Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Leaps and bounds and baby steps

My amazement is renewed daily by this child of ours. Family members who spend some time with Hayley, but don't see her every day, frequently ask "How do you stand it?" We can only answer honestly: we can't stand it. Miranda and I alternate between staring in wonder and smooshing her. It's not like she never misbehaves, or frustrates us, but all is quickly forgiven and forgotten; we're just compelled to adore this kid. And it's only going to get worse.

A week ago Hayley decided that she could walk all the time, instead of only when we hold her hand. Knee-walking is now a very rare occurrence. She'll hold your hand if she wants to take you somewhere. She can go from sitting to standing without assistance in a couple seconds. She's on the verge of running. She can wear dresses without losing mobility. She can play outside, for real!

Speaking of playing outside, we started our Memorial Day weekend with a trip to the beach. This was actually a re-creation of a special day from last year (which I blogged about here) when Hayley was just 5 weeks old. Breakfast at a great cafe in Half Moon Bay, followed by a drive down the Pacific Highway where we stopped at San Gregorio beach (still the only beach Hayley's ever visited) and topped off with ice cream at Marianne's in Santa Cruz. She was a little hesitant at first, but once she saw how fun the sand was, Hayley dove right in. She happily played for quite a while and was less than pleased about leaving the beach. She forgave us when she got her ice cream (which was only her second ice cream cone ever, her first happening just a week earlier at Baskin Robbins).

Along with the improvements in mobility, Hayley has been pushing forward with her communication skills. Whether she is excitedly telling us about the train she hears across the street or letting us know she's hungry, sign language is fast becoming a fun and useful tool for her. She's even starting to link two signs together (such as "more" and "please"). Hayley can also understand quite a bit of what is said to her. I only have to mention changing her diaper once and she gets right up, toddles into her room and walks over to the changing table. Of course, as we all know, hearing and listening are two different things; I'm sure the listening is not going to happen as often as the hearing when she gets older.

This weekend also marked the end of bottles. For a while, Hayley was getting sippy cups and straw cups throughout the day and a bottle right before bed. That last bottle has now been replaced by a sippy cup. Aside from the big stuff like the crib and diapers, the last remaining evidence of once being a baby is her pacifier. She only gets it in her crib, but I have a funny feeling she's going to hold onto that one for some time. Honestly, I'm not looking forward to taking it away from her.

Not all of the changes happening recently are so obvious. Some of them are subtle: small changes in behavior that are hard to explain or even remember. Big or small, though, changes happen fast and they are always unexpected. These moments, when my daughter surprises me, continue to be some of the best moments as a parent.

Oh, and she had her first official tea party with daddy on Memorial Day.