A Cricket at One Year

As of 1:21am on December 7th Cricket will be one year old.

One year.

She has experienced one year in the world. We have experienced one year parenting this astonishing child. One year as a family of three.

Our lives look nothing like they did a year ago, and it’s getting harder and harder to remember what our days looked like without her in them. At three, four, five months that was not the case; memories of our pre-baby life were present and vivid and sometimes mourned in ways they no longer are now. In part, this is because parenting a soon-to-be-toddler is easier than parenting an infant — there’s more reward, more joy, more sleep! And, in part, it’s because I have adjusted to parenthood over the course of this year, and parenting has become a part of who I am now. Not all of who I am now, but a very, very important part.

These days my thoughts mostly turn to how very lucky we are to be parenting this incredible child – what a privilege it is to be able to teach her and watch her learn, to be able to offer her comfort and security and good food, to love her and be loved by her in return, to play such a hugely important role in her life.

But enough about mama. What about Cricket at one?

Sleep: we are not sleeping through the night yet; Cricket wakes up for a bottle twice. Her crib is now in her room and has been for several months, but that seems not to have helped with her night waking. Thus far we’ve operated under the “she wakes and feeds because she needs to” mentality, and we haven’t tried to eliminate a night feeding. We are currently talking about whether – after tomorrow – we will try something of that sort. Even if we do, though, it will be done gently and we won’t force the issue. We’re operating fine on the sleep we are getting these days.

She takes two naps a day, in her crib. She puts herself to sleep during the day and at night and doesn’t require any elaborate sleep ritual. We lucked out in that department, I think! As long as she has her blanket and a paci she will babble quietly to herself and play with her stuffed animals until she falls asleep. However, she demands to come to bed with us when she wakes in the night, so we remain part-time co-sleepers for the indefinite future. Lately, she will sit up in bed in the middle of the night and drape herself over DP or I and fall back asleep <3

Food: Cricket loves to eat! She loves finger foods of all kinds – peas, beans, macaroni, eggs, banana, cheese – but our little carnivore especially loves any and all meat or meat-like foods (tofu, frozen veggie products like Quo.rn or Bo.ca). She loves the white bean chicken chili and pumpkin chili DP and I cook when the weather gets colder, and shares my burrito bowl whenever we go to Chi.potle. She continues to love her organic fruit and veggie pouches. She will allow us to spoon feed her some foods, like yogurt and oatmeal, but otherwise she turns her nose up at our “helping.” We are slowly adding organic whole milk to her daytime beverages in anticipation of weaning off formula in the near future. Feeding her is a pleasure and a joy, and mealtimes offer Cricket a chance to make us laugh, a lot. The girl is funny.

Teeth: two. Bottom, center. That’s it. And even those aren’t all the way in yet.

Stuff she can do: Cricket walked alone twice – on the day she turned 11 months, and a few days later – but has not attempted to do so since. She will happily walk holding on to our fingers or one of her walkers. She can climb stairs, which we only found out when I found her whimpering at the top of a set of ten steps that lead to our second floor! We are keeping the gate at the bottom of those stairs closed consistently now. :)

As of a couple of days ago, Cricket can mimic a behavior that I perform on myself. She has, in the past, performed an action on herself that I have performed on her (“brushing” her hair), but the other morning she watched me perform two actions – stirring a pot and sucking out of a straw – and correctly mimicked those actions herself, on/with her own items. That was awesome to see. She puts phones to her ear and makes the same sound every time, which I think sounds like our “hello” to her. She claps when she’s excited with herself, and when she’s frustrated and unhappy with something we’re doing or not doing at the moment. She can high five. She will pretend to “taste” imaginary food when we play with her play kitchen. She plays independently well, and babbles and squeals all day long.

Social life: Cricket continues to be very interested in other people and other children. When we are out and about she often stares at people until they acknowledge her and then lights up into a huge grin. If they approach her, she gets a bit shy and puts her head on my or DP’s shoulder, but she never stops grinning. She loves to watch other kids and really wants to touch other babies, but seems confused when DP or I hold other babies. She loves her daycare provider and has become a special pet of hers, but is still warming up to the other childcare providers. She is not displaying any preference between DP and I these days, and seems happiest when we three are together.

Favorites: Blanket. Cricket loves blanket. Transitional object, for sure. Thankfully, we have many of these blankets – same fabric, slightly different designs – so no worries there! She still loves being worn. She loves to watch and listen to DP’s record player. Easily as good as any toy – if not better – is a stack of magazines and mail. Funnily (or strangely) enough, Cricket loves to be scared; she laughs hysterically when I make her jump. She loves tickles and being chased and belly kisses.

DP and I are taking Cricket out to lunch and to a kid’s playspace tomorrow. We’ll spend the day together, as a family. I can’t wait.

photo challenge, #5

From a high(ish) angle:

Today Cricket and I went for a hike. It was an absolutely gorgeous autumn day – 63 degrees and sunny, with big fluffy white clouds in a clear blue sky. Ever the friend-maker, Cricket charmed most everyone we passed with her big gummy grins, and I got an approving, “Now THAT’S a good workout, mom!” from an elderly gentleman as we strolled by (he was referring to my carrying Cricket on my back).

After an hour-and-a-half long hike, half of which she dozed through, we met DP at her work for an early dinner. Now babygirl is asleep in her crib, and I have a million (and one) things to catch up on in the few short hours I have to myself… these days are too short.

Too, too short.

photo challenge, #2

Something that makes you happy:

This. Our shadow as we walk about our neighborhood, Cricket wrapped to my back.

Wearing Cricket is far and away one of the things I love doing most in this world. I literally cannot imagine parenting this child without the pleasure that is wrapping her up and carrying her, every single day that we are together.

I wore her for the first time when we were still in the hospital, post-birth. It was her first full day outside the womb and, while DP got some much needed rest, I carefully wrapped Cricket to my chest in a Mo.by and breathed in the scent of her sweet baby head. My hands ran over her back, curled inside the wrap, and I gently explored the contours of shoulders, knees, elbows, hip… I gasped. What I was feeling, through the wrap, were the same contours that I had felt as I ran my hands over DP’s belly only a few days before. I walked the length of the room carrying the weight of her – attached to my body, and yet not my body – and I felt, for a few glorious moments, something of what it must have felt like to carry her inside of me. From that moment, I was completely and utterly hooked. Wearing Cricket became a part of my days with Cricket – the best part of my days with Cricket.

I often tell people that babywearing is my breastfeeding. Like breastfeeding would have, babywearing fulfills my desire to hold Cricket close, to forge a bodily connection between us, to share skin/scent/intimacy/comfort… However, perhaps unlike breastfeeding, babywearing also gives me mobility and freedom – two things that I know make me a happier, healthier mama.

For a full 9 months, my DP carried Cricket inside her. In a few short weeks, our darling baby will be 10 months old, and that means that I will have carried Cricket – in the only way I can carry her – for a full 9 months as well. And that is beautiful to me.

Something else that makes me happy: the feel of her tiny foot in my hand as we walk.

photo challenge; or a way back into this blog

I have been absent – so, so absent.

But a lovely blogger-mama-friend of mine recently started contributing to a photo challenge that originated here, and I’m going to jump on the virtual bandwagon. I’m late to the game, and won’t get through this in 30 days, but I am committing to getting through it. There’s my promise, written down and sent out in the universe, aka the interwebs.

Here’s the challenge:

We’ll start with #1, a self-portrait.

Today is a mama work day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I work on campus. I prep for teaching, teach, and, if all goes well, get some good writing in. Today, I am prepping and writing in the Wex.ner Center for the Arts. The book in the photo is one of the texts my students and I will unpack in the classroom today.

On this particular Tuesday, Cricket is with her Momo. This will be the last Tuesday she will spend with her Momo for awhile, because starting next week we will be childcare-sharing, or childsharing. Cricket will spend every Tuesday with another mama and her 12 week old son, and I will watch this little boy alongside Cricket every Wednesday in what amounts to an even exchange. This arrangement has lots of benefits: the other mamas are very sweet, it halves our childcare costs, Cricket will continue to be cared for in a home environment, and she will continue to get lots and lots of one-on-one attention. On the other hand, I am more than a little nervous about my ability to care for two children under the age of one at the same time… I’m hoping it won’t take too terribly long for our Wednesday threesome to find a rhythm. Advice is more than welcome!

DP and Cricket are tackling several errands today, being the good partner and kid that they are. They are dropping a huge lot of baby clothes off at the Goodwill – Cricket is growing and the weather is changing – and doing some grocery shopping for Cricket-friendly foods she can feed herself. Babygirl is completely and utterly rejecting anything that even remotely resembles a puree, so it’s on to the finger foods. The trick is finding foods that are safe enough, considering she still does not have a single tooth :)

Lastly, and the errand I can’t wait to get a phone call about, is Cricket’s 9 month well-baby appointment. I am so curious to know what she weighs these days! And it doesn’t hurt that DP and I like to infuse these appointments with a bit of healthy competition; we always place a bet on her weight beforehand (problematic much?). This time I went with 18lbs 12oz, and DP went with an even 19lbs. We will see!


Results: Ak! She’s a total peanut! 17lbs 6.5oz and 27″, 30th and 25th percentiles,  respectively. This is a drop for Cricket who has been consistently in the 50 percentile in height and weight since birth. Head remains in the 75th percentile. It’s all dem BRAINS!


[This was written on June 29th, and then shelved:]

Cricket is one week away from being 7 months old. I have no idea how many weeks she is. (When did we stop counting in weeks, I wonder?)

This age is the best age, I’ve decided. 6-months-almost-7-months. Cricket’s personality is showing itself more and more clearly, and it is such a sweet personality. She is good-natured and friendly, courageous and adaptable. She has a smile for everyone who has a smile for her, and even some for those who don’t. She loves people. She loves being out and about; loves brunches and BBQs and shopping trips. A close friend described her as fearless, but I think rather that she is brave. I have seen her show fear towards particular objects and, with gentle reassurance, observe said object for a bit and then approach it and explore it, working through her fears. Yes, brave.

Now that Cricket has been with us for a half of a year I have a better perspective (or maybe just A perspective) on what living with a newborn – THIS newborn – has been like.

  • Months 1 & 2 were a dream. Cricket slept well – even going so far as to reject co-sleeping in favor of her crib – and gave us 4-5 hour chunks of sleep at night. Dana and I were a fantastic team, and part of this was certainly due to the fact that we were both able to be home for those first few months.
  • Months 3 & 4 were awful, terrible, no-good-very-bad months. They were hard. Dana went back to work and my position as work-at-home mama commenced. Cricket stopped sleeping. She became fussy, irritable, and hard-to-please. She screamed, a lot. I started thinking that we had been tricked; this was our baby’s true personality and man-oh-man, were we in for it.
  • Month 5 things started to improve, but I didn’t trust it… I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
  • Month 6 was wonderful and I gave myself over to thinking that maybe, just maybe, we were seeing Cricket’s true personality emerge. And gosh, is it sweet <3

[Continued writing on July 17th – eek!]

  • Month 7 is still pretty good, but we are moving into a more challenging phase again. Getting to sleep and staying asleep is becoming more and more difficult. I think it is directly connected to how close she is to mobility; her body is wanting to practice, practice, practice her new skills and move things along.

That is, of course, painting the last 7 months in the broadest of broad strokes, not touching on all of the joyful moments we experienced, moments that were present in even the darkest of sleep-deprived times! But I feel like I can say, with all honesty, that things are really getting good now :)

Will write more soon. I think. I hope to!