Eleven months old

I had this all typed up, I just needed to add the photos, and then the computer crashed and I lost it!

Our little tornado is now 11 months old.

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“Tornado” really is the best word to use to describe little Madelyn. She is everywhere. She crawls so fast, and gets into absolutely everything. She loves to be chased, climbs everything, and flings herself around on couches and mattresses. For the past few weeks, she’s been squatting while playing and trying to stand up. Two days after she turned 11 months old, we were at the beach, and she started standing up on her own! She’s gotten really good at it since then, but still hasn’t even tried to take a step. She’s such a fast crawler, she actually runs on her hands and feet. 

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It’s amazing how good she’s getting at communicating, even though she can’t really talk. She does have a few words – “Mummy,” “Daddy/Dad” and “Ma ma” (to indicate she wants to breastfeed), as well as “Look!” and “That!” which she says while pointing a lot. She does a lot of pointing, and is very insistent about what she’s pointing at. It’s very obvious where she wants to go or what she wants to play with. She can also cheep (“ee ee”) like a chick, and quack (“bap bap”) like a duck. She chatters away constantly, and looks very intently at people when she’s talking, just like she’s telling a story. She talks about her daddy a lot. Even at the supermarket, she tells the checkout ladies all about her dad (you can tell she’s actually talking about her dad and not just babbling, because her voice has a special tone for “Daddy”). One morning, we woke up after her daddy had gone to work, and Madelyn pointed at the door and said “Dad dad dad!” I replied “Yes, we’ll go and see Daddy soon,” to which she frowned, pointed again and shouted “DAD DAD DAD!” Baby Girl knows what she wants.

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Madelyn loves books. We go to the library once a week, and she gets so excited every time. Partially because there’s a wide, open space for her to run around in (on her hands and feet, with lots of flinging), but also because there are books she can “read.” She’ll spend hours opening and closing books, looking at the pictures, lifting the flaps and feeling the different textures in “touch” books. She loves being read to as well, and especially loves animal books where she can try and repeat the sounds the animal makes. Madelyn also loves playing games, especially Peek-a-Boo. She likes being the hider best. She’ll pull something over her head, and then you say “Where’s Madelyn?” and then she uncovers her face with this massive grin. One day recently, she even covered her face with her hands, babbled questioningly, and then pulled her hands away and said “Ah!” She loves chasing people and being chased, and shrieks with delight when she is caught.

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It sounds crazy, but she sings. Not just tunelessly either, she actually sings in tune. To music that is playing, or with people who are singing to her. She matches pitch. It is uncanny. And when she sings to someone, she looks them in the eye, cocks her head to the side, and really sings her heart out. She claps whenever she hears music, and lately we’ve started noticing that she’s actually clapping in time with the beat. The other day her daddy even saw her tapping her foot in time with the music. It’s crazy that she has such an innate sense of rhythm and love of music.

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She is becoming so affectionate. She loves giving kisses and cuddles, and has started climbing up into peoples’ laps to just sit with them. Her kisses are prolonged and open-mouthed. She reaches out for people other than her daddy and I. She likes people to sit on the ground and play with her, and she stands up and holds their shoulders while she plays. When someone is lying on the ground, she’ll come up and recline on them, as close as she can to their face. She gets really into it, and keeps wriggling around and slides off, so then she gets back up and starts again.

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Madelyn is a little performer. Whenever we have people over, she puts on a little show, where she’ll crawl around the middle of the room we’re all in and do the cutest things she can think of. She loves to make people laugh, and she loves to see everyone delighting in her.

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She is so wonderful. So funny, so crazy, so beautiful. Our lives are better because she’s here, and we love her so much.

Ten months old

Madelyn Maria is now 10 months old.

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She is such a funny, happy little girl. It seems like every day she learns how to do something new. Her big thing this month is pointing. She points at everything. She also loves to clap, and if she’s upset and wants to come to someone, she points at them and then claps and points again, like “You! Yes, you!” It is so cool seeing her try to communicate. She’s so chatty and constantly babbles away. She’s so social, and loves being around people and making new friends. Often when we’re out, she’ll suddenly laugh and smile, and when I look at what she’s looking at, she’s just trying to get someone’s attention. When she’s playing, if she sees someone, especially another baby or child, watching her, she’ll call out to them constantly until they come over and play too, like she’s saying “Hey! Come and play with me!”

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She’s so close to walking. She pulls herself up to stand and cruises along everything. She’s really close to standing up on her own, when she’s playing and gets really excited, she gets up on one foot and one knee, and it feels like any second now she’s just going to stand right up. But she’s so fast at crawling, so there are a lot of times where she could try to take a step, but crawling is faster, so she just crawls instead.

Her sleeping is much more consistent now. She usually goes to bed at about 8pm, wakes at about 12:30am, and then two or three times after that. We’re still co-sleeping, so her night wakings don’t bother us at all. The day Madelyn turned 10 months old, she fell asleep at 7pm, and I was cooking dinner, so I put her down to sleep in her ‘nap nook’ (a mattress on the floor in her room), thinking she’d sleep for half an hour or so. At 9:30pm, she still hadn’t woken up, so Angus and I went to bed, and left her in her nap nook. She slept until 12:30 (I didn’t sleep at all), and then I brought her back into our bed. From then on, she’s been starting the night off in her own room, and she’s been sleeping longer and longer.

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Madelyn still doesn’t eat a lot, but she does love trying new food. She eats a huge variety of foods, and especially loves fruit. She’s getting really good at feeding herself, and leaves a lot less mess now. A week or so after she turned 10 months old, she started drinking out of her sippy cup by herself, and feels very clever about it.

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She loves sand so much. She eats it whenever she gets the chance, and just loves to play in it. She plays happily by herself for a surprisingly long time when she’s in sand. She likes water too, but far prefers sand. She loves to be outside, whatever she’s doing. She gets bored sitting at home, she wants to get out and explore. Nothing is more exciting than having a big adventure outside.

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Madelyn is such an awesome baby. We love her so much, and she brings so much joy to our lives. She’s so happy and funny and cute.

I have a confession to make

I have a confession to make. It’s a deep, dark secret that I’ve been hiding for a while now. About 5 and a half months, to be exact. It’s just that…I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. But every where I turn, in all the magazines, the blog posts that go viral, the memes, every where I look, I’m confronted with the fact that what I’m doing is Very. Bad. Parenting.

But I feel like this is a safe place to share my secret. So, here goes…

*deep breath*

Sometimes, when I look at my daughter, I think “My goodness, you’re pretty. How are you so pretty?” And then, here’s where it gets worse, I say that to her.

She overwhelms with me her beauty. Her round, bright blue eyes with the circles of grey around the pupils. Her long, dark eyelashes. Her soft pink lips. Her wispy strawberry blonde hair. And I can’t hold it in. The words “You’re so pretty!” escape my mouth before I can stop myself.

DSCF0655I know, I know. We’re meant to be all about raising girls to think they’re strong, brave, clever, kind. We’re not meant to focus on appearance. We’re meant to band together to pave a make up-free, self esteem-filled world for our daughters.

But the thing is, well, she’s a very pretty baby. I’m not going to omit that from our conversations in an effort to make her something else.  She could grow up to be strong, brave, clever, kind and pretty.

In fact, I think she will.