What’s New: Solid Food and Daddy Love
The big excitement around here this week has been Elliot’s introduction to solid foods. As with Annabelle, we’re practicing “baby-led weaning” with a bit of a Montessori twist. I may lose all of my natural parenting cred for this, but Elliot’s first meal was actually at a restaurant. The daddy was in town just after the big six month milestone, and I wanted him to experience the first meal, something he missed with Annabelle, but neither of us wanted to spend what precious little time we had together cooking or washing dishes. So we went out to dinner and I ordered up a side of avocado, 95% of which ended up on the floor, but Elliot loved the bit that did make it to his mouth.
The next night, I gave him some broccoli, which made for a wonderful sensory experience, but never reached his mouth. With the broccoli thoroughly smashed, I tried for a bit more avo, which went straight in his mouth and was gobbled up. Next up was banana, which was very well-received, and sweet potato, which went at least as well. Unlike Annabelle, who was perfectly content to just experience her food, Elliot seems quite serious about actually eating it. When he gets tired of it sliding around his tray, he actually holds it down and leans forward to go to town on a piece while he has it pinned. So he ends up looking a bit like a dog or a cat would. Whatever works, you know?
He is seeming so big now, catching himself and steadying his body with his hand when he starts to lose his balance while seated, and shifting confidently from a seated to a hands and knees position. There has been a bit of labored forward movement and some rocking on hands and knees, but no coordinated, all fours crawling just yet. Several days ago, he did shock me by standing up from his Baby Bjorn Little Potty, completely unsupported, in the middle of the room. He managed to balance for a few seconds before landing back on the potty with a thud and going for it again. He is so eager to get moving, it seems! He has also balanced a bit while standing and holding onto the couch or the ledge of the bathtub.
I was really surprised by how obviously pleased he was with the daddy’s presence. Of course I had no doubt he missed his “da da da da da da dad!” I just wasn’t prepared for how wide and warm his smile would be when they reunited, or how he would feel around on and study Andrew’s face as though it had a fascinating story to tell. It was so sweet. I’ll admit I’m ready for E to say mama, too, but all in due time, I suppose.
He and Annabelle have been having good fun together, too. It can be challenging for her to contain herself with him sometimes, so I’ve been offering some ideas of things they can do together, and she has been happy to take them. This week, I taught her “pat-a-cake,” and I think it’s her new favorite song. She loves to sit and sing it to Elliot, which is exactly what she’s doing in the picture above. The daddy love is big in her world, too. On his first morning home with us, she informed me that, “I want to go outside and play soccer with my daddy and leave my mommy inside.” Well, okay then!
Speaking of soccer, it occurred to me during some recent outdoor play that we really don’t have any balls or expose our poor children to sports of any kind. I got a size three soccer ball and we’ve been working ever since to make up for nearly three years without any good ball play. Annabelle is actually quite good at kicking the ball and at throwing it. Catching is coming along. Indoor play has consisted mostly of building with our Plan City, and just generally participating around the house. She has gotten quite good at folding laundry as well as washing dishes and cleaning surfaces. Since we started school, we’ve also adjusted our evening routine to include choosing the next day’s clothes, and Annabelle has really gotten into this and the planning that it involves.
She seems to love our school, and asks to go almost every day. I think it’s a bit of a challenge to share me with the other children at times, especially since her first experience doing so coincided with her dad leaving town, but aside from that, she seems perfectly comfortable in the classroom and with the work. I loved watching her work with the rough and smooth boards today while wearing a blindfold. Her concentration when the work is just right is a sight to see – as with all children, but there’s something special when it’s my child. As a teacher, it is such an indescribable joy to have this opportunity to observe my firstborn as she learns and develops.
On our non-school days, the other new thing in Annabelle’s life is her very first babysitter. A wonderful girl who lives on the next block has started hanging out with us a couple of afternoons a week, giving Annabelle some focused attention while I attend to other things around the house. I’m thinking this relationship might actually evolve to allow for the occasional date night a month or two from now. Annabelle is already crazy for her new friend and was incredibly bummed when it was time to say goodbye after her last visit. Having these visits to look forward to is pretty wonderful for me, too. It’s great to see Annabelle building a relationship with another (near) adult, and of course I treasure that little bit of time to do my own work without interruption. A step toward balance? Perhaps.
With the bit of time I am getting to work, I’m hoping to finally write, as requested, about the EC experience this time around as well as about tandem nursing. Perhaps you’ll see at least a post or two between weekly updates in the near future! Either way, I’d love to hear what’s happening in your family’s life. Fill me in and link me up!
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