats. Some of you may also know that it has been one of my goals to befriend the cats so that I may touch them. They have been most illusive for as long as I have been aware of their existence.

I have made every attempt to be their friend. Whenever I see them I smile and attempt to engage them in conversation. If one happens to be within the borders of my baby zone, or if I see one while I have free roam of the downstairs, I always make it a point to come over and say hello.

These efforts to befriend them seem to be less than productive. In fact, I would say they have been counterproductive. I lavish attention upon them but my attention seems to cause the cats to flee. I don’t understand it and I’m not sure how to remedy the situation.

After months of constant rejection, I was beginning to feel discouraged. Not to the point that I would give up, I am not a quitter, but I couldn’t ignore the possibility that they would never trust me enough to feel their soft fur. These thoughts were very disheartening and I was feeling rather disappointed.

Then fate intervened and gave me a glimmer of hope. It seems that one of the cats has taken a liking to napping on the footstool in my room. I became aware of this during my diaper changes when mommy pointed to the ball of fur and said “Daisy”. I giggled and shrieked causing Daisy to run away as usual.

The next day, I spotted Daisy on the footstool all by myself as soon as we came into the room. Mommy congratulated me on finding her so quickly. I observed her carefully throughout my diaper change and she watched me with tense suspicion. Once mommy picked me up again, we talked about Daisy for a while and then we left the room with her still on the footstool.

Excited baby

It’s Daisy!

The following day Daisy was there again at the same time of day. Once again I watched her, and I talked to her, but she didn’t run away and she remained on the footstool when we left the room. It didn’t end there because when we returned for another diaper change, Daisy was still there. She remained there until mommy and I sat in the chair next to her to get ready for my nap. That was too much for Daisy and she quickly left the room.

This continued for several days. She became a regular fixture in our routine and I even began practicing how to say her name. Daisy would remain as long as I was having a diaper change or when I was in mommy’s arms. When we sat down to get ready for nap time, she would run away almost immediately. Then one day, Daisy stayed!

My feelings of excitement were contained by my overwhelming sense of awe. I had never been this close to a cat before. Daisy was within arms reach right there in front of me. “Daiyyy” I whispered as she watched me with unblinking eyes.

All the times I dreamed of touching that soft fur were forgotten. She had her spell on me and I sat frozen. I was motionless, lost in the moment, completely drawn in by her presence. Then Daisy blinked, got up, and jumped down off the footstool breaking the spell. She strolled out of the room in the way only a cat can.

The next day our encounter was repeated and this time I was a bit more prepared. I reached out an eager hand but mommy pulled me back a little. “You have to be gentle with Daisy” she said. Mommy let me hold out my hand and touch the soft fur with my fingertips. It was soft, fluffy, and it tickled. I pulled back my hand in surprise but I quickly went in for a second feel. Shortly afterwards Daisy decided she had enough and she left us to our nap time routine.

I wasn’t even disappointed. I had finally touched a cat! This is what I had been waiting for. Ever since then I touch Daisy almost every day. Mommy even lets me get my hands right into her fur now. I’m still practicing being gentle, and Daisy has been most patient with me.

She will only trust me touching her under mommy’s close supervision, but we have had a breakthrough. I know it’s just a matter of time before we’re good friends. Then Daisy will come and play with me even when I’m not in mommy’s arms. Now I just have to show the other cat how feline friendly I am. Then the tree of us can be the best of friends.

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Stranger Anxiety

For the majority of my life I have been fearless. I’m the kind of person who tends to leap before looking and I mean that quite literally. I commit fully to whatever I’m doing and have little regard for consequences or personal safety. Mommy keeps telling me that I need to work on that.

I am much too busy to be concerned with such trivial matters as safety. I have so much to do! There are toys that need to be banged together, balls that require chasing, and holes that need fingers poked into them. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The life of a baby is incredibly demanding.

My world revolves around experimentation and discovery. It’s a hard job but somebody has to it. The only way to approach any problem is to jump in with both feet and boldly go where no baby has gone before. That’s what makes me so good at what I do.

I have always applied the same strategy to people. If I wanted to interact with someone I would simply go for it. I had no hesitation about getting right up in someone’s space and demanding attention. That’s the way it has always been until one day when things just changed.

It happened for no specific reason that I know of and I don’t really understand why I feel the way I do, but suddenly strangers began to give me pause. I’ll still approach them but with more caution and I would prefer that they not approach me. These days I like to be the one who initiates the relationship.

I am still a very social baby and I am likely to initiate that relationship, but these days I need a bit of time to figure a person out. I need to know what they’re about before I decide to befriend them. Maybe I’m simply maturing and becoming more selective as to whom I want in my circle of friends.

Frightened baby

Is that a stranger!?!?

Mommy says this is called stranger anxiety and it is a normal part of growing up. It can start as early as 4 months old but for me it didn’t begin until much later. We are individuals and each baby is different. I tend to be a curious and trusting baby.

I think that for me things began to change around the 7 or 8 month mark. One day, I just didn’t feel comfortable with strangers holding me. Not just complete strangers either, but also people who I don’t know very well. Really, anyone other than mommy and daddy made me a bit uncomfortable.

It’s not that nobody but mommy and daddy can hold me. It’s just that I need some time to get used to the new person before I’m alright with them invading my space. This doesn’t usually take long as I’m still me and rather curious about everyone and everything.

Now that I’m mobile, the easiest way for me to get comfortable is to allow me to approach the newcomer at my own pace. If you keep me company in my baby zone and mommy or daddy are near, it won’t be long before I’m inviting you to play with me. Play is a great icebreaker.

Over the last couple of months I have been experiencing similar feelings of anxiety around objects that I’m not familiar with. Not all objects of course, and not objects that are happy to mind their own business. I do not however like new objects that want to come at me or if they move unexpectedly. That’s just scary.

I’m not too fond of these new developments to my personality but mommy tells me there is no reason to be concerned. She says I am becoming more self-aware and as my sense of self increases, it is only natural to feel the need to protect that self. Mommy tells me that as I learn more about people, places, and things, I will become more confident again and these feelings will, for the most part, go away. I sure hope mommy is right because I don’t enjoy feeling scared.

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Quiet Moments

I am a big girl now, but even big girls need the occasional snuggle. Everyone likes the warm and secure feeling of being wrapped up in the arms of someone who loves them. It’s soothing, comforting, and it feels so good to be the center of someone’s world for a little while.

Mommy and I have a daily routine which includes a good helping of snuggle time. We always snuggle first thing in the morning when I get out of bed, and there is always a good snuggle at night before bedtime. In the afternoon we snuggle before my nap, and we love to snuggle on the couch in the evenings at the end of our day.

There are also the little snuggles that are more spontaneous. Those times when mommy scoops me up in her arms for a quick hug and kiss. I reciprocate with my own snuggles during my free time when mommy leaves me to my own devices for playtime in the living room.

Baby leaning out of an infant swing

Is it time for snuggles?

Snuggles are great in every form. They can substitute for a hello or a goodnight. Snuggles can be a great comfort if I get hurt or scared. Sometimes they can lead to kisses, tickles, and giggles. Other times they can be calm and relaxing snuggles which seem to make the world stand still.

Those calm and relaxing snuggles are my favourite ones of all. In those moments everything else melts away and it’s just mommy and I. Those are our quiet moments when everything stops just for us. Quiet moments are filled with magic and bring about a sense of connection and unconditional love.

Quiet moments can’t be forced. They can only occur spontaneously of themselves. Even if you create the perfect atmosphere, a quiet moment might not be in the cards. They only happen when everything is just right, but that’s what makes them so special and precious.

Whenever a quiet moment occurs for mommy and I, we make the most of it for as long as we can. We look at each other and enjoy our snuggles to the fullest extent. Neither of us make a sound for fear that the spell will be broken. We simply enjoy each others company and savour the moment while it lasts. The quiet moments are the best.

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Hand Gestures

Mommy can do some amazing things with her hands. Mommy’s hands bathe me, feed me, soothe me, carry me, and do all the things that mommy hands are supposed to do. That stuff is boring. I am much more interested in mommy’s ability to wave her hands in the air to say hello or goodbye. What’s even more fabulous is that she can get her hands to make noise!

Mommy has been showing me how to do these things when we sit on the couch together. First, mommy waves her hand at me.

“Hello Peachy. Here is mommy waving her hand. Does Peachy want to wave her hand?” Mommy looks at me and continues waving.

I look at mommy, I look at my hand, and then I look at mommy again. Mommy smiles at me.

“Where is Peachy’s hand? Would Peachy like to wave her hand like mommy?” She says.

I take another look at my hand. It’s just sitting there doing nothing. I lift it up in the air and look at mommy.

“That’s right sweet Peach. Just like that. Now wave it around like this.” Mommy makes her hand move slowly so that I can get a good look.

I think for a moment and I give my hand another look. It’s up in the air motionless. I flap it around a little. It doesn’t look quite right to me but at least something is happening.

Baby waving her hand

Am I doing it right?

“That’s a good girl Peachy. You’re waving your hand at mommy.” Mommy stops waving and brings her hands together with a smack. She does this a few times while I stare in amazement.

“This is mommy clapping her hands.” Mommy tells me while she continues to bring her hands together again and again.

“Clap, clap, clap. Mommy is clapping her hands. Where are Peachy’s hands?” Mommy asks.

I look for my hands. One is at my side and the other is still hovering in the air. I bring it back down and take a look at my hands. They are not clapping like mommy’s hands. I look back at mommy.

“Does Peachy need some help?” Mommy asks.

I sit and stare in confusion. How is mommy making that sound with her hands? My hands don’t make sounds like that. I look at my hands again to make sure they aren’t up to anything funny. Nope. They’re still motionless at my sides. I look at mommy again and watch her hands.

“Here is mommy clapping her hands, clap, clap, clap.” Mommy stops clapping her hands and picks up mine.

“Here is Peachy clapping her hands, clap, clap, clap.” Mommy says while she brings my hands together.

My small hands make a slight clapping sound but not as loud as mommy’s. I stare at them in awe while mommy continues the clapping motion. I notice that the sound they make gets a little louder if I relax them and let them flap about more. Mommy gives me back my hands and goes back to her own.

“Mommy’s hands go clap, clap, clap.” Mommy tells me as she claps her hands again.

“And Peachy’s hands go clap, clap, clap.” Mommy claps my hands for me once more.

“Would Peachy like to try that on her own?” Mommy asks and gives me back my hands.

I sit and think for a moment. Would I like to try that by myself? Yes I would! I suddenly spring into action. I grab mommy by the thumbs and smack her hands together. Clap, clap, clap go mommy’s hands.

Mommy laughs and I give her a big grin. Then I go back to clapping mommy’s hands. I like to make noise and now I found a new way to do exactly that. I wonder what else mommy’s hands can do.

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My First Thanksgiving: The Outcome

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving. This was the first Thanksgiving of my life and I wanted to commemorate the experience with a very special two-part post. On Sunday I wrote about our preparations for the big event. Today I want to share how I celebrated my very first Thanksgiving.

The morning began like any other. I woke up in my crib and mommy arrived to change my diaper and bring me downstairs. Mommy put me in my high chair and I had my usual breakfast. It didn’t seem like anything special was going on. I was starting to think that Thanksgiving wasn’t going to happen after all.

When I was done with breakfast, Mommy brought me into the kitchen and said we were going to begin the preparations for our Thanksgiving feast. That’s when the much discussed and highly anticipated turkey came out of the fridge. Finally, Thanksgiving was starting to happen.

I helped mommy make the stuffing by taste testing the apples which made up the bulk of it. Then I supervised while mommy rubbed oil and spices on the turkey and filled the inside with the stuffing we made. The turkey got placed in a large roasting pan and then the whole thing went into the oven. I didn’t see the turkey again until dinner. This Thanksgiving thing is easy!

By Vlad Litvinov from Toronto (Fall colours  Uploaded by Skeezix1000) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving is about to happen!

Then we went into the living room for a break and I had a short snooze on the couch with daddy. When I woke up, mommy brought me back into the kitchen and began to clear the area around the sink. I know what that means. It’s bath time!

After a good scrub and a soak in the tub, mommy brought me over to the couch for my massage with the moisturizer. I’m don’t particularly like this part of our bath time routine, but it leaves me silky smooth. What I really wanted to do was roll around on the couch and mommy let me do that for a bit after my massage.

For some reason, bath time wears me out and I started to get a bit sleepy. Mommy brought me upstairs and bundled me up in my soft blanket. After a little snack, I was ready for a nice nap in my crib. I must say that I slept incredibly well for a few hours. It was a very refreshing nap.

When I woke up, daddy came up to get me. After a quick diaper change, daddy got me into a clean outfit and we were ready to head downstairs. To my surprise, our guests were already there and everyone was very eager to see me.

Autumn wreath on a door

Our guest are here!

At first I felt disoriented and it made me shy and a little frightened. Daddy held me close and I quickly adjusted to the situation. Soon I was ready to make my rounds and welcome everyone to our Thanksgiving gathering. As usual, I was the life of the party.

To my surprise, I was placed in my high chair and fed my regular dinner. Why was I the only one eating? What happened to the turkey? Mommy was in the kitchen wrapping up the preparations. Turns out that the main dinner wasn’t ready yet.

About half an hour later everyone was seated around the table, and of course I was included. Mommy gave me bits of potato, carrot, sweet potato, and small pieces of turkey. I sat with everyone and sampled the food. The turkey tasted pretty good and I ate several pieces. It does have quite a bit of texture, but if you eat it in small pieces they will fall apart in your mouth relatively easily.

Baby self feeding with the pincer grasp

Pincer ready for action!

Everyone was very impressed with my self feeding skills. I enjoyed demonstrating my big girl abilities. I also liked watching everyone else eat. I always observe mommy and daddy while they’re eating and now I had a whole group of people to watch. It was a good show.

Once we were all full, we sat around talking for a while. I showed off my vocal skills and everyone was thrilled to hear me. The big people drank tea and ate apple pie. I had juice and mashed fruit. It was delicious and I ate it all even though I was already stuffed.

Because I had such a good nap earlier, I was able to stay up for most of the party. As the evening began to wind down, I started to get a bit tired and I snoozed a little in mommy’s arms. At that point our guests were already starting to depart so I don’t think I missed anything important.

That’s how I spent my very first Thanksgiving. Overall it was a great day and I can’t wait to do it again next year. Do you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family?