In some ways, there is less to write about life with Maria now than there was during those newborn months. For one, babies’ development slows down the older they get. But more importantly, life with Maria has become so natural that we cannot imagine how we could ever live without her. How did we fill our days? What did we do on weekends? What made us laugh? And what did we worry about?
The older Maria gets, the more fun we have with her. This last month we laughed a lot, although we worried quite a bit as well when Maria got sick again. And after she recovered from her urinary tract infection, she got her first real cold, including snotty nose and lots of sneezing. Fortunately, she didn’t seem too upset about it, except every time I chased her to wipe her nose and face. With the colder weather creeping in and fall around the corner, I have a feeling it wasn’t the last time she had a cold this year…
With her birthday – and hence toddlerhood – rapidly approaching I feel like we’re entering a new era with Maria. Getting out of the house has always been important for me; however, while it was mainly for my own sanity, it is now for Maria’s sanity as well to go to a different place. She gets so excited when I put her in the stroller, and whenever she is in a new place with different toys and other things to explore she is a very content baby. This week we visited a Playcentre open day. This organization, unique to New Zealand, operates parent-led early childhood education centres throughout the country. In other words, for a number of days every week, parents take their children (aged 0-6) to these centers, where they can play while their parents supervise them. The philosophy behind it is that parents are the best and first educators for their children, and young children learn most through play. As I see it, becoming a member at our neighborhood Playcentre will be a great opportunity for Maria to get in touch with other children and for me to meet other mothers. Plus we can do all kinds of activities – painting, building sandcastles, baking, you name it – without having to worry about the mess we make! Most likely we will sign up for it soon, so by that time I will write more about my experience at the centre and share some pictures.
One fun thing to see now that Maria gets older is that she is interacting more and more with other babies. Yesterday, when I visited a friend and her 11-month-old son, the two actively played together, imitating each other and laughing about each other. While I often read and hear about parallel play (and this behavior certainly notice in Maria) I see that babies do also play together at this age. And when Maria plays with an older child she tries to mimic the other child.
Talking about mimicking, we are in the middle of that stage! We better watch our behavior, because Maria copy-cats whatever we do. It is too cute, especially when she tries to copy us but hasn’t exactly figured out how to do it, such as when she nods, moving her whole body up and down rather than just her head.
Did I say there is less to write about? I take that back, because the truth is there are tens of other things I could jot down here. Life with an almost-toddler is busy, exciting and eventful all at the same time. And I presume it is going to be even busier, more exciting and more eventful with a walking toddler. I’d better savor every second of this crawling and pulling-up baby phase.