My little Daph turned ten months old last Friday. Except, she’s not my little Daph anymore. She might be better called my giant Daph seeing as (to me at least) she looks about eight now. She’s so tall – at our last check up the health visitor said she was only on the 50th percentile for height and weight but I somehow can’t believe it – I swear she is bigger than most of the other babies her age. She’s now wearing clothes age 12-18 months and even some of these are looking a little too small on her (dresses especially – I guess she would be tall given that her dad is 6 ft 3). It’s all kind of funny looking back now and thinking a year ago I was so worried about how tiny she was going to be – and she was, when she was born, but she has certainly more than made up for it now.
As well as being tall, she is the least babyish baby I know – instead, she’s all opinions and frustrations and demands and fiercely independent already. It’s lovely, but also kind of heartbreaking – I really feel already she’s more of a child than a baby now. If I try to bring her into our bed for a cuddle in the morning she squirms and whacks me in the face and wriggles and generally lets me know that cuddling is off thank you very much, she has far more important things to be doing. In fact, the only time I get cuddles are when I pick her up after a nap and she’s SO happy to see me – she puts her little arms around me and her face against my neck and it’s just lovely. Oh, and in the middle of the night when she has her dream feed – it’s the only time she’s truly relaxed and she’ll sit there drinking softly in my arms like she used to as a newborn.
I feel like in the last month or so she’s suddenly really developed in her personality – she knows what she wants and when she wants it, and if she doesn’t get it, then basically all hell breaks lose. My mum has already warned me she is going to be a drama queen. I started googling a bit (I know, I know) to find out whether tantrums were possible in babies so young, and apparently they are – hurray! I wouldn’t say she has full-on tantrums yet but she marks her frustrations loudly and often. Mostly by shrieking at the top of her lungs and mostly in public where I just want to die of embarrassment. The only thing that stops her shrieking is giving her what she wants, which of course we do, because she’s still a baby even if she doesn’t think she is, and too young for discipline; or by distracting her with something shiny or more interesting. She really really doesn’t like being a baby and is desperate to do everything herself. I suppose I’d always had that impression from the second she was born – what with the colic and refusing to breastfeed – so it’s not really a great surprise. Her latest thing is hating being spoon fed – she wants to do it herself – and again she shrieks if we try to feed her. Apparently it’s an actual ‘thing’, called spoon refusal – but it’s really really annoying and means mealtimes are taking forever!
She is best described as feisty (and I think some people call babies like Daph ‘spirited’) – an utter delight when she’s happy and things are going her way, a bit of a handful when they’re not.
Anyway, even though she’s hard work and I look at friends with so-called easy babies with more than a touch of weary envy, I actually love the fact that she’s already got her own thoughts and opinions about stuff. I sort of admire her for not being content with her lot and I tell her every day that she’s going to change the world. Time will tell!
In order to curb her frustration at not being able to communicate, we’ve been going to baby signing classes – I’ll have to write about that separately, but she does love it. And she already understands most of the basic signs (although she can’t sign them yet) and it definitely helps to be able to ask her if she wants milk by signing and seeing her reaction. She also understands quite a few words now and will look at whatever you’re referring to – the cat’s name (she loves the bloody cat), ‘trees’, ‘daddy’ etc etc.
Developmentally, she’s coming on slowly but surely. This week she said her first consonants – ‘ba’ and ‘da’ FINALLY. I nearly keeled over in shock when she just casually threw ‘da’ into the mix when I was driving back from my parents’ house the other day. She didn’t babble it, but the main point is that I now know she *can* make that sound if she wants to, and again, the fact that she doesn’t doesn’t surprise me much – she clearly can’t really see the point. She has also been making lots more obviously vocal sounds – all kind of crazy but definitely attempts to talk, and we can have lovely weird ‘chats’ back and forth. I feel less worried about this side of things now but of course, there’s still that thing at the back of my mind that she’s behind a little – but I’m trying to relax and just let it go, and see how she is when she turns one.
She’s also started to wriggle about a LOT more when she’s sitting down – twisting and putting her arms forward into a crawling position. She still gets mightily pissed off if you put her on her tum for tummy time however, and rolls straight back onto her back, but we’ve been trying to trick her a bit by holding her legs in a wheelbarrow position and getting her to try to ‘walk’ forward with her hands. And she’s obsessed with standing up – she just wants to be held up standing all the time (another reason for her meltdowns if I try to sit her down). But she can’t stand alone yet. I am sure her general mood and disposition will improve a lot when she is finally more mobile and able to get to where she wants to be without any help.
One last thing I must mention is her sleep! It’s gone a bit shit, to be frank. She was so great for about three months, sleeping through the night every night and just having a dream feed at 10pm. Then we dropped her third nap, as she stopped being tired at bedtime, but that had the knock-on effect of her being exhausted by 5pm and having to be asleep by 6pm. She seems to be able to do 11 hours at night with only one wake up for a feed, but because she’s going to bed at 6pm, that means at 5am she’s awake and NOTHING will persuade her to go back to sleep. Instead she lies there every morning screeching and talking to herself until we get her up – we usually manage to ignore her (with a quick check to see she’s OK) until 6am, when Oli goes in and gets her up for the day, but being woken up at 5am EVERY DAY is truly horrid. We can never get back to sleep after she wakes, and it means she’s exhausted by 8am so all her naps have to happen early, and thus the cycle continues! It also means she doesn’t want her last bottle before bed as it’s too close to her tea, which means she’s now started waking up twice for milk in the night. We’re kind of at our wits’ end with it, and I’ve now decided (after last night/this morning when as a Father’s Day gift she decided the day should start at 4.30am) that I’m going to let her have a very quick micro nap at 5pm every day and move her bedtime back to 7pm. Fingers bloody crossed!
Oh and one last thing – she has seven teeth. Four on the top and three on the bottom, but the fourth bottom tooth seems to be MIA. Its twin came through ages ago now. All the others came through in pairs so it’s a bit peculiar – I hope it doesn’t mean it’s never going to appear!