today eva confirmed a suspicion i've held for a while now: she seems to have said her first word. i feel weird about saying it (and i promised myself i was going to stop going on and on about this), like it somehow shouldn't count since the first consonant wasn't right or since 10 other people weren't there to hear it. but, a third party understood what she said, and she communicated her point to me, which seems like talking to me. you know?
anyway, we were out delivering a sling to someone, and eva was sitting on the sofa as stood in front of her. i was a bit distracted demonstrating the sling, and i suddenly realized eva is saying "gog, gog, gog!" i was thinking it sounded an awful lot like when she talks about a dog (based on how she says it to/about lemma). she was leaning way over to peer around my legs staring intently, and sure enough, when i followed her gaze into the next room, there was a dog looking in the kitchen door. i looked back at her and said "yes, you found a dog!" and she got this big satisfied grin. i'm sure it's pretty exciting when someone can finally understand you. (larry's comment: is it weird that her first word is "dog"?)
incidentally, she still says "ghak" for light, but i don't count that since it doesn't sound like the actual word. she is signing more for light though, and starting to sign for milk (she signs while nursing, rather than to request it). i feel like this blog has turned into a giant brag lately, but i had to post the first official word. hopefully on to other things again soon.
the strange thing is, i wake up and she's somewhere other than where i left her. this is new. since i only barely wake up to feed her and there's a minimum of consciousness involved, it can be very disorienting. sometimes things happen in the middle of the night and i later can't separate dream from reality (did she really wake up crying with gas pain? did i already feed her on this side? was i really just awake 20 minutes ago?). the effect is often like a little movie, strangely edited: scene 1, baby is nursing peacefully, mama's eyes fade to black. scene 2, baby is halfway across the bed facing the other way, (is she hungry what time is it oops too sleepy) fade to black. scene 3, sounds of a hunger cry, mama sleepily rolls to her side to assist, but upon opening her eyes, somehow we see a close-up of baby's feet in her face and baby's head is all the way over there out of the frame. how'd that happen?
anyway, the point of all this is that last night, eva provided me with a really amusing, profoundly disorienting little scene. she woke up clearly wanting to eat, but was several feet across the bed. when she's close to me, she just does this little worm maneuver on her side to get move in a few inches and get latched on. i was getting everything in place (arm, pillows, etc), and before i could reach out to pull her in, she flopped over onto her stomach (which she avoids at all costs while awake), put her arms in front and pushed up, lifting her face completely vertical (which we've spent countless hours of physical therapy trying to convince her to do without violently protesting while awake), and then latched on like that! she proceeded to eat for a couple of minutes in that crawling position, until her arms got tired. then, (get this) she moved her arms back by her side, but continued to hold her head up and eat -- like a little baby seal. i would have been laughing hysterically had i been more awake; as it was, i was concentrating with all my brain power to determine that, yes, this was really happening.
its like some crazy david lynch thing. the next time i wake up to find a baby seal, i'll know i really am dreaming if i find a dancing midget and the log lady there, too.
so i feel like this baby aged by leaps and bounds in the past week (note that one can apparently both "leap" and "bound" without crawling, because there's all but zero sign of that yet). several people have told me she seems so much more engaged/thoughtful/alert, and this reaffirms the change i've sensed in her. and she's had some big developmental steps as well. she's now eating finger foods, like O cereal -- which she can reliably pick up and get into her mouth, something she caught on to between thursday's first offering and saturday. the last two days she's eaten a ton of food where she was mostly just exploring it before (this morning, a quarter of an avocado, two big pear slices, and a bunch of Os). on tuesday she started pulling up to a standing position after grabbing on to my index fingers, and by friday she was taking a dozen little steps in a row (and will more often than i'm prepared for protest having to sit -- oh the indignity! -- until i stick out my hands for her to pull up). she went swimming in a real pool for the first time on friday, and squealed and kicked away and didn't mind going under water. and out of nowhere she's wearing 12 month clothes and her feet are big enough to wear her shoes. and, as i already posted, she did her first sign and is really trying to communicate about the dog (i don't know when to cross that border and say she's saying it, but it's clearly on the agenda to be her first word).
i'm not trying to convince the world how cool my kid is, but rather point out how freaky it is that babies can change/learn/do this much in 7 days. it's nuts.
it's exciting and disorienting at the same time. i just feel like so much arrived all at once. some of it is my noticing or changing things (like the clothes), or maybe (as larry pointed out) it just seems all at once since she was somewhat foggy with a bit of a cold for a while before this. it's probably less dramatic from the outside looking in, but for me i feel like last week i had a baby and all of the sudden i have this near-kid instead. who came up with this schedule?
eva did her first sign yesterday! (the astute reader may have caught the unintentional foreshadow... it has to do with a certain "ghak".) she's been fascinated with lights the past several days, and stares at them and points them out (by saying ghak), and as of yesterday, she reaches her arm up to sign for them. (yippee!) the sign (as i do it) is a fist on an upstretched arm then flicking all your fingers downward. she sticks her arm up and bends her fingers in and out, but pointing up, and as her own little flourish, twists her wrist, too.
this first happened (or i first noticed?) at jenny's house, where eva was hanging out under a nice overhead light. i'm fairly confident i'm not reading too much into this (as in, "guess what? she's started doing long division in her head!") because she did it several times, and because jenny just assumed she was signing before i mentioned it, but thought i already knew and thus i hadn't pointed it out. i'm really excited because it's her first verifiable attempt to communicate in a more direct way (beyond crying, facial expressions, etc). that's huge in babyland.
you know, she also tries to say/indicate "dog" (if we're lucky, it's "dah...guh" but more likely just "guh", where the d and o are apparently silent"). the associated sign is sticking out one's tongue and panting like a dog. before this light incident, i was starting to wonder if she was trying to sign for dog but not sticking out her tongue very far, because when she's interested in the dog she opens her mouth and *moves* her tongue, but you can see how this is hard to discern, since that's something she does roughly, you know, all day long. in hindsight, maybe i should have picked a clearer sign for her favorite subject.
anyway, i've gone on long enough with the minutiae of such things (be thankful i'm not really exited this week about her poos or something), but i'm just so happy to be on this little journey with her. it's fun to watch it unfold and see where it all will lead...
photo: i took this the same day as that recent thumb-sucking one. see, she puts things other than her thumb in her mouth on occation. (can you tell i'm getting a bit sensitive about the whole thumb thing? :) thoughts on that for another post, maybe...)