Sunday, December 28, 2008

Waving, clapping, dancing, finger walking

Yep - Leah has become quite the active little girl. She's getting really good at all sorts of movement and imitation. She started waving about a week ago. She'd done it a little bit before but not very consistently and we were never sure whether she was really getting the concept or just moving her hand. But last Sunday she most definitely waved at Patsy (the housekeeper who comes twice a month). And since then she's been waving quite a lot - at us, at random people on the subway, at people at nearby tables at restaurants. It's really a great addition to her social skills.

She loves to dance and frequently breaks into dance any time music comes on - from the radio, from one of her toys, from someone singing. She used to really just bop up and down a little bit but within the last few days she's added arm movement - arms up and out to the sides and a little shimmy.

And suddely within the last couple of weeks she's started to show an increasing interest in finger walking. She's getting pretty good at it, but her balance is definitely not that good - so she's not ready for solo walking yet. She's added some new sounds to her repertoire as well. And no matter what the sound, she does like to be heard and can be very very loud.

Leah has been enjoying Hanukkah. She's gotten a gift from us each night and she got 5 gifts from Grandma and Grandpa - the last of each to be opened tonight.

Leah likes Miss Monkey - especially when they're wearing their matching sweaters:
She showed Grandma how to use her laptop:
Grandma made Hanukkah cookies for Leah - it's Leah's very first cookie - and she loves it:
Leah always loves banging on the drums in music class, so I got her very own set of bongos:
She's not so adept at walking her new doggy yet, but we can tell she'll love it when she's walking:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Leah's first night of Hanukkah

For her very first night of her very first Hanukkah, Leah helped light the candles and then picked and opened a present. She seemed interested in the candle lighting and blessings, but not exactly participatory. Then I let her pick her gift from the stack of 8 wrapped and waiting for her. She put her hand on one and I helped her open it.

She tore off a piece of the wrapping paper and was very excited to crinkle it and wave it around. And then she cried a little when I took it away from her and helped her to continue the unwrapping process. We went through that a couple more times until all the paper was off. Then of course she wanted to play with the box. That actually worked out well because the packaging on toys these days is so complicated it takes a few minutes to get the toy completely out of the box. She played with part of the box while I worked on the rest of it.

Then she actually got the toy...a v-tech baby laptop. It's very cute - it opens and closes like a laptop and has a little attached mouse that looks like a mouse (the animal kind). It has buttons where the keyboard would be that are different shapes and colors and it has pictures that light up where the screen would be. It has 3 different modes for learning and discovery and music. When you press the buttons it has different light patterns and sounds depending on the mode and how many times you press the button. Leah definitely took to it right away. She can open and close it herself and she can press the buttons.

All in all a very successful first night of Hanukkah...looking forward to the next 7.

Leah liked watching the candles burn:

And she picked out her present:

And successfully unwrapped it:
And had fun playing with the box:
And finally she got to play with the toy:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Leah's first stomach virus...

...seems to finally be over! Leah was stricken with some unpleasant running at both ends starting on Saturday night. And Shafi was unlucky enough to join her Sunday night...and I was unlucky enough to join them Monday night. So we've all been quarantined at home pretty much all week. It's been a rough go - taking care of ourselves and Leah while feeling ill and totally worn out.

But today we're all feeling better. We'll continue to take it easy for the weekend and make sure it's all gone, but thankfully I think we'll be able to pretty much return to normal next week.

I finally took some pictures yesterday and I realized that I didn't take any pictures for 4 days! That's the longest I've gone since Leah was born. But none of us were looking too cute this week.

Feeling better and eating some Cheerios:After 5 days cooped up in the apartment, Leah still likes her toys: Off to explore some more:
Just being silly:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Leah clapped today!

I've been pat-a-caking with her every morning. I pat-a-cake with her sitting on my lap facing me. Then I move her hands so she can pat-a-cake. She used to have her fists closed, but a couple weeks ago she started putting her hands out flat. She'd still let me clap her hands for her - not trying to do it herself - but she'd appear to be very proud that her hands were flat so that her palms slapped together and made noise.

This afternoon she was sitting on my lap and started "singing" - really just making a single "ahhhh" tone. Then she started clapping. Totally unprompted. Not exactly in time to the music playing on the stereo - but obviously she was trying to make her own music. And she was so proud of herself. I clapped and said "yay" and smiled - and she kept clapping and gave me a huge grin.

Then later on I kept trying to get her to clap - and of course she would not do it on cue. But she did clap on her own several more times - including once for Shafi while he was getting her ready for bed. So it's not just a fluke - Leah can now clap.

Next I'll have to find the version of pat-a-cake that teaches her to wave. :)

Yesterday I showed her that the ambulance driver fits in the little compartment on the music table and she had lots of fun putting him in and taking him back out all on her own:
Then she used Curious George to hide behind while playing peek-a-boo - she's become a real pro at peek-a-boo - and she really wishes she could play all day long:Her outfit today had a matching hat - and she didn't even mind wearing it:
After seeing how much she enjoyed her grilled cheese sandwich at the diner the other day - I made her one for lunch at home today - she was quite happy with that one too:
She was also very into sharing today - here she is giving me the ambulance driver:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Leah is 10 months old!

I can't believe it...time really flies...Leah is 10 months old today. We celebrated by heading to the upper east side for a playdate with our friends Alison and Angelo. Angelo is a week older and a lot bigger...he's a little shorter but weighs in at over 25 pounds. Those extra pounds appear in an adorable baby belly and round cheeks...and he's got a thick head of blonde hair and big bright blue eyes...quite a cutie.

We all went out to lunch. Leah and Angelo shared a grilled cheese sandwich. About half of it ended up on the floor...but they enjoyed the parts they ate.

Yesterday we had quite a full day. After Leah's afternoon nap we headed to Park Slope for Baby Loves Disco. It was lots of fun for the whole family. And then we hit our friends Dan, Erin and Isaac's holiday party. They had an open house and they live in Park Slope, so it worked out perfectly for us to stop by after Baby Loves Disco. We were having such a good time there that we let Leah stay up late. She had a great time crawling all over and having some snacks...then about 7:30 she suddenly started whining and it was time to go. She fussed a bit on the way home, but she went right to sleep without a problem.

In order to make it to Baby Loves Disco before it ended we had to wake Leah after an hour from her afternoon nap. She looked so adorable and peaceful clinging to her puppy:
Earlier in the day she had lots of fun jamming on her music table while wearing her disco dress:
She seemed to spend some time at lunch today contemplating her 10 month birthday:
She had lots of fun playing with Angelo despite his intense interest in things like a camera case:
Eventually she gave up on getting him to play with her, and then he started to show her some attention...but by that time she was intently focused on his toys:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leah loves Curious George!

Leah's GG (Great Grandma) gave her a Curious George stuffed animal along with Curious George Goes to the Aquarium. She's not quite ready for the book - she'd just tear the pages - we have to stick to board books for now. But she loves Curious George.
She gives him kisses:
Lots of kisses:
She pokes him in the eye:
She hugs him:
Sometimes she kisses him very passionately:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Leah's first Thanksgiving

We went to Washington DC for the long Thanksgiving weekend. We stayed at my Uncle Howard's house. It was great - one bedroom for us and one bedroom for Leah - with a bathroom in between. We all slept well and it was especially nice that we were able to put Leah to bed when she needed to and then still be there to hang out with the family.

My parents and Grandmother were also there. And my brother and his wife joined us for dinner Saturday and brunch Sunday. It was nice for Leah to get to spend so much time with so much family, although sometimes she was a bit overwhelmed by all the attention.

And unfortunately Leah was sick for the whole weekend. She's still a pretty happy baby, even when she's sick. But she's clingier and a bit whinier and less smiley. Lucky for us she still slept well - extra well actually - she slept past 7 a.m. every day. We took her to the pediatrician when we got back and it looks like she has a bronchial virus (i.e. bronchitis). There's really nothing we can do for her other than Tylenol for her fever (101 in the evenings) and Aquaphor for the viral rash that seems to have developed along with it. She's got a nasty cough, but even when she does wake up coughing she just goes back to sleep, so it doesn't seem to be bothering her too much.

She did get lots of fun foods over the long weekend. On Thanksgiving we gave her a sampling of everything - turkey, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry, and jello. She doesn't have a full appetite at the moment, so she didn't eat much of it, but she had a taste. And on the drive back we stopped at Cracker Barrel - our favorite road trip food. I gave her a taste of my sunrise sampler - grits, hashed browns, eggs, fried apples. She did seem to like the grits and the potatoes, but she wasn't too thrilled about the apples even though there were very sweet.

I tried to pack Leah in the suitcase, but she kept crawling out:
Leah wanted to drink Baba's beer: She loved petting Simba the cat:
She was looking super cute on Thanksgiving Day - and she enjoyed exploring the house:
She had lots of fun dancing with Grandpa:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Leah can feed herself

I've been letting her play with her food more. I always put a few Cheerios on the tray - no more than 5 at a time - because I read that more than that is overwhelming to a baby this age and may frustrate her. And I've been giving her a piece of whatever she's eating that she can touch and hold and rub in her hair or throw on the floor or grind up in her palm or squish into her clothes. It's been hard for me because I don't like the mess - and Shafi definitely would have difficulty with this kind of permitted messiness. But I have read and was also told by the pediatrician that this will help her get more comfortable with food and interested in feeding herself.

I guess they were right - because yesterday at dinner she picked Cheerios up off of her highchair tray and put them into her mouth. Not just once, which she has done before. I think she actually ate about half a dozen of them. Sometimes she held them between the tips of her thumb and forefinger and bit them in half with her cute little front teeth and then also managed to put the 2nd half into her mouth. Sometimes she put the whole thing in her mouth at once. Sometimes she stuck half her hand into her mouth in order to be sure she'd keep the Cheerio in there and then she'd practically suck on her fingers as she pulled them out so that no food would follow them.

Shafi and I clapped and smiled. Hopefully that gave her the message that we like her feeding herself. And maybe in the next few days she'll also feed herself more foods.

We've also been much more relaxed about what foods she eats lately. She had pizza for the first time at a birthday party on Saturday. I gave her the end crust to hold and chew on - which she enjoyed. And I tore the rest of the slice into small pieces to feed her. She loved it! We also gave her a little bit of our food at the diner on Saturday at brunch - some tuna salad, some eggs, some breakfast potatoes, and a couple bites of pickle.

As we're giving her more and more foods she seems to be getting less picky too. She's even been eating vegetables and other savory purees. She still doesn't like the stage 3 foods - something about the mix of puree and pieces seems to bother her, but if I separate out the chunks and finger feed them to her she'll eat them.

And she's been eating more "real meals." For breakfast yesterday she had a scrambled egg with some schredded cheese mixed in, a mini blueberry waffle, and some cut up strawberries and blueberries. And today she had instant oatmeal (maple and brown sugar), a blueberry yogurt, and some cut up strawberries and blueberries. And for dinner last night I gave her a range of defrosted items for the first time - a cube of beef stew that I had frozen, a cube of soft cooked apples that I had frozen, and some frozen edemame I had bought. She still seemed hungry after all of that, so I also gave her a jar of green beans and brown rice (a stage 2 food - 4 oz) and she actually ate the whole thing.

"Hmm - this raspberry is too weird" - don't worry, Leah did take to them later:
Leah loves hanging out in a highchair at the diner:
Putting the Cheerio in her mouth:
Successful transfer of the Cheerio from the hand to the mouth:

Eating the Cheerio:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Leah's 9 month check-up

We went in for Leah's 9 month check-up this morning. She's huge! Do I say that every time?

She's 30.5 inches tall - still in the >97th percentile. And she's 20 lbs 2 ozs - the 72nd percentile. And apparently her head has really grown and is now in the 86th percentile.

Other than the bit of a cold she has at the moment she's totally healthy. The doctor did the usual exam and asked questions about her development. She asked when Leah started crawling. I said she's really only been crawling for a couple weeks but that she started scooting around 7.5 months. So the pediatrician said she'd like to do her blood test today. Sometimes she does it at the 1 year check-up, but since they check for lead, they like to do it at the first appointment after the baby has been "mobile" for at least 6 weeks. They also check for anemia - not sure what else, but they said we'll get a call in a week or so with the results.

Thankfully the doctor is expert at drawing blood from babies. She showed me how to hold her and she held her right hand very tight and got her vein on the first stick - didn't take too long but she did have to take 2 vials. Leah screamed and cried the whole time, but I think it was just traumatic and not really painful. As soon as the blood test was over she gave her the flu shot in her left thigh. Then I picked her up and hugged her and she pretty much calmed down immediately.

Leah was a bit tired this afternoon, but not so different from yesterday so I'm not sure if it's the cold or the flu shot. She was practically falling asleep this evening, so we fed her and put her to bed a little early - around 6:40. She only cried for a few minutes before falling asleep. We had done the bath before her afternoon nap because I wanted to loosen up her snot by keeping her in a steamy room for a bit (as per the doctor's recommendation). Definitely seemed like a better way to get the snot out than using the nasal aspirator.

The other excitement today is that Leah seems to have mastered playing "roll." In case you're not familiar with this game - it's the infant version of catch. If you roll the ball to Leah she actually rolls it back to you. We've played this game many times, but today was the first time that I was sure she was intentionally participating. It's nice to have another game to add to our repertoire of knocking down blocks, banging together stacking cups, and watching Mom play pat-a-cake.

Tyler came over for a playdate and Leah kept trying to put her finger in his mouth:
When she finally succeeded, he bit her:
She loves Cheerios, but she was having a bit of trouble eating them with a stuffy nose:
Leah loves pulling up on the coffee table and trying to grab the computer cords:
Her musical table is definitely her favorite toy at the moment:
She'll look up only for important things like posing for pictures:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Leah turned 9 months old yesterday!

I can't believe how old she is...and how much she can do now. She's truly crawling - not just scooting or army crawling. She's pulling up on everything - if she can reach it and grip it she can pull up on it. Yesterday at the Dojo playgroup I turned around and she had pulled up along the wall by the gate. It's too high for her to reach the top. Apparently she held on to the edge of the wall next to the gate in order to stand up...that's definitely new. I imagine that means she can stand up on her own once she gets her balance a bit better. And a very important development...she's figured out how to sit back down well - no more getting stranded standing and screaming for help.

She's eating more and more table food. I gave her a little bit of the halibut I was having for lunch yesterday. She ate a few bites. She also had a few of the cannelini (white) beans with it. Then she refused to eat any more - but despite the frustrations I'm enjoying introducing her to "real" food. For breakfast today she had an entire 4 oz Yobaby yogurt - blueberry is her favorite so she'll eat the whole thing. And it's amazing how big she opens her mouth when she's eating something she really likes. It's like she's saying, "Come on Mom, this stuff is good. Give me a bigger spoonful!" Then she ate an Earth's Best blueberry waffle. They're multi-grain organic waffles and a set of 4 mini waffles is about the same size as a normal frozen waffle. I defrosted 2 of them and she only ate 1, but I think she'll have another for lunch. She did seem to like it. Although I thought maybe I could give her the whole thing and she'd hold it and bite off pieces. She bit off one bite - but then she seemed to be enjoying banging it on the highchair and watching it fall apart too much to eat it - so I took it back and fed her bite size pieces. Then she ate about a quarter of a kiwi. I think blueberry and kiwi are her favorite foods at the moment.

We have her 9 month check-up this Wednesday. I'm going to ask if the pediatrician thinks it's okay to give her berries. It seems like she would probably like them, but because they're a common allergen it's usually recommended to wait until a year. I haven't tried frozen veggies I bought for Leah, but I have been giving her some other things that I bought after other moms recommended them. She does not like tofu. But I think I'll get a banana and see if she'll eat the tofu mashed in with banana. She does like rice cakes. I got some sort of organic lightly salted plain rice cakes. I just break off bite size pieces for her. I'd say she still prefers Cheerios, but she'll eat about a quarter of a rice cake at a meal.

I cut up several fruits the other day. She's been eating the soft cooked apple, but I have to break it into very small pieces or she spits it out - I think she's afraid of choking. I also cut up some grapes into bite size pieces. She seems to like those, but again I have to cut them up pretty small for her to not spit them out right away. The one thing she didn't like - watermelon. I'm think it's actually the texture though - or maybe fear of choking. I tried really small pieces and she swirls it around and tries to gum it but eventually spits it out - similar to cantaloupe and honeydew. After a couple bites she refused to take any - but maybe that's not because of the taste but because of the frustration of not being able to eat it.

She's also getting better at communicating. She shakes her head while eating - which at first I was worried about - is it intentional? Does she have some sort of tick? But now I'm sure - she is saying no. This morning I tried to give her another bite of waffle and she pursed her lips and shook her head back and forth fairly vigorously. Then I gave her kiwi and she ate it. I tried more waffle - shook her head. More kiwi - mmm good. Is that nature or nurture? Has she learned that shaking her head means no from watching me? Or is it just natural to shake your head when you don't want something? Either way - it's pretty cool that she can communicate....but I'm sure the fact that her only efficient communication is no is going to frustrate me a lot!

Leah the adept crawler and talker:
She was so happy that Malia came over to play:
Getting to know her new friend Cooper:
Showing off her crawling skills for James...who is going to be crawling soon:
Making her latest facial expression - tongue over top lip concentration face: