Aaaand the race continues! Slow down, Maria; there is no need to grow up so fast. While I reminisce about the 17 months that have passed a photo from last year September comes to mind. When Maria was five months old, Ahmed put her on the balcony, supporting her with his hand. However, on the photo it appeared she was sitting all by herself. Seeing that photo makes me tear up just a little. Time has gone so fast, and there are so many adorable moments – gestures, sounds, expressions, cuddles – that we already forgot. If only we could capture every single one of them…
Although this past month was still mostly winter (spring officially started on the first day of September) we made several trips: a sunny day at Hamilton Gardens, a visit to Auckland Zoo, a Half Marathon in Cambridge. We could do these things thanks to Ahmed having a
holiday study break, and Maria enjoyed each of them. She is such a happy girl when we go outside. I think the thing she likes most is to socialize with other people – adults and children alike. She loves smiling at them, playing, waiving bye bye. She charms everyone with her coy smile and chatter.
Seeing how confident Maria is when interacting with other people puts a big smile on my face. I can only hope that she will stay like that. Her boldness is such that several times she went to sit with another family or on a stranger’s lap when we were outside!
Graduation From Space
The past year we’ve been attending SPACE sessions every Friday afternoon. Short for Supporting Parents Alongside Children’s Education, SPACE was a fabulous way to finish the week. It was a place to connect with other new parents. discuss the typical issues that come up: sleep, feeding and later solids, crying and later tantrums. We made trips to the zoo and swimming pool, we learnt about Playcentre (which Maria and I joint a couple of months ago), and we made new friends. It is something we will miss, but I think it was also time to put an end to it. Since we have so many activities during the week, it is nice to have Friday afternoon ‘free’.
The last SPACE session we had a small graduation party. All babies got to wear a graduation hat. One of the last songs we sang was “Bubbles Pop”, and a few days later I heard Maria singing “Baba POP! Baba POP!” She has been singing it every day since then and experimenting with the words. This afternoon, for instance, I heard her singing “Mama POP, mama POP”! So incredibly cute.
Maria’s language is developing rapidly! She does not only repeat the sounds we make, she actually knows when to use them. When she finishes her meal she says, “Op!” (“Finished!”) and when she opens a kitchen drawer she says, “Open”. When we make animal sounds she gets her animal book; when I talk about her favorite stuffed animal, a bear she got from my grandfather, she goes to her bedroom to get it. This evening she said, “Quack quack.” And this afternoon I was telling Ahmed that “We’re going on a trip” with Playcentre this Thursday and she began to laugh, because the words reminded her of a song she loves that starts with the same words.
Now that walking is no big deal anymore we are entering the next phase: climbing! Maria has started to climb on chairs, the table, and in and out of her stroller. Her climbing skills come in handy at the playground – she hardly needs our help anymore to get off the slides. Inside, we (or I) are not always happy with her dancing on the table…
Other (Cute) Things She Does Now:
- Cudding her favorite bear. It’s so cute how delighted she is when she sees him. Oftentimes, she encourages us to cuddle Bibi, as she decided to call him, as well.
- Kissing us. She’s been doing that for a while already, but since a few days she grabs my head and pulls me toward her to kiss me. Funny little girl.
- Teething. I’m not even sure if it all happened this past month or the month before, but in a short time she got four molars and her two upper canines. Only six more (two lower canines and another four molars in the back) to go!
- Crying when we are away. Maria is usually not too bothered when one of us is away, but the moment we go she often cries. Lately, she has been crying and banging on the bathroom door when Ahmed or I are inside.
- Loving animals. A couple of weeks ago we went somewhere and there was a cat. Maria loved it. Last Friday, we visited a farm and again, she was crazy about the calves and little goat. A recent trip to the zoo was also a success because of her love for animals. It kinda makes me wish we had a cat at home…
- Laughing for no reason. Often and especially with strangers, Maria likes to laugh for apparently no reason. It is her way of connecting with people, I guess.
There is, as always, undoubtedly much more to say, and I haven’t even discussed her sleep yet (nap strikes anyone?!) but I’ll leave it to this. Here are a few more photos to finish it off: